One of the main advantages of living next to the highest tides in the world is the change that happens every 6 hours and 13 minutes…(give or take). According to the official Bay of Fundy website a 100 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay during one tidal cycle. I’d love to make a comparison to help put it in perspective for you in relation to Olympic swimming pools or bathtubs but that is just too much math for me, so we’ll just leave it at being a lot.
One of the more used apps on my phone is my tide chart. The best free apps that I have used are Shralp Tide for iPhone and Tide Prediction for Android. The tide app has become one of the more useful accessories among the other stuff that I have in my camera bag. I find myself referring to it several times a week in order to revolve my photography around either the low or high tide. There are several beaches close to my home and even though I may visit the same place several times a week, each trip can still provide many unique images.
It is really quite amazing to see how many images can be created on the same shoreline by simply visiting at a different tidal heights. Then add to the mix the different lighting situations of either sunrise, sunset, pending storms or fog and the possibilities can sometimes seem endless. Before I arrive at the beach I have generally visualized an image or several images, but sometimes what has been provide by nature is better than what I imagined.
There are a few necessities that will help when working with the water. The first is a (sturdy) tripod, which will allow for slower shutter speeds giving the water that milky look. I also like to use a polarizing filter to remove glare from the ocean, and to assist with slowing down the shutter speed on bright days. A polarizing filter will also offer some protection for your lens against salt spray. For really bright sun or just when there is a big difference in exposure between the sky and water, I will use a split neutral density filter. These filters are dark on top and gradually move to transparent on the bottom so the water still looks as it should but the dark part on top helps the sky from looking washed out. Finally a cable release is also very beneficial but a 2 second self-timer will also work in a pinch to help avoid camera shake during long exposures.
As much as I enjoy getting out to photograph, sometimes it is just as nice to leave the camera at home and head to the bay just to watch and listen. There is nothing like a trip to the beach for a quick get away after a stressful day. When things gets crazy and the pressures of life close in, I find it very relaxing to hear the rush of the waves and to know that there is a God at work, who is more powerful and more in control than I may realize.