Whether you’re a seasoned professional photographer, an enthusiastic amateur or just someone with a smartphone who likes to take good photographs then Herne Bay Coastal Park has a lot to offer! The North Kent coast is blessed with a superb quality of light which made it popular with artists such as JMW Turner but also photographers since the dawn of photography itself.
When you couple the vast range of photographic opportunities, the changing of the seasons and the light itself, The Coastal Park has it all from truly stunning sunsets (and sunrises) to architecture, people, street scenes, flora & fauna and, of course, seascapes aplenty.
You don’t need expensive equipment to take great photographs along the Coastal Park, although a digital SLR camera will give you more flexibility, especially in low light. Modern ‘point & shoot’ cameras can do a really great job, as can modern smart phones, but to really do justice to a scene you may need to venture away from the comfort of the ‘auto’ mode. If you have a point & shoot compact camera for example, you’ll probably find it has a ‘sunset’ mode built-in and that will set the camera up to get the best exposure possible so experiment with it and try taking the same shot in various modes – you might be surprised at the results.
The golden hour
The hour before sunset is known as ‘Golden Hour’ and is a great time to position your camera for some glorious sunset shots. Clouds are bathed in wonderful hues of orange, pink, and purple especially in the winter months. Add a sandy beach, waves, and someone walking on the sand or in the water, and you have the recipe for a wonderful photograph.
The trick to a good sunset picture is having some interesting clouds in the sky. Look toward the western sky 45 minutes before sunset. If you see some interesting clouds, grab your camera and get ready to snap! In general to capture a good sunset (or sunrise) you want to get everything in focus – trees in the foreground, people and sea in the middle and, of course, the clouds and sun in the distance. That means selecting an aperture around f8 or smaller but the problem then is that as the sun sets you have less light to play with to get a good exposure. The temptation then is to widen the aperture to let-in more light but before you do that, try raising the ISO if you can from around 100 to 800 or even higher. The ISO setting on modern cameras adjust the sensitivity of the image sensor – the lower the number, the more sensitive but there’s a downside – the higher the number, the more likely you are to introduce speckly noise on to the photograph, as shown in the image to the left.. How much you’re able to wind-up the ISO value whilst still maintaining a good quality image very much depends on the camera so you’ll need to experiment a bit. Typically, a doubling of the ISO number is the equivalent to opening-up the shutter one stop.
Mid January, 2015. A Winter’s morning walk on The Downs