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FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 9 of 13

Pismo Beach - Shooting Under the Pier

Chris Burkard

FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

9. Pismo Beach - Shooting Under the Pier


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 Pismo Beach Walk Gear Duration:14:30
3 Yosemite Trip Gear Duration:08:27
4 Water Housing Photography Duration:33:39
5 Shooting in the Water Duration:08:41
7 Pismo Beach - Focus Point Duration:10:38

Lesson Info

Pismo Beach - Shooting Under the Pier

I just really wanted to quickly kinda go over a couple of quick easy things I think that I always try to approach when I'm at a location is like obviously looking at it from every perspective, right? So one of my favorite things is to kind of work with reflection. So we're at the top of the pier, we're shooting some photographs and now, this scene really is better in the evening, mainly because the sun sets over there so you have this amazing pool of light. But I just kinda wanted to show you so I brought my wide angles as well. If I was gonna approach this place and shoot some maybe landscape photos, I think what I'd probably do is wanna approach it down here, where the water can really come close to the camera, you can really shoot wide and you can have this pier kinda leading off in the distance, right? Maybe you'll walk down the beach a little bit and have the pier sort of pushing in this direction, or you'll have something maybe a little more unique or abstract with water kinda mi...

sting around the pylons, right? For that I'd probably be using my wide angle 16 as well as a tripod and stuff, but one thing I just really quickly wanna shoot was sorta somebody walking out to surf, walking out to surf, going through these pylons, 'cause I really love the way this reflection looks. So if you follow me over here. (whistles sharply) (distant waves crashing) So, I don't know if any of you guys have wide angle on you but one of my favorite things to shoot with is a super wide angle lens, 16 to 35, something like that. Getting kinda these pylons and this whole kind of abstract surface just filling the frame. And the beauty is that we have, when this tide comes up, watch it 'cause it'll get you, when this tide comes up and it pulls away, you have this really epic reflective surface. So, I'm just gonna grab a quick shot, James, you mind walking out to surf, just on the other side of those pylons? Walking out? Yeah, just walking straight out. But back up a little bit and then walk this way. Yeah yeah, thank you! Perfect. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna wait for this tide to suck away and then I'm gonna get in here and I'm gonna shoot kinda some wide angle perspectives. (shutter clicks) Which is really nice because when the tide goes away I get this really cool reflection of the pylons, right, I'm able to get some of the sky, I'm able to get a little subject kinda walking out and so I'm really just documenting this entire process of like going out to the pier, shooting surfing, somebody going out to surf. And if this was like an editorial assignment to be like, "Hey, go to Pismo for the weekend, "show us what it's like to surf there." These are all elements I'd wanna capture, right. So just try and think of this in terms of like an assignment or like a larger way of how you could, more details of what you could shoot. As well as being down here, it's a good perspective to kinda see like, you guys we've talked about before is how flat it is, right. Well, it looks really cool if you start to compress it, you can compress people entering the water into those beautiful hills or whatever but to really elevate it, I think it's nice to have some foreground, y'know? Go behind these lifeguard towers, right, or go behind some of these swing sets, have those in the foreground of your frame, okay? And if I was shooting landscapes, this would be an amazing place to shoot as well because I could basically have this water, woo, I could have this water basically be some of the movement in my shot, right. And it would be contrasting against the skies, like warm skies, hills, everything. It really provides an amazing anchor for the front of my image, okay? I think as far as shooting that there would be a lot of other elements that would go into it, you would probably use a graduated filter of some type, you'd use a polarizer, probably, to cut some of the reflection because you want a little more depth into the color saturation. Even here too, a polarizer works really nice simply because I have these little patches of blue and since I'm actually shooting front lay it works really well on this wide angle. But basically being able to work with this polarizer, it's allowing me to get that blue a little more defined, pop out the whites of those clouds, as well as cut some of this reflection if I want to to bring a little more saturation into the frame. It's just something I always have on me. What I find is it's really tough to shoot polarizers when you're working with skin tones or when you're working with the ocean. Like at two kind of surfaces, at least waves, right. Shooting surfing or waves, but mainly because you need the fast action, fast frame rate and what it can kinda do is it can kinda put a bit of an unrealistic look onto the water surface when you're trying to shoot blue water or blue ocean. And I find it's a little tough there. If you're shooting landscapes, it's a different scenario 'cause you're kinda going for more of an abstract look, you're having slowed down water, you're having a little more of a surreal surface, right, so they work really well. But, in terms of just my day to day use, I usually always keep one on just to have it. So, yeah. They can be a burden sometimes. I find that it's a matter of figuring out how it can work best for your workflow. And it's also like if I'm shooting indoors or I'm shooting people a lot there's no need, y'know. But if I'm shooting outside, I'm shooting a lot of nature, I'm shooting a lot of landscapes, a lot of bigger places with bright colorful skies, I really try to use it as best I can, or as much as I can in those regards, because one thing that we don't realize is that there's a lot of reflection that gets put on to surfaces that we don't even recognize. Grass, for example, it has a sheen to it and the sun hits that, it puts off a lot of reflection. The leaves of trees, right, all those things put off reflection. A polarizer can help cut that reflection, so it's super important, even if you had-- A hazy day. Yeah! A hazy day, if you had cement pylons. Those cement pylons when they're wet they can put off reflections. If you wanna cut that out and really get more of that dark rich color, this is gonna help that. So it's a matter of kind of knowing your equipment, knowing what your subject is and what you're shooting, and knowing how it can help and apply because filters can be amazing to use when used properly. It's only polarizers, UV filters, I'm not a fan of. I really like sun flares. I kinda like the natural look of sun blaring into your shot. I feel like it feels a little more realistic. And to me it's like anytime you put a piece of glass in front of your lens you're gonna cut down a tiny bit on the ability for it to focus as well as the sharpness of that lens, right. Because you're shooting through another object. So, I'm not a huge fan of those but a polarizer is something where I feel like the benefits outweigh whatever it takes away.

Class Description


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Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

If you want insights on how to create rich, dramatic images that let you enjoy more time outdoors, don’t miss your chance to learn from Chris Burkard in The Outdoor Photography Experience.