Date Of Event: April 6, 2019
Location: Good Harbor Beach, Thatcher Rd, Gloucester, MA (about 45 mins northeast of Boston, MA or 1 hour and 30 minutes southeast of Concord, NH)
Summary: 26 surfers entered the first Annual Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition.
Websites: Lake Atlantic Invitational
Gloucester Beach Info
Hang ten! Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA, was the home to the first Annual Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition earlier this month.
Twenty six surfers from the Gloucester area came together to show off their skills. The surfers went out in groups of 3 or 4. And each group was represented by a different color which represented a different heat. The order of the flags were changed so that each group (heat) would get a chance to begin surfing in a different order. But, the groups were judged individually.
The top three surfers won one of these cool trophies.
Since I arrived about an hour before the competition began, I decided to take some photos of this beautiful place.
The beach is only a short drive from Boston, MA. However, if you plan on visiting this gem during the summer, it may not be as easy as you think. Click on the link above to view the parking policy during the summer. In short, you need a sticker to park in the limited parking lot. You can apply for a sticker if you live out of town. But Gloucester residents get priority. Unless you are a resident of Gloucester (and have a parking sticker to prove it), the best times to visit may be before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. Or, during early spring when it’s absolutely freezing. That’s what I did!
Most of the surfers came from Gloucester or the Gloucester area. However, one of the competitors, Jake Danzer, 20, came all the way from New London, CT, where he attends the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Alex Debreceni, from Dunstable, MA, was one of the surfers competing that day.
There were other photographers at the surfing competition including the people who brought this drone to photograph the surfers in the water. But, this dog would rather play with it.
While it was pretty cold (in the 30s and 40s for most of the morning) and there was an evident wind that made it feel even colder, the waves weren’t all that, well, wavy. The surfers did their best to show off their skills.
But, they all weren’t successful.
Of course, I could no better. And, just like in life, it doesn’t matter if or even how many times you fall. What matters is how often you get back up on your board!
The winner of the competition was Colby, 18 of Gloucester. Rhodes Cole, of Rockport, came in second and John Lane, of Yarmouth, Maine, came in third.
Good Harbor is a great place to take your dog. However, make sure to visit only during the designated times (unleashed dogs are allowed October 1st to March 31st ). One of the reasons for this is to comply with state and federal laws that protect nesting areas for piping plovers. Animal control arrived while I was leaving. So they do enforce this regulation.
Despite the regulations, I did see quite a few dogs at the beach during the competition.
Gracie is a 1 year old Lab mix.
Boss is a 3 month old Cane Corso
A recent feature to my posts which I am trying to make a regular part of them is to explain the settings and methods I used to photograph my shots. This was a tricky one for me. I wish explaining photography was easy. Unfortunately, it can be a little complicated, especially when you try to boil it down. So, I have highlighted the places where I show the settings I used and any other important tips. But, to gain a better context of why I used them and how it may help your photography, I would suggest reading the entire passages. And this one is fairly long.
When writing these tips I always think what would I have wanted someone to tell me when I first started photography. I learned a lot from trial and error and I would like to help others avoid having to learn this way whenever possible.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not by any means an expert photographer and I have really only been using manual mode and other modes outside of automatic for about 7 months now. So please leave a comment if you notice I misrepresented or omitted some info.
Motion and sunlight. They can be the most difficult elements to photograph in any photo shoot, especially for beginners. But, just like anything else, once you get you get it. The only way to understand and overcome these challenges is to shoot when these things are available It’s not hard to find these things. Shoot a 5K or a marathon. Or, if the parties are ok with it, and they usually are, shoot some kids or adults playing basketball, baseball, tennis or some other sport. Or, shoot birds, dogs or other animals. They always seem to be moving.
To be honest (and I always am about photography), I could have and probably should have used a tripod. It helps steady your camera and avoid blur when you’re photographing motion. But, I was being a little lazy, if I’m going to remain honest. I, like many photographers, I like to move around, especially when photographing motion, and tripods can sort of slow you down. But, I do recommend using a tripod when photographing motion.
Photographing motion requires a faster shutter speed. I generally used the AV (Aperture Priority in Canon or AP in some other cameras) mode. This allows the photographer to control the aperture and ISO while the camera controls the shutter speed.Given what I’ve mentioned above, fast shutter speed is very important when photographing motion and the AV mode is not the best mode to use for these types of shoots. Frankly, it doesn’t do a good job handling motion always. You’re much better manually adjusting the shutter speed. This brings up one of the scariest two words for many beginning photographers: manual mode.
Being someone who used to get dizzy just thinking of using manual mode, I understand the trepidation some may feel. It really isn’t as daunting as it may seem, though. Basically, you want to use similar settings you would want to when you’re in AV mode (or even automatic mode) and adjust the shutter speed accordingly. As a general rule, I usually use a 500 or 1000 shutter speed (that is one five hundredth of a second or one on thousandth of a second) when photographing someone running or moving briskly. It’s important to note that some cameras may have different shutter speeds depending on the model being used. I used a 800 and 1000 shutter speed (again one eight hundredth of a second or one one hundredth of a second) to photograph the surfers. Since there was so much light I went up to a 6.3 and 7.1 aperture for most of the photos when I zoomed in (3.5 to 5.6 when I wasn’t zooming in). This was, in part, due to the lens I used. The aperture for my lens will only go to a certain aperture when I zoom in. If you use abetter (more expensive) lens you can sometimes use a smaller aperture when you zoom in. I had to work on the settings in Lightroom in post since they did come out a little dark.
It’s also important to keep in mind that showing blur can be OK in some situations. If you’re trying to show a bird hovering, for instance, you may want to show their tail blurry while the rest of their body is still. I actually did this by mistake. I used the wrong shutter speed and I received the results I just mentioned and people actually liked it. You can see what I mean by the photo below. Granted, I would have preferred to use a higher shutter speed and I wasn’t going to post it in my previous Facebook post. But, some of my friends and family told me that by showing the motion the blur was OK, particularly since the rest of the body of the bird is in focus. I used a shutter speed of 250 (or one two hundred and fiftieth of a second) shutter speed for this photo. I should have used a 500 or higher shutter speed.
Some other photographers will also show blur on purpose for effect when photographing vehicles passing by (you may see those photos of streaks of light which become evident when you use a slow shutter speed while vehicles pass by).
This website gives some very helpful tips and a useful chart to determine which shutter speeds to use: phototraces shutter speeds.
Sunlight is the other challenging part of photography, somewhat ironically. When I first began photography, I used to think sunlight was not only ideal but essential to good photography. Now, I hope for overcast skies. The reason for this is sunlight can cause everything from sun glare to difficult shadows. I always found it interesting and annoying when my automatic flash would turn on during a perfectly sunny day. This of course had to do with the shadows which the sun can create. To avoid this I always use AV or manual mode. Remember to use a higher aperture if it is a particularly sunny day (5.6 or higher generally). I also use a lens hood to help prevent sun glare. Another hack is to go to automatic mode, seeing what the camera suggests to use for settings and using that as a guide. However, this is only a guide to get you in the right ballpark. You can adjust it from there. Also, if you camera hs a live view option you can preview what the photo should look like as you adjust your settings. Also, last but certainly not least, make sure to adjust your settings in the camera’s light meter. Make sure the line matches up to the middle of the spectrum. Keep adjusting your settings until it is there.
Just to touch briefly on lens hoods. While using one recently I found that it was being picked up in my photos and causing the corners of my photos to look black and I had to crop the photos more than I would have liked. To avoid this, you may need to make sure your lens hood is in a “12 o’clock” and “6 o’clock” position. Once I made this fix it prevented the hood from being picked up by the lens.
One last tidbit I would like to mention about sunlight is the golden and blue hour. Named for the colors of the sky (when clouds are not present) during the hours just before and after sunrise and sunset, the blue and golden hours are ideal for photography. In fact, some photographers will only photograph during these times. However, realistically, yo cannot always avoid photographing during the non goden hours. In fact, most of the events I photograph take place during the worst possible times for photography. The best ways to handle sun glare and washed out photos is to use a lens hood, avoid shooting at or close to the sun and using Lightroom or Photoshop to compensate for shots that may have a lot of sunlight in the photos.
All is not lost though when it comes to shooting in sunlight. In fact, you can use it to your advantage. For instance, the sun shimmering off objects like water can be very pretty. Or, a ray of light poking through the clouds can make for a good contrast.
I hope these tips have helped and please leave me a comment to let me know if you like (or do not) this feature of my posts or if you have additional tips to add.