Seascape Photography – The Spirit of The Ocean State

Seascape Photography is my one true passion, and it is something flows through my blood like the tide itself. While standing by the ocean’s edge waiting for the light to be just right, I feel like a kid at Christmas! The anticipation of seeing the colors dance across the sky as the new day starts is a feeling unlike any other I have ever experienced. The photographs that you see here in the seascape photography gallery are some of my favorite images of all time.

Standing behind the camera is where I find my peace of mind. The sounds, the smells, and the feel of the ocean air on my face relax me. As I look out at the horizon and explore the scene before me I can start to imagine what the photograph will look like. My fingers frequently take on a life of their own. Pushing buttons and turning dials, my hands manipulate my camera until what I see through the viewfinder matches my vision.

The Spirit of The Ocean State

Looking at a map of the state of  Rhode Island, there are two things that come to mind. First, Rhode Island is not an island at all. Second, and this is hard to believe, is that there are over 380 miles of coastline! The majority of these miles are along Narragansett Bay, the large body of water that gives the state is recognizable shape. It is these hundreds of miles of coastline that provide countless opportunities for me to pursue my seascape photography.

The Rhode Island coastline is  diverse. Beautiful beaches with expanses of soft, white sand bring back a rush of memories. Family trips to the beach, playing in the cold waters and lunches from the concession stand. However, many locations along the coast are the polar opposite. Rough, rocky and treacherous. I recall visiting these sites as a child and jumping from rock to rock. As an adult I visit many of these varied location types. You will find photographs of all types of coastline in my portfolio. 

My Seascape Photography

As an outdoor photographer it is hard to say what excites me most about seascape photography. I love to feel the fresh ocean breeze on my skin, and to smell the salty air. The sound of the crashing waves hitting the shore comforts me in a way I can’t begin to explain. Perhaps it’s the little clinking sound that the rocks make as they bang into each other as the water recedes. Maybe it isn’t any one thing, maybe it is all of this, as nature works its magic.

Regardless of why I love seascape photography, once the moment is right I get lost in my craft. Changing my position, adjusting the cameras settings, my body runs on autopilot. I subconsciously make changes to turn the scene in front of me into the photograph that matches my artistic vision. I will often take dozens of photos of the scene, making tiny adjustments in my effort to create that one image that will be special enough to hang on my wall.

Why Seascapes are Different

While seascapes are very similar to landscapes, there is one major difference. The water. I know, it sounds obvious, but hear me out. In seascape photography the water becomes a major factor in the photograph. As a result, the water itself often becomes the main subject of an image. 

It is this interaction between the land and sea that I find fascinating. Each wave coming ashore is akin to a step in some mystical, powerful dance performed to the music of the surf. I can watch it for hours, and each photograph is different. I let that music guide my shutter choice. A fast shutter freezes the action and captures the individual waves. However, a slower shutter speed allows the waves to crash over and over again. Dragging the shutter turns the water into a blur of motion, symbolic of the never ending tide.

Seascape Photography Subjects

Living along the coast, there are a number of amazing subjects that can be incorporated into my work. First, there are over 20 lighthouse along the coast, many of which make great subjects for photography. Beavertail, Castle Hill,  and Point Judith are just a few of the very popular lights to visit.

Second, Rhode Island has a number of bridges around Narragansett Bay that are very photogenic. The Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge is one such bridge that has been the focal point of my lens on many occasions. The Mount Hope Bridge, and the I-Way bridge are also great places to explore with a camera.

Finally, with miles of shoreline, and a nick-name of “The Ocean State”, boating life is a large piece of Rhode Island culture. Sailboats and piers, both active and abandoned, are some of my favorite subjects. I visit the abandoned Rocky Point Pier in Warwick on a regular basis. 

The ever changing coastline

While out photographing one of my favorite beaches one evening, I was fortunate enough to chat with a local gentleman. Living a short distance from the beach, he has walked it regularly with his dogs for over 40 years. As we chatted, I mentioned that I was surprised by the amount of beach erosion since my last visit. He told me that during his years at the beach he has seen the power of the ocean sculpt and change the coastline dramatically. Over the course of days, weeks and even years, the beach was constantly evolving. As he walked away he told me not to worry, that the ocean would bring the sand back in time.

While the ocean continues to reshape the RI coastline, as a seascape photographer I will continue to travel the state, applying my artistic vision to the scenery in front of me.

The photographs I make capture the essence of the sea. The power of the ocean displayed in the relentless, crashing waves. Rich, vivid colors streak across the sky, complimenting the drama of the waters below. It is these photographs that really capture the spirit of the Ocean State!

I encourage you to visit the print galleries of my website. First thing to remember – pick out a piece of seascape art that speaks to you. Let the spirit of the Ocean State flow in your home or office!