I get excited when sunrise lines up with a high tide. The possibility of being able to include some big surf AND first light in a pretty composition seems like a win-win, right? Well… sort of.
On the one hand you get the benefit of the dramatic surf, and who doesn’t like big waves! As long as you position yourself in a safe place, you might be able to experience some crazy waves like these. But on the other hand, high tide means that – depending on your surroundings – sometimes you cannot get as close to the water where the best foregrounds are. Bigger waves can be quite unpredictable, and unless you want to get a soaking, sometimes that really cool foreground element might have to be conceded.
I had been very excited to visit this cove at first light when the tide was high. I had consulted the tide charts, the weather channel, and the astronomical data, so I knew that sunrise was going to coincide perfectly with some wispy clouds (perfect!) and high tide (perfect!). Or so I thought.
To add a little depth to my photographs, in many cases I try to include an interesting foreground element. However, as I framed a few compositions up on this particular morning, I soon realized that the high tide was actually going to hinder me from getting to where the good stuff was. As always, I studied the pattern of the waves to make sure I wouldn’t be surprised by that bigger wave which would roll in every few minutes, and as much as I wanted to edge closer to the surf to include a more dramatic foreground, I just didn’t trust the tide.
So… added drama from high tide at sunrise? Yes. But that same high tide made getting closer to foreground elements virtually impossible. Like I said… a double-edged sword.