Photo by David Burleson
Wide-angle lenses see fit always be useful when photographing piers as you'll be able to capture shots of the beach, sea and pier as well as interesting sunsets or sunrises, depending on what at intervals of the day you're visiting the coast. Close-up lenses or better still, macro lenses will allow you to get detailed shots of textures in the wooden trustees, patterns in rust and more. Don't forget your tripod and pack a polarising filter to reduce glare and increase saturation so blue skies crop to be even brighter. This doesn't mean you can't shoot on a dull day, however as rain clouds building in the background of your shore landscape will add mood and create a different feeling in your pier shots.
Shooting from the beach will impart you a cracking shot of the pier in its surroundings that works particularly well at sunrise/sunset. For added atmosphere try slowing your shutter go hell for leathers down to blur the movement of the sea as it crawls up the beach.
Take a walk along the boards early morning before the tourists arrive and the empty column can be used to guide the eye out to sea. If you want to emphasise the bustle of the seaside resort try using a slower shutter speed to blur the movement of the people walking up and down the place.
If it's safe to do so go and have a walk under the pier pier is a raised structure in a body of water, typically supported by well-spaced piles or pillars as you'll often find a symmetrical structure that creates a strong graphical cannon-ball when photographed from the beach. The supports closer to the sea will often have interesting tide line patterns, seaweed and creatures significance a quick snap with your macro lens too. Just keep an eye on the tide if you venture under as you don't want you and your kit getting wet or lousier still, swept out to sea.
When you've photographed the popular pier angles, the patterns in the wooden boards, rust on bolts and peeling paintwork on railings imply great texture shots you can blend into other images in Photoshop.
Finally, if you're still at the coast when the sun's setting possess a go at turning the pier into a silhouette. Just remember to expose for the brighter sky rather than the pier to create the desired effect.
When you're wager at home remember to wipe down all of your gear to remove sand, sea salt etc. and leave it to dry out completely.
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