Photographing waves on the beach

Waves on the beach Mallorca

In March 2014 a trip took me to the island of Mallorca. It was a photo tour I took with a dear friend to photograph the island in its beauty. At the beach of Port de Valldemossa and at Playa Es Trenc we concentrated on the waves on the beach. How we proceeded photographically, I describe in this article.

Waves on the beach – Meditation for beginners?

When we landed in Mallorca, a storm raged, which caused the machine to wobble properly during landing. I'm not the type to applaud in a scheduled plane, but in this case it was appropriate. The pilot brought the plane down safely and did not have to dodge to Barcelona or Valencia as announced. We could still feel the effects of the storm both in Port de Valldemossa and at Playa Es Trenc. The sea was still churning up in the coming days and the waves came ashore with great force. Perfect conditions to photograph the waves on the beach. While the camera was doing its work, I had time for a short video. If you do not hear any other ambient noises and are alone with yourself and the waves, the steady sound of the waves, the cool, humid and salty air has something meditative about it. In these moments I was able to relax really deeply.

Waves on the beach – splash or motion blur?

There are two ways to photograph waves on the beach. I have implemented both possibilities in order to have the choice afterwards. The main focus is on the exposure time – of course paired with aperture and ISO.


Splash means that you pick up the wave when it hits the coast and wash around the cliffs with a lot of noise. The aim is for individual drops to be clearly visible. For this I looked for different places where I have a good view of the sea, can see a cliff well and thus also create a beautiful motif. Both on the beach of Es Trenc and on the beach of Port de Valldemossa I found suitable spots. The camera can be kept free, because exposure times of less than 1/1000 seconds (better 1/2000 or 1/4000) allow this. Even exposure times of 1/200 and 1/400 make the splash very clear. However, the – from my point of view – best picture I managed to get in Port de Valldemossa.

Motion Blur

Motion blur or motion blur can also be generated very well during the day. I used a gray filter (ND1000) and mounted the camera on a tripod. With an aperture of f/8.0 and ISO 100 I could achieve exposure times of 10 seconds! on the Mediterranean in March at 13:30. As a result, you can only see a fog where otherwise water flows and waves arrive on the beach. The editing was then "only" done with Adobe Lightroom. After I significantly increased the dynamics of the colors and adjusted the white balance, quite lame RAW images became these from my point of view respectable images. One of them hangs in my living room and reminds me again and again of this great trip. If you like the pictures, let me know or show others the pictures. THANK YOU 🙂

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