Library of Inspiration

For The Love of Light

From sunrise, sunset to golden hour, the position of the sun can drastically transform a scene. When the blue skies turn a fiery red, Jitawat Chanpraneet is sure to be camera ready and by the coast to catch a glimpse. Having fallen in love with this scenery from the very beginning, he continues to photograph the sea, sun and waves, with all their magic playing off one another.

Sunlight has become a crucial part of his work, whether its location scouting, figuring out the best time of day or determining the strength of the waves to wade out into the perfect shot, it is all encompassing.

“I remember my professor teaching us that light is always more important that colour. Light is created by nature and is indefinable, whilst colour can be manipulated.”

Perhaps this is why he finds dusk and dawn the most captivating times of day; 15 minutes pass and the sky is never the same that day again, it is transformed in its brilliance and hues.

Every time Jitawat takes in image, he consciously divides the scene into three sections; the foreground, the subject and the background. Some scenes do not require all three, but this helps him determine the lighting before him as well as tackling composition.

“I like to show the greatness of the waves, for this I use aperture f/8 up to f/11. I usually test this out a few times as sometimes I want a quieter image so I adjust the shutter speed in accordance, allowing the waves to either have a strong presence or be quieter. Next, a focus on elements like stones, I like to have the light hitting these as it give my images a 3 dimensional feel. Lastly, my most important rule is to make sure the horizon line is aligned, no tilting!”

When it comes to shooting in low-light conditions, he will always use a long shutter speed to get the lighting exactly right. A tripod is a must to stabilize the image and this means he doesn’t have to have a higher ISO, as if it is too high there may be noise in the image.

His favourite image is titled ‘Crazy wave, Crazy sky & Sleep stone’; the image depicts the waves thrashing through a bed of rocks whilst an orange blaze rips through the sky.

“I shot this at Laem Sai, it is a group of rocks commonly used by fisherman to perch on. As it is a high point that is surrounded by deep sea, there are no sandy beaches nearby, thus the waves can be quite dangerous, especially in monsoon season!

“Despite this, the images you can get out there are just outrageous! There are strange sharp rocks surrounding you, the great sea pounding and you can feel the energy of the sun with all its power.”

Its locations like this that Jitawat’s pre-photography prep is important, before each session he always checks the tide levels, once he has walked out into the midst of the ocean he must set aside time to walk back to avoid getting submerged in waves. A solid pair of shoes is also an integral part of his gear, no risk of slipping for him or his gear.

Whilst shooting, he uses live view to arrange his compositions, but also keeps his eye on the waves. “After one wave has come by, you must always remember the next will be stronger! Focusing on the viewfinder won’t do, always look up to check.”

In addition to his D5200, AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens and tripod, he makes sure to have his GND (Graduated Neutral Density) filter, which helps his balance light intensity in high contrast sceneries. He stresses that your equipment should never dictate your abilities to shoot, whilst he uses a lens with wide angle capabilities to capture sprawling views, any lens or camera is a good starting point.

With the skies painting a new scene day and night, Jitawat has plenty more seascapes to capture. Describing these moments as ‘the most beautiful time of day’, he is not only drawn to natures charm for its colour but because he says it reminds him that he is human, and this fact alone has motivated him to share these illustrious landscapes with the world.

About Jitawat

Jitawat Chanpraneet is a 23-year-old student living in Phuket. Pulled to the seaside, sunrise or sunset he is drawn to the coastline. After receiving a Nikon D5200 from his father, he joined a photography group to hone in on his skills. Photography has now empowered him to adventure on and gives him the opportunity to share his knowledge with other, which brings him as much joy as when he is shooting.