I often get asked about how I choose what location to shoot in and why. The truth is, I rely on some great photography tools. Firstly, choosing what location to shoot, Google Earth is key, I spend hours searching up and down coastlines for locations that look good, and then I’ll go and check out the location through the day time, when I have time, and if they work, I’ll then go onto The Photographers Ephemeris, this lets you plot when and where the sun will rise or set and how the light will fall across the sea and land. Obviously being by the sea, I always check tide times, I use The Beach Guide online rather than any apps, as it gives a more accurate time for the location you want. I find tide apps only give you the closest station, which sometimes can be miles away, and with the sea you can never be too careful. The last thing you want is to be cut off by an incoming tide.
I generally prefer to head out either on a high tide or a couple of hours either side, as I find on the north-east coast at low tide the area can be quite messy with seaweed on the rocks, and I much prefer a clean composition. Although certain locations do work at low tide, I find on a high tide there’s more water movement to play with, and this is where you can experiment with shutter speed. I’ve shot anything from 11 minute long exposures at 16mm, to 1/1000th at 400mm.