Capturing Memories, Not Catastrophes: Shore Safety. Photography & Text by Keith R Wahl

December 08, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Capturing Memories, Not Catastrophes: A Photographer's Guide to Shore Safety

The salty air fills your lungs, the sun warms your skin, and the crashing waves sing their siren song. The shore holds a beauty that captivates photographers and shore-goers alike. However, as someone who has spent a lifetime navigating its currents and witnessing its dangers, I urge you to remember: the shore is not always a playground. I wrote this for photographers, but there is something for everyone here (after all, everyone carries a camera with them these days).

Arthur At Black Point

ArthuratBlackPoint_20200520_D56_0257Arthur At Black PointArthur at Black Point. Tropical Storm Arthur is the first named storm of 2020 Hurricane Season; though hundreds of miles offshore, it brings its drama to the shores of Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Every year, tragedies unfold at iconic spots like Warwick's Conimicut Point and Narragansett's Hazard Avenue, especially during the holiday season. As a photographer, I find myself drawn to these same locations, but I do so with an understanding of the potential hazards and a commitment to safety.

Here are some tips to ensure your shore photography adventures are filled with stunning memories, not heartbreaking headlines:

The Wave

TheWave_20200307_D56_0188EThe WaveThis is what swells become as they peak up in the winds offshore and roll in to meet the shore. At Narragansett Beach, Narragansett, Rhode Island

Know Before You Go:

  • Tides and currents: Research tide charts and be aware of rip currents. Never enter the water during high tide or when rip currents are strong.
  • Weather conditions: Check the forecast and be prepared for sudden changes. Avoid the shore during storms or strong winds.
  • Location hazards: Be aware of slippery rocks, uneven terrain, and potential hazards like underwater debris.

Gear Up Wisely:

  • Waterproof bag: Keep your camera and equipment safe from water, sand, and dust.
  • Tripod: Use a sturdy tripod to ensure stability and prevent your gear from falling on uneven surfaces.
  • Lens filters: Invest in a UV filter to protect your lens from saltwater spray and sand.
  • Extra batteries and memory cards: Pack backups in case your gear malfunctions.

Embrace Safety First:

  • Never turn your back on the ocean: Always be aware of your surroundings and the changing conditions.
  • Supervise children closely: Never allow children to play near the water unsupervised.
  • Respect the power of the waves: Do not underestimate the force of the waves, especially during storms or high tide.
  • Have an escape plan: Know how you will get out of the water quickly if needed.
  • Don't be afraid to turn back: If you feel unsafe, do not hesitate to leave the area.

Photography with Responsibility:

  • Respect wildlife: Do not disturb or chase animals. Use telephoto lenses to capture wildlife from a distance.
  • Be mindful of others: Avoid blocking others' views or interfering with their enjoyment of the shore.
  • Leave no trace: Dispose of your trash properly and leave the shore as beautiful as you found it.

Remember, the most important photograph is one that captures your memories, not your last moments. By approaching shore photography with respect, awareness, and a commitment to safety, you can ensure that your passion for capturing the coastal beauty doesn't lead to tragedy.

Let's create stunning memories at the shore, not stories of pain.

The Way of the Surf

The Way of the Surf 20230402 850_7612The Way of the SurfA clam on East Matunuck State Beach as the surf approachs and engulfs the bivalve

Made From RI Gallery is a Rhode Island based artistic endeavor of Made From RI uplifting Rhode Island with the original Photopoetry (Photography and Poetry) of Keith R Wahl

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