Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Studying video clips for seascape

Here is an easy way to study wave action in your studio. If you are trying to paint seascape, I suggest you try capturing some little clips of wave action with your digital camera. I have wanted to do this for years, but in the olden days that meant taking a video camera down into the surf and the resulting product was clunky and hard to replay a short portion in an endless loop. Tape was clumsy, but the little clips my digital camera shoots, when viewed on my computer are easy to make, and easy to cycle through their action. I can get a real look at something that used to go by so quickly I felt that I had never really seen it.

Still photos are OK, but this is much better. If you keep clicking behind the moving counter on the clips you can run the wave again and again

I have been running little videos like these over and over. My simple Windows picture viewer will allow me to run part of a clip repeatedly so I can analyze the wave carefully. I shot this with a cheap little Sony Cybershot camera that my wife got a deal on because it was an unfortunate biological pink.

I like how low tech this all is, the camera cost less than a weekend of binge drinking and my simple Toshiba laptop cost me less than an OUI. The viewer I am using came free with the operating system and I didn't have to read a manual to figure it out. I don't read manuals.

The wave breaks into the picture and its back is rising up as the force carries it forward, under all of that foam, unseen, the back of the wave passes the front wall and the whole thing collapses like a lead trapdoor. That crushes all of the foam beneath it and smashes the front of the breaker forward against the rocks. This video shows well the tremendous weight of all that water.In painting seascape getting that power and weight is essential.

Below is another one, but this time I got wet. Frederick Waugh would have been very jealous of this setup. The wave below looks like a Waugh painting in motion.


Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Don't get too close to the edge of those rocks, Stape! Tourists on Schoodic Point (near Bar Harbor) have been washed out to sea by the occasional rogue wave. I wonder if we've lost any plein air painters that way?

willek said...

There is no doubt to me that a moving image of a sea view is more meaningful to a painter than a still one. I had read somewhere that some of the Rockport painters had used loops of 16mm film to do this. There must be a way to edit our digital shots into loops. Anyone know how?

Peggy Kingsbury said...

I live on the Texas Gulf Coast & we don't get waves on rocks. A recent trip to the CA central coast was thrilling. The power of the water & the tremendous sounds made painting there amazing! Near the end of the trip, I finally snapped & made a couple of digital videos. Sorry I didn't do more of it.

barbara b. land of boz said...

Great video, I wish I had thought of this when I was in the gulf. I will be in San Diego in August and try it then.

Love the resent posts on leaving a little of the story telling to the viewer. Just hope the viewer can figure out what I trying to say.
Thank You Stapleton, my cup of coffee always taste better with a little Stape in it!

Eugenia Wadsworth Martin said...

Thanks for the video. The sound is also amazing. I have only been as far as Virginia Beach and Gulf coast. Seeing the videos I can see how one can be seduced into painting them or wanting a painting of a seascape. Wow what must a storm look like with the waves crashing on those rocks.

billspaintingmn said...

That's power! It reminds me of that photo of Mahammid Ali punching this guy, they snapped the shot just at the right moment and you could feel the power.

Mary Byrom said...

Your pink camera has audio? What a deal that was. Where on the coast are these rocks?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I know about those tourists who got sucked in, but that was in a severe storm and they were where they should not have been. In fact they had ignored the warnings of the park rangers,

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think I heard about Strisik doing that!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I intend to do a lot more of it. I also am making a point of taking some time and just watching the surf and trying to remember what I see.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I wonder if they have rocks in San Diego? I like rocky bold oceanfront the best.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That was on an average day and not during a storm. An hour later the surf subsided,.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That was shot in the cove that is the entrance to Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park. That little cove is one of the best seascape setups I have ever seen. I intend to make a painting of it soon.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The enormous power of the water makes me glad I am on the rocks and not down in it floundering about.