In Plain Light 11.17 – The Sea Issue:
Fine Art Seascape Photography

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whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul… — then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Well, it is a damp, drizzly November where I write this, so it seems about time to join me to the sea!

10 art seascapes to make you dream

A seascape is a landscape, just not on the land. "A picture of the sea", clarifies the dictionary.

As such, it is often devoid of the variety of colours and features we associate with an attractive landscape image. The more so, the further offshore it is taken.

This doesn't have to be a disadvantage. The open sea is a fascinating subject, notably in panoramic, where the elements rule the world and the viewer gets embraced by the expanse of the negative space.

Follow me to explore some beautiful seascapes across the Arctic and find the inspiration for your own creative ideas!

Where in the world…
(two locations are within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago—drag the map to the northwest)

Be sure to click the Slideshow button on your left to open the images in a full-screen gallery.

Calm infinity

The opening image is a perfect example of an art seascape with just space as its subject.

You could argue that the image lacks the subject and is rather about nothing. Perhaps you are right, on the face of it. But look a bit longer, and you'll discover a powerful and highly emotional display which is truly captivating.

Lay your eyes upon it for a moment—and it will be hard to take them off. The fine tone gradations lead your sight right to the line where the sky and the sea meet, and beyond. The image speaks of calmness, and you can hear and smell the breath of the ocean.

A dedicated page for this art seascape is now available.

Under the iron sea

Though similar in its subject – the void – to the first image, the emotion here is very different. With the sky taking up most of the view, it is easy to fall for the illusion of the picture being turned upside down.

The longer you look at it, the more overwhelming is the feeling. After a while, you can see movement of water in the skies, which seem so much heavier than the smooth sea underneath.

Wing of prey

Steel • East of Spitsbergen

Seemingly the same composition – and the same nothingness – but a completely different effect. The sky is now unmistakably in the right place, and its clouds form a giant wing covering, hiding the sun like in an imminent threat.

The Phantom Menace would be a fitting title ;-)

Something blue

Blue expanse • Off the coast of North Norway

This very peaceful image was captured in the Barents Sea, on a very cold day in late June. It is late evening under the midnight sun, the ship skimming the farthest northern coast of Norway.

The title is a reminiscence of a masterpiece by Russian symbolist artist Arkady Rylov—his painting is also known under the title In the Blue Expanse.

Flying pieces

Exploding sky • Off the coast of Northeast Greenland

Taken under harsher lighting and windchill conditions, this is a very dramatic, in-your-face image. The wide-angle lens creates an illusion of clouds and ice dispersing from the centre in the direction of corners, as if in an explosion. You could swear the horizon is bending upwards.

Deep purple

No sunset • Midnight sun off the coast of North Norway

The same pattern as in Overcast, and just an evening earlier than Blue expanse, with unbelievable colours. The fishing boat and the seagulls add to the sensation, which otherwise would be rather bland.

Through the looking-glass

This is an image which I am quite proud of. The striking backlit scene is decently exposed, and its simple composition does the rest—or vice versa. The sky looks like the mirror image of the sea, the latter being like a mirror itself. Its smooth surface is only disturbed by boat motors, and their traces resemble the clouds above. The wide-angle point of view makes the ship shrink in the vast, unobstructed space.

Heavy metal

Our polar regions are blessed with the most beautiful light I ever witnessed. This image, in no way manipulated, was taken a mere couple of hours into the cruise around Spitsbergen. I ended up with 15 film rolls in as many days, for me an incredible output.


This serene seascape, rendered in toned black and white, is extremely rewarding. Divided in two by the horizon, with the wake to the left and scarce clouds and their reflections on the opposite side, it oozes with balance and assuredness.


Last light • Off Snæfellsnes peninsula, West Iceland

This is a very unusual image in my body of work, and I don't show it very often. I think the colours are a bit too extreme, especially if you consider where this seascape comes from. I wonder how it turned out that sharp, in the dwindling light. Luck?

One does not paint a landscape, a seascape, a figure. One paints an impression of an hour of the day.

Edouard Manet, French impressionist

One photographs that, too.

Tags: #inplainlight #amazingplaces #escapeart

J.'s World
Visit my online gallery with many more images, art seascapes and landscapes, from these journeys and others as well.
Own a print!
Have you been good? Treat yourself and your loved ones to a special gift! Pick your favourite image and design your very personal fine art edition, with a selection of framing options and free size choice. A hint: some of the images presented here are also available. Click on their previews on this page to be forwarded to the order form.

Previous issue

10.17 – The privacy issue: Online security and Internet privacy
Being connected can have its downsides, too. The more time we spend online, the more tracks we leave there. These are being collected and evaluated to tell things about us which we wouldn't want to disclose. Be aware.

Following issue

12.17 – The winter issue: Winter landscape photography
"Winter landscape" may not sound as exciting as, say, "summer beach", not to everybody, for sure. But if it does to you, there is much to discover outdoors in this time of the year, too. Dress warmly and come on outside!

Other photography tips

Landscape photography composition tips
Your mastery of photography composition is what ultimately makes your images. Read here how to excel at it in order to engage your viewers!
Black & white landscape photography
Black-and-white photography is very much alive, and landscapes in black and white still look as stunning as in Ansel Adams's day. Be sure to check the article if you'd like to try your hand at this classic and fascinating technique.
Landscape photography equipment essentials
Looking for a new camera or another piece of gear? Find answers to your questions, along with some advice and recommendations!
Fine art photography prints
And now for something completely different… My thoughts and advice on choosing and using fine art photography prints.
How to photograph waterfalls
If your waterfall images are not up to the expectations of your friends, nor to your own satisfaction, try these easy to follow tips to make them shine!
Marketing fine art photography
This newsletter issue is about creating your brand and marketing your work, told by those who've been there and done exactly that.
What is legal to photograph outdoors
Ever thought about copyright laws having two sides? Your photography can violate them, too. Be sure to know what to photograph, where without getting into trouble.
How to use Photoshop
In a dedicated newsletter issue, join me as I show how I use Photoshop to edit my images, and learn some funny facts about the application while at it.
Wildlife photography tips
No purchase necessary: Learn how to photograph wildlife for best possible results with your usual equipment.
Art seascapes
As November closes in, we take Ishmael's, of Moby Dick, advice and get to sea as soon as we can, led by some highly inspirational examples.
Winter landscape photography tips
"Winter landscape" may not sound as exciting as, say, "summer beach", not to everybody, for sure. But if it does to you, there is much to discover outdoors in this time of the year, too. Dress warmly and come on outside!
Best Adobe Photoshop tips
We recall some Photoshop basics, like layers, and proceed with more advanced topics, like masks, selective channel editing, converting colour to black and white, and output sharpening.
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