Low Tide Photography

Joined
May 1, 2005
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4,488
Location
Seattle WA, USA
The main thrust of this post is an attempt to get some help at figuring out when the next low tide is going to be.

I went to the NOAA site but couldn't figure out how to read their graphs and whathaveyou.

Any chance anyone can help me figure out when the next low tide for the pacific northwest is going to occur? I'm anxious to get down and shoot some tide pools.

Also - any experienced tide pool shooter ever have any issues with gear in the salty environment where they occur? Thanks
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2007
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2,192
Location
East of Everett Washington USA
We've got some big exchanges going right now for the next four days.

Today is a - 3.3 at approx 11am
then -3.8 for the next two days an hour later each day
and then -3.4 at 12:30 on July 4th.

Those are Everett tides so adjust for you location but it won't vary so much as to matter.
 
Joined
May 1, 2005
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Seattle WA, USA
Thanks, Ron. Yesterday, by 2pm, it was as high as high could be. No beach or tide pools at all. So when I checked today and it said it'd be low at around 11am or so I was a little stumped. For some reason I though tides worked on about a 24 hour cycle.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2007
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East of Everett Washington USA
Thanks, Ron. Yesterday, by 2pm, it was as high as high could be. No beach or tide pools at all. So when I checked today and it said it'd be low at around 11am or so I was a little stumped. For some reason I though tides worked on about a 24 hour cycle.
The tides do work on a cycle but it isn't as simple as that. There will generally be two low and two high tides per day... but... they also vary on a monthly as well as annual basis too... and the highs and lows shift forward roughly 50 minutes to an hour per day... very roughly.

During the month we will have two Neap tides and two Spring tides.

A Neap tide is when the Sun and the moon are at right angles to each other respective to the Earth. The gravitational pull is moderated by this and thus the Neap tides are a more regularly shaped sine wave when graphed. They won't be extremely high or low.

Spring tides (not to be confused with the season) are those times when the Sun and the moon are either opposed or aligned and the gravitational pull is somewhat amplified. This has the effect of making the high tides higher and one of the low tides lower. The other low tide sits in the saddle between the two extremely high tides and the graph looks like a camel's double hump.

As for the annual variation, twice a year the Earth is on either side of the Sun and twice per year it is as far as it gets or as close as it gets.

The effect of this is that Spring tides in the Summer and Winter can produce some of the largest swing values.

Of interest to scuba divers is the sweet spot between the camel humps during the Spring and Fall... during those times when it happens during daylight hours... you can dive places like this:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Joined
May 1, 2005
Messages
4,488
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Seattle WA, USA
Great shot of deception pass. Thanks for the interesting info as well. I used to go clam digging with my grandfather and he always knew when the low tides were.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
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11,954
Location
Central Georgia, USA
"Spring tides (not to be confused with the season) are those times when the Sun and the moon are either opposed or aligned and the gravitational pull is somewhat amplified. This has the effect of making the high tides higher and one of the low tides lower. The other low tide sits in the saddle between the two extremely high tides and the graph looks like a camel's double hump."

Thanks Ron for your clear explanation. I had a general understanding of such, but it is a good bit clearer now.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
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35,180
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Chris
Here is a graphical tide chart. Up is high, down is low. I don't know where exactly you live - this is for Echo Bay, but you can set it to a different location, or just about every other parameter. On the other hand, if you don't want to set it, just enter the date in the place to do so and click the Prediction button.

In Encinitas, CA, they sell a very pretty calendar book that has all the local tide. They probably make one in your area too. I got it at a 'hippy healing' kind of shop called Environ Gentle.
 
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