I think everyone must experience the same thing. When you go to a place for the first time there are the obvious photographs that you have to take. With time however, either in the span of a single shoot or several shoots digging deeper to find the images that are truly a unique expression of our voice is surely what we should be striving for.
I have photographed intensively at the same location for at least a year now. I keep surprising myself in that I can generate new images when I give myself the chance. Returning to the same place in different weather, different times of day, different times of year more or less guarantees that you’ll have photographs that are different from one another even if they contain the same recognizable elements.
What I’m finding is that returning to the same place time and time again, I have to get out of the way to make new photographs. I have to drop the preconceived notions of what I’m going to find and of what I’m going to shoot. When I let these all go and be open to what’s there and what catches my interest then I’m able to make something different to the time before and the time before that.
For me being open and receptive can be touch to attain some days others I’m there almost immediately. It means slowing down. It means take time to wander around and look to get a sense of the place before getting out the camera. And then spending time with the camera off the tripod exploring options before locking into any one thing.
I suspect that the process will be different for everyone but the goal should be to slow down sufficiently so that you really see the options available. I’d be interested in hearing how you go beyond the obvious.
Increasing I find that while I’m happy to get up for the sunrise, I’m often less than pleased with the results. The vibrant colors that come with the early morning sunrise are increasing dissatisfying. While I can’t quite put my finger on why, purple bugs me the most. While I deal with my issues with purple, the most ‘European’ of colors, I’m trying out many of my images in black and white to see whether they can stand up on there own. I’m not totally sold on this solution but I’d be interested in your opinion of the black and white image above with the color ‘before’ image below.
I’ve been returning to the same stretch of coastline for the best part of year now, while I continue to enjoy my early morning jaunts, one of my friends suggested that I’ve gotten stuck in a rut. I would argue against that, I am after all making photographs that I particularly enjoy and I don’t feel as though I’m repeating myself. Yet, the rocks are becoming awfully familiar.
So are we all done here? That was the question that was going through my the morning that I made the photo above. It was already much lighter than I like for my photographs but the line of the rock caught my eye and I stuck around to make a few frames.
After spending time at Lucy Vincent Beach, other Martha’s Vineyard beaches pale by comparison. That’s not to say that there are interesting images to be had here. I decided to forgo the bandstand in Ocean Park and headed down to the beach. There were a couple of piles of rocks and old pilings at the waters edge that caught my attention. The image above was one of the more successful images.
I’m on Martha’s Vineyard this week to attend Alison Shaw’s photography workshop. The weather has been good but we’ve lacked the spectacular sunrises and sunsets so far his week. One of the things that going out regardless of the weather is that it pushes you to go beyond the bounds of what you might think are conditions needed for great photographs. I’ve bumped up against this a couple of times already this year and again for our evening at Lucy Vincent beach. There was a decent amount of cloud cover and it got foggy as the evening wore on. The image below was my favorite from the ones that I’ve reviewed so far.
Often when we are looking at the charts of both familiar and new sailing waters we see areas marked off as ‘fish traps’ – no go areas during particular times of the year. In our home waters of Narragansett Bay I have yet to see any evidence of the fish traps but nevertheless we stay well clear just in case. In the bays towards the end of Long Island however it’s a very different story. Nets strung out between poles like the one above are a common sight. I have yet to work out what kind of fish these nets are intended to catch or in fact to ever see anyone paying any amount of interest in them but they are a dominant sight just of the beach where we take the kids swimming. If you know more I’d be delighted to hear about it.
Normally the presence of water makes things rusty. For me, quite the opposite is true. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get out with the camera in any serious way and I really felt it this last weekend. I was surprised that it took me one session to get back into a rhythm. I sometimes feel like this even when I have been shooting regularly – the first 15 – 20 minutes are essentially me stretching and warming-up so that I can work towards the image that I have in mind. If anyone has good ideas for a series of ‘stretches’ to make that first few moments on location more productive I’d be happy to hear them.
Fortunately the weather held out while I was at the beach which meant that I was able to get a few sessions in and came away with at least one image I was happy with.
I’m getting ready to head off for a long weekend at the beach again. It feels like one last summer adventure before Autumn gets her grips into us. I’m hoping for clear skies so that I can work more on my project capturing still things such as rocks in moving water like the image above. This image was taken at the beach earlier in the summer during a longer stay that I had. I got up early many mornings, taking full advantage of the fact that since I was only moments away from the beach I could get precious extra minutes in bed. I generally like to arrive well before sunrise and generally shoot until sunrise. I like the amount and quality of the pre-dawn light which allows me to easily blur the water as I did here. This morning I once again learned the lesson that you need to be very careful when shooting around water – a rogue wave soaked me to the skin, fortunately I got my camera safely out of the water, and though I was a little shaken up I continued on shooting to get the image above.
I have had a lot of fun so far this year looking for ways that I can bring a sense of motion into my photographs. To do that I have been experimenting with moving the camera. One series of experiments involved panning with a slow shutter speed, both vertically and horizontally, a variety of different subjects. Some of the results I quite liked and I will continue on with those ideas. On the day I took the photograph above I was headed back to the car after a morning shoot. Although I wasn’t ready to be done, the sun was too bright for the kind of photographs that I prefer. As I walked back down the road I noticed a patch of rocks that had interesting colors. The straight shots I made were okay, but wanting something different I tried both panning the camera and rotating the camera. The result of rotating the camera is shown above.
For photography, perhaps more than anything thing else I’m involved in, having a group of people who can give you solid feedback when you ask for it, applaud when you’ve done well, and give you a kick in the pants from time to time is absolutely critical. These need not be accomplished photographers themselves but people who are going to give you a relatively unbiased opinion, who want to help you succeed and will hold you accountable. To those people in my life thank you!