I recently read two articles on photography about the benefits of staying local, and learning to look to find depth and meaning in your surroundings. I think the point was that without searching out distant and exotic locations, you can still find something unique and meaningful in your back yard. I am also working my way through "Looking at the Overlooked" an excellent treatise on still life painting. All this has encouraged me to go back to sites I have photographed before and spend more time exploring and looking. It is amazing the world that open up if you take the time to be patient, and see what is there. Here are two images from a second visit to a local wonder. It is only a 10 minute drive from the house; the hike down into the area is unfortunately a trying 45 minutes. Then the climb back up!! As I told my photo buddy Brad, it was definitely a two beer day.
I have been searching for this image for some time now. Along the coast there are many logs strewn across the beach, especially after a winter storm or if a barge has broken up in the strong waves we get in the strait. I happened by chance on this one day not far from our house. I was happy with the image but it took some time to figure out why I was looking for this image.
In processing the image, I really wanted to keep the distant beacon in the image, and I especially wanted the far off mountains as part of the image. I just knew they had to be part of the final image.
This particular image appealed to a lot of people when I put it up on social media and shared with friends. Actually I was surprised how many people responded to this image; more than I expected because I thought I was making one of my quaint/oddball images that appealed to me and did not really expect it to resonate with others. I was not trying to create a "popular" image which can be a good safe image if you want "likes"" on that website we all hate but can't wait to check.
It is like the log is looking for something, it is searching for something elusive far off on the horizon. It occurred to me that many of us, regardless of what stage of life we are at, spend our time searching for something to give meaning to things. We strive to find something just beyond our reach to explain or make sense of our life. This feeling is especially strong this past year. We have had to re-assess what is important, what we can let go without affecting our life, and we are gaining a new appreciation of what little we need to be happy. All those things we thought were important just don't seem to matter. (That definitely does not apply to any new camera equipment!! Let's be real.)
I hope you will enjoy this image.
I would love to hear your thoughts if you care to post a comment.
Recently I was asked how I got the gull to sit still long enough for me to take the 4 minute exposure used in this image.
Long exposure photography requires patience. If you do not have it, you must learn it. If that fails, take up something else.
With patience, you start to observe your surroundings. Over time, and much practice, you may learn something interesting about your natural surroundings. After a lot of images, and lots of time spent along the shore, at marshes, and in really bad weather, I noticed one day that birds seem to settle on a rock or outcrop, on in this case a piling at certain times. When there is change in the weather (either a storm coming in or ending for example) the birds tended to settle down. So I started to try my luck, and use my patience.
The virtue of patience is not a new revelation; it just took me a while to see it and apply it to my photography.
Long exposure photography captures people's imagination as it reveals the hidden aspects of our surroundings; it captures the effect of time. It also reveals something of the photographer to him/herself. Patience and time seem to go together in revealing the hidden.
Patience, especially during these strange times, is very important.
We are very fortunate on the Island being so close to wilderness. On a clear Sunday morning I went for a 30 minute hike with photo buddy Brad Powell of www.bpfoto.ca to take some images of Ammonite Falls. Brad knows a special route in - we met only 3 others on the trail. This is a magical valley surrounding Benson Creek as it flows from Mt. Benson towards the ocean. We definitely plan to do a full day trip back into the area when the light is better and the fall rains begin to swell the creeks. Here are a couple of recent images from my first trip to the falls.