And the sabbath rang slowly In the pebbles of the holy streams. Fern Hill
I’m finally finishing up Lightroom work for my trip to Carmel and Big Sur. These were’t part of the photo tour, just stuff I discovered when I returned to shoot locations we had covered on the tour (or with the Carmel Beach images, the beach just down from my little hotel).
The misty morning thing is what Carmel seems to wake up to most mornings.
Even into late June, the mist gets thick on Carmel mornings. And like the Lovers Beach shoot, the mist adds an almost primal element, a sense of life being reborn.
Dylan Thomas’ Fern Hill captures the feeling best:
And as I was green and carefree,
…In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,…
And nothing is as joyful as a golden retriever following the call of DNA.
I darkened the edges of this to pull out the deeper shape.
One final image from Pacific Grove, taken in the late morning light.
I set shutter speed a bit low for this one, 1/50, so I could get some wave motion blur. Somehow that gives the scene a more visceral edge. Slowing the waves down more seemed too much, pulling focus from the rest of the scene.
Each time you take your camera to a spot, you look at that place with certain conscious (or unconscious) goals. You want to show what a place looks like, show the folks back home where you visited, or maybe trying to collect a few artful images. For this visit to Pacific Grove, my goal was to photograph the life of this place in an almost stream of consciousness mode, a kind of improv on one spot from multiple points of view.
During the previous days I had been doing a photo tour of the Monterey Peninsula with a bunch of other photo enthusiasts. At those locations, we had been fairly rigorous: bringing tripod, cable release and a range of lenses, weighing what worked and what didn’t. Mark Common, our leader, encouraged the group to look for unique image possibilities and follow composition best practices.
So with the class over, I wanted to keep that kind of rigor but work more on-the-fly without the tripod to slow things down. So for the next hour or so, I tried to keep one eye on good composition and the other on capturing the spontaneous moments of this popular beach in Pacific Grove.
The mistiness of the beach got me thinking of how the rocks and sea worked as abstraction, like a Zen garden in water.
Capturing a seagull at just the right moment is pure chance. But taking a lot of shots helps to even the odds.
Juxtaposing two design elements creates abstraction. The curvature of this wall gets emphasized when I went wide angle.
The wall creates two design planes.
Improv with People
Adding people to the mix still requires an awareness of abstract composition. But people also have a habit of engaging with each other in ways that are telling. So I try to use layout to tell the story.
Being girls and boys
Two kids enjoying the water in very different ways.
A young scientist
Something about this woman looking out at the swimmers appealed to me.
Mother and child, two friends on a wall, smiling for the camera, composition as relationship.
After over an hour I had 300+ shots, an improv on the life of a beach. It was a fun exercise, part landscape, part street photography. Kinda like real life.