As a self-confessed introvert’ being able to spend time in a coastal environment offers me the welcomed challenge to define line, shape and form out of an otherwise complicated environment. It is this emotional outlet and creative expression which has allowed me the opportunity to use the ocean as my canvass to not only paint my feelings but break away from the confinements of time superimposed by daily routines. Many of the pictures I make are of subjects that most people would simply walk past and yet are hugely exciting.
STONE GROUP, WAVES OF BLUE
Stone Pier, Storm Clouds
When I got out of bed this morning and headed out the door at 3:00 am I couldn't help but hope that I had correctly guessed the time it would take me to journey to Port Antonio to make the sunrise image I had preconceived in my mind all week. Had I made the drastic mistake of not navigating the distance and time according to Google Maps? Moreover would the weather conditions hold as indicated by my trusty weather app, 'Clear Outside'. As I turned the key in the ignition I looked across at my wife and gave her a smile and began our long journey. There's no way I was about to tell her I had not checked the distance. By the time the clock indicated it was 4:30 am we had just arrived at Hope Bay and it was at this point I realized how grave a mistake I had made. This was clearly more than an hour drive. There was absolutely no way we would reach our destination and frame a suitable composition to capture Sunrise at 5:55 am. Yet what could I do? There was no turning back. Onward and upward. At 6:00 we finally arrived at the location. We'd already missed first light. As I took my camera out of my bag I noticed that it was completely moist due to the sudden change in temp which simply meant I would have to wait an additional 10-15 minutes before turning it on regardless of the fact that both it and the lens attached were weather sealed. The last thing I wanted was to get moisture on the sensor. With not enough time to get picky I quickly framed up the simplest composition I could find which I must say was a total cliche, attached my filter holder with a 3 Stop hard edge ND Grad filter and a 10 Stop ND filter and pressed the shutter. The result is an image which is titled, "LANDING" and one I'm quite happy with. And although it certainly isn't going to win any awards the entire experience was quite enjoyable and one I'm happy to share.
When I arrived at this location to meet a group of photographers the Sun had already began to set over the horizon. There would be no time for any pleasantries today. Besides they had all already set up and probably all got wonderful images. Still I knew all was not lost the best light was yet to show itself and generally occurs 10 - 15 minutes after sunset. As I made my way towards the coastline I noticed another photographer who wasn't with our group had already set up by my go to composition which included three stones one of which I had myself placed in the water. "Damn those pesky fashion photographers" I thought to myself jokingly. Now what was I going to do? I picked up an old tree I had used in a previous composition and made my way further down the coastline. I had little time to set up before the last of the light was gone. I hurriedly set my tripod down, positioned my old tree in the scene, grabbed my camera out of the bag and dropped to my knees to compose the image excluding any distracting elements. It was now time to decide how best to shoot the scene. I know I would be using a 3 Stop Hard Edge ND Grad filter but would I use a 10 or 6 Stop ND filter to drag the shutter. A quick calculation revealed that a 10 Stop filter would require an exposure of 13 minutes which was sadly not possible with the rising tides which would soon result in my tree subject to motion blur. My 6 Stop filter however yielded an exposure of 1 minute 40 seconds which was more than enough to make an dramatic image by smoothing out the water and capture some movement in the clouds for an ethereal image. The result is an image titled, "Surreal Dulcedinem".
TEXTURE & RHYTHM
One of the many pleasures of landscape photography is adapting the sometimes adverse conditions mother nature throws at us. Yet, it’s not about trying to work against, but instead learning how to work with these conditions to see a new landscape and the opportunity to work within the texture and rhythm with the varying light.
The changing colors and falling leaves creates a constantly evolving landscape to work with filled with textures and colors. It is by becoming intimate with the landscape and simplifying the scene that allows me to use the elements at hand to create compelling compositions as the light patterns start to emerge.
I’ve always loved the structure of waterfalls and streams. Delicately shaped; their finely sculptured branches hanging out over soft stones offers well-balanced compositions that not only capture the atmosphere of a scene but shows them at their best.
One of the lures of landscape photography is pulling on my boots and hiking for a few hours into the majestic mountainous landscape. And yet while there are no guarantees for the right light and conditions - when everything comes together there’s is nothing quite like pointing my camera towards the mountains watching the mist gently sinking to the peaceful valleys below as the Sun paints the ridges with it’s golden light.
WOODLAND & TREES
Immersed in the changing colors and falling leaves as I often struggle with the challenge of deciding what to include and what to exclude from the overwhelming mass of different shapes, colors and textures. It is only by spending time walking around, taking in my surroundings, thinking, and searching for compositional elements such as repetition, or a series of straight trunks complemented by patches of complementary colours have I been able to create these images with a heightened sense of mood and mastery.