Flood

Two photos from a morning visit to La Jolla’s Hospital Point with my friend Joe. The tide was coming in and wave after wave washed a little bit higher over the tide pools.

While I was still “warming up” to get in touch with the surroundings (“the zone” or whatever you want to call it) one of the waves caught me by surprise a little bit. Thankfully, the ocean was still relatively warm. Also, I should remember to bring an extra pair of shoes and socks – the wet sneakers were a bit unpleasant when we had breakfast, later. :)

Photographically, it was an exercise in timing and awareness. The frequency of the waves was rather low – at the exposure times I prefer for seascapes right now it often didn’t look too good, with just one wave rising and breaking. The alternative would have been long exposures (one minute or more) but with an incoming tide, that can be a bit problematic. Salt water and camera gear shouldn’t be mixed too much.

I made over 20 photos, but only those two below work for me. Some days are just like this – I make plenty of photos, but somehow I already know that not many of them will work. So I keep trying. And in situations like these I’m certainly glad to be using a digital camera, but on the other hand I wonder if the “low cost” of releasing the shutter induces a certain sloppiness that just wouldn’t creep in if every “click” costed money – keeping me more focused and aware of my surroundings (and I don’t mean avoiding getting my feet wet of course;-).

Also, sometimes I find that all the conveniences of modern cameras and (zoom) lenses, that are supposed to make it easier to focus on the things that should really matter about a photograph, can actually be counterproductive. For example, I find it absolutely enjoyable to work in manual mode and with manual focus prime lenses. It seems to heighten my awareness – as if the effort I’m putting into getting the “basic stuff” right makes me more aware of the overall result that I want to achieve. And as a result, I pay more attention to – well, everything else as well. :)

Realizations from that morning: It’s the entire process that results in a fulfilling experience which leads to satisfying results, and making things easier doesn’t necessarily yield better results.

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2 Responses

  1. You always seem to find interesting colors or color combinations. As far as full manual goes; as soon as the ND goes on so does manual mode. Other than that, not so much.

  2. I wonder about the same things. Even though I have only shot digital (other than cheap instamatics way back when), I know there is an inherent sloppiness with digital. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE digital – the convenience, the ability to instantly get an idea of how you’re doing, not having to wait for prints, etc. Still, I think about someone like Ansel Adams lugging around a huge camera and heavy tripod to get 5 or 6 plates in a day. You’d have to really consider before hitting the shutter. I also love zooms, but have just recently been taking walks sometimes with just a Nikkor 35mm, as a form of discipline.

    Nice, thoughtful post – and you didn’t come home empty. That’s always good. :)

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