Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Published 7:10 PM by with 1 comment

Increasing the Odds of Serendipity

Sometimes people look at my photographs and say I was lucky to be there at that particular moment with that particular light. Maybe they are right.

I don't think that luck happens randomly. I tend to be out shooting quite a lot. I have studied weather and wildlife for many years so I can usually make an educated guess ahead of time what kinds of photographs I am going to shoot. Great moments happen every minute of every day but we are just not always present to them. Sometimes, because we are out there exploring our world, we are. 

Case in point: Linda and I were staying in Kelso, WA. We decided to drive to Seaside in Oregon for the day but when we got there, the fog was really thick. I am usually drawn to fog but this was just a flat soupy mess. We decided to continue on the seven miles to Cannon Beach, one of our favorite spots in the Northwest.

As The monolith known as Haystack made itself known when we came around a bend on Highway 101, I knew it was going to be a good day. A thick marine layer was on the beach and the giant rock's tip was peaking ominously out from the top. The sun tried to penetrate the misty air but with little success.

It was hard for me to resist shooting every few seconds. The fading silhouettes of beach walkers made the entire place feel mysterious. The stark contrast between the people and the foggy backdrop with faint outlines of the rocks made for perfect black and white fodder.

A family was sitting under this umbrella, taking photos of Haystack monolith. The sunlight made them stand out in an almost three dimensional way while the huge mass eerily loomed above.

A single form on the beach looks like he is about to be consumed by the marine fog. These conditions on the beach made it feel like people were in isolation, detached from their counterparts. In reality, the beach was teaming with couples, kids, dogs and more.

The low angle of the sun made the sand ripples stand out in relief. The distant people added a sense of scale and depth in the photograph.

There was a pretty impressive wind but it didn't manage to disperse the dense fog. I liked the contrasting silhouettes of the dragon and the kite flyer.

Before I left the beach, I wanted a shot of either a bucket and spade or a sandcastle. Something I could relate to from my childhood. I settled on this somewhat simple construction. I don't think my own sandcastles were any more elaborate.

As I was about to leave the beach, I turned around and saw all of these people. All are doing their own thing but are unified by their silhouettes. I like the way they are reduced to two-dimensional shapes. It adds a layer of anonymity which, in turn, creates that timelessness I yearn for. It reminded me of a scene from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind where volunteers walked towards the intensely lit mothership at the base of Devil's Tower.

Neighboring resort town Seaside provided me with some interesting textures that translate very well into black and white. You really can't go wrong with strong light and weathered wood.

The more I am out there, the more likely it is that I will capture some of the iconic moments that are omnipresent in our world. So, yeah, I am lucky.


dreamjosie said...

It's obvious to me that B&W is your true calling. I love your narratives with each pic too. Someday I hope we will be attending your one-man gallery show.