L I G H T - S E E K E R S


[The shooting of Land & Seascapes].
The glorious 'Golden Hour' of morning or evening, is, it is generally accepted, the time leading up to, during or after either sunrise or sunset.   So called as this is traditionally the best light in which to shoot land and seascapes especially, as the rich amber hue of the advancing or retreating sun is soft yet warming, reflecting upon and able to transform those photographer friendly high clouds into a dream like watercolour.    In reality this is more like an ever-changing forty minutes or so... but who's counting.  
So much in photography rests upon the light.  Both the daylight or lack of it, but also the amount which is mechanically allowed to hit the camera sensor.   The legions of light-seekers shooting in the lower light end of the golden time can therefore allow a longer exposure or extended period with the shutter open.  This in turn enables the capture of movement in water, cloud or elsewhere and can contribute to making a good land or seascape image a great one. 
 
 It was whilst travelling and witnessing stunning new vistas around the Italian summer of 2009 that motivated me to want to share these experiences with others, elsewhere.  And ultimately, to take with me, that view, that scene, that moment.
There can be no more readily produced and strikingly successful way of achieving the capture of that moment, than via the medium of photography and the single frame image.  Photography can never truly, exhaustively recreate that moment.  Encompassing the sights, smells and sounds, the company - or isolation - or the context of a particular scene.  But photography can strive to recreate, as creatively, aesthetically pleasingly as possible, that split second, that dream like state, that moment, that I call: the Halcyon Daze;   I love using long exposures to create this dream like state in an image.

I believe there is a bit a of mis-conception associated with making landscape images, as opposed to say, shooting sport, which says that it's an easy genre to get right owing to the time available to get that perfect shot.  
The speed at which the entire scene can change is constantly mesmerising, it can build like a crescendo, hit the ultimate high note for a matter of seconds before disappearing, gone forever and never to be repeated identically.  It can build and build and yet never fulfil it's potential, for no reason.  It can be a complete waste of time!   But it can also be the greatest lesson in perseverance and probability - and so incredibly rewarding when so. 
And given that most landscape images will be a combination of three or more frames stitched together, timing becomes so crucial. 
And much like sport itself, the mystery of the outcome, the multiple and ever changing variables, no two examples the same and testing yourself when the opportunity arises are just a few reasons that keep us coming back - to the same places, time and time again, for more and more.  
The above contributes to be totally and utterly encapsulating. Not knowing what nature is about to do and often when it does materialise aesthetically, the speed at which it does so requires application of creativity and technical approach to capture the moment.  Being captured whilst capturing, in concentration and awe, in that moment that will never again be replicated in the same way provides the ultimate sense of unwinding.
Combine this with tranquillity, fortunate timing, this opportunity to demonstrate the creativity, technical approach and learning:  shooting land and seascapes can take on an almost meditative sense of un-burdening.  For me personally it's a lot like running in that respect.  It takes effort, that is often rewarded, concentration, motivation and focus and it is the last of these points that can remove your mind from the other hundred places it usually is during your average week.  
Concentrating so exclusively on one subject or process cannot fail to clear your mind, if only for a few minutes. This can only be of benefit mentally, spiritually and usually, with this particular genre in mind, physically.  It is no surprise to me that one of the more challenging years of my life also yielded the most rewarding images.  
It's pretty obvious that a great landscape image, to most eyes, usually starts with a striking landscape in reality.   Therefore I tend to find myself shooting these images at places of immense natural beauty, places we very luckily have in abundance and close proximity on the Northern Beaches in Sydney.  But wherever you are, a great landscape usually still requires a certain amount of the aforementioned fortune, timing and appealing mystery.  
And for every washed out, rock-pool-falling, seaweed slip, muddy mess I've found myself in whilst driven to shoot these images, the one-in-a-hundred I've been lucky enough to witness makes it all worth while.  And if they were all the same, if it was easy and often repeated, it simply wouldn't be worth doing. 
 Now in terms of the concentration vs relaxation on the X and Y axis, I've spoken about this to people who say they can achieve the same thing through drawing, cooking and even cleaning and I totally understand this and like at least two of those things.  But for me personally, a tidal pool at sunrise, a camera and a new composition wins every time. 
'The turning point'.  Scotland, late 2016.   
(Click and image or shop all Land & Seascapes here.)
Other images:   1.  Scarborough Sky Racer; Sea Cliff bridge, NSW.  2.  Fairlight Tidal Pool, NSW.  3.  North Curly Sunrise, NSW.  4.  Clahaig Falls, Scottish West Highlands.  5.  Rush Hour; Manly Beach, NSW.
 

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