Unblocking the Viewfinder Within



A few years ago, I likely would not have taken this shot.  Why?  Because I wouldn't have seen the potential in it.  I was a light snob, always searching for the perfect situation with a scene fit for a calendar.  If things didn't unfold the way I wanted, or it was too cloudy, I would pack up and leave.  This of course was not a very productive way to spend my time outdoors.  

Thankfully, I came to realize there is great potential to create wonderful photos everywhere we go, even when the conditions are not ideal.  It was Ernst Haas who said "The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are."  I was blown away by this statement, and still reflect on it often.  WHAT WE SEE IS WHAT WE ARE, thank you Mr. Haas.  

On this outing, my initial goal was to find and shoot the Eatons Neck Lighthouse while it was bathed in the warm light of sunset.  Unfortunately, a "No Trespassing" sign followed by another "We're Not Kidding" sign, forced us to turn around.  Seems the Lighthouse is on Coast Guard property, and you need to make an appointment to view it.  We tried a side road, but that was blocked too.  

Rather than going home, we headed over to the local town beach "Hobart Beach".  Sue spotted several Long Tailed Ducks which were beautiful in their winter plumage, and I watched a Gull eating a Starfish.  We continued along the rocky shore and I noticed this little island underneath this great big sky.  Immediately I visualized it as a black and white scene with the dark pillowy clouds, and the smoke stacks way off in the distance.  It had a feeling of isolation, vast and empty, and I set up the tripod just as quickly as if the Grand Canyon was in front of me.  I used Live View and placed the island at the very bottom of the frame considering the "Ten and Ninety" compositional rule.  Manually, I focused on the island at 10x magnification using a 17-40mm wide angle lens.  I exposed the island normally and used a 3 stop grad ND filter to darken the sky further.  The final shot was at 4 seconds, f14, and ISO 100.  

After reviewing the image this morning, I feel like it's more interesting than any lighthouse could have been. I don't need a map with an X to mark the spot I should shoot.  I want to explore what's out there, and in doing so, connect with all that's inside me.    


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ChrisNature, Photo Instruction