Blog #1 – photographic style
My coastal seascape photography has a strongly weighted focus toward images which capture the drama & evocative nature of Cornwall’s rugged Atlantic Ocean coastline as it is exposed to the dynamic power of the sea and the fleeting, monetary nature of cloud & sunlight that can make for images which have a truly arresting visual impact.
From a compositional perspective, as you can probably see from viewing my portfolio and as a starting point in the discussion of style, a large percentage of my images are shot low down on the ground (as opposed to cliff tops) with specific foreground elements such as rocks and coastal formations. Aside from what this contributes to the overall image (more about this in the Tutorials) I find adding such a compositional element in the near foreground allows for you to the ability to create a greater sense of a three dimensional space within a 2D image (read Depth of Field tutorial) in a limited focal range.
I also like to include translucent water in the foreground rocky elements – still water where you can see through the surface of the water and to the submerged rocks below the surface. To me, this gives a whole extra dimension to the image by allowing the viewer to see below the surface of the water (making additional use of those dynamic elements). Aside from that – I also think it looks fantastic from an aesthetic point of view.
In bullet points I would say my style is weighted towards –
Rocky coastlines & Beaches of Cornwall
Coastal landmarks framed by nearshore objects to give perspective
Capturing motion blur of water in the form of; spray, streaks or smoothed out
Translucent water to see below the surface
Golden Light – shot at either sunrise or sunset to reveal detail in rocks & sand
If nothing else, my photography is all about conveying water movement & motion as it hits coastlines on either beaches or rocky shores. I like to capture an image whereby the motion of the water is explicitly characterized, shot in great light – to create an evocative, distinctive & unique image with ‘atmosphere’ – a characteristic you cannot quantify, but that the brain registers.
If you can master your equipment with an excellent working knowledge of the natural environment around you, you are putting yourself in excellent position to excel at outdoor photography, and create images in a style unique to you.
While no style is inimitable (just look at the hordes of photographers hoping their 30 second long exposures of lands’ end will catapult them to photography superstardom), to espouse a specific style and stick to it consistently will allow you to create images in a mould that over time become synonymous with your name.
With this in mind – I like to create images that are considered ‘different’, shot in a manner and in conditions that even today with digital photography as popular as it is, you would not normally see. So for example, star trails or landscape astro-photography of the Milky Way galaxy, shot well in to the night.
As with all other art forms, to create something different you often have to present something seen or experienced a hundred times previously in a new way that surprises people. For this – take home the phrase, “subvert the known subject matter – twist it on its head, and present the subject in a way nobody has seen before”