While scouting Trinidad State Beach the evening before the start of my Redwoods/Mendocino workshop last week in northern California, I came across this seemingly innocent stretch of rocks. While trying to compose images that are not evident to my eye (how often does this happen to you?), I try to break the scene down to shapes and lines. The shapes were obvious but the lines at first were not. Shapes and lines (all elements) must work in harmony for an image to be successful.
I liked whatever it was that was growing on the foreground rock - let's call it kelp? This became my foreground element. I am rather tall at 6' 2" and could still not see the finished composition from my perspective, so I decided to try a lower perspective and things became clearer for me. The implied line between the first three rocks created a natural diagonal which served to pull my eye through the frame.
At the third and largest rock, the lines tend to branch off as if creating a "Y," thus taking the eye up and through the horizon which I minimized. I did take a bit of "creative license" by adding a bit of mist with the fog filter from Nik's Color Efex Pro software. I generally do not add elements to my image that were not present, but in this case, there was some mist on the horizon and I simply enhanced it.
All that was left was to play with wave patterns as they gently brushed the shore. A rather slow 1/5th shutter allowed for just the right motion I was looking for. I did use a polarizer to bring out the subtle color in the scene.
Changing perspective is one of the easiest (and often most overlooked) tasks a photographer can do when trying to find potential compositions. Trust your instinct (that inner tug that alerts you to a potential image) and if you cannot at first find the image, keep moving.
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