Finally getting back into the swing of things. Its been a while since I shot down at the shoreline and it always takes me a few photo sessions to start seeing the shots. I guess thats just how things go as a creative.
I met my buddies Eric and Lance at Sandy’s around 5:45am to shoot sunrise, which was around 6:20am. As usual we head strait for the right side to see how the water was flowing over the rocks. Before setting up for any particular shot, we always take about 5-10 minutes or so to scout the location. We keep an eye on the tide, how big the sets are, which way the wind is blowing, if there’s ocean spray, and a few other details.
Eric is the reigning champ in the realm of water motion. I may or may not have stalked his Instagram for months to try and learn his secrets. Its a few years later now and I can kind of hang with the big dog.
That morning though, I just wasn't seeing it. I scouted back and forth and set up my camera three or four times, but I just wasn't getting the right motion or framing. This was the best I could do at the time. Not my best work to say the least. Its too busy, composition is weak, and no clear subject really.
Since the sun was coming up quick, I wimped out and abandon the rocks to shoot the water flowing over the sand. Thats one of the things I do regularly when I’m having difficulty creatively.
Simplify the shot. With the rocks, there were so many elements. Each rock, the different streams of water, the textures, the sun, the clouds, I just wasn't able fit everything nicely into a composition. So I simplified. Now there was sand, sun, waves and clouds. Just a few elements that I could reframe and compose into a solid image.
Of course, if my mind was firing on all eight cylinders, I would have loved to go back onto the rocks and create something a little more dynamic, but when you're in the moment and time is your biggest obstacle, simplifying the shot is almost always the solution. And just to be clear, time is always the biggest obstacle.
For this sunrise, I simplified by cutting out visual elements. There was so much going on, I didn't know what to do with all of it, but there’s a lot more to strip down other than what your shooting. You can stripping down your gear too. Sometimes, believe it or not, I show up to a scene and I see more shots than I can shoot. It’s one of the most difficult things to decide which shots to try and create, and which shots to abandon. For me, its Neutral Density filters. I love to drag the shutter out, so I always have a bunch of filters to help tame the light. The problem is they all can create different looks. I decided to stick to one filter and just get all the shots that I could with a single setup.
The great thing is that, once you've simplified enough and you reach a point where you are creating and getting into the flow, your capacity for creativity starts to expand and you start to see things that you didn't see before. I’m just as guilty as anyone. Some days I’ll walk into a scene that is just full of eye candy, and the first thing I do is try to make it all come together in one shot. I might get lucky here and there, but for the most part, I’m unhappy with the result.
I guess that's my advice for today. Simplify until you find your groove, then expand from there. Don't force it.