Camera Work: Manzanita
We spent several days at the beach this past week, in a little town called Manzanita. Blessed with a direct view of the Pacific, opportunities to simply observe and photograph events as they occur and pass on is a pastime too rich to resist. One of the major benefits of shooting digital takes hold, and that is simply to shoot, and if it doesn’t make sense, Delete is there to pass final judgment.
Of course, the nature of the coast is that it constantly changes, even as it seems to remain the same. We were there in-between storms, and this morning, Day 2 of our stay, revealed a form on the sand just above low tide line, that caught our attention.
Now, I did not intend, at first, to even do much with the two images here; it is a sea weed. Lots of those wash up. But the more I stared at the images, mostly shot because of the light, the longer I lingered on them and finally was moved to write and show two frames from sequences which involved a movie as well.
What caught my attention was the light. It’s early morning, and since we are on the west coast, we do not see the sunrise directly. It’s a good example of the notion “If you want to see a sunrise, look west”.
I was sitting with a cup of coffee, not looking at the ocean because it was dull. Clouds to the east blocked the sun, as well as the bulk of the southern edge of Neahkahnie Mountain, a dominant feature of this part of the North Oregon Coast. I never expect to see much sun this time of the year on the beach. This time was different, and caught me unawares. One moment, dullness, the next, splendid indeed!
I didn’t think it would last and my camera was downstairs. The light held, so I ran down and rescued the camera. Standing on the balcony, I noticed the seaweed, saw the approaching person and starting shooting.
I shot images for over an hour. The tide is advancing, the light going from sunrise warmth to ordinary daylight. I put the camera down and didn’t give it another thought.
Days later, I’m at the computer, and the shape of that seaweed made me consider the possibility of a sequence, as the tide was setting up variations on the theme. I didn’t think it would work, because of the color change, but then, I thought about the possibility to “extending” the sunrise colors into the daylight, re-balancing back to the earlier time. It proved to be not only possible but believable.
From a photojournalistic point of view, this sequence wouldn’t fly. It’s manipulated. Pictorially, it doesn’t fly not to make the change. There are elements of both here; the images are real as they happened, the colors don’t track the actuality, but they do track the visual sensibility.
Digital allows one to do this. This is another kind of magic, extending the idea from analog to digital: “Sometimes the Magic Works.”
Photos ©2015 Lawrence Hudetz All Rights Reserved