Friday, March 12, 2010

Story Telling

What are the requirements for telling a story? There are all sorts of stories that could be told about today’s image. There could be a boring litany of facts, letting people know the species of the animal that made each set of tracks. It could be a story of survival, with one animal hunting another. A tale of discovery, when a child comes across this scene, is agog trying to spot each animal, assigning attributes that may or may not be true. One of the purposes for an image like today’s is to spark the viewer’s imagination. It doesn’t really inform, or tell an entire story, but rather draws those seeing it to read into the image things from their past, present or future. At the top of the shot we see the water. It’s water. It’s not clear if it’s a lake, river or ocean (it happens to be the ocean off the coast of Maine). It doesn’t matter, it’s a place like one we’ve been to in our childhood. Earlier on the blog I had a shot of Pemiquid Light. I gave a copy of the print to a couple acquaintances as a thank you. One of the first things they did was Google lighthouses in Maine. They found almost the exact same shot, over and over again. Next time I ran into one of them, she asked if that was really a shot I had taken. I kind of laughed and explained that 90% of the visitors to the lighthouse walk down onto the rocks, finds that same puddle (it fills in at every high tide), and shoots the same shot. You would be able to do that with today’s image. It’s a one of a kind. The tracks will be whipped clean at the next change of tides. The light will be different tomorrow. This shot is here and it’s gone. That where the viewer’s imagination shines through. The shot isn’t an complicated as you might think. To find out how ir was shot, hit the “read more”.

This is a typical vacation shot. We were walking along the beach in Maine in the late morning. Too late for making the dramatic early morning images that are great to get. We weren’t carrying tripods, figuring we could scoot back to the car if something very special presented itself. When we came to this piece of beach and found the tracks we debated about how to get the most out of what we saw. Since there was a lot of sunlight I stopped the lens down to F16 @ 1/200 @200 ISO @ 18mm. I did a manual focus about 12’ to 15’ into the scene. The other key to the shot was to step up onto a rock to get a higher than normal angle on the scene. Everything from about 3’ to infinity was in sharp focus. Coming upon a shot is one thing, making it your own is something else altogether. Do something different, don’t take one shot and move on. Work and solve the puzzle of making a picture an image.


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