One of the great challenges of photography is extracting the extraordinary essence from the ordinary familiar. For most people a trip to the beach means sunscreen and sandcastles, umbrellas and beach towels, swimsuits and surfboards. But even the most prosaic beach has an emotional tug that's difficult to explain. Much of the tug is initiated by non-visual sensory triggers: crashing surf, ocean spray, sea smell. On a deeper level, a beach is the collision of the fluid independence of the sea and the solid permanence of land, where irresistible force meets immovable object. This dichotomy simultaneously soothes and stimulates.
Something most compelling nature photographs have in common is the tension brought by change or colliding opposites. At a beach it's the clash between fixed and fluid; weather images (dramatic clouds, rainbows, lightning, and so on) are also about the struggle between solid and fluid; sunrise/sunset images reflect the day/night transition. The more you can convey this tension, and represent both sides of the "battle," the more your photographs will move people.
In this image, taken 20 minutes after sunset, I tried to convey both the fluidity and permanence of the beach, using solid rocks to anchor the frame, and a long exposure to convey the motion of the surf. These two competing dynamics create a wonderful tension that (for me at least) restores an important essence of the beach experience.
* Website: Eloquent Images
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