Eye of the Beholder

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Photography, and art in general, is incredibly subjective. I recently entered an open show at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. My single entry was accepted, but the juror for this show rejected more pieces than he accepted. One of my local peers had a photograph rejected that took first place in another show on the same weekend. It is impossible to cater to the likes and dislikes of everyone who sees your images. While there is no denying that it is a great feeling when someone expresses admiration for one of your pieces or, better still, purchases one but really it is important to please yourself first.

I shoot landscapes and nature because I enjoy it. Since I’m not on assignment, it lifts any pressure to please someone else.  Being free to create images the way that you see fit empowers you to find your own vision. All of us, as photographers, are influenced by other’s work. It is the act of shaping those influences into your own creative expression that lets your images sing.

This image is a perfect example. I took this last winter while spending the day, with my family, at [wikipop]Point Lobos[/wikipop] in Monterey, CA. The wild colors aren’t a product of [wikipop]Photoshop[/wikipop] but rather from the combination of a split neutral density filter and a Gold-n-Blue polarizer; both from [wikipop]Singh-Ray[/wikipop]. I have photographer friends who cringe at the mere mention of such a device but that doesn’t prevent me from experimenting with it. While I don’t use it very often it adds an other worldly feel to the image that sometimes feels appropriate. I’ve sold a number of images from this trip so they may not appeal to everyone but they do appeal to some. Really, that’s all that I can ask for.

Other than the two filters mentioned, this exposure was pretty straight forward. The split-grad was necessary because the dynamic range of the scene exceeded what my camera was able to capture. I was using my 5D and set the shutter speed to 1/3 sec at f / 11 and ISO 100. My goal was to capture a sense of motion while still maintaining a feeling of texture in the water. I composed the shot through my 17-40mm f/4L lens at its widest setting of 17mm.