Leading and Intersecting Lines

I am no expert at composing a perfectly framed image but I do know what I like and I think I know what works for me. This typically means identifying a subject and finding at least a few lines that will draw the attention into the frame and hold it there.

Here I am in Rustico (N 46 27.419 W 63 17.389) for what turned out to be a very brief morning. But I can’t complain. It’s always fantastic when the clouds are heavy and the sun has a clear opening to light them up from below. It may be just another boring sunrise to many but this image is full of leading lines that intersect with even more leading lines.

(This is the same image previously shared on Facebook (here and here) a couple weeks ago on the same morning it was taken.)

Rustico Prince Edward Island

Today’s Image – Rustico Beach

It doesn’t matter how much I plan, how perfectly I set everything up, or how ready “I think” I am because once that sun starts to rise, everything I had prepared for goes out the window and I frantically adjust to the sky, reflections and shadows. This was one of those mornings where I was all ready to shoot in the other direction with my back to the sun.

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Photographically Speaking

I’ve been slowly reading the latest book from David duChemin since Christmas (it’s been a busy year) and he never fails with his ability to start an internal discussion to critique ones work. The message is always well beyond the many how-to step-by-step guides and much more about aesthetics. His suggestions may not have clearly defined answers but are always based on a solid foundation.

Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images is the fourth book in the series following Within the Frame, Vision Mongers and Voice & Vision. This latest book is all about why a photograph was made and being able to describe in details the purpose or intent the photographer had. David challenges you to defend every element that makes up that single frame. It’s an interesting discussion and a slow read with each page making me pause to think or read again.

The readers of your photograph make an assumption. They assume that you know what you are doing, that you meant to say the things you did by including or excluding elements and making certain decisions, whether technical—that is, optics, shutter speed, and aperture—or artistic—that is, your point of view and use of perspective or your framing. The reader believes you meant to do it. So whether or not the idea of intent works for you, it is assumed by your readers. And because they believe this, all content—whether we intended it or not—has meaning.

As I continue to read through this book and think about my own work, it reinforces and reminds me of the one tool I use the most. I’ll spend a long time positioning the tripod and camera over and over making small adjustments again and again until I think I’m happy. And then I’ll adjust everything one more time. But back at home later that day, week or month when I’m looking at those 2×3 files, I’ll spend just as much time playing with the crop tool debating even more what should be removed from or aligned to the frame. It’s easily the most used tool in my workflow – everything else is secondary.

Sonora Hills

Today’s Image – Rolling Hills Near Sonora

Last fall, I spent a couple days renting a house in the hills near Sonora (N 37 56.768 W 120 23.026) and each morning I would venture out in the unfamiliar place, down the hill and work with the chaos of nature and the rising sun. It has now been several months since this day and I’ve revisited the many images from this location several times. Each time adjusting it but ultimately deciding something just wasn’t right. I’ve fussed over the small details but now believe I’m finally satisfied. So I’m not sure if it actually does work or I’ve convinced myself that it does because I so badly want it to. I can still hear that rooster.

The Guiding Light

I need to be careful or this blog could easily turn into a save the lighthouse campaign. Last week I made a post about the upcoming deadline when several island lighthouses will be shut down. I followed that up with a post about Saving of the Brighton Beach Range Light. At that time, it was very unclear to me which ones and how many of these structures were in danger.

With the permission of Carol Livingstone (President of the PEI Lighthouse Society (1)), I am making available The Guiding Light Newsletter (PDF). This semiannual publication that is available only to members provides a full list of updates and the current status of our 63 lighthouses and ranges. If you refer to page 20, you’ll see the list of lighthouses currently not being petitioned.

“Any lighthouses not claimed by community groups or municipalities by May 31 will either be put up for sale to the public or torn down.” CBC

Download the January 2012 issue of The Guiding Light. (PDF)

Cape Tryon Lighthouse, Prince Edward Island

Today’s Image – Cape Tryon Lighthouse

With access only through private property, this light is located on the north shore west of Cavendish in the French River and Park Corner area. The still active Cape Tryon Lighthouse is a bit of a staple in Island marketing and an often photographed location. I had a chance to visit early this morning under some very chilly conditions. The regular high coastal winds did not help. The Cape Tryon Lighthouse is located on land currently trying to be protected from development by the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust.

This lighthouse is one of the many listed on page 20. What will be it’s fate on June 1st 2012?

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Annual Photoblog Awards

First inspired by Noah Grey, Sam Javanrouh and David Nightingale, I retired my weblog and jumped on the photoblog bandwagon back in late 2005 and challenged myself to post a new photo every single day. The concept of a photoblog was simple. It was about the image and any text was secondary and often hidden behind a link. Click on the photo, see the next one.

I was relatively successful with regular posts and by 2009 had generated a small audience. To start 2012, Focused on Light was listed for the 3rd year in row as a finalist in the yearly Photoblog Awards – a fun competition voted on by the photoblog community.

2011: Best North American Photoblog
2011: Best Landscape Photoblog
2010: Best North American Photoblog
2009: Best North American Photoblog

This year I am unintentionally challenging myself by flipping this website upside down and back to a more traditional weblog. The process broke any and all subscription feeds which will surely hurt traffic. I will also not be updating daily but attempting to provide much more context and stories to the images I post. We’ll soon see if this change was for better or worse.

If you own a photoblog or weblog of your own, feel free to link to it in the comments so I can learn more about you.

Cymbria, Prince Edward Island

Today’s Image – A New Beginning

One more from the archives before I set out tomorrow to create new work. Some of the best sunrises are when the sky is completely overcast. If you’re lucky, there may be a small opening for the sun to light everything up from below. This early morning in June 2010 offered just that for only a minute or two. It still remains as one of my favorites.