In the last few days I’ve been challenged by the idea of Looking vs Seeing when I’m out photographing. And I think this is a good way of illustrating it.
Here’s the classic lovely ‘beach at sunset’ type scene and when I first came down to the beach my mind immediately started looking for images and running through options. The first was the ‘receding waves streaks’ and then a bit of swoshery (see below) as the exposure time increased and then going up to longer exposures and a more minimal approach with a flattened sea.
But I wonder could I have been more creative with a more open mind? Watching the video back and hearing the waves makes me long to be back on the beach, fitting into the timings of the waves and not the rush of my brain. I wonder if the issue is the desire to create images that are ‘good’ and perhaps fall into a formula that many ‘good’ images have. And thus we look for that formula, and are closed to other ideas. It’s very true on a evening like this, time is the limiting factor which means that in that time we can only make a certain number of images, so we go for the first that come to mind.
Perhaps as I come down to the beach next time instead of ‘what can I do here’ the question needs to be ‘what else can I see here’. and perhaps that means taking a few precious moments to become more intune with the scene before reaching for the camera.

Southwold at Sunset

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