I don't know what it is, but there is just something very special about spending time away in places that are so quiet that it feels deafening. I have heard it said about life in general that "the silent ones are the most observant ones" and I think that for photography and the creative art of "seeing", this quote holds great truth. The night before taking this picture, my daughter, Samantha and I decided to go out before daybreak to see if we could find interesting compositions in the dunes of de Hoop. When I checked the weather early that morning we were somewhat disappointed as a front had already moved and the sky was quite overcast. Normally for this type of landscape photography some cloud is awesome, but when there is too much, it causes the light to become too flat. Anyway we decided we were up in any case so even if we just identified possible compositions for the days to come it would be fine.
We left the vehicle in a secluded area and commenced our walk. The deeper we got into the dunes the quieter the surrounds became and soon I could hear the sound of my pants rubbing as I walked. Very unusual as we just don't hear this sort of thing in the drone of normal life. The light had just started to break on the horizon and some seagulls were flying above. The screech of their call was quite deafening and almost eerie. The landscape was very beautiful and what I liked most was that there was no sign of footprints, so the compositions would be clean and untouched. Unfortunately the light still remained flat and uninteresting.
We had walked for about three kilometers when Samantha shouted to me to look on the eastern horizon, a small opening in the clouds meant the promise of some good light. Excited, we both moved off in different directions, now scrambling to find a suitable composition. For me I have always advocated that a composition needs a centre of interest or resting point for the eye. In this shot, I decided that the pools of light reflecting off the sand would be the hero of the composition, but I was not sure if it would work or not. The light was gorgeous but did not last for long and soon, as a curtain comes down on a perfect theatrical production so the light faded for the morning. I felt like standing and applauding a brilliant performance, even though it was very short and I was not sure if my attempt would do it justice.
A while later when back in the studio I went through the photographs taken on the trip and was pleasantly surprised with this picture. My fears were suppressed as I processed the file and found the highlighted areas I had thought would be difficult to control, held detail beautifully. Once again a great example that awesome light is the secret ingredient in photography. It can change the average scene into spectacular in a split second.
A tip to all fellow photographers out there. Want to shoot some great work? Its easy, just find a reasonable composition and wait for God to do the rest.
Hope you enjoy,
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