Photo Journal: Light At Sea, Smoky Mountains
Olympus E-M1, 150mm, 1/250 sec @f/5.6, ISO 200
I’ve always been inspired by the dramatic seascapes of Frederic Church and how he managed to capture the raw beauty and power of the ocean. Little did I expect to experience the same visual and emotional response on top of Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains. One moment I was looking at rolling mountains, and the next I saw a vast ocean rolling towards me with increasing intensity. It was a quick instant, but enough to point my mind and vision in a direction I had not noticed before – namely how to make an image match that mental picture.
I tried with and without the horizon, but quickly realized the horizon was indeed needed to create the negative space above the “waves” and reinforce the idea of a horizon at sea. I used my longest prime lens on my Olympus, the 75mm (150mm in 35mm format.) That had the effect of compressing the waves somewhat, and also moving the viewer into the scene as if standing on the deck of a ship – it makes the image more vertical than horizontal.
Sometimes we just look at the landscape and find something that we find interesting, and other times we bring some of what we have in our minds to bear on what we see. That’s one of the most important reasons to find inspiration from as many sources as possible. Whether literature, painting, music, it stays in our mind and influences what and how we see and experience the world. Stay open, curious, and adaptable to new ideas and ways seeking what makes you unique and original – in photography and life.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings