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The March 2008 Print of the Month is “Cape Neddick Seascape”, featuring the very scenic lighthouse commonly know as “Nubble Lighthouse“, located in the southern corner of the coast of Maine.

I enjoy photographing lighthouses, not so much because of their architecture, but because so many are located in dramatic coastal settings, where the landscape is very much a part of the experience. Of course, lighthouse photographs are a dime a dozen, so the challenge for me is finding a different way of seeing what is already very familiar.

I knew immediately that the jagged rocks that defined the shore would play a vital part of my composition, since to me they created the drama and visual excitement I’m so often attracted to. It was a challenge just moving around them, and I made sure every step I took was carefully considered.

Using a wide angle lens that helps to emphasize foreground objects, I worked to create a composition that had the weight and feel of the environment I was in. This so called weight was the impression these rocks made on me as they were relentlessly battered by the powerful ocean, creating deep thunderous sounds and big splashes. How could I convey this in a photograph?

Rather than make the lighthouse the main focus, I decided to allow the rocks to dominate the image, and let the lighthouse play the counterpoint, just as a melody often has a supporting harmony that adds richness and depth to a song. And the pieces of ice add a slight juxtaposition, for without them this might be mistaken for summer or fall.

Much of landscape photography is about creating form out of chaos, and as Ernst Haas once said about composition, ”Simple: do not release the shutter until everything in the viewfinder feels just right.“

This is what I try to do each and every time I press the shutter myself, because it’s the feel I hope to express; the rest, whether theory, technique, or equipment, just gets in the way.

Each month, the Print of the Month is available at 15% off regular prices. Purchase here.

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