June 30, 2009

Photo of the Week: June 30, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: It's so hot in Israel this week that I thought a refreshing image of our watery coastline might offer a tiny bit of relief. This shot was taken at Habonim Nature Reserve along Israel's central coast near Zichron Ya'akov. I had been camping for several days and had an opportunity to study the layout of the park and find an optimal shooting location. There are numerous rocky points that jut out into the sea, affording a chance to shoot the incoming waves from an unusual perpendicular perspective rather than the more typical head-on view one has when standing on the beach.

The continuous action of the ocean is similar to the dancing flames of a fire. No wave is alike and the pattern of crest, foam, and spray is constantly changing. My goal with this photo was to capture all of these elements simultaneously while also showing some aspect of the landscape not buried in rushing water. Since I was not racing against rapidly changing light, I stood quietly for a few moments and studied the scene, picking up on the rhythm of the waves and honing in on the key areas of the composition where timing would be critical. I prioritized my exposure to a fast shutter speed and clicked off a few frames, then turned off my camera and returned my mind to admiring the setting.

When photographing in nature, photographers have to be careful not to lose sight of the moment as they push themselves to create an image that will only be appreciated in another time and place. It's a challenging paradox, but I have found that without that meditative immersion in a place, its beauty will not reveal itself to me. It's nice to take home a memory, but if you never really visited in the first place, then what is the point of going?