An Accidental Exercise

Today we travelled the 5hrs (including stops) from Omokoroa, just north of Tauranga back home to Hawke's Bay.  We stopped off on the banks of Lake Taupo for the obligatory cuppa and snack in the back of the caravan, and a bit of a leg stretch.  

I asked our 7 year old, Daniel if he wanted a walk onto the beach, to which his initial answer was yes, then about 30 seconds later he decided it was too cold and windy and scuttled back to the warmth of the caravan.  Hard to believe he was born in Yorkshire :-) 

I went down to the beach by myself with the FujiFilm X-T20 to just snap whatever I found (if you've read previous posts you may be getting sick of me banging on about this little camera, I love it!). In the space of about 3x3m, here's what I saw, and the photographic journey my brain was taking as I looked around that tiny patch of land...

First up, I saw the grass on the foreshore with the stormy clouds in the distance. This image is what first prompted me to walk the few metres from the parked caravan to that spot to begin with.  The shot itself isn't fantastic, let's be honest here.  Sure all the right bits are in focus, there's foreground interest, etc. but it's not going to win any awards...

No. 1 Grasses along the lake edge

Then I spotted the pieces of pumice stone which had recently washed up on the beach just at the other side of the grass.  The low camera angle and out of focus background puts emphasis on the pumice.  I timed the shot so that the breaking wave reflected the rough shape and formation of the clouds above.  My brain was beginning to work, and I was beginning to see more than what was immediately obvious.

No. 2 Pumice stones on the beach at Lake Taupo

For the third shot, I repositioned myself and looked obliquely down on the pumice from above.  For this shot it was actually the line of the wet, dark v's light sand which caught my eye.  Even without the pieces of pumice, you could create a pleasing abstract image out of something like this. 

No. 3 Pumice stones on the beach at Lake Taupo

After looking at the pumice from several angles, I took a moment to look across the lake towards Mt Ngauruhoe and the Tongariro National Park.  I think this shot is my favourite out of them all, it deliberately brakes a landscape photography rule as there is nothing in the foreground to catch the viewers eye and lead you into the image.  The simple composition leaves the viewer with no misunderstanding about what the image is about; a stormy, rain-swept day at the far end of Lake Taupo.

No. 4 Stormy view across Lake Taupo towards 'Mordor'

It was time to leave and head home to Hawke's Bay.  As I turned round to walk back to the roadside, this is what I saw...  Small white waves breaking onto the beach, the line of wet sand and white water leading your eye around the bay towards Waipahihi, Two Mile and Three Mile Bay's.

No. 5 As I turned around...

All these images were unplanned, they were just what I saw at the time and all shot from within the same 3x3m patch of land.  I also didn't set out with this exercise or blog post in mind; in fact, it only occurred to me that I had shot these images in this way as I was downloading them onto the Mac and starting to edit them.  Upon reflection, I think doing something like this is a great way of making you open your eyes, observe your surroundings and make you think.

I think this is an exercise which I'll repeat at some point, it's actually quite a fun and interesting thing to do.  If you give yourself a limitation on the amount of space you have to work in, or style of image you want to create, it's amazing what you can pull out of the hat. 

None of these shots are award-winning, or spectacular in any way.  One of the aspects which makes me like the images is that they are all black and white and processed in a similar style to one another.  That alone helps create interest, cohesion and pulls them together into a pleasing set and a reminder of the trip home.