An awkward composition?

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12-8-13 Acadia14

This is a neat spot I found last weekend as I scampered down and across the granite ledges along the Loop Road in Acadia National Park. I was in search of a landscape composition that would get me a) rocks that would glow in the early light, b) a glimpse of the ocean, and c) an interesting foreground, especially since the cloudless sky on this particular morning wasn’t going to be holding anyone’s interest. Though a cool spot, I’m not so sure if these compositions work? In the landscape oriented image above, I’m thinking that there might be too much rock, making the composition a little left-heavy.

12-8-13 Acadia2

I believe I like the portrait oriented version better, but I’m still not sold. Maybe this is just one of those instances where it was better to have been there in person – walk off that ledge in front and there’s a drop of about 50 feet, so there weren’t many options to move around and make adjustments. Then there was the biting winter wind, the smells of low tide, and the cry of the gulls overhead… all in all, I’d say this was a good place to be, regardless of whether or not I was able to cobble a composition together. For those of you familiar with the area – to give you a more precise idea of where I am – that thin sliver of rock laying off shore in Newport Cove is Old Soaker. And again… there’s black and white. This time, although I do like the foreground rocks in black and white, I think these images actually benefit from the warm/cool color contrasts within the scene. Any thoughts?

12-8-13 Acadia2 BW

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14 thoughts on “An awkward composition?

  1. OK, here’s my take on them… I think there’s too much going on in the colour versions– it’s like the picture can’t decide if it’s a photo of the sunrise, or the rock, but the rock dominates, so it’s more a picture of the rock. I really like the black and white version though. It’s much more of a portrait of the rock, with all the beautiful texture showing.

    I’ve had good luck getting all the elements you’re looking for at Monument Cove (though it’s a steep- but easy- climb down), and just to the east of Little Hunters Head beach (the one with the long wooden steps down to the beach).

    I’m jealous of your easy access to Acadia!

    • David Patterson

      Michael… thanks for the thoughtful response… much appreciated. I’ve been to Monument Cove (a favorite place) and Little Hunters Beach. I have had some success at MC, but (unlike you) I have struggled to come up with a composition I like at Little Hunters Beach. Both of those places are excellent locations for landscape photography, but this one was relatively new to me. It was a cool place to be, but I’m not so sure I came away with anything I really like… and it somewhat surprises me that both you and David like the BW. I could have sworn people were going to like the color versions of this scene better. Just shows you what I know 😉

  2. I’ve found photography to be so subjective, so if you like the color better, there’s no harm in that! I have so many pictures of Acadia that I thought were fantastic, but they didn’t do anything for anyone else. I think a lot of it has to do with our experience in making the pictures. I try to separate myself from the wonderful experience of being out on the coast at sunrise, from what others will see when they look at my pictures. Having taken pictures similar to what you got here, I can relate to what you were feeling and seeing; I can almost hear the sound of the ocean as the sun comes up over the horizon and stirs the waters.

    • David Patterson

      Agreed on it being more about the personal experience than the photograph captured. I’m not in love with either of these compositions, but because I thought they were fairly unique – or at least different for me – I thought I’d share them here on the blog. Being there in person trumps any photograph I could ever make, and although every now and then I do hope to come away with an image that others like as much as I do, that’s not what drives me to be in Acadia. It’s funny how we all see things differently, and how we all like different things – variety is the spice of life, right?

  3. I like them both, but the color version has an extra wow factor for me. The perspective shows a lot of rock where it appears you were standing on. As a viewer it was like looking down at this awesome rock and then looking up and seeing the horizon. I felt like I was there in the picture. Great capture!

  4. journeymans

    It’s a common dilemma. No easy answer, just what ever looks good. I’d see that image a good background to a goat or some other curious creature’s head popping in front of the lens. But you can’t be lucky all the time, can you?

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