Day 6: The Tsitsikamma

Aug 27—We're still in the Tsitsikamma. There's actually far more to see and shoot here than even our three nights at the Fernery will allow. 

Because I wanted to travel to the place we didn't get to yesterday, I decided to change our itinerary a bit today. We were originally scheduled to do more at the North end of the park: some lagoon work, a walk along the end of the Otter Trail, plus some beach work, but I decided to mostly concentrate on the beach work.

We're at the end of the park where the Otter Trail ends. The ocean shore here is more beachy, but still with some minor upthrusts of rock. So our photographic opportunities are less the waves themselves and more the details on the shore that get created by them. I tried to work with each student independently, and gave many of them small assignments to work through so I could see how they were responding to the way I teach (which is a bit different than the usual photographic instruction--much more on that later this year as I finish up my new book). But don't take my word on it, here's what Robert wrote: 

While on the beach at Nature's Valley, in noonish light, Thom wanders by and asks if I am up for a challenge. Of course, I said. He gave me this white abalone shell and said "Make your best image containing this shell". Wow. Black rocks all around, sand, noon light, and now this freakin' white spot of shell.

I spent over an hour (I am easily amused) working on shots with this white shell in it. I finally hit a concept I liked. Here the black rock, sand ripples caused by water receding back to the ocean, a shell in it's environment, and the surf line at the top of the image created the best image I knew how to make of a bright white shell at noon on a beach with black granite everywhere.

Here's his picture in two forms (I did a bit of work on it, but mostly just adding contrast):


For the afternoon, we went back to the other end of the park to the place I had wanted to get to yesterday. This involves a bit of a climb up and down a staired boardwalk, plus a walk across a suspension bridge, so part of the fun is just getting there. Once, there, yes, I was back to getting wet.

So what was there? A lot of things, but I'm particularly fascinated by the small boulder beach at the other end of the suspension bridge. But the whole short hike is a great place to work on (mostly) static compositions, so that's what I did. I worked with Russell on a Calla Lilly shot, for example.

I like where Russell finally got the composition, but we needed to work a few more details on this shot to get it perfect, and we just didn't have the time. Like some of the others, the black and white version works very well:

STUDENT RJ BW Tsitsikamma 270810-163.JPG

And here's my shot from just across from where his was taken:

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Or maybe you like it better in black and white:

INT AF 2010 EP2 04363 BW.JPG

I worked again with Robert for awhile on the beach of boulders. I think he must have moved every rock you see here at least three times as we discussed what he was trying to do:

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And I did a bit of scrambling onto the rock outcroppings looking for that strange angle and viewpoint that I'm known for with abstract landscapes (something I learned climbing after Galen):

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As you might note from the wetness of the rocks I'm on, the bigger waves were breaking into my position, so yes, once again I went home wet. At this point, my trail running shoes are completely sodden, and are going to need a good drying out. Here's another unusual angle on the same beach, just to the left of the position on the last shot:

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Despite not having fully cooperative weather (skies too clear), all in all it turned out to be a decent day of landscape photography. Which is good, because tomorrow we tackle yet another type of photography on this smorgasbord of a workshop.

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