One of the things I struggled with during the course I took from Sam Abell is the concept of compose a scene and wait for it to be animated.
In Sam’s work the animation often, perhaps even usually, comes from humans. But I rarely feel comfortable shooting people in “the wild”.
I was interested in seeing how to apply this method to a subject in nature, in this case the play of light on water.
The Santa Monica pier straddles the break zone for the surf, and this offered a chance to animate a scene of dawn lit water using breaking waves.
I quickly learned something I should have noticed long ago. Waves breaking on the shore are not predictable.
When on a beach the waves break with a seemingly regular rhythm, sometimes larger, sometimes smaller.
But from above the break, the waves of different sizes are cresting at different locations and with a more broken rhythm than it seems from on shore.
This irregularity confounded the realisation of the shot that I wanted.
I stood at this one spot for 10 minutes trying to get the light on the waves the way I hoped for, but did not quite get there.
This shot is the one I like best, but there are a few others that work nearly as well and yet are remarkably different from each other.
I think this experience is similar to the transformations that arise when waves of people break upon an urban scene in irregular patterns.
Click the photograph for a larger version.