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Carnota. Finding composition in the chaos.

Praia Boca do Rio is a small beach just at the edge of the larger beach at Carnota. Wild and beautiful and a perfect illustration of how challenging it is for a photographer to learn new skills. The photographic opportunities are endless for landscape photographers. I've never been a landscape photographer, always preferring the large shapes of non-organic subjects with more structure and cleaner designs. Nature is very messy. Lots of extraneous debris that clutters up clean and simple compositions making it impossible to realize the elegant images I see in my head.

The Galician landscape reminds me that I am not the one in control. Bursting with life and ever changing it has no concern for me. Life doing what it does best.

Galicia has challenged me to rethink how I see the world. Or at least to find a way to re-see the world and incorporate these organic and seemingly chaotic landscapes into the cleaner, more minimal aesthetic I've spent a lifetime developing. I'm just beginning to learn how to see the compositions in the organic chaos of nature rather than as elements fighting to preserve its obscurity.

The balance is there and it requires us to be active participants in the discovery. During this day at Carnota I struggled with the need to capture what I saw against the need to discover more. The pull of wanting to know what new view was ahead of me farther up the beach. The intense desire to make photographs often leads us to be trigger happy. For me that becomes an excess of incongruous images that seemingly have no point, just an indistinct jumble of tones unrelated to any actual artistic vision.

After getting home I load the days' images into Lightroom and then try to make a path through it all. Invariably I stumble through a patch of brambles made of the images shot during those trigger happy moments. I might try to make sense of them on review but I'm always wondering if they were taken during a moment of inspiration or a fit of desperation? Was there actually something there or was I just hoping? It might be that I find a gem in the slag that just needs a bit of polishing to become something nice. I do love those pleasant discoveries.

That path through the images is much like replaying the adventure and anticipating the arrival at the really special moments when I was fully engaged in the experience of place. The moments when I actually knew there was something beautiful to be captured. Even if it seemed fleeting and had to be teased out. I knew it was there and I would be glad I slowed down and spent the time to take it all in.

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