29 January 2009

Dawn on the coast of Ghana

Dawn on the coast of Ghana
No one else was up. The only things moving were a few fast-flying birds, big sand crabs, clouds and the sea. Sunlight touched the beach; heat and humidity began to build.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


butuki said...

Hmm... I tried to like this photo, but it just doesn't do it for me. It feels "strained". Maybe it's one of those images that reflects more of how you felt when you were there than telling an unfamiliar viewer about visual cues that would move them, too.

I tried one thing... taking a notepad I divided the image in half. I found that the top half of the image and bottom half of the image worked better independently of each other.

pohanginapete said...

Actually, I'm inclined to agree with you on this one, Miguel. For me, it's almost right, but something's just a little off. Maybe the colours... I don't know. I tried your suggestion of viewing the top and bottom separately, and agree with you on that also.

Thanks for giving it that attention, Miguel.

Anne-Marie said...

I like this one. When I looked at this photo I almost felt I was there. I felt the heat and humidity before I read the caption.

I have zero knowledge of photography from a technical perspective; but I know what moves me and what doesn't. So I wonder why this photo grabbed me but not Miguel?

[Of course, I love the sea, so I might be biased.]

Zhoen said...

Strangely, it reminds me of Lake Erie, that leaden color to the water, thick clouds. Only the red sand belies the impression.

robin andrea said...

This photo reminds me of what I was trying to say on the blog about the demands of a wide-angle world. I find it too difficult to really capture the vastness of the sea with a camera. It's hard enough with my eyes and the turn of my head to take it all in. The best we can hope for are these beautiful compromises with context.

(I forgot that you had this wonderful photo blog, pete. I'm glad I checked on your other blog and found the link. It's good to see what you are seeing.)

Lesley said...

Pete, my eye keeps getting caught by the five small dark blobs just beyond the left end of the getting-ready-to-break wave. Do you know what they are?

Interestingly, that rising wave makes me "read" this from right to left. Is it hindsight because I can see that the rise of the wave is moving in that direction?

pohanginapete said...

Anne-Marie, your love of the sea probably does have something to do with your appreciation of the photo. Maybe, as Miguel suggests, familiarity breeds connection? Interesting that his and your responses differ substantially — a reminder, I think, that photos (like most things) are complex, interacting mixtures of qualities, which affect viewers in different ways.

Zhoen, "leaden": a good choice of word. I don't know Lake Erie, but now you've drawn the parallel, I'm curious. Thanks.

Robin Andrea, thanks! I find that "vastness of the sea" engenders a kind of exquisite loneliness in which there's great solace. Wide angle photos are usually the only way I can find to evoke that quality — but now you've raised the issue, maybe I'll experiment with other ways.

Lesley, the blobs are birds; I don't remember the kind, but they were most likely to have been herons or curlews.
Interesting you mention the influence of the wave on how you view the photo. On reading your comment I realised how the reflected light on the left balances the wave on the right — try covering one or the other and notice how the photo suddenly loses that compositional balance. I hadn't realised that; I guess it was intuitive.

Lesley said...

Pete, yes. I had noticed that balance. It's one of the things I like about this image.

D.V.A. said...

it's hard to comment on beauty without too much emphasis. I can only dream for the day I reach a beach and touch a wave again, I haven't been on the seaside for 4-5 years I think, and I used to go each summer. Thanks for bringing back some memories through this picture. I most love the sky.

pohanginapete said...

D.V.A., right now it's winter here, and this photo reminds me of heat and humidity. I'd love to be back there now, and I hope you'll manage to get back to the sea again soon.