Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tybee island

Tybee island

I took a series of images out at Tybee island. I also tried to write about the experience. My first pass was: I GREW UP by the ocean. My favourite place to run is right on the surf line. Where the wet sand is firm enough not to slide and shift under your feet but dry enough not to splash and soak your shoes. The trick, and fun, of it is that the perfect equilibrium point never stays in the same place. Running, chasing the ocean is pure play - trying to find that flowing state of mind when your body moves to the right place just ahead of the tumbling waves. Get out of sync and the run is a haphazard journey of frantic dashes up the beach and back down after the retreating firm sand as the waves flow out. Get it right and everything flows effortlessly and your mind can soar. I ran for about half an hour along the beach at Tybee Island, relaxing from a stressful week. At first I was all over the place. Then everything clicked. I was just happy. Pure, simple joy.
That describes what I was doing, but in some ways I think the photography is more interesting for me. You can click on the big picture above to go to a set of my favourites. I'd been on a workshop for a week, pushing myself in ways I didn't really like to be pushed. Hadn't exercised for a few days. Was feeling really out of sorts. Think I'd slept for about two hours the night before too. I got to the beach and everyone else spread out with their cameras, set up their tripods and prepared to stake out the coming sunrise. It was a beautiful, silvery blue morning. I haven't been to the ocean for about 6 months, even though I grew up about 2 blocks away from the sea, in Scotland. I miss it. I miss running too - late nights, bars, no exercise. So running was the perfect escape that morning. But then I tried to take pictures that expressed how I felt. I love running. I switch off all the cascading thoughts and just be, where I am. I've talked before about how running connects me with my creativity. Shooting while running was similar. No thought of composition, other than where I was pointing the camera. I'm not looking through the lens, just gesturing in the vague direction I'm interested in. So some intention still, but not so controlled. I'd change settings intuitively, focus as I went along, shooting, running in and out of the surf. Some of the shots are really close to the water - when you realise they were shot at 17mm, perhaps it becomes clearer how close I was in some cases. Yet never too close. Or too far away. The lens just seemed to land right, time and time again. For once I actually felt the results captured something of what I was feeling. I find them beautiful. They connect me right back to that time and place on the beach, at Tybee. Every now and then I manage to let go and actually take some pictures. I need to keep working on that.


Steve said...

Nice post Gordon. I like the story. I thought this first picture was interesting because I didn't recall you showing any pictures of clouds. It just came to me that was the ocean. Nicely done.