I knew something was there. The weather was closing in and the isle of Taransay on the horizon was often being misted in rain. The light was getting low and my exposures were going down into the 10 minute region (due to reciprocity).
When I encountered this scene on last May's Harris workshop, I spent about an hour or more just in this small location, looking for that elusive 'essence' I've been writing about over the past few weeks. The funny thing is, when I do feel I've reached 'it', and made some shots of it - the scene is often etched into my mind (I shoot film 100% of the time - I'm not a digital shooter, so I have to work with the scene in my mind a bit more than I would if I had a preview screen). I think we need to trust the gut instinct about these things. When you hit upon something that is working, it is as if your entire sensory input is being overloaded. I seem to find everything around me becomes more acute.
Here's an image that was shot in the same area just a few minutes apart.
I should tell you that I found the stones in the bottom left hand corner too distracting and as much as I tried to compose with them in, they never really felt as if they should be part of the composition. I'm often not really aware of what it is that's bothering me when I make images. I just tend to go with listening to how I'm feeling inside. I knew however, that it was the white streak of seam going through the foreground rocks that was pulling me in, and I felt very much that this was the 'essence' of the scene I was trying to capture.
Often we're not close enough.
When I moved to the right to try and extract the white rocks, I found that the dark eye patch seen in the bottom left of the first image became more of a 'motif'. It filled in the bottom left hand side of the frame beautifully. I find that with a bit of fine tuning, moving in closer, moving around just by a foot or two, things can 'snap-into-focus'.