Looking for the essence (part 5)

There's this fabulous little canyon on the Isle of Eigg with a waterfall at the back. I take my students on my Eigg workshop to this location, even though it fits only one person at a time because as much as the location is extremely limited (you can't really move much), you'd think there's only really one shot to be made in here. But last September, I 'captured' Iain on my workshop in here. I'd been trying to catch up with Iain, but felt he was a little too shy to spend time with me. So I managed to corner him in this little canyon and we spent maybe 20 minutes working on a shot similar to this one (my shot was taken after Iain had finished making his).

I loved my little 20 minutes with Iain here, because it was one of those moments where there's really something to impart. A very clear message can be reached.

We started off by making very general images of the canyon but I'd noticed that further inside there was this beautiful sandy coloured warm looking rock. It seemed to be shouting out to me - 'I'm here - take a picture of me!'. The reason why it stood out so much was that it's colour was very much outside the palette of every other rock there. I felt it would make a very strong compositional element - it would be the focal point of the shot if we used it correctly.

I know that Iain got a lot out of this little bit of time together as he thanked me and said it had been really useful. I was just so delighted that on all my times in this little canyon, a golden rock had surfaced and was so much there on it's own, it was a great feature (or device) to use in a composition.

I think Iain had said to me that he hadn't noticed it when we'd gone into the canyon, but it was, for me, perhaps the one thing that jumped out. I think there are two lessons here - exploring a location, even one as tiny as this can help you find things you never saw upon first encounter, and your final images may be stronger as a result. The second lesson is perhaps to realise that repeating the same location on different trips may yield new insights, new finds. I've certainly never seen that stand-out rock before.

I think I've taught myself over the years to think about 'separation'. Looking for objects in a scene that have a presence, either because of the light that is being cast upon them, or more unusually, because their colour makes them stand out a bit more.

I'm looking forward to going back to Eigg this September.