It has been a while since I got out for a landscape shoot. Lack of time due to busy family life and mildly suffering from excuses like ‘where to go’ kept me at home. The weather was not playing along with my agenda too. Also there are simply so many locations to choose from but none of them gave me inspiration to go out. Last time I went out I had set my mind to get a certain shot and although I got great images I did not get the one I wanted.
I have a kind of shot/bucket list in my head of images I would love to take, one of the is, this dune shot by Bas Meelker Since i did not get that shot yet I set out for the dunes of Katwijk once again.
It is about a half hour driving to Katwijk and on my way I kept checking the sky and progression of the clouds. The sky was quickly clogging up but my favorite clouds (Altocumulus stratiformis of some kind of Cirrocumulus variant) were rolling in! Hopefully the sun would peek underneath and we woud have an awesome sky!
When I arrived at the parking lot the conditions were changing fast. I walked up a dune to check the spot I was last time. I had hoped that the bushes were in bloom or some kind of interest point to be found but It did not work out. There was enough time before sunset so I decided to go to the next dune, the shot I had in mind needed sand, Marran Grass, some clouds and direct sunlight…
Dutch dunes are protected nature reserves and you are not allowed to leave the paths. The dunes are a natural form of coastal defense. A big part of the Netherlands is below sea level so trampling the dunes is not an option. In the northern dunes of Katwijk there is a small fence and an area where you are allowed to walk freely. This time there was a sign saying it was bird season and nobody was allowed to enter. To bad, by the looks of it the desired sandy slacks, dune tops and marran grass were abundantly present in that area!
I decided to walk a little further along the path into more unknown territory. I had plenty of time before sunset there was no rush finding a subject and setting up for the shot. I found a passage to the beach, on top of the passage there was an area where the wind had blown the sand into nice shapes and the marran grass were close to the path.
The desired vantage point was not really there, but the marran grass, myself and the sky were! I kept looking for an interest point and exposed a couple of shots and different compositions. The weather and sunlight were not happening as expected but all in all is wasn’t bad.
I was trying to get the structures in the sand in the foreground using that as leading lines into the frame. Because it was very windy I raised the ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the grass. I experimented with longer shutter speeds as well to try to get a sense of the windy conditions in the shot…
When I was processing the images I was quite happy with the results although the image I had in mind was not among them.
It is part of my process not to post images to quickly but wait at least until the next day. This way I can let go of my emotion, memories an experiences I had at the moment I shot them and see more objectively. I use this technique in my work as a graphic designer too. Leaving the results overnight builds a distance between me and my emotional attachment and in the morning I can clearly see if they were still a good idea. Usually if I still like my work the next day it is at least a better than average shot for me.. If I do not like the shot anymore usually I can see why, sometimes it just needs a little work and sometimes its just not working…
After a couple of hours I checked the keepers again and thought to myself; how would this look in black and white? Let’s find out! Thats when I was in for a nice surprise… The images got even better! The first editing session was so focussed on fighting with the colors in the sky and grasses that I could not see the best solution. In the end what made this shot for me were the structures of the grass and the sky and the lines in the sand. That’s what really stood out in the black and white versions. Not distracted by the colors suddenly I got to see the lovely subtle structures and shapes why I chose this composition in the first place.
I personally love the serene quietness in these images, their simplicity, ruggedness and almost zen-garden-like quality, makes me pause and admire nature and creation. Some of them almost convey the japanese aesthetic idea of Wabi & Sabi loosely translated as; simplicity and and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects.
So tell me what you think? Let me know in the comments!
Buy one of these (or others made in Katwijk) for on your wall on Canvas of Xpozer?