Monday, October 3, 2011
Beddis Beach. Action photography of the child kind.
One August day the family, us grandparents, our daughters and grandchildren, all drive down the road, over the hills and down to the ocean at Beddis Beach. On this rocky island, bathing beaches suitable for children are not that common. We park and walk down the leafy trail to the shore. A sunny day, the tide about half way up, several families sitting on beach logs or splashing warily in the shallows. Calm, except for the steady roll of waves from the passing stream of yachts out in Ganges Harbour. The little children run to the water and pause. Those waves! That four inch surf! With a shriek they rush in and with a shriek they run out again! That water is cold!
I have my camera of course, pictures of grandchildren are always in demand within the family ( and mostly not elsewhere), and I can see that this wild rushing in and out, the unselfconscious attitudes of these little bodies, has some interesting possibilities. I hate photos of children taken from adult eye level, small, big headed and down there, so I choose a reasonably wide angle to be sure I can capture a big enough slice of the scene and hand hold the camera at beach level. I will miss lots this way but with digital I can also take lots. Somewhere, sometime, if I keep clicking I might just catch something worth keeping.
This kind of photography requires a different approach from the carefully composed and organized shots of much landscape photography. It is all happening in the spit second, full of movement and changing expressions. Horizons angle wildly and add a sense of action. By the time I see a great shot it will be past so I set out to harvest images within a field of view relying on the beginning of an action sequence to prompt me to start shooting. I miss a lot and I catch a lot this way, but this approach feels appropriate to the subject, to the moment. Shriek!