Power of Intention

by Douglas Hoffman on August 15, 2022

When creating land and seascape style portraits I go through a process in which I evaluate the scene. Lets say for example I go to the beach. Before grabbing my gear and setting up, I usually walk around. I look at the tide and determine if its low or high, and watch the waves looking for motion in the ocean. At the same time I am looking for patterns, shapes, lines, and elements that repeat. As I take everything in, I start envisioning in my minds eye, what a finished portrait would look like.

Once the composition is created in my mind, I set the camera up accordingly. I add any neutral density or gradual neutral density filters that are needed to manage the light and then go about the creating the image. This is called intention.

As an example, when I arrived at this lava flow, I watched the waves come in and out for a while. I looked around and determined where it would be safe to set my tripod. While watching the water ebb and flow, I decided to use a 1 second exposure as that would slow down the water movement and create the silky streams and waterfalls.

In order to use a 1 second exposure, a 3 stop reverse graduated filter was put on the camera lens. This allowed me to control the light and get the shutter speed I wanted. Once the technical aspects were in place, it was just a matter of waiting for the right moment to arrive.

If learning how to create portraits with intention interests you, consider a workshop in Maui.