Photography is an art form and allows for personal expression and freedom. As a photographic artist, I decide in my minds eye how I want a finished photograph to look before setting the F-stop, shutter speed, or ISO. When creating land and seascape portraits, I use tools like graduated neutral density filters to help manage the light, so that I can select the camera settings that will produce the look and feel I envision.
For example, when I got to the beach the sky was flat in terms of color. There were patches of clouds coming through that threatened rain. A few squalls appeared on the horizon and small sets of waves were coming in on incoming tide. I spotted a tree stump sticking out the sand and thought what a nice foreground element. Sure enough the water came in just enough to surround the stump and provide cool patterns and silky lines.
In my minds eye, I visualized what the scene would look like if I selected a slow shutter speed and saw the silky lines and water movement. To create the portrait I used a 14-30 mm lens at 16 mm, and a 2 stop graduated neutral density filter. The exposure was F22 at 1/2 second ISO 100.
Down the beach a few miles in Lahaina, is an old broken down pier called Mala Wharf. This is a busy dive spot on the island and about 100 divers a day swim through. I saw how the pillars were lined up on the bottom and how the turtles were lined up to be cleaned and lined them up in this composition.
The exposure was F-8 and 1/125th at 100 ISO.
When a photographer focus their intention on creation, the finished image will cause those that view it to feel an emotional response. This is why photography is a powerful art form.
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