How Can a Moment of Stillness Capture the Eternity of the Sea?


The Story Behind "Presence"

My name is Jamie, and I am an underwater and landscape photographer from Las Vegas, Nevada. I love making art out of my photographs. It has always been my dream to become a professional artist. The California Coast is my favorite place, so when I had the opportunity to visit the Monterey and Carmel area, I jumped at the opportunity right away.

I knew finding the best time and location to capture the beauty of the area where no humans would be in the way wouldn't be an easy task. However, I have patience and knew that if I waited until the perfect opportunity arose, I would find the method and place to compose my photograph.

It wasn’t long after my arrival at Point Lobos before I realized how serene and teaming with life the entire area was. As soon as I arrived, I could hear the waves crashing on the shore and calls from seals off in the distance. Birdsong could also be heard from the pelicans, cormorants, and egrets layered into the distant soundscape. I could taste the sea air on my lips and feel the cool sea breeze on my cheeks. Beyond the ocean air, there was a hint of floral that tickled my nose from nearby wildflowers.

As I walked down the path toward the ocean, the views in every direction were simply stunning. From the lush forests leading to the craggy cliffs, to the crashing waves and the beautiful shades of blue and green in the shallow ocean water. From the right angle, there were some areas where I could even see through the crystal-clear water directly to the bottom of the ocean.

I wasn’t at Point Lobos for long before I realized how much life was around me. Everywhere I looked, there were birds gliding in the sky or resting on the cliffside, seals swimming in the ocean or sunning on the beach. There were even butterflies dancing among the wildflowers. I had never been anywhere before that was full of life of all kinds. Everything was present.

I was so overwhelmed with all the sights and sounds going on around me that I had to pay close attention as I reached the barrier of the trail to make sure I didn't get too close to the edge of the cliff. As I gathered myself, I started to think, what if the people who visited this amazing place could slow down and be truly present too? What would the landscape look like if one were to stop and just let the whole world move around them? That is when I decided to slow down my photograph and take my picture using this technique.

Point Lobos was a place unlike anywhere I had ever been, so I knew it deserved a special photograph unlike one I’d ever seen or captured before. I knew I had to take my picture a different way, so I started experimenting with different photographic techniques in attempt to capture the location that conveyed its true beauty and the sense of peace that it brought upon me. That is when I decided to have my camera mimic what I'd like humans to do and slow down my photograph and take my picture using the slow shutter technique.

I returned over several days, searching for the perfect spot and lighting to create my vision. The park closed before sunset, and I didn't have long each morning before the crowds would start to arrive. And I was running out of vacation to get my photograph.

The last day of my trip was completely overcast. There was zero chance for a beautiful sunrise. Although I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see the sunshine that day, I took what nature gave me and tried to use the haze to my advantage.

I found a beautiful location that looked over the rocks and out to sea. I took out my camera, set up my tripod, and took my photograph using this special technique.

The final image had a beautiful soft blue hue throughout that I'd never captured before. Using the long exposure technique blurred the water, the waves, and the clouds. Only the crests of the waves breaking around the offshore rocks were white and the white mist around the rocks gave the image and otherworldly feel. The moss on the rocks created a pop of color next to the Egrets sitting on top of the rocks.

I had done it. I had captured the peace and beauty of Point Lobos as I had originally envisioned. Now I had a stunning memory to hang in my home and share with the world!

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