On Thursday, August 18th, 2022, I went to Nauset Beach with my daughters to photograph some waves. I set my camera to be able to portray motion but also capture detail.
I photographed the waves breaking off-shore for about an hour. The results were pretty dramatic. The sun was still grazing the tops of the Atlantic which created dynamic light and caused the shutter speed to be a bit faster than I had hoped.
As the sun dipped behind the dunes, everything changed. I was running out of space on my memory card, as well. At some point, one of my daughters started to urge me to go home. I told her I only had 5 shots left. With a continuous fast shutter speed, it would take about 3 seconds to fill the card.
"Henri" is the second of those final five.
When you watch waves with the naked eye, it's hard to capture one special moment. It's a wonder to watch their constant power and resilience. But the camera can catch that something special with the right combination of lens, settings, and motion.
Below is a quote from the legendary French photographer, Henri Cartier Bresson, who wrote, The Decisive Moment. It's also the reason I named the photograph after him.
"Photography is not like painting," Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post in 1957. "There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative," he said. "Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever."
I had watched waves for an hour. Some of the photos just didn't line up because I couldn't anticipate exactly where the wave would actually start to form a pipeline. Watching this wave was a different story. The break was directly in the center of the frame. The exact fraction of a second where the break was captured in mid air was 1/6th of a second. Typically, to freeze moderate motion you would use 1/60th of a second. Slowing the shutter down 3 1/2 times created painterly strokes in the water as it was drawn into the ocean from the shore.
"Henri" will be printed on Metallic AND Metallic Silver paper in the 1x2 format for a light panoramic feel. It will also be offered in the same aspect ratio on ready to hang aluminum for a very polished contemporary feel. (See below) The Metallic Silver paper has recently been discontinued due to the limited subject application of the surface and difficulty in achieving a perfect print. I have only 25 sheets of this paper left and will be offering 10 prints on this paper measuring 9"x18" Both the Metallic and Aluminum prints are available in 12"x24" and 24"x48".
The final print is the result of evaluating several test prints to determine how the finished print would appear. I heavily marked the first test print with retouching notes. I also printed 5 samples on various aluminum finishes.
Please let me know what you think of "Henri" by leaving a comment below. And if you are joining me from Vero, "Welcome!"