What Makes It Coastal Abstract Photography?

Unlike my SeaDreams and Earthbound abstract work, Coastal Abstracts are like hidden treasures you find when you go to the beach. The other two types use a technique called intentional movement to alter reality. Instead, with the Coastal Abstract photography, I pull the abstract directly out of reality. This abstract photography comes from stumbling upon, mainly, hidden spots or pieces of a larger place. Also, unlike the other two types of abstract work which require planning and practice, these "just appear" in front of me as I walk alone along the coast. It takes a period of time to stop thinking about the day, week or year banging around in my head when I get to the coast. If I've arrived at the coast with plenty of time for sunset, I will walk a good stretch checking out potential places to capture the sunset event. These walks are what produce my coastal abstract photography. As I slow down and clear my head I begin to see things in a different way. Very often its the minutia, textures or color contrasts that capture my interest.


I actually made note of this odd tide pool texture when scouting my sunset location, Moments after I got my sunset shot I walked over to this spot again and saw how the last rays of the sun were casting a warm glow across the scene. It took some wrestling to get overhead of what I was seeing with the equipment. I almost ran back to my car to get a step stool! But instead,  I quickly snapped several exposures and then the sunlight was gone! Tidal Abstract was born right then and there. What is interesting is this is a location I go to several times a year and I've never seen this spot again! I take it as a sign that i was supposed to get the shot when I did. The general location probably has at least ten feet of sand on it the past year or two.

Timing has a lot to do with photography. The light is always changing. When the light changes the image changes dramatically. Sometimes what you saw is lost forever if you don't catch it when you see it right then and there. It's why patience and persistence are important aspects of photography. It was gray and dreary last night so I didn't venture to the coast but stayed in the city and knocked off a few images I had been thinking about. Really, only one of the locations worked out because I was willing to be patient and wait around at it until the light had turned to near darkness. The test shots leading up to the moment were less than spectacular but they helped me figure out what needed to happen when the time came. This sort of situation would not have manifested had I been impatient or shot the locations in reverse order. Random? I don't think so! That little voice we all hate kept saying pack it in and I had to shout at it, No! I'm staying for one more cycle of the stoplights! I did. It worked.



I found this little notch in some rocks along the shore. I call  the image, "Sea Shore Patterns." This too was a spot I saw on my walk out. When I walked back an hour later and the light was less harsh and the tide had gone out even a little further to make the setup less precarious. I only took this one shot like it was meant to be. For me it has a calming "natural order of things" vibe to it. In my book, abstract does not have to mean blurry although sometimes it can.  Abstract for me means alternative reality; images with "feelings," more than imagery not that other types of photos can't do that. What does abstract photography mean for you? Does it have boundaries or a need to fit into some sort of box?

I have a dream that some day I am asked to fill a hospital with my abstract images. It would make such a difference for people who find themselves in these spaces, searching for comfort. More than a museum or gallery, this sort of project would mean much more to me.



I guess the other part about this corner of the photographic world that inspires me is that it uses the camera as a tool more like a pain brush than a pixel thief. With landscape photography there is literally nowhere that hasn't been snapped to eternity. You can go get yours and add it to the story of that landscape. I know landscape photographers who have taken the most amazing images of those places! But with abstract photography, be it coastal, landlocked or studio bound, what emerges from the camera is an original piece of art that can't be duplicated. I'm interested to hear what you think of this photo above, titled, "Beach Art." It was a gloomy day at the beach. So, I turned my attention to minutia, shapes, patterns and textures. From that session, this photo emerged. I was drawn to the natural geometry and the chance stop action of natural movement. An interesting aspect of all three of these photos is that they were all shot with a telephoto lens at fairly close range. Our eyes don't really "see" at this level. They can. But it is more of a brain function than an actual thing that happens; ie. cinematic moves versus how our eyes survey a situation or event is the same sort of dynamic I'm trying to refer to.

I want to take my dreams and thoughts about abstract expression to the next level! I have built the space in my garage. I literally need to just get to it. I wish I was a packrat and had kept decades of National Geographic or Rolling Stone magazines. But I didn't. I let them go during some move sometime. So I have to figure out how to get around that excuse and just do it. But I am strongly drawn to some sort of mixed media collage surrealism. We shall see if I can get out of my own way to achieve this. Meanwhile I can and will continue to seek out coastal abstract photography opportunities every time I find myself on the beach!


At about the same time The Beatles released their White Album, the Moody Blues had hit the scene. I was drawn to their music as well as the words in their songs. The message I got was that our planet was in peril and it was up to us to do something about it. Who knew it would take 50 years to convince others... This song is from their second album, In Search of the Lost Chord and was a big radio hit. Progressive Rock has had so many great bands through the years but The Moody Blues were very much a pioneering sound along with bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Keith Emerson and a host of others. I relate their music very closely to my abstract work. It's on the same wave length. i suppose their music sounds "quaint" now but it was a pivot back then where music was not going to be just about the next hit, love song, et al. Instead music would begin to be a powerful voice in the direction of the world... there is a lot of unfinished business to be sure. This version of Ride My See Saw gives away a time that was only authentic for a few years, say, 1967-70. It was a time when it seemed like progress of culture was going to keep pace with technology. Goofy hippies just feeling wonderful about life! What could go wrong! I hope one of my guitar knowledge friend can tell me what the heck that guitar Justin Hayward is playing in this cut?