Sand is just tiny, little rocks

By Keith Smiley
Beyond the map stars contributing writer

Since I only recently tricked Brad into letting me play with the blog, I haven’t quite gotten into the groove of posting photos and whatnot. But now that I’ve made up an overly-official sounding title and given myself a byline (see above) as if I’m actually doing something constructive, I’m going to try and catch up on the past few days of pictures. And by pictures, I mean mostly snappers.

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What a Corona ad would look like if it was realistic. I’m not quite sure why there was so much stuff piled in one chair with no sign of the owners.

As Brad mentioned, Greg Cooper, a former student of Dave’s who currently teaches photojournalism at Brooks here in Ventura, took the time to show us some new places to photograph. Last night, he took us to Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, where there was great light all along the beach. Just as we’ve seen all over Ventura County, the people here are very open — even as five guys with cameras wander up and down the beach. Some people stop and ask if we’re Brooks students and are interested to hear that we actually go to school in Kentucky; other people pretend we’re not even there. It’s exactly what we want.

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Brad, Elliott and I walk hand-in-hand down the beach in Oxnard. Do I have to tell you Elliott is the one in the middle?

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The problem I had was there were just too many silhouette pictures to take, and I was striving to not take them. I wanted to use the nice light, and more so I wanted to challenge myself to capture something more complex and substantial than a silhouette. What ended up happening is I missed out on what were probably the best pictures out there.

Check out Brad’s post about the harbor, specifically the third picture in it (the silhouette of the surfer and the lifeguard stand). The photo is simple, nearly monochromatic, and I’m sure Brad wishes the people under the lifeguard stand didn’t run together with the supports, but it’s still my favorite photo that I’ve seen from yesterday — I say that with the disclaimer that I haven’t seen Ed or Elliott’s takes, so I could very well change my mind — and I wish it’s a picture that I’d taken. In its simplicity, the photo does a lot to represent the mood of the California beach.

By the way, this is Brad, so you know who I’m talking about:

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There was way too much text in one place, so I figured I’d toss in a picture from a few days ago.

When I went out to shoot last night, I was too focused on not shooting silhouettes to recognize that I was in a prime place for them. The silhouette is one of dozens of tools and tricks that photographers have available; any of them can be cliché, and any of them can be overused. But they also all have a place where they can be incredibly effective. The techniques themselves are easy to learn — it doesn’t take long to figure out panning or how to shoot a silhouette — but learning when to use each one and when to strive for something more complex or creative is a far more involved process. It’s something that I think we’re all making progress on out here as we chase the light every evening.

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