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 Nature Photography :: Essays :: A Minute Passed

Eroded Dome

Maybe you've heard the comedy routine, "A minute passed, we waited a minute, then another minute passed…". Well sometimes, while waiting for an exposure to finish, there's nothing to do but count the minutes.

In this case I was precariously perched on a wet rock with the only way off being via the rotten log that was supporting one of my tripod legs. The upshot of all this is that I had to stand perfectly still for the duration of the three-minute exposure.

What did I think about?

The usual cacophony of unrelated stuff; until I decided to study the image I was making. I realised that I had fallen for the oldest trap in the book. I had selected a wide-angle lens so I could 'get it all in' thinking that, as this was a photograph of a waterfall, the more waterfall I included the better the photo would be.

The original shot showed too much.

But what was I 'getting in'? A large slab of rock on the top right that is too light in tone and unbalances the image, some distracting ferns and, at the bottom, just an extension of the water dividing acres of amorphous vegetation.

Where was the interesting part? at the very centre of the image. This says everything I wanted to say about the scene. The simplicity of the water's curve, the deeply eroded rock with its texture laid bare, and the moss-like covering of the dome; these elements make a simple and strong image. I swapped the 90mm lens for a 210mm and made two more exposures, creating Eroded Dome.

Photography is as much about leaving things out as it is about getting them in.

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