Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tell Me Why

Some Days You Just Stand Still and the Sky Does All the Work, 2011

I need your help.

I posted the picture above at my Flickr page yesterday. I almost didn’t, though, because I considered it something of a throwaway shot. It was obviously interesting enough to catch my attention when I took it. But when I looked at it later on what I noticed was all the things I wish were different about it.

This is another one of those instances that reminds you how difficult it is to judge how your own work will impact other people. There are photographs of mine that I really like, but that failed to attract much interest from other people. And then there are pictures like this, pictures I was close to throwing away altogether, that seem to really click with some people.

It wasn’t exactly a groundswell, but this picture did seem to touch far more people than I’d imagined it might. Several left comments at Flickr. Even more sent me e-mails, including people I’ve never even heard from before.

This was all flattering. But I don’t get it. What was it about this picture?

Was it the title? I’ll confess: I was trying to cover what I thought were the shortcomings in the photo with a title that was both vaguely alliterative (or is it sibilant? “some,” “stand,” “still,” “sky”) and honest in stating one of the truths of photography. (Namely, that it’s sometimes worthwhile just to stand still and not try to overthink things) And where I was just hoping that no one would think me disingenuous, instead they seemed genuinely touched.

Is there something in the sky that I’m missing? It’s a nice sky, but far less dynamic than others I’ve photographed.

Is it just the broad sweep of blue dominating the frame?

Feedback welcomed.


  1. Chris - I'm among those who like this picture a lot. Two things stand out for me. At first glance it looks like a paint brush swept through the clouds leaving a darker swath of blue. Second look and that same area looks like a fold in the clouds. Third look and I see a dolphin... NO, just kidding :)

  2. I LOVE it! It's so sweeping and majestic. What's not to like here? And those swirls of cloud formations. I say it's a keeper.

    Granted, I know nothing about photography, I just go with what I respond to, and this is beautiful to me.

  3. Almost a Throwaway! Nevah!
    I identify strongly with the title, I know that experience exactly.
    The photo?someone else mentioned the brushstroke cloud, yes. The freedom, movement.
    But I love the intensity. Not just the blue, but all of it, the hot deep color ( strange word to choose for 'cool' tones but I feel it), the contrast. Richness. And simplicity of composition. Like pure essence of seasky experience. That low low horizon line, strips of dark green sea and glowing palewarm sand.
    It all packs a big whallop. It's not timid, or gentle. It fairly hollers: Sea, sand, sky; You are HERE.
    I love it.