Moon over Mission Beach

Moon over Mission Beach is one of my latest images, made while on vacation with my family in California this October.

long exposure moon beach seascape
Moon over Mission Beach / California, 2017


My main inspiration for this image was the abstract paintings of artist Mark Rothko… just kidding (a wee inside joke for those of you who read my last post). Actually, I had this to say when I originally put the image out to my various social media outlets:

I felt the raw energy of waves crashing to shore, powered by an unyielding attraction to the distant waning moon. My wanderlust was at once roused and satiated, staring out into the infinite horizon, settling me into a state of deep content and contemplation. Standing there at the edge of the earth, knowing my human vessel isn’t designed for what lies before me, I couldn’t help but be humbled.

I know, I know, these words are highly romanticized. But there is much truth to it. When I am creating art, my perception is exaggerated because I make myself vulnerable and open. I allow my mind to wander in search of the abstract and metaphorical. It’s part of how I process my inspiration and make connections. It is how I choose my subject matter and make decisions about how to work the scene and design my composition.

As I suggested in my previous entry, I don’t believe in sitting around and waiting for inspiration. I believe in showing up and working. My experience has been that when you get to work and practice intentional awareness, inspiration will often join the party.

Much of the work I’ve done with water in the past featured intentionally long exposures of 1-8 minutes to calm the chaotic detail of tide and clouds, transforming a busy scene into a tranquil space. This time, as I stared out at the moon I couldn’t help but appreciate it’s role in the crashing tide. I made the decision that a faster—albeit still relatively slow—exposure of five seconds would better capture this raw energy. I’m very pleased with the result, and with the extra textural detail it brings to an otherwise extremely minimal scene.

Despite my appreciation for the raw energy of the rolling waves, I still wanted to honor the sense of deep content and contemplation I felt; to carve out my slice of quietude. To this end, I decided on a wide angle, panoramic image. Using a longer focal length would have given me a bigger moon, but at the expense of space. The wide aspect ratio gives more negative space and calms the scene down by emphasizing the horizontal line where the water seemingly meets the sky.