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on Jun 13, 2018 in Landscape Photography

Is It a Photograph?

Spouting Horn
captured by D850 / 24-70VR

The Spouting Horn on Kauai is just one of those locations that in the late afternoon, you can’t but take a deep breath and relax! The view is spectacular so much so that even the evening rain shower makes you smile just that much more. Then there is the natural beauty of the coastline enhanced by the “breathing rock” that is the Spouting Horn. Even at low tides, you can hear it take a breath and let it out even if there is no spray. The warm, ocean air, the floating clouds, the gorgeous light, it’s just about as romantic a spot as you’re going to find. Then we interrupt this all by putting a camera to our eye. I say this because there is no emotion setting in the camera, romance slider in post. Argh!

Spouting Horn
captured by D850 / 24-70VR

What do I mean by that? When we put the cold-hearted bastard to our eye, we take all those emotional responses to Spouting Horn and make them mechanical. We have all the best of intentions wanting to preserve and share the moment, but we often fall short. For your consideration, I offer up these two photographs from my recent time at Spouting Horn. The top shot is looking west at Spouting Horn, the bottom photograph is looking south right at Spouting Horn. Which photo says, “I was here” and which says, “You SHOULD be here?” I know the answer for myself, but do you when you experience such a moment and put the cold-hearted bastard up to your eye? You might be saying, “The bottom photo has a rainbow, I want that photo.” But does the rainbow really make the photograph, a photograph? For me, the vertical photo has two halves, a top half with the rainbow and the bottom half, Spouting Horn. There is nothing visually tying the two together. So while both are photographs taken with the D850 / 24-70VR (shooting on CS to capture the burst of water), one is simply, I was here and one is, you should be here. So for me, it has to grab heartstrings for it to be a photograph.

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