Filed Under (How it All Started) by Alexa & Cindy on 03-06-2010
Tagged Under : featured, Photographers
You know when a great seascape hits you – you’re just minding your own business, clicking around the internet, checking out ocean photos - and BAM, all of a sudden you feel the wind in your face, hear the surf pounding in your ears, taste the saltwater in your mouth and become enveloped by the omnipotence of the ocean – and you didn’t even flick an eyelash.
That’s the difference between viewing a photo and experiencing an impactful image. You, the viewer, become figuratively submersed.
How does this happen? In this case, it’s because the photographer is literally so.
This week, O4E would like to introduce you to fine-art photographer Darren White of Portland, Oregon.
We stumbled across a fantastic image of Seastars on Flickr one day (shown below), and upon viewing it, Alexa had to be repeatedly scraped off the ceiling.
We just had to bring you the same feeling, and ask Darren about what we knew must be a hyperfocal passion for the ocean that we just had to get in on.
He makes it look easy, sure. But Darren’s talent and eye has traveled a long way. Read on while he tells us about that journey. Oh, and the ocean eye candy won’t disappoint you, either!
O4E: Do you remember at what age you became interested in the ocean? Do you know how and why?
DW: I would say around age 8 or 9. I was with a friend out at the beach during a major storm. We got caught by a sneaker wave and nailed against a cliff with nowhere to go…it was then that I realized the shear power of the ocean and the respect I need to have for it!
O4E: Did you always want to be a photographer? How did you come to photograph the oceans as a body of work?
DW: I actually got into photography in 6th grade when my mom got a free camera from one of those TV ads. I used it to photograph my friends skateboarding.
The next year my class took a trip to a local marina and I shot everything I could see….all in black and white and from there I was hooked.
I grew up on the coast and once I got my drivers license I spent every evening watching the weather over the ocean. Sometimes there were amazing sunsets and other times just dark and gray. I always had my camera and took pictures.
O4E: If oceans could talk to us about their futures, what do you think they’d be saying?
DW: Treat us right, don’t pollute us anymore!
I was on the beach today and there was quite a bit of garbage that had washed ashore. I can only imagine what is still out there.
O4E: What’s your favorite ocean animal and why?
DW: Either the Starfish (seastar) or the sand dollar. I can remember going out before school as a kid at certain times of the year and picking up hundreds of sand dollars in a matter of minutes…Full, unbroken ones! Today, my daughter who is 3 found 3 starfish on her own while we were beachcombing on the -1.4 tide.
O4E: What, in your view, and at the most basic level, is important that kids grasp about our oceans as a living, breathing entity?
DW: Probably the fact that the fish we eat comes from the ocean and we really cant afford to continue to pollute it. I feel kids have a good grasp that fish and oceans go together.
O4E: What goes through your mind when you compose an ocean-themed image?
DW: Today, it’s much different than it was when I was 16 - back then I just wanted to take the picture to document the color or the weather…today my work is more geared towards fine art and showing many elements in one image.
I look for sea stacks on the horizon, starfish on rocks, if there are any. I like to get water movement in my images too. I like to think that my images convey a sense of emotion and feeling to the viewer and they don’t simply say, ‘oh thats a nice photograph.’
O4E: Describe an ocean shoot for us; what’s a day on the job shooting the Big Blue like?
DW: First and foremost, know the tides, know the weather you are dealing with, as tides can really change in extreme weather.
Safety is number 1. Many people I shoot with may not agree with my statement. I do keep focused on where I am, water levels, and I always leave my self an escape route.
Most of my shoots are early morning or evening when the light is better. Midday harsh light is not the best, although it can make for some nice black-and-whites.
I try to add a little something to each image to give it feeling….maybe a rainbow if I can find one, water movement, a setting moon.
After safety, the most important thing is waiting for the good light and knowing which beaches have the subject matter you want to photograph.