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The Art of Seeing: On Location

Lesson 6 of 7

Exploring Patterns in Tide Pools


The Art of Seeing: On Location

Lesson 6 of 7

Exploring Patterns in Tide Pools


Lesson Info

Exploring Patterns in Tide Pools

I mean the intertitles oh, now things are pretty wet. Uh this is my garbage back is useful I'm gonna put it out so that night pack doesn't get totally wet and then I've got a nice spot to put things down. This is a world with infinite possibilities look at all of this we've got muscles we've got seaweed we've got algae there's a nem unease so what do you do it it don't start shooting too fast walk around, let it work on your eyes try to get an understanding of what this all means and then pick up a camera one lens and started walking around don't get too serious nibble at this possibilities first then I got to the beach early this morning I started out by using my wide angle lens for the big picture serve hitting the rocks that that tide line and the sweep of the coast behind it. Then I started applying my telephoto lens to compress the perspective, but now I'm going to bring out my third lands the medium rain soon that goes from twenty four to seventy millimeters there's a whole world...

of possibilities here I'm going to do a couple of test frames nothing too serious yet I'll just explore this little landscape here back there at the tide line we had strong compositional possibilities the rocks the diagonal of the tide line sweeping away but here it's complete payoffs everything is growing together so what do I do with that? I start looking for patterns there's the patterns of the muscles there's the patterns of the seaweed there's the barnacles how can I combine these into a composition that make sense? Well maybe I can find something where everything is balancing everything else out a few muscles a few seaweeds a few barnacles I see some marine snails as well maybe something like this I see some striations in iraq too so we've got four different patterns here four different subjects that all happened to be here at the same time maybe if I approach it like this let me do a test shot that's not bad for starters but I've seeing that half of the subjects are underwater so I'm shooting through the water surface and that means I'm picking up a little bit of a sheen at the water surface which I have to compensate for by applying a polarizer polarizer sze are wonderful tools I'm going ahead of myself I'm first composing and then we'll deal with the technicalities laters yes I like this like this but do I like this better maybe I do I've got a little bit more color here just shooting some frames until is this what I want do I need to look here a little bit more looking looking looking okay I think I found an initial shop here this is relatively white thirty five millimeters yeah that test shot confirms there's potential here so now it's time to get serious get the tripod out and I'll begin to compose in earnest what I'm seeing here is a complex scene there's the pattern of the rocks the crack rocks that all the different lines and striations and then growing on the rocks at the seaweeds dotted here and there there's the algae to dark green algae there some barnacles in here is well that give me nice highlights and then there's mohr stuff here on the rocks that is a deeper color so I've got a whole range of colors and shapes and I'm going to see if I can balance that in a composition so I try to stay aware of the different ingredients and now I'm going to look for a composition where all these things are expe pressed in a very nice way throughout the frame this is what I call a difficult photograph because it isn't so apparent what the optimal composition is there are too many possibilities so this is where I bring the loop out I'll do my test eighty eighth of a second at f eleven half eleven gives me plenty of depth of field here and now I'm beginning to find tune the composition by paying attention to what I want to see at the edges of the frame it's not just what is in the middle I don't want anything in this scene that is accidental so no pluck of seaweed that is right at the edge of the frame no big rock right at the edge of the frame I think I have a situation here that gives me that balance okay let's see what it looks like that works but it's not that interesting yet I need to make some more creative choices I need to get in closer this looks to accidental this looks like something that I just found and I didn't think about too much so let's see if I can come up with the same set of ingredients the barnacles the dark rock the seaweed and everything else but on a smaller scale but these kind of scenes you have to give it time yeah I start out white and then once I become more sensitive to what is here I begin to move in more closely and it doesn't matter whether you're looking at a tight pool well what you're looking at grasses in a meadow all of these things show the same infinite variety of possibilities so camera off the tripod because I got a free myself off the tether let me see what I've got here oh yes this is a more deliberate choice camera goes back on the tripod already know where I need to be tripods are tedious but without a tripod I couldn't do this scene there isn't enough light and thiss seen really requires me to go for the ultimate in texture so you probably noticed that I started to kind of pulling the lexx together from the top before I hit the bottom legs I always keep the bottom legs open and I'm working on the beach because if I do this then I get sandoval ordering the locks and that's a bad thing he end up cleaning your tripod so I'm putting it down and now I'm rough lever I want to be I need to be a little bit lower I'm using a gets a tripod with lex that khun spread wide so that I can get closer to the ground I've got a shiner column on top of the gets a tripod is a ball hat made by really write stuff the ball hats are the only way to go a ce far as I'm concerned because it gives me a lot of flexibility yeah, I can instantly adjust things with these three levers here okay, let me get back into my composition oh yes, I will shoot this white so you can look over my shoulder and see how I'm gradually zeroing in on the details and now I think I've got something much more deliberate and more interesting them and I first walked into this scene just a pattern of barnacles with a little bit of algae closing the aperture down all the way to twenty two the shutter speed is incidental nothing moves in this scene yes, I like that. What else can I do to improve on this it's a little bit of order perhaps I could take some of the surf a sheen away if I apply a polarizer let me try that taking my uv filter off in adding a polarized now you might think I'm crazy why would you need a polarizer van it's overcast? Well polarizes are good not just for polarizing light then you have a direct light situation but they're also good for taking xin away from the surface of things no matter whether it is a water surface or whether it is the sheen of foliage in a wet forest so this polarizer will help me yes, I can see the scene change a little bit not too much it's not very dramatic, but every little bit helps here. Can I'm seeing my own reflection so I need to back off a little bit and this is not an award winning shot but gradually working my way into the details here. All right? How else can I do this? Maybe approach it from this angle award winning shots are not something that you walk into, you know they happen once in a while, you know you've got to just kind of patiently work yourself into situations and sometimes when you're lucky there's the magic of light kind of interacting with the subject and sometimes you can come up with a new perspective that is what makes the difference between an ordinary photograph in an extraordinary image delvin light and circumstance add onto a subject but ultimately it's a photographer's vision that makes the difference. I want to go over there I did something that was fairly complex that's a really exercise in in looking closely now I'm going to show you a much simpler pattern I'm here on the muscles I'm backing off from the muscles that was just a bit too far let's see if I can find some muscles away from the spray. What I would like to show you is the difference between a very complex composition and a simple pattern and the muscles growing together here give me the opportunity to do a very simple composition, nothing but muscles muscles attached to iraq in a tight pool fairly simple pattern let me see what I can do it through my view finder and seeing the muscles from seeing the different patches of them and there's a great rock in between and that provides the negative space that I'm looking for. I still got my polarizer on the lens and as I rotated, I'm seeing that it's taking away the surface sheen on the water and I'm doing a little bit of cleanup there's a couple of strands of seaweed that I can do it out because it's an interruption of the pattern that I'm looking for this is all about muscles on muscles only I'm starting by shooting white that is thiss frame but now when I zoom in it becomes more interesting show that again white but this is where the composition occurs nice curve at the top and then nice lines at the bottom now I need to frame that a little bit more tight and then I think yes I like that muscles are partially submerged that creates a little bit of an edge with the metal water touches them so this is a much simpler pattern then but I was just playing that over there where I was looking for the combination off mosses and algae and barnacles and muscles one subject one pattern here now moving over here because I see another pattern here this time it's the seaweeds some of it is green still alive and then other portions are not so a life anymore so I'm seeing a play between brown and green sun is coming out oh yes ok oh now I'm seeing maur maureen mohr I see yellow barnacles on top of black mussels it really is a wonderland here okay, check my history graham nice distribution I'm in the zone I never run out of things to do here I started off it that wide angle lens to capture the big landscape and then I switched to a telephoto lens too compressed the perspective I've worked with rocks in a tide line and then I moved to this type pool area and I switched to another lands a twenty four to seventy after two eight nick or lands, which I like to use a lot for scenes that are closer to my feet. This is a very challenging environment because there's so much that lives together in these tight pools yeah, their patterns are endless to me that is also a landscape but it's a landscape it out a horizon and no matter where you live, you confined the same intimate landscapes you can go to aa grassland meadow you khun go to four or you can operate in a title, but that is where the rial intricacies of nature are expressed when you're passionate about photography but you don't have a lot of time the biggest challenges too slow yourself down and not to try to do too much at any time. Forget about all these trophy shops that you can get it to grand canyon or in yosemite find a spot closer to home where you can go back to time and again and that is where you're going to be able to do things that nobody else does that is the way you can go from doing the surface of things and getting into the substance of things, and that is why I come to the speech I've been here hundreds of times, and yet every time I see something new, this is my spot and because I've been here so often, I'm really sensitized to the rhythms. I know what different kinds of light can do to the landscape or to the small or scenes at my feet, and that is when I can decide oh, this morning, this looks better than I've seen it the last time you don't do that. The first time you come to yosemite or the grand canyon, you have to take things as you find them here, I can go deeper and usually when you can achieve intimacy that becomes a stepping stone to creativity, and ultimately, if you're lucky, you'll arrive at a situation where you, khun get thes once in a lifetime photographic opportunities. How can you challenge yourself? It's, a photographer, to see things in a new perspective along great way to do that, is to join other like minded photographers and go someplace together? Join a workshop, go on the trip together because everybody sees things a little differently, and that is what I experienced myself. Let me host workshops at this beach or the other places along the coast of california it's amazing, I ca n't take students to a place that I think I know really well. And in a matter of a now er, they show me something that I never even thought off before. It's really quite humbling, but it also affirms for me that there are infinite number of point of view in any given situation. So band together when you're in a rut, joined somebody else, and that person is going to show you something that you never thought off before. Another good exercise is to leave all your gizmos behind for a photo session and just go with one camera in one lens. Leave the distractions behind, discipline yourself in looking for opportunities that you can execute with that one combination you have in your hand. And don't forget this amazing tool smartphones. Some people say, well, you can't really do anything creative it that I disagree. This's. The best camera I ever had in this new iphone six, enables me to do panels that turns even the most ordinary situation into a grand see soul right there and it's all in here.

Class Description

Go deep into the principles of landscape lighting, composition, and technique and learn how to create memorable images with Frans Lanting in The Art of Seeing: On Location.

Watch Frans at work on a beach near his home in Santa Cruz, California, as he teaches the essentials of landscape photography in a way that can only be taught in the field. 

In this class you will explore: 

  • Finding new photographic approaches in familiar settings and scenes
  • Photographing while the light changes – from dark to light
  • What equipment to use for different scenarios and results Frans will teach you how to evaluate light and really see how it interacts with your local environment. You’ll learn about the best ways to approach a familiar landscape and find the shots and the light you have not discovered before.

The Art of Seeing: On Location with Frans Lanting will teach you the ingredients for memorable images (subject, vision, composition, light, moment, meaning) and show you how to translate those general concepts into gorgeous outdoor photographs.



a really excellent class with a very humble Frans Lansing. Good explanations of EVERYTHING; composition, light and equipment. REALLY want to take one of Frans courses in person. Such a lovely person it seems. Thank you Frans!! I have posted some of my work and I am now inspired to do some of the gorgeous water shots you took WOW!!!


Loved this course with Frans Lanting. His explanations were awesome. I learned to "see" things in a way I have not seen before. I also was inspired to go back to my own safe haven at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge and "create." So much to practice but love that I can always come back to review this class/course for more inspiration. I would love to join one of his workshops.


I really, really, really enjoyed this course. I watched it when I was forced indoors by 100+ degree weather, and the constant sound of the surf cooled my brain. Frans is very easy to like and learn from. After spending this much time with him, I feel he should know me if I walked up and shook his hand--his personality extends so easily through the screen. He both reinforced my own sense of how to approach seeing a location and encourage me to see in different ways. His review of tech was mouthwatering as those look like some pretty high end cameras, but he finished the whole day by recommending his iPhone as the best camera he ever had. I was sorry when I finished this class; I wanted to go with Frans to a new location and do the same thing all over again. Thanks for a terrific value from!