Photographer on top the East Cliff at West Bay, Dorset; 21 Apr 2015.

Having climbed the really quite steep path palely visible on the far left, a woman pauses to look back westwards, taking a photo perhaps of the view over the tiny coastal resort of West Bay and the wonderful coastal scenery beyond.  Her companion – who may be as frustrated and bored with her “artistic pauses” as many photographers’ companions are – digs his hands into his pockets and stalks on along the path, which passes to the right of the wire fence.

I like this picture for its simplicity, and also for the impression it gives of Tiny and Fleeting Humanity against the dark, brooding, massive and far longer term Natural World.  I’ve intentionally made the silhouette to emphasise this distinction, but I value the path’s pale rocks because they provide some sort of border to the image on that side.  And the featureless blue sky is left untidy with a contrail and gulls, both of which could have been removed, because they add some interest and closure on the right.

And has she seen the glint of the long lens on my thundering great tank of a Nikon, and so is photographing, me photographing her, photographing me … “and so on, ad infinitum“, if I can paraphrase Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)?  Or is she (hopefully …) of a more artistic bent, and going for what the French call a vue generale?

Finally, the cliff’s stark edge forms the profile of a human visage that is looking up to the right – forelock, eyelashes, nose, lips, and maybe double chin or Adam’s Apple too, they’re all there –   but even I have not the gall to suggest that they be thought of as a cliff face.

Click onto this image to see a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Structure Harsh preset.



    • Oh yes, I can see that now – instead of being the vertical profile of the cliff, it would be a dark shoreline coming nearly horizontally towards us – thank you for the insight, my friend! 🙂


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