Excerpted from my Flickr stream:----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can endure. -- Henry David Thoreau-------------------------------------------------------

Sometimes an image so burns itself in your imagination, that even without having seen it you cannot forget its power or presence. Such was this scene for me at Ruby Beach over this past summer. An immensely interesting beach, I love photographing here. We arrived one stormy summer day on a trip down from the northern reaches of Olympic National Park just as the stormy clouds were parting and the beach was bathed in spectacular light. I "saw" this image, an expanse of driftwood lit dramatically with the beach's signature seastacks in the background and the stormy skies swirling overhead, the expansiveness of this scene and all the elements in it. And the inner photographer in me screamed to figure out a way to capture it...

I have experimented a bit with this Holga technique and admit that my results with it so far are works in progress. There are definitely aspects of what I have achieved so far that I am quite pleased with, but I am constantly studying them to find ways to improve. One danger in experimenting with a new technique is that initially all the results look good, just from the new 'wow' factor. When I first started doing my flower macro, I liked many of the shots that now I consider very amatuerish. I had not developed that technique very fully yet, and once I did my results were much better than the initial few photos. See, an image shouldn't be good just because of some neat, cool trick applied to it, that is just a gimmick, and any manipulation can become this. An applied technique should enhance an already good photograph, not carry it. I am in that cautious gray area still with these multi-shot Holga panoramics. I am cautious to try and make sure that it is not just the cool factor of the style that is making the shot interesting, but rather the characteristics of the technique matching those qualities of the scene, and providing a different or enhanced perspective of it.

So back to the beach...

There is something about these Holga panoramics that have an expansiveness to them, and that is what made me think to try this type of shot that afternoon. Of all my cameras that I had with me, this is the one I reached for. My Pentax 67 was loaded with color, and its images are ... too perfect. Too crisp, too sharp. My pinhole would not have been sharp enough, its slight softening tends to smooth out jagged features a little. The imperfections that Holga images tend to have, and the uneven way I knew they would all overlap is why I figured my little plastic $25 camera would be best suited for capturing what I wanted. This is eleven separate exposures, believe it or not. I was attempting to get an even narrower, more panoramic result originally, but seeing it all together I kind of like it as it is. Still, I am adapting to how wide the lens on the Holga can actually seem when used in this manner, that and keeping the shots organized in my head as I am shooting them off. But this is basically what I pictured in my head, this is the image that so piqued my imagination, and begged me to do what I could to realize it in film.

I developed the negatives, made a couple of proof prints, and then promptly set them all aside, no scanning, no experiments at blending them together. I just got busy. I kept remembering this image, and kept thinking I should really set aside the hour or two to put it all together to see if it actually worked or not. But weeks became months. The image itself remained burned in my memory, though I still had not seen it in final form. Every time I saw the page of negatives amongst the stacks of other pages, this image would spring back to the forefront of my mind, not that it had ever drifted very far. Because it had been such a powerful scene that day, the wildness of it all, the savage beauty of the turbulent ocean and the remains of her sometimes violent accomplishments. So finally, I sat down and scanned. I took the eleven single images and, not unlike a jigsaw puzzle, started fitting them together. I enjoy the process, trying to balance what you so strongly remember with what you hope to see, to make a final image to mirror that which was powerful enough to stir your soul...

Phew, anyway, the Pacific Ocean does this to me. People sometimes look at me like I am crazy when I tell them stormy days at the beach are the best. Then again sometimes people just look at me like I am crazy without me saying anything about the ocean. I am happy with this. My imagination is sated, even if my drive to further explore this technique is not. The day you stop exploring afterall, is the day you begin to live a little less.

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