Below, is the first photograph I took of what is now one of my favorite northern Oregon landmarks. I say landmark, as far as I know, it’s not a landmark for anyone but me. It isn’t a single rock, it’s a pair. Allies rising up together on the lowest reach. Accounting for tides and surf conditions, they aren’t accessible very often. Seven years after this first encounter, in April 2013, I’m still drawn to the quirky charm of their barnacle encrusted mussel topknots. Tides permitting, I go back.
I last retuned in July 2019, with the wish of recapturing the original framing. On the beach, I discovered I had complicated the task by purchasing a new camera. Its viewfinder had different dimensions than the one I used in 2013. I also had to overcome three other other framing variables. Against a making tide, with my back turned to a mercifully small (checks notes) three-foot swell, I bobbed, swayed and weaved in search of an oh so elusive combination of body location (on the horizontal axis), head height (the vertical axis), and orientation (the angle of my camera to the rocks’ faces). The fourteenth shot came very close to the original. Back at my desk, I cropped the 2019 version to match the aspect ratio of the original. The end product is what you see below.
This tale explores the flip side of reimagining a photographic take. It illustrates that there is much to learn about an original before approaching it differently (or the same) a second time around.