Photo tip of the month ... Look around for the best viewpoint.

Sounds simple, and it is. However, it is not always easy to do. No matter the subject, when we have good light, we can get caught up in the moment and simply start pressing the shutter release.

Recently, there was thick fog on a drive back home from Chincoteague, VA. By thick I mean pea soup, London-like, can’t-see-diddly, outta-pull-over-and-wait kind of fog. I decided to make a detour to Crisfield, MD to catch both breakfast and a few images in the harbor.

As I arrived in the harbor, the sun was beginning to peek through the heavy cloud cover, and the fog was moving out toward the Bay. The light was fantastic. Colors were vibrant. The calm water provided mirror-like reflections.  I was itching to start shooting and had to force myself to look around for the best composition of workboats, their reflections, and the fishing gear watermen use.

Here follows what I saw, how I evaluated the view, and the image I discovered and created. The first viewpoint was a good candidate (several workboats, their reflections, a colorful shanty, and crabpots along the wharf), but I could not get into position to show the entire name Ann Lynn II … so I moved on. From the next viewpoint the boat names were clearly visible, but I found the shadow across the Karen Ray II distracting … so I moved on. The third viewpoint appeared flat and out of balance thanks to the large shanty on the right and all the empty blue space on the left … so I moved on.

The fourth viewpoint provided depth and dimension, balance, a good mix of workboats and gear, clear reflections, and pleasing light … so I pressed the shutter release. The result is an image that evokes a feeling of place and helps tell the story of Chesapeake watermen and Crisfield, MD.


Use as training image ... look for the best angle ... see DSC6033

First Viewpoint - No Name


Second Viewpoint - Distracting Shadow

Use as training image ... look for the best angle ... see DSC6033 and DSC6018

Third Viewpoint - Flat and unbalanced


Fourth Viewpoint - Evokes the feeling of the place


You can check out other images from Crisfield in my Watermen Gallery.