Gloria Grandolini  

The Rock, My Rock by Gloria Grandolini

January 2022 - The Rock, My Rock

About the Image(s)

It is very secluded. I have always struggled with taking pictures that express how I feel here - beyond the snapshots of the beauty of the place. I love the sunset time.
While reading last week the “More than A Rock” book that was recommended last month… I realized that maybe I had to start focusing on specific aspects of the landscape that “speak” to me.
My challenge is that I still do not feel I have the technical skills to express the emotion through the image itself or by making modifications to it!
So, for now - I thought that maybe attaching some words to the image might help. Looking forward to learning ways to let the image speak for itself.
And apologies if I went overboard with words, I know it is a photography group!

"The Rock, My Rock"
(Villa Haramara January 3, 2022)

Levigated and elegant
Gray, amid rough brown stones
With an 180 degree view
Of the pacific coast of Mexico

Enticing you to sit over her
To soothe you, when you meditate
In calm waters
Tempting you to come closer
When you are in awe of the huge waves approaching
In stormy weather

impervious to the weather and the waves
Surrounded by water, But never covered by it
I sit for hours watching the incoming waves
Bigger and bigger and bigger
Always thinking that one will cover it,
But no - not ever, yet.

Amid the roar of the waves,
Crashing and covering all the brown rocks around her
Touched every morning by the raising sun
Saying goodby to each fading day,
with the reflection of the pink sky above.

Of the whales passing by to find a mate and give birth
Of the pelicans flying in formation barely touching the ocean
Of the black crabs finding shelter from the approaching waves

More permanent than the private beach next to it
That comes and goes depending on the storms
More permanent than the palm trees perched over it
And of the few human structures build on the hill above
Definitely more permanent than me…

Where is your rock?"

Processing: I did some editing with Lightroom. I adjusted the whites and the blacks a little bit. I added +18 to shadows and +22 dehaze. I included a lens correction.

Technical: I used a Canon EOS 80D with an EF 24-70 m f/2.8L II USM lens. Shot at 15 sec, f/18, ISO 100 on a tripod. I used a B+W Filter ND1.8 64x Coated

11 comments posted

Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
Hi Gloria, Happy New Year! I'm intrigued by your combination of words and image. I find expressing what I am thinking about a place through an image alone is very difficult - portrait or even wildlife photographers have that part of things much easier. But maybe you are on to something here, in that writing down the feelings at least forces one to make it concrete. It helps if one is not starting with a fuzzy sense of what you are trying for the image to convey - I think Ansel Adams had a famous comment on that. You certainly have many textured feelings about this particular location - maybe a first step is trying to simplify those. Get it down to one strong thought you are trying to focus on and get across. Different images perhaps at different times could try to convey other aspects of your feelings.

On the image itself, some suggestions to consider. Perhaps emphasize "your rock" a bit more. Which rock specifically is it that you would sit on and reflect on the location? Can you get in closer to that rock? Can you do something to further highlight that spot? For example, you or someone else sitting on the rock would bring the connection to the place. But I could imagine more subtle approaches - placing something on the rock, an object of significance or maybe a flower which appreciates the place and again shows the connection. It also would give the image a bit more focus - it is beautiful now, but there is no real focus point for the eye to go to. Also, the colors in the sky are beautiful, but the sky above is a little bland - I don't think you need it and recomposing in closer would perhaps help you eliminate it. A camera position which moved the rocks out in the water so they do not overlap with the background, and where they are pulled left (there is a lot of right-side weight going on) might help as well. Then little things - the horizon does not look level. Easily enough corrected in post.

Again though, I very much like the words. Novel ideas like that help us all find ways to improve.   Posted: 01/09/2022 07:35:03
Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
Thank you Bob A and Bob W, I really appreciate comments on the words... a learning curve, but might be that the image/text combination works for me. Not easy to find one's own "Voice". I feel very privileged to be part of this group and learn from you all! I will work on being more succinct.

Great suggestions for the photo - this spot means a lot to me - to the point that is it where I want my ashes eventually to be scattered. So I would like to get to an image that I can frame. So I will take in all the suggestions and work on a new image for February. I struggled with the composition - because I wanted to show the rock as centerpiece, but wanted also some background to give a sense of the majesty and beauty of the surroundings. I was not happy with the sky - I have a new GND 2-stop lens which I have not used, maybe that will help to slow the water but keep the blue of the sky. I will apply your suggestions in the next shots. Thanks again.   Posted: 01/11/2022 12:48:21

Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Hi Gloria, you made me put on my thinking cap with this image and your poem? You've made Guy Tal and Brooks Jensen proud. I'm not going to try to critique the poem. I think Bob A has done a good job of voicing my thoughts on the image itself. I struggle with composition, color, and story most of the time. Hopefully, my crop, and added sky can give you some ideas.   Posted: 01/10/2022 18:31:00
Comment Image
Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
Thank you, I like your crop - more focus on the rock and just some background to give the setting. I will try to shoot something similar. What did you use/do to enhance the sky?   Posted: 01/11/2022 12:51:26
Bob Wills   Bob Wills
I replaced the sky in Photoshop. I take a lot of sky and texture shots and keep them in their own folders in LR. We can't always depend on nature to provide us with a good sky during a shoot. Keeps people guessing "what in the world is he looking at" when my camera or phone is pointing at the sky or a wall, or just sand.

lots of other YouTube sky replacement videos and software that can be used. Luminar AI does it with ease, but using your own skies are a little trickier.   Posted: 01/11/2022 13:12:57
Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
thank you for the tips! will save some skies..   Posted: 01/20/2022 17:17:13

Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
Hi Gloria
I see the rock in the water as the main subject of the image. I agree with Robert's comments. If this is a special place to you, you may want to return often to get a shot with a more interesting natural sky so you will have an image exactly as you experienced it. I often tend to like an image as I saw it, especially if it was a special location to me. Bob is right though, keeping some images of skies you have taken allow you to compensate for a bad sky day if you don't mind doing that. I will replace the sky in an image if it feels right to me. I think I would look to recompose with the rock by itself and not blending into the background as Robert suggested. In my example, I have not cropped in quite so much as Bob since I like the leading line of the rocks from the bottom left to your main subject and enjoy the soft water from your long exposure around the small rocks to balance the main subject. I added a sky your might recognize ;)   Posted: 01/11/2022 18:52:26
Comment Image
Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
Wow thanks! Interesting blending of my 2 homes 😱. Thanks, I go back there every day and will try to be more focused on what I want to convey. It is a bit complicated to get closer - in fact.. I just lost on the rocks my ND filter and the cover of my lens…. Interesting on keeping skies on file. will start doing so. i need to learn how to insert them with Lightroom. Very grateful of the at tips from this group.   Posted: 01/11/2022 18:57:56

Haru Nagasaki   Haru Nagasaki
Hi Gloria, welcome to the group.
My comments are mostly covered by others so I would not repeat it here.
I like the subtle color of the sky very much. It create mood and emotional reaction.
That's the beauty of this image.
If you want to make the rock in mid layer the center of attention, then Bob's cropping would work. But it conflict with the background. That's a bit unfortunate.
I would suggest that you decide the center of attention first, then structure other components for balance. That's the basic routine in shooting for me. Center of attention needs to be crystal sharp.
I am looking forward to see the next shot in the same place!

  Posted: 01/15/2022 18:41:06
Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
Thank you!   Posted: 01/15/2022 18:52:45

Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Hi Gloria,
I'm so glad to see that you are working hard at making your photography self expressive. "More Than A Rock" by Guy Tal is a great start. The photo you posted for this month is also a great start.
Your image is very pleasing to my eyes. The colors speak to me as well as the lines and forms of your shot. I don't feel you need a center of interest. The entire image is what's interesting. To me, it expresses calm softness. You restrained yourself from the temptation to increase the saturation and contrast that would make the picture scream at me. The pastel colors in the sky are very soothing. Although I respect Bob's and Cheryl's view, I don't think that their renditions with the added clouds work with what I see as your vision.
You might want to see if cropping some of the sky works. If you don't like the way it looks, undo the crop with Ctrl-Z.
The only other thing I would add to my comment is consider separation when composing your shots. The Rock cluster in the bay interferes with the distant hills. If you raised your camera up just a few inches you would create enough space where you will eliminate the conflict and give your image a greater amount of peace.
As Haru says, keep returning. Each time the place will look different and your emotions will be different too. Your future shots will reflect that.   Posted: 01/19/2022 18:19:48


Please log in to post a comment