I am proud to say that I have never deliberately picked up my camera and headed out into the landscape with the intention of copying someone else's photograph. To most of you out there that would seem to be a bit of a given, but unfortunately the world of landscape photography, and indeed of art, is littered with many 'copiers,' who, devoid of their own inspiration and ability to compose images, set out with the intention of replicating someone else's work. It should be noted, however, that it is possible to visit a location and spot a composition that is so obvious that is is unavoidable that it will be replicated countless times. In a world in which 'everyone' owns a camera this is especially true.
Thankfully, within every landscape there are virtually unlimited small details with which to form your compositions. As a coastal photographer, the destructive nature of the ocean is constantly refreshing the landscape around me. These changes are tangible if you monitor your surroundings over a few months, especially on sandy beaches. As an example, several years ago I took this landscape photograph - the rocks which feature in the foreground are no longer visible as the level of sand has risen.
At the coast, one of the easiest ways to make your landscape photograph stand out is to find an interesting rock formation to use as foreground interest. Simple foregrounds are best, but simplifying a foreground is one of the most difficult things to do. When one thinks of well known rock formations in landscape photography compositions, it is easy to think of Joe Cornish's 'Beach Ball' photograph of Elgol in Scotland. I'm sure all landscape photographers can think of a foreground rock formation that has become a magnet and is extremely over-photographed.
When I visited Whiterocks Beach for a sunrise with fellow landscape photographer Steven Hanna, I was fortunate enough to find a really beautiful rock feature which I have never seen in any other landscape photographers portfolio. It has been named 'The Bowl,' and you can see it in the landscape photograph above - hopefully it is obvious within the frame! I'm claiming it as my own discovery and will be interested to see if it pops up in any other landscape photographer's galleries in the weeks ahead! It certainly isn't an obvious feature in the landscape but one I really enjoyed photographing. I would love to hear from any geologists out there who can tell me how it formed.
That wasn't the only landscape photograph which I captured on this beautiful Northern Ireland morning. I hope you enjoy the photographs below too.