Hulls Cove Beachscape

After driving a mile past this scene and debating with myself the entire mile if I should stop to take a photograph or continue on to my destination, I turned the car around and headed back. They say take the shot when you see it, never say 'oh, I'll come back and take that picture'. I saw something from the road that looked promising, but I didn't know exactly what it was. Arriving at Hulls Cove in Bar Harbor, I walked down to the beach and started shooting. Seven compositions later I honed in on the final shot expressing what drew me here. Below I walk you through my seven compositions to experience my thought process as I composed this final image. To learn how to create images like this, consider taking one of my nature photography workshops in Acadia National Park.

EXIF data: Fujifilm X100S, 23mm, f/8.0 (&B there), 1/160 sec, ISO 200, 4/23/14, 11:42 AM


Beachscape, Hulls Cove Beach, Bar Harbor, Maine


My first shot and what I liked: soft light, streams forming s-curves, interesting foreground rock with repeating patterns of green algae in background rocks, simple ocean (not distracting). I didn't like the shallow depth of field. Hmm, nothing special.

Hulls Cove Beach, Composition 1

Hulls Cove Beach, Composition 2

Let's try looking down to simplify the image, with less information. Ughh, it looks worse.

Looking down didn't work, let's try looking up. Nope. If there was an interesting sky with puffy clouds or an amazing sunrise, this would work. We're not there yet.

Hulls Cove Beach, Composition 3

Hulls Cove Beach, Composition 4

Okay, this is starting to feel right. Better angle and increased depth of field. But it could still be better, let's try changing perspective.

I climbed up on the foreground rock. I wanted to hold my camera high above my head and point down at the sand as my main subject of the image. It's starting to take shape. Let's now try a vertical shot.

Hulls Cove Beach, Composition 5

Hulls Cove Beach, Composition 6

Wow, that's it! Now for some fine adjustments. See the rock in the upper right corner. I want to see the whole rock with some ocean to buffer it on the right. Believe me when I tell you, it took a few shots. Holding the camera above my head implies I 'recompose' (without looking at the back or the viewfinder) and check. Over and over, until I get it just so.

Bingo, that's the one. Now climb down from the rock and snap a couple of other shots that didn't amount to much.

Hulls Cove Beach, Composition 7

Hulls Cove Beach, Final Composition

Here's the final image after some post processing in Lightroom and with Nik Software. I love using the stream as leading lines. From left to  right: leading from foreground rock to repeating rocks in background, leading from mid-image to the background ocean, and leading to the lone rock at the shoreline.