Working the Scene at Folly Beach

This week’s images have all been from the same location: Folly Beach, Charleston, South Carolina. When I get to a new place, I usually start out with the wide-angle shot that encompasses a large area and then really work the scene moving in closer and closer, eliminating elements from the scene to create more abstract compositions.

This is one of the first images I made.

Folly Beach Pier, Charleston, South Carolina

In this shot, I moved a bit closer to the pier.

Folly Beach Pier, Charleston, South Carolina

In Tuesday’s post I showed an image which isolated one section of the pier, but still included the beach, ocean, pier and sky. In Wednesday’s image, I cut out the sand and the sky above the pier as I got closer.

Folly Beach Pier, Charleston, South CarolinaFolly Beach Pier, Charleston, South Carolina












When the sun finally rose, I had made my way down the beach and was standing right next to the pier. At that point, when the bright light flooded the scene, I changed the angle I was shooting by aiming down the pier to eliminate the sun from the frame. I really liked how the waves rushed under the pier crashing into the pilings, the sunlight reflecting off the splashes.

Folly Beach Pier, Charleston, South Carolina

Folly Beach Pier, Charleston, South Carolina

When you “work the scene” it is most important to remember what attracted you to the scene in the first place. This is not about randomly taking snapshots with different perspectives. It is about focussing your attention more closely on the most important aspects of the scene and thinking of compositions that will portray these aspects in the best way.

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  1. says

    This is tremendous series of images, Anne – each one adds another strand to the story. I like your idea of ‘working the scene’; I think that’s a very solid concept – it’s so easy to get carried away and be ‘snap happy’. I think when we shot on film, we were more careful as each image shot cost money!
    LensScaper recently posted..Visiting the MuseumMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Andy, yes I think that’s true, when each click costs money we were more cautious. One thing I have been meaning to try lately is to go out and only allow myself to click the shutter once and that would force me to make very careful decisions on the composition. On the other hand, digital has allowed us to become more creative since we can try different things with no risk.

    • says

      Thank you very much Len! It was one of the best photoshoots I’ve had lately. After being up in the mountains and having so many days coming home with mediocre images it was very fulfilling to get this collection.

    • says

      Thank you Kris, I’m glad you find the post insightful. I have found my images greatly improved when I started paying more attention to what draws me to the scene in the first place and trying to get closer and closer to whatever that is.

  2. Betty says

    Wow. This series also has me awestruck. I too am sitting here in amazement. These photos are so beautiful. The moment I saw the second photo I also heard the gentle lapping and gurgling of the waves coming in and then receding. I could actually hear the waves. Your photos are just perfection. The minute, the grandiose, the movement, the quiet, the light and the dark, all captured. I can’t wait to see more. What a gift you have Anne. Betty

    • says

      Thanks again Betty, I really appreciate your taking the time to write such kind words about my photography. That is what inspires me to keep going on those days when I wonder why I am doing it. I wish I could put the words with the images like you do, that’s something I am working on.

  3. Paul Welch says

    Fabulous images and post Anne, thanks. One reason I like your posts – apart from the photos! – are the insights into your creative process, how you approached the scene and why you took the pictures you did. It always makes me think about how I often rush things too much, and just need to take more time an ‘settle down’ into a scene a bit! I love the shots under the pier and the light catching the spray. Paul, UK.

    • says

      Hi Paul, thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I think we all tend to rush ourselves when we get to a place, especially when we know that magic light is only going to last a short time, so we rush to try and get as many shots as we can. I always try to slow myself down. Sometimes I even tell myself that it’s just a scouting kind of photo shoot and I’ll make my “real” images the next day and I find by doing so I give myself the time I need to get the good shots the first time. I very much appreciate your visit and comments Paul.

  4. Srini Tatavarthy says

    Anne, excellent pictures. I love the concept of taking pictures. I will try to implement next time. While I like experimenting taking pictures, it would be of great learning for novices like myself if the photo details are also published such as f/stops etc. I may be asking too much and in such case feel free to ignore.

    In any case, I am in love with these pictures and the colors and your use of light is impeccable.


  5. says

    Great shots, Anne. Working the scene is definitely something I will keep in mind for my trips. I just love the way you captured that orange and that water coming past the pier poles. Who knows, when summer comes and we are on our way to Hilton Head, I may have to make a stop at Folly Beach to try myself.


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