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Three River Rocks and Grasses

Three River Rocks and Grasses
Three small boulders mix among grasses along the banks of the James River near Richmond, Virginia.

Today’s image is from a follow-up visit to the location where I shot my “Peaceful Sunrise” image in 2017. The James has experienced some flooding this year in late Spring and early Summer, and I was curious what the effect would be on this location.

Fewer, shorter, grasses seemed to be the primary difference, which had the unanticipated effect of revealing a rock that was not really visible in my previous image; the smallest rock to the left of the other two.

In art, odd numbers make for stronger compositions than even numbers, and three objects seem to make the strongest impact of all. I really like the fact that the third rock is visible, helping balance out the composition.

I also like the how the grasses allow the eye to move back and forth across the image, traveling along the path of the grasses from right to left and back again, with the chiaroscuro of the largest, darkest, rock initially drawing the eye into the image. I think the fact that the grasses don’t simply “flow” across the image horizontally, but are at a slight angle from upper left and moving lower as they cross the image to the right, creates a more dramatic, though still peaceful, image. The taller grasses in my image from last year had much more of a straight left-to-right feel about them and crossed out of the top of the frame.

Taken with a Fuji GFX digital medium-format camera and a Fuji GF 120mm lens. The exposure was 13 seconds @ f/14, ISO 100. A 6-stop Lee “Little Stopper” neutral density filter was used to enable the long exposure which helped smooth out the flow of the water.

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