A Survey

comments 51
Abstract / California / ICM / Impressionism / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

July 25, 2020 — San Gregorio, California; The past few days — My Office

Here’s the simple reason for my prolonged absence. Obsession. I’ve been deeply immersed in a Black and White post-processing and printing workshop which is taking me apart piece by piece as a photographer and gradually reassembling me with new eyes and new skills. I’m getting closer, but still not finished. (Not quite finished with the workshop. I’ll never be finished learning.)

This particular one has been a particular obsession. Still a work in progress. Although the ultimate creative decisions are mine, I’m nonetheless curious to see the responses of others. This group in particular.

Could you please offer me your thoughts on the following questions:

Which image has the most immediate impact? Why?

Which image lasts the longest for you — i.e. which would you want to live with? Why?





Thanks very much.

I’ll be back to regular blogdom as soon as I can. Meanwhile, stay well.

(Nikon D850, Tamron SP 24-70 f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. RAW processing and initial editing in DxO PhotoLab 4.0; Final editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at www.amagaphoto.com All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


  1. 4 is the one that caught my attention first [mind you, it’s not really objective because it’s the last one – best way to see these would be in a row on the same screen. Now I have to scroll down, so last tends to be a winner.] However, I would pick 3 for the exact opposite reason. I like 4 for it’s dramatic abstraction but I like 3 more because of it’s subtle continuity and softness. Hope that helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was immediately more drawn to image 4, because my eye appreciates very dark images.

    But after looking at all of them a few more times, I think that image 2 holds my attention more. The brighter bright part in the lower part of the image draws me in, and keeps me there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. #3 appeals to me most, because of the brightness. The others seem heavy: the last, almost oppressive. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t *want* to live with any of them, but if forced to do so, #3 would be my choice. (You know how I am about monochrome!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karen Kueter says

    Which image has the most immediate impact? Why?
    #1 has the most impact, though #2 is a close second.

    Which image lasts the longest for you — i.e. which would you want to live with? Why?

    #2. I like it the most and would be willing to keep looking at it any time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Michael, this is an intriguing exercise. i’ll take door number three, the shining path over the horizon, also intriguing. While following that same path in #4 is a bit darksome and looks more terminal. you’ll probably get a different reaction from people in the northern snow belt, then from people used to warm sand dunes along the Pacific! 🧐

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erica Wilson says

    Ok. So after some reflection, I find that #1 is not one I would want to live with, nor one that makes the biggest immediate impact. In analyzing why, I believe it’s because it has less contrast (perhaps a better way to state that is to say it has a more condensed range of grayscale?) than the other versions of the image.

    4 Has the biggest immediate impact, but it’s not an image that I would necessarily want to live with as it’s so dark. It’s very decor-dependent, which I tend not to like to use as a criteria for enjoying a piece of art).

    Number 3 is the one I would probably want to revisit and be around the most, with #2 being completely enjoyable and one which I could imagine “having in the space.” I find there’s a greater range of interpretation for me with these two. (Do you see the inside fold of a book when you look at these?)

    I’d be interested to hear how others reacted. Happy learning/exploring!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. CBull says

    #3. Very attractive tone/contrast/lighting. And I find this one has more for my minds eye to contemplate, being that, a draw to the Horizon and back out at the above reflection. Great to look at and ponder.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s not just the first impression that has me preferring number 1. I like the rolling metallic feel to the lower part of the image and find that the transition between the two “halves” is softer and more appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Immediate impact was an easy one for me – #4. I’m immediately, almost impulsively, drawn to darker images and images with contrast.
    That attraction often compels me to add too much contrast in my own images so that when I revisit them I decide that I went over the top and go back to the editor and soften the image. This is probably why I came to the conclusion that the image I can live with is #3.
    I asked my wife. She was originally struck by #2 but could live with # 3
    San Gregorio is an old haunt that goes all the way back to childhood. I’d be interested to see the original images.
    Here is a postscript to my comment about the originals. I was just about to post my comment when my wife came in and I asked her to look at the images. Sitting at my computer I really couldn’t visualize the scene. As she was looking at the images I stood a couple of feet behind her and I was suddenly struck by what the originals might have looked like. You took these on a foggy/cloudy day in late afternoon?
    Since a trip to Morro Bay in October I’ve been visiting the coast quite often but not so far south. I’ve been spending most of my time at Gray Whale Cove and the beaches at Pacifica, particularly Rockaway.
    Stay safe Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much for the really useful feedback. I’ve settled on number 1, interestingly — but I may try a blend of 1 and 4. When I do, I’ll also post the original. It was a gray late afternoon and the original uses slight ICM. Shot from the high bluff just south of the beach Ah, yes. San Gregorio goes back to High School, along with that entire stretch of coast going down to Gazos Creek. Doing things that we shouldn’t have been doing. I’ve been scouting for places that have impressive surf and accessible vantage points. Ideas?


      • San Pedro Beach/Pacifica State Beach. I guess they’re one and the same. The entrance to the parking is at the south end of Pacifica just before the drive up the hill towards the tunnel. You have to pay for parking.
        The south end of the beach is full of surfers. The north end, has only a few surfers and a bigger break.
        Gray Whale Cove. A flight of stairs to get to the beach. Big breakers and on both ends spectacular crashing waves against cliffs. Be aware that the north end is a nekkid beach but this time of year only diehards if anyone at all.
        A week ago Ocean Beach looked like the Banzai Pipeline.
        Stay safe

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks VERY much. Nekked don’t bother me. I used to be a habitué back in the ’70s. If I did that now, people would vacate the beach in horror.


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