I regularly teach composition classes on photography workshops. I have changed my class frequently through the years, trying to create the perfect composition class that gives students tangible creative techniques to try. But one thing has never changed in my presentation; ‘think graphically, not literally.’ Or as Monet said, “In order to see you must forget the name of everything. By labeling, we recognize everything, but on longer see anything.”
This was the case with this Dall Porpoise in Kenai Fjords NP, Alaska. This pod of porpoise surfed in our bow wake for 20 minutes, it was an incredible experience. I started photographing the action with the end goal of getting a porpoise above the water or maybe its dorsal fin. But then I realized just their shapes and the splash patterns were creating amazing, graphic images. I became less focused on photographing the porpoise, and more interesting in capturing the design and shape created by this event. After shooting hundreds of images, I found one image I liked, posted above. The strength of the image is it’s graphical qualities, not what animal is in the photograph.