Photo: Waves breaking at sunset along the Kailua-Kona shoreline, on the Big Island of Hawaii
One of the all-time great instances of musical misdirection occurred back in 1990 when the heavy-metal rock group, Queensryche, released their ballad, Silent Lucidity. Once the song became a hit on the radio airwaves, people flocked to their local record stores to buy the album. (That’s how it was back in the day.) But to the shock of those who expected an album full of beautiful easy-listening songs, what they got instead was one hidden gem of a ballad among an album filled with heavy metal rock songs.
Twenty-five years later, the song still remains one of my favorites by the band due to its Pink Floyd-esque backing and harmonies. And as much as I still enjoy the song, the mere title of the track, Silent Lucidity, has kept a semi-mystical hold on me. It represents an allure of something we know, something we can sense, with an almost uncanny clarity and certainty, yet remains isolated from our conscious reality; an unknown that we know, something touchable that we can’t quite grasp.
This is the feeling I enjoy looking at intimate abstract visions of the world around us. Like trying to understand a dream, there seems to be a progressive path that an image can lead us down. Too literal, too easily understood, it’s like the ethereal dream world has yet to cover our eyes with its soft veil. Too abstract, too difficult to discern, and the tendril of knowledge that we can grasp gets lost, leaving us feeling slightly more adrift. There’s no right or wrong along this perceptive curve. That’s why art is subjective. To respond is to elicit that internal emotional or experiential feeling that is individually unique. It’s not a style or subject I approach often, but in this one instance, I thought I’d share a recent attempt.
In my last post, I discussed how I spent my first evening on the Big Island of Hawaii trapped (by choice) shooting the sunset from the lanai of our oceanfront condo rental. The point that I tried to bring home in that post was about developing a sense of vision while shooting from one isolated location. Well, it just so happens that all the photos that appear below were also taken on that very same evening, from that same lanai, looking down at the breaking waves with my telephoto lens.
So, in thinking along that artful curve, I’d like to know if you had to hang one (or more) of these images on your home or office wall, which one(s) would get your vote?
1.) The photo at the top of this post. (It’s the only picture that wasn’t taken on this first evening, but was from several evenings later at the beach next door.)
Thanks for looking, and I hope you’ll take a moment to leave a comment and let me know which one(s) you like best.
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Gary Crabbe is an award-winning commercial and editorial outdoor travel photographer and author based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He has seven published books on California to his credit, including “Photographing California; v1-North”, which won the prestigious 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal award as Best Regional title. His client and publication credits include the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, TIME, The North Face, Subaru, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret, Sunset Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and many more. Gary is also a photography instructor and consultant, offering both public and private photo workshops. He also works occasionally a professional freelance Photo Editor.