I have been “missing in action” for several months now and I apologize for that! Life has been busy with many family events, a foot surgery, a trip to Newfoundland and some time taken to “regroup” mentally, physically, spiritually and photographically. My sincere thanks to all those who checked up on me during that absence.
Life is good and I’m now preparing for my next adventure: my annual trip to Bandon in October. I’m really looking forward to creating something new in this familiar place.
While in Bandon I would like to invite anyone in the area to come by for a meet-up where we could get to know each other and do some shooting together.
I will be available on Saturday 10/15/2016 at 9 am, I’ll be at the parking lot overlooking the beach where 11th Street SW runs into the ocean, right next to the Bandon Beach Motel.
If you have any questions, please email me at: Cole@ColeThompsonPhotography.com
I hope you can make it!
Stone Jetty No 6, Maalaea Harbor
I’ll be spending the next two weeks in Bandon, Oregon for my annual retreat.
This is a sacred time for me. It’s a chance to be completely alone, with no distractions and only one thing to think about: creating images.
At first it always takes a couple of days before I begin seeing, and often I’ll worry about the process and why it isn’t coming along. But then it comes…as it always does.
As I prepare to depart for Bandon I’m wondering if I’m finished with my Monolith series which I’ve been working on there for the last several years, or if I’m ready to move onto a new idea. I’ll find out soon enough as I walk those beaches and see if something else catches my eye.
In the past I’d need to go on these trips with a plan and preconceived ideas of what I’d be working on. Now I simply go and trust that I’ll see something and if I’m meant to go in a new direction…then I’ll be carried away with excitement and inspiration.
As I look at my portfolios, that is how it has always happened: spontaneously and through a sudden burst of inspiration.
It’s taken me a long time to learn to trust in the creative process and to realize that it cannot be manipulated or rushed.
Every autumn I go to Bandon, Oregon to photograph Monoliths. I have very specific conditions that I prefer; clear skies with wispy clouds that allow me to use long exposures on the Monoliths.
Unfortunately this last October I had not called ahead and made this request with Zeus, the god of clouds, rain, thunder and lightning. What I encountered was fog and lots of it, and unfortunately there is nothing for me to shoot in the fog.
So I decided to go up the coast and check out Cannon Beach, I heard they had some great Monoliths and I was hoping that the weather would be better there. Unfortunately it was just as foggy and so I decided to give up and head home where I would rent some movies and veg out.
Because as long as the fog was obscuring my Monoliths, there was nothing for me to photograph there.
But something inside of me said: Wait a minute, there is always something great waiting to be discovered…in every light, in every weather and in every location. It may not fit into your preconceived ideas of what you want, but there is something here for those who can “see.” And so I stayed.
Through the fog I faintly saw people walking towards me and it reminded me of spirits. A title immediately came to mind as I imagined the image: “They Walk Among Us.” Using the fog, a long exposure and by over-exposing, I created this very high-key image…in the fog.
It reminded me that having preconceived ideas (knowing what I want) might sometimes be a strength, but at other times it may make me blind to unexpected opportunities.
Whenever I’m at a location and feeling that there’s nothing for me to see, I’ll ask myself this question: If I had a time machine and could transport all of the great masters of photography here, could they find a great shot?
Of course they could!
So what is the lesson for me? That sometimes I need to look beyond my preconceived ideas of what I want…and see what is being offered.
They Walk Among Us
I’ve returned from Bandon, Oregon with 12 new images that I’m introducing in my latest newsletter.
Read the newsletter here
These are two of my favorites from the series.
Monolith No. 68
Lake Erie – 2013
I will be helping conduct several workshops next year (Death Valley, Bandon Oregon and Possibly Namibia) and want to live up to people’s expectations, so what are your expectations? Could I get your thoughts to a few questions about workshops?
1. Have you ever attended a workshop before?
2. Why or why not?
3. How many?
4. Using a total of 100%, how important is each of the following to your choosing a workshop:
- Photographer conducting the workshop
- Focus of the workshop
5. What do you hope to get out a workshop?
6. Please tell me of a positive and negative experience that you’ve had at a workshop.
7. Any other thoughts or advice for me as I prepare for these workshops?
I would appreciate it if you’d copy these questions, paste them into the comments section and answer them. Thanks for your experiences, thoughts and advice!
I’m in Russia right now and next Friday I’ll be in Split, Croatia for the opening of my exhibition “The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau.”
I’m back from my annual retreat in Bandon, Oregon. It’s a very small town and I think it’s the most beautiful and unique spot on the entire Oregon coast. I go there each year for about 10 days to photograph, to be alone and to contemplate. I found some wonderful new dunes on this trip and the Gods of wind and weather smiled favorably upon me. Here is a new “Dunes of Nude” image I created while on this trip.
I mentioned that one of the reasons I go to Bandon each year is to be alone and think. Here are some of the thoughts I had while on this trip:
- It’s amazing that birds can fly.
- Driving alone for miles on the beach is great fun.
- Life is very short. The older you get, the shorter it seems.
- Fog can come in very, very quickly.
- I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs.
- As much as I love photography, I’m not sure how important it is in the larger scheme of things.
- Why do we spend so much of our lives caring what others think?
- Halibut fish and chips; much more expensive than Cod, but worth it.
- Teenage daughters are difficult to understand.
- Two “thumbs up!” to El Sombrero in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Yesterday I had my interview with Brooks Jensen for LensWork Extended. It’s always nice to talk with Brooks because he’s so down to earth and pragmatic. But in truth I always feel intimidated because of my lack of knowledge of art and “art talk.” I am unschooled in such things and simply know what I like.
Tomorrow (Saturday) I’m off on another trip and hope to see some new images. I say “see” because I know the images are there, it really is just a matter of being able to see them!