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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Ninety-one: A month on America’s “Last Beach.” tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Ninety-one: A month on America’s “Last Beach.”

Imperial Beach, California stands only five miles northwest of downtown Tijuana, Mexico, making it the most southwesterly beach town in the continental United States – it is literally the “Last Beach” along the coast of California.

I photographed in Imperial Beach for a month this past summer. I found all of my subjects within just a one-mile stroll from our rented beachfront condo: surfers in action, sunbathers, belly-boarders, fishermen, wildlife, street life, examples of public art, and spectacular sunset and dusk scenes. Each of those subjects presented an infinite array of variations and expressive possibilities. This gallery demonstrates a principle I’ve always emphasized in my teaching: it is not what we shoot that is most important to expression. It is how and why we photograph a subject that can make the difference in its meaning.

I photographed for a few hours on each of 26 different days. I varied light conditions by shooting during the morning, the late afternoon, sunset, and dusk. I amassed more than 15,000 images, and edited them down to about 350 keepers. I offer 97 of those images to you in this gallery.

I used a new mirrorless lightweight camera to make all these photographs – a compact, weather resistant Fuji XT-1 body, offering both a huge internal viewfinder as well as a flip out LCD screen. A pair of excellent Fuji lightweight lenses offered me a range of focal lengths from 24mm wideangle to 345mm telephoto. Introduced earlier this year, the XT-1 is currently Fuji’s flagship camera. It focuses extremely quickly and it also allows me to make photographs at high sensitivity (ISO) levels without losing much detail.

I present this gallery, as usual, in “blog” style. A large thumbnail is displayed for each image, along with a caption explaining how I intended to express my ideas. By clicking on that large thumbnail, you will see the photograph in its full size, as well as have an opportunity to leave comments, ask questions, and read the comments of others. I hope you will participate in this dialogue. I welcome your impressions, ideas and questions, and I will be delighted to respond.