Finding peace at the water’s edge

Life is an amazing journey:  We experience epic highs, crushing lows and of course all things in between.  Life moves so fast, and it is important to hit the pause button every now and then so we can celebrate successes and contemplate those times when we need to adjust course.

When I need to hit pause, I almost always gravitate to the water’s edge.  There is something so peaceful about sitting or walking along the edge of a river or ocean, camera in hand, completely alone in my thoughts.  Sometimes I am taking the time to quietly celebrate a success, sometimes I am taking the time to work through something that I am struggling with and other times, I am simply tweaking plans to continue working towards my goals.  Artistically, I have no photographic expectations when I am out along the water:  it isn’t a wedding, it isn’t a portrait session and it isn’t a day on the street.  Sometimes I get a photograph that I love and sometimes I don’t even click the shutter.  I always, however, benefit from taking the time to be alone with my thoughts.  To be honest, I think we can all benefit from doing this more often.

Over the years I have gathered hundreds of images while out along the water.  One day I’m sure I will edit them down into a cohesive series, but for now I’d just like to share a small handful of these images.

I hope you like them.

I would love to know what you do, or where you go, when you want to get away and think.  Please let me know in the comments below if you feel like sharing.

Until next time!


16 thoughts on “Finding peace at the water’s edge

  1. Peter Morris says:

    Hi Ian,

    Tell you what Ian!!! That is a fantastic series of some wonderful shots, and such variety too. I would concur with you that you really do need to make a series of what you have done. You already have more than a good start here! Keep up the good work, and very many thanks for sharing these splendid photos with us.

    As an aside, I myself have had some serious issues to deal with over the last few years, and I do find that “losing myself” in landscape photography very helpful, in making me relax and think about something else. Also, an added bonus when I turn out to be happy with some of my shots!

    Cheers, Peter

  2. Elizabeth Castleman says:

    These are all extraordinary images,Ian. You’ve done the work by catching the light at the time of day most photographer prefer to either sleep in or relax after a long day.

    One thought comes to mind when I look at this series is ,”alone”. To some people it might be a reprieve from a busy day, or to others it might say loneliness. I spend most of my weekdays “alone” as I’m retired while my spouse still works. We have recently moved to a new area where I don’t have many friends. Depending on my mood I may on some days feel lonely. On those types of days I find myself gravitating to busy streets. It can help to rejuvenate me and feel more balanced.


    • Ian says:

      Thank you for your excellent comment Elizabeth. You are correct on the “alone” aspect of these images. When I am out in situations like this I am always taking “me” time. My day to day life is the opposite of yours: I work with clients, I teach, and I am out often in bustling cities working on my street photography. These times, my times along the water, are definitely “me” time.



  3. Peter Haupers says:

    I find your above images hold the eye longer, encouraging one to study them. This is a difficult quality to achieve over and over. And it’s inspiring.

    With this level of talent and experience, the choice of camera is less important than the skills applied, of course. And the specific camera and setting are not listed above for us to pick up a pattern.

    Would you expect images of this quality from the x100f alone(perhaps some are with the f or t?) or would you prefer to take different equipment on planned shooting adventures to achieve the above?

    • Ian says:

      Good morning Peter!

      First off, many thanks for your kind words.

      Secondly, this series of images was taken over time with either the Fuji X100S, X100T, X100F, X-T1, X-T2, or X-Pro2. Fuji’s cameras continue to evolve in regard to ergonomics, handling, technology, etc but I can say with absolutely certainty that the image quality has been there since day one. My go to is almost always an X100 series camera, but when I know I will need different focal lengths, or if I just feel like shaking things up a bit, I am happy to reach for another camera.



  4. Roger says:

    I too have my “quiet time” by myself down by the river, to “think” and “see”.

    Wonderful series of photos, but my favourite is the snow covered path, trees to the left, water to the right and the low sun lighting up the seat. I just want to “be there” 🙂


  5. Bob Raisler says:

    You say “finding peace at the water’s edge” and I say you’ve succeeded. Your photos mostly are of simple, single subjects in simple compositions. Isn’t that what happens when you have found some peace? Don’t things get simpler? It helps a lot when they also get beautiful and you have succeeded there, too.

    My wife and I live a fifteen-minute walk from the beach and we make that walk most days. I’m retired and don’t have your schedule any more, but I find that walk keeps the inner peace alive and occasionally I bring home a photo the shows it.

    Many thanks. Ian, for your essay. It’s easy to predict that you will have a very appreciative audience for a longer essay at the water’s edge.

    • Ian says:

      Good afternoon Bob!

      How are you?

      That’s exactly my expectation for these outings too: The walk and the time to think are the important things, and a great photo is the icing on the cake.



  6. Richard Hum says:

    All your images are beautiful, that goes without saying however the first two images with tons of negative space and a very small spec which draw your eye are what stand out for me personally. They best represent aloneness, stillness and tranquility of mind; almost zen like because of lack of details to focus on.

  7. Jonas Falk says:

    Very nice pictures! I share your attraction to water (and Fuji…) whenever I need to slow down. I just bought a remote shutter release and a 10-stop ND-filter so I can slow down even better :-). /Jonas Falk, Stockholm Sweden.

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