I think of the beach as a big empty outdoor photo studio where you can do whatever your imagination wants. You could bring a reflector if you need additional light and it's not windy.
Perhaps your photo is poor because it's weak in lines, composition, areas of light and dark. The Edward Weston photo linked had all that in a big way. Perhaps you need some shapes like putting the fish on a round dark plate that contrasts with the fish and sand, or set the fish on a dark rock or a bowie knife or someone's cleavage or tired worn hands. Wet the sand to make it dark.
Option 1: restrict focus and depth of field to object you wish as the central anchor; employ a tilt/shift lens to create a narrow focus 'peg' with shallow depth of field
Option 2: use colour film that will differentiate tones and colours
When everything comes up as grey, grey, grey, then is the time for a shift in thinking: subject, "anchor", colour film, maybe even cross-processed for effect.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
One beautiful image is worth
a thousand hours of therapy.
"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
to save the environment."
Maybe it's not your kind of thing, but I often like colour film for this sort of thing.
I had to look at your image for a bit before realising what it was. It's a nice photo, very nice in my opinion, and maybe this particular one suits B&W rather than colour. I do think that often though, scenes of nature deserve colour film, so much of the beauty and drama comes from the colour. If you're 100% into B&W though, far be it from me to discourage you.
Same rule applies as everywhere else. If you want contrast in your negatives and the contrast is low in the scene, you must create it, and the only way to do that is to underexpose your film and then over-develop it.
If there are no real black values in the scene, you will push the darkest values that DO exist, further toward normal shadow values by under-exposing.
Then you stretch the tonality of the scene by over-developing, so that your mid-tone contrast doesn't suck, and your highlight intensity isn't weak.
But then again, you may wish to focus on conveying the light that is there in a manner that is truthful to the scene, which could be equally effective.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
I took a second look at the image you are not pleased with and thought it would be helpful to see one that you like as well. Some times the place or time influences a shot and viewing it at another time you wonder why you ever took it to begin with. To me the one you are showing just doesn't work (I've got plenty of those too especially being somewhere I won't be able to return to - hey, it's just film). IMO the dark area at the top is not necessary and could be cropped, the fish and sand beside being of similar tone are very similar in texture and the light stick coming to the lower right corner is distracting. The sand could be lighter in printing with less exposure and contrast and burning the fish with more contrast than the sand to make it stand out and crop so the vertical branch doesn't show.
My approach when finding a subject of interest would be to photograph it from different angles and use appropriate filters as well as no filter and perhaps with different lenses. If possible, spend time pre-visualizing what the finished print will look like. Once you have thoroughly covered your subject you can pick and choose the negatives best represent what you saw.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Even a slight change in composition can make a big difference.