Peter Lik was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1959 to Czech immigrant parents. Lik began taking photos at the age of 8, and has done so ever since. He got his big break when he decided to come to America in 1984 and create a photojournal of pictures featuring different features of all 50 states, called Spirit of America. While on this journey he was introduced to the medium panoram camera, his go to camera today. Lik’s book was a hit, and from there his fame only grew as his pictures became more sought after. He continues to take photos and work in photography to this day, hosting 13 galleries internationally and having a show on the Weather Channel where he discusses photography.
Lik is a landscape photographer who uses two main styles when he takes photos. He typically uses either the horizontal panoramic view or a vertical panoramic. He tends to photograph nature, although he has taken pictures of city landscapes as well, particularly structures like bridges and skyscrapers. He is known for his photographs of America and his homeland Australia, however his elevated fame and immense fortune has given him the opportunity to photograph most everywhere in the world, ranging from Africa to China to the Alaskan wilderness.
In this piece Lik uses his expertise in vertical panoramas to create a feeling of relaxation and presence in an exotic, Caribbean atmosphere. Lik used a high angle to make the boat seem miniature in a much larger bay, causing the tranquil feeling that gives the picture it’s name. He also makes the shot narrow, as many vertical panoramas are, so that the boat is not lost in the vastness that would exist if the picture had been wider. Lik also kept a shallow depth of field in his picture, the boat is nearest and is strikingly clear, even it’s shadow on the seafloor is well focused. The islands in the background are not quite as clear; in fact having them blurred shows the distance between the boat and the end of the bay.
This picture is one of Lik’s better-known horizontal panoramas. The rock shelves create breaks in the photo that cause the person’s eye to trace the flow of the water down them, as the water does. This shot is difficult to tell if it is a low angle or a straight on shot, because the height of the rock face is ambiguous due to the lack of a background object to judge distance with, however I suspect it is straight on because there is little tilt in the pitch of the camera. Movement is what I find to be the most important part of this picture. The water was crashing down on the rocks below and Lik took this picture so that the water is neither focused nor blurred too heavily, it is like a mist. Having the water look misty makes it seem as if the water is rushing down as you stare at the picture. The movement created a contrast in color between the water and the rocks, the water being whitish blue in hue makes it stand out against the brownish red background of the rocks.
This is my absolute favorite Lik photo. He uses a wide shot to show the vastness of the ocean, and to create a calming feeling when seeing the dock extending towards the horizon. His point of view is what makes this photograph so striking, by not going too far down the dock it makes it seem like it extends much further than it actually does. The location puts the ocean in perspective, because if he had been further down the dock the ocean would be smaller and smaller in the shot as the umbrella at the end of the dock would come closer and dominate the shot. The reason I love this picture is the simple elegance that it conveys. There isn’t a ridiculous amount of clutter, and by going with something so simple it causes me to feel more positive emotions than something like Secret Place. When I look at this photo I see myself under that umbrella with a drink and my feet up completely at peace.