My sense is that all living things crave it, the solace of isolation. When I was working, it was often expressed as “Quality Quiet Time;” a chance to escape the spotlight of your own circumstance. Edward Hopper’s “Automat” conveys that message to me as does the scene above. There wasn’t another sea gull within sight when I came upon this guy, soaking up the warmth of the coming dawn, a calm, peaceful moment, alone with himself.
This lady above had given me a slight nod when she walked by with her dog, no doubt a daily ritual. When I framed the shot, my thoughts went to Hopper, Wyeth and Warhol. I grew up in a family of painters. I was told once that people who can’t paint go into photography. I couldn’t so i did. Even so, I think the rub-off has served me well. I was still roaming the beach, no doubt looking for my own solace, when she returned; her Lab glistening from a splash in the ocean. We struck up a conversation. She and her husband had just relocated from up north and were refurbishing a house a few blocks off the beach. It reinforced my belief that people who come to the beach, regardless of their station in life, all have the civility of a small town. I suppose the moral of the morning was, place no trust in appearances. Thanks for the look and have a good week. See you next time.
Photography is very much an individual piece of business. For many of us who are drawn to it, we each mine our own little niche. For me it is the beach in the off season. The solace of isolation it offers brings me peace that no other place does. When I plan a visit, fortunately a rather short drive for me. I feel the vertigo of anticipation even though I have visited thousands of times over my 72 years.
There are usually a few fellow travelers out and about when I am, all no doubt lured by the perfume of the slightly salty air that shows all who visit the same affection but who, I suspect, are primarily charmed by the solace that allows us to get reacquainted with ourselves. The constant rhythm of the ocean, the soft rush of the wind and, of course, the constantly changing dance of the sky, all combine to reawaken one’s spirits. As we age, I think we tend to start piling more and more of life into a box of sameness. Our senses dull and more of the world becomes mundane, ordinary. It’s a very slippery slope and one which photography helps me avoid. See you next time.
It was my last chance to shoot some pictures on a vacant beach and my back had finally decided to cooperate, agreeing to get itself back in sync. I was on the beach road by 4AM and on the point at Lands End within a hour. My timing could not have been better. The tidal flats were laid out in front of me as the dawn reached its zenith. I got low, stretched out the screen on the D800E allowing me the live view you see above. The fellow dawn watchers far up the beach were a bonus. They gave the scene scale.
The forecast had been partly sunny meaning a few clouds and that is exactly how it was. A perfect morning for shooting a sunrise scene. I used my usual formula” Spot Metering taking the exposure reading away from the sun and locking the exposure, iso 400, manual exposure, and an aperture of f/16. I took three shots. This one utilized a # 6 graduated neutral density filter shade the glaring sun while leaving the ocean and beach in natural light. I don’t use this filter much but it was the right choice for this situation. Certainly worth having one in your bag.
In addition to the D800E, I was carrying my D750 fitted with a 70-300mm Nikkor lens. If you have two DSLR’s, I suggest fitting one with the requisite wide angle and a telephoto on the second. You never know what will come up without warning like the council of shore birds further up the beach which decided to head south. I grabbed the 750 and caught them in the southeast sky. complimenting that marvelous pink cloud that looked like the famous Nike Swoosh (trademark). In all that morning, I grabbed more than 140 keepers. I’ll share more with you over the coming weeks and leave the beach to the refugees from the North who need more Vitamin D than I. Have a great holiday weekend everybody.
A couple of pre-sunrise shots taken at Southern Shores, North Carolina. I didn’t have far to walk to the beach so when I saw the cloudy sky, I grabbed my bag and headed out. These scenes come early so if you have trouble getting out of bed, you will miss them. Be there and you’ll be rewarded with some fabulous sky colors. These two shots were taken on the same morning. A complete makeover that occurred within just a few minutes before sunrise. Both shots were handheld. The second a tad longer exposure. Both shot with a Nikon D800e camera and an 18-35 Nikkor lens. If you’re heading for a beach this spring or summer, take along an alarm clock. It’s worth the agony of getting up early. Have a good week. See you next time.
The Sea Oats on the Barrier Dunes bend South as near gale force winds buffet the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
After multiple attempts to get the light on the ocean where I wanted it, I finally came close to what I had visualized. Of course, if you’re like me, you’re never satisfied and so you keep going back time and again for the perfect shot. I’m not sure I can do any better than this. But, I’ll keep trying.
Particulars: Nikon D750 Camera, 24-120 f/4 lens. Shot with manual exposure, f/8 at 1/640, center weight metering, auto white balance, focal length 65mm. No filters. I used a Slik tripod for the shot.
My thanks to those who stop by for a look. I appreciate your taking the time. See you next time if not before.
The moment of sunrise at Duck, North Carolina along the Outer Banks.
I’m beginning the new year with a new camera, the Nikon D750. Well, it’s new to me anyway. The 750 has been out a while but I wasn’t drawn to it initially because I didn’t think it was a true successor to the D700, which to this day I wish I had not sold. I was chasing megapixels back in those days. The D700 had 12. The norm now is about double that but the D700 was still one of the best digital cameras Nikon has ever made. My humble opinion! The 12 megapixels plus the full frame sensor made for incredible photographs. It captured the nuances of light uniquely. It shined. The 700 also had a pro body. It was a tank just like the Nikon film cameras. And, like the old Nikon F’s, it was just a still camera. No Video. My kind of rig. I’ve never shot one frame of video on any camera since and I wish I could still buy a camera without it. Easy, I’m 71. I’m old. Still photography is still my only bag. Instead of the then new D750, I bought the Nikon D600. Within a year, it was back at Nikon getting a new shutter because of oil splatter. They fixed it well and I put upwards of 75 thousand snaps on it before selling it this fall. Why? Well, Nikon was out with refurbished D750’s at a price I could not refuse. It was a bit faster and, better in low light. Having used it for a month, I have only a few gripes — apart from the fact that it is also a video camera. First, it has the cheap Nikon eyepiece that is forever coming off. Why Nikon cannot engineer its consumer cameras with the same round eyepiece it puts on its pro models is beyond me. Perhaps they are making too much money selling replacement eye pieces. I have to keep a supply on hand because they are always coming off the camera. I wish it had an auto focus “On” button paired up with the AF/ AE (E for exposure) lock button on the back of the camera. True, there’s a work around using the “fn” button on the front, but it’s awkward. And i wish Nikon would move either the ISO button or the Quality button to the top of the camera. I keep hitting the “quality” button when I go to change the ISO and I don’t realize it until I go to process the file and discover its not a RAW file. One of the reasons I didn’t go for the 750 when it first came out was the pop out tilting monitor on the rear of the camera. I was certain it would prove to be a weak point. I have been proven wrong. I suffered a serious fall while on a photo outing in December. I took a beating but the 750 which crashed to the pavement with me suffered nary a scratch. So with the few gripes I have listed, I love the camera. The resolution,quality, clarity, sharpness, improved grip, weight etc are off the charts. I’m looking forward to 2017 with it. I will also watch my step.
My best wishes to all who venture here every so often for a joyous, healthy and prosperous 2017. Blue Skies and Green lights everybody and thanks for the look. See you next time.
I’ve always been convinced that Autumn and Winter are the best seasons for grabbing a dynamic sunrise or sunset shot along the coast. I’m no weather guru but it just seems the cooler temperatures seem to generate more clouds which, when struck, by the light of the rising sun, make for a spectacular scene. This is the moment of Sunrise along the Outer Banks of North Carolina somewhere between Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores. No filters. Nikon D800E Camera with an 18mm lens. ISO 400, Manual exposure, center weight metering, f/9, 1/320th of a second. Thanks for your visit and have a great week ahead.