I would be the first to admit that I struggle to handle wide angle lenses. They cover a huge amount of real estate which makes it a challenge to control all the details within the frame. One of the things that I’ve consciously been working on with my rocks at the waters edge project is to use a wide angle for the majority of the images, just to force me to use it and get used to it. I naturally gravitate towards a longer lens that allows me to extract details from the whole, often resulting in an image that takes a moment to figure out what you’re looking at. This was the case for the image above. The larger fishing boats were at the dock in Scituate harbor and the yellow in the nets caught my eye.
The older I get the more that shiny and new has limited appeal, with the exception of new camera gear of course! The bag that I’ve carried files around in for the last 5 or 6 years has had all the rough edges worn off, my 10 year old jeep gets me where I need to be be when I need to be there. I have a hankering for a new SUV, a mid-70’s Ford Bronco but that’s another story. So it ought not be a revelation to me that the things that catch my eye are those things with character. That was the case when I was out for a walk around the harbor in Scituate when this well used telephone pole caught my eye. It’s clearly see many posters in it’s time and will likely see more in the future.
Here we are in the middle of May and in New England, we have rain for the foreseeable future. What a difference to this time last year. In May last year I was fortunate enough to travel to England and spend a weekend at my brother’s house. His back garden at the time was still a work in progress and had been taken over by dandelions. It was warm here in New England at the time and felt like the middle of summer in the North of England. While my brother got the grill going I played around with some of the dandelions. For this shot I picked the dandelion and managed to wedge it into the top of his fence. The light breeze began blowing the dandelion seeds out of the dandelion head and I was able to get this shot of the action.
There are few things that I enjoy more than poking around boatyards. I was lucky last fall to have a chance to spend some time on Martha’s Vineyard and to have an opportunity to visit the Gannon & Benjamin yard in Vineyard Haven. The shed that they started out using is still in use, although they now have a bigger building nearby. I hadn’t realized that these buildings are three sided so that they boat builder can roll the hull right side up when it’s complete. Poking around the shed there are all kinds of treasures that I can only imagine came from boats that were being refurbished and held onto in the hope that they could be useful in the future. This spinnaker pole perhaps falls into the same category. It was in a rack at the side of the shed, starting to show signs of being exposed to the elements.
For photography, perhaps more than anything thing else I’m involved in, having a group of people who can give you solid feedback when you ask for it, applaud when you’ve done well, and give you a kick in the pants from time to time is absolutely critical. These need not be accomplished photographers themselves but people who are going to give you a relatively unbiased opinion, who want to help you succeed and will hold you accountable. To those people in my life thank you!
As the days get longer I’m finding it increasingly difficult to get up for sunrise shoots. I’m not sure that there’s really a cure for that other than sheer dogged determination to get up and get going, something I was reminded the other day as being the hallmark of a true professional. It’s not hard to understand the motivation to get up and get going when you are often treated to glorious sunrises such as the one I was greeted with on a recent visit to what has become one of my favorite beaches. This shot and others like it are posted in prominent places around my home and every morning I don’t get up for a morning shoot they scream ‘look what you’re missing!’.
Although I do my best to make sure that I am up and out shooting on mornings when I’m likely to get ‘good light’ there are those days that I just don’t get it right. This morning was a good example of that. I had been expecting to add to my collection of photos of rocks at the waters edge but as it got lighter, or rather as it didn’t get much lighter I realized that the weather forecast of partial cloud cover must have been for somewhere else! In reality there’s no such thing as bad light, only light that’s not appropriate for your subject. With the even light that comes with cloudy mornings I turned my attention to the beach – patterns in the sand and anything else could find. I’m not sure what the story is behind this rope – how long has it been part of the beach scene?, where did it come from?, will it be uncovered the next time I visit? – but it was a willing subject on a day when I thought I was going to have to go home without making a frame.
I’ve been continue to work on photographing the seashore and in particular rocks in the water. As summer approaches sunrise gets ever earlier, making it increasing unlikely that I will hit my self imposed goal of being on location an hour before sunrise. I enjoy being on location while it is still dark and waiting for the right light. On this particular morning I was on location 30 minutes before sunrise, with it being almost sunrise by the time I got a shot that I liked. Once the sun appeared on the horizon I felt it was too bright to make the photographs that I was looking to make and I headed for home and breakfast.
I mentioned last week the process of virtual scouting that I use to help me find interesting places to photograph and to make sure that I am there at the right time of day to achieve the photograph that I am aiming for. The image above was the result of spending an hour or so looking at the satellite map within google maps to find and interesting collection of rocks at the waters edge. It was then a relatively simple task to work out what days I could expect clear morning skies and what the tide would be on those days. I arrived here when it was still quite dark. As the sky became lighter I was able to get a better sense of the beach and how I might photograph it. Starting on the beach I made a series of images that had me getting closer and closer to the water until the final set, of which the above was the best, where I was stood on the rocks in the breaking surf.
I was starting to think, hoping really, that this was going to be the last image of snow I was going to get this year and then we had more snow showers earlier this week. Natures way of telling us that there’s still a chance of more snow yet! I would love to visit Cades Cove in the Smokies and make my own image of the lane that I’ve seen done by so many other people. Unfortunately my on-going commitments means that it will be a while before I get to do that trip. Instead I continue to look for opportunities closer to home. I noticed this lane when I was out hiking one weekend and I’ve been returning to make a series of photographs from this spot that show the changes with the seasons. I now have two of Winter and will work in the coming year to complete the set with good images of Spring, Summer and Fall.