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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Last week I took advantage of a sunny morning after several days of rain, and visited a few beaches to see what the storm surf had tossed ashore.  On one beach I found an impromptu “sculpture” that someone had made recently.  I’m guessing it was made that same morning, since the strong winds of the previous few days would have most likely blown it over.

I made the above image with my smart phone, since I didn’t have much time to linger that morning.  Despite my laziness, I’m happy with the way the image turned out.  There’s plenty of detail in the wood and rocks, and the background is also adequately sharp.  I love the play between the foreground and the background, the softness of the lighting and the sky, the contrast of the textures of the wood, stone, sand and water.

The whitewater in the surf is too “blown out” to make this more than a snapshot, but as snapshots go, it’s a keeper.

Meanwhile, approximately 3,200 miles northeast of where the above image was taken by the Pacific Ocean in California, I took the image below by the Atlantic Ocean in Maine.  It was on Isle Au Haut, which can only be reached by boat.  A friend who lives in Maine and I took the first morning ferry to the island, and spent the day hiking miles of beautiful trails through the forests and along the shores.

Maine is one of my favorite states, and if you’ve read my blog from the beginning you may remember me rhapsodizing about the heavenly concoction known as a lobster roll.  Besides having great eats, Maine also has an abundance of photo-ops.  Since I’m passionate about photography, food and travel, Maine is a favorite destination.

I built the cairn in the image below, and must admit that I was very pleased with my engineering skills as well as my artistry.  I wanted a pleasing variety of sizes and shapes of rocks, and most of the Maine coast has rocks in abundance.  I also wanted the sculpture to have a bit of a whimsical air, almost like a fairy tale castle.  I believe I achieved that goal.  I think my construction is a bit more creative than the one at the top of the page, where the sizes and shapes of the rocks are much more uniform (and thus balance more easily upon each other).

Like the image above, the image below is a snapshot and not fine art.  The lighting is harsh and the focus is soft.  However, it memorializes a fine day spent with a fellow photographer in a spectacular setting.  But it has more meaning for me than the image above, since I created both the cairn AND the photograph.

Rock on!

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Last week I was at the beach, walking amid piles of driftwood that recent winter storms had scattered from the high tide line to the cliffs, and enjoying a respite from several days of heavy rain.  I returned to my car to find that a gull had decided to soak up some warmth from the engine compartment. My camera equipment was locked in the car, but I did have my smart phone with me, so I grabbed a few quick shots.  The gulls along these beaches are pretty fearless, so I was able to get quite close.  When I went to get into the car, the gull flew away, only to land on the hood again as soon as I had closed the door.

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Once I was in the car, I was able to grab my camera equipment and do some more shooting from inside the car.  The gull obliged me with a variety of poses.  For the record, it did have two good legs, but chose to only stand on one to conserve heat.

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I played around with a number of compositions, and in most of them decided that I wanted to show the car and the fact that I was shooting from inside it.  Rather than just having images of the gull without the context of  its surrounding, these images tell the story of it taking advantage of beach visitors and their warm car hoods on a cool and cloudy day.

Since the gull was being so cooperative, and I didn’t have any place I had to be for a while, I decided to switch over to a telephoto lens for some close-up shots (final image, below).  I used a 180 mm lens, which only allowed me to capture the head and neck of the bird, and that was only possible if I pushed the seat as far back as it would go, reclined it, and then slithered halfway up the back to have enough focusing distance.  Despite my less-than-graceful contortions shaking the car to and fro, the gull wasn’t bothered in the least.

As for my part, despite the cramped quarters, I have to admit that this was one of my most comfortable bird shoots ever.  Unlike during many of my bird-shooting forays, I was warm, dry, had food and drinks, and my equipment was protected from the elements.  And I even had a pretty clean windshield through which to shoot!  I continued to shoot in these deluxe surroundings until the light faded away.  The gull didn’t fly off until I started up my car and began to drive away.

I guess both the gull and I enjoyed being in the Right Place at the Right Time!

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