A tropical storm is off our coast this week, but this time, instead of running to the market for hurricane supplies, we are off to the beach to capture the beauty of nature. The photo below isn’t the one I planned, but it was the surprise I got when a wave crashed a bit too close, sending a cascade of sea spray just inches from the camera lens.
Focused and ready to take the shot, this was the result. The image has no giveaway of season or place. It could have been taken anywhere, at any time of year, in any decade.
A good photograph is like a good story, it engages the imagination and draws the reader in visually, revealing the plot slowly and with purpose; a rocky shore, stormy seas, a driving rain, or maybe it’s cold outside with a light snow falling. A solitary figure watches from the tower, he sees something, or could it be someone …. the mystery unfolds.
My goal when taking a photograph is to capture not only the image, but also the emotion within the image. This image stirs my imagination. It is not technically sound, by professional standards, but it is well composed. I like the solitary, almost somber feeling it evokes. The element of mystery is created by the foreground of sea spray which fades the image and takes it slightly out of focus. Without that, it becomes the ordinary photograph below.
I like the peaceful, contemplative feel of this photograph, but it is absent the mystery of the previous image. Shooting it from near ground level upward makes the look-out tower seem further in the distance and minor in relation to the splash.
The Real Story
This is a beach I visit and photograph often. I love how tide, time of day, wind speed, shadows, water color & clarity, sunshine and even clouds have an effect on every image I capture. It draws me back time and again and I always expect to be delighted. It is not unusual for me to plant myself in one location, shooting frame after frame, waiting for the one. Sometimes I come home empty handed, but not often.
The House of Refuge, in Stuart, Florida is one of the most photographed landmarks in our town and has stood on this small strip of barrier island for more than 100 years. In the 1800’s it was one of ten homes built along the east coast and staffed with a caretaker who provided aide to ship wreck survivors.
This is the last remaining of the original ten homes. It currently serves as a museum and houses interesting artifacts from that period of Florida’s history. You can read more about the House of Refuge here.
The beach behind the museum is lined with Coquina rock, which makes the house especially durable against rough seas. Those same rock formations create a backdrop of never ending drama and are a photographer’s dream under any conditions.
It is not unusual to watch the sea change from this………….
to this…………………….. in less than thirty minutes.
Capturing moments like this keep me coming back to my little piece of paradise day after day. Like most photographers, professional or otherwise, I think of my photographs as art, and therefore, a reflection of my soul. They are individual and personal and each one feels like a gift I give to myself. They make me smile and today, these are my gifts to you.