Friday, July 15, 2011
High key on the water
Dang it was hot this morning. With no breeze to speak of, it felt like being in a sauna. But the magic of the bay called and I had an opportunity to get out there on a weekday. On the water by 7 am, distant clouds seemed to be dropping water but these never appeared threatening. Rather, the thin veil of clouds the covered the majority of the sky burned away and soon, the sky was clear with only the distant cumulus clouds laying over the horizon. The water was like glass and Chicken Key and the distant city scape of Miami looked gray against the whiteness of the sky and water. This would be a good day to visit the sponge farms for high key, backlit shots.
Cormorants live in great number near the sponge farms and consequently spend time resting on the various sticks in the water. I love the scene and have been attempting to capture it with various bird poses and interactions. It is about a 2-mile paddle to get there, so I enjoyed the time it took to get there. Lots of baby sharks were swimming in the water and at one point a couple of them swam under the boat in a curious kind of way. I thought maybe the boat provided shade that allowed them to see their prey. Cormorants were flying around, some were in the water. The peace was breathtaking, no other boats, no planes making noise; all this allowed me to ignore the heat.
I arrived at the sponge farm sticks to find several cormorants hanging out. I wanted to see what I could capture there and also try for some flight shots. The combination of sticks and uncooperative bird poses made it somewhat difficult today. But I stayed long enough to capture a few good shots. As I've always said, these are pretty much what comes out of the camera. I set the exposure at + 1 2/3 and increased the ISO so I could keep a relatively high shutter speed for flying birds. For the most part, the sun was off-centered to the left about 25 degrees as I pointed the camera toward the birds. You can judge from the reflections in the water that the sun was not overhead, but low enough to provide some long reflections.
Sitting in a boat on the water while facing toward the sun as the temperature approached 90 degrees and without the benefit of a breeze gets to you after awhile. I had to leave and face the other direction. I decided to head into the creek to hang with the spiders. Those photos will come later. For now, enjoy these high key silhouettes of the cormorant. Here are a couple more with a little post processing. I added a low density yellow filter to the first one and the next two photos are in grayscale.