Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Ten Thousand Islands Project - Part 2

The driftwood piece makes an interesting stand-alone foreground object, but without the clouds, there is little to work with. I added a sepia filter to soften the image. This is two images combined into one.

If you haven't yet, please check out Part 1 to get caught up, as I continue my story.

For my second day in the islands, I saw black and white. After capturing a few images in the morning light from our cramped campsite, I got in the canoe and paddled about 2/3 mile to the other end of Panther Key.

Red circle shows where we camped, yellow circle shows where I photographed.
I wasn't feeling inspired. It was after 9 am and the sweet morning light was long gone. If I was going to photograph anything, I would have to rely completely on composition. But I was in no rush, the light was not changing much like it does during early or late hours of the day. In a situation like this, I let go of all expectations. I grab the camera and simply walk around snapping photos. I look at scenes through the viewfinder and experiment with different compositions. After awhile, this is enough to give me some ideas and start preparing to put more effort into getting a shot.

As I continued the casual walkabout, I began to pay closer attention to details. Interesting driftwood lay about in various formations, cumulus clouds were forming in the sky and I began to see possibilities for interesting compositions. And I saw them in black and white. I went back to the boat and gathered up the tripod, filters and remote control.

Black and white (BW) photos are not my forte'. It's a tricky thing because any photo can be converted to BW with a click of a button. Despite this, I have so few BW images. At least in landscape photography, there is a very high standard set by Ansel Adams and then of course Florida's own, Clyde Butcher. Because of this, BW photography is, well... intimidating! Images look best in BW only under certain conditions. There are two elements that seem to really matter, lighting that adds contrasts and surfaces that have textures. I would also add that composition is key. So if you don't have any of that, a BW image really falls flat.

Some water mixed with the tidal flat added more texture to the scene. The top left corner cloud helps balance out the foreground driftwood. This is two images combined to make one.

There I was on the tidal flats of hurricane swept Panther Key and I had all the essential elements to work with; lots of contrast and shadows, interesting driftwood, and textures in the sand, wood and clouds. I would have to let go of that awful thought of being compared to other photographers and simply try to capture what it was I felt that morning. I walked among the dead left by hurricane Irma; and it felt like black and white to me. For the final one below, I offer you the color version just for kicks.

For the next blog, I move on to Picnic Key where I bring color back into the images; lots of color.

I liked the textured ripples in the sand and how they and the driftwood lead you into the scene.

A strong leading line for a vertical composition.

This one was captured on Picnic Key a couple days later. The clouds provided lots of texture to the scene.

I personally like the color version better, but I'm a sucker for blue.

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