Topsail Island: Part 2

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tide Pools
So, here we are on my first full day at the beach.  While most folks on vacation sleep in for a bit, or stare out of the window, I decided that I would get up early and head down to the beach.  Early for me was 5am, so I could be on the beach about 30 minutes before sunrise.  Having shot at the beach several times in the past, I knew that coming from an air conditioned room to the outside would almost immediately yield a fogged lens.  My normal answer to that was to leave the sliding door open through the night with the camera bag right next to it.  Well, that usually works pretty good...but not this time.

When I got out to the beach I could see the potential for a decent sunrise shaping up.  I went ahead and fit my 24-70mm lens to the camera and started working at the dunes with some tufts of grass poking into the sky.  As I looked through the viewfinder all I could see was fog.  I looked and the entire camera was fogged over, including the lens and viewfinder.  I spent the next 20 minutes waiting for the dew to dissipate and ultimately had to spend some time wiping the elements with my lens cloth.  That turned into the routine of the morning.  Set up the shot, wipe the lens, shoot the picture, repeat.  It was annoying, and pretty much kept me from using any filters as they would be in the same boat.  The humidity was horrible, and I was dripping sweat before the sun even cleared the horizon.

As it was coming up, I was finding that my original composition was not really working all that well.  It was just not inspired.  I opted to change my position as the sun was behind the clouds at the horizon.  By the time it cleared the clouds, my lens was finally staying clear and I had moved over to a tide pool area.  I got the camera positioned at just the right height to capture the reflection in the water, and started to get my compositions set up.

Tailing a Sunrise
Something that I was noticing about my compositions, even from yesterday was that they all worked as landscape and portrait shots.  If I wanted to accentuate the horizon and get a sweeping landscape, I would shoot horizontal, if I wanted to highlight a leading line, I would shoot vertical.  They both worked, and when culling the images, I decided to keep both in many circumstances because I wanted to have options for wall art applications.  Sometimes you just need a vertical or horizontal photograph, and I had ample opportunity to cover both needs.  In both cases, I made sure that the camera was at the proper angle to capture the best refection of the color as the sun cleared the top of the clouds.  It wasn't the best sunrise I've ever seen, but it sure wasn't the worst either.

Beach Rescue
When the sun got to the point in the sky that it was just too bright to work with, I moved back in to the dry parts of the beach and started to look for areas in the dunes that I could work with.  The problem I was having was the sun was past the warm part of the sky and the grass wasn't all that colorful in the cooler lighting we were having.  That didn't stop me from looking for some more areas of interest to shoot.  What I found was a little further South from my original position.  It was a rescue station, a replacement for life guards I suppose.  It was fully stocked with everything that you could ever need as long as all you needed was a life preserver.  They were a bright red and really stood out from the background which is necessary when all of the highly untrained rescuers would be looking for emergency equipment.  It did make for an interesting picture though, and that was the job for this life preserver for the moment.

At the Ready
I realize I am starting to make a habit of this horizontal and vertical thing, but it works here as well!  The horizontal one is nice because the boardwalk behind it balances out the composition.  The bright colors to one side add visual tension to the scene, and there is a lot of clues as to what the location is.  The vertical shot is more intimate, and speaks for itself.  There is a shell at the bottom right which gives the visual clue about location.  of course, the preserver is easily recognizable so the picture makes sense here as well.

Believe it or not, by this point, I had shot about 70 frames since I had gotten to the beach.  A good many of the original ones were too foggy to use, and weren't all that good anyway with the lighting that I was dealing with.  Once the sun cleared the clouds, my luck changed briefly.  Looking for secondary subjects was equally fruitless as the sun's rays were well past golden hour at this point.  I think it was about 7am when I called it quits on the beach for the morning.  The clouds were pretty much all gone, and it was time to wake up the girls.

When I got back to the room, I was met by Toni who was awake and about to go out for a morning run/walk.  The two 13 year olds were doing what teens do best...sleeping.  Score two for the old folks this morning!

While frick and frack were snoring and drooling, and Toni was out running harder than she should have, I sat down with a wash cloth and started my cleaning routine to get the camera free of all the salt and sand.  It took me about 20 minutes to get it cleaned up, and then I waited.  Toni got back a bit after that, and then we both waited.  Waited for what you ask?  The energy of youth to catch up with the two of us.

It eventually happened, and all four of us went out to play in the water and enjoy the warmth of a hot and humid summer day.  After a couple of hours out there, we headed into town to do some exploring and to pick up some things.  Once we got back, the girls went back down to the beach, and Toni sat in the sand and started a chain of events that would pretty much dictate the remainder of her week...

Tuesday <--- You are here

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