|A Rosy Outlook|
I got up at 4:45 so that I could be out plenty early just in case the camera decided to fog over again. I started to look for a good location to set up as I took stock of the sky. To my pleasure, there were clouds in the sky today, and it appeared as though there was only a thin strip at the horizon. This meant that there was a good chance at some good color in the sky. I had played out the tide pools already and was not wanting to go that route again so soon. I was still looking for some beach grass on the dunes to put under a great sky, and found some just North of the motel.
Now for those of you who are worried that I am trampling all over the dunes to get my shots, I assure you that I am only using access points for the boardwalks from the other houses which are cut into the dunes. I know how delicate they are and have no want to disturb them. I do really enjoy photographing them though, and that was just what I did on Thursday morning.
With my location chosen, I needed to choose a composition. I wasn't needing to go too wide here, so I chose my workhorse 24-70mm lens and decided that I would leave the polarizer off. It is of limited use shooting into, or directly away from the sun anyway. I got into position and found my composition and waited. The sky was starting to show some color, but not nearly as much as I was hoping for. I continued to shoot and eventually saw that the sun was coming over the clouds so I moved slightly to put the sun between blades of grass. I liked the idea, but the shot lacked balance, so I recomposed and moved the sun over to the negative space to the right. Right after I did that the sky erupted in color! This was the situation I had been waiting for all week long. No longer did I need to try so hard to get the color to show up, I just had to point and shoot.
|Top Of the Morning|
I walked around a little bit looking for other photographs to shoot, but with the increasing clouds I could tell that I was done. That is the thing about beach photography...completely cloudy days are not my friend at the coast. I need drama in the sky, and I just wasn't going to get that this morning, but I had a handful of really great pictures that I was excited to see processed.
When I got back to the room, Toni was still in bed, Hannah was still asleep, and Sierra jumped out of the bed and said she was ready to go to the Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital. This was at 7ish in the morning, so I will give her credit. Old Farts: 1, Curtain Climbers: 1. It was a dead tie for the day. When I informed her that they didn't open until noon, she looked quizzically at me and crawled right back into bed fully dressed to go out. I'm still giving her credit for the early rise though.
I sat down at the table and got my cleaning supplies out. It was time to do the daily wipe down of the camera and equipment that I had used. I was getting rather proficient with this part of the morning. I packed everything back up and figured that it would probably be there till tomorrow morning. I knew that there was the possibility of storms this evening and that usually means some good clouds. However, I was committed to take the girls to the Rescue Hospital and take them for min golf. There was going to be a dinner in there as well, so I wasn't really expecting to be back in time to do anything near sunset.
Well, things don't always go as planned, and sometimes that is a good thing. The Sea Turtle tour only took about an hour as opposed to the several that I was thinking it would take. With the heat of the day, Thelma and Louise only wanted to play one round of golf which was great by me. I've learned that I have no patience when it comes to getting a little ball in a hole. I'm still holding my position on golf. After you hit it as hard as you can, if you find it, you win. Simple rules, and still has a level of difficulty to make it interesting...but I digress.
It was too early for dinner at this point, and the Bobsie Twins had eaten donuts for lunch. It was vacation, so sue me! I'll make Sierra eat extra green beans this week. We went ahead and headed back to the room. They were wanting to go down to the beach and swim. I stayed on the deck to watch them and so I could be close to Toni who was still pretty much bed ridden at this point. When they returned to the room it was decided that dinner would be sandwiches that were bought for lunches so I didn't have to make the 20 minute drive into town for food. That opened things up for the possibility of a hike down to the Southern tip of the island.
|Southern Tip of Topsail|
I found another tide pool that was showing at low tide, and above it was a gorgeous cloud formation. This was as good a reason as any to get the camera out and start working on some compositions. I chose to go with my 24-70mm due to its versatility and a close second reason was a little more protective lens hood over my wider angle lenses. I worked around trying to find a composition that worked that didn't include my shadow (the sun was at my back for a change). I started to find my groove with daytime beach photography and the frames started adding up.
|Let it Wash Over Me|
|Evening at the Dunes|
The real trick here was to expose for the highlights which are impossible to recover after the fact. The plan was to eek out the details with Lightroom in lieu of using the filters. With the first exposure over the dunes I could see that I had enough information on the histogram that I should be able to recover the shadow details without any problem. I was getting excited about the light show that was about to begin. It is rare for me to shoot a sunset, yet they are quite easy to read since they start with a lit sky. Sunrises are all about guess work until first light hits.
|Wind in Your Hair|
|End of Days|
I was satisfied at this point. This had been a tremendous day for both sunrises and sunsets. I had been out and captured both of them successfully, which is all I can ask. Now, it was time to make the mile walk back to the room. Man, that was a long walk!
When I arrived, I found the room dark except for the television. Toni and the girls were all in bed with the lights out. Old Farts: 1, Eye Rollers: 0. I had redeemed myself from this morning! I turned on a small desk lamp and started the process of cleaning the camera for the second time in the same day. The tripod was in bad shape from where I had dropped it to the ground to get low a few times. The lever locks were all gritty with sand and I needed to get that out. That meant a trip to the tub to rinse all of the joints out to ensure smooth operation.
I got everything packed up and ready for the next morning. The freshly cleaned camera went straight outside once again to stay the night. The morning was looking less than ideal for a sunrise, but I had been out every day so far and there was no reason to skip a day.
Thursday <--- You are here