Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sunrise at the Landing

As some of you may know I fancy myself as a photographer. OK if you don't,  just humor me.

Anywho this week I was at the Isle of Palms which meant every morning, at the crack of dawn, I was out camera in tow trying to find photogenic venues. The fun part of this is that if you do not know the area, you are driving around chasing the sun (if you are trying to find a sunrise). Or you find yourself driving around in the perfect morning light looking for picturesque sights. So was my experience Monday morning.

I know enough about the Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island to get around so I wasn't totally in the dark (so to speak). I happened upon a marina just before dawn and found still water on the creek and good clouds (a must for a good sunrise). The boats looked boring - just small boats tied to the pier - something common to the area. The shot down the creek over the docks and marsh toward the sunset showed promise but was very dark. I questioned if I could even find color. So be it. I was there - with my camera - at dawn   . . . when in Rome.

After the sun rose over the horizon I packed up and moved on across the bridge to Sullivan's Island. Moving toward the far end looking for a clear view eastward, I made my way through the neighborhoods. I finally saw my opening. I beautiful view of the Ben Sawyer Bridge. Naturally by this time the sun was so bright the conditions looked horrid. But the scene had promise. I finished up and went to the end of the road to turn around. Eureka! There was a boat landing with a clear shot of the Ben Sawyer bridge, the creek, and the marsh. Check and check. Now I knew where to come on Tuesday morning.

So the following morning just before dawn I made my way to the end of Sullivan's Island to the boat landing. Life was good. There was a light breeze which kept the bugs at bay, and enough clouds to make a sunrise interesting.

Now as a caveat here, I do not care for sunrises. They do little for me. Why you ask am I out at dawn while on vacation at a boat landing potently fighting off an army of obnoxious mosquitoes waiting to photograph a potential sunrise that may or may not occur when I do not care for the subject? I may not care them but my customers do. And I am moved by my market. I love my customers - those who care enough about my photography to share their hard earned cash in return for my work. But, I digress.

As I sat there waiting for the magical light to appear, those beautiful colors that arrive long before the sun peaks above the horizon, a truck drove up pulling a good size boat. Great, one thing I did not count on - a boat at a boat landing. The headlights could mess with my shot. Long story short, the boat got in the water and on its way before it interfered with my mission. That was not my problem. My problem was the sun - it was taking forever to get to an aesthetic point. Finally the light came out and threw a swath of pink, purple, and blue across the clouds. There was color behind the Ben Sawyer bridge. But there was nothing special.

Shooting down the marsh had the right light but there was a god awful crane in the background that marred the shot. There was not enough light to shoot the other way. And there was nothing across the marsh to add to a shot. Just as I was turning to go, something caught my eye. The bridge was open and there was a boat, no two, coming through. As they moved toward me I saw they were trawlers and better than that, they were trawling with nets dragging from the long booms on the sides of the boats.

A gift from the gods. I had been able to shoot trawlers on the dock and once one on the water but never one on the water trawling, much less two. They were moving at a fast pace. I started shooting as they came down the creek and turned the bend to make their way in front of the landing. Every once in awhile a little patience pays off.

Several things I have learned about landscape photography - you never know what you may stumble across and you never know what you have until you get home.

So here are a few rewards (and surprises) from my pre-dawn excursion.

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