Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fluid Dynamics

Fluid Dynamics 14, 2005

You’ll have to forgive me if I’m repeating myself. I thought I’d written about the Fluid Dynamics series before. But other than having used one of the photographs from the series to illustrate another story, I can’t find anything. So here we go.

In the fall of 2005 I decided to go take pictures at the beach at sunrise. I’ve lived close to the ocean most of my life and have taken lots of pictures of the beach and the ocean. They’re okay. Some are beautiful. But to be honest, they look like millions of other people’s pictures of the beach and the ocean and, as such, aren’t anything I’d necessarily want to look at every day.

So there I was out on a chilly September morning just before sunrise looking for something different in a familiar subject.

The first pictures I took were pretty straightforward, mostly hazy shots of the first shades of pink in the sky. I knew they would be dull compositions and also full of artifacts, the digital “noise” that is the price paid for using an early generation digital camera in a low light situation.

For a while I thought I was going to end up with just another group of sunrise pictures like you’ve seen a hundred times before. Then, just before the top of the sun peeked over the horizon, there was a period of just a few minutes when the light was magical. I didn’t know how long it would last, just that it wouldn’t last long.

Keep in mind that I was exploring. I didn’t have a specific target in mind. I didn’t know what I was going to end up with. I knew only that I wanted it to be about the organic lines of the water, not a literal seascape.

Fluid Dynamics 2, 2005

Don’t tell your children or your photography teacher, but I didn’t use a tripod. Yes, I know I should have. But until they make one that’s steady as a rock, light as a feather and that fits in my pocket without ripping a hole, the chances are that my tripod will continue to reside in the back of my car.

I stood at the water’s edge, slowed down the shutter speed, closed down the aperture to allow a long exposure and just started taking pictures of whatever was in front of me. I shot rapidly, stepping into and out of the water to change my perspective. After five or six minutes the magical light was replaced by the brighter light and sharper contrast of the first direct rays of the sun. My moment was over. I packed up my stuff and went home, knowing I'd done the best work of the day I was going to do.

Fluid Dynamics 22, 2005

1 comment:

  1. Those turned out beautifully! It's interesting to hear your technique in creating them.