Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hits & Misses

At the Beach 301, 2010

This is a progress report on the At the Beach series, which I decided a few months ago would be the photographic focus of this summer. You saw some of the early work from this series a while back here or here.

Since then I’ve been playing around with different iterations of this same technique. I’ve also extended my geographic reach for this series beyond the beach itself, holding still to the “resort” theme, but not necessarily exclusive to beach chairs and umbrellas.

After spending Saturday morning at the beach with nothing more than a phone cam, I was ready to go out Saturday afternoon with a “real” camera. I headed for the resort area without a specific destination in mind. I thought I might do something with an old wooden fishing pier. But I couldn’t find anywhere to park, and well, you know how reluctant I am to pay to parking, if I can help it.

In the end, I went down to Rudee Inlet, at the southern end of the resort strip, to see if I could find some interesting content among the big charter fishing boats.

I guess I should have known that the parking lots around the Rudee Inlet marinas would not be anymore, especially this time of year, and that the on-street parking spaces would be all take by beachgoers. But trusting that I could get away with parking at one of the larger lots because one of my neighbors really does keep his big fishing boat down there, I pulled into the one lot that wasn’t tended by an attendant and parked. The next obstacle I encountered was a “No Trespassing/Boat Owners Only” sign on the gate to the pier. I reasoned that if my neighbor had happened to be working on his boat that day (which he wasn’t; I’m not sure he and his wife were even in Virginia on Saturday) he’d have welcomed me aboard. So I pushed the gate away and walked out on the pier for a closer look.

At the Beach 308, 2010

I’m not terribly taken with the results of this little foray. I have learned that this style I’m adopting really does work better when there’s at least one bold color to hold the photograph together. But I am breaking one rule. I’ve always been someone who’s worked hard to make sure that my photographs had a decent exposure distribution, the range of darks to lights. But for now, I’m having fun not worrying about that with this series. If anything, I want it to have the almost blown out looking bright light of summer.

Another thing I’m not worrying about: instead of getting all obsessive about getting my finished At The Beach series images “straight out of the camera,” I’m looking at digital capture, at least in this series, as just one step in the process of creating the finished image. Although it turns out there’s not a whole lot of post-processing to these images, I wouldn’t feel guilty if there were.

Meanwhile, I haven’t decided whether this latest flock of images has any hits or whether they’re all misses. I was very discouraged the day I took them. Now a couple of them are growing on me.


  1. Wow--I disagree with your initial assessment--while I love the pops of color in previous ones, I think these are great! I love the way this second one is almost like woven fabric. Very cool.

    They're hits.

  2. I think I'm going to try this technique with the fall colors around here this year.

    I know what you mean about paying for parking at the Oceanfront because I feel the same way. The only good thing about my accident 5 years ago is the disabled parking placard hanging from my rear view mirror. The past 2 summers I've had little trouble finding free parking at the beach and I get free access to state parks!