Channeling John Singer Sargent …

Several years ago, I became acquainted with John Singer Sargent during a member’s preview of his seascapes at the Corcoran Gallery. I really liked the way he captured the light, atmosphere and water, and those impressions have remained with me ever since.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Charleston, SC with a couple of photo buddies, and the last morning I was in town, we went to Folly Beach for sunrise.  The big draw at Folly Beach for most people is the pier, which extends for what must be nearly a quarter mile into the ocean. I took some obligatory photographs of the sunrise behind the pier, but was not really inspired until I looked to my right, away from the sunrise, and saw the light playing off the water – it immediately reminded me of John Singer Sargent.   I made exposures as long as the magic lasted, and the one below is the first of what I hope will be several images from those few minutes.

I stood in the surf and aimed my camera down the beach, away from the rising sun toward the boundary between night and day.  I wanted to include some of the beach in the frame, but had to be careful not to include any of the early morning beachgoers,  I used a longish exposure (1 second) in order to capture some of the wave motion, but  still retain a hint of detail on the water’s surface.

This picture proved incredibly difficult to process to the point I wanted – I suppose part of that was due to the fact that I tried to do as much as I could in Lightroom 5 instead of Photoshop by itself.  The print, though, turned out very well and will be displayed at the Workhouse Arts Center in the Associate Artists Gallery (Building W-9) during May.

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Botany Bay B&W …

I have been back from my southern trip for a week-and-a-half and I am now working my way through the image captures I made in Venice, FL and the Charleston, SC area.  This process has been somewhat slowed as I am trying to learn how to work with and within Adobe Lightroom 5, it being both an editing tool and a digital asset management  environment. I’ll get the hang of it, yet.

The two photographs in today’s post were taken during the late afternoon in the “bone yard” at Botany Bay on Edisto Island, south of Charleston. I had been there with all the photo buddies in the morning to photograph the sunrise and the old trees in the rising tide, but my friend Charles and I decided to make an return trip that afternoon at low tide to see what the photographic possibilities would be. I had an expedition under these conditions on my bucket list for the trip in order to explore among the old tree remnants, with the intention of shooting some images that would go straight into black and white.

We had a bright sun and a clear sky, which is not very interesting for most color work, but it was just perfect for my intentions – a dramatic, cloud filled sky would only have detracted from the stark shapes of the old tree, above.

I also did a couple of attempts at isolating patterns in the wood, itself, and the second image is an example.  Sadly, this was a grab shot as Charles and I were leaving, so I did it handheld rather than with my camera on the tripod. I really, really like the composition, but sadly it is not as sharp in depth as I would like.  It works on the tiny screen, though. I will just have to go back and try again, and plan to spend more time there.

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