Last week I spent a couple of days in Easton, MD at the invitation of my friend Charles Riter, photographing in areas I probably never would have found, if not for being with someone who is intimately familiar with the area and an excellent photographer, himself. It was nice to get a chance to photograph in places I do not see every day, but the best part was spending time with Charles and several of his local photo friends. These folks have an informal photo club that meets for coffee on a regular basis, and they now have put together a group exhibition in Easton that is well worth seeing.
The two photographs included in this post are from an early morning trip we made to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD. It took me a while to get my bearings on the museum grounds (especially in the dark), but shortly after the sun rose, I found these two shots on the north side of the Small Boat Shed. The soft light, the calm waters, and the curves of the hulls and ropes drew my attention, and as I composed the images in my viewfinder, I knew they would be black and white.
I really wanted to create a dreamlike quality in this photograph, meaning I wanted the small ripples in the water to be smoothed out with a long exposure. I had to be careful, though, to moderate the exposure so as to minimize any blurring of the boat as it rose and fell slowly in its mooring. My 8 second exposure at f/22 and ISO 100 turned out to be pretty much on the money, softening the water just enough, while the boat remained comparatively still and sharp. Post processing was straight forward, making the black and white conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro2. In preparing the web gallery image, I put a 3 pixel black border around the print to visually separate it from the white poster frame I use for web display.
Chronologically, this second image was shot before the one above. The shapes of the stern railing and the mooring line, along with the reflections of the sunrise in the water caught my eye. My initial thought was to make a longish exposure to smooth out the water, but the longest exposure I could muster at f/22 was 1/15 second. It seems my brain was on hiatus and I had not reset my ISO from 640, which I had been using earlier on before the sun rose. As it stands, I think the resulting grittier appearance better reflects that it is a working boat, not a pleasure craft, and the structure and shading of the water give a more “industrial” feel to the scene.
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