I was pretty lazy last week at the shore. It was a vacation after all, and a badly needed one at that! But one morning, as I lay there in bed, thinking about the fact that the sun was going to be rising in three hours, I decided that I was going to head out to the pier again for sunrise. It was a good plan... 3am. I decide I will head to the pier to shoot it at sunrise and go back to sleep.
4am. Still awake. Staring into darkness of the bedroom, listening to the uneven whine, hum, and click of the ceiling fan. I creep out to the balcony to take a look at the sky, to try to determine if there is going to be one (a sky that is). It was supposed to start raining at 4am and continue all morning, but in looking out, I could see the sky and the sea distinctly from each other, as opposed to a big dark gray mass of nothing, lit by the glow of the lights of Ocean City. I gather up my camera bag and remove all of the gear that I won't need (battery chargers and radio triggers), checked my memory cards, battery power, and head back to bed. I have time before I drive to the pier.
5am. Alarm goes off. I think I slept about 15 minutes since 3. The sleepy darkness of the room is telling me "dude... you're on vacation... go to sleep." I listen to it.
5:05am. Nagging somewhere in my conscience. "This is when you need to get moving, Darren. This is when the sun rises. This is the good light." I ignore my conscience and sleep.
5:15am. My conscience makes a reinforced counterattack and takes over with the equivalent of a gallon of caffeine right into my noggin. I leap out of bed and rush to the balcony to check the weather. It's good, clouds, but no rain, and I have a sky, but there is no way I can make it to the pier and get ready since I overslept. Never listen to the sleepy darkness, it's the enemy of the good light. Damn you sleepy darkness!
5:25am. I'm on the beach. The sky is slightly brightened by the sun that is still sleeping somewhere deep in the Atlantic Ocean. I am jealous of it. I found my subject, the lifeguard chair and set up my tripod (all of these images at at 1/8th of a second or slower).
It's actually pretty cloudy at this point and I start to wonder if I am actually going to see the sun, or just the hint of it behind the clouds. Fiddling with the camera, I check the virtual horizon in the D700 to make sure my horizon is straight (I have ruined pictures in the past by needing to rotate slightly and crop to fix a sloppy horizon, losing too much image real estate in the process), I'm amazed that that I am actually thinking about this. My conscience's urge to wake up made me pretty clear minded... but not nimble. I step in the sand too close to my tripod, it shifts, and the camera moves. I relevel it. With a magenta filter and an ND filter on the lens, I get to work.
I put a warming gel (1/4 cut CTO) on my off-camera SB910 flash, and add some light and difference in color to the chair. My anti-deftness strikes again and I drop my remote release, it falls button down into the sand... and jams.
5:45am. Seagulls fly away from me as I spout obscenities at my remote and try to get the sand out of it and at myself for being cheap and not buying a better one, and for stupidly removing my radio triggers from my bag at 4am.
5:50am. The grain of sand that was jamming the trigger is dislodged and I'm back in business. Woo hoo!!!
6:01am. Here comes the sun. It's funny how fast it moves through the sky when it's so close to the horizon. It creeps across the sky all morning and afternoon, but at sunrise and sunset, it moves with a purpose.
6:03am. My uncle John appears on the beach and randomly informs me that he is going for newspaper. Um... thank you, Uncle John.
6:05am I'm clicking away. Then something else gets into my head... something I read in a Scott Kelby book somewhere... "don't go to a spot, plant your tripod, and call it a day... look around for other angles." But at this point the sun is really whipping up from the ocean, and disappearing into the clouds. So I move five feet.
You can see in the above shot, the sun is right between two layers of clouds, and then it was gone, leaving only rays peeking their ways downward through the clouds.
6:15am. I take the magenta filter and ND filter off the lens and put on a darker 7-stop ND filter and go for a different look with different light from a new location much closer to the water. This image has had multiple layers texture applied to it in Photoshop. At this point, I am wiping rain off my lens barrel and decide to call it a morning.
6:20am. I quickly change into dry clothes and am back in bed.
Things I wished I did differently... I wish I tried some other color gels on the flash to make that chair red, or blue, maybe green and I wished I tried a another point of view/location. Next time. Maybe next time I won't be so lazy and will get out more than once while on vacation at the shore.
A few of these images will be going into my print gallery, available for order, which I'm working on every time I get a free few minutes.
Thanks a million for stopping by and enduring my diary style post on my lazy vacation at the beach.