Thursday, September 5, 2013

Going with the flow

Most of the time when I head out to photograph I have something specific in mind. The destination and time of day are chosen because I think I might be able to create a certain image: sunrise light on a mountain, fall foliage along a stream, flowers in bloom in a meadow, or maybe city lights reflecting off a wet street.  If you've spent much time photographing you know that frequently you don't find the image that you were anticipating.  Maybe the flowers were wind damaged, the sunrise was obscured by heavy clouds, or the light just didn't work at that time of day for that location.  At those times, which happen to me more often than I'd like, I try to pause, look around, and see what else might make a good image.  That's the situation that challenges your creativity and can result in great artwork.

I had been looking for ways to photograph along the Maumee River from a different point of view as well as enjoy one of the underappreciated recreational opportunities in the Toledo area.  Chris and I decided that a boat was too much trouble to own, but jet skis would get us out on the water and I hoped to use them as a photography platform.  Of course water and a 5D Mark III don't play well together, so I bought a "diving bag" - a plastic watertight bag with a lens port and headed out.  I'd always wanted to photograph the Toledo harbor lighthouse, but it's about seven miles out into Lake Erie from the mouth of the Maumee River.  An image of it would need to be made in daylight since jet skis aren't allowed out at night and it would be difficult to stabilize a camera in low light on the water.  We picked a day with blue skis and fluffy clouds and hoped for the best.  Of course by the time we reached the lighthouse, most of the fluffy clouds had dissipated from behind the sunlit side of the lighthouse.  So I swung around behind the lighthouse with the thought of a starburst type effect and the sun coming through the light of the lighthouse.  It was fairly choppy on the lake so precision composition was a lost cause.  But the biggest surprise when I looked at the images on the computer was that the plastic of the port of the waterproof bag had caused a rainbow color effect on the images.  When I had tested the bag inside my house this hadn't happened, but in bright sunlit images the problem was major.  Time for a black and white conversion!  Not what I had planned, but it's a decent image and it was fun creating it.

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