How Greg Got His Groove Back

· Reading Time: 30 minutes

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Long time no see!  When we last spoke I was coming back from 135 miles of driving around apparently for my health as I didn’t find a single image over many different counties.  These types of treks happen more often than I care to elaborate on, and I would be lying if I said that it didn’t bother me.  Something about photographers, or at least something about me is we tend to focus on our last photograph when it comes to our own self worth.  Well, when I can’t find anything to take a picture of over that kind of mileage I start to think that I don’t know what I’m doing and if I was any good, I would have found at least one image worth taking.  In an attempt to combat that feeling, I decided to go back in my archives and do some fresh edits on some old pictures.  That actually turned out very good and I was glad that my day turned out as it did, but there was still a part of me that needed to get out and get new images.

The weather for Saturday was pretty much like what had been forecasted for Friday so I was cautious about getting excited about going out as I was likely going to be disappointed once again.  I did things a little different though on the chance that the weather was a flop.  I started out the day with mowing the yard which I should have done yesterday.  There won’t be many more times of mowing this year, but it was getting a little rough so I was happy to get it under control once again.  When I was done with the yard, I went ahead and cut my hair because….well, it was suffering from the same problems as the yard.  Just the scraggly appearance, not the last few cuts for the year (I hope).  By the time I was done with all of that and a shower, it was after 3pm which was just about the time that I was needing to think about going out.

The sky had been relatively clear all day with some bright light through most of the day.  It was not as harsh as it had been yesterday, and what was even better was that now there were clouds rolling in from the West.  According to the forecast, there was a good chance of rain with those clouds and the front seemed to be moving East.  I wasn’t wanting to do any landscape images this time as I have done plenty of them lately.  What I was really wanting to work on was some rural scenes.  It was time for me to get back in the swing of doing those since the landscape images are going to be a little less prevalent for the next four or five months until the vegetation comes back.

You might have heard me talking about a boat in the area of Pilot Mountain that I have been wanting to photograph.  I had spotted it at the beginning of October when I went on a club ride with Country Road Miatas to initiate the new car.  The route that I took to get to the rally point in Pilot Mountain took me down one of my favorite state roads and I was seeing all sorts of wonderful rural possibilities during that spirited drive.  Sadly, even though I had my camera with me, I didn’t have time to stop and get any photographs since I was on a schedule.  I just made mental notes as I proceeded along, until I saw something that almost made me miss the club ride.

There was a boat sitting on the side of the road with the weeds and vegetation growing up all around it.  This was the scene that I have been searching for.  There was just something about a boat left derelict in the grass.  I would love to find one beached at a lake or in the ocean, but that has been done many times.  The sight of a boat being overgrown in the middle of land was something that I had been wanting to capture for a while.  This scene was perfect as the vegetation was heavy enough to show the abandonment, but not so bad as to block the view.  The background was a nice wooded hill and an old building.  When I saw it, the weather was just right with great light on the boat.  I made a highlighted mental note to return here when I had proper weather to make some images.  I passed on it in favor of coming back later when I had the time to work it.  That later was seeming like a very long time though as the weather was never cooperating with me in the area of Pilot Mountain.

Looking at the weather now, it was looking very promising as the rain would get out there last giving me time with the clouds which I was needing.  The decision was made at around 3:15 to head East along the same route that I had taken before trying to capture some of the scenes that had caught my eye nearly a month before.  It was about an hour’s drive, so I wasn’t going to have much time to work, but I was hitting the best light of the evening during the time that I was going to be there which was really nice.

Porch Beautification“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 2-stop soft edge ND Grad

When I exited I-77 I started to look for my typical signs for promising subjects.  I couldn’t recall exactly where these locations were, and I was sure that I would run into others along the way.  As long as I didn’t get too delayed, I would have plenty of time to get the boat, but I wasn’t going to pass up images that had good light if I saw them.  For the first 10 miles or so on the back roads I wasn’t finding anything of interest.  This started to feed into my insecurities and brought back memories from yesterday’s debacle.  Here I was planning on traveling another 120 miles at least and I had found nothing 40 miles in.  The sky was awesome, the light was awesome, my timing was awesome, but my artistic eye wasn’t stepping up to bat and that bothered me more than I cared to admit.  It is always that first image that is the hardest to capture and get in the bag.  After that first image, the rest of them come easier.  Here I was trying to get the first image from yesterday as well as today and I was starting to put a lot of pressure on myself to do something.

My first chance came at just the time when I was getting very discouraged with the day.  I had remembered seeing this property when I was through here before and doubted that there were any images to be made.  It was the first thing that really caught my eye so I decided to pull over and see what I could do with it.  If I messed it up, at least I would have a couple of images in the bag and I could get serious about finding other subjects and locations.  What I liked about this location was the old house situated kind of by itself.  There was a single wide trailer behind it, and a newer car parked near another house which could be seen off to the side.  To make matters worse, there was a swing set a bit closer to the house.  There was also another old home situated close to a large tree with an old blue Ford truck nosed up to the house.  I liked that little scene as well.  I just didn’t know how I would best be able to capture it.  What I did know was that they were very close to each other and that would make photographing the scenes that much simpler, if not easier.  As luck would have it, there was a church right next to the one house that I was able to pull into.

I wasn’t sure if I could get a composition but I got out of the truck and grabbed my gear to give it that old college try.  I started to look critically at the house and looked at all of the background clutter that I wanted to avoid.  I really worked at finding a point where I could mask all of the clutter with the house.  This meant getting in close and going relatively wide with my lens.  I didn’t want to go so wide that I would introduce perspective distortion so I stuck with my 24-70mm lens and added a polarizer to it.  I thought that I would be shooting low to the ground, but as I looked more critically, that was introducing too much perspective distortion to the front of the house.  I ended up elevating the camera well above my eye level which helped the distortion a little bit and still kept the relative height of the tree in the background roughly equal to the tree that was growing through the front porch.

It was that tree up front that I battled with in my mind.  I hated that it was blocking the entrance to the house which would make this an inviting picture, but at the same time, that tree told a vital part of the story and I decided that I would celebrate it in my image.  In fact, it became the focal point of the whole image as I found humor in the plant that was growing on the front porch after tending to Toni’s plants earlier in the day while I was working in the yard.  I used that tree and the one in the background as bookends to the image and the framework that I formed the composition within.  As I was getting the composition set up and fine tuned, I realized that the sky was just a tad bright and I was running the risk of introducing too much noise in the house by keeping it in the shadows to avoid blowing out the sky.  To combat this, I added a 2-stop ND Grad filter which was dropped just over the roof of the house which allowed the sky to be exposed correctly while keeping the house exposed out of the shadows.

I spent a little bit of time here to make sure that I had the composition right since this was the instrumental first image.  I wanted to make sure that it was a good one before I decided to move on.  I needed that confidence boost.  It didn’t take but about six frames to be happy with the image which wasn’t too bad considering the compositional issues that I had been presented with. I was feeling a little bit of confidence returning and I was very thankful for that.  I wasn’t back to normal just yet, but I was getting there.  I had my one rural image out of the way and it was time to see if I could do anything with the old Ford next door.

Blue Oval Hauling“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

When I got in position to look at the truck critically, it really didn’t jump out at me all that much.  It was nice, but there wasn’t much character to it.  I decided to see if I could find a composition that would make it sing from the standard 3/4 view up front.  As with the house before, there were some issues with clutter around this truck.  To the left of the frame there was another house that didn’t fit with the scene at all.  Behind the truck was yet another old house that actually fit the theme of the truck.  I had a nice Autumn tree bathed in yellow just behind that house.  There was a gap in the trees above the truck that showed the clouds in the sky which I thought would be a nice touch with the branches of the large tree behind me filling the top of the frame and providing the upper framework for the composition.  That was the first composition that I shot and I immediately blew out the sky so I added my ND Grad again and that helped, but the sky was still going to be the brightest part of the scene and was going to compete for visual superiority within the image.  I just couldn’t have that happen.

I recomposed a tighter shot from an elevated position which provided a much better view of the house behind the truck and eliminated the opening in the trees.  This allowed me to expose for the light that was falling on the landscape and not what was falling on the clouds in the sky.  This was a much more balanced exposure and I was no longer needing the ND Grad.  I had the house prominent enough to be a feature in the image with that yellow tree drawing the eyes back to that corner.  I had it lined up with the bed of the truck so as to connect the two visually.  The rust on the hood matched up with and complemented the rusty roof on the house which again connected the two elements in the composition.  The dark wood bed of the truck made much more sense when placed in front of the white siding on the house.  The contrast really helped the black wood stand out.  I had figured out a composition that really worked in a not so easy situation.  I was feeling more like myself again and started to feel like I knew what I was doing after all.

I’m serious folks, this is a debilitating part of being a photographer.  For the most part, I think photographers are very insecure about their art.  I’m sure that there are different degrees to that insecurity, but I know I am quite insecure about my abilities most of the time.  That is why is is so important that I continue to make new images and improve.  It gives me the opportunity to learn new tricks with how to compose around difficult scenes and that helps to build my confidence.  With this second image in the bag, my confidence was coming back and I was feeling like I was ready to tackle a more advanced view of this truck.

I Got the Mail“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

When I was walking up on the truck I saw it from the rear and something about that view stood out to me.  I wasn’t quite able to articulate it, but I thought that there was a composition to be had there.  That was going to be my challenge for this scene.  I stood there and looked at the scene in front of me to ask myself what I liked and what I didn’t like about it.  What I liked was easy.  I loved the tree, especially the way one of the branches matched the slope of the roof.  I loved the old house with the failing paint.  I liked the Ford which I had already photographed, and I liked the mailbox in the bed of the truck.  What I didn’t like was the fact that the house had fallen in through the center section.  I didn’t like the bright sky showing through the trees to the right, and I didn’t like the clutter that came into the scene beyond the concrete wall to the right of the truck.  I had to compose an image here that took all of these things into consideration.  What I ended up with was a composition that had the tree forming a frame along the left side and that upper corner.  I placed the truck along the bottom of the frame at an angle that showed the color of the cab as well as the mailbox in the bed.  The house was easy enough to include, but I needed to have an angle on it that used the tree to mask the collapsed part in the middle.  By going with a 5:7 crop in post, I was able to eliminate the clutter to the right side of the frame, and place the mailbox in a little more appropriate area of the frame.

I was happy with the composition, but the exposure was quite difficult with the primary elements being in the shadows while still having a bright sky to contend with.  There wasn’t enough of the sky present to justify the use of an ND Grad because that would have just unnecessarily darkened the trees more than they already were.  I could have shot an HDR image as the wind wasn’t really blowing, but I didn’t want to change having any leave movement so instead I exposed to the right to the point where the brightest areas of the sky were actually overexposed.  I wasn’t expecting to have complete detail in the sky, nor did I need it.  I just needed some rough shading to be convincing and I had that with the clouds.  If I had a few areas of featureless white, that was ok.  I needed to capture the shadow detail more in this case.  My histogram showed that I had the information that I was needing to make a go of this image.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I had made all of the right choices in the field with this one.  It was a composition that I wasn’t sold on when I shot it, so I didn’t have many frames of it.  However, what I did have had a lot of promise and when I pulled this one into Lightroom and started the processing I started to really love this one.  It was so much better than the front quarter view of the truck.  Even though the most interesting part of the truck was pretty much hidden and we were left with only the bed and side to look at, it was the totality of the scene that just flat out worked.  The tree made for a perfect framing element to the left and might be my favorite part of the composition.  The house gives a great sense of location and that patina is awesome to say the least.  Unless you look closely, you won’t really notice that most of the house is gone, and even if you do, that is another part of the story, but it is not enough of a part to distract from the view that I wanted to convey.  The final bit of the puzzle here was the mailbox in the back of the truck.  That was the comedic part of the image and the part that told the story here.  It is not often that really like images shot from the backs of vehicles, and even fewer when the rear of the vehicle is a boxed flatbed.  This one just really works and has turned into an early favorite from the day.

When I was done with this composition, I still didn’t know if it was going to turn out or not.  I was still wanting to capture something else to work with later when I got back home.  The house that I had shot to begin this set with was where I went for a second go.  This time, I was shooting from the opposite side.  It was not quite as interesting, but there was another Ford truck sitting beneath some vegetation right beside the house.  I thought that was an interesting feature that was worth a capture.  I found the right composition and shot a few exposures.  Sadly, when I got home and looked at them on the large monitor, the images didn’t work at all.  The Ford was lost under the vegetation, and the house wasn’t interesting enough at this angle to carry the image.  It was just boring without any story.  I went ahead and trashed those images and moved on with the rest of the day’s shots.

Time Never Stops“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 3-Stop soft ND Grad

I got back on the road and went back to searching out something else to capture.  The sky was steadily improving, but I was back to having a hard time finding an appropriate subject to work.  There were lots of great rural scenes, but it was a matter of finding compositions to work with those subjects.  Clutter was a large issue here and it prevented many a great image from being made.  However, I did come across a field that was a beautiful golden color underneath a very interesting blue tinted sky.  As I passed it by I saw a trail through the gold that was green and red and I thought that I might be able to compose a nice minimalist image here.  As I started to think about how that would work out I started to look for a place to get turned around.  What I found was a red barn atop a hill under that same gorgeous sky.  With the way the sky was changing I was going to have time to shoot one or the other of these subjects.  The barn was more to my liking for the mood that I was in so I decided to pull off on the shoulder of the road to capture that.

I grabbed my 24-70mm lens once again as it would give me the flexibility to find a good composition.  I also screwed on a polarizer to help control the glare on the tin roof as well as add a little contrast to the sky hopefully.  As has been the theme of the afternoon, I had to figure out the best place to set the camera up in order to block out the clutter that surrounded the barn.  The biggest problem that I had was a house that was to the right of the barn and a utility pole between the house an barn.  There was also an old trailer below and to the right of the barn that really didn’t add to the story.  To the left of the barn was some bare trees and one that was still holding onto its browning leaves.  The barn itself was just over the ridge and I wasn’t going to be able to capture the entire barn to the foundation, but that wasn’t all that important since I was getting the vast majority of the barn from my low altitude location.

I raised the camera well above eye level to get as much of the barn as I could and I ended up framing up an image that was at 50mm.  For this composition I found that the sky was way overcooked and I needed to bring it back a little bit.  I ran back to the truck and grabbed a 3-stop ND Grad to slide in behind the polarizer.  That did the trick for me and the exposure looked great.  I liked it, but it seemed like I had arbitrarily placed the barn in the lower right third which looked a little “expected” so I opted to change things up.  I tried to get a tighter composition which started to look better, but I could only go to 70mm which wasn’t quite enough to get the visual impact that I was after.  I grabbed the camera and ran back to the truck to switch lenses to my 70-200mm.  I kept the filters the same and started to compose a much tighter composition.  I was liking these much better when I viewed them on the back of the camera after each exposure.  The barn was much more prominent and the trees to the left stood out much better as well.  I committed to that composition and fired off exposures as the sky changed.

The sky eventually lost the definition in the clouds and I decided to call it a day from here.  I was right that the clouds wouldn’t last long enough for me to go and shoot the landscape image that I had spotted just before this barn.  I was hoping that I had made the right choice by working the barn instead.  When I got the images home, I glossed over the first one and went right to the last of the set where I had found that really nice tight composition.  When I looked at it on the screen in full size it suddenly lost interest for me.  The barn was just the biggest element in the frame and it looked like a postcard more than a piece of art.  It was a snapshot and I was not trying to capture those at all.  I almost abandoned this barn and figured I made the wrong call by working it over the minimal landscape.  Before I moved to my absolute favorite scene of the evening, I looked back at the earlier images of the bar just to make sure.

Well, wouldn’t you know it.  The 50mm shot actually had a lot of presence and impact on the full screen.  The trees showed themselves quite well and the barn, which had been just arbitrarily placed in the lower right third actually looked really good a bit smaller in comparison.  That allowed the use of red to not be quite as in your face, and made it a more subtle element which was much better balanced by the clouds above.  This image just worked, and was a testament to the time that I took in composing the shot to avoid all of the clutter and to include the parts that I liked.  I was happy that I had chosen the barn over the landscape.  It was a very simple image, but one that I felt was quite effective.

With the sky starting to lose the depth and textures I was thinking that my evening was about to be finished.  I wasn’t sure how close I was to the boat, and I really wanted to at least check it out after having driven all this way so I continued on my Easterly course.  As I progressed, the sky was starting to do some interesting things behind me, but to the left and in front of me it was actually turning blue and clearing up.  The conditions were definitely unstable at this point which meant that rain was on the way, and it also meant that I might be in for some very interesting conditions.  Maybe I would be able to get a frame or two of the boat after all.  Hey wait a minute…is that a barn off to the right of the road?  Yep, and looky there, there is a road that looks like it might pass right in front of the barn.  As I passed by that road I looked back and saw a pretty plain Jane white barn which normally wouldn’t really excite me, but when I saw the sky above it, I almost locked up the wheels on the 4Runner.  I safely got turned around and pulled down that little side road and onto the shoulder.

In Before the Storm“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 2 and 3-stop soft ND Grads

I got out of the truck and could feel my heart jumping out of my chest with excitement.  This was going to be epic!  I grabbed my camera with the 24-70mm lens attached along with the polarizer.  I was thinking that I should have just left the camera built for the entire evening since this was the same combination I had been shooting at each of my stops.  I mounted it all to the tripod and started to find a location to shoot the barn from.  There were buildings to the right that I didn’t want in the frame, and there was another farm to the rear that I didn’t want in the frame since I just wanted a simple composition that focused on the barn and the sky.  I found my composition that just had those two elements.  It worked, but wasn’t quite as epic as I had hoped it would be.  I started to examine the scene once again and decided that the farm behind the barn might make a good element to show depth in the scene.  The field that had been cut back provided a great leading line back to that set of silos and a barn in the background.  I repositioned the camera and found the right location to capture those two elements which forced me to open up the angle of view which had the side benefit of including much more of the sky.  I was now at 33mm and that was absolutely perfect.  I started to make exposures here and found that the sky had a really bright spot at the top of the frame that I had to deal with.  I added a 3-stop soft edge ND Grad which was dropped just over the apex of the roof.  That helped, but I was still showing some blinkies in the bright spot of the sky, and the barn seemed to be a little dim still.  I went back to my case and grabbed a 2-stop soft edge Grad and slid that in along with the 3-stop and staggered them making for a very gradual transition to a total of 5-stops of light reduction.  that did the trick and brought that bright spot of the sky under control while allowing me to overexpose the barn slightly considering the lighting.  The histogram was perfect now, and I had to text Toni and let her know that I had found something fantastic.  I snapped a picture of my camera sitting in front of this scene with a simple text of “Bing-Freaking-O!”  I was that excited about this one.

Just to make sure that I didn’t mess anything up, I shot several exposures with different focus points as well as different apertures just to make sure that I had everything in sharp focus.  For those that are interested, I managed to accomplish this goal at f/11 by focusing on the back left corner of the barn.  Both of my main elements are sharp and you can see detail everywhere you would expect and I didn’t have to use the one that was at f/14, or f/18 as diffraction was starting to set in there.  As I was getting the focus dialed in, I noticed something incredible in the background.  You could actually see the rain as it was approaching from the West.  Amazingly it corresponded with the structures in the background as if to point them all out.  There was a thick downpour over the barn and then smaller ones over each of the silos, and they were falling at a curve that complimented the roof of the barn.  I couldn’t have asked for a better image here, and wouldn’t have known what elements to put in place if making a composite. This was one of those perfect natural settings that jumps in front of my camera very rarely.

I recognize the luck that I had here and am very thankful for it.  This barn wasn’t all that exciting by itself since it was just a white barn.  It was convenient to the side of the road which was a nice benefit and that made it easy to get out and try a picture or two.  It was that sky that had drawn me in ultimately, and I had no idea that the sky was going to produce such a dramatic background in a composition that I had already set up by instinct.  It is times like this that really do help my self confidence.  This will likely be one of my most significant images for 2020, because of how all of the elements fell into place.  It was shot now nearly eight hours ago and I am still excited about it and looking at it here as I am typing it still looks like an amazing image to me.

By the time I was done with this barn, it was getting very close to sunset and I was positive that I was done with the camera for the evening.  I still hadn’t seen my boat, and honestly didn’t remember exactly the setting that it was in.  Could I have passed it?  I doubt it because I saw it easily while paying very close attention to my driving the other day.  Could somebody have moved it from its grassy grave?  That was a distinct possibility, but I doubted it.  I had to be close to it, and I wanted to get another look at it and determine if it was going to be the image that I was thinking that it would be.  Even if I didn’t get a shot of it tonight, I would have a better understanding of what might work with it in the future.  With that in mind, I took my now very confident self on down the road with visions of creating images out of nothing.  I was a photographer again and was feeling the part.  My disappointment from yesterday was a distant memory.  I had come a long way from who I was then (that was my overconfidence talking by the way).

Dammit Gilligan!“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 3-stop hard ND Grad

I don’t think it was but another 5 miles or so down the road when I saw the front of a boat in the distance.  Since I wasn’t near any bodies of water I was pretty sure that this was going to be my boat.  It was getting dark, but I was finally here and could evaluate the boat for a future visit.  I drove by and saw that there was ample parking in what appeared to be a parking lot at one time.  I was floored at the junk that was around the boat and building at the rear, but I was rather excited about the possibilities with this boat.  I got turned around and pulled into the parking lot.  I got out and started to look at the boat critically to see if there was a composition.  As I looked, I could see a great composition that included the building to the right of the boat which would add to the mystery of what it was doing sitting there.  The light was low, but it was still before sunset.  There were decent clouds behind the trees at the top of the hill in the background which looked to be enough to keep some visual interest back there instead of featureless white.  The lighting wasn’t necessarily ideal, but it was workable.  Fortunately, there was no wind so a long exposure wasn’t going to be a problem at all.

What the heck, might as well give this a try since I was here.  I went back to the truck and grabbed the camera with the…you guessed it…24-70mm lens with a polarizer.  that was mainly to take the glare off of the glass and maybe saturate the leaves a little bit.  I got everything set up and framed up the composition that I had in mind.  It was horizontal and had the boat in the left third of the frame with the long building filling out the other two thirds.  There wasn’t much sky included with worked out great.  However, the balance of the image was off, it would have been much better had the boat been angled into the building as opposed to away from it.  The boat was taking my eyes out of the frame and since the building was darker than the boat, it wasn’t strong enough to pull my eyes back in.  I couldn’t give the boat more breathing room to the left which would have helped this because there was a lot…I mean A LOT of clutter to the left of the boat.  I was even having to be careful with the angle I was from the boat since if I went too far I wouldn’t have any room to let the boat breathe on the left of the frame.  It meant basically a straight on on shot, just off to the side a little bit.

Since I was having to stick with that angle, I figured that a vertical composition might work a little better.  I flipped the camera on its side and framed up a new composition.  Almost immediately things improved and the position of the boat made sense.  By excluding the building the frame was left with just the boat in an overgrowth of vegetation beneath a hill.  There were no clues here at all about what the deal was with the boat, it was just sitting in the brush, very far from any water.  The story here was a mystery and I loved that about this composition.  It captured everything that I wanted to capture when I came up with the rough idea of this composition many years ago.  This is one of those “goal images” of mine and it was looking like I was finally going to be able to capture it with my camera.

Looking at the histogram, I was going to have some serious exposure issues.  The boat was largely in the shadows and the clouds were much brighter.  I was going to have to work around this so I pulled out a 3-stop hard edge ND Grad filter.  I debated on using a hard or soft transition filter but since the horizon was basically straight except for the trees, I thought that the hard edge filter would give me a more abrupt transition which I was needing in the sky.  I was willing to have the trees darken a bit there since the weren’t in the light to begin with.  At the distance they were at, they were going to be a dark silhouette anyway so I might as well have the sky benefit from the filter as much as possible.

That did the trick and I was seeing a much better histogram with plenty of detail in the highlights as well as the shadows at 1.3 seconds.  I was very lucky that there was no wind as any breeze would have blurred the vegetation which was very important for this image.  It was going to be a stretch in post to get this one to have the look that I was after, but the light was soft and I was pretty sure that I was going to have a very good image when I was all finished with it.

As it turned out, this one was my surprise out of the day.  It was the reason that I went out on the trek, and the one image that I almost didn’t have time for.  I was basically goofing around with the last light of the day not really expecting to get an image to work.  However, the editing was much easier than I thought it would be.  I ended up with the image that I had actually previsualized so many years ago, at least in feeling and mood.  Since it was getting a bit late by the time I was done processing this image I was getting a little punchy coming up with titles.  When I looked at this image the only thing that I could think of was that the skipper was going to get fired for parking his boat like this.  I thought of references to “Gilligan’s Island” and the SS Minnow and I just couldn’t shake that at all.  The title that made the most sense here was “Dammit Gilligan!”  I really tried to come up with an alternate, but darned if it just didn’t fit perfectly.

I’m not sure if this might also be in the running for one of my yearly most significant images, but I’m thinking that it might be.  It is one that I have been hunting for quite some time and I finally got the image that I was after and in a very spectacular way right at the end of the day with the light just about gone.  Not only was this a bucket list image for me, it actually turned out really well.  The soft light did wonders for allowing so much detail to come out.  It just checks all of the boxes for what I wanted out of this image.  It was a great ending to the trek and it turned into such a cathartic experience after so many attempts to get out to Pilot Mountain to capture this.  It finally happened and there were several other images that I really just loved that came from this trek prompted by this odd duck out of water.

I do hope that you enjoyed this trek as much as I did.  I would love to do something special to wrap this blog up, but it is 2am at this point and I am getting very tired, but do want to get these images released in time for folks to be looking at them over their morning coffee.  Remember, if you like what you see, please consider supporting this starving artist by purchasing a print.  That is the final step to the process for me.  I love seeing the tangible presentation of my images, but alas I can’t print every image that I shoot, and I certainly can’t frame every one I have.  I rely on my clients to facilitate that final stage to the creative process for me.  I do love making prints for my wonderful clients and I am seeing my images being distributed all across the US which is very humbling and exciting for me.

Until next time…

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