Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer’s Spectacular Light

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
~Emily Dickinson
It’s mysterious, glorious, and enchanting. Its constantly changing depth, hue, contrast and intensity creates a dazzling display of illumination and texture; the summer sky never repeats itself. It doesn’t matter if it’s dawn, mid-day, the glowing hours, or the inky twilight, the light show never ceases to stop us mid-sentence. Even though it is August, we have plenty of summer left down here in the South to admire the evolving canvas of the heavens.
Personally, I like (or at least try) to capture ordinary vistas in extraordinary circumstances, taking a common and familiar Kodak moment and giving it a twist. I was fortunate enough to snap some photos in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina two months ago. There were a couple of variables, some might call them annoying circumstances, that heightened my anticipation of getting some awesome shots: (a) wild fires in North Florida were blowing smoke up the coast (b) the reliable summer afternoon coastal showers bringing in amazing cloud formations. I was vacationing, so I was praying that I would be able to shoot some pictures at an agreeable time slot, getting up at crack-thirty was not on my agenda.
I shot the first image (right) from our villa’s balcony with my iPhone in the morning hours; you can see the haze in the low sky blurring Daufuskie Island. It’s not morning fog burning off but the smoke from the wild fires. Overall the image is somewhat predictable; I suspect hundreds of vacationers have the same photo of the harbor in their family albums from vacationing in these villas. Predictable and ordinary, except for the monster yachts that are docked in the marina!
Advance forward to the next day, late afternoon to be exact, and a summer shower had just passed over Hilton Head Island. I can remember that it was so silent when I took these photos- I think my husband and cousin were napping and my cousin’s wife was in the shower. While setting up my camera, I realized that I had an opportunity to add a couple more interesting elements to the landscape, but I had to be patient. 
My first shot (at top) is just capturing some interesting filtered light and remnants of storm clouds. In case you were wondering, I currently shoot with a Sony A55 SLT and had a 18-200mm lens on the camera for these photos. I need a couple of ‘landscape lenses’ but currently, I have some budgetary constraints!

While crouching on a chair on the balcony, I wait for the timing of the lighthouse beacon to face me and the wind to catch the flags on the lighthouse... it took some time. I think it took about thirty five minutes to pop off the next two shots, but oh, was it worth it! I now have some illuminated memories of vacationing with my husband and cousins that will last a lifetime!

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