My previous post on my disappointment with the photographic opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands ended with a teaser about one interesting subject I found. That was the remains of Grace Bay Dock. This skeleton of a dock juts into the ocean punctuating a miles-long stretch of nothing but sand and water. When I first approached it, I snapped a few photos and determined that it had some potential for a landscape photo. I was eager to study a subject like this ever since I photographed the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine. I knew I would have to spend time shooting many frames until I liked the pattern of seafoam, and I’d have to wait until the light was perfect.
Knowing that sunset was at 5:05 p.m., I arrived the next afternoon at 3:30 to get settled in with my tripod. I framed the shot different ways until I settled on a composition I liked, an off-center perspective with the pilings breaking the horizon. Then I relaxed and waited, shooting a few frames every now and then as the light changed. It’s an entirely different experience to slow down like this and craft a photo with intention. The time I spent with nothing but my camera, the breeze, and the sound of the waves was meditative and transforming.
Suddenly the angle of light lent beautiful contrast to the seafoam as it approached and receded. I fell in with the rhythm of the waves to release the shutter at the moment when there was a good proportion of sand to seafoam. It took practice, because once it looked good in the viewfinder, it was too late. Anticipating it a split second beforehand was tricky.
The delicious light lasted only about ten minutes. However, I stayed longer to try another technique. With the light fading, I was able to shoot with a slower shutter speed which blurred the motion of the water. This silky effect casts a very different mood on the same scene, and I like it equally as much.