Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Details in Waves

Here are a series of photographs that I made on two consecutive cold winter days in South Florida. The weather was unusually cold for these parts with north west winds and clear atmospheric conditions. Furthermore short period swells were constantly coming on-shore. The effect of all this was crystal clear water, small waves and off-shore winds that smoothed the surface of the ocean.

The waves where beautiful but lacked energy and were too small to photograph in their entirety. However the conditions and light were almost perfect and there was something I needed to focus the camera on.

My first instinct was to photograph underwater with a wide angle lens--in this case a 14mm--which I did until it felt like I wasn't coming up with anything radically new. (The two above images.)

What I kept noticing, besides the crystalline nature of the water, was how vibrant the color of the water was and how golden streaks of light were streaking through the blue/green faces. I thus changed plans and swam in to swap lenses and go with a 50mm that I could use to focus in on the details.

On a technical side there was no way auto focus would work fast enough and consequently I pre-focus the lens at about one and a half feet. I had no idea how this would work though I was aware that there would be practically no depth of field to help me out; still I shot on aperture priority hoping to squeak out an inch or two.

As I mentioned above I shot on consecutive days, which meant I had a day to see my first attempt. I was pleased though I could tell how difficult it was to stop the action at such close focusing distant and to nail the focus. Nevertheless I was encouraged enough to try more of the same on a second day.

Did I learn and would I do things a bit different? Possibly yes though overall I'm pleased with the results and when looking at some of the images on a large computer monitor I become transfixed by the beauty in the details and the overall abstract effect of the images. In some instances it's hard to define the image of a wave and instead the photograph becomes one of color and light, which were the two elements that attracted me in the first place.