What’s In A Photograph

Sunset at low tide on Saint Joseph Bay in Port Saint Joe, Florida. The low perspective of rocks in the sand cast deep shadows as the setting sun sinks lower.

On a warm January evening in Port Saint Joe, Florida I stood on the beach of Saint Joseph Bay and squinted my eyes against the brilliance of the setting sun. Lots of things keep bringing me back here. The wildlife, the beauty of the bay, the warmth of a January evening and memories of a friend. Port Saint Joe is very special for me and I love to seek and photograph the beauty of this place so dear to my heart.

This time of day the sunlight strikes hard across the surface of the water and sand casting shadows behind every rock and ripple highlighting the detail and beauty in the bay surface at low tide. The mood of the light is almost somber and ever so beautiful as it colors the seascape with it’s golden hues ever dimming as the sunset draws near. Amazing. It’s always so beautiful and every sunset is different. Every day.

I followed the edge of the bay watching the light change and stopping from time to time to simply be in the moment and enjoy the view but I needed to capture these moments as well. A low camera angle worked well to capture the detail of the sand brought to light by the setting sun’s rays and placing the sun slightly off center brings some balance to an image where I wanted the foreground rocks to carry more power than the sunset and it works. One’s eye is drawn immediately to the rocks and on to the sunset.

In the distance a flock of pelicans sat on the bay and one popped it’s wings loudly against the water. Behind me a family walked, with dogs taking the lead, down off the trail to enjoy the sunset and time together on the narrow beach. Occasionally, one of the girls stopped to make a picture. I smiled watching them enjoy their time and togetherness.

Slowly, I made my way along the bay searching for different angles to shoot from and ways to make several images in a way they don’t all look like the same sunset and capturing this natural treasure that amazes me so. I’m looking for anything that leads my eye to the sunset. Lines in the sand, patterns, shadows or the beach leading into the distance. Searching for pictures in this way is a great way to practice picture composition even if you have no camera at the time and for me it’s good practice for finding the beauty in everything.

What’s in a photograph? In this one for me it’s the amazing beauty of the Florida coast and Saint Joseph Bay in particular, the love of a family enjoying time together, the abundance of wildlife on the bay and as a shiver came over me in the warm evening air, the memory of a friend always loved. There’s beauty everywhere if only you choose to see.

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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