Friday, August 31, 2012

Shooting with Friends

After a (partial) summer hiatus -- not shooting... chained to my messy office until it was back in order -- I was getting an itchy trigger finger.  So this month, I made a point to arrange a few short trips with photo buddies.  Here is some of what I came home with (besides a happier heart).

First, Bob Thompson and I made a couple early morning fieldtrips to Mashes Sands and the Apalachicola National Forest.  Inadequately prepared for the rain from the storms, I spent the first day dodging raindrops to get a few landscapes backdropped by great skies.

On my way home, I stopped at one of Wakulla County's most photographed sites -- an old junkyard along the highway.  My first visit, but I thought the rain might help me make a worthwhile photo. I rigged my umbrella with duct tape and made a few shots. Not my favorite cup of tea, but here's what I got.

Next day, with equal rain chance, I was better prepared to get wet.  And of course the sky was clear all morning. Bob knew of a small unnamed dirt road where he'd found some giant old live oaks.  Unfortunately, clear weather means dappled light.  This makes landscape shooting very challenging.  Right off, I saw a backlit grapeleaf rimmed with lovely water droplets.  That started me looking at the little things -- mushrooms, resurrection ferns, bark patterns -- which are easier to photograph under sunny skies.

Apalachicola has been calling, mostly through my friend, John Spohrer and his beautiful posts at Facebook.  He has just published an amazingly beautiful book of his photography. The time was right and John and Helen said, "Sure, come on."  Out well before sunrise, we visited several of John's favorite spots around Apalachicola.

On my way home, I stopped off in Tate's Hell to stalk some water lilies for a couple hours.

Not long after that, John Moran called to report he'd found an especially beautiful spring on the Suwannee.  He wanted to team up for another complex night shot. Turned out another photographer friend of ours from South Florida, Paul Marcellini, was in the area so he joined us on my boat for a couple days camping on the river.  Great fun. We made many studies for the composite night photo, but it is still in process.  A masterful piece it will be.  Worth the wait.  Paul made a beautiful daytime shot of the spring.  Check out his work if you haven't seen it. We visited several springs in the vicinity.  Here is a sampling of my shots from our adventures.
Royal Spring

Springwater flowing into Suwannee's tannic blackwater

John and I check out a cave in Blue Spring

The final night, John and I stayed over with friends who live near the Ichetucknee River.  To my astonishment, they lived on the "old Collins place" near Ft. Meade - once home to E. J. Watson.  Having just finished reading Peter Mathiessen's Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend, I felt the awe of stepping into history.  Didn't make many photos, but the old kitchen shack still sits in it's original location.

Next morning, we made a visit to the Ich, where John needed to re-make an identical photo he'd made 30 years earlier to show the changes in the river.  Shifting baselines fool us into thinking the river is as healthy as ever.  Old photos help to tell a different story.  While John worked on his project, I made this beauty shot at Devil's Den.  Still looks mighty pretty to me... but it's just one frozen lovely moment in time.

Happy wanderings to all.