Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Photographing the St. John's River

One thing I am guilty of is not doing much local photography. Over the years, I have spent many mornings at Washington Oaks State Park, photographing this unique rock stretch of Atlantic Coast, and from time to time have shot some cityscapes from around Jacksonville. But in general, the area has never really spoken to me like the southwest canyons, California desert, or waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest. So recently when I was contacted by a publishing company to submit photos for a photo essay about the St. John's River and cover shot, I was embarrassed that I really didn't have many photos to show. They asked if I would be willing to shoot some, and I said sure, but the deadline to produce a portfolio from the St. John's was 1 week! I don't normally accept photo assignments, for that very reason. I don't like to be rushed. I couldn't imaging producing a selection of compelling compositions of a 310 mile river in such a short time. For those who are familiar with the river, it is, as a whole, not very photogenic. You really have to get out and explore the various state parks, alcoves, and tributaries. And so I did. Each morning, outings during the day when the weather was good, and late evenings I spent exploring various areas along the river in Northeast Florida, in mostly horrible weather. In doing this, I realized that, like most people here, I see the river everyday, but have never really looked at it. There are countless opportunities to produce creative shots, like this one where I used a 10 stop ND filter to make a 3 minute exposure one foggy morning.


 Many intimate compositions can be isolated with a longer lens...

 And of course the more traditional nature photography...

 In all, it was a very nice experience to capture the beauty that exists right here in my backyard.

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