Use What You Have

In Louisiana, especially southeastern Louisiana, we don’t have mountain ranges or deep, flowing valleys. We don’t have waterfalls or any real dynamic scenery really.

What we do have is plenty of water!  When you have water, you tend to also have boats.

As a photographer in this part of the country, when you set out to make some landscape images, you have two choices;

  1. Travel to places that have those things
  2. Use what you have

Most of the time, I just have to choice what I have to work with. That’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. People travel from around the world to see our swamps, bayous and waterways. We also have some very intense sunsets.

When I pack up my equipment and set out, the main thing I hope to accomplish is to create images that say, without any doubt, “Louisiana” to anyone who views them.

new shrimp boat 2

This image was made in July at about 8:30 PM. We get a very late sunset in the summer, VERY late!  This image was shot using a tripod and I kept my ISO (which is the equivalent of film speed) at 100. This provides the best image quality when it comes to digital noise. Looking at the image and how smooth the water looks, but how intense the light is reflecting on the water, I feel confident that the shutter speed was around 30 seconds (another very good reason to use a tripod!)  I hope this technical information isn’t boring. Some have commented that they appreciate it, so I’ll include it from time to time.

One thing I remember very vividly from this image is that the gnats were swarming and biting as they tend to do at dusk in the summer. As hot as it is in July in the deep south, a long sleeve hoodie isn’t a bad idea to protect yourself from the gnats and mosquitoes. Of course,  you’re sweating anyway, so it doesn’t matter that you’re wearing long sleeves!

Using a wide angle lens, I like to try to include something in the foreground to give the images some additional depth. In this case, that clutch of weeds did the trick. I mean, they went to all the trouble of growing there!

Even though this large shrimp trawler looks like it’s ready to head out to fill its hold with tons of shrimp, there wasn’t anyone onboard, not that I could see or hear. In fact, my car was the only vehicle near the boat. That brings on a whole different set of possible issues. When you’re hanging around someone’s VERY expensive boat near dark, you want it to be instantly clear to anyone passing exactly what you’re doing there. I keep my distance and my camera and tripod in full view. I don’t need anyone mistaking me for a criminal looking to rob this boat and shooting me – that would be bad!

So, should you venture out yourself to make this type of photograph, be very careful. Stay out of the shadows and, whatever you do, don’t go on someone’s boat (unless the owner invites you of course). This may sound like common sense, but common sense isn’t the most common thing.

I did move around the docked trawler taking several long exposures, this just happens to be the one that I liked the most.  Maybe because you can see the last light of the day in the background or the majestic way the net rigging cuts against the darkening sky. Or maybe it’s the way the boat’s lights reflect off of the water, giving the boat a sense of life.

Maybe it’s all of those things! What do you like, if anything, about this image?

Thank you again for reading my thoughts and visiting my photography website. Please ‘follow’ along with this page or ‘like’ my Facebook page if you’re interested in seeing more.

Thanks again! Have a good one.




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