Favorite Spot

Little Magothy River, late summer 2010
Little Magothy River, Winter 2011
Little Magothy River, Spring 2011

When I was starting to get interested in photography I needed a place to go take photographs.  And because of my hectic and busy schedule I needed a place that was close to the house.  I found that spot about three blocks from our home;  It’s the Little Magothy marina on Swan Drive in Cape St. Claire.  My first trip to the marina to photograph was in the winter of 2009.  It was very cold and the river was largely frozen over except for the very middle.  That day the most memorable photo I snapped was of a dock piling frozen into the river.  All in all not that inspiring.

Fast forward to the spring of 2010.  I had started to experiment in HDR photography and again needed a spot to practice, so back to the marina I went. My first HDR images of the Little Magothy were a labor of futility exposing  bad light, no light, and without compelling elements, like back lit clouds at sunrise, to make the images pop.  In going through that repetition of shooting the same scene I grew to love the view.  Then a really funny thing happened.  As I became more practiced with the camera and grew to love the scene, I began to create the images that  have become some of my  personal favorites, and are the images shared in this post.

This is probably a good spot to plug two really good websites/blogs which illustrate both HDR photography and shooting your personal favorite view and shooting it well.

The first is Stuck in Customs, by Trey Ratcliff, who is hands down one of the masters of the genre.  I first heard of Trey Ratcliff on a photography podcast where he was explaining his craft and how the world of HDR photography was similar to  that of painters in the impressionistic movement.  Now, I am not a artsy person, but I knew what impressionistic paintings looked liked and I do remember them being some of my more favorite during art survey class  as a business major in college.  One trip to Stuck in Customs and I was hooked and decided to try it out.  What I learned really quickly was that it’s easy bracket a few photos, download Photomatix, make the photo look really weird  and call it HDR,  but it’s really hard to create compelling images.  I have a lot still to learn.

The second is not so mainstream but this blog is an excellent example of finding a favorite spot, and honing your photography skills around that spot.  Take a look at PhotographyFree4All, where captivating image after captivating image is posted of the Huntington Beach Pier in California.  Each time I think I have posted one too many shots from my favorite spot a new image appears on my rss reader showing the pier and I am reminded that the same view doesn’t get old, it just gets a little different.

So, that’s the favorite spot. It’s not nearly as awe inspiring as some other spots, but it’s mine.  Until the next post, grab your camera, share your favorite spot.


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