The air was hot, a welcome change to the cold air that was already invading Tennessee. The skies were a glorious shade of blue with perfect fluffy white clouds floating along, perfect conditions for a road trip along the Gulf Coast. Starting in Louisiana we slowly made our way to Pensacola Beach, Florida to partake in smooth white sand beaches and clear blue waters.
Miles upon miles of beautiful sand beaches, the smell of the salt breeze, tall slender stalks of green grass and flowers blowing in the wind. It was a scene straight out of a movie, begging for me to roll around the powdery smooth sand and photograph it. So I did both, I believe the photos speak for themselves. Most of our time was spent on Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island with the Santa Rosa Sound and Pensacola Bay on one side, and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. It was a small fee to gain access to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, but it was well worth it. The beaches were not packed, and offered miles of beautiful white sands. The Santa Rosa Island is also home to Fort Pickens, which I will post pictures of later on, several hiking trails and campgrounds. I think it would be a blast to camp on a beach. Alas, our visit was much too short, maybe another day.
Reflections off the water, bright white sand and a cloudless sky can spell disaster when trying to photograph a beach. Early morning or evening when the sun is not overhead is the best time to shoot. The changing colors of the sky during sunrise and sunset add subtle colors not only to the sky but also the water. I aim for a low ISO, nothing higher than 200, a high f-stop, and a fast shutter, unless I’m shooting water then I tend to aim for a slower shutter to soften the waters movement. Keep in mind that ‘beauty is in the eye of its beholder’, what works for one person may not work for another, and photography is such a creative field to explore and break all the rules.
Usually hailed as a photographers nightmare, sand is invasive and hard to remove from electronics. When near areas of sand I scout my areas of interest first, watching the play of shadows and removing my camera when I am absolutely read to shoot. Otherwise my gear is slightly protected by my bags. After returning home, one of the first things unpacked is my camera gear. Filters, some lens, DSLR, and SLRs are taken apart and wiped clean with lens cleaning papers and a squeeze bulb. There are many cleaning kits for sale on places like Amazon, and they are pretty cheap to buy. If you are not sure what you’re doing there are lots of online resources to help you, if you are in doubt, take it to a local camera shop and have it cleaned professionally. No one wants to lose their favorite camera to an accident that was preventable.
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Next week we will explore Fort Pickens, Florida