Feb12

Shem Creek
1/30th of a sec | f/2.8 | 17mm | ISO 200

Last night I was driving through Mount Pleasant as I find myself doing on a pretty frequent basis, and the time was right, the location was right, and I was prepared. I approached Shem Creek just as the sun was bidding adieu to the coast of South Carolina and pulled into a parking lot. I slung my camera on my shoulder set to manual mode with a fixed ISO of 200 and started walking up the bridge. As I approached the middle, I quickly brought the camera up to my eye and checked the internal light meter. As I tend to do, I made it set to be ever so slightly under-exposed and started firing away. this is what I caught:

Shem Creek Sunset
1/80th of a sec | f/5.6 | 55mm | ISO 200

I dug the foreground of the boardwalk, so now I wanted to isolate the mid-ground area a bit more. I took a few steps forward and zoomed in a little to get this:

Shem Creek Sunset
1/100th of a sec | f/8.0 | 72mm | ISO 200

All the while I keep adjusting my exposure values – specifically the aperture and shutter speed. In the moments just after a sunset, every second that passes dramatically changes the light. Once again I took a few more steps forward and zoomed in a bit tighter to get this:

Shem Creek Sunset
1/60th of a sec | f/7.1 | 100mm | ISO 200

I checked the back of my camera and knew I had the shot I wanted. Now It was time to explore. I kept walking and came up to a glorious blue building that rents kayaks and has a seafood market in the back. How blue is it?

Mt. Pleasant Seafood
1/20th of a sec | f/4.5 | 55mm | ISO 200

That’s pretty damn blue. I needed to capture the entrance to the building. When you get that kind of red against that kind of blue, you can’t go wrong.

Mt. Pleasant Seafood
1/20th of a sec | f/4.8 | 125mm | ISO 200

I really dug the convergence of lines from the wood siding and the angles of the metal roof. The light was really starting to fade, so I switched out to a faster lens and shot this:

Mt. Pleasant Seafood
1/13th of a sec | f/2.8 | 50mm | ISO 200

I decided to look down off the side of the bridge and lo and behold, there were a couple of pelicans perched a few feet below me. I braced the camera on the railing of the bridge and composed some shots of the big birds.

Shem Creek Pelicans
1/30th of a sec | f/2.8 | 50mm | ISO 200

When shooting in this low amount of light at pretty slow shutter speeds it’s quite difficult to capture these birds sharply. They never cease twitching their beaks and adjusting themselves when you are as close as I was. It’s best to set your shutter to burst mode and let it rip once you have your composition. You can shoot a dozen shots and possibly only get one that’s decently sharp if your lucky! You could always bring out a flash, but you’ll get one chance before you send that bird soaring to the other side of the creek.

Shem Creek Pelicans
1/5th of a sec | f/2.8 | 50mm | ISO 200

I was quickly losing light, I was shooting at speeds that require bracing the camera on something sturdy, and I was getting pretty damn cold (at least for just a sweatshirt – guess I wasn’t as prepared as I thought). I only had a couple of more shots left in me, so I started to get a busy composition of the waterside of the blue seafood/kayak building when one of the birds flew right into the composition and landed in the perfect spot to become the focal point of this shot:

Shem Creek Pelicans
1/5th of a sec | f/2.8 | 50mm | ISO 200

Talk about a lucky break! I started to walk back to my car and fired off the shot at the top of this post. The color in the sky was no longer as magnificent in this location (although as I drove home the colors in the sky were unusually deep – the horizon was almost brown for a few moments). I decided to create a split-tone image which basically worked out as such: I first converted the shot into a black and white image, and then I gave the highlights an orange tone and the shadows a blue tone. The result is what you see above. It can add a little more mood to a black and white image as well as make something starkly different. It definitely stands out amongst the rest of the images I shot last night.

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