The Magic of Sanibel
This is our fourth time to Sanibel and it is by far our favorite vacation spot. I think one of the main reasons we love it is because its tropical in all it’s ways but it’s very quiet. The beaches are amazing with their sea shell sands. There are miles and miles of bike paths to explore and an abundance of nature preserves to walk or drive through. The island offers golfing and fishing if you feel the whim to.
When I go I only eat fish for the whole week. My family members will tend to stay with what their used to but for me it’s a vacation and it’s time to step out of the norm and fish and only fish is on the menu for me. From the coconut shrimp at Gramma Dot’s to the parmesan encrusted grouper at Timbers’ I had it all.
The weather has been perfect each and every time we go there. This time it was mid 80′s and sunshine every single day except for the day we had to leave. A thunderstorm rolled through at night and there was one clap of thunder that startled me straight from deep sleep. The ocean breeze, the summer sun, how can you beat that?
On to photography. I didn’t shoot much the first 3 days there and I have to say that I was pretty uninspired to go shooting. I did my research on the internet weeks in advance looking for places to shoot. I used flickr images, I used google maps, I used bing images and I had ideas of what I wanted to do but finding the time in combination with the proper light proved to be a difficult task.
At some point you just have to get off your ass and go shooting. If it means getting up at 5:30am to scout sun rise locations then that means getting your ass out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. Great images will not just come to you, you have to go get them. So I did.
The first morning scouting for a sun rise location was by a dead tree sitting at the edge of the beach right by the causeway. I noticed this as we arrived and knew I had to shoot it. Unfortunately this day proved to have a lot of clouds on the horizon, so no sunrise shoot. I decided to drive over to Ding Darling preserve to shoot some morning light on some birds.
I got there a bit early, around 6:30 and I was hoping they’d open at 7, sunrise time. Close, they opened at 7:05. I was first in line and drove to the first opening and saw this heron fly right over me and land about 50 feet from the roadway. I parked quickly, grabbed my tripod and threw my lens on and turned to photograph the heron and he flew away. Don’t worry not all was lost. I managed to get bit about a thousand times from bugs that resemble the size of gnats but have the teeth of a shark. My skin currently looks like I just got over the chicken pox. Something which I have never had. Darling proved to be pretty much empty and not much was photographed that morning.
The following morning was another 5:30 am call. I wanted to scout a couple more places for the sunrise shot but I ended up at the dead tree again. I didn’t expect much this morning when I got up and saw a ton of clouds on the horizon and I really didn’t get any good sunrise shots.
I was ankle deep in the water sitting in a lawn chair shooting long exposures with a 10 stop nd filter on. I had my 11-16mm lens on the camera but I had my 24-70mm sitting on the beach.
I’m looking at the shots I’m taking on the lcd and I look up and bam! a Great Blue Heron is now accompanying me for this sunrise. I shoot a couple quick frames with the 11-16mm but it’s so wide you can’t really make out what’s happening. So I slowly get up and wade through the sharp rocks and broken sea shells to get to my 24-70mm thats sitting on the beach. I didn’t want to scare my new friend off. I slowly change lens and start shooting. Low and behold he stays with me for about 2 minutes and when he flys off I capture it.
Not a great sunrise morning with the sun but it was a great sunrise morning with a new friend.
That left one more morning and one more 5:30 am wake up call. This time I headed out to the light house for a specific shot. Last fall I shot the Mackinac Bridge from a very low perspective with my camera inverted on the tripod. The camera was literally inches above the water. This time I wanted the same effect but I wanted three parts to the image. One, the foreground would have seashells, well, because it’s part of what Sanibel is known for. Two, the smooth long exposure ocean flowing over rocks. Lastly, the sunrise on the horizon. I think I got and I’m pretty happy with it.
All in all it was a good trip for shooting but a great trip with the family, which is important. Well, here’s to another magical voyage to a magical place, Sanibel. Till we meet again.