Day 2, Botany Bay Beach Sunrise
The morning of the second day started with the clock radio waking me up in time to wait for the gate to automatically open at Botany Bay. The photographer’s vehicles formed a line and since we all reached the parking area at about the same time, it was like a race to get to the best spots on the beach. One guy had his photography gear strapped to a mountain bike using special harnesses. Because he had the ability to ride to the beach, he was assured that no one was going to get there before he did.
Composing before the sun has risen above the horizon can give colors to a landscape image that no other time of day provides. That by itself makes getting up early, waiting in line, and rushing to the beach worth it. The subject in my Sentinel piece appeared to be the favorite photographic choice for most of the photographers throughout the week. At least, there were usually more of them with their cameras focused on it than any of the other trees or scenes. I loved the blues and the shimmering golds and magic light colors reflecting off the water. I placed the trunk of the tree on the right most one third line, using the rule of thirds, but then made a little aesthetic tweak by pushing the trunk just a bit to the left so that the tip of the branch on the right side had more breathing room. My placement choice allowed the open area to the left to bring more reflective color into the frame and provided a subtle clue as to where the sun will emerge on the horizon. Additionally, since the left side of the tree is wider, it feels as if it had been expanding toward the sun (e.g., pulling and growing in that direction) during its lifetime.
The sun was definitely getting closer to the horizon in my Golden Highlights piece, but there are still plenty of pinks and purples. I loved the more chaotic look from this set of trees and how they were enhanced by the blues and twilight golds reflecting off the water. To minimize the amount of cloudless, light blue, upper sky area, I kept the tips of the branches from extending too far above the skyline. That aesthetic decision placed the tree group in a position where it had a bit more space on the bottom which allowed more of the attractive waves and reflections to fill the frame.
My Beach Sunrise composition has the sun just about to fully break over the horizon. One aesthetic goal I had here was to place the camera in a position where the trees in the scene didn’t touch each other. The trunk of the main, middleground tree was placed very close to the left most one third line, using the rule of thirds. In fact, the base of it is almost exactly at the lower left crossing line which allowed it to stretch up into the frame from an artistic starting point. I loved the decidedly more orange tones, and after seeing how the colors of the golden hour painted the wet sand and water surface, I was excited to the point of chuckling.
I love how the rising sun is coloring and highlighting the waves, the splash of water that hit a limb, and the water draining off from the tree in my Color Splash piece. The golden hour reflections on the water surface are also alluring. By providing essentially the same amount of space to the frame edge for the branch tips on the left and top, that put the center of the tree nearly perfectly on the bottom left crossing line, using the rule of thirds. After less than 15 minutes on the beach, I completely understood why it attracted so many photographers. I felt privileged to be able to witness such beauty and experience an area that has been relatively untouched by humans for so many years.