That Dock

My Mom lives in a little cottage on Peconic Bay on eastern Long Island.  Every time I visit I am awed by the different personalities that the bay has.  There is always something to photograph.

Several houses to the east, there is a large estate.  They are the only one to have a dock in that area of the bay.  That dock is one of my favorite subjects since it makes for a great foreground element.

Over the years, I have shot the dock in numerous ways; from the east, from the west, in daylight, at night, long exposures, sunrises, sunsets, low perspective – it never gets old to me.  Each image has a different look.

When you look for inspiration and ways to make your photography better, there are many suggestions out there.  A common one is to photograph the same location over and over.  It teaches you to look for new and different ways to view the same subject.  The lighting is always different, the bay is constantly changing – rough, calm, high tide, low tide – and by using different lenses with different focal lengths, you can take several images on the same day of the same given weather and lighting and still wind up with many possibilities.

Posted here are my favorites from over the years.

Low Perspective – I set the camera on the dock to emphasize the trail of broken clam shells that the seagulls leave on the dock.


Low Perspective at Night – again, camera on the dock, in this case I chose to center the composition for symmetry of the pilings.


Sunset Afterglow – This is more of an environmental shot showing the dock from a distance as if you were standing on the beach looking at it.  The sunset kind of fizzled but the afterglow to the east was nice.  The magenta color adds to the serene scene.


Sunrise – A shot just as the sun brake the distant horizon.  In the previous photo, the dock is not separated from the background that well.  That’s what it looks like from eye level standing on the beach.  The pilings blend into the island behind them.  For the sunrise shot, I wanted the dock to be separated from the horizon.  I was able to climb up on a seawall which gave this raised perspective allowing the dock to be isolated from the background.


Night – Getting the camera close to the dock made the dock a leading line out into the bay.  The longish exposure gave cloud blur and smoothed out the water.


Daytime Long Exposure – In this one, I placed the dock off center giving the right side of the frame negative space.  Despite some upper level wind, the bay was mostly calm.  The long exposure gave the water a mirror like look.  The upper breeze blurred the clouds from left to right.


Pre-dawn – Very similar composition to the sun breaking the horizon shot with an elevated perspective.  I like the glow and the dock as mostly silhouette.


Sunset – Another winter sunset that just didn’t materialize, but did have some nice glowing colors in the overcast sky.  This is one of the few shots from the east side of the dock.  The reason for that is the tide – just off the frame on the right is a bulkhead.  There’s not much room from there to the water.  That afternoon, the tide was still coming in.  I barely made it back under the dock without getting my feet wet.


So one can see from these images that different looks of the same subject are easily possibly given different time frames, lighting, weather, choice of lens and composition.  I would encourage you to go out and find a favorite subject where you can work the scene to capture photos with a distinct look and feel to each one.  Happy shooting!

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