Pern's Ponderings

Check here periodically for my musings on photography. In this space, we'll explore how I achieved particular photographs, tips and tricks to get the most out of your camera or even just my thoughts on the world at large. 


Serenity. Silence. Peace. Isolation. Any or all of these words could describe this image of a steel canoe as it sits apparently motionless on the glassy waters of a salt pond. The word one chooses depends, of course, upon the viewer's perspective. 

But while each viewer may interpret an image differently, it is up to the photographer to craft an image that will evoke an emotional reaction from his or her audience. 

This photograph is one I have hoped to capture for some time, and it is a wonderful example of envisioning an image and using the camera as a tool to share that vision. I wanted the juxtaposition of the harsh steel of the canoe, set against the calm, swollen waters of the pond to give the viewer a sense of calm, an escape from his or her everyday hustle.  

The trick was waiting until I had the combination of a high tide occurring at the Golden Hour on a day when the wind was calm. Hitting that trifecta doesn't happen as often as one might think at this particular location. When the day finally arrived, I hustled down to the pond access, set the canoe afloat and set up my tripod. But not before I fell off the unstable wooden access point, into the water and got stuck in the muck for a few minutes. 

The shot required a small aperture to achieve a deep focus, but this presented a minor problem in the waning light — despite the calm conditions, the plants and boat were susceptible to motion blur from slight breezes and the motion of the incoming tide.

I bumped up the ISO as little as possible to 800 so I could eliminate the blur without creating a grainy photo. I then took several shots at 35mm and used a 1/35 sec. exposure at f/25 until the canoe floated gently into just the position I wanted it to complete the composition.

Knowing what was going on behind the camera — hustling to the water, shooting while soaked from the waist down and fending off a horde of mosquitoes — I'm not sure "serenity" will ever be the feeling I have when I look at it. But, hopefully, that's one of the words that comes to mind for the viewer.