When I'm back home, my Mama often comes photographing with me in the early morning. We have ourselves the most beautiful adventures, scouring the countryside in Northwest Washington, looking for interesting subjects. We always find something: an unexplored back road, a different view, a hidden beach. This morning was no different. We headed south along Chuckanut Drive, a windy, coastal road that hugs the inlets of Bellingham Bay. Continuing south, we found a side road that looped us west onto Samish Island, a small spit of land loosely connected to the mainland by a man-made causeway. Neither of us had been there before, and we were delighted by the quiet feeling the island instantly gave us. We slowly looped around the island on the only road, fantasizing about building a small cabin overlooking the water or opening a boutique B&B. On the northeast side, we found hidden stairway leading to a small rocky beach and meandered our way down.
Looking east, the calm Puget Sound waters made a beautiful foreground to the distant North Cascades, which intermittently peeked through building storm clouds. The drama and mystery were palpable. I knew I wanted to enhance that mystery, so I chose to slightly lengthen the exposure to smooth the water- but not so much as to blur the clouds, for I liked the distant cloud buildup. Photographing on BW film, I used a deep red #25 filter which absorbs blue and green light, darkening those colors to near black, which here was the immediate foreground water and the evergreen trees to the right. I placed the distant cloud highlights in Zone VII (so those highlight areas would be 2 stops brighter than middle gray) and let the shadows fall where they may. In post-production, I added to the drama by burning down the corners and lower foreground, while enhancing the contrast just a bit to further separate the light and dark areas.
This, for me, is a dark and mysterious image with a heavy northwest storm feel, but It was not how I was feeling that morning. We were having a wonderfully joyous morning adventure, but sometimes the scene calls for a departure from the emotion being felt while photographing it.
Photographed from: 48°34'42.7"N 122°32'28.6"W