Friday, September 27, 2013

3am Under The Pier

I drove all over town looking for things to shoot. The moon was full and I wanted something cool to take pictures of. I looked for an hour and nothing caught my interest. So I stopped looking and got on the freeway. Fifteen minutes later I was in San Clemente...ten minutes after that, I was parking at the beach. I had never been there before...it was something new. I took my gear over the sand towards the pier. Two watchers peeked out from the darkness under the pier looking out for intruders into their secret dark space. I smiled at the pairs of eyes grinning in the dark...and I walked onto the pier towards the end.

Two lone fishers stood in black hoodie sweaters with cold fish entrails clinging to them in the moonlight...Their poles waiting for a nibble and their eyes peeking out from the darkness under their hoods. I left them alone in their space on the far corner of the piers end. I sat in the other corner taking pictures of the moon...and the ocean below. Nothing sang to me. The shots were wrong. After an hour of dark clouds and moonlight I decided to just take my camera and walk back down the pier..stopping wherever I felt like and taking self shots. I told myself to think about nothing...no settings, no pose, ....just whatever the first thing I saw that I felt like framing in my camera...I would stop...set up the tripod...push the timer release and run into the frame in whatever fashion felt right to me at that moment. Very cathartic. I got some nice self shots that will be worth working on. Or perhaps left as they stood.

I reached the end of the pier and walked back by the little dark space of my watchers...deep..under the pier. The first pillars of the pier stood encrusted...and inviting in the low tide.

A sea sponge..still in the package..from a grocery store...the kind you wash your car with. That's all I found under the pier. I poked around under there using my cell phone as a digital torch...and all I could find...on a beach...under a pier...is a store wrapped, sterilized, egg shaped, "authentic" sea sponge. I walked further under the pier onto the firm wet sand. The lights from the giant cement structure over my head cast a soft orange glow that extended all the way down to the end..where the the men fished and I had taken flat pictures of the moon and the clouds. I looked down into the water....through the supports of the pier...into the darkness at the very end...where the light can't reach. My tripod sank into the sand.

I took two exposures...one 3 minutes and one 7 minutes. When the second shot was done, I went to look at it in the camera and my battery was dead.

As a photographer you're supposed to let your shots speak for themselves. Not this one.  I really needed to take that picture. Not because it's some great picture...but because I needed to take it that night...for me...for that moment...I needed my camera.


3am
I really enjoy taking pictures at night. It's a good space for me. People pay me more than the the night does, but I really like being alone with the night. Looking at dark scenes and unlit nature pays me exactly what I need, when I need it. The night never lets me down.

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