Perplexed by the Water
These are probably my favorite images from the trip. I have always found water to be relaxing and mesmerizing. I could spend hours looking at the patterns and reflections that constantly - but briefly - flash in front of me. Having grown up in Puerto Rico, being fascinated by the ocean just happened naturally, and I've ever since been drawn to the sights and sounds of big bodies of water. I often point the camera at water to see what I can discover and frame. The image below was captured while walking with the family around Old San Juan, after noticing the interesting layered look that the afternoon sun was creating on the water: a veil of reflections over the shallow rocky bottom. As usual, with the rapid change of the water surface, it took many exposures to capture the distribution in pattern that I was looking for.
The two images below were captured on the shallow sandy shores of a mangrove. Once again, the sun was creating an interesting texture with the highlights. But here, varying depth created gradients of color for a painterly mood. For additional interest - and scale - I waited for the school of little fish to animate the frames. The fish really make these images work, grounding the image upon closer inspection.
While the color really makes the image above work, I got a little closer for an image that focuses on the pattern created by the fish. This is an image I have attempted many times before, but it has never worked out.
These last two images are somewhat mysterious, as it is hard to discern what one is looking at. But I am ok with that... I am often surprised at what one can discover when looking closer at things that seem banal at first sight. These two images, captured at the beach, show seaweed just below the surface, freezing their movement as they were swaying in the waves. The areas of the beach covered in seaweed are the "less beautiful" parts that most people avoid, and yet they can offer quite the visual spectacle if one pays attention.
The setting sun illuminated the top layer of seaweed below, adding to the sense of depth.
As mentioned in the title, these are all handheld. To capture these images, I needed to use fairly fast shutter speed, and an aperture that offered enough sharpness and depth (they range from f/6.3 to f/8). On top of that, I used a polarizer as needed to cut down on glare, which also cuts down the light. What this all means is that I had to allow myself to raise the ISO as needed. The exposures range from ISO 400 to ISO 800.
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