Monday, June 27, 2011

CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH

This weekend Phyllis and I had dinner and drinks at one of our favorite spots on the Treasure Coast of Florida, the Cobalt Restaurant which is located in the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa. One of the reasons we like it so much, besides the delicious food, is its location. It is right on Vero Beach and the ocean is a few steps from its large patio where we always sit for dinner. It is really a great location and as always I had my camera with me. There is something really great about eating outside and seeing and hearing the ocean as its waves dance with the shore line.  


After relaxing for awhile with a few adult beverages we decided to walk down to the beach. Phyllis relaxed on a lounge chair while I started playing with my camera, looking around for something that would inspire me. There were other people occasionally walking by and it started me thinking about candids. As I put my camera to my eye I realized that the light on the ocean was brighter than the light on the people. I knew that if I set my camera to expose for the ocean I could capture some silhouettes. That really intrigued me, candid silhouettes. I had never attempted that before!!


                 The Vero Beach Hotel looking up at the patio.


Here are some fun facts about silhouettes (at least I hope you find them fun!) A silhouette is the image of a person, object or scene consisting of the outline and featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black. The term originated in the 18th century and they were cut from thin black cards.  The term silhouette derives from the name of Etienne de Silhouette, a French finance minister who, in 1759, was forced by French's credit crisis during the Seven Year War to impose severe economic demands upon the French people, particularly the wealthy. (A long war caused economic  difficulties and sever demands were put on the people, sounds like what we are going through today in the US.  The people that were asked to give the most were the wealthy?? Not the poor and middle class?? What a novel idea!!)


Because of de Silhouette's austere economies, his name became eponymous with anything done or made cheaply and so these outline portraits, which prior to the advent of photography were the cheapest way of recording a person's appearance became known as silhouettes.


So I started looking for good subjects standing along the shoreline, trying to stay inconspicuous, so that I could truly capture candids.
The first people I saw were a small group of two adult women and three younger people walking down to the shoreline. I started following them at a distance.  I waited till they were standing at the water's edge and then started shooting away.


I love the young girl resting her head on the young boy's shoulder, I guessed that they were brother and sister, the mother right beside them as she should be, there if they needed her.

        This young girl and her mom, I'm guessing, stood holding each other. You do not need to see their features in either of these two images to feel the emotions of caring, protectiveness and love shared by these people.

      I love seeing the glow of the cell phone in the women's hand.  
    Modern technology captured in one of the oldest forms of  
    portraiture. 


They turned and walked up the beach and I thought it more prudent not to follow them. First of all, they would probably notice me and I would loose the candid moments, plus it would be a little creepy even if they didn't notice me! I decided I would stay within the hotel's dimensions, not walking beyond its boundaries. I started shooting as people came by, them coming to me and me not stalking them. I thought if they saw me photographing the ocean I would blend in and would be able to capture candids. I think it worked really well as you can judge in the next three images.




I really did try shooting the ocean with the same settings to see what I could capture. Turns out not much lol. The exposure was too low and I only tried a few while I waited for people to reach me as they walked up the beach. This one is my interpretation of a crashing wave at sunset. I kind of like it. I think it shows the force of the waves in a different way than is usually seen.




I saw this couple walking toward me and the woman was picking up shells as they walked.


Then as most people do when walking along the shoreline, they stopped and just looked out into the ocean; possibly some primordial urge we humans have, drawn to where we originated, the ocean.  



 We stand there and look out at the deep ocean and at least with me a feeling of calmness comes over me. Is it that urge or just seeing the horizon line that marks where nature's infinity is represented, where we can see the end and a hint of the beginning of time? If that is so, maybe presenting humans in silhouette is a proper way to attest to how common, cliche and inconsequential we are to the earth. Will we one day go the way of the dinosaurs and are the only enduring silhouettes those of nature?





20 comments:

Nelieta said...

So true Jim! I am one of those people who like to sit and just look at the horizon. Why? I have no idea! I guess it might be the calming effect that the ocean has on the soul of a wanderer. Great photos and the light was perfect!

Laura said...

Absolutely beautiful! Maybe someday I can make it to the ocean...

Alpana Jaiswal said...

I loved this post of yours,Jim...I am feeling at peace just looking at the pictures...God bless you Jim,for putting a smile on my face.

GeetS said...

Really Beautiful shots. Keep it up!!!

sulekkha said...

Jim, Thank you for the candid silhouettes and also for telling us a bit of history about silhouette. As usual amazing photography and even better description, don't know whether you are a writer or a photographer,I guess you are a "writographer", my coinage...please add it to the dictionary. Great post...

sheril benedict said...

great pics its was pleasant with the silent seashore !! Jim i have a doubt do you edit the pics which you take ?

alejandro guzman said...

One of the best photos you have taken is the one here of the two headed man walking..

Cheers A

Farfalla Dreams said...

WOW!!! I love eating outside on the water, also. It's so relaxing. Absolutely stunning pictures and thank you for the lesson on silhouettes, I really enjoyed it. ;)

The beach IS one of God's most BEAUTIFUL creations.

Thank you for sharing this moment in time.

Bec Owen said...

Beautiful images! It's true, there is something hypnotic about watching the ocean...I love the beach!

Thank you for sharing these!

Jim said...

We live near the beach, with a huge island on our horizon, and love taking the dog for an evening stroll along there. Calming, de-stressing, and rejuvenating. And great for the romance too.

sweepyjean said...

That was a fascinating look into your process that evening, of taking advantage of the conditions and experimenting. Then you blew me away with this line, because I think it's so true: "They stopped and just looked out into the ocean; possibly some primordial urge we humans have, drawn to where we originated, the ocean." I love the ocean, the smell, the sound, especially as night draws near. I can't help but think of what I call "God."

JIM said...

Thank You everyone...
Nelieta- It is fascinating to watch people walk on the shore, the look on their face almost always gets introspective, the ocean draws us much like a flame.
Alpana- If I can allow a person to smile I am blessed
Sulekkha..I just love your new term for me a "writographer" I take it as an honor with all you great writers out there!!!
Farfalla I also love the beach nature is an amazing living breathing entity
Sweepy & jim.. Thank You for your great comments and I agree Jim about the romance, another primordial urge.
I really do love the ocean just hearing it watching it and smelling it is always an amazing experience

melissa said...

There is something about this post that has taken me aback for awhile. It just has to stay with me for a few more days before I could finally write something about it. My sister and I wouldn't normally take pictures against a bright background... but you've made such a beautiful impression of silhouettes. I would've loved seeing some photos in a different angle... I think it works best with few people in it, I'm not sure though. I like how I see the sky in different hues... the crash of the waves truly hit me.

I liked how far you could go taking candid shots. It could really be creepy having shots taken unknowingly. And it takes courage as well. I was trying to get some for myself but I just couldn't, hahaha...

I like how you carefully unwrapped the story of silhouettes and how the word could turn out positive in photos...

I wish I could go one by one on each photo...

I like the 6th with the two women in it...It's so alive. I like how the images go with the background. I like the second to the last photo too --- it's so serene...and the one picking up shells.

In a nutshell, I agree that "there is something really great about eating outside and seeing and hearing the ocean as its waves dance with the shore line"...

I like that :)...

sukanya said...

lovely as usual...totally agree with Sweepy Jane with that comment-the ocean is mesmerizing, its power magnetic!

Techmaker said...

Lovely photos as usual. Like it. Keep it up.

Debbie said...

I could walk forever on the beach it has a great calming effect. Love the pictures Jim and the storyline. I agree with A, out of all the pics you captured the one of the 2 guys is the best.

fantacy in practicality said...

reading your posts are interesting because you unwrap very unusual delicate terms that u emphasize on related to your photography. this time it was about the history of silhouettes.

your way of capturing the natural layout of silhouettes of the subjects you choose, they being inconspicuous, is amazing.

beach.......no words. i wish i could paint pictures. then i would have painted the diamond white waves. i find that picture to be the best of the lot.

Lucylastica2 said...

Makes you fall in love with nature all over again. And always good to see people at one with nature after all the disasters there have been worldwide lately.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Stunning photos!!!

Abhisek said...

We use silhouettes a lot in animation,and I love silhouettes as we can only see a dark form but if captured properly they tell a lot about a character.Loved the post and you know I am a JP Brandano Photography fan. :)

Modern technology captured in one of the oldest forms of portraiture....Loved the line Jim....You are truly a writographer. :)

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