Saturday, July 2, 2011


On our first visit to Harrington Beach State Park last week, I noted a number of possible subjects that I wanted to explore further, so later in the week I went back up to the park by myself with my tripod and all three of my lenses to see what I could capture.

One of the items I had photographed the first time had been one of the orange life preservers that are scattered around the quarry lake located in the park.  I took several more shots of one of the preservers (not the same one as the first time).  I'm not sure if the issue was the light or simply the layout of the preserver and black and orange cord in the wooden structure housing the preserver, but I felt that none of the photos the second time had the same quality as the one from the earlier visit.  Here are a couple of the shots:

And here is the shot from the earlier visit.  

I liked the printing on the preserver in the first two shots above.  However, overall, the balance between the preserver and the cording is better in the earlier shot, and the background is darker, which, I felt, added something to the emotion of the shot.

Another item that had caught my attention the first time was an old hand-operated water pump.  The pump had seen a lot of use over the years and had most recently been painted blue.  I didn't care for the color, but I liked the configurations made by the mechanical parts of the pump.  Here is a shot of a major portion of the pump.  I had set the aperture at f/4 in an attempt to reduce the distraction created by the trees in the background.  But that really did not work.

The optics of lenses is such that the wider the angle of the shot, the greater is the depth of field.  So by moving in, I was able to reduce the distraction of the background.  I began to concentrate on one of the cotter pins holding the mechanism together, as in the following shot:

I liked this shot quite a lot, as it drew attention to the cotter pin, but the other pieces added interest.  Moreover, the background was sufficiently out of focus to eliminate that distraction.  Unfortunately, when I looked more closely at this shot, I noticed that there was some sort of piece of vegetation extending from one of the ends of the cotter pin across the face of the bolt holding two pieces of the pump together.  I noticed this problem before I took further close-ups of the cotter pin and removed it.  I should have taken the time then to retake this shot.  Next time, perhaps.  The lesson here is that I need to look more closely at the shot to ensure that I remove as best I can elements that are going to create a distraction, such as spider webs.  I removed the distracting piece of vegetation before taking the next shot, taken from a closer range:

This, I thought, was the best shot of the pump.  I liked the rust on the ends of the cotter pin, as well as the flaking paint above and to the right of the pin.

I did take a couple of extreme close-ups of the cotter pin with my macro lens, but I didn't feel they held the same interest as the one above.  Here is one of those:

I also paid another visit to the transitory creeks on the beach draining into Lake Michigan.  I took a couple of shot of footprints (or pawprints) in the sand.  However, they just didn't have enough going for them.  I think the problem was that they were in sand rather than in mud, so they did not have the definition that I would have liked.

I also took another couple of shots of mold accompanying the streams draining into Lake Michigan.  I really liked the following couple of shots:

I realize that, all in all, the shots I took would not be considered "typical" of photos taken at a state park on Lake Michigan, but they fit my style. 

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