On Tybee Island

August 19, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Tybee Island Pier Photo near Savannah, GA on Atlantic OceanTybee Island PierLow tide on Tybee Island on the outskirts of Savannah, GA, the pier extends out into the calmed waters of the Atlantic Ocean

A short drive from downtown Savannah, Tybee Island lazily stretches along the relatively calm waters of the Atlantic and into the rivers and inlets that make up the Low Country of coast Georgia.  Throughout the many years of sand dunes being replaced by high rise hotels and condominiums across much of the coastal United States, this little island remains mostly unchanged.  Visiting every year or so, about the only thing that seems to change is in the ebb and flow of the tides.  

For those that have never experienced the marvelous tides of the Low Country, it's a sight to behold.  In one instance you can be looking out on the salt marshes and see what looks like a flood plain with slender reeds of green poking up towards the sky.  Return to the same spot hours later and its as if a chasm has opened up where the waters have receded.  Intricate valleys and canyons carve between the marshes with nary a trickle of water remaining.Low tide at Tybee provides a beach so wide and sand so packed, it's hard to believe that at high tide the waters will cover nearly all the beach with only the soft, untouched sands close to the dunes remaining.  Such changes provide amazing opportunities to practice long exposure photography.

It's at low tide when I took this photo.  The cloudy fingers of a towering thunderhead were slowly making their way along the beach front and the tide and winds caused the waters to toil and tumble into the sand.  Using a 10 Stop Neutral Density Filter, I knew I wanted to capture a stark, black and white image of the pier.  But then, a family entered my frame.  

At first disappointed I didn't have the pier all to myself, I accepted they would be a part of my shot, one way or another.  Most of the family milled around, but one young boy stood mostly still, taking in the grandeur of the ocean before him and the towering pier above.  The bright colors of his bathing suits, t-shirt, and hat blazed in the late afternoon sky.  And it was then that I realized he added to the scene rather than distract from it.  As I gently desaturated most the color from the photo, his dramatic colors remained.  Like a ghost gracing the present, I'm forever grateful for this happy accident.


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