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Catch of the Day

Fishing boats and equipment sit at a dock in Bayboro, NC. Nikon D7000, 9 exposure 32-bit HDR

After shooting at the beach on a cold, windy, rainy/very snowy Saturday with Zach Frailey, Curt Fleenor and Brad Styron, we had hoped to have some snowy scenes to shoot in New Bern, NC on Sunday, but as much as it snowed, it had all melted by the morning.  We hatched a new plan to drive to Oriental, NC to shoot the sailboats there, but along the way we stopped in Bayboro, NC at a location Zach knew of where we could shoot some fishing boats.  The location in Oriental was a bust, so I’m glad we stopped here – this is much more of my style of subject to shoot.  I was immediately drawn to the seemingly run-down and rusty boats and the detritus that goes along with them – the nets, rope, wires and traps that were strewn along the shore where these behemoths were docked.  Zach and Curt set up to do some time lapses, so I knew I had 20-30 minutes to explore the shipyard.  The two of them stayed in the same location the whole time, so I got to shoot this area all by myself. 🙂

There were many interesting photos to be had in this area, and of the ones I took, I thought this was the most visually engaging of the sights.  I set up my camera with my Sigma 20mm f/1.8 set to f/4.5 so that I could isolate the foreground from the background.  My fisheye, my usual go-to lens, simply would not let me do this – the depth of field is just too great on that lens to allow any blurring of the background, even if I had set it to the same aperture, so I chose the Sigma.  At 20mm, 30mm on my crop sensor camera, it’s not as wide as I’d like, but that forced me to come up with a composition that was within its limits. I enjoy the challenge of shooting with a prime lens – they make you really examine a scene and choose the elements that are essential to telling the story of your image, much more so than a zoom lens.  It really helps you to focus on what’s important and only include that in the image.  I love the way this turned out, with the foreground of ropes and wires in sharp focus and the sky and fishing boats slightly blurred in the background.  I shot this from the same vantage point at f/11 but didn’t like the result as much.  I wanted there to be some separation from the foreground to the background and that simply wasn’t present in the image I shot at f/11.  I processed this as minimally as possible with my methods, so I did my usual adjustments in Lightroom 4, blended the exposures with the Photomatix plugin to get a 32-bit HDR, and did some light toning in OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 6.  Daily Vitamin and a light hit of Tonal Contrast did the trick.  Though there is no seafood in this image, this is what I caught that day.  Hope you enjoy, there’s much more to come from the beach and this spot in the days to come!

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