Mirror on the Marsh, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
January 13th, 2012
I am always in search of mirror reflections and the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland’s Eastern Shore is loaded with still waters, a landscape photographers dream. You won’t find any big mountains to reflect in the waters here, so it is always important to have a great sky. Fact is though, they just don’t happen all that often. Last September I had the good fortune of being on location in the Backwaters of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge when one fateful sunset the sky, the light and the landscape came together in perfect harmony. It was early September and the mosquito population was still in full swing. This made shooting a little less than comfortable as I was continually being swarmed on by hundreds of the biting bastards. No amount of insect replant was enough to keep these bad boys away. In addition to my constant misery out on the marsh, the little buggers kept swarming my lens facilitating that I conjurer up a fury of beating my hat back and forth between each shot in order to keep the lens free of the little suckers. All the while they attacked my bald head leaving me covered in bumps and bites, a parting gift of the bay. It was a frustrating experience, but also a rewarding one. The fact is, the sky that evening was spectacular, one of the best sunsets I have ever witnessed. The smell of rotting organic muck mixed in the with still and heavy humid air was intoxicating. I took in deep breaths of air, wanting to fully experience the environment in all its unpleasant glory.
As sunset approached, the clouds descended down on the marsh in perfect fashion. This position of the camera for the shot is actually shooting away from the setting sun. You don’t always have to shoot into the sun to get great results! The air was calm and the reflections perfect. I included a small bit of land in the middle ground in order to help give the image a bit of scale. The reflection, obviously the main attraction, were given the full amount of attention deserved and allowed to fill the majority of the frame. As the light reached its climax, I held my breath, shook my hat in front of the lens and tripped the shutter. It was the perfect ending to a less than perfect day. Experiences like this are what keep me inspired and coming back for more.
Tech details: Nikon D700, 24-70mm, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Singh Ray 3 stop ND Grad Soft Graduated, Gitzo Legs and Arca Swiss Head, 2 seconds at F14, ISO 100