Green Hill #3 and a New Lens

Green Hill.  A stretch of Rhode Island beach along the southern shores crowded with empty summer condos and beach houses.  This little spot will have surf every now and again, and on a clear day you can see Block Island on the horizon.  It's nice to have a place of solitude, but this visit was on one of our unseasonably warm days, about 50 degrees in the middle of January.  I wasn't alone as there were a few others beach combing and walking their dogs.  I didn't mind though.

It was time for something new!  Usually I take my pictures at lower than eye level, about 2 feet from the ground.  Sometimes to get the angle I want I have to stick part of the tripod straight down into the sand.  I know my tripod has the capability for the center post to be removed and put back on so the camera would be hanging downward between the tripod legs.  It was a calm enough day, not too much swell to speak of, so if there was a time to try and get my camera as close to the water's surface as possible, this would be it!

I took a few shots at a regular height among the rocks along the eastern side of the beach.  It was extremely low tide and everything was covered in bright green seaweed.

Then it was time for my tripod experimentation and I rearranged my setup so my camera was hanging 6 inches from the water.  It was a bit nerve-racking but I have complete confidence in my equipment, and luckily it was a calm day so there wouldn't be any rogue waves to sweep away my camera!  I found a piece of seaweed dangling from a rock and decided to make it my focus for my extremely low angle long exposures.

The downside of having a camera so low to the ground is blind composition.  There was about three inches of water and all sorts of slimy rocks underneath my feet and my camera, so I couldn't really get myself down to where I could see my camera back comfortably.  I was composing blindly, shooting blindly, and reviewing my images from almost a foot away.  I just kept shooting until I thought I had gotten what I wanted.  Just look at the result!  Certainly one of my favorite images in a while.

But I wasn't done experimenting yet.  For Christmas I had received the new Lensbaby Spark, a small affordable plastic lens with soft focus.  This great little lens might look and feel like a toy but it really is a fun optic to have on hand!  With flexible bellows, you squeeze the front element of the lens and choose what you want to focus on.  This selective focus can create a nice effect drawing the viewer's eye to a specific spot within the frame.  Supposedly the human eye works with selective focus versus the plane focus a regular camera works with.  I shot around a bit with the Spark before the sun went down and below is my favorite take!  I hope to use this little Lensbaby along with my 50mm 1.8 as walk around lenses, something light but fun that can still create some great effects without the need for extra equipment!

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