Saturday, January 26, 2013

Follow that Breeze

While we didn't feel the full effect of hurricane Sandy here in Michigan, we did have some extremely windy days.  I spent a few days chasing the wind along the shoreline, because my first visit to the Silver lake sand dunes left me with sand in my teeth after cresting the first hill.  It took less than 5 minutes to collect enough sand on my tripod and camera to know it wasn't worth ruining my gear.  I packed up to return another day.

The morning I returned, the wind wasn't nearly as violent, but still had a good 25-30 mph force behind it.  There weren't many places to hide from the breeze, but I did manage to find a few high dunes to block a little of the sand long enough to make a few nice frames.

Standing just over the edge of one of the dunes facing Silver lake, I planted my tripod deep in the sand for support.  Due to the high amount of wind, the sand was still rather loose, so getting a footing was not easy.  One step might put you ankle deep in sand, while the next one lands you knee high.  It's an unpredictable place and that's what I love about spending time climbing and hiking all over it.

The morning I made the following image, I was working on longer exposures to show motion over the sands.     

A Gentle Breeze
I had already captured a bunch of cool motion photographs, but this one holds a special place in my mind.  I was nearly knee deep in soft sand, blocking the wind from pelting my camera, or worse, knocking it down a steep dune.  The air was cold and harsh, but I was firmly planted in the side of the dune.  I made 2 exposures from this location before moving further down the dune and nearing losing my camera.  I wanted to find a better angle, which I will admit I did find, but that story, as well as the photograph, is being saved for the book.  Let me just say, I know what it feels like to be assaulted by high velocity sand cresting a dune.  Facing it head on, to make the photograph I wanted.  It's an incredible and somewhat painful experience.

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