Creativity Challenge #7 - Serendipity

The seventh challenge of my 52-week Creativity Challenge was the first one from the ♥ HEARTS (Feelings and Emotions) category:

Serendipity:

the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
— Oxford English Dictionary

Searoad Ferries Sunset Cruise

Weeks ago I had booked a sunset cruise on Searoad Ferries for this weekend so it was serendipitous 😁 that this challenge came up this week. 

Shooting from a moving ferry on a cruise means:

  • you have to manage camera movement
  • you have no control over where you will be if/when the light is right
  • you cannot control camera angles and view points

basically, you take what you get...so there's a fair amount of serendipity involved if you get anything worthwhile.

To overcome camera movement I made sure to be shooting at fast shutter speeds: 1/1000th of a second or faster for all but the last shot, where it was so dark that I don't want to push the ISO past 6400 so settled for a shutter speed of 1/250th second.

The rest was an exercise in "wait and see" and be ready to capture what you can because there are no second chances.

I managed a few shots I was pleased with including two I've had in my head for years and I was finally in a position (literally) to shoot them.

As the sun got lower and the clouds passed across the sky, I was trying to shoot the sun on the edge of the clouds and get a starred sunburst (hence the aperture of f/22) but this never eventuated. However, when the sun fell behind the dark clouds here, it accentuated the darkness of the clouds and created some interesting sun rays above and below the clouds. I also like the golden glow on the clouds along the horizon.

 70mm, ISO 200, 1/1000 second @ f/22

70mm, ISO 200, 1/1000 second @ f/22

...and speaking of golden glow, for a few seconds the wake of the ferry lined up with the reflection of the sun low in the sky creating this golden glow on the rippled water surface. I composed the image to get the waves running up the diagonal to add dynamism to the shot.

 70mm, ISO 200, 1/1000 second @ f/8

70mm, ISO 200, 1/1000 second @ f/8

Just before sunset, as we were cruising past Portsea, the sun lit up the gap between the clouds and the hills of the peninsula. I couldn't resist the contrast of blue and yellow. An added bonus was the bands of light and shade on either side of the sun's reflection on the water.

 70mm, ISO 400, 1/3200 second @ f/8

70mm, ISO 400, 1/3200 second @ f/8

I have had this shot of the old Quarantine Station on Point Nepean in my head for several years—a close-up of the old buildings with the hazy glow of sunset behind—but I am rarely on the ferry at dusk (you can only do that on the commuter service in winter as the last ferry runs at 6:00pm) and the ferry does not normally come this close to shore.

 170mm, ISO 800, 1/2500 second @ f8

170mm, ISO 800, 1/2500 second @ f8

The last image I had planned (= hoped) for this trip was to shoot the "black lighthouse" at Queenscliff. This lighthouse is located inside Fort Queenscliff (an active military base) so can only be accessed on guided tours of the fort and then is cluttered among other buildings. The best view is from the sea but, without hiring a boat, this was my best chance to capture an image of it. By the time we got close enough, it was well after sunset but the magenta haze in the sky gave it a surreal appearance. The big challenge was capturing this handheld on a moving boat in such low light. I compromised by pushing the ISO to 6400 and shooting at 1/250th of a second. The aperture of f/5.6 was sufficient to get everything in focus.

 200mm, ISO 6400, 1/250 second @ f/5.6

200mm, ISO 6400, 1/250 second @ f/5.6

The quote: "the more I practice, the luckier I become", has been attributed to many people (none of whom probably actually said it...) but it's a good adage to live by with regard to photography. Take your camera with you! You never know when serendipity will strike and you find something great you didn't expect to see.

So, remember, pixels are free so get out there and shoot.

Check out the following video from my YouTube Channel where I talk through this.

Please feel free to comment below. Constructive criticism and informed discussion are always welcome.

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