Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Here’s yet another Jamaica picture. As promised, I’m dribbling them out to you guys one at a time. The last part of that sentence is actually not very interesting, as ALL of the pictures I toss out to you guys are “one at a time”. In fact, unless your eyes are ambidextrous, you would probably have difficultly digesting them more than one at a time, even if I put two of them right next to each other. So… umm. Right. Here’s another Jamaica picture.
I’m not gonna lie – you will probably see other pictures that are REALLY REALLY similar to the ones you’ve already seen at some point. I still haven’t had a chance to actually go through all the pictures I took on the trip (it’s a lack of motivation thing, not a lack of time thing), so I don’t actually know with any confidence that this is the “best” glass-bottom-boat-and-water picture got. All I know is that it’s “a” glass-bottom-boat-and-water picture. So, don’t be surprised. That’s all.
As you’ve probably been able to surmise by reading the, I don’t know, title of the page, this was taken on the 7 mile beach in Negril, Jamaica. As I’ve mentioned, it’s as beautiful as you would expect a Caribbean white-sand beach to be. Yes, the water really is that color. There’s also a reef a ways off shore, and a lot of folks have these little glass bottom boats that they use to take you out to the reef on a snorkel tour. I actually went on a couple of them, although neither one was done by this guy. (I went with “Famous Vincent” both times – if you’re in the area, ask around for him, he’s cool.) But, this guy’s got a cool looking boat, so… he wins. The snorkeling itself is great. It’s a nice shallow reef, lots of fish, all that goodness. I’m hardly a snorkeling connoisseur, so as far as I know it may really suck compared to other places, whatever. My guess is that it’s probably not “world class”, as in someplace you have to see before you die if you’re a hardcore snorkeler, but it’s probably right up there with lots of other “great” spots that you’ll find throughout the Caribbean. For what it’s worth, the BEST snorkeling I’ve ever done was on a boat tour of the British Virgin Islands on my honeymoon. We stopped at these weird finger-shaped rocks poking out of the water off some island, and there was just a huge wall of coral that we swam around. I have never seen such vivid colors before or since. It was helped by the fact that the water had an unreal clarity around then. I don’t know if that’s just due to the time of year (it was late June) or what, but it was truly fantastic. (In Jamaica, the water was definitely clear enough, but not as clear as on our honeymoon. As mentioned, that was June, whereas Jamaica was late March.)
Another note of interest: when I was walking along the beach on the day I took this shot (I had just finished my 2nd snorkel tour, and I asked Vincent to drop me off up the beach a ways from our hotel) I was walking at about the same pace as this lady. I kept passing her, but then she’d pass me when I stopped to take some pics. We struck up conversations a couple times, and she mentioned that she was a travel-planner type person, based in Kingston. (She said she herself was just out in Negril for a weekend holiday.) I felt that this was mildly interesting, and told her so. But then she decided to share her opinion that the best time to get pictures was either just after sunrise or just before sunset, that at the time that I was currently taking pictures (about 11am), I would most likely not get good pictures. I thought this was a very subtly rude thing to say. Basically “I see you trying really hard, it’s kind of sad that your pictures will all suck.” I explained to her that, under normal circumstances, yes, she was right. Normally noon-time light drains all the color out of stuff, and makes super harsh shadows. However, I explained to her, I had found from my own personal experience that at sunset, with the sun behind the water, all you could see was the orange from the sun, you couldn’t see the white sand or the turquoise water, which is sort of the whole point of being in Negril. In the early morning it’s also not ideal, and not just because I’d still be sleeping. In this particular case, the sun being directly overhead led to the best results, because that really lit up the sand underneath the water, which is exactly where the turquoise color comes from. That, combined with a polarizer filter to remove glare from the surface, I had found to be the best combination to get the picture that *I was going for*. I tried to illustrate for her exactly what I was talking about, showing her both the images that I was currently taking, as well as pictures that I had taken the previous day just before sunset. She shrugged me off as CLEARLY an amateur, and reiterated that, no, the best pictures cannot be taken at noon. And that was that. So I said thanks for the tip, and we resumed our similar pace down the beach. That wasn’t awkward at all.
What am I trying to say here? Not sure. Maybe this is just yet another example of the fact that there are no hard and fast rules in photography. Every rule is meant to be broken. Really, it’s all just guidelines. To get the most out of anything you learn about photography, you need to actually *understand* the rule, not just follow it. You have to know *why* it tends to be helpful, so that you can break it most effectively. That’s right everybody, listen to me, because I am awesome. Wooo!
Oh, one more thing, just to reiterate: don’t go NEAR a beach without a circular polarizer! I’m serious!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens w/ circular polarizer. 1/200s, f/10.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 50mm.