Long walks on the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina have always been a source of joy for me. I usually carry a camera, as I’m fascinated by patterns in the sand and have photographed them for years. The sand on this particular beach is extremely fine, and is shaped in interesting ways by the tide, the wind, and the weather. These are my “Sand Stories.”
There are also varied forms of marine life that color the sand in unexpected ways. My favorite are the ghost shrimp (AKA glass shrimp) — tiny, transparent creatures that burrow straight down into the sand. Since the shrimp, like most creatures, do not like to excrete where they eat, they propel their excrement up through the hole they’ve burrowed and one can see it shooting out in pellets from what look like tiny volcanos. Each shrimp produces somewhere in the vicinity of 500 pellets, per day. The pellets disintegrate in the sea water and color the sand black and various shades of brown. When the tide recedes and the sand dries, the wind carries it along and mixes it with the clean, white sand. The result is an unending supply of gorgeous, natural abstracts.
Sometimes the patterns are just plain beautiful, but I often experience pareidolia and see other things in them, such as this “sun and rays.” There are days that I walk and see nothing. Other days I feel that the shrimp have seen me coming and tried their best to please me. The day I made this image was one of those days.
When I discover an interesting pattern such as this one, I frame it in a few different ways, often with titles coming to me as I work the scene. The patterns are my raw material and I enjoy doing some cleanup and color/tonal adjustment to bring the images to what I saw in my mind’s eye.
I love nature’s bounty of beauty, even if it’s the result of prolifically excreting sea creatures, and I enjoy sharing it.
What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!
This image, as well as my other “Sand Stories,” are natural phenomena, and enhanced by my choice of processing.
If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?
I wouldn’t change a thing, as Mother Nature knows what she’s doing.
Cynthia Gladis shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.
Cynthia Gladis, New Jersey, USA
Equipment and settings
Fujifilm X-T2, XF18-135mm lens (thankfully both weather sealed, as I’m still cleaning the fine sand from the rubber grips and detents).
f/6, 1/500 sec., ISO 200, focal length 38.9.
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