Photo Trekking 1: St. Mary's Watershed

March 20, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

[This is my 1st installment in a 6-part series for a photo trekking class I took with Barbara Southworth through the Smithsonian Associates Residence Program.]

I signed up for a class called “Photo Trekking”. It’s a 6-week nature photography course that involves hiking in scenic spots near Washington, DC. The course is being taught by the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program and the instructor is Barbara Southworth, a photographer who specializes in place-based and landscape imagery.

Our first hike was at St. Mary’s Watershed. We met up at 7:00 am to watch the sun rise and then set out on the 7.1 mile hike.

My first photo was of the sunrise. It was absolutely spectacular! We were blessed with patchy clouds and a perfectly still lake.

Sunrise at St. Mary’s WatershedSunrise at St. Mary’s WatershedIn this early morning shot of the sun rising over St. Mary's Watershed in Maryland, patchy clouds are reflected in the mirror-like surface of the lake. I didn't have long to take this image; the mirror effect didn't last more than a few minutes. As the sun rose, it heated the air, causing the air to move over the water and break the stillness.

Generally, you only get a mirror-like lake when the air is perfectly calm. This calm ends once the sun rises and heats the air. The heated air moves across the water and causes ripples, which destroys the effect. I did my best to take advantage of the time--it doesn’t last long.

My first couple of photos were taken from a jetty in the middle of the lake. I took the following from a small inlet not too far away. The light had a very warm feel and I made sure to keep that in my prost-processing.

Early morning at St. Mary's WatershedEarly morning at St. Mary's WatershedEarly morning, St. Mary's Watershed.

There were a number of fishermen who decided to get an early start on the lake as well. I figured it would be nice to get a shot with one of their boats--I think it adds a little depth and interest to the photo. To take the following photo, I abandoned my wide-angle lens and pulled out my telephoto. You can see that a slight breeze is picking up and disturbing the water.

Fishing at St. Mary's WatershedFishing at St. Mary's WatershedA couple of guys fishing in the early morning light at St. Mary's Watershed in Maryland.

The dam for the watershed runs north and south. With my back to the sun and shooting at a downward angle, I was able to take this shot of some grass. The blue behind the grass isn’t sky but water reflecting the sky.

Dry grassDry grassDry grass on the dam at St. Mary's Watershed, in the golden light of dawn, and against a backdrop of water reflecting a blue sky.



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