I ventured out again on Saturday morning and was once more socked in by a dense sea fog, which covered both islands and the beach, where I had gone in hopes of finding and working with some plovers and sandpipers. Alas, there were few of these about and the conditions for capturing them were far from ideal.
Instead I found myself wandering north up the beach, traveling about a mile along the transition point between the beach proper and the dunes beyond. For most of this stretch, the NWR has the dunes roped off, as they are a fragile environment that is easily disturbed by human traffic. Several times I saw wire cages back in a ways, which I learned in the visitor’s center the day before are placed by the rangers to protect endangered plover nesting sites from predators.
Dunes are a unique environment, and a unique landscape, that are rather foreign to me. Many beaches have them, or had them, but the more public a beach is, the more likely it is that the dunes have been destroyed or even bulldozed away for “development.” It’s really only in protected places such as parks and refuges that we still find them in something like their native state, which means that I don’t have much experience working with them as a photographic subject. (Nor do I have any desert experience to call upon.)
So I found it a little difficult to figure out how best to photograph them, how to frame the shots and try to capture the details inherent. The light was diffused from the fog, although still somewhat directional, and there was no shortage of grasses, dead trees, or driftwood to use as anchor elements. It came down to trial and error, in the end, but fortunately with some good keepers.
I covered 2.6 miles total on the beach and never did get to work with any birds that morning; sometimes the conditions just don’t come together. But that’s okay, because sometimes it’s just nice to spend the morning walking beside the surf.