Two weeks ago, I left the beautiful fall weather of North Carolina and flew south to Brazil for a second round of summer down in the other hemisphere. The work project I’ve been on most of the year is now finished and so it’s time to get all of our equipment packed up and shipped back to the U.S. This means that I don’t have to fly out to the drilling rig this time, which in turn means I’m able to bring my real camera! (see previous posts about having to use an iPhone as a camera)
The first two weeks here in Macae it did nothing but rain. We had flooded roads and there are still tons of mosquitoes flying around. Not fun my friends. The junction box and cables that provide our internet for the house were soaked by the rain and so we had no web access for days. From time to time I could get a little traffic through via 3G on my cell phone but even that was horribly slow and only about as reliable as an old car. The past two days have been sunny and the cables are finally drying out. For the time being, we’re back on “High speed” internet. YAY!
Yesterday, I took my camera out to go shooting at a couple of beaches. Having my Brazilian buddies here with me really helps since they know where to go. Obrigado meus amigos! Most of the images in this post were shot near Costa Azul which is just south of Macae.
Shooting was a bit of challenge as it was midday with the sun straight overhead. That lighting yields harsh, unflattering shadows which means making a compromise between exposing for the shadows or highlights. I have to say, I am hugely impressed with the Nikon D600’s ability to handle this. It managed to give me richly detailed, colorful photos all while shooting only JPG images. I’ve given up on RAW with this camera. I was a RAW purist back in the day but this camera’s accuracy in measurement of white balance and the sensor’s wide tonal range make JPGs look like I’ve never seen before. Obviously all of my images undergo some work in Photoshop but nothing you wouldn’t do in a traditional dark room. Also, none of these photos are High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR is when you shoot multiple photos of the same scene, each with a different exposure so that you can later stack these exposures using software to create a wide tonal range image that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. HDR has its uses but I prefer sticking with single exposure images when I can get away with it.
The one thing I should have brought with me on this trip is a Circular Polarizer for my lens. This would have done wonders in making the water look glare-free and richly colored. I was wearing my Maui Jim sunglasses which have some of the best polarization you can buy. Every time I’d take them off to shoot a photo, I’d get this depressing, jarring view of harsh, sparkly and colorless water and I’d lose my motivation to shoot because everything looked so bland without polarization. But enough excuses. Shoot I did, and I’m actually pleased with the result of a few of these. I hope you enjoy them too!
Harsh shadows? No problem! Shoot the shadows!
A good overview shot of Costa Azul. That took a bit of rock climbing to get that high above the beach.
Not sure why I like this one so much. It feels so energetic to me. The crashing waves and the strong contrast made it a really tense image.
One of my buddies from Brazil. Thanks dude for letting me post this!