Jekyll Island - GNPA 2016 Expo - ChrisDahl

The 2016 GNPA Expo was held at Jekyll Island, Georgia from April7-10 2016.

This is my third Expo and each time I have had a great time learning and sharing experiences. This year the Keynote speaker on Saturday was Charles (Chas) Glatzer, Canon Explorer of Light and professional Photographer.  "Shoot The Light"

His presentation was high energy and a very back to the basics approach to exposure. He hit home on many of his points, it is easy to try and allow the advanced cameras  do all of the work. But he made the point very clearly that you should control the camera and exposure. If you get the chance to listen to him speak or see his photography do not pass it up.

Of course like past years there were other guest speakers that covered a variety of subjects. I decided to step outside my normal comfort zone and shoot the night sky and shore birds.



Starscapes

Mark Buckler is a professional Photographer based out of Outer Banks NC. He has mastered the art of photographing the night sky. I have seen him speak a few times and jumped at the chance to go into the field and shoot the night sky. After a few hours in a class room discussing the details of what would happen the next morning at 3AM (yes, at one time I would easily go to bed at 3AM, but get up and work?).

So the following morning we met and made our way out to driftwood beach which is on the northern tip of Jekyll. We spent time as a group and  setup shots to practice on.

Mark moved around and gave pointers and advice where needed.

At that hour the beach was very serene, and I could see the Milky way more clearly than I ever remember. The low rumble of the waves was soothing and relaxing. The tide was very low and exposed lots of driftwood on the beach. The drift wood is actually the trees left behind from the erosion of the northern shoreline, the dirt and sand shifts down to the southern end of the island. The wood is exposed and shows the exposure to the weather and time.

The photo above was processed in Lightroom, moved into Photoshop where some Topaz Filters were applied. The final crop and finishing were completed in Lightroom. 

The light in the lower right corner is pollution from the resort that the Expo was held at.

Shore Birds

Another experience that I took advantage of was a excursion with Atlanta based photographer Eric Bowles, Bowles Images.

He led an early morning excursion to Jekyll Point on the southern tip of Jekyll Island to photograph the sunrise and shore birds. We discussed the importance of minimum impact on the birds activity. The birds come to the shore and stand in a group to rest. So approaching to quickly or close would flush them and we should make every effort not to disturb their rest.

I have been shooting birds around my home for a year now "Back Yard Birds" is often a tag line I use. These birds are almost pets. I see the same ones come into the feeders all the time. They also get impatient with me if I let the feeders empty.

So photographing birds away from my comfort zone was a great experience. I enjoyed it so much I took time that afternoon and went back to the same location with Eric and Jerry Black, we shot into the evening hours after sunset. High tide made it difficult to make our way back to the car.

We almost had the beach to ourselves and the tide and birds worked together to move up to us for some great shots.

The little guy above is a Wilson's Plover which is on the State endangered Species list. The nesting area is protected and roped off at Jekyll Point.

In addition we saw Laughing Gulls and many other shore birds.

All in all GNPA is a great group of people, I want to thank Horace Hamilton the GNPA president, Alfie Wace and her team in the Coastal Chapter and all of the other people that contributed to the event for all of their hard work.

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