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  • Betty Girardeau

Calming the Waves


I have never met a photographer who has not wanted to capture an image of water that looks smooth and silky. There is a certain amount of understanding of your camera and its settings to create such a picture. And there are certain times of the day and locations that make such pictures really special. Most of my efforts have been lack luster and not worth sharing. So I would have to also say that I think it takes patience, too. But why do photographers want to get images with a misty water effect and why are they so appealing to the viewer? I have thought about this a lot for the last day especially since I was asked by a budding photographer if I could explain to her how to do it. The most obvious answer is likely that there is something magical, even calming about such images. But could there be something more? Do these images convey something deep within ourselves about the desire to have more control over our lives and find some peace in an often chaotic world? There is no question that living today often makes us feel like things are out of control. Certainly these emotions have become heightened during the last several months as the entire world has been coping with how best to stay safe and healthy during a pandemic of proportions we have not seen in over a hundred years. Of all the misty water images that I have ever taken so far this is my favorite. It was taken at sunset in Costa Rica in 2017. As usual in the afternoon in that country there had been storms which were beginning to clear out and the softness of a pink sunset was setting in. In the distance you can see the waves crashing. Closer to shore the water is seen as almost sliding over the rocks, and as it reaches toward the shoreline it smooths out in a way that the viewer can imagine as soothing. For me there is a message in this image. I need to remember that even when there are storms and rough waters in our lives, there is still the promise of beautiful skies, and smooth peaceful moments as well. Just as it took a lot of patience to finally capture this image, it takes patience to get through tough times as well.

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