A collection of Photography Adventures, tips and tricks.

McArthur Beach, Juno Beach Florida

McArthur Beach is a location where you have to pay to park and has a private beach associated with its many trails and kayak launches.  I decided upon this location to shoot based upon these things and I will go into exactly why I looked for these qualities as well as the actual shoot adventure.

After going to Juno Dunes and stress testing my knowledge of the Exposure Triangle, I knew where I needed to improve upon and just needed to take more photos.  So for more testing of my knowledge of the exposure triangle I knew I needed an eclectic variety of situations.  This included dealing with shaded trails not fully lit by the sun, photos with the sun in front and back of me, working alongside water reflections and people.  

This location you needed to pay to get into, so knowing that it lets me assume a couple things.

1.) This location is going to be kept up, and manicured to a certain degree.

2.) This location has a fee so it has a demand of people.

3.) This location has water, a beach and many spots for activities.

As we got to the location I loaded up my 18-55mm Lens and headed into some trails to begin shooting immediately.  I took some test shots to get my settings in a good ballpark area and continued down a random path.  Shooting in a trail you have a sort of confined area to work with in conjunction with the shaded areas so there are multiple issues to have to work with.  I was able to get some good shots of vines hanging from the trees and some nice general trail shots as well to show some depth of the trails.  As we ran through the trails more, some very large spiders kept popping up in some huge spiderwebs.  I decided to try and get some of these shots but they proved to be too difficult for me at the time because I have a fear of spiders and I wasnt able to get a good focus on it with the 18-55mm Lens.  I tried popping on the 300mm Sigma which was able to get the spider in focus, but the pictures just weren't overall great, BUT I needed to try and shoot it.  

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After going through the trails, we decided to go to another part of the park, there was a large pier that led to the beach and a good amount of people were there this day so I was going to finally be able to do some street photography!  With the opportunity of street photography my anxiety began to rise, I had never taken a photo of a random person before, is this the right place to do it i thought to myself.  In reality, yes it would've been the perfect place to do it, but did I? Nope.  Do I regret it, Yup.  Will I address this anxiety in the future?  You bet your bottom dollar I will.  

So the pier was great, Large and had traffic on it and below it as well with kayakers.  The sky was partly cloudy and the light was just right.  So, I began shooting the pier, the birds, the kayakers in the distance, EVERYTHING!  It was great, I was coming into my own with my camera and just capturing the moments as they came to the best of my ability.

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As we continued down the pier and towards the beach, I was getting excited, antsy even.  I have lived in Florida my entire life and never once actually gotten to take photos of the beach with a good camera, or knowledge of how to really do it.  We come to the end of the pier and out towards the opening in the canopy and what do I see, the most beautiful opportunity ever, I had to try and capture this.  A formation of birds came flying in from the North and towards the South and with the Sun in the far west off camera, the lighting was pretty good at this point and in line with my other pier settings.  I took a couple of shots and captured this below, edited into B&W because the lighting was pretty good, could've been better and was just a good picture in B&W.  

Just as I was taking this photo, I actually looked out to the beach and there was just as you'd expect.  There was people, boats, birds, sand, water and it was all just waiting to get captured in my lens.  While I was taking the photo above, I was able to first see, but not realize the opportunity that was 180 degrees behind me.  This photo was interesting to capture because there was a group of people going to be coming into my landscape shot frame in about 15 seconds, so I had to get it just right so they wouldn't be in it.  This was my Favorite shot of the day.

Everything about this photo was good I felt.  The lighting was good, my use of the rule of thirds was pretty good, The only thing missing was something to be in the foreground to carry your eyes into the overgrown dunes.  This location had everything I was looking for and the results came out very good.  McArthur Beach was a good location and I will probably be back in the coming months for Turtle season If they have anything going on then.

My takeaways from this are to take test shots prior to going into a location where there may be little to no time to capture a moment and if you can get your Exposure Triangle down to just 3 or 4 shots then you're doing great.  Always look for locations that will require you to do and capture multiple things, people, animals, landscapes, etc.  Be better than me with my Anxiety of taking photos with people and appreciate the locations you're always in with the great company you bring with you as well.

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