A Shipwreck, A Full Moon And A Fabulous Sunrise
Stories abound about how this schooner ended up as a shipwreck in the Delaware Bay. Perhaps it is a ship that was bound for Fall River Massachusetts with a load of coal and ran aground in 1876. Another tale tells of plans for this old wooden ship to be converted to a restaurant, however it got stuck in the sand after it broke free from the boat towing it and was left.
No matter how it got here, this shipwreck on a remote beach attracted my attention. It is only accessible briefly at low tide and takes some careful planning to get to. When the full moon, sunrise and low tide all lined up, I decided that I had to be there. The weather forecast was dire most of the week before the shoot, vacillating back and forth between rain and heavy cloud cover. Darn! It would be a shame to lose this opportunity due to a rainy or 100% overcast day. Luckily, the evening before this trip the forecast changed so we decided to give it a go. Visible moonlight in the wee hours of the morning was encouraging. When finally arriving at the shipwreck, we were rewarded with a dissipating weather system that lead to some fabulous morning light.
5:18 – 5:29
The early twilight and full moon provided an eerie light to begin this photoshoot.
Dawn breaks and the horizon started to light up.
The sun breaks through a cloudy horizon and colors the sky.
The light continued to be beautiful but the window of safety started to close.
It would have been great to spend another hour or two photographing the weathered details of this old wooden schooner. But when the tide started coming in, we needed to get back to avoid being stranded like this ship. There will always be other low tides.
Art… An Afterthought
After finishing the first five images in this series, I kept thinking about how this once useful ship is slowly deteriorating in a harsh environment where it spends a lot of time under water. The image below is the result of that musing. It transcends the timeline of the images above because it is more of a creative concept based on feeling and not fact. The ability to post process a digital photograph allows photographers to create imagery that goes beyond the literal visual interpretation that comes out of our cameras. It blurs that fine line between the literal and the abstract.
Stick To The Plan With Your Eyes Open
This was one of those shoots that required a lot of planning to execute. First there was researching when the moon, sun and tides would line up. Next I used an app called Photo Pills that shows sun and moon positions at a specific location and time to plan where the best camera positions would be. Finally there was the obsessive following of the weather to ensure this opportunity would not be rained out or socked in with clouds.
Through the research I visualized the images and the first two photographs in this series are the result. After creating them I could have left happy, however, watching the sky showed that there was potential for some great light at dawn, so we took advantage of it while we could.
Inspiration is an important part of developing photographic vision. Two of the local photographers I follow, sometimes literally, are Jason Gambone and Dante Fratto. While our styles are different, through their work I saw the potential of staying around for the sunrise. As a result, this is now a series of six photographs instead of two.
See more photos of this shipwreck here
I love “following” you on this site. One not only gets to see terrific pictures they also get to read the kind of set-up and thought that went into getting those pictures. Very helpful! Just like the rest of our lives, sometimes to get to where we need to go we have to wait and wait and wait. Yet while we “wait” we are busy thinking and doing to get everything to line up just right. Then off and what we get is what we actually needed rather than what we wanted. Isn’t life great!
Thanks Jo Ann. I’m very glad you enjoy following my blog and that you find my ramblings helpful. Photography is probably no different from other things. Timing is always important and success takes patience and planning. Thanks again for your kind words.
That’s a real beauty!
Thanks Terry. It was a great find and an amazing thing to be able to photograph.
Stunning my friend. Thanks for the trip back to the coast!
Thanks Kathy. It’s my pleasure to be your escort you back to the coast.
Wow. Worth all your effort to get there and shoot it.
Thanks Ken. It was an interesting experience for sure. I’m glad you enjoyed the result.
Hey Rich! Great shots you have here. I’m so glad you made the trek out to this unique location. And you avoided (hopefully) some of the very tricky quicksand-like areas that I myself lost a flip-flop to! I certainly can appreciate all of the work ahead of time it takes to get the shots. And yes, due to the bay being so level there, when the tide comes in, you have to be mindful of where you are. Or it will be a very soggy walk back to the car.
Thanks Jason. I really appreciate your compliment. I can see how that flip flop disappeared. There were definitely a few tricky spots. I’m sure you know what it is like to plan these things and how great it is when things actually works out.
I enjoyed your thoughtful series.
Thanks John. I appreciate your compliment and am glad you enjoyed these images.
Nice job Rich. I appreciate the mention. You had a better sunrise than the morning I was there. I’m glad you didn’t have any issues getting there. You mentioned shooting styles. That’s what I love about photography. Ten people can shoot the same scene and have ten different photos. One day we will meet up.
Thanks Dante for the compliment and for all your help. I agree with you 100% about shooting styles. It is one of the things that never ceases to amaze me. Even though we haven’t shot together, yet, we’ve been to some of the same places and come back with very different takes. It shows that photography is a lot more than just pointing a camera and clicking the shutter.
Very nice post and photos Rich.
Thanks Vince. I appreciate it.
Great pictures, Mr. Lewis.
Thank you Betty.
Beautiful set of pictures
Thanks Rajiv. I appreciate the compliment.
Another splendid set of work.
Thanks Ralph. Your compliments mean a lot to me.
Mr Lewis, great photos! I was wondering where along the bay this wreck is? You don’t have to give exact coordinates or anything, just generally, is it near Greenwich or Bivalve or ?? Just curious, and thanks!
Thanks for your comment Todd. I can’t share any information about the location of this wreck for several reasons. However, with a bit of research, it is not hard to find.
Thanks for the reply Mr Lewis, and I do understand and I figured there was a reason you didn’t mention it in your own post. I only ask because my great grandfather was an oyster fisherman and (according to the story) one of his boats that was wrecked in the 1930’s was towed to a beach along the bay and abandoned. Your photos just reminded me of that story and had me curious. I’ll try to do some research. Thanks.
I appreciate your understanding Todd. One of the results of these photos is that a couple of organizations are researching the true origins of this ship. As that information become available I’ll post and update on my blog. While this is probably not your Great Grand Father’s boat, it probably shares a similar history.
Beautiful pics. It brings back memories. I used to play on the wreck as a kid. Of course back the thier was more boat left. Absolutely love your pics. Do you sell them?
Thank you Tammy. I really appreciate your comment. There is info on my website about buying prints but I will send you an email with the details. I would also like to talk to you about this ship. Thanks to these photos, the New Jersey Maritime Museum is also researching this wreck and might want to speak with you. However, I would not pass on your information on to them without permission from you first.
Wonderful post and photographs as always! Your cover image is my favorite … what a beautiful and well-balanced sky!
Thanks Denise, I can’t take credit for the sky. It did that all by itself. I was just lucky enough to be there.
It is very evident that you put a lot of thought, time and effort into your work. Great job as always!
Thanks for the comment Steve. Your compliment is appreciated.
A wonderful post, with beautiful images!
Thanks Lynn. I’m glad you enjoyed these images. I’m quite enamored with this ship right now and have been and will be posting additional images on my website. I’ve enjoyed looking at your blog by the way.
As I have kinda been detached and seemingly absent from photography… never fear as I read each and every post you make. It keeps me connected to the hobby I love, and by your take on a place as well as your writing. Never knew this existed… beautiful light!!!!
I know you’ve been busy and cannot wait until you are back and snapping! Thanks for keeping up with my blog. I’m honored it is of the things keeping you connected because you being disconnected from photography is not be a good thing. Can’t wait till your back out with your camera. This is an interesting place and that light was pretty amazing. A reward, I think, for a week of obsessing over the weather.
Richard, I do research on shipwrecks for the NJ Maritime Museum in Beach Haven. I was told you night have photographed and researched a shipwreck off Arnold Point near Greenwich, NJ. If you have any information or photos of that wreck, I would appreciate discussing this with you. Thanks for your time.