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The Shoreline

James McKinney

By James McKinneyPublished 4 years ago 3 min read
Image after editing

This photo shows the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland engulfed in fog in the early morning. At the time (about a week ago, week ago) I was camping in a cabin near the bay (it was in walking distance) and it was freezing. My inspiration behind this photo was a step into the unknown; a fear I have always possessed. Over the past year or so, I have been taking a series of photos with the same message to overcome this fear of mine.

Out of the series of photos, this one comes out on top as my favorite. The true meaning behind this photo comes from the fog that conceals anything beyond the shores. One of your most important senses, vision, becomes useless from that point on.

If you were standing on those very shores as I did, and share the same fear, it may be hard to stare into the gray mass in front of you. It becomes impossible to tell where water starts and where it ends. The horizon is masked, meaning anything could be coming for you. This feeling of fear and mystery is what motivates me to take these photos that give a look into the unknown. To give you refrrence, immediately after taking this, I ran for safety.

Something else that motivated me to choose this photo was the faint figures of debris down the shore when things start to dissolve into the fog. This debris, if I hadn’t told you what it was, could be interpreted as anything emerging from the unknown.

The tree branch coming out from the shore was something else I found meaningful and really wanted to include in the shot from the beginning. See how it pierces the gray? It represents the courage to overcome this fear that I have had for so long.

Now onto the specifics. This photo was taken on the standard camera on my phone. I’m working with an I-Phone XR, so the quality is surprisingly clear. I sacrificed the warmth of my feet (did I mention it was cold) to take this photo by taking a few steps into the bay to have as much of the shore in the photo as possible. That straight shot down the shore was what I was aiming for.

This could very well have been the last photo taken on my phone, because in an attempt to get further in the water, I slipped and fell face first into the water. Somehow, my phone landed mere inches before the water. I took the photo forthwith, freezing, and rushed back up to the cabin I was staying in for the weekend. I dried off and began to edit the photo, proud of what I took.

I used an app called PicsArt to do the editing. I was, of course, using the free version, but it still got the job done. I started by adding grain to the image to give it that vintage creepy look. I’m not sure if that makes sense or not, but just imagine an image from a police investigation in 1990. I then decreased contrast in colors to make the inage appear more bleak and mysterious, since this tool made the fog appear denser. This added to the unknown-factor as I like to call it. I should probably think of a better name for it.

Next, I decided to use brush tools to add white particles in certain areas of the photo. To me, these particles add to the general grainy feeling I was hoping for. The grain and particles add to the unknown-factor by obscuring minute details, meaning you have to focus on the fog; your eyes aren’t distracted by, for example, the debris on the shoreline too much. You go right to the fog.

Overall, I am very proud of this shot and its deeper meaning. I truly hope that, in time, my fear of the unknown will slowly fade through exposure to situations such as this one.


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