Balance – The Story Behind the Image

2013 5 10 Balance Final 5 24 2013 750 Balance   The Story Behind the ImageBalance – Split, Croatia

 

Normally it takes me just minutes to create an image, or perhaps a bit longer if I need to wait for the right conditions. I have a short attention span and if things don’t fall together quickly, I generally lose interest and move on.

However, the image above broke all records and really tested my patience because it took me six hours just to get the shot.

I was walking along one of the popular swimming beaches in Split, Croatia when I saw this scene. Beyond the reach of most swimmers were eight pilings, centered in the bay and protruding just above the surface of the water.  I took a few shots and moved on.

The next day I came back and found a better vantage point and set up for another shot. Because I had already photographed the scene and knew what I wanted, I expected to be there for only a few minutes. But just as I was getting ready to click the shutter, a boy swam out to the pilings and sat on them. I thought he’d leave soon and so I waited.

And I waited and waited and waited. I’m not sure what this kid was doing, but I could see him talking and waving his arms in a full-blown conversation with himself.

Boy on Piling Balance   The Story Behind the Image

Soon an hour had passed and this kid was still talking! I was starting to get impatient and attempted to do a remote Vulcan mind meld, willing him to leave. 

Boy Standing on Piling Balance   The Story Behind the Image

It must have worked because he then slipped into the water. I’m getting all set to make the exposure because I think he’s leaving…but no, he’s gotten back onto the pilings and has continued his conversation.

At this point I’ve got two hours invested into this shot and nothing to show for it, and this kid is still yakking away! I think about leaving, but stay and hope that he’ll run out of things to talk about. 

Now three hours have passed and this kid is still out there! In my head I’m screaming “GET OFF THE PILINGS” as he continues to talk to himself.

Finally after about four hours he swims away. Now I can get continue!

Two Boys on Piling Balance   The Story Behind the Image 

But no, two new people swim out to the pilings. I tell myself that this last kid was an anomaly and that these two will not stay for very long.

Oh, but I be wrong! One hour later and those two are still out there and I can’t believe this. What should I do, leave and cut my losses or protect the time I’ve already invested and wait? 

I decide to wait, knowing that with my luck, just as soon as I leave they would too. 

It’s now been six hours since I first set up for that “quick shot.” I’m hot, hungry, dehydrated and almost delusional. I’m like Humphrey Bogart’s character in “The Treasure of Sierra Madre,” ranting and talking to myself. 

Passer-by’s are staring at me and giving me a wide berth. But there’s no way that I can leave now, it’s a matter of principle, I must get this shot!

Finally the two leave and I am able to create the image “Balance” after six hours of waiting.

What lesson did I learn from those six hours?  Wear sunscreen, I really got burnt.


14 Responses to “Balance – The Story Behind the Image”

  • John Barclay Says:

    Wear sunscreen? THAT is what you learned…. man do we need to talk! :)

    Good story Cole. Great image.

  • Karl Wolz Says:

    You needed to wait for those perfect clouds anyway.

  • andy ilachinski Says:

    Reminds me of a similar “Boinga, boinga, boinga…” experience I had years ago (and wrote up on my blog with an entry with that title) trying to photograph off an Indiana-Jones-style bridge spanning a gorge in the Adirondacks (NY). It took a loooong time to get the sun and tourists trying to cross the bridge in sync long enough to get a decent shot. Not quite as trying as your experience here, but similar in that I had quite a few moments of “would you PLEASE JUST GO AWAY..!” angst ;-)

  • andy ilachinski Says:

    Ooops, the “Boinga, boinga,…” reference is to the sound of the bridge I would hear as the footsteps would start the instant I put my eye to the eyepiece ;-)

  • Gittan Beheydt Says:

    It was for sure worth to go through all your misery Cole this photo is absolutely outstanding! Your patience really worked out….

  • Gerry Toler Says:

    Definitely a simplicity carried to elegance image in all respects.
    It is fine as it is, can’t help wondering why you were so insistent that there be no people in the image. It would have made a fine “lone man” entry. (?)

  • Laird Says:

    Agree with Gerry… understand it’s not your thing… but my reaction, was also, why didn’t you just go with the flow and would it really have been so terrible to include a figure in the shot.

    I’m sure at some point, you were wishing for a sympathetic jelly fish to swim by!!! :)

  • Cole Says:

    Vision gentlemen. That was not MY vision of the scene!

  • Gordon Middleton Says:

    Look at the bright side. You had hours to shoot more images for your Lone Man series.

  • Bill Daknis Says:

    Great story! Wonder who or what the first kid was talking too?

  • Jeffrey Logesky Says:

    Great Story, Cole. Makes me glad that I usually early enough, tat I don’t get into these issues.

    —-Jeffrey

  • Maria Meneses Says:

    Well…it was well worth the wait! You got an outstanding image Cole.

  • Iain Grant Says:

    Haha, brilliant story Cole and one which i can relate to…
    I was also trying to realise my vision with one of my first LEs, just south of Split in Croatia. I put it down to stubbornness, maybe a touch of OCD, but after 4.5hrs of waiting for the perfect cloud pattern to smudge across my frame, i too got a decent tan in the early afternoon heat….definitely makes for a memorable shot though when you put that kinda time & effort in!

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