Last Sunday afternoon, if you had asked me to describe landscape photography in one word, without a doubt I would have said (with a sigh)...
... and while that doesn't sound like such a bad thing (cause patience is a virtue, right), it's important to know the background story to understand that my answer was one of pure frustration!
A Client's Request
From time to time, potential collectors reach out to me inquiring about prints of images from specific locations. In most cases, that person browsed through my website and did not find a scene they were interested in.
I am always happy to fulfill that request and would then add that location to my list of places to visit soon.
A few weeks ago, I got such a request for an image featuring the bay and two islets at Castle Bruce. Around that same time, I got a similar request from an existing collector who was crushing on his new canvas print and wanted another. He too, wanted a shot of Castle Bruce.
The village of Castle Bruce
Clearly, I needed to bump my Castle Bruce trip to the top of my list! Incidentally, I had been to the village in September while creating footage for my timelapse film, but I did not capture both islets in full view (see photo above).
My first visit to the village wasn’t even planned. In fact, acting on a tip from a friend, I attempted to capture mist in the Belles area (similar to Fire Beyond the Mountain) but came up empty.
Driving through Belles at about 4:30 AM I hoped to see some mist, but there was none to speak of. So instead of letting the sunrise go to waste, I made a run up to Castle Bruce - a big detour from Belles. I hoped that the early morning light would help make a formidable image.
Well, I got there on time, set up my camera at the Islet View Restaurant (aptly named due to its panoramic view of the bay) and waited for the sun to rise.
I’m not sure if you can see it clearly in the video, but haze was a bigger problem than I expected. Haze isn’t always a problem though - it depends on the scene and your intention as an artist.
For example, in Coming Rain I used haze to create separation between the layers of the scene - the middle vs the background. Haze (as well as mist, fog and sometimes clouds) will soften details in the scene, making it easy to direct focus to other areas. In the case of Coming Rain, I wanted the viewer to immerse in the details of the valley floor.
For this Castle Bruce image, however, I wanted to showcase the entire landscape, particularly the land formation that leads to the two islets in the background. Haze floating over these areas would work against my intention.
Fast forward to last Sunday when I decided to give Castle Bruce another chance. I figured I would attempt an afternoon capture, on advice from the owner at Islet View Restaurant. I left Roseau at 2:00 PM. It was a bit cloudy, but the sun was bright and the clouds seemed to be moving away.
By the time I got to the Emerald Pool though (roughly halfway to my destination), the weather had changed completely. I was stuck in a downpour that lasted for almost an hour. I even contemplated turning around, but decided to push forward instead.
When I arrived at Castle Bruce the rain had stopped but the clouds remained. I knew straight away that the shots I had envisioned (with the sun on the landscape) were not possible.
Salvaging the Trip
Instead of wasting time, I drove south to the villages of Good Hope and San Sauveur. I was basically following the sun, because from Castle Bruce, I could see sunlight in that direction - over the mountains and through the clouds. It was a longshot, but I hoped that I would be able to capture some of that light from an aerial vantage point.
I was lucky. The sun did peek through the clouds for a few minutes and I was able to use my drone to capture a few images. Check them out below, and they are all available as canvas prints.