Ugly Day at Driftwood Beach
There is a place I had wanted to visit since I first found out about it. It is a beach located on the north end of Jekyll Island. I had seen a lot of incredible images of Driftwood Beach from other photographers, and there was no doubt that I would one day find myself there to make some of my own.
In March 2021 I finally made it. Having cancelled our annual trip to the California coast, we decided to spend a few days visiting St. Simons Island. While there we took a day to explore Jekyll Island and Driftwood Beach. The day we chose was unfortunately an overcast, windy, rainy, and generally ugly day for photography. It was also the last day of our trip and there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to make some images.
Do not let a little ugly weather or less than perfect conditions keep you from shooting. Unless the conditions are truly dangerous, or you feel that you could be harmed, I say go ahead and shoot. The worst that happens, if you are paying attention to personal safety, is you come back with nothing worth keeping. Which is rare. No matter how bad the conditions I have shot in there has always been something that I could salvage.
Particularly if you shoot in raw, as I do, there are many options available for creating great pieces of photo art from images that would otherwise be deleted.
A Note About Editing
In making these Driftwood Beach images, as with most of my images, I wanted to show the creative work of the Lord God, the Creator of all things. It took a little manipulation of the raw image files using Adobe Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and Luminar 4. The raw files were very flat due to the gloom of the day, and the detail was hidden behind the grayness.
Using the mentioned programs, I was able to coax more light and color, and better contrast to make these flat, drab and dreary raw images look like what I actually saw without sacrificing the integrity of the photograph. For some, it meant removing color altogether and creating a monochrome, or black and white image. I like black and white anyway, so I see it as a plus.
One of the reasons I shoot in raw format is so I can have complete creative control of my images. I would rather make adjustments to get an image to the way I saw it, and want it, rather than letting some algorithm give me a best guess JPG.
Below is a comparison of the unedited version of the image above and the final version. I’m sure it is obvious which is which. The original unedited version on top; the final edited version on the bottom. For this image I used Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. Hover over and move the slider up and down to get the full effect.
As you can see the edited shot has more visual interest, better color and contrast, and is generally just a better viewing experience.
Be honest. Would you have kept this image if you could not edit it?
Here are a few more from Driftwood Beach. The complete gallery is here. Prints and downloads are available.