When I checked Frank’s website for the challenge theme and I saw his image of .. in Iceland, I couldn’t help thinking of the beaches of Antigua and Bequia. I just love all that blue. I find blue very calming and that water reminds me of one of the places in Antigua where I lived when I was in high-school. The house where we lived was just up the roads from the aptly named, Blue Waters beach. I have many fond memories running along the sand and playing in the shallow calm water.
New Jersey is the world far away from Antigua. New Jersey has many beaches — some good, some are just casino’s on the sand — along with her long Mid-Atlantic coastline. I’ve visited a few of these beaches — Sandy Hook, Seaside Heights, Island Beach State Park, Barnegat Light, Asbury Park and Wildwood — but in my opinion, none compare to the beaches I had in the Caribbean. I live in Skillman, Montgomery Township, a few kilometers (~ 4 miles) from Princeton University) but a little under 64 km (~ 40 miles) from the nearest beach (Asbury Park). With New Jersey traffic that translates to 10 minutes drive to Princeton compared to just over one hour drive to Asbury Park. For this challenge, I knew that with rain expected Saturday and Sunday I would have no chance of photographing sunny blue skies. So I left myself open to alternative ideas.
Last Tuesday, Shaan started his four-year program in biology at the Honors College at Rutgers Univerity. Bhavna and I took the day off to help him move into his residence hall. The campus in New Brunswick is only a 30-minute drive from home and 45 minutes by trains. But with teary eyes, we left our teenage adult to be on his own for the first time. The change is a bit unsettling. My wife has observed that even though he would sometimes annoy us by talking while we watching on of our cable dramas, we missed his voice.
We were back on campus on Saturday to drop off some items that Shaan felt he needed as well as to satisfy our need to see that he adjusting to his new home. He only had 45 minutes to hang out with us before he had to run off to one of several campus-wide orientation events. It was lunch time so we walked the campus looking for lunch. I remarked to my daughter that doing a photo challenge for the word blue on a college campus whose logo colour is red with a football team called The Scarlet Knights, would indeed be a challenge. And for opening weekend, the campus was a sea of red. As we walked College Avenue toward the Panera Bread, I noticed the artwork on the building for the Center For Latino Arts. I had a bit of blue and a decent photograph but still not what I was looking for.
It rained on Saturday. It’s Sunday as I write this and it’s still raining. Tomorrow’s forecast is sunny and warm but rain is expected the rest of the week into next weekend. I have a camera poncho but rarely use it. I mostly shoot near the woods and streams of the nearby towns — Hopewell, Princeton, Skillman, and Hillsborough. When I do get out in inclement weather I just have to be aware and alert. Trees (I’m surrounded by those) are attractors for lighting and streams (lots of these too) can quickly become dangerous.
The camera poncho might be useful when shooting in light rain but useless in a downpour. Of course, the camera is protected but the photographer gets wet. But last night as it rained I looked outside, taking a break from binge-watching Van Helsing on Netflix, and saw that the sun had set. It was blue hour. A few seconds later, I realized what that meant.
Oh, you fool! It’s blue hour! Get the camera! Get the tripod! Get the remote!
Within minutes I had a few shots that I felt good about. I especially like the one with the light trail of the passing car. I snapped several shots at various exposure times and went back to watching my show. Did I mention that blue is my favourite colour?