I rose early, as usual. I had checked the weather, the tides, sunrise, the moon phase. I had tentatively planned to go out to Lover's Key, to try that fallen tree again. The forecast had called for partly cloudy and there would be a highish tide. If the sun would light up cumulus in the west there could be a possibility. But in the morning I walked out to the middle of my street, as I usually do, and looked up at the sky. I could see stars. There was a slight haze but the western sky was mostly clear. Change of plan. I almost felt a twinge of guilt at feeling relieved that I wouldn't be making that long and futile walk out to the dead trees on the beach at Lover's Key. The horse knew the way to carry the sleigh to my favorite beach, my fall back position, the eastern tip of Sanibel Island, at the lighthouse.
The little bight of beach at the old fallen Australian pine near the lighthouse was isolated by the high tide lapping at the sea grapes and buttonwoods on either side. The tourists would leave us alone. It would disrupt the easy stroll of their early morning shelling too much to navigate the surf. The dead tree could commune with my camera and me in solitude. The old tree has fallen, but I think it still relishes having its toes in the sand, at the edge of the tide. We had a quiet conversation, easy and nuanced, each trying to get the other to shift his point of view. Old friends. We've done this before. More than once. I played with long exposures in the early morning dark. The hazy blue glimmer and the satin surf could make a sweet image, if only I could find it. But I didn't. The old tree chuckled at me derisively. As the sky lightened, I put on a graduated neutral density filter. As it lightened more, I changed the GND from a two-stop to a three-stop. Inexorably the light increased. I reduced the ISO and, as the sun showed itself, added a four-stop neutral density filter to keep the exposure as long as possible. Pick up the pace. The sun, impatient to start its day, reduced our conversation to nods and grunts. Finally, we said our so longs. We'd had a good visit.