Sunday, September 30, 2012

Big Tarpon, Little Sunburst

Sitting, waiting, in the early morning stillness. Maybe the sun will show a little artistic gumption and paint the sky this morning. The night is just beginning to surrender.  I hear a big splash, then another.  Dolphins, I think.   In the darkness, I can just barely make out the movement on the water.   More splashes, right in front of me. I can see the roiling of the water, all around. There must be several. It's not uncommon to see a small pod moving along, rolling, blowing. But I wasn't hearing blowing, just splashing, and they weren't very close together the way they usually are when they're traveling, but rather they were spread out a bit. They must be feeding, or playing. I strain to see a fin or a fluke in the dim light. As it gets lighter, I can see the splashes.  Then I realize, it's not dolphins.   It's tarpon!  Big ones!  There must be a dozen or more of the big fish churning the surface.

The splashes subside. I return to the business at hand – my semiannual quest to make a photograph of the Sanibel lighthouse silhouetted by the orb of the rising sun. The sky at the horizon begins to take on a nice deep orange, reflected in the water. Nothing special, but I pop off a few. Faint crepuscular rays begin to form. I hope they will develop into a glorious sunburst, but no, it never achieves grandeur.

The glow of light concentrates behind the lighthouse, but I can tell that the wispy clouds are too thin to let the sun pretend to be a big red rubber ball.  It will blow the silhouette away with blinding light.  And so it does.

Once again I didn't get what I hoped for.  But I did get a nice subtle sunburst.  And, I shared my solitude with the tarpon.

© 2012 Buck Ward        The Photographist


  1. Maybe not the hoped for silhouette, but great catches none the less!

  2. I love your photos and I am glad that you choose to share them with the rest of us. I know for myself, that I too often forget that what I really enjoy, and the reason I go out is to witness the sunrise, to see the dolphins, or in this case, the tarpon.

    In my case,IF I am able to capture the sunrise, so much the better, but I still have the memory of the morning shared with nature.

    I would be happy with all of these photos.

  3. I share your appreciation, Don. If getting up in the dark and going out with the no-see-ums depended on being rewarded with great photographs, I would have stopped doing it long ago. I enjoy the quiet, the solitude, communing with nature.
    Often I walk along a beach and just enjoy, having left the camera and gear in the car. It's one of life's pleasures.