Great Bay Boulevard has sat out of the rotation for far too long. This photograph, made in late September, was my first shot made at Seven Bridges Road (GBB’s other name) since February. Great Bay Boulevard is like Cedar Run Dock Road with a multiplier. It is southern New Jersey marsh life writ large. The marsh extends for miles in all directions, at times leaving the observer with a solemn feeling of stark isolation. The road doglegs to the southwest running out the miles over several small wooden bridges. Alternating one way traffic is the order of the day in spots, minded by lonesome traffic light sentinels, adding to the area’s sense of place. It is splendid.
Specific to the photograph above I went about my business a bit different than usual. Using my 14mm wide angle lens I executed a shallow depth of field exposure, sitting wide open at f/2.8. This is a tactic I typically reserve for my 35mm and 100mm lenses. With wide angle work I lock into hyperfocal distance to capture sharpness throughout the entire depth of the image. This is born out in the hundreds of the wide angle sunset photographs I have published.
The remnant piece of wood, worn and eroded, marking the foreground, caught my eye. Its coloration, weathering, and grain draws the eye, and with some decent sunset light I wanted to make it the focus of the photograph. So with an open aperture I got down low, keeping the camera no higher than three inches of the ground, and worked some frames. Originally I deployed a western exposure, straight out into the sunset. Then I spied the telephone pole off to the south set over my left shoulder. I split the difference with a south-western exposure brining the pole into the frame. The shallow depth of field and off focus casting the pole in diffuse symbolism.
Photographs capture scenes to convey narrative in a visual medium. The story can be simple and straightforward, or it can mask in layers to tell multifaceted stories. It allows the viewer to imprint their own stories shaded by beliefs and experiences to connect in a personal way. This is the beauty of photographic storytelling.
Here the telephone pole will appear to some as a cross looking down upon a weathered wooden relic. An aged grained wood with a prominent knotted eye looking deep into the viewer under the auspices of Golgotha. There will be an obvious religious connection for many while others will absorb this motif in a different way. Both are correct and neither wrong. Here is the magic of imagery.
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