Folly

D800-Charleston Day 7-2180-2014-04-04Long-exposure seascapes of piers are among my favourite types of image to create.

Such images have an eerie, unnatural quality that allows the eye to see the world in a unfamiliar and revealing way.

D800-Charleston Day 7-2176-2014-04-04The juxtaposition of these complex, intricate man-made structures and the natural forces of sea and sky, slowed down to a dead stop by the camera, evoke feelings of emptiness, loneliness, abandonment and desolation.

It’s as if these structures were built long ago, then forsaken by creatures long since disappeared.

As climate change frog-marches mankind inexorably towards his incipient, self-engineered doom, the supposed superiority of the human intellect allows us to foresee a future Planet Earth where the species homo sapiens no longer resides.

Having selfishly driven so many other species to extinction before him, mankind is unmasked as the architect of his own demise, undone by his own greed and shortsightedness, leaving behind a planet which can no longer support his form of life but which retains, for just a few moments longer than man himself, the impermanent structures that he built.

D800-Charleston Day 7-2179-2014-04-04What arrogance, what folly for man to build wooden structures out into the water, for no purpose other than his own amusement, and to delude himself that they will withstand the relentless forces of the ocean and the wind. They will inevitably fall, as mankind himself is set to fall.

D800-Charleston Day 4-2-1626-2014-04-01What will our world look like when it no longer numbers mankind among its inhabitants?

I have a feeling it might look a lot like these images.

This is the aptly named Folly Pier.

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6 Comments

  1. TS April 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    good stuff! Like the first one the most.

    • shaunmoss April 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      Tony: Thanks for the encouraging comment. It’s always a pleasure to have you visit my site and leave a comment. I agree with you that the first image is the strongest, which is why I led with it on this blog post. Those two big, whispy white clouds to the top-left of the green roof were a stroke of luck.

  2. Ray April 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Very well written Shaun, give us more…. $h%#, I better get down there before it’s too late!
    And what can one say about these images? I, for one, can only hope that once I get there, I will be able to create photographs just as stunning as you display here. I believe this is the first blog post of which I like all photographs equally.

    • shaunmoss April 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

      Ray, thanks, as always, for your encouraging feedback on both my images and my words. You should definitely get down to Charleston: it’s a rich venue for photography. And, having seen the images you produced when we shot Great Falls together, I am sure that you would come up with as good or better images were you to photograph Folly Pier. But maybe your thoughts would not be as dark as mine were in this instance…

  3. mrsammy7 April 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    Yes it is a ‘folly’ but your images are certainly not. Well done Shaun. Did you use ND filter? Curious as to settings. I have a hard time achieving that look.

    • shaunmoss April 9, 2014 at 12:03 am #

      Ellery, thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

      Yes, I used my B+W 77mm ND filters, either 6 or 10 stops, on all these images. Settings were as follows:

      Image 1: 301.6 seconds, f11, ISO 100, 16-35mm lens at 35mm, WB=cloudy.
      Image 2: 120.2 seconds, f11, ISO 100, 16-35mm lens at 32mm, WB=cloudy.
      Image 3: 240.1 seconds, f11, ISO 100, 16-35mm lens at 32mm, WB=cloudy.
      Image 4: 5 seconds, f8, ISO 125, 16-35mm lens at 35mm, WB=cloudy.

      All camera settings were set manually. I’m guessing the 10-stop ND filter was used on Images 1, 2 and 3, while the 6-stop was used on Image 4 and much earlier in the evening, in brighter light. You can see there’s a lot more definition in the surface of the water in Image 4 than in the other three.

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