The Cold November Dunes

You know, like the GNR Song "November Rain"? No? Okay, well it wasn't raining, but it was indeed November and it was quite cold along the windy lakeshore of Lake Michigan. It was, however, a pretty sun filled Saturday afternoon to be out shooting and the dunes themselves are rather serene with their wind swept patterns on the sands surface. It is easy to hike down a dune only to have to hike right back up another one. They are quite hilly and you can't see the next dune until you're standing on top of the one before it. After hiking like this for a little bit with the lake breeze biting at your faceand the tall grasses whipping at your knees that you finally see the lake itself. A bold blue against the sea of pale sand. Chilly breeze this time of year, not the cool summery breeze that invites you beach side in the summertime. The waves still crash against the shore kicking pebbles, stones, and driftwood ashore. Gulls lines the edges wandering and pecking about for something to snack on. It's a different kind of calm with very little people on the beach other than a few bundled up folks letting their dogs take a run. The Chicago skyline can faintly be seen off in the distance. It almost looks like a mirage. Lots of personal exploration of the mind could take place in this kind of environment. It's captivating like that.

A few brave souls of our Peoria Flickr Group embarked on the last group outing of the year to the Indiana to make a view images and get lost in Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. There were lots of play with shadows and light and textures a plenty. In fact, the place feels vast in a way there there is so much around you to photograph, it's hard to find a composition. It's hard to focus on one area of the scene. Rather than make a big sweeping panorama, I tried to focus my attention on smaller intimate scene themselves. Focusing on the patterns in the sand, or the shadows from the grass and if all else failed, I tried to follow the gulls around on the beach. They were interesting to watch even if they found me less than interesting to be near. I did a lot of experimenting in the digital darkroom with these images. I'm getting into a monotone or split tone kind of look right now and the dunes seemed quite fitting with this look. It takes away the complexity of color and puts the focus on those textures and shadows that I was focusing so hard on while I was out shooting. It's a little different from the style of work you see me post usually, but I thought it was worth sharing because we aren't limited anymore to what we see in camera. We can keep the vision and mood we had in mind and solidify it in the final processing of our images.

I hope to make it back up there again during the off season. I think there is more minimalist work to be shot up there and I'd like to see some different lighting and sky situations as well. In the meantime, here are a handful of shots from the trip up there. Many with the split tone experimenting I was talking about earlier. If it leaves you feeling calm, but a little chilly then I did my job. Enjoy!