This morning we headed to the local boat basin at 5:30 AM to capture the morning light. Something I learned today is that the only people who are out and about on the water at 5:30 AM are photographers and fishermen. We carefully navigated around each other as they launched their boats into the water from the backs of their trucks and I tried not to fall in the water while trying to get strong shots. Everyday I am learning more about the capabilities of my camera and how exposure and shutter speed will affect the image. I have also grown a great appreciation for the tripod which allows me to keep the camera still in order to capture more light and achieve a sharper photo.
While moving from one end of the basin to another, I noticed a bunch of peanut shells on the ground. When I got closer, I noticed hundreds of ants (again!) working very hard on the shells. I also noticed that they were climbing all over a weed. I'm not sure why they were doing this but it was a much better photo opportunity. It was also a sign that I should be incorporating ants into future work! As I was taking the photo, one of my classmates announced that she saw a dead seagull in the woods. Obviously, I had to go investigate.
Whenever I see a dead bird, I fondly recall the first time I saw a dead bird. I was a freshman in college and had a really young and cool (if not flighty) adjunct drawing professor. She rocked all of our naive worlds when she showed us her illustrations of vibrators with the words "You Rule" painted across the top. One day she took us outside and we all got into position to draw typical campus fare when she stumbled upon a dead bird. I was so confused and a little disgusted by her enthusiasm for drawing it. Since then, every time I see a dead bird, I understand her interest a little bit more.
On the hour long ride to Cape May around 9 AM, I got a chance to get to know my classmates a little better. Most of us are art teachers with a guidance counselor and kindergarten teacher (bless that woman) thrown into the mix. Hearing everyone else talk about their teaching experiences reminds me that there are many things to be grateful for at my job. I am very fortunate to be working long enough in one district to feel fairly secure in my position as an art teacher. More importantly, I am in one building, I have a classroom, I DON'T teach art on a cart, and I have ample funding for supplies and equipment.
This was my first visit to Cape May and I was amazed to discover that in addition to the adorable downtown of beautiful victorian houses and cute boutiques, there is a National Wildlife refuge. We were fortunate to have a Stockton graduate give us a guided tour of the site. Did you know that Swans are not native to the US? They are European birds that were brought over here as ornamental birds and mated to the point of pooping all over the docks at the lake along with the geese. I suggested to the guide that his fact might be why Swans are so snooty. It took him a minute, but I think he got the joke.
How cute is downtown Cape May!? I particularly enjoyed exploring Congress Hall, a seaside resort built in 1816. I realized I could handle the scorching heat in my summer apparel compared to the wardrobe of a gal my age in 1816.
Two full days of shooting and I have over 700 photographs. Tomorrow, we go back into the lab to continue editing and polishing our Lightroom and Photoshop skills. Until then, I shall continue my printmaking side project. I love the smell of ink and the feel of it under my fingernails. Does anyone recognize the work in progress?