Culture Magazine

Candid Silhouettes on Vero Beach

By Jpbrandanophoto @JPBrandanophoto
This weekend Phyllis and I had dinner and drinks at one of our favorite spots on the Treasure Coast of Florida, the Cobalt Restaurant which is located in the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa. One of the reasons we like it so much, besides the delicious food, is its location. It is right on Vero Beach and the ocean is a few steps from its large patio where we always sit for dinner. It is really a great location and as always I had my camera with me. There is something really great about eating outside and seeing and hearing the ocean as its waves dance with the shore line.  
After relaxing for awhile with a few adult beverages we decided to walk down to the beach. Phyllis relaxed on a lounge chair while I started playing with my camera, looking around for something that would inspire me. There were other people occasionally walking by and it started me thinking about candids. As I put my camera to my eye I realized that the light on the ocean was brighter than the light on the people. I knew that if I set my camera to expose for the ocean I could capture some silhouettes. That really intrigued me, candid silhouettes. I had never attempted that before!!
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH                 The Vero Beach Hotel looking up at the patio.
Here are some fun facts about silhouettes (at least I hope you find them fun!) A silhouette is the image of a person, object or scene consisting of the outline and featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black. The term originated in the 18th century and they were cut from thin black cards.  The term silhouette derives from the name of Etienne de Silhouette, a French finance minister who, in 1759, was forced by French's credit crisis during the Seven Year War to impose severe economic demands upon the French people, particularly the wealthy. (A long war caused economic  difficulties and sever demands were put on the people, sounds like what we are going through today in the US.  The people that were asked to give the most were the wealthy?? Not the poor and middle class?? What a novel idea!!)
Because of de Silhouette's austere economies, his name became eponymous with anything done or made cheaply and so these outline portraits, which prior to the advent of photography were the cheapest way of recording a person's appearance became known as silhouettes.
So I started looking for good subjects standing along the shoreline, trying to stay inconspicuous, so that I could truly capture candids.
The first people I saw were a small group of two adult women and three younger people walking down to the shoreline. I started following them at a distance.  I waited till they were standing at the water's edge and then started shooting away.
I love the young girl resting her head on the young boy's shoulder, I guessed that they were brother and sister, the mother right beside them as she should be, there if they needed her.
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
        This young girl and her mom, I'm guessing, stood holding each other. You do not need to see their features in either of these two images to feel the emotions of caring, protectiveness and love shared by these people.
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
      I love seeing the glow of the cell phone in the women's hand.  
    Modern technology captured in one of the oldest forms of  
    portraiture. 
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
They turned and walked up the beach and I thought it more prudent not to follow them. First of all, they would probably notice me and I would loose the candid moments, plus it would be a little creepy even if they didn't notice me! I decided I would stay within the hotel's dimensions, not walking beyond its boundaries. I started shooting as people came by, them coming to me and me not stalking them. I thought if they saw me photographing the ocean I would blend in and would be able to capture candids. I think it worked really well as you can judge in the next three images.
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
I really did try shooting the ocean with the same settings to see what I could capture. Turns out not much lol. The exposure was too low and I only tried a few while I waited for people to reach me as they walked up the beach. This one is my interpretation of a crashing wave at sunset. I kind of like it. I think it shows the force of the waves in a different way than is usually seen.
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
I saw this couple walking toward me and the woman was picking up shells as they walked.CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH
Then as most people do when walking along the shoreline, they stopped and just looked out into the ocean; possibly some primordial urge we humans have, drawn to where we originated, the ocean.  
CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH We stand there and look out at the deep ocean and at least with me a feeling of calmness comes over me. Is it that urge or just seeing the horizon line that marks where nature's infinity is represented, where we can see the end and a hint of the beginning of time? If that is so, maybe presenting humans in silhouette is a proper way to attest to how common, cliche and inconsequential we are to the earth. Will we one day go the way of the dinosaurs and are the only enduring silhouettes those of nature?CANDID SILHOUETTES ON VERO BEACH

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