Behind the Photo – A Florida Boardwalk at Sunrise

When I go on trips, I do extensive research before going. Now, most normal people will do research to see what’s around their hotel, where to go eat, and what activities you can do while you’re maxing and relaxing outside by the pool. However, I take a different approach. I spend more time researching photo locations before I go on vacation. A few weeks back, my family went to Seacrest Beach, Florida. I didn’t have any beach photos in my portfolio, so I saw it as a great opportunity to do some work while I was there.

I started by doing a basic image search of some nearby parks. I was immediately enamored with one photo I found doing a basic image search on Google. This is where all the ideas start, my friends…


It’s not easy to see in that small snapshot of my search screen, but I found a winding boardwalk that was near the park I found (Deer Lake State Park). So, my next stop was Google Maps. I simply searched the exact same area with the aerial image turned on to see if I could in fact find the exact same boardwalk. And…. Success!


The next step was figuring out when I was going to get this shot. I didn’t want any people in the photograph, and people are always still roaming during sunset hours on the beach, so I immediately knew I wanted to shoot this particular photograph during sunrise. Let’s face it, unless you’re a runner, you’re not going to be up at 5:30 AM at the beach.

After that, I just needed to show up.

I arrived before sunrise and started making my way down to the beach through the rolling dunes of Deer Lake State Park. Everything was looking great, and I was getting excited! I used my PhotoPills app to watch my location to the boardwalk I was looking for, as well as monitoring my timing on the sunrise.

When I arrived at my location, I wasn’t happy. Yes, it was the location I was looking for, but the perspective was terrible for the composition I wanted. I was too low to the ground the you couldn’t see the shape of the boardwalk from my vantage point.

The sunrise was rapidly approaching and I had to find a solution very quickly.

Without a second thought, I ditched my tripod, channeled my inner gymnast, and balanced on my tippy toes to get higher than the boardwalk. I bumped up my ISO so I could speed up my shutter speed just enough to hand hold the camera. Bracing my elbows against my torso to steady the camera just a little bit more, I pressed the shutter.

Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary to get a shot that’s out of the ordinary.

I was rewarded with the shot that I had been after. Which led to a great day! Here’s the finished product!

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