What Nature Leaves Behind

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While walking on the beach in Galveston, Texas during my recent vacation, I became fascinated with the debris the ocean left behind as its tide ebbed and flowed.

It was an inspiration to me how much varying forms and textures can be created by what I am calling the "Natural Ocean Detritus (debris)". I decided to do a whole series of these pictures and wanted to share some of them because they are completely natural. The formations left on the beach of the shells, plants, and jelly fish have not been rearranged nor have any of the patterns in the sand. I took all these pictures with a Canon Rebel XT Digital Camera and a Sigma 17-70 mm lens. While I have taken macro pictures of flowers and leaves or taken pictures of puddles in rocks, these "debris" pictures interested me so much that I could have continued shooting for days. I hope that this article inspires people to look at those small objects that might be overlooked and then capture them photographically.

When you look at the foam on the beach, it is made up of tiny iridescent bubbles. I was amazed at how I was able to capture the iridescence of the bubbles in the foam.

I took three types of images: those of detritus on the dry part of the beach, those surrounded by foam, and those under water. There were very many different types of patterns and images. Some of the images were all in hues of brown, some had added bits of green in them, and some were entwined with man-made artifacts such as string. Below is an example that incorporated some yellow string that I found appealing for that added color. Notice, also how the sand varies in smoothness.

A very different "dry beach" image can be found below. Observe, how the sand has covered part of it in patterns.

The foam added a different character to the images. The following are two very different types of images.

The second image is very simple, but the iridescence of the foam added, for me, an important element.

A few objects were submerged in water which gave the backgrounds different textures. Notice, half the object is nestled in the water.

Not all the images were mainly shades of brown although that was the predominant color.

Green seaweed could be found among the brown.

Not all of Nature's detritus was complicated. Some I thought was beautiful for its simplicity.

If you enjoyed these, more can be found in my new collection on my web site at: http://www.perpetualvisions.com/tocs/toc-ocean-detritus-gallery.htm. Remember, none of the images have been altered. The photographs depict them as they appeared on the beach.

I hope this article has inspired you to look in the woods, on the beach, or anywhere that small, natural things might appear which often go unnoticed.


All supporting images are copyright, and cannot be
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.

The Paula Sanders Report is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column, where Paula investigates and comments on graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.

April 16, 2007
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Member Opinions:
By: deemarie on 4/19/07
I am very impressed with your images and how you captured the beauty in nature. Especially without retouching the images.

Now that the snow has finally melted, I am going to trek outside and see what I can "see," that I once overlooked.

Thank you for the inspiration,
Dee-Marie

By: Click2Move on 4/19/07
You did a great job of capturing the essense of nature in the photos.

Good work :-)

By: Trepz on 4/19/07
Really nice pictures,I liked Galveston myself.Good thing you didnt get to see the Man o'Wars washed up.They are beautiful,but quite dangerous as I am sure you know(;

By: shemia on 4/20/07
I haven't contributed to this section before but after viewing your wonderful images, Paula, I just had to say something. Being a bit of a beachcomber myself and also being fascinated by beach "detritus" I was impressed with how you presented your images. I've seen the irridescence myself on a number of occasions and love your images of it. Would it be worthwhile having a forum or a section devoted to these type of "detritus" images?...

By: Lady_Annika on 4/21/07
As someone that lives on the beach I must admit that until now I have seen the oceans little treasures in a whole different light. Usually I opt for cleaner surroundings as a personal preference. But after reading this and seeing your pictures I may have to reevaluate my current perspective. Thanks :)


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