under a watchful eye

towers6Any sunny summer day at the beach, you will find them; working the shore with red bathing suits, and hanging red canisters at the ready, eyes fixed on the water. They are lifeguards and their “office” – the lifeguard tower. The towers dot the sand up and down the beach.

towers7Summer time is the busy season but they are at their posts year round.

towers11The water is too enticing, most days, for all sorts of water activity enthusiasts to be left unattended.

towers10Or, some days there are more birds than people but there is still a lifeguard somewhere on the beach keeping watch. The lifeguard tower itself is a simple structure, architecturally speaking, constructed of wood with a ramp leading up to the door and shelter. It is elevated about three feet off the ground, just enough to give the guard an unobstructed view of the beach and water. These towers remind me of many a day spent at the shore and feeling sentimental, I chose the lifeguard towers as a subject of an evening photo shoot. The sun, low in the sky, on its way to setting, giving a golden hue to the light. I decided to walk around the tower and play with different lighting situations. First, I placed the sun behind the tower thus back-lighting it.

tower1As you can see the tower is more in silhouette but the background is the ocean, which I like. Next, I walked to the side and gave it a side light.

towers5First one side, then the other. . .

towers4This creates different effects and backgrounds so keep this in mind when choosing what to photograph. Turning and facing the tower and using front lighting was next.

tower2This gives the front of the tower full exposure and allows the ramp to be visible. Another angle using front lighting is explored.

towers12

The towers are a constant at the beach. They get moved back away from the water in the winter and brought closer to the shoreline in the spring but are ever present on the sand standing tall. Sometimes, they are used in perhaps unexpected ways.

towers8The blue towers are iconic representations of the beach to me and I appreciate the role they play in the dance of the shore. If you have an interest in lifeguard towers check out the fun colors and patterns they were decorated with a few years back in an earlier post: “Flashback Summer of Colors“.

Hearing the crashing surf,

~ Susan

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