The Perfect Storm, Deerfield Beach, FL 2011
Although Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm as it passed through New York City, it will still bring some serious wind and water to New England. Sadly, it has caused severe damage, flooding and loss of life before arriving in the northeast. Living in South Florida you become a bit of an expert on hurricanes, so when Irene passed by this week heading north, we monitored it closely as we usually would. Although we have not always been so lucky (Wilma blew us away a few years ago), Irene remained 250 miles off shore as it headed north up the east coast of So FL. What that meant was no dangerous weather for us, but significantly increased wave height as the storm pushed the surf on shore.
As a bit of a storm chaser, in order to capture great weather related seascapes I always check the relevant natural conditions. Utilizing I Phone apps and Internet weather services to determine sunrise/sunset, high/low tides, storm size/intensity/direction, even the visual shape of the moon, knowledge is power in being in the right place at the right time to get a great image.
After gathering all the information on Irene, we headed to the south end of the area of largest waves as they came ashore. Wave heights that would usually be 2 to 3 feet were clearly reaching closer to 10 or more. Lashing the pier, walls of water powered towards the beach as the sun began to set. Setting up a tripod in conditions like this does not guarantee a sharp image considering the wind and ever increasing powerful surf. As deep as you dig the tripod legs into the sand, when the surf comes in it inevitably moves and/or sinks the legs deeper, not conducive to long exposures capturing wave motion. Even trying to stay out of the water is difficult in these conditions because the surge is so unpredictable that it sneaks up on you quickly, especially when you are concentrating on capturing an image. Add this to the adventure seekers surfing and boogie boarding in front of me, getting a scenic image was definitely a challenge.
So although Hurricane Irene has caused significant damage further up the east coast, for creating a powerful seascape without the danger such a storm would usually represent, for me, this was…the perfect storm.