Botany Bay – Weekly Photo Challenge “Minimalist”

“Minimalism means not trying to improve perfection.”

Bryant McGill

(6  photos)



I was happy to see Jeni’s “Minimalist” challenge this week, as it works nicely with an expedition I made just a few days ago.  About an hour south of my home there is an area known as the Ace Basin.  Its 1.1 million acres include nature preserves renowned for their pristine landscapes. The current issue of National Geographic features an interesting article on it, including beautiful photography by local professional Vincent Musi.

I made the captures above and below in the hour following sunrise last Thursday. I thought they were a good match with Jen’s minimalist definition:  “a large portion of negative space, a monochromatic color palette with good contrast, and an interesting subject.”



“I am a minimalist. I like saying the most with the least.”

Bob Newhart

One might think from those shots that sunrise was fairly docile that day, but that would be SO wrong! My commitment to a 4am wake-up call waivered a bit when the weatherman forecast overcast conditions and a chance of showers,. The cold front was due late in the day though, so there was also a chance for an interesting sky. Although risky, the decision was…GAME ON! How did it work out, you ask? Well it was one of the most spectacular light shows I’ve ever seen, with colors amazing enough to make you cry. I had about 40 minutes to shoot the incredible display before the clouds converged and created a simple blanket of blue-grey (captured above) that eventually dulled to a dreary, flat monotone sky. But what a display it was while it lasted!



“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”

Joshua Becker

I made these captures in an area know as Bone-yard Beach within the Botany Bay preserve. It’s an incredible spot where at high tide many of the oak and palmetto trees that border the beach end up at least partially beneath the waves. Because of the area’s geographic orientation, the best opportunity for compelling compositions is once or twice each month when sunrise coincides with peak high tide. As such, outings must be well-timed, and Mother Nature needs to be at her most cooperative.



“Minimalism is the new extra mile.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

I laughed when I told my husband the story of the shoot. As he and others who know me understand only too well, I am NOT a morning person. My feeling is that Mother Nature knew how miserable I’d have been if I’d gotten up at that hour and driven that far only to shoot a boring sky.  They say don’t fool with Mother Nature, but I think in this instance, Mother Nature decided not to fool with ME 😊



“A well-used minimum suffices for everything.”

Jules Verne

A few people with whom I’ve shared these shots have asked me if I enhanced the colors. The answer is a resounding no.  In fact, I actually desaturated them a bit to tone down the brightness. It was literally the most dynamic, colorful sky I’ve ever seen. (For the photographers among us, I underexposed the sunrise shots to capture the sky’s colors and then lightened the shadows a bit in post processing).



“If people who can fit all of their belongings in a backpack inspire you, you might be a minimalist.”

Courtney Carver

Isn’t it interesting how color can change the mood and feel of a photograph?  I’m looking forward to taking that concept a bit further in a future post, when I can share some B&W versions which I think are quite haunting; I hope you’ll stay tuned for that. In the meanwhile, if you’d like to see the minimalist interpretations of some other bloggers, click here.

157 thoughts on “Botany Bay – Weekly Photo Challenge “Minimalist”

  1. Pingback: Gone But Not Forgotten – Weekly Photo Challenge | Travels and Trifles

  2. Boy, those are just some incredible peaceful/colorful photos ~ minimalist, but they hold so much emotion in them. Maybe that is the thing that works so well with minimalism, it holds all it needs to hold for the natural beauty to come out.

    The colors are amazing, and to know that you had to even bring down the color a bit goes to show that nature (and the photographer) can work together perfectly as a team. Wish you a great week!

  3. Mother nature certainly cooperated with you Tina and you certainly did her justice with these stunning photos I just sat and gazed at them in awe they are so perfect for this theme. Definitely worth the early wake up call. The quotes fit the photos so well. I am looking forward to the B &W’s

  4. Goodness, Tina, these are incredible and perfect for the minimalist theme! I’ve not heard of this area before. I’ll have to keep it in mind!

  5. Looks like a wonderful place, & such gorgeous colour, I’m turning a bit green with jealousy that you got to see it. Definitely worth getting up early.

    • 😄 thanks Maamej, it was indeed worth it. Interestingly I was so happy w the day I did a second sunrise shoot later in the week and it was totally bland. Just got really lucky that day. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Tina, these are stunning! if time permitted, i would prepare another minimalist post, as mine is somewhat of a cheat.=, being a bit busier than the images should be to qualify as minimalist. yours truly fits the definition, and your early morning jaunt was definitely worth it! the morning colours are fantastic, and yet i think the muted sky adds its own charm to the tree(s) as well.
    good quotes, including Bob Newhart’s. i quite enjoyed his shows – and thanks to retro television, i still do enjoy them from time to time 🙂

  7. I thought I loved the first photo the most – until I made it to the very last one – and Tina – I really think I heard the wave splashing in that one as the water on the right is caught in action so well – can feel the salt in that too – anyhow, looking forward to your upcoming B & W’s 🙂

  8. You’ve out done yourself, again, Tina. Great images. I especially like the third and last. Had just read the NG article and immediately thought “I know where that is!” when I saw your post. Occasionally it is worth getting up before the sun. We have been spending some time in the Lowcountry and will have to add Botany Bay to our list.

    • Hi Stefano. Thanks for your visit and comment. I’ve actually used that photo both ways and think I agree w you about the cropped version being a bit stronger, but I decided to use it as I shot it for this one. Appreciate your studying it tho!

  9. So glad you didn’t just ignore that alarm and miss this spectacular sunrise Tina ! Trees stark and submerged make for wonderful compositions here for the ‘Minimalist’ theme.
    Love your use of exposures and ? filters of course … I’m totally smitten with this type of photography . I NEED to be near the sea !!!

  10. these are absolutely incredible…the light…the simplicity…really just magnificent!! Surreal sunrise jumps out at me…’s PERFECT!! Interesting WORDS….I have always been a “minimalist”…needing to clean closets 2x a year to keep in touch with what I have ….always being ready to move on immediately if the situation should arise. “STUFF” weighs me down!

  11. I love that first quote; it sets the tone for this challenge perfectly (although being human we do keep trying to improve on nature’s perfection at times). And the back story behind your gorgeous photos enhance this Minimalist post!

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