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. Mother earth wanted to show you that it is worth getting up early in the morning :). Your shots are wonderful!
    Photography made me love the early mornings and the wonderful light it gives you!
    Thanks for stopping by at my blog.

  2. Pingback: Photo Challenge: Little Bear Fire | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  3. the shots are amazing, Tina!! have you used an ND filter for these? or you just slowed down the shutter speed? the blurry water adds a surreal touch… and what a great idea to explore how colors can influence mood… will be looking forwared to more on that… it will be just as interesting in bw!! great post!!

    • Thanks very much Alexandra. No ND but I underexposed and then lightened shadows in post processing. That way the richness of the sky isn’t lost. Appreciate your lovely comment!

  4. Absolutely stunning Tina….I love who you’ve used the long exposure, it gives a beautiful contrast between the solid branches and magical movement of the water. Can’t wait to see your b&w set! 🙂

  5. Have never ” known” such enthusiasm expressed in your posts! I love that Mother Nature was so cooperative and gave you an ” upper hand,”. Just simply wonderful and interesting post… Thank you,

    • 😊thanks Miss Linda. My enthusiasm in the post was nothing compared to my enthusiasm as I was shooting the scenes. I’m telling you I felt like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning!

  6. Tish, just when I think I’ve captured something really incredible, I come to your blog and see something even better. Gorgeous photos! You always give me something to strive towards.


  7. Tina these are simply stunning, I love each and every shot….each one evoking a different mood and feeling. What a wonderful display Mother Nature gave you, and you framed and captured the display so perfectly….wonderful response as always to the challenge…these are some of my favourite shots of yours I’ve seen so far 🙂

  8. Wow, Tina, your early wake up call was certainty rewarded with some beautiful captures. All are wonderful, but High Tide and Coastal Creeper are my favorites. Simplicity is a great entry for this week’s challenge. I always love to linger at your site…thanks for the Bob Newhart quote (one of my favorite comedians).

  9. Outstanding display of colours for a minimal shot. Mother Nature does make me cry with it’s beauty., Tina. Thank you for getting up early in the morning. Perpetua.

  10. I always know that your posts will be inspiring, both through the thoughtful choice of quotes and your stunning shots…… These are sublime, Tina. I’m glad the Mother Nature pulled out her stops for you 🙂 what a worthwhile sunrise.

  11. Beautiful sunrise photos! Not being a morning person myself, I’m afraid that I would have headed right back to bed when I saw the early morning weather. That’s why I concentrate on dealing with mid-day high contrast and sunset shots. 🙂

  12. Wow – your shots are beautiful! I was there on a cold, blustery (no, WINDY!) mid-day in April. What a spectacular place to photograph! My light was very bright and harsh – and honestly the conditions were too brutal to spend much time fiddling with the camera! Would love to return there!

    • Thanks so much Deirdre – sorry you didn’t have the best conditions. To get the best of this place you really have to time it right. But it’s pretty glorious no matter WHEN you’re there – just in a different way. You MUST come back to see it at its best!

    • Thanks Nora – it’s an amazing spot; a favorite among photographers from all around our area. After the NatGeo article it may become a bit more well known. Not sure that’s a good thing 😊

  13. Agree with your husband, some of your best work ever. So glad (and impressed) that you got there and had such a fruitful shoot. You had some fabulous clouds and colors. Great job, Tina.

  14. WOW (my minimal response)!. These are amazing! Thanks for getting up and creating these awe-inspiring images. As others said, these are award worthy.

  15. Tina – your talent and eye amaze and move me ( and your other viewers). These are exquisite -the best I’ve seen of Botany Bay! 4 am? What you do for your art 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us.

  16. Tina, these are truly wonderful shots and such great quotes and text to accompany them. I am in awe of your dedication to your art. For a non-morning person you definitely deserve an award today and the photos really should be in the National Geographic article. Thanks for sharing them with us. Best wishes. 🙂

  17. Tina, these are spectacular. So glad you made the trek and it was worthwhile. I believe this is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in our area.

  18. Tina, these photographs are INCREDIBLE. . Taking the time to study Simplicity and Solitude and enjoying the serenity of each , I didn’t think scrolling down could get better . Wrong, Coming to the end with Power photo Golden Glow left me wanting for more. .
    I love Botany Bay I went shelling there in the boneyard many times. You can’t take shells anymore.
    I think these photos are the best yet! So glad you got your …… Out of bed!

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