Smith Island Photography Workshop: June 1-3

The third Smith Island photography workshop 2018 started on Friday, June first. The group of five photographers from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania arrived on a beautiful summer afternoon. Not wasting any time, we quickly got oriented and packed our gear to head out for the evening shoot on the northern end of the island. The weather forecast predicted rain and wind on both Saturday and Sunday, so we knew that this would be our best opportunity for clear skies at sunset. Following the shoot, I ran the boat back into Ewell where we had a traditional Smith Island meal - Crab Cakes, Potatoes, Asparagus, Corn Bread and Cake - waiting for us. 

On the morning of the second day, the wake up call was at 3:45am to get the crew well caffeinated and on the water about an hour before sunset. We photographed the island's watermen 'fishing-up' soft crabs at dawn with the shanties illuminated and the boats leaving for the crabbing ground. As sunrise approached, we headed out with the scrapers and photographed them working the shallow waters inside of the island. Clouds to the east made for a dramatic sky and the 'slick-cam' seas provided for amazing reflections in the water. With the morning progressing and the light becoming harsh, I pointed the bow back to Ewell where we had breakfast waiting. We headed back out in the late morning for the second half of the day. The afternoon was hot and humid with large thunder heads and storms popping up all around the island. The island was spared by the rain and we were treated to dramatic cumulus clouds in every direction. We met with a waterman who allowed us to shoot crab scraping from his boat, and were later treated to a crab feast at his shanty. Following lunch at the crab shanty, we headed to Tylerton for a Smith Island Cake making demonstration with the renowned chef Mary-Ada Marshall. I set up a portable studio in Mary-Ada's kitchen where she constructed the eight layer cake. 

On Sunday morning, we slept in until 6am and woke to cloudy skies and strong Northeast winds. We took advantage of the down time to process photographs that we took during the portions of the trip with more favorable weather for shooting on the water. Around 11am, we packed the gear onto the ferry and the crew prepared to cross Tangier Sound into a stiff wind on the ferry Miss Tyler. 


Shooting from the bow of the boat at one of the islands Brown Pelican colonies. 

Smith Island Cake © Jay Fleming.jpg

A cake making demonstration/photo shoot on Saturday afternoon. 


On Saturday, June 2nd, we photographed the crab scraping fleet at sunrise working near Ewell with beautiful morning light. In the early afternoon we met up with a waterman who graciously let us photograph him from onboard his boat while working near Tyler's Creek.


(left to right) Carolyn, Marc, Barbi, Eric and Kim onboard the Miss Tyler before heading back to Crisfield on Sunday, June 3rd.