We've all been there. Enticed by the natural beauty of pebbles, shells, and other treasures tumbled by the sea, we spend our beach vacations collecting and gathering to our hearts' content. Then we get home. Now what do with all that flotsam and jetsam?
Artist and photographer Jennifer Steen Booher of Quercus Design has a bright idea. An avid beach comber herself, the year-round Bar Harbor resident has spent years turning her foraging expedition finds into timeless images. This summer, on a misty morning in Maine, my family and I were fortunate enough to meet up with Jenn at Hull's Cove, one of her favorite beach combing haunts, to learn how to make our own vacation portraits.
Above: Score! Oliver makes the find of the day, a chunk of beautifully worn cobalt glass the size of the half dollar.
Above: Solvi displays some of her treasures.
Above: Artist Jennifer Steen Booher admires Solvi's discoveries.
Above: Old pennies tell a story of their own.
Above: A congress of fellow beach combers on a misty morning at Hulls Cove on Mount Desert Island.
Above: Back home, we get to relive our vacation all over again as we survey our finds.
Above: A composition in brown, and another in green. Arranging our finds on a light background, I photographed them using a tripod. Jenn uses a professional light board for her vivid images. I over exposed mine a bit to create the dramatic, stark background. A little color boost in the edit brings out the brilliance of the glass.
Above: A composition in blue is a year-round reminder of our vacation. The final photos can be simply taped to the refrigerator or inspiration wall, or professionally printed and arranged into a grouping of larger portraits. They can even be made into notecards to send to others.
Above: A rich combination of natural and human history: our finds ran the gamut from glass to coins, shells to stones.
Above: Experimenting with different angles and apertures.
Above: Because it was the brighest spot in my home, I shot my images on the painted window sill in my kitchen. But you could experiment with different textures and backgrounds. A flat piece of driftwood would also be nice.
Above: A minimal portrait in yellow and green.
Above: A consummate beach comber, Jenn's professional images feature a rich variety of Maine finds. A 12-by-12-inch image of Beaching Combing Series No. 47 is available via her Etsy site; $40.
Above: Beaching Combing Series, No. 35 by Jennifer Steen Booher. Jenn is also happy to make a custom portrait for you. Just send her your finds and she'll create a professionally photographed composition. For more information on available sizes and pricing, contact Jenn via her website.
Above: Beaching Combing Series, No. 17.
N.B.: Join Jenn at another inspiring Bar Harbor spot at Winter Wonderland Hike.