Shadows of Ludington

Written by Dennis Caskey

Shadows of Ludington” has become a very important image to me personally. It evokes an emotional response in me that I don’t think any of my other images do. I think of people in my life, in my past, that have had a large impact on me and helped shape me as a person.

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– The scene –

“Shadows of Ludington”.  Funny thing about sunsets and lighthouses, I’m never the only one that wants to enjoy and photograph them. 😀 I just couldn’t get all of these people to stand still for my long exposure. lol.

It does, however, create an interesting effect… Shadows of where people were one second and gone the next.

My wife, Michelle, and I spent the day up in Ludington for her grandmother’s funeral, and afterward we went to the beach to watch the sunset. Of course, I had my camera, and I am really glad I did.

It was a warm mid-September day. We watched the horizon, hoping for color. We were there a bit early and saw the ferry to Wisconsin return for another load. Lake Michigan was pretty calm, only small waves, gently lapping the shore.

The larger rowdier summer crowds had left a few weeks before, replaced by a smaller, calmer, and somewhat older autumn crowd. Everyone was quietly gathering, waiting, hoping for some color from the horizon above Lake Michigan.

Many people left disappointed, the cloudy horizon prevented the sunset from producing any color. We decided to stay a little longer, knowing that sometimes the best light comes after the sun has set. We were glad we did. About 40 minutes after sunset, the sky began to glow.

A favorite is born

Shadows of Ludington is one of my favorite photos for so many reasons, but mostly because of the shadows on the pier.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the moody blueness of the clouds, the pink afterglow of the sunset, and the lighthouse beacon shining brightly, but what impacted me the most was the shadows of the people out on the pier. People who stood still longer have a darker shadow than the people who were moving around more.

That’s one of the things I love about photography, not only can you capture a SINGLE moment in time, but you can capture SEVERAL moments in time in a single shot.

This shot is actually a composite of 11 consecutive 8-second exposures. That’s 88 seconds of people moving around in my shot. That’s a long “life” for a picture.

People generally think of pictures as a very fast snapshot of a moment of time. Well, in this case, it is an 88-second “moment”. Hardly a “snap” shot. 🙂

Normally, all that movement might not make for the nicest image, but in this case, the shadows of where people were one second and gone the next, say quite a lot.

Dennis Caskey Photography - Shadows

It makes me think about the impact certain people have had in our lives. Some people move in and out of our lives so fast, they leave barely a blurred shadow, if anything at all.

Lasting Impressions

Others, however, leave a lasting impression. It was poignant that I took this the day of celebrating the life of my wife’s grandmother who definitely made an impression on our lives.

This image had significance once again 8 months later, as I learned that I lost a good friend of mine to cancer. To say that he left a lasting impression on my life is putting it mildly.

My friend had given me a job when I was laid off many years ago. Actually, he barely knew me at the time but took a chance on me anyway. A few years later he helped me build our house.

More importantly, he was a brother in Christ, a great Christian role model, and was somebody I really looked up to. His thoughts on a topic always made me pause and think for a while. It seems like he usually had a different take on an issue that no one else had thought of, or at least I hadn’t thought of. 🙂

He stood still long enough in my life to make a lasting impression, a very positive and Godly impression.

To him I say “Thank you, my friend, for standing still long enough to be… a friend.”

Remember Your Shadows of Ludington

Now when I see this image, specifically those shadows, I think of the past, the people who left shadows, and just like my memory sometimes, some of the blurry shadows are a bit fuzzy.

However, those who stood still long enough in my life to leave a solid impression… Those people I will never forget.

They are a part of me, as much as my right arm is a part of me. More so, actually. I could lose my right arm and still be me. But if I lost the impression of those shadows, well… I think I would cease to be me.

Remember those who made lasting impressions in your life, and if you still can, make sure you thank them and tell them how much they are a part of you.

Well, anyway, that’s the story behind the “Shadows of Ludington”.

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