Not a terribly scenic photo, but it is a sign of horrible economic times in south Alabama. All Gulf Coast beaches have been closed since March 27. Most businesses have closed and tourist rentals stand vacant. There were no spring breakers, no Snowbirds and the Hangout music festival has been cancelled. This portable sign sits at the edge of the Foley Beach Express about ten miles north of the Gulf of Mexico beaches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
GULF SHORES, AL; March 6, 2020 – It was 68° F, there was no ice on the water, but it felt as if there could have been. Young folks were down at the edge of the shoreline, a few wading, some playing volleyball, many just lying in the sun, determined to get a tan before the end of their vacations. But elderly folks sheltered themselves from the northerly wind behind a public building, soaking up the sun’s warmth, glad for the reprieve of shoveling snow back home.
Frigid north winds blew the tops off two to three-foot waves rolling onto the beach, and brought record cold temperatures to the Gulf Coast last night. Sandpipers, Seagulls and Pelicans didn’t seem to be adversly affected by the cold, but there were precious few humans anywhere near the beach.
We were here first. There’s plenty of room; do you have to sit so close? Or maybe the story is: Come! Join us we’ll all have a good time. But more likely it’s, “How’s the water, Mabel? What does George have in his hands?
I’ve often read that “great photos always tell a story.” But I don’t think a single photo can ever tell a complete story. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. A single photo can only capture a small fraction of the story. Without context, this is simply a photo of a group of people at a beach with a vast ocean of water in the background. Are they family? Friends? Recent acquaintances? Are they stranded on a desert island? What is the story?
Took a drive down to Gulf Shores this morning to capture some photos for my Alamy collection. Surprisingly, it wasn’t overcrowded. A beautiful day, just right for being on the beach.
Surf and clouds manipulated a little bit in Photoshop. This was created at Fort Morgan, Alabama a day after Hurricane Barry tore through New Orleans. Weather in southern Alabama wasn’t so horrible: a light breeze and some rain with a little flooding in places. The photo has been dramatized, sensationalized and colorized, but other than that – it’s exactly as I envisioned it.