We quite probably picked the worst night to try to try to do anything with a camera but we were desperately trying to work to a low tide schedule that could give us a night time shoot.

We wanted to create artistic shots using different light sources and perhaps some natural elements, with darkness as the most key element of all.

So the four of us (Jax, Cassandra, Sam, and I) made our way to the last exit before the Skyway Bridge full of hope and determination. Yes, the skies looked very ominous right from the outset but we were hopeful it might at least stay dry.

An expectation of low tide that left us mostly on dry land with collections of puddles all around us turned out to be so far from the mark as to be funny. The water level never got anywhere close to that and our journey along the inner bay had us meandering through water that varied from one foot to two feet levels.

Sam and I were the jeans people and we got particularly soaked while the other two took the wetness in their stride. But undaunted we soldiered on through the waters for an hour or so. Stopping every now and then as one of the three ladies came across live creatures that weren’t expecting evening visitors.

We even saw a lovely manta ray swimming away from us in the shallow waters, as we collected little bits and pieces in the shallows.

There was very little light to work with, but I still managed to get some decent shots of our explorations. They are at the end of the blog. Hope you like them.

The main feature of the evening was to be our long-exposure light photography but the most vicious storm you can imagine blew in on top of us and we had to exit the water. Torrential rains and lightning … so, standing knee deep in water is not particularly ideal.

As I got to the car, I was so soaked that I was too wet to even change into the change of clothes I had brought … so much for that plan!

I drove home wet and cold and looking like a rat that had just escaped a sinking ship.

The first part of the drive home was absolutely treacherous … severe weather than meant I couldn’t even see the road I was driving on. In the distance I could see a car with his hazard lights flashing and that is what I followed to safety.

If they drove off a cliff, then so was I … lemmings, that was me!

Anyway in the wording thus far in the blog, you could be forgiven for thinking that this wasn’t an enjoyable night. But it was honestly a truly wonderful evening. The soaking, the cold drive, the driving conditions, the poor light for photography, and having to abandon a shoot because the camera was getting so soaked as to be useless … all of these meant nothing.

Why? Because I was in the company of terrific friends and the craic was mighty (as we would say in Ireland).

From the moment we started until the moment we left, the journey we took together was filled with happy discovery, great conversation, and shared joys. We each cocooned in the group’s company and were mostly oblivious to the happenings around us. We could have been lost in a desert and we wouldn’t have known, because the enjoyment was within us.

Yes, we fed off the little creatures and sights that we encountered but the true energy was what you might find between four friends sharing a common interest and immersed in their time together.

And this is the real thought that I left with last night; the value of friendship in our lives and how it fills in the shadows for us on our life-journey.

Friends are the cornerstone upon which a rich life is built. Not facebook friends, but real people with whom you share a moment or perhaps even the whole journey with.

I have been very fortunate along the way to be able to share some of my journey with some of the most amazing people. And in that regards, I truly count my blessings.

When you focus your life on achievements or material things, there is a real hollowness in that success. That is why every now and then you hear of a wildly successful or rich person committing suicide. Wealth or success are not what keeps your life warm and your soul complete.

But friends that take steps with you on your journey are worth their weight in gold and should be treated as the treasure they are.

When you enrich your life with diverse friends, they help you grow as a person. Mainly because you open your mind up to the viewpoint of a friend more easily and you absorb some of their energies into your own. Adversaries never learn from each other. They only resist.

So, I have arrived at the point in life where I realize that whatever greatness there is within me, is very likely something that I have assimilated from the company I keep.

There is an old saying along the lines that “you are the company you keep” and while it is really delivered as a negative at people who hang around with poor influences, I take the view that when we hang with good people, then some of their goodness rubs off on you.

I became a better person last night. These young ladies elevated me and I start the day better off today than I started yesterday with.

Sure, isn’t that what life is all about … taking the journey and improving yourself along the way.

… just a thought!