Fog Lifting at Two Mile

Here's another shot from the infamous Two Mile Boat Launch in Apalachicola, FL.

This was taken just before sunrise as a layer of fog was lifting.  The fog created a nice ambiance to the scene.  The old shipwrecked, shrimp boat doesn't hurt either. ;)

There isn't much to this shot.  I made it using a borrowed Tamron 15-30mm Lens and a Novoflex lens adapter to adapt Nikon mount to Sony E mount.  I kept my ISO at a low 100.  Using this particular lens adapter, it has it's own apreture blades inside the adapter.  This means it doesnt report an aperture value back to the camera for EXIF...which also means I have no idea what my aperture was.  At 15mm, it really doesn't make a "ton" of difference, anyhow, but I'll guess F/8.  My shutter speed for this shot was 8 seconds.  I also used my Sirui W-2204 Tripod...I don't leave home without it.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/8-ish @ 8 seconds

I also processed this shot using a combination of Lightroom and On1 Perfect Effects.  I have become a huge fan of On1 over the last few years and I'm excited about their upcoming new release!

Milky Way at Two Mile

The conditions for astro photography were prime while we were doing our workshops in Apalachicola, FL a few weeks ago.

There was no moon for a few days and the other days it was so minimal and it set so soon that it didn't effect us for getting great shots of The Milky Way.

We knew the conditions were right, we just had to find a spot to do it.  I suggested we try this place in Apalachicola called Two Mile.  I didn't know exactly how the milky way would line up there, but I knew there were abandoned boats in either direction you looked, so I knew we had a good solid foreground that wouldn't move.  Now, to just figure out where The Milky Way would line up in relation to either one of those boats.  I left that part up to my teaching partner, David Akoubian.  Once he figured out where The Milky Way's location was we saw that it lined up directly behind one of the abandoned boats.  Score!

Now, all we had to do was dial in our camera settings.  This is the simplest part!  We set our cameras on Manual Exposure mode and our Lenses on Manual Focus Mode.  We set our cameras to an ISO of anywhere from 1600-3200, out aperture as wide open as our lens would allow, in my case F/2.8 and our shutter speed to 30 seconds.  Then we focused our lenses all the way to infinity and pulled them back just a touch.  We brought a long flashlights to light of the foreground so everyone could get their composition set and we just fired off the shutters together.

ISO 1600, 24mm, F/2.8 @ 30 seconds

I made this milky way image using my Sony A7R II, LA-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.  All mounted a top my Sirui W-2204 Tripod.  

I was excited to see how excited the workshop attendees were when they saw their camera's LCDs light up with the image they just captured.  The next day we showed them how to process those milky way images in Lightroom.  Some of the students were pumping out some amazing images!  A few of them went out the next few nights on their own to capture more milky way shots.  That's what it is all about...we want to show you how to create great images and give you the tools to go out and do it on your own when you are back home and not with the group.  Mission accomplished!

Not Your Paw Paw's Point and Shoot

On the days we just strolled around the quaint little town of Apalachicola during our workshop I usually left everything at the car except for my Sony RX-100 II point and shoot camera.  It wasn't at all because I wasn't taking my photography seriously.  Even though I heard things like "You're only taking the little camera?" or "This must not be very good if you aren't taking a real camera.".  It was just that I wanted to walk around comfortably, with the ability to just tuck the entire camera in my pocket when I wasn't using it.

Now, if you know anything about the Sony RX-100 series of cameras, you know they aren't your paw paw's point and shoot.  They have complete manual controls and shoot RAW.  This allowed me to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode.  I shoot in this mode 95% of the time when I'm using any camera so with this camera having that ability, I felt right at home.

Here's a scene that I came across as we were walking to have breakfast one morning.  It is a local seafood processing factory.  It happened to have the great breezeway that was back lit causing everything between in it to be silhouetted.  The scene itself made it very easy to capture.  

By the end of the workshop the things I was hearing were more like "I'm going to have to look into getting one of those little cameras.".

ISO 100, 37mm, F/4.9 @ 1/80th second

After I got home, I processed the RAW file in Lightroom.  Basically, all I did was convert it to black and white, then bump the contrast and lower the blacks.

A Two Mile Sunrise

There is a spot here in Apalachicola that is great to photograph for sunrise and sunset.  It is called Two Mile.  It got it's name because it is 2 miles from the traffic light in town.  Clever, right?  It's hard to give people directions there and tell them it's name without them thinking you are just a wise guy.

Here is a sunrise shot that I took there the other morning.  While there were no clouds to make the sky very interesting, using more of the foreground and a small Aperture, like F/22, gave me a nice starburst on the sun.

ISO 125, 15mm, F/22 @ 1/2 second

I was able to capture this image using the Tamron 15-30mm Lens that I had borrowed from my teaching partner, David Akoubian.  I also had to borrow his Nikon to E mount adapter.  Don't worry though, I had my own camera...the Sony A7Rii.  All mounted a top a fancy new tripod I am trying out, the Sirui W-2204.  It is a waterproof tripod, so it's certainly working out great while out here shooting along the coast!

Apalachicola Locals

The first of our Forgotten Coast Workshops have started this week in Apalachicola, FL.  So far we have captured great sunsets, sunrises and even some awesome milky way shots!  This morning, however, I spent a little time photographing something I normally don't....a human.

The local oyster fishermen that line the docks, fishing boats and general hangouts around town have such character.  If you take the time to listen to any of their stories you will not regret it, either.  I talked to one fella this morning that was telling me all about his family's old turpentine farm from years gone by.  Heck, we've even heard tales of a locally famous man's murder.

This morning, as we wrapped up our sunrise shoot, we ran into a few guys that were more than willing to pose for our cameras.  This gentleman was the older of them.  I do not recall his name, but I spent a few minutes talking to him and photographing him.  We tried to offer him some money for being a cooperative model for us all, but he refused to accept any payment.  

It's hard to capture the hard lifestyle these guys live through only a camera.

ISO 100, 70mm, F/2.8 @ 1/320th

I captured this image using my Sony A7RII, LA-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens.

I processed this image using OnOne's B&W Suite.  I knew this dude would make a great black and white portrait as soon as I saw him!


Sunrises and Seafood

Next week I will be in Apalachicola, FL conducting two separate workshops during the week for Nature In Focus Workshops.

I am really looking forward to getting back down there.  I enjoy the area so much.  It really offers some great sunrises and sunsets, too.  I am getting to try out some new products...and there is the seafood. ;)

Here is one of the many scenes from the area.  Oyster boats at sunrise.  

ISO 100, 15mm, F/11 @ 1/15th

I took this image using a borrowed Tamron 10-24mm Lens.  It worked out wonderfully for this scene.


A lot of the time I was walking around during our workshop in Apalachicola, I was looking for different textures to shoot.  I personally like images of texture, but I also may be able to do something else with these images down the road.  I may use these as texture overlays on some of my other never know. ;)

Here are a few I took with my Canon 7D and Tamron 16-300mm Lens.  

Some of these items are tree trunks, rusty boats, chains, signs, etc.  I just simply zoomed in and got close to capture a certain portion of the texture I liked.  Shooting textures is a great way to get outside of your box, create images you can use for multiple purposes and it may even help you out of a creative funk.

The Barber Shop

One of the favorite locations when we walk around downtown Apalachicola, FL is the old barber shop.  It is definitely a place time has forgotten.  I typically shoot this scene every year.  We walk by when the shop is closed and shoot directly through the window.  This works out really well for several reasons but mainly no one is inside, so you can focus on the building, which is what you want in the first place.  Secondly, if you shoot from inside back out many times you end up capturing this cool, old building with a 2014 model car parked outside, which ruins the scene totally for me.

A few small things change here from year to year.  This year the barber was also making and selling Martin Birdhouses and he had one right up front on the bench.  This hasn't been something that has been there in the past, so I was excited to include that in my frame.  Other than that and a sign or two missing, it's pretty much the same.

We got to spend some time talking to the barber and a few of his family members the day before and they shared quite a bit of history of the place, which was very cool!

So, I shot this scene with my Canon 7D and Tamron 16-300mm Lens (excellent walk around lens) mounted on my Vanguard Abeo Plus 323CT tripod.  I simply positioned the lens placed directly against the front glass of the barber shop window.  This is important, because if you aren't pressed right up against the window, you will most likely get reflections in your shot that you do not want.  Once I got the lens where I wanted it, I positioned the tripod so that the lens wouldn't move then I fired off 4 or 5 bracketed shots.

I then processed this as a HDR shot using Photomatix Pro, did some tweaking in Lightroom and finsihed off in OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 9.  There are a few presets in the OnOne Photo suite that I love for HDR shots.  The first is one called Kryptonite.  It really punches the colors and details while blurring the edges.  The next one is called Just Enough Darkness.  Like you would think, this darkens the image quite a bit.  I typically will dial this effect back quite a bit, but it really adds a mood to the images and it works great for HDR shots.  Here is an image processed using both presets.

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

So, I couldn't decide which way I wanted to process this, so I thought "Let's go with a lot of color, or not much at all.".  So, I took the image back into OnOne and used the Perfect Black and White 9.  This time I processed it to retain just a very small amount of color.

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

ISO 100, 16mm, F/8 at varying shutter speeds

Since, I couldn't decide I thought I'd share both.  Maybe you can help me decide.

Oyster Boats

Sticking with the Apachicola Theme...

This was a fantastic sunrise morning to be out shooting these oyster boats!  Due to state and federal regulations, the oyster fishermen could only fish Monday-Thursday.  We knew shooting these boats on a Saturday Morning would mean a lot less traffic at the boat ramp and, aside from boats that needed maintenance, the boats would most likely all be docked since they couldn't be out fishing.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/11, 0.5 seonds

ISO 100, 15mm, F/11, 0.5 seonds

This is another image where I used the Tamron 10-24mm Lens on my Sony A7R via the Metabones Adapter.  Since the 10-24mm lens was designed for APS-C sized sensors, 15mm was about as wide as I could get on my full frame without getting some vignetting.

Palmetto Leaf

During our workshop in Apalachicola, FL we had one evening where the sunset didn't look like it was going to co-operate with us.  It turned out at the very last minute it put on a small show for us, however leading up to that moment the sky was just cloudy and dull.  Our group had to find textures, macros and close ups to photograph to pass the time. 

Many of the group were getting close ups of these palmetto leaves.  I tried photographing several of them before I found one that was backlit with no "bad spots" in it.

ISO 800, 77mm, F/7.1, 1/25th second

ISO 800, 77mm, F/7.1, 1/25th second

This image was shot using my Canon 7D and Tamron 16-300 Lens.  This was a rare occasion were I was not using a tripod, so I relied heavily on the Vibration Compensation built into the lens.  It worked like a champ!  My shaky hands sure needed the help, too!

Hover over the image to see the settings for this shot!