Portland Head Light Sunset

On our first day in Maine we stopped at The Portland Head Light to shoot sunset.  We ended up staying in Portland for the night and shot it again the next morning, too.  When capturing the sunset images I decided to walk to the opposite side of the lighthouse and see if there was anything interesting from there.  

I did find several small pools that had reflections of the lighthouse, which I may share later, but I also was able to get down right on the water.  This allowed me to capture the movement of the waves coming in and out in the foreground.

Aperture Priority, F/22, 1/2 second, ISO 100

It was still fairly bright, but I knew I wanted to get as long a shutter speed as I could so I set my aperture to F/22 and my ISO at 100.  This gave me a shutter speed of 1/2 second. That was just long enough to show movement in the waves that I was looking for.

I made this image with my Canon 5D III and Tamron 24-70 Lens.  I also used my Sirui W-2204 tripod with K-20 Ballhead. 

Portland Head Light

When we arrived in Boston on our way to Maine, we knew one of our first stops was going to be Portland Head Light.  In fact, we shot it once at sunset, went back the next morning for sunrise and again on our way back home when it was in immense fog.  We certainly got our chances at it, but I think sunrise offered the best opportunity.

Portland Head light is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine. It's also probably the most photographed lighthouse in the USA. 

Aperture Priority, F/8, 30 seconds, ISO 1250

This image was made before the sun had risen.  If you look closely you can still see several stars in the sky.  You can also see another lighthouse way off in the distance.  That is Ram Island Ledge Light, which is now a privately owned lighthouse.

I created this image using my Canon 5D III, Tamron 24-70mm Lens and Sirui W-2204 Tripod.

 

Nubble Lighthouse

I apologize for not posting more recently, I've been so busy with personal things in the last few months.  However, I did get a break from all of that chaos and made a trip to Maine this past week.

Nature In Focus conducted a workshop in Acadia National Park and we left out a few days early to get some shooting in.  We flew into Boston and drove up along the coast attempting to photograph as many lighthouses as we could.  Since we had a lot of ground to cover, sometimes we didn't get to shoot the lighthouses in the best of light...some we actually planned to be there for at sunrise or sunset, though.

One of the lighthouses on our stop was Nubble Lighthouse, sometimes called Cape Neddick Lighthouse.  The lighthouse is located on Nubble Island which is just off of Cape Neddick Point.  The lighthouse itself is not accessible by the public, but can be viewed from the mainland.  It is also one of the last remaining lighthouses in Maine to still use a  Fresnel Lens.

This was one of the lighthouses we stopped at in the middle of the day, so light was not that great.  I wanted to try to capture an image that I would still be proud of despite the fact that I was battling the not so greatest of light.  I knew I would be trying to slow my shutter speed down to get the effect of the water and waves crashing along the shore, so I threw on a 10 stop Neutral Density filter.

Manual Exposure, ISO 125, 30 Seconds @ F/16

Here's what I came up with.

 I used my Canon 5D Mk III, Tamron 24-70mm Lens and a Tiffen 10 Stop XLE Apex ND Filter.  Of course I had to use a tripod for this shot, as the filter caused me to have a shutter speed of 30 seconds.  I used my waterproof Sirui W-2204, which worked out fabulous all week for shooting along the coast!

An Incredible Sunset

Today I am sharing another image from The Rock Factory.  Yesterday I mentioned how incredible the sunset was that evening.  It was the best I had seen in quite some time.

The Rock Factory has a bunch of these hoodoos that are very interesting.  A hoodoo is a rock formation that usually consist of soft rock topped by a harder rock that doesn't erode as easily.  The less eroded stone on top then protects the softer rock that forms the column form further erosion, too.  When you look at these formations, you think "How in the heck does that giant rock balance up there?".  That's how.  

This is such an amazing location, but despite all it has to offer the thing I enjoyed most was shooting with a few friends and avoiding the massive crowds that were at all of the popular, iconic spots.  

Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100, 0.4 seconds, Exposure Compensation -1EV, 15mm

These giant rocks resting on the ground made perfect foreground elements that serve a few purposes.  First, they help anchor the image, which, in turn gives the image depth.  They also, in conjunction with the hoodoo, help to lead you to the real subject...the sunset.

This image was made with my Canon 5D III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  This combo was mounted on my Sirui N-3204X Tripod and K-30X Ballhead.

The Rock Factory

I'm finally home from another trip out west.  This time I got to visit areas that I had never visited before.  The trip took us to Zion National Park for a few days, then to Page, AZ and finally to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was a whirlwind of a trip with very little sleep, but they are always a ton of fun!

While out in Page, AZ we met up with a good friend, Stan Burman, who lives in the area and agreed to take us to a spot he shoots regularly that he calls "The Rock Factory".  The Rock Factory is actually part of the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.  It has all kinds of interesting rock formations there that are super photogenic.  We arrived there to photograph the sunset and it did not disappoint!

Aperture Priority, F/16, 1/15th, ISO 100, Exposure Compensation +1

This is an image I made just as the sun was setting over the horizon.  I wanted to capture the starburst of the sun, so I stopped my aperture down to F/16.  Then, in order to keep the foreground from being too dark, I set my exposure compensation to +1.

The sunset turned out to be one of the best I had seen in a long time.  Stay tuned for more pictures of it!

Image made with my Canon 5D III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  All resting atop my Sirui N-3204X tripod and K-30X Ballhead.

 

Mesa Arch Glow

As promised yesterday, I'm sharing the image of Mesa Arch lit up underneath.  I promise this is the last one I will be sharing before moving onto a different subject.

This is the reason people line up in the dark to shoot here.  On the opposite side of this arch is about a 1200 foot drop.  That drop is part of what is known as a "bowl" in the rocks. When the sun rises, it hits that bowl directly and the reflected light lights up the underside of the arch with this nice, warm light.  It is something to see, for sure.

Aperture Priority, 1/10th second, F/16, ISO 100, 15mm

If you look closely at this image, in the distance you can see a formation known as Washer Woman.  Washer Woman is actually a desert tower and an arch.  It gives the illusion that a woman is reaching her hands into a tub.  The "woman" part of the formation creates the tower and the "reaching into the tub" part creates the arch.

This image was made with my Canon 5D Mk III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens resting atop my Sirui Tripod and K-40X Ballhead.

 

Schwabacher's Landing

I'm really getting excited about our workshop in GTNP next week.  A few days ago my teaching partner, David Akoubian, posted a bit about shooting one of the many iconic locations, Schwabacher's Landing, from different locations than the most popular spot.  David mentioned shooting it from the main parking area.  I wanted to share a few images from a different area, also.

These two images were made within feet of each other.  Honestly, I like the scene from this spot better than the more popular spot.  You don't get a good reflection of the mountains in this location, but I like the way the river leads you to the mountains.  I also like the foreground elements here a lot better, too.

Aperture Priority, F/16, ISO 100, 1/6th second, Exposure Compensation -1.0

Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100, 1/40th second

Like I mentioned, you do lose the reflection here.  It really is impossible to get because the water is flowing much too fast.  However, I love the scene with the river rocks in the foreground.  These images were made on 2 separate trips, so I liked it enough to go back twice ;)

Sometimes all it takes to bring new enthusiasm to a scene you've shot multiple times is changing your perspective.   Next time you are at a scene that you've shot several times before, walk a few hundred yards down river or lower your tripod...whatever it takes to get a new perspective.

These images were made with the Sony A7R, Metabones adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.

Spring Fever

Over the last few days here, when it hasn't been raining, the weather has been off the charts good.  That has brought on a huge case of Spring Fever for me.

I have a few trips upcoming to focus on the plants and animals coming to life again, but I'm also super stoked about our upcoming Smoky Mountains workshop.  With all the rain the area has been receiving the rivers and streams should really be flowing this year.

ISO 100, 24mm, F/16 @ 1.3 seconds

This is an image from The Roaring Fork Motor Trail.  It is always a hot spot for nice flowing water against the green, mossy rocks.  Using a circular polarizer not only helps to reduce glare and reflections, but also helps to boost contrast, which makes the greens pop a little more, too.

This image was made with my Sony A7R, LA-EA4 Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.

Looking Glass Falls

Yet another roadside, North Carolina waterfall that I hit last week was Looking Glass Falls.

Looking Glass Falls is inside the Pisgah National Forest.  It is located right along the road with a staircase that leads you to the bottom of the falls.  This fall is located near Brevard, NC along U.S. Highway 276.  It is about a 60 foot fall.  This is a real nice fall, and one to hit if you have little to no time to spare and want to see an impressive fall.

ISO 50, 15mm, F/16 @ 1 second

I made this image with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  My tripod of choice was the Sirui W-2204 and K-20x Ballhead.

Image was processed in Lightroom and On1's new Suite 10.  I loved the On1 Products before but now they are easier to use than ever before.

More Falls in The Fall

Here's another shot from last week in The Great Smoky Mountains.  The color was really nice while I was there.  These kinds of photo opportunities were plentiful along Little River Road and in the Tremont Area.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/16 @ 2 seconds

When I came upon a scene like this I tried to take the same approach to most of them.  I was using my new Tamron 15-30mm Ultra Wide angle lens.  I knew I needed to find a foreground anchor, so I usually looked for an interesting flow of water or a rock.  A foreground anchor really helps add depth to your images.  If I chose a rock, sometimes it had a nice set of fallen leaves on it, sometimes I put some leaves on it. Once I had the foreground anchored, then I made sure my composition lead you through the image to the brilliant display of fall colors in the background.   

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 15-30 F/2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Lens.  I can;t photograph water without a circular polarizer, so I had one of those, too.  All of my gear was resting atop my Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Tripod.