two mile

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!

Power of a RAW file

One of the examples I showed during our processing portion of our workshop in Apalachicola was a single frame snapped at sunrise.  As the sun was cresting the horizon I took one exposure for the sky, so naturally the foreground lost a lot of detail by doing this.

I was using my Sony A7R, which is a 36MP Full Frame Sensor.  I knew I could get away with pulling quite a bit out of the shadows due to the sensor recording all of that information at the point of capture.  To show all of the workshop participants what kind of power the sensor and RAW file had, I walked through a quick processing tutorial on that image.

Here is the RAW file straight out of the camera:

ISO 100, 27mm, F/16, 1/40th second

ISO 100, 27mm, F/16, 1/40th second

Now see how much detail I could get out of the shadows just using Adobe Lightroom?  I could've gotten a lot more even, but I this was as much as I really "wanted".

ISO 100, 27mm. F/16, 1/40th second

ISO 100, 27mm. F/16, 1/40th second

You can see how pretty much everything in the foreground came to life with just a few sliders in Lightroom.  Like I mentioned earlier, I could have pulled more data that this out of the shadows, but doing so really started to look very unnatural to me, so this is where I decided to stop.  Sometimes, I am still amazed at how much data is in the RAW files that come out of this Sony.

Sailboat Sunrise

Our first morning of the workshop in Apalachicola, FL we went to a place called Two Mile.  Two Mile is a popular boat launch for local fishermen, but it is also a great spot to photograph sunrise and sunset because of a few boats that make great foreground object in both East and West directions.  This morning we had a great one, too!

Although the boats that are mostly photographed there are the old, dilapidated, shrimp boats, I choose to isolate this sailboat during one of the moments that the color was really, really peaking.  

This was shot with my Sony A7R body, a Metabones Lens Adapter and my Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens.  I also used my Vanguard Abeo Plus 232CT tripod.

ISO 100, 70mm, F/16, 0.4 seconds

ISO 100, 70mm, F/16, 0.4 seconds