Most of the east coast is thinking winter is over and spring is springing. But a heavy snow last week in Vermont is still looking great. I drove along a small brook today that is usually pretty small. It was raining and along with the melting snow, the brook was running strong. There is still snow on the rocks and plenty on the banks. A long exposure made the running water look nice and smooth.
One of the nice things about doing art shows in Florida is being able to get out early for sunrise and not freeze. I headed to Juno Pier this morning hoping to get some good clouds at sunrise. I wasn’t disappointed. I had hoped to go at 3 a.m. to catch the Milky Way over the pier but it was cloudy when I got up. I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and by then many of the clouds had cleared away.
The crescent moon was shining bright when I got there before any light was in the sky. As the sky filled with color the became less distinguishable and by the time the sun cleared the horizon, the moon was barely visible.
My love affair with birch trees continues. There is a fairly large grove about 15 minutes away from my Vermont house and I love wandering around there. It has a magical look to it no matter when I go.
Today I was there before sunrise hoping to get the rising sun shooting through the trees. When the sun came up, it glowed for a couple of minutes and then went behind a large cloud. I could see it would come out again so I tried several shots while waiting to see how the snow, trees and sky would look once the sun was shining again.
As usual, I wasn’t disappointed. The long shadows in the snow and deep blue sky highlighted the white bark and made for beautiful images. There must be 250 trees in the grove and today I noticed a couple of crooked ones shooting skyward. I like the shape they make and worked to get an angle that would highlight them. I’m pretty happy with the shot.
I love the bright greens of spring, so it was fun to see that Pantone announced their 2017 color of the year is a bright green they call Greenery. I shoot a lot of pictures of trees and especially love the transitional color of spring. The photo above was taken in Maine’s Acadia National Park in the spring and the grass’s color is about the same as Pantone’s Greenery.
In Pantone’s announcement of their color selection they wrote: Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.
I have to say I hadn’t thought much about how the colors of nature work together, but it strikes me that green really is nature’s neutral. People are attracted to the bright colors of nature, even leaves. The bright foliage of Vermont’s autumn gets tourists from all over the world, once the green is gone. Travelers swarm to Holland to see spring’s tulips. Rose gardens are everywhere showing off their bright colors.
But people don’t think about the beauty of green, maybe because it is everywhere. I find that I don’t photograph green much once summer sets in and the greens become darker. The leaves on trees become similar in color and I have a hard time seeing something new when I’m in the forest during the depths of summer. I tend to look for ferns at that time of year, their greens vary and stay brighter until the first hard frost of fall.
Green’s unity hadn’t entered my consciousness the way it did someone at Pantone. I guess I’m not that deep of a thinker, I just react to the beauty I see around me and then do my deep thinking in finding a way to photograph what I am seeing in a way that translates in a big print.
Now that Pantone says Greenery has been pulled to the forefront, I hope that others enjoy the green in 2017 as much as I do.
While on my way back to N.J. after two art shows in Florida, I made a side trip to Charleston, S.C., to photograph the “super moon” tonight. The full moon won’t be this close to the earth until 2034, which means it looks larger than normal.
I usually like to shoot the full moon on the night before the actual full moon, it rises about an hour earlier, so there is still light in the foreground. But I had an art show yesterday and couldn’t get out to shoot, so my only choice was tonight.
I used a program called Photographer’s Ephemerist to pre-determine where the moon would rise behind a large fishing pier on Folly Beach. It blows my mind that I can sit at my computer or use the app on my iPhone and know where I need to be to line up the rising moon and the pier.
I was out on a beach tonight in Jupiter, Florida, as the sun went down and color came into the sky. The moon was bright and clouds were blowing past as surf was crashing on the sand.
When I looked south, there was a colorful glow on the horizon. I love what happens when clouds and waves are moving during a long exposure, so I used a 30 second exposure so the movement would be recorded as a blur.
While doing the art show in Pensacola, FL, I’m getting lots of requests for local photos. Since this is the first time I’ve been in Pensacola, I don’t have anything to show them so I went to the beach after the show tonight to catch sunset and see what was going on around the pier.
There was some great color in the sky after the sun went down, as I waded in the edge of the surf, I was able to get the pier in the foreground and the sky blazing behind it.
After the color faded a bit I went under the pier but I didn’t want the typical shot of the silhouetted pier and smooth water. I brought a flashlight with me to try some light painting. I did a 30 second exposure and used the flashlight to illuminate the pier and give me a different effect.
At Chittenden Reservoir in Vermont there is a pretty little island about 300 yards off shore. It is a favorite place for photographers and I’ve photographed it on many occasions at different times of day and different seasons. I decided to try it at night and use a large flashlight to illuminate the island using a technique called light painting, where you pass the light over the subject many times during a long exposure, I usually do 30 seconds. So tonight I started about 30 minutes after the sun went down and shot for the next hour. There was only a slight breeze which gave me the nice reflection on the water. Then I was lucky to have a shooting star which gave me a beautiful final touch. This is one exposure with only minor adjustments in Lightroom. As the sky got darker I needed to bump my ISO up to 400 and I was shooting at f/5.6.
This weekend I am participating in an art show in Stowe, VT, about 80 miles from my house in Woodstock. It is a beautiful drive and this morning during the drive the foliage was looking great. This morning as I headed up I-91, one of Vermont’s most iconic mountains, Camel’s Hump, kept appearing behind hills full of foliage.
I pulled off the highway and found a nice spot to get a shot of Vermont’s tallest mountain without any man-made structures. I love the way the light was making the foreground glow and keeping Camel’s Hump in the darkness.
As the week goes on the color gets better at my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop. We hit several of the local hotspots and found some nice color and cool scenes.
We have a great group with two people from California, two from Florida, one from PA, Ohio, NY and CT. It is always fun to watch a group of people who don’t know each other quickly meld together with their common interest of photography.
This is the first shooting day of my annual Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop at my home in Woodstock, VT. The weather this summer in Vermont has been hot and dry with drought conditions prevalent throughout the state. Early predictions were that it would be a bad season for foliage but it looks like it is just running late, like two weeks late. During the scouting I did last week, I found several pockets of beautiful color but there is lots of green showing in most areas.
So we are focusing on the nice areas, which will mean more driving than I like to do but it gives my out of town guests a good chance to see a lot of the Vermont countryside. We ventured north on the famous Rt. 100 and stopped at a cool barn along the road. It took some work but we were able to line it up with the color in the hills. It was a great way to start off the workshop.
Later today is the start of my annual Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop, which I run out of my house in Woodstock.
I’m lucky that this year I have a couple of professional photographer friends who are joining me for part of the week. This morning Ron Lake arrived from his Connecticut home. Ron and I did a workshop together this summer in Tuscany, Italy, and next summer we are leading a workshop in Provence, France.
Ron got here early so we’d have a little time to shoot before the workshop started. We went over to a lovely grove of birch trees in the next town east of Woodstock. I’ve been there many times and it always looks different. This time there were beautiful little purple flowers growing throughout the grove. Ron was mesmerized by the combination of white birch trees, green grass and purple flowers. We spent a couple of hours shooting and Ron was wanted to stay longer but we had to get back to make final preparations for the workshop. It was fun getting there and shooting with a friend.
Today was the last day of a great Tuscany photo workshop. It was a long, hot week in Italy filled with great memories, making new friends, eating wonderful food and photographing spectacular scenes.
Tuscany is known for its light and it didn’t disappoint, we were out at sunrise and stayed up late shooting the Milky Way. We covered lots of territory, saw medieval towns with amazing buildings, rolling hills in the countryside covered with wheat and rolls of straw cut after wheat was harvested, vineyards and, my favorite, the cypress trees.
I love making beautiful landscape photos and I was lucky enough to get some decent shots. I also enjoy photographing people and the Italians were gracious when I asked them if I could make a picture of them. They weren’t so polite when driving a car but they always gave me a tender smile when I pointed at my camera and aimed it at them.
Some of my favorite photos are in the slideshow, I hope you enjoy them.
The rolling hills of Tuscany are filled with wheat and it is being harvested as we tour the countryside in my Tuscany Photography Workshop. Toss in a few unique trees and great early morning light and it is a perfect recipe for beautiful photos.
We got off the main roads and got the rental cars mighty dusty as we kicked up the dirt while finding unique places to photograph. Our GPS unit didn’t always find the road we were looking for but it made for more adventure as we got off the beaten path.
We were looking for the long shadows coming across the hills, giving them shape and depth. Deep blue skies added to the scene when I could isolate a tree that was in a wheat field.
During my workshop today in Acadia National Park, we were on top of the world, or so it seemed. Cadillac Mountain is the highest coastal peak in the Eastern U.S. and many times during the year it is the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise. It is quite the panoramic view and during a late morning journey to the top the sun was shining through some clouds and making the water shimmer. A small island seemed so isolated in the water and clouds, so I knew I wanted to capture the feeling of it being all alone. As I was taking the picture in color I was thinking what it might look like in black and white, since the strong backlight on the clouds and water weren’t going to look good in color. But the black and white version emphasizes what I was feeling.