logo

Tag : night

31 Aug 2017

That eclipse has me looking at the sky

It’s been over a week since experiencing the total solar eclipse in Oregon but it is constantly on my mind. I’ve looked at tons of photos taken by other photographers and yet I haven’t finished putting together a composite of the phases. Those tend to all look the same and mine isn’t any different, so I’m not overly motivated.

I’m doing lots of research on the next eclipse that is crossing Chile and Argentina in July 2019. I want to find the perfect spot to view it, although it is tougher than the U.S. eclipse, mainly because I’ve never been there.

Last summer I bought a used telescope thinking I would take it to Oregon for the eclipse. As I learned more about what I wanted to shoot, I decided pretty early on that I wouldn’t take it. It is big, heavy and would take up too much space. I didn’t want to be worrying about moving the telescope around when my job in Oregon was to make sure my clients were getting their needs met.

I didn’t even play with the telescope, it sat on my equipment shelf taking up space. And since space has been on my mind, I decided to see what the the telescope could do. I spent most of the afternoon putting it together and learning how to maneuver it. It is an 8″ reflecting telescope, which is a monster. After I put all the counter weights and the camera I can barely lift it. It has by far the heaviest tripod I’ve ever seen.

The Vermont sky was pretty clear tonight so I practiced on the moon, which is the easiest thing to photograph with a telescope. I was pretty clumsy getting it lined up and making sure the focus was right. It was a struggle but I got a pretty decent moon shot. I need lots more practice but I have a bit of time until the next eclipse.

23 Aug 2017

Fun times in Oregon for the solar eclipse workshop

The day after always seems to be the hardest. I got back yesterday from my Oregon Total Solar Eclipse workshop and I’ve finally had a little time to look through some images and think back on what a great experience it was.

The most important part of any workshop is the people attend and I had a great group once again. They came from across the country and Israel and we spent a lot of time driving around Oregon and they were loads of fun to be with.

We started in Portland and had dinner at one of their famous food truck pods before shooting dusk along the Willamette River reflecting the skyline. Then it was two days on the coast photographing the beauty and uniqueness that is Oregon. On Sunday we drove through the Columbia River Gorge stopping to photograph the large waterfalls on our way to our lodge at Timberline ski resort on Mt. Hood.

But it all came down to experiencing the total solar eclipse. Words or pictures can’t describe the event, although I tried in yesterday’s blog post.

It was a great trip, I made many new friends and experienced something that will last a lifetime, although I’m already planning the next eclipse workshop. I hope you enjoy the photos.

17 Aug 2017

Food trucks and Voodoo Donuts keep Portland weird

I enjoy a good adventure and this is looking to be a great one. I’m in Oregon hosting a photo workshop and tonight I brought the group to downtown Portland for dinner and a little evening shoot.

The rest of the workshop will be along the coast, up through the Columbia River gorge and then finally out in the desert of eastern Oregon culminating with the total solar eclipse on Monday. So I thought one urban evening would be fun.

Portland is quirky and they love their motto ‘Keep Portland Weird.’ We started with dinner at several food trucks, not exactly what you’d think was fine dining anywhere else but Portland. Off in a residential neighborhood about 30 trucks are fairly permanently parked and offer everything from hot dogs with pulled pork BBQ to vegan.

The Portland skyline isn’t huge but it is pretty and we went along the Willamette River where I taught everyone how to say Willamette ( it rhymes with “damn it”). The photos of the city shining in the river were fun.

For desert we went to one of the weirder places, Voodoo Donuts. The have some of the most unusual donuts you’ll find anywhere including, of course, a voodoo doll.

Then back to the hotel so we can get an early start as we head for the coast starting with an old shipwreck.

30 Jun 2017

Being seen in Saint Tropez

Tomorrow starts my Provence photo workshop in France, but I came over a little early to make a quick visit to Saint Tropez and to get acclimated to the time change before all my participants arrive.

Photographer friend Ron Lake and I are hosting the workshop, Ron has extensive experience in Provence and is our guide for the week. We had a great time stomping around Saint Tropez, taking in all the glam and being among the people who are here to be seen.

The Saint Tropez harbor is filled with big yachts from all over the world and at night they are the place for parties. Floating near the worldly yachts are small fishing boats owned by the locals. It was fun to see the late evening light reflect off the buildings in the water. The glitz isn’t my cup of tea but I enjoyed going into the old part of town and seeing the buildings and where the real people live. We came across a wonderful home entrance with an old grape vine growing up beside a blue door and then spreading out overhead.

Tomorrow we head out the fields of lavender, I’m looking forward to another great day.

10 Oct 2016

Making an island glow

Glowing islandAt 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.

23 Nov 2015

A night of fun photos in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua star trailsOn a quick trip to southern California, my friend John invited me to go out to Joshua Tree National Park and spend a day in the desert. I hadn’t been there before but I knew a good bit about it, I’m not sure if it was because of Jim Morrison’s legendary trips there, or U2’s famous album (that was really in Death Valley) or just reading about it from lots of other photographers.

The park is a unique area with Joshua trees, sand and big sandstone rock formations. Some feel mystical powers emanating from the rocks, it was a cool place, but I didn’t catch any special vibes.

We got there yesterday afternoon and went to the main areas that everyone seems to visit. Being the weekend before Thanksgiving, it was pretty crowded, more people than John had seen on his many trips there. People were climbing the rocks, most of the big formations had people on top of them. It made getting a clear show without humanity pretty hard, but it was still great to see.

Joshua MoonAs the sun was getting low, we went to a standing rock monolith that has a cool old juniper tree nearby to get shots after dark. I had found the spot while doing research before my trip and it looked like a great place to do light painting after sunset. I brought a couple of large flashlights with me, so I had John light up the background a bit while I illuminated the tree and rock.

The moon is going to be full in a couple of days, so it was pretty bright out in the clear air of the desert. We could walk around with using our headlamps and see perfectly well. We stopped at another rock formation and I did a few shots with the starts and moon. I love the look of moonlight shaping the rocks.

Since there were no clouds, I want to do a star trail shot, but I didn’t want to do an all-nighter in the desert, so I set up a camera on a tripod with a 15mm fisheye lens, hooked an old iPhone to it with TriggerTrap and started shooting. The moonset was around 2:30 a.m., so I wanted the camera to start firing then so there wouldn’t be any light in the sky. Earlier at the hotel I worked to get a delay going with TriggerTrap but I couldn’t make it work. So my only option was to let the camera fire all night and hope the batteries would last until well after the moon went down. I set TriggerTrap to fire a 30 second exposure, wait one minute, make another 30 second exposure, wait, fire, wait, fire for the next six hours.

I set the camera up about a hundred yards off the road, not too worried that someone would spot and steal it in the middle of the desert. We went back to the hotel and planned on getting camera after coming back out for sunrise. We got up at 4 a.m. and headed back into the park. It was still dark and we thought we knew exactly where the camera was but we drove right past it and got back to the place where where we did the light painting last night. Since the light was coming on fast, I decided to hike a little and shoot the sunrise there and we’d find the other camera later.

Sunrise in the desert is a lot different that what I’m accustomed to in the East. The light came very quickly and since there were no clouds, it didn’t take long for the sunlight to be very harsh. I tried lots of shots but wasn’t too thrilled with any of them.

It was time to go find the other camera and see what I got. We went back through the park and watched for a pulloff near a large mound of rocks. It was farther than we thought but I recognized it and could see my camera from the road. I don’t know which died first, the phone or the camera battery, but they both were dead and the last shot was taken at about 3:30 a.m. That gave me plenty of images to stitch together to make the shot I was hoping for. The moonlight shots gave me nice light on the Joshua tree and surrounding landscape and also good color in the sky.

I look forward to getting out there again and perfect some things that I learned.

07 Dec 2014

Loving those bald eagles

The Catch

I am continually entranced by seeing bald eagles so today was nearly an overload. I hosted a workshop in Maryland where dozens of eagles nest and migrate. There is a large dam with a hydro-electric plant that is in the perfect location for eagles heading south as waters freeze up north. Of course, this year the north isn’t frozen yet, so there were only about 35 eagles flying around. Usually there is over 100, but I can’t complain about 35.

Eagle Eye LevelThey come to the dam because when it is generating power it sucks fish through the turbines which pulverized them or at least stuns them and thus they are easy targets for the eagles. It is such a thrill to see an eagle circling around and then diving down and grabbing a fish out of the water.

Since I was running the workshop, I didn’t take much time to shoot but I did get a few shots off. The weather was great today, sunny and cool unlike yesterday, which was the first day of the workshop. I did some “light painting” of a nearby lighthouse while the workshop attendees made some cool pictures. Light painting is a fun technique where you can light some pretty large objects with a flashlight while doing a long exposure. It was a cold, rainy night and since I was doing the light painting I didn’t shoot any pictures of the lighthouse. I did take time to get a shot of a nearby pier as darkness was settling in.

Blue Pier

19 Aug 2014

Viewing the dark sky of British Columbia

bc-0931I love being in places that have dark skies and I hoped British Columbia’s Cortes Island wound be one, and it is. I wanted a shot of the Milky Way, which was to the south when I went out. Also to the south is civilization, which creates lots of light. I shot some photos to the north and all you could see was stars, which is pretty cool, but I like this shot with the Milky Way overhead and the town lights below.

Click to see my British Columbia photo gallery from the trip.

26 Jan 2013

Shooting by Vermont moonlight and staying warm

One of my thrills of digital cameras is the low-light capabilities. So when there is a full moon, I want to be out there. So even though it takes more preparation, going out in the darkness when the temperature is close to zero is lots of fun.

Tonight I went with friend Lisa Lacasse out looking for a magical night shot. I had seen this barn sitting out alone in a field a couple of days ago when I was out scouting. It is a neat old barn and I thought it would look good lit by tonight’s full moon. Lisa was born and lived in New Hampshire and Vermont her whole life but has spent the last few winters in Florida. So she was as ready as you can be for the single digit temperatures as was I. We were covered with layers of thermal clothing from top to toe but being able to keep my hands warm and control the camera is always a challenge.

I’m a big fan of those little chemical hand warmers, they really make a difference for me. When it is this cold, I wear thin liner gloves inside of mittens that flip open to expose fingerless gloves. I don’t know if there is a name for them but they are like wearing gloves and having a mitten to pull over my fingers when I need more warmth. I put the hand warmer in the mitten part so when my fingers are in the mitten they are good and warm. I can stick just my index finger out of the mitten to move camera controls and then put it right back in the mitten to stay warm. I use a cable release, which I can push through the gloves and mitten.

When carrying my tripod, I don’t grab it with my hands, even though I have pipe insulation on the legs. I tuck my arm under the tripod legs so my hands aren’t touching it, just my multi-layered arm.

02 Sep 2012

Things are moving in Woodstock, Vt.

I’m always a sucker for streaking car lights, so I shot some pictures tonight of cars streaking around the green and down Central St. in Woodstock, Vt.

There is a famous photo that Marion Post Wolcott shot of Central St. in March of 1940 on a snowy night. I first saw it several years ago and want to replicate it but I haven’t found just the right conditions, although I’ve tried several times.

This is my summer version.

01 Sep 2012

Surviving the Mt. Tom death march

I used to be in fairly decent physical shape. It has only been seven years since I did a 30-day bicycle ride from San Francisco to Somerville, NJ. So when Lisa Lacasse asked me if I wanted to do a sunrise shoot from Mt. Tom in Woodstock, Vt. I didn’t think anything about it. I even asked if she wanted to invite her photographer friend Derek MacDonald to join us. The full moon would be setting, so there should be some great photos.

(more…)

24 Feb 2012

Finally, some snow in Vermont

Snow falls on the Middle Bridge in Woodstock, Vt.

 

It has snowed a few times in Vermont this winter, just not when I’ve been here. This afternoon it started and I’m excited. I went to the covered bridge in the village at dusk and shot as the darkness set in and the snow fell. I wanted to get a shot of car headlights illuminating the inside of the bridge, so I stood in the cold snow. I started by doing wide angle shots and I didn’t like the way it looked, even when a car came through. So I backed off and got out the 70-200 and waited for another car to come through.

As I was standing in the snow with my umbrella protecting my camera, I thought I felt something hit my foot. I looked down and saw something in the snow about the size of a pen. I couldn’t think of anything that I had on me like that so I kicked it around a little and tried to figure out what it was. While messing around, I looked up and car was coming out of the bridge. Damn. After 45 minutes, I was rather cold and I’d only seen one car come through and I missed it.

I usually prefer “night” shots to be done just before it is truly dark outside, so there is still some light in the sky to give some separation between my subject and the background. In my earlier shots, I couldn’t give them enough exposure to see inside the bridge since no cars came through.

So there is always tomorrow night and hopefully there will be more snow.

30 Aug 2010

What’s good: A cat in the glow

A cat strolls past the historic Somerset County courthouse

I went to the Somerset County courthouse in Somerville tonight after the sun went down. The historic courthouse has great architecture, it was built in 1909 with lots of marble. There’s a walkway under the main steps to the second floor that has an arch. The lights in the walkway have a yellow tint and it catches my eye every time I drive. I was hoping a person would slowly walk through the arch but there isn’t much foot traffic in the evening. I stood there for a while and cat made its way up a sidewalk to the arch, stopped to pose long enough for me to take two shots and then it moved on.

14 Aug 2010

What’s good: Sampling Woodstock Vermont

Fire twirlers perform in Woodstock, Vermont during the town's annual Taste of Woodstock event. (Loren Fisher/LorenPhotos.com)

Fire twirlers perform in Woodstock, Vermont during the town's annual Taste of Woodstock event.

Today was the annual Taste of  Woodstock in the quaint Vermont village.  They block off the street and have entertainment all day, restaurants show off their food and the merchants have a sidewalk sale. It is a nice event. The night’s closing entertainment were fire twirlers. They had fire on rods and chains and spun it around. It wasn’t real exciting, nothing caught on fire that wasn’t supposed to but the crowd appreciated their effort. It also may for fun photos.

18 May 2010

What’s good: Having a place to park your bike

A bicycle rack in a Somerville park.

There’s a bike rack I go past every night when taking the dogs for a walk. It is a cool metal sculpture in a small park near a kiddie pool. I’ve never seen any bikes parked at the rack but I’m usually there at night. I’m assuming there is some heavy message with the arrow, since this weekend I’m doing a two-day 170 bicycle ride to raise money for MS. I’m in shape to ride about 40 miles, so I’m going to need some arrows to help me stay focused and point the way.