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Tag : reflection

19 Jun 2020

Milky Way fun in New Hampshire

I decided to head over to New Hampshire last night for some Milky Way photos. The state is only 15 miles from my house in Vermont and has a very different look than where I live. Finding good places to shoot the Milky Way is tough, I always want to have something interesting in the foreground and not just stars overhead. Getting away from light pollution is very hard and I use a couple of websites and apps to help but you never really know until you’re there on a moonless night. So finding a place with those two main criteria requires a lot of snooping around in daylight and then going back at night to see how it really looks. I went to one pond that I spotted an island on Google maps yesterday but there were houses along the shore and no place to park so I’ll have to go back during the day and make some friends to gain access. I went to another large pond, Goose Pond, to a spot I had scouted before. As soon as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could tell there would be a lot of light pollution to the south east, which is where the Milky Way is located. It was bright enough to light the water and some of the sky to diminish the Milky Way’s colors but the stars reflecting on the water looked cool.

Then I went over to a boat launch on Mascoma Lake, which I guessed would be bright and I was right. I street light in the parking lot lit up the moored boats which ended up looking rather good. Finally I went to a small pond I had scouted and tromped out into a wet field in the darkness. Again there was plenty of light pollution on the horizon which reflected in the pond but the area was open enough to photograph the entire Milky Way’s arch. After processing the photos today I was liking them more than when I shot them. That makes for a good night.

26 Oct 2019

Streaking at the Brooklyn Bridge

A fun workshop that I do with fellow professional photographer Ron Lake is a tour of New York City’s big bridges. We can’t hit them all in one day but we go to five of the most photogenic. Our first stop is usually the George Washington Bridge and the little known Little Red Lighthouse that sits underneath. I’ve written in my blog about it before but it is still fun to take people to something they didn’t know existed. We then go to one of the prettiest bridges, the Queensborough, then the industrial Williamsburg Bridge. Finally we go over to Brooklyn to shoot the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. Photographing the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk as the lights of lower Manhattan start glowing is always a favorite. A helicopter zipped past tonight as I was doing a long exposure creating a streak of light and dashes from a flashing light. It is a lot of fun and the scene never gets tiring.

09 Oct 2019

Light painting a Vermont island

One of the techniques I enjoy doing with my photography is light painting. Much like it sounds, I illuminate subjects in a similar way as painting a wall. But I use a flashlight, sometimes a big one. During my Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop I like to take people to Chittenden Reservoir and light up an island that is about 250 yards from the shore. I have a big 18 million candle power flashlight that does a great job on the island. The best shots come 20-30 minutes after sunset when there is still some light and color in the sky and it is dark enough that the background is dark. We use a 30 second exposure which gives me time to light up the island. Just like painting a wall, I don’t try to cover the whole island in one splash of light, I paint across it so any one area may get only 5-8 seconds of light. When the conditions are right, it can be a fantastic photo.

22 Sep 2019

Facing the heat in Bucks County

I did a workshop in Bucks County, PA, back in July and it had to be the hottest day of the year. It was sweltering. Well, it’s September, how hot can it be? We found out! It was the hottest day in a month but again, we had a lot of fun getting out into the countryside. We drank a lot of water and stayed in the shade during the day and as the sun started getting lower the temperature dropped and we had a great day. There is something special about Bucks County, the rolling hills are perfect places for lovely farms, covered bridges and pretty streams. My favorite place is a private residence on a little dirt road with a small stream running through a green valley. A while back an old mill was moved there next to a large shed that looks like where Granny, Jedd and Ellie Mae could live. It sits on a small pond and is just a beautiful scene. The afternoon light pours and creates wonderful shadows.

20 Aug 2019

Playing around Iceland’s largest glacier

Iceland is known for waterfalls and glaciers, yesterday I took my workshop to the waterfalls, today it was glacier time. I know this little spot where a tongue of Vatnajökull glacier comes down into a lagoon. There is a little dirt road back to it off the highway, it isn’t marked and too small for most people to take a chance to see what is there. Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe and covers 8% of Iceland. It is big. 

Driving over from Vic we encountered some rain and wind but all of that stopped when we got out of the van. There were a couple of other people for a while but we mainly had the place to ourselves, which is always fun. In the summer the glacier melts and leaves a layer of dirt in the ice. It is cool to see but not pristine. This is one place that looks better in the winter but it is still fun to see how big this little part of the glacier is and it makes some great photos.

After leaving my little glacial hideaway we drove down to Jökulsárlón where another tongue of the glacier meets the ocean. A large lagoon is there and a short river has formed to drain the lagoon into the ocean. At high tide ocean water surges back into the lagoon and the salty water breaks off large chunks of the glacier. Year round you’ll see large icebergs floating in the lagoon and out the river. When they get to the ocean they break up more and float back onto the black sand beach. As the ice gets smaller it looks like diamonds on the beach when light shins through it. The weather had turned bad and it was raining pretty hard when we arrived. I drove to a couple of spots hoping the rain would ease and it finally did so we went over to Diamond Beach. The light was pretty bad, it was windy and it was spitting rain so shooting wasn’t easy. We still made some fun shots and went back over to the lagoon. Huge pieces of blue ice were floating and breaking apart. It was fun to see and to shoot. The rain came back so we started back toward the hotel.

As we were driving the rain was falling and then the sun came out. It made of one the biggest and brightest rainbows I have ever seen. I pulled the van off the road and we jumped out and shot some pictures while trying to stay dry. It was a lot of fun and great way to end another fabulous day in Iceland.

18 Nov 2018

Peeking into Manhattan from a Brooklyn perspective

Last night was another fun night photography workshop in New York City. We started in the afternoon at the iconic Flatiron Building and then headed to Brooklyn for sunset. Photographers love to shoot the pilings along the Brooklyn waterfront looking over into Manhattan and for good reason. We got to Brooklyn before sunset so I took them to a cool spot in Dumbo where you can photograph the Empire State Building framed by one the Manhattan Bridge stanchions. It makes for a fun shot and everyone enjoyed making some images there even with all the people shooting selfies in the middle of the street. There was even a bridal shoot going on.

As the sun got lower we jumped into my van and made our way down to where the pilings are located. The sky was a overcast but with a combination of low and high clouds so there was a lot of definition in the layers and it really held the light from the city. It was cool to see how the clouds reflected the light and made for some great patterns. I decided to try a very wide angle shot combined with a long exposure to get some movement in the clouds. I really like the result and have the feeling this is going to be a big print for the wall and art shows.

02 Jun 2018

Off and running at Acadia workshop

This afternoon was the start of my Acadia Photography Workshop in wonderful Maine. We started with a classroom session where we talked about light, creatively using a wide angle lens and we got to know each other. Four of the participants had gone to my workshop in France last year and decided there to join me in Maine this year. The other four photographers had done workshops with me before, so it was nice to have a workshop full of people I knew!

We went to nearby Eagle Lake to get our shooting started. It is a beautiful area with a couple of ponds and the amazing lake lined by large trees and some rocks along the shoreline. We were treated to spectacular light as the sun went down, turning the clouds into a colorful ceiling reflecting in the water. It was a great way to end the first day.

10 May 2018

A pretty evening on the Delaware

The weather was looking pretty stormy this afternoon so I decided to see if I could run down a thunder storm. I headed west from my Somerville, NJ, home looking for a fun rural storm shot. There wasn’t much going on as I drove so I thought I would go to the lovely burg of Frenchtown on the Delaware River bordering Pennsylvania. Frenchtown is quaint and pretty and it was getting pretty dark as I rolled into town. The sky wasn’t great so I walked along the canal looking for something unusual. I didn’t find it and went back to the bridge crossing the river to try some long exposures. Moving water and clouds always look great during a long exposure so I set the camera on 30 seconds and started shooting. It’s not my favorite photo ever but it was a nice evening on the Delaware.

03 May 2018

Using a long exposure to build up color

There is something special about a long exposure – especially when water is involved. A long exposure of moving water, leaving the camera’s shutter open more than two seconds, turns reality into a soft, surreal scene. After the sun set this evening and the other people left the Cape May, NJ, beach as darkness set it, I was able to shoot some of my favorite scenes, just the ocean, beach and sky. Over the years I have learned to stick around after sunset for the best color. Right before the sun goes down there can be a bright blast of color and again the color get rich right after sunset. For about 15-20 minutes the color can get rather blah but then varying, softer colors can come in and create a very different feel. I’m amazed how often I see photographers pack up their gear right after sunset, not knowing that many times the best is yet to come. Sometimes I tell them to hang out and other times I hoard all the beauty for myself. Tonight I had it all to myself. I made a bunch of exposures, trying many different settings and angles. This one was with a 16mm lens set at f/5.6 with the shutter open for 30 seconds so the water would be nice and smooth. The long exposure also builds up the soft color.

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.

[envira-gallery id=”13691″]
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 Aug 2015

The old and new coexist along New York City’s High Line

EscapesGlass and treeOne of New York City’s newest attractions was made out of something old. Someone had the great idea of turning an old elevated railway into a natural park and thus the High Line was created. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. The area around the High Line was once the booming meat, fruit and biscuit center of New York. The new park gives a unique view of the city and has created its own green spaces.

Like all of NYC, it is full of diversity and I love my two views of city buildings, the old and the new.

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

21 Aug 2014

A beautiful end to the day in British Columbia

The people of Cortes Island live close to nature and appreciate the beauty that surrounds them. They are big into recycling and reusing, to the point that they have a Free Store at the recycling center that is staffed by volunteers. If you don’t need something, drop it off and it will be sorted and somebody else can take it for free. It is a great idea but I think it takes a special place for it to work.

We had a great dinner outside at Squirrel Cove tonight overlooking the cove as the sun got low. It was a beautiful scene as boats floated in the cove surrounded by mountains. After dinner we went to the west side of the island for sunset. The sun was just dropping as we got there and I was able to catch it as it set behind some boats. The color was good right after sunset but I knew it would get better if waited another 30-45 minutes and we weren’t disappointed. Reds, blues and pinks combined to make the sky glow and the water come to life. A beautiful end to the day.

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

bc-1971

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.