Tag : Scenic

28 Oct 2018

An autumn tour of the Connecticut countryside

Today I joined forces with friend and Connecticut photographer Ron Lake for a tour of the Connecticut countryside. Autumn is a beautiful time to get out and wander around the north western part of the state which has beautiful farms, rolling hills, waterfalls and great scenery. We didn’t hit peak foliage but it was still beautiful.

I spend a good deal of time in Vermont looking for cool farms but CT has some unique barns in that they don’t always go for the traditional red or white barn. They might be pink or blue, which is fun to see. I look forward to next fall when we can do an even more extensive exploration.

12 Oct 2018

Vermont fall foliage never disappoints

It was a magical week for my annual Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop. I can’t think of many things more fun than hanging out in Vermont with new friends and taking in the beauty of autumn’s color show. It is great to show off my stomping grounds to people from all over the world, this week I had photographers come from Ecuador, Amsterdam, Florida, California, Washington state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. 

We went to some of the popular spots, like Jenne Farm, which some people say is the most photographed farm in America. It doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t, it is a beautiful scene. We also went to some of my favorite little known locations, I like showing my visitors places they wouldn’t find on their own unless they spent a ton of time driving around. I’ve created a gallery of some of my photos below. If you’d like to see some photos made by the workshop participants go here: https://lorenphotos.com/vermont-foliage-workshop-photos-2018/

22 Aug 2018

What’s all the Iceland foss about?

Today as part of my Iceland Photography Workshop we headed back to Reykjavik but not before stopping at some great locations. When we were heading south on Monday we stopped at a couple of waterfalls but because of the rain I wasn’t happy with the images we were able to get and we even skipped one waterfall. Well, we got the chance to shoot them today as we went north and the weather is wonderful. When the sun is out there is frequently a rainbow in the mist from Skogafoss and it makes for great pictures. It didn’t disappoint today, but the crowds were there. So I played enforcer, I had our people line up their shot of the falls and I went and cleared out the people in front of us by telling them there was a major photo shoot going on and I needed them to move for one minute. It pretty much worked, there was one kid who didn’t speak English and I thought dragging him out of the way might be too much. But his size added some nice scale to the photo showing how big the falls are.

Then we went to what might be my favorite location in Iceland. Kvernufoss is near Skogafoss but completely different because most people don’t know about it. You have to climb a fence (they put a ladder over it, so it is OK to do it) and then hike about 1/2 mile back and some parts are narrow and tricky. The lack of people and beauty of the hike are special. You can get a special view by going behind the foss (foss means waterfalls in Icelandic, one of the few words shorter than English). If I was able to go to only one place in Iceland, this would be it. The combination of peacefulness, beauty and nature doesn’t get any better.

We didn’t want to leave but had to get back to Reykjavik, although we made a couple more stops. Gullfoss is one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, but that comes with the price of lots of tourists. It is magnificent to see and appreciate the power and strength of water. Nearby is Geiser, the original geyser for which all others are named. Old Geiser isn’t too faithful and rarely shoots off but there is one a couple of hundred yards aways that blows about every 10 minutes. It is a lot of fun and with the sun getting lower in the sky made a pretty nice photo today.

21 Aug 2018

Things that are uniquely Iceland

If I could only spend one day in Iceland and want to see things that are fairly unique to the country, then we went there today during my Iceland Photography Workshop. Since it was raining we started the day shopping in Vic, which isn’t unique, but it is fun to see things made in Iceland. I warned the group to watch for thins that look Icelandic and are made in China. They did pretty good with that.

As we drove the southern coast the weather started getting better and by the time we got to a secluded tongue of the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest, the rain had pretty much stopped. This is one of the coolest places I go in Iceland, there are no other people around and the view of the glacier, a lagoon and mountains is stunning. High clouds hid much of the mountain but the color of the glacier and sheer size is daunting.

Then we stopped at Diamond Beach, a truly unique Icelandic experience. Another tongue of the glacier comes down to a large lagoon that is connected to the ocean by a short river. Salty sea water goes back up the river into the lagoon helping break off chunks of ice that float back down the river and wash up on Diamond Beach’s black sand. The pounding waves wear down the ice and when sunlight hits them they look like diamonds sitting on black velvet. Quite the sight. It is fun to make pictures of the waves flowing past ice and see what happens when the shutter is open for a long time. I could spend days on that one beach.

I’m also fascinated by the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. They are such a weird phenomenon, with the colorful display of light glowing at night. I first saw them during my trip in March and was awed and I keep a eye on several iPhone apps that let me know when they are active in hopes I can see them back in Vermont. The aurora is active all year but it doesn’t get dark enough in the summer months to see them. I checked my apps before this trip and saw the activity level was pretty high and we would have enough darkness to possibly see them. What a bonus! Tonight the activity was fairly high and the sky was giving us some major breaks in the clouds so we went to a hilltop away from town to see what would happen. We got a show! Green light danced along the horizon and an occasional red/orange light popped in. We could see clouds heading our way and knew we wouldn’t have long but what we saw was awesome. I can’t wait to come back in Feb. for another workshop when the main focus will be the aurora!

20 Aug 2018

Puffins and volcanic beaches in Iceland

Today for my Iceland Photography Workshop we made the fairly long drive from the Snaefellsjokull Peninsula down to the south coast and our home for the next two days in Vic. There are many things to shoot along the way and we stopped at a couple of the most dramatic waterfalls in Iceland but the weather limited our ability to make great shots. As we got farther south the weather got nicer. 

We stopped at Dyrhólaey cliffs and photographed the puffins. They are cute and colorful little birds that roost near the public area, making it pretty easy to photograph them. They fly away from the cliffs, catch some fish which dangle from their beaks and then come back to pose for photos. They are exciting to see and always make for fun photos.

While up on the cliffs you have a great view of the black sand beaches below. The waves and surf rolling up on the sand creates a stunning contrast.

The next stop was Reynisfjara Beach, which was filled with tourists. You really want to be there at low tide otherwise you can’t walk around to see the cool caves created when lava flow hit the ocean. There are basalt columns that are quite unusual and very graphic. They were created when the flowing lava cooled quickly. 

19 Aug 2018

What to do when the sky doesn’t cooperate in Iceland

Today as part of my Iceland Photography Workshop we ventured up to Kirkjufellsfoss, one of the most scenic waterfalls in Iceland. I came here in March, having gotten out of bed at 3 a.m. and driving two hours for sunrise to find the falls completely frozen. When I was here in July it was so rainy and overcast that we couldn’t see the top of the nearby mountain, one of the main features of the locations. I had hoped to shoot at sunrise today but it was overcast and we caught up on a little sleep. There are two levels to the falls and the classic shot is the lower falls in the foreground and the mountain in the background. I was able to pull some blue out of the overcast and it made for a decent shot.

When the sky doesn’t cooperate I do what any good photographer does, eliminate it from my photo. So I did some tighter shots of the falls and I love the way the water looks when I use a long shutter speed to render the moving water as a blur. The bright green grass adds to the image.

We eventually ventured toward the small village of Bjarnarhöfn, which has another black church. Again the weather wasn’t behaving, dropping a light mist, so I did what any good photographer does, think black & white. Gray clouds in color look blah but they can look pretty dramatic in B&W, so I shot the church with that in mind. Back closer to Kirkjufellsfoss I stopped at a cool overlook and we all hopped out to make some shots of that scene and I was thinking black & white there also. They came out pretty nice.

17 Aug 2018

Getting to Iceland early

My latest Iceland Photography Workshop starts tomorrow and I came a day early to scout some new locations and let my body acclimate to the time change. Iceland is such a beautiful place, I really can’t spend enough time here, even though this is my third trip this year. I feel so fortunate to be able to see things and meet people I never dreamed of as a kid growing up in rural Indiana. For some reason today I keep having thoughts of a few years ago sitting with my sister Lynda along the shore below her house in British Columbia, Canada, tossing rocks into the water and watching as bioluminescent plankton flash brightly when disturbed by our stones. We talked about how far we were from Indiana and how lucky we have been in our lives.

As I watched the sun slowly go down tonight, I once again realized how blessed I am to witness such natural beauty. I went to Reykjanes Lighthouse and shot from one side as the sun cast lovely light on it. I then drove to the other side and waited to see if any colorful magic would happen and it did. What a beautiful way to be greeted by Iceland!

05 Aug 2018

Bonus night for night skies workshop

My three night Vermont Night Skies and Light Painting Workshop finished last night and since the weather didn’t cooperate on Friday night, I added a bonus night for those who could stick around.

We started with another visit from the International Space Station. It is crazy to imagine being able to stand outside and see a space craft flying past and making photos of it. Catching a ride in that thing would be the ultimate thrill! I took us to a large open field that had some trees to use as a foreground and a cool stone wall.

We finished the night photographing a secluded barn. It isn’t easy to find a red barn that doesn’t have any light hitting it, which is essential since I like to light them with a flashlight. Friend Bob Wagner told me about this one and asked the landowners if we could photograph it. A great way to end the workshop.

21 Jul 2018

Not too abandoned in Iceland

The good thing about an overcast sky is that you don’t have to get up early to catch sunrise! We are all pretty tired from a long day of traveling to get to Iceland, especially since the flight is overnight and not long enough to get a full night’s sleep.

We headed out right away to one of Iceland’s most picturesque waterfalls. Kirkjufellfoss is best known for the towering nearby mountain but today the mountain was shrouded in fog. It didn’t allow us to the get classic shot I had hoped for but it is still pretty amazing with two sets of falls. They aren’t the biggest but they are extremely pretty.

After making plenty of pictures at the waterfalls we went to the nearby harbor town of Grundarfjörður. We went down to the industrial part of the harbor, which only had three of four boats and a few buildings including an abandoned fish processing plant. It being early and a Saturday I expected to see a few people but it was like a ghost town. We walked about for an hour without a car going past or seeing hardly any other people. It was a lot of fun and we found a nearby cafe for lunch that had plenty of people.

I had seen a sign for an artist who had fun stone sculptures around town. We drove over to his studio and he was outside carving away. Ludvik Karlsson likes to go by Liston and has some great work. He carves outside when he can and when it is too cold he goes inside and paints. We bought some small things he carved, I would love to be able to get some bigger work in my suitcase. Liston was a lot of fun to talk with and he enjoyed showing his power tools that are made in America.

We then headed to a lava field covered in moss and ventured to another black church in the extremely small village of Bjarnarhöfn. A sign says this little church is the oldest wood frame church in Iceland. From the size of the door, the people who built it weren’t very tall. It is an amazingly scenic location with rolling hills, sheep and horses and the a fjord behind it.

Our final shoot for the day was at an abandoned house out in the middle of nowhere. I drove down a long path and there it was, a stone foundation and walls were intact but the roof was gone. We still had cloudy skies, it would be great to photograph the stars out there with the old house. Hopefully on another trip.

06 Jun 2018

Final day in Acadia

Today was the last day of my Acadia Photography Workshop for this year. It was a great group who were a pleasure to work with and we made some wonderful pictures. It was cloudy so we didn’t have to wake up early for sunrise. We headed over to one of my favorite Acadia locations, Sieur de Monts, which is an area away from the coast but is extremely diverse. There is a beautiful grove of birch trees, long flowing bright green grass, a garden and trails through large trees. During our classroom session earlier this week I showed one of my favorite Acadia photos I have shot, a path winding through birch trees. I took people over to the spot and they enjoyed shooting photos there. I went off on a different trail looking for some logs and found some beautiful moss growing on rocks and fallen logs. It was something different than I have shot in Acadia before and a great way to end my week here. I can’t wait to come back next year.

05 Jun 2018

Making the most of a rainy day

Our streak of great weather ended and the rain has taken over at my Acadia Photography Workshop. We spent yesterday afternoon and this morning in the classroom, talking about light and looking at some of the photos we have made so far. It is always fun to look at photos made by everyone in the workshop, we are all at the same places but invariably come away with different images. Again, people had their own vision and saw things I didn’t. It was fun looking at what we had created so far.

This afternoon we braved the light rain and went down along Somes fjord and had lunch in the cute village of Northeast Harbor. We stopped along the fjord where we made some fun photos of the gray day and shot around the marina in Northeast Harbor. I saw a lone tree isolated against the foggy shore and loved the way it stuck out.

When we left Northeast Harbor we stopped at the beautiful Asticou Gardens, even though there was still mist falling. I’ve seen the garden looking much better but there is always something to shoot there. I focused on some raindrops that lined up on a leaf. It can be tricky to get all the drops in focus, so I moved my tripod so I could get the most possible the same distance away from my lens so they would all be in focus. I worked on the drops for quite a while and came out of the rain with a photo that I really like.

03 Jun 2018

Beautiful afternoon for stomping around Acadia

After our early morning shoot during my Acadia Photography Workshop we took a mid day break to grab a nap and get cleaned up. After lunch we headed to the south west side of Mt. Desert Island. One of the most iconic things on the island is a little bridge in Somesville, so we stopped there. There is usually a field of wild lupine flowers growing near the bridge. This year everything is blooming a little later than normal so there weren’t as many lupine as usual but the ones that were there looked great. I tried to isolate one as it was surrounded by yellow wild flowers.

As some of the people were photographing the bridge one noticed something big flying across the street near the cove. It was a bald eagle! I love seeing eagles and during all the time I’ve spent in Acadia it was the first time I’ve seen an eagle. It flew around a little and landed in a tree not too far away. It was quite a thrill.

After photographing the eagle for a while we went farther down the island to our destination of the quaint fishing village of Bernard. It is a cool place and has my favorite lobster pound which is also a great place to make pictures. My plan was to shoot around the harbor and then have dinner at Thurston’s, right there on the water. I grabbed lunch at Thurston’s on Thursday, using my stop as excuse to make sure they were open while having a fresh lobster roll. Well I didn’t see the sign that they are no longer open on Sunday’s since late last summer. As we were walking around I ran into the owner and he said he can’t find enough help to stay open on Sundays and since the fishing fleet doesn’t go out on Sundays it was a good day to give his family a rest. I knew of another good restaurant on the other side of the harbor so we went over there and got our lobster.

We ended our day photographing Bass Harbor Lighthouse. There were a few other photographers there when we got there and they were where I wanted our people to be. I’ve photographed the lighthouse from the rocks below it several times and the best shots are when I used my big flashlight to illuminate the lighthouse and rocks. Since we were a little crowded, I didn’t shoot photos, only helped people with their exposures and did the lighting. When we got there the people already there acted a little miffed that eight photographers showed up but they were pretty happy when they saw how much better I made it look with my light painting. It was a long day but we made lots of great photos.

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.

01 Jun 2018

A day in Acadia

The bad thing about loving to shoot sunrise is that I have to get up before the sun. And when I’m in Maine at this time of year, sunrise comes way too early. So I got up at 4 a.m. and headed into Acadia National Park to see the sun rise and, as usual, it was worth the effort.

I went to Monument Cove and was treated to beautiful light pouring onto the rocky coast. The first light of the day is special and it is always exciting to see the warmth of the sun illuminating Acadia’s coast. After shooting for a while I went over to one of the ponds, made some photos and enjoyed the gorgeous morning. Feeling a bit tired from the early morning, I took a good long nap, which really felt good.

Later in the day I went back out to catch the evening light. I went up to Cadillac Mountain to see what the world looked like today from the highest point on the East Coast.  The day had been fairly clear but the clouds were coming in as I got to the top of the mountain. Many times that can be a problem but today they rolled across the islands near Bar Harbor. As the clouds blew across the water they flowed around the islands. Looking down from above the clouds surrounded one island making for a fun photo.

I then went over to a beaver pond I had seen earlier. It was getting dark and I decided to light the beaver hutches with my large flashlight as the sky became dark. I was making long exposures and a beaver was swimming around. I shined my light on a beaver and followed it as it swam. Suddenly it slapped its tail on the water making a large splash and the beaver disappeared. The splash showed up nicely in my photo, it was great way to end the day.

31 May 2018

Blessed to be in Acadia

On Saturday is the start of the 2018 edition of my Acadia Workshop in Maine. I like to arrive early so I can do final scouting to see what has changed since the last time and to do some personal shooting. Being here alone gives me the chance to really work on getting a few really good shots because I can be selfish and shoot whatever I want for as long as I want. When I have the group, I need to make sure they are being cared for and it limits my shooting, which is OK, that’s my job.

I was recently talking to a client who told me about a workshop she did in Iceland and how the photographer leading the group was there to make pictures and didn’t care what the clients were doing. One evening they wanted to go out and shoot the Northern Lights and the pro said he was tired and they could look out the hotel windows if they wanted to see the lights. None of the clients will be going on another trip with that guy.

It is a long drive from N.J. to Acadia, I took my time and made a couple stops so it was almost 10 hours and I was pretty tired when I checked into the hotel. The devil hopped up on my shoulder and told me to stay at the hotel and rest while the angel got on the other shoulder and said to take advantage of the beautiful and get out and shoot. I made the right choice and got out of the hotel.

It was past dinner time so I pulled one of my favorite tricks and headed to the grocery store to get cheap food to eat in the car rather than waste time getting dinner at a restaurant. With an egg salad sandwich from the grocery deli and fresh bananas I headed into the park. I did some quick drive bys of favorite locations to see how they were looking and then settled in at Jordan Pond.

The sun was getting low and the sky was clear, which isn’t great for sunset photos. I walked a little ways around the pond and got away from the only people, a family with too many kids. I love being here this time of year because the crowds haven’t arrived yet. I sat on a big rock at the edge of the pond and had my egg salad and banana picnic while watching the bright sun set over the horizon. I rarely photograph the setting sun, especially on a cloudless day, so I just sat there and enjoyed the incredible scenery and lack of humanity. After the picnic was devoured and the sky was starting to get darker I got out the camera and mounted it on the tripod. Once again I was amazed to be treated to an outrageous show by nature and it seemed like it was just for me. I am blessed.

About 40 minutes after sunset the colors I had been waiting for appeared in the western sky. What a great show. I am truly blessed.