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Tag : sunset

29 Sep 2019

Photographing lighthouses in Maine

Maine’s coast is hard to beat for great scenery and when you toss in a bunch of lighthouses it becomes a true visual treat. I hosted a workshop this weekend that started with driving from New Jersey and picking up people along the route to Portland in my 12 passenger Sprinter van. We had people from five states including Florida for the fast three day excursion and we photographed 10 lighthouses.  The weather was ideal giving us brilliant sunrises and colorful sunsets. We went to classic locations that every photographer should see including Portland Head and Nubble and some lesser known ones. 

I rarely take groups to places I haven’t been before but I had a gap and did a ton of research to find us another place to shoot between Portland and our Saturday night location in Rockland. Squirrel Point lighthouse looked good in my research and I knew it would be a fairly long hike but as we were walking out we crossed a small bridge and I noticed the tide was coming in. I tried to see if I could find a high tide line or something to tell if the water came up to the bridge but I couldn’t see anything. Since I hadn’t read about any problems and I couldn’t see anything, we ventured on. We photographed the lighthouse for a while and some of the group was ahead of the rest and a gentleman out running told them to hurry because the rising tide would be a problem. And it was. When we got to the bridge both ends we almost a foot deep in water. Our runner friend came back and asked if there was anything he could do to help. I had some cheap plastic boot covers in the van and he was kind enough to run the 1/4 mile to get them and bring them back. Some of our people had already ventured across before I got there and either took their shoes and socks off or just went ahead and got their feet wet. 

The runner came back, seeming to enjoy running through the water and helping us. I assisted the rest of our group put on the little plastic bag/boots and they made their way dryly through the water. Disaster averted.

For me the best part of the weekend was sunset on Saturday at Marshall Point Lighthouse, which just happened to be where Forrest Gump finished his run. The evening clouds were great and as darkness set in I got out my trusty flashlight and did some light painting of the walkway and the lighthouse. We were given a great show and it was a wonderful weekend.

29 Jun 2019

From street art to Milky Way

This Chile adventure keeps getting better. Today we made the journey along the coast from Valparaiso to La Serena. It is more than a five hour drive on the Pan American Highway, I thought about flying but seeing the country from the ground seemed more fun. We didn’t stop a lot, I wanted to get to La Serena, get settled in and go out do some night photography.

We stopped at a little fishing village that was pretty fun. Chile is a modern country, you won’t find carts pulled by mules through dusty villages. Cell phone coverage is better than in the U.S. and although there is some poverty, Chile is one the most affluent in South America. This town had a marina and nice park along the ocean. There was a helipad with horses roaming around it. They weren’t really fenced in, they just kinda stayed along the ocean. A couple of them wandered over into some cactus and found something to eat. They were pretty good at not getting their noses pricked.

After settling into our apartment we headed out to a lighthouse I had found. It was on a beautiful beach lined with hotels and restaurants. The lighthouse is being renovated so it made for tough photography but the sunset was spectacular and there were plenty of people on the beach even though it is winter in Chile, although the temperature was in the upper 60’s.

We had dinner near the beach then went into the countryside to find a dark area to shoot the Milky Way. This area is one of the darkest places on earth but La Serena is a city of 200,000 and the area has 400,000 and getting away from the light pollution isn’t easy. I took a dirt road east of the city for about 30 minutes. I had done some research on Google maps and found an intersection with another dirt road that looked interesting. Even that far away from the city there was plenty of light on the horizon but it was dark enough. There happened to be an old stuffed chair where I pulled off the road. It was a perfect place to sit and do some stargazing but we weren’t going to touch the old thing. It did make for a great foreground under the Milky Way.

27 Jun 2019

In Chile for another photo adventure

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time, almost two years. I’m in Chile leading a workshop that will climax in photographing the total solar eclipse on Tuesday. We are meeting today in Santiago, going to the cool town of Valparaiso tomorrow and then driving up the coast to our base in La Serena for the eclipse.

I had flown through Santiago when I came to Chile in December to scout next year’s eclipse in the southern part of the country but this one is in the north and I haven’t been there. It will be a true adventure.

My plane arrived around 7:00 a.m. and I met one of the participants, Jane from New York, at the airport. We got the rental van, checked in to the hotel and I took a nap. Overnight flights are tough and even though I slept a good deal I wanted to make sure I didn’t start the trip sleep deprived. Jane joined me a little after noon and we went into Santiago. I had done research on places to go but it always hard. I read about a park on a mountain overlooking the city. It was cool but didn’t make for great photos. On the way down there was a Japanese garden that looked interesting, so we stopped. It was pretty but it is winter in Chile so the plants were very vibrant.

We went over to a neighborhood where there is a lot of street art. There happened to be a street market but it was shutting down by the time we got there. There were a series of multi-story apartment buildings with windowless walls on the end facing the street. A local art museum paid artists to paint murals on the walls and they were spectacular. It was a great place to make some fun photos. The locals were extremely friendly, many hamming for photos when they saw our cameras. It was a great experience.

We then went to the heart of old Santiago to a tourist area around a large open square surrounded by a cathedral and old government buildings. Street parking is different in Chile. Rather than have meters they have people come around as you park on the street and print out a ticket. When you leave you pay the street attendant. I had experienced it once in December but didn’t quite remember that was the way it is done. The attendant didn’t speak much English and I didn’t pay enough attention in my high school Spanish class to really get by. I finally understood what was going on and we were off to see the sights.

There is a large street closed off to traffic and lined with vendors. A large number of the vendors were in wheel chairs, to the extent that both Jane and I wondered if it was a marketing tool more than a necessity. I wanted to stick around long enough to see if they walked away when they were done selling. A couple were obviously in need of the chair.

We were there as the sun went down and the sky took on some wonderful colors. New, modern buildings had sprung up next to the old ones and made for a striking contrast. After the sun went down the lights came on and the colorful sky made for some nice photos. We were meeting the other participants back at the hotel for dinner and it was a great start to a new photographic adventure. 

28 Apr 2019

Another shot at New York City bridges

One of the really fun workshops I do is a day in New York City photographing some of the bridges. We start the day under the George Washington Bridge where there is the Little Red Lighthouse that not many people know about. They literally built the huge bridge over the tiny lighthouse and since the lighthouse is so small it didn’t get it the way much during construction. Once the bridge was completed and was lit up the lighthouse was decommissioned. It went into disrepair and was about to be torn down but there was public outcry because of a children’s book that had been written about it. Now it is part of the NYC park system and there for all to see, if you can find it.

Then we went to the tan and black Queensboro Bridge, which may be the prettiest large bridge in the city. It is officially the Ed Koch Bridge but not many people call it that. We ended the day in Brooklyn, walking up on the bridge, which is always exciting. Then we went to the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass and is a cool area. There is a spot where you can photograph the Empire State Building framed by an arch in a Manhattan Bridge stanchion. It had been cloudy and threatening rain all day but the clouds cleared and we had a great sunset.

After the sun went down we walked over to the side of the Brooklyn Bridge as darkness fell on Manhattan and the lights of the city came up. It is always a spectacular sight and it doesn’t get any better than tonight. What a great way to end a beautiful day.

There are more of my photos and images made by the workshop participants at https://lorenphotos.com/nyc-bridges-4-28-19-photos/

06 Dec 2018

Venturing to the lake area of southern Chile

After my experience photographing 2016’s total solar eclipse in Oregon, I decided I was an eclipse chaser and made a personal pledge to see as many total eclipses as I could. Since the experience was so cool I want to share it with others so I came to Chile today to scout locations for the eclipse coming through here in 2020. This is the beautiful lake region of southern Chile, a long way from home. It took 24 hours, three flights and a long drive get to the resort town of Pucon but boy is it worth it.

Pucon sits next to one of the five most active volcanoes in the world, Villarrica, and on a large lake of the same name. This is where many people from South America and around the world come to enjoy pure nature at its finest. This is a mecca for outdoor adventure activity, the ultimate being hiking up the volcano and looking inside. I won’t be doing that, it is quite the hike and even though it is summer here, plenty of snow caps the mountain. It doesn’t really take that long to do the hike but everything I read said you better be in pretty good shape. I’m thinking that being in shape ten years ago doesn’t count.

I came with my friend Bob Wagner who is excited to make some photos of this part of the world. Our final flight landed in Temuco, about a 90-minute drive from Pucon. Before getting to Pucon you drive through the town of Villarrica, which is also on the lake and has a magnificent view of the volcano. We went to our hotel in Pucon and immediately came right back to Villarrica for a lovely dinner along the lake and photographed the volcano and lake as the sun set. The light was magical, especially after sunset when amazing colors filled the sky and lit up the water.

We did plenty of shooting, made the drive back around the lake to Pucon and after editing some photos, I’m ready for a good night’s sleep.

04 Nov 2018

A beautiful day of photography in Bucks County

I had a lot of fun today doing a one-day workshop in Bucks County, Pa. Eleven people joined me as we toured the farm country, covered bridges and beauty that is Bucks County. 

One of my favorite places is a private little farm that has an incredible stone house and across the small dirt road is an old mill that was moved there many years ago. It was never a working mill at this location and I talked to the owner earlier this year and she didn’t even know when it was moved there. There are times when there is water flowing over the wheel but not today. Since it is private property we have to stay on the road to photograph it, which is OK because they have some small farm animals and even though the location is pretty secluded it seems quite a few people know about it. 

We went to a couple of historic sites including one that is part of Washington Crossing State Park. This near where Washington and his troops crossed the icy Delaware River during their surprise Christmas Day attack on Trenton, which was a turning point of the Revolutionary War. With the election coming up, it really struck me how we were walking on sacred ground, a place where people were willing to throw away everything they had, even give their lives in a war that was essentially unwinable, to gain freedom for themselves and others. We are lucky to live in a country where we are able to say what we think, express our opinions and be able to vote for our leaders.

We finished the day with something I love to do: light painting. We went to an old covered bridge that I knew didn’t have any street lights. There may be others but it is the only covered bridge I’ve seen over a canal. Everyone got lined up to make images and I got out my flashlight to paint the bridge with light. We did a few shots and a lady came out of a nearby house to see what we were doing in the dark. Her house is surrounded by No Trespassing signs, and even though we weren’t on her property I thought she might be coming out to give us grief. It was the opposite, she was interested in how we could make pictures in the dark. I guess she hadn’t seen anybody try lighting up the bridge. It was a fun way to end the day.

View some of the photos made by the participants.

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!

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.

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.

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.

05 May 2018

Putting light on an old bunker

The last thing we did today during my Cape May Photographic Creativity Workshop was to break out my big flashlight again and illuminate an old WWII concrete bunker on one of Cape May’s beaches. The bunker is pretty cool but not pretty. Built right at the water’s edge to watch for German attacks, it is now well back from the water but surrounded by sand. There are no lights nearby which makes a perfect object for light painting. After the sun went down we set up our tripods and I painted the bunker several times. I tried lighting it from different directions to see how unique each one looked. I liked how this angle brought some detail and how the light looked on the sand.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is calling for lots of rain, so we may end up in the classroom rather than the field but it has been great working with people as they shoot and trying some new things.

04 May 2018

Thinking about creativity in Cape May

This afternoon was the start of my Cape May Photographic Creativity Workshop and I have a great group of people. We spent a couple of hours talking about creativity and pushing ourselves beyond the obvious. I found a great quote from Picasso that goes something like “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I can’t say that I understand most of Picasso’s paintings but that is the point, I don’t need to. We get so wrapped up in making sure that others like what we do that we drop into a formula that worked once and we force everything else into that same formula. We don’t try new things, we don’t try to fail, we only try to succeed the same way we did the last time.

When I started in photography I had to buy film and pay for processing, so it cost me money I didn’t have to make mistakes. Fortunately I worked as a newspaper photographer and shot pictures all day every day and I could make a safe picture and then try anything I wanted to see if it would work. I learned a lot more from my failures than I did from my successes. I still do. When I’m out shooting I try lots of different things and shoot a lot of bad photos. It doesn’t cost anything more than time and if I come back with nothing then the worst thing that has happened is that I had a great time being out of my office and being creative. 

Creativity really comes down to three things: exploring, discovering, and imagining. Wow, isn’t great to be able to go out with a camera in hand and worry about nothing other than exploring, discovering and imagining! Explore. Discover. Imagine. When I do that the result doesn’t matter, it is the journey. If I focus on the journey and explore, discover and imaging then it is amazing how many times great results pour in. 

After the classroom session we went out shooting near Cape May’s lighthouse. We finished the day by painting light on the lighthouse. I have a great big flashlight and illuminated the lighthouse well after sunset while there was a little light left in the sky. The long exposure made the clouds floating past look intense as stars and planets shined through the clouds. A great way to end the first day.

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.

03 May 2018

In my mind there is always more to a pretty sunset

There are times when I’m shooting and big, heavy thoughts come into my head. I think about how the photo might be symbolism for the meaning of life or wonder how images alter the behavior of people. Fortunately that doesn’t happen often or I might be goofier than I already am. But there are times when I’m out enjoying the world while I have a camera in my hand and the scene is just classic pretty.

This evening I was wandering a beach in Cape May, NJ, as the sun was going down. It wasn’t the most spectacular sunset ever but it was pretty and the few people sharing the beach were enjoying it. A couple was walking on a levy jutting out in the water as the sun lowered on the horizon. I like watching people, seeing how they interact and making up stories about them. This couple was young, obviously on a date and didn’t know each other well. They didn’t touch or hold hands but she walked in a demur way and he had a macho strut. If I were a fiction writer this couple would fit well into a romance novel where she ends up being a serial killer who strips the tattoos off his arms with a potato peeler. Now you know why I’m not a writer. Anyway, I like trying to capture body language in my photos and they were great unwitting subjects. Although I usually like to talk to people I photograph, I wanted to keep this couple anonymous so my stories about them wouldn’t be spoiled. I would have freaked out a bit if I saw she had any kitchen implements.

05 Jul 2017

The view from Provence is great

While we were getting breakfast at a great little bakery in Gordes, I walked over to the edge of town. In Gordes, the edge is really an edge, take a couple extra steps in the wrong direction and you are in flight. There were a couple of other Americans making photos in the street and one of them paused to change her camera. She made a nice foreground looking out across the valley filled with wheat fields and vineyards.

We then went to the neat town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which has several canals running through town. I was fascinated by a little green boat floating on a canal, I worked it pretty hard but wasn’t overly thrilled with the image I made, it will be fun to see what the others got from the same scene.

We went to several other towns and as the sun was going down we found ourselves back in Bonnieux, where we started yesterday. We pulled up to the same overlook as the sun was setting on the distant horizon. We enjoyed the tailgate dinner we had two days ago so we had planned on doing it again. We had an even bigger spread tonight in a tremendous location looking out over the French countryside. The sunset for a wonderful photo and end to another great day in Provence.