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Tag : Water

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.

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.

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.

21 Aug 2019

A little Icelandic wind to keep things interesting

Today we made the journey back to Reykjavik as my Iceland Photography Workshop is nearly the end. One of the highlights of coming to Iceland in August is photographing puffins, those cute, colorful and rather sad looking cuddly birds. They spend about nine months a year floating on the ocean and come ashore to breed and hatch their eggs then head back to the open sea. I found a spot where they roost on a cliff that is easy for photographers to access. I’ve made some great shots there in the past I was hoping everyone on this trip would be able to get some too. When we got up this morning it was raining and blowing hard. I delayed our departure hoping the weather would clear and it did – somewhat. The rain went away but the wind got even stronger. It was a constant 50-60 mph making walking hard and keeping a camera steady even harder. Iceland is the third windiest place on earth and the other two are uninhabited islands.

The puffins were having a tough time too. The cliff where we get a good close view is a bit of an L shape and we stand at the end of the short part of the L. That is where puffins land about 15-20 feet away on a couple rocks with a good coating of puffin poop. That is where I tell my photographers to watch, when they walk on the rocks you get a great shot. But the wind was too strong for them to land on our side of the cliff. Several tried and could only circle and go elsewhere. They spend the morning flying out and fishing and bringing their catch back to their nests in tall grass. Many were landing on the other side of the cliff but it is too far away to get a nice tight shot. It was fun to watch them navigate the wind and find a way to land. Several of were amazed when one puffin flew toward the cliff and spun around at the last moment and flew backwards into its landing spot. They have dealt with the wind before.

Realizing the wind wasn’t going to let up we had to leave and start our journey back north. We had a couple of stops to make along the way, one being at Gullfoss, a very large waterfall that is very impressive. It is one of the main tourist spots in Iceland and there is always a crowd. It is hard to photograph the whole thing, so I concentrated on a small part. We also went nearby to Geysir, where Icelanders claim the original geyser was seen. Geysir itself is now dormant but one a couple hundred feet away spurts every nine minutes at most. It creates a blue bubble seconds before it blows, which is a challenge to catch with a camera. On to Reykavik for one more full day!

19 Aug 2019

Peace and waterfalls in Iceland

Toady we made the long drive from Grundarfjörður down to Vic, our Summer Iceland Photography Workshop home for the next two nights. One the way we stopped at three tremendous but different waterfalls. Two of them are well known, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. They are too well known, all the tour buses stop there and there is always a huge crowd unless you go extremely early or late in the day. Since they were on our way to Vic, we went at the same time as everyone else. Seljalandsfoss is a very long drop and you can walk behind it, which make for great photos. If you work it right you can eliminate a lot of people from your photos, but it is tricky.

Skogafoss is much wider but you can’t go behind it without drowning. You can get out in the river below the falls and keep some of the people out of the shot but you need to be prepared. I bought some cheap plastic boot covers and gave them to some of our photographers to try but they fell apart about as fast as it took to put them on. When you get close enough to be in front of most of the people you get a good deal of spray hitting you. So I also brought bright yellow micro fiber towels for each person and showed them how to play peek-a-boo with the towel over the camera lens to keep the front dry.

But the highlight for me and the other photographers is a smaller waterfall that most people don’t know about and that is a good thing so I won’t mention the name. You have to climb over a fence and hike about a 1/2 mile back to it. There are a couple of rather tricky spots where you have to climb up and over rocky humps, which also keeps some people out. But once back there the scene is serene and magical. It may be my favorite place in Iceland, I could spend hours there surrounded by the lush green gorge, flowing river and the only sound being falling water. You can also go behind the falls and look out through the gorge and see only the people you came with. Before you get to the falls you are up on a hill looking down on the stream going through the valley. There isn’t a more peaceful place to be.

Click on an image to see a larger version, then you can scroll through them.

06 May 2019

Being creative in Cape May

One of New Jersey’s many jewels is Cape May, a beautiful beach town at the southern tip of the state. Cape May has long been a tourist town, they claim to be America’s first beach town. It has a huge white sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean and nearby beaches on the Delaware Bay, although they tend to be not as white. The town is filled with historic, quaint and colorful Victorian houses that are great fun to view and photograph. It is also happens to be one of the bird watching hot spots in the U.S., especially in migration seasons since the shape of the northeast U.S. funnels birds through Cape May and many stop to rest and eat before crossing the Delaware Bay.

It is the perfect location for a creativity photography workshop, which is why I did it there! It is a great fun to get away and think mainly about being creative with photography. I wanted to emphasize the creative aspects of photography rather than the technical, we often get too wrapped up in the technical and forget to just have fun and experiment. Even though we caught a bit of rain, it was a fun few days and we made some really nice photos while thinking about our creative sides. Take a look at some photos made by the participants at https://lorenphotos.com/cape-may-creativity-weekend-2019/

23 Dec 2018

A day photographing bridges in New York City

I had a fun day today in the big city with friend and fellow pro photographer Ron Lake. We kicked around photographing some of New York’s bridges, which are some of the most amazing structures anywhere. I’m planning a photography workshop to shoot the bridges and wanted to do a final scouting trip.

Before meeting Ron I went under the George Washington Bridge to the Little Red Lighthouse. It isn’t easy to get to but it is pretty cool and may be the smallest lighthouse I’ve seen at only 40 feet high. The lighthouse was originally on Sandy Hook in NJ and was dismantled and then rebuilt in this spot in 1921, which was a treacherous section of the Hudson River. When they decided to build the bridge in the same spot somehow the little lighthouse was spared and eventually ended up at part of the New York City park system. Getting to it isn’t easy, especially if you are driving because there is no parking anywhere close. I was lucky to find an early morning spot and made the long walk crossing Riverside Drive and Henry Hudson Parkway over footbridges and through pedestrian underpasses. I wouldn’t want to go there at night by myself.

I picked up Ron and headed to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was opened in 1883 and Ron and I together have been shooting photos for almost that long but even with all the times we’ve walked around or drove over the bridge we hadn’t strolled up on it.

The Brooklyn Bridge has some startling history. Four days after it opened there was a stampede on the bridge when a apparently a woman tripped and set off a quick moving rumor that the bridge was collapsing. Twelve people died and 36 more were injured. People didn’t accept right away that the bridge was safe and many wouldn’t use it. Officials went to the greatest showman of all time, circus man P.T. Barnum and he walked 21 elephants across the bridge. When people saw that they were no longer scared. 

It is a pretty easy walk onto the bridge from the Brooklyn side, you just have to find the entrance and walk up a flight of stairs. Since today was such a beautiful day there were a lot of people walking on the bridge, taking selfies and enjoying the view, which is magnificent. It would be fun to photograph without a ton of people but I worked around them as best as I could.

We made more photos around the base of the bridge and went over to the nearby Manhattan Bridge, which happed to eclipse the Brooklyn Bridge as the world’s longest by four feet when it was finished in 1909. It too is a beautiful bridge, especially when the suspension cables glisten in the sunlight. We know a couple of great vantages that make for cool shots and they didn’t disappoint.

We jumped back in the car, crossed the Brooklyn Bridge back into Manhattan and went up to the Williamsburg Bridge. Not many people call this one pretty but I took us to a park at the base that is pretty neat. This bridge is more industrial looking than the other two and makes for different types of photos. It is easy to get under the bridge and I loved the way the light was playing off the columns and nearby high rise apartments.

Next was the Queensborough Bridge and a couple of little lookouts Ron had found. The paint job on the Queensborough is pretty bright, it is a lovely tan that catches light differently. The tram to Governor’s Island runs alongside the bridge and is fun to see. After getting plenty of shots around the bridge we called it a day.

Below is a gallery of photos, click on one to see a larger image and then you can click through the slideshow.

09 Dec 2018

Taking in southern Chile’s coast

Today I drove from southern Chile’s lake region over to the Pacific coast. I had seen some pretty cool photo of the unique coastline and thought it might be a good day trip during my workshop here in 2020. Where I wanted to go was a little over two hours from Pucon and the drive was pretty easy. The land was fairly flat and this is cattle country. We had steak for dinner one night in Pucon and it was great and this was where it came from. 

Bob’s research turned up a little island of Maiquillahue that looked pretty cool and we made that our destination. We pulled into a little fishing village with a small harbor filled with boats. These obviously weren’t for recreation, they were working boats but there were colorfully painted. One boat had a couple of men working on their nets but the rest were just floating. The road went right along the ocean and just across the street were 25-30 picnic tables with small roofs over each one. It being about noon on Sunday they were filled with families picnic, laughing and some kids were kicking around a soccer ball on the not too level ground. I wished my Spanish was good enough to talk with them and make some pictures but I didn’t want to intrude. 

Interestingly, the town’s name is Mississippi. I have to do some research and see what that is all about and I saw a couple of signs that didn’t have enough s’s and p’s but most of them did.

The beach was gravel and stones and there was one little boy playing around several ropes tied to boats. He was cute and didn’t pay any attention to me with my large tripod, the boats were much more interesting. His mother was back up by the road in a stand selling fresh fish and vegetables. Several woman were working cleaning fish and cutting the veggies, I guess they didn’t get Sunday as a rest day.

We could see the island from the beach and it was much small than we thought. The map showed a road that would up a mountain and back down to another beach near the island so of course I had to take it. It quickly turned to dirt and we started climbing. There were several vantage points to look back down on the Mississippi beach. We got to the top of mountain and started heading back down. Google Maps said it was only 1/4 mile down and we had driven several miles up some pretty steep inclines. I knew this would be pretty steep but what the hell. As we were driving down the very steep dirt road I had flashbacks to the rental car’s tires spinning in the dirt a couple of days ago. There wasn’t any turning back now and when we got to the bottom there were a couple of four wheel drive SUVs and a boat. We had thought we could go out on the island but there wasn’t any way. It didn’t have any beaches we could see, only rocky ledges. We shot some pictures but it wasn’t anything great. I figured I better try getting the rental car out of there while there were still a couple of vehicles that could help. The dirt was tightly packed and the little Peugeot climbed right up. We got to a sharp turn and I could see the gravel was loose there from other vehicles spinning their wheels. I told Bob to hang on and got as much speed up as I could. The front wheels spun a couple of times but we had enough traction to make it out.

We went farther north along to the coast toward some other places we had scouted. We stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks that were pretty nice. We were getting pretty hungry and fine eating establishments weren’t plentiful. As we were driving along a nice looking restaurant popped up. It didn’t seem to be near anything but looked nice from the outside. We went in and it was empty, but it was around 3 p.m. and we were famished. The sweet young woman gave us a nice Hola! and we took a seat. Once again she spoke no English, which is what I expected. The menu was on the wall and I could read enough to know a little what they had. I thought salmon would be good since I had seen some fresh back at the little roadside stand. The waitress starting talking fast, smiled when we didn’t understand each other and asked us several questions which I always answered Si! I asked Bob if he would like some empanadas, so I ordered some, which thought were salmon. She asked a few more questions and it seemed like our order was complete. In a while she brought out a large plate of empanadas, which didn’t seem like salmon but were pretty good. Bob and I thought a meal of empanadas wasn’t bad and as we nearly finished the waitress brought out a large salad. Ok, that’s good. We started into the salad and then came plates with large portions of salmon and french fries for each us. I guess I did order salmon after all! Now we were getting stuffed and then came the dessert. It turns out the waitress upsold me on a five course meal! But it was good and only cost about $20 for the whole thing.

We went to the coast where there was rocky ledges and black sand. Some men were fishing on the rocks and kids were playing in the surf. It was a lovely scene and we made pictures there for a while. As we were leaving I saw a lone tree that was wind blown along the beach. We stopped and made some photos and I could see more unique trees in the distance near the water. The map showed a road being there and I put the rental car through a little more than I would my own car. It was a long day and time to head back to Pucon. 

08 Dec 2018

Exploring a thermal spring in southern Chile

After leaving the large lake today I went to one of southern Chile’s more popular attractions, a thermal bath. Since this area sits on an active volcano, there are many hot springs and baths around. Termas Geometricas is one of the more popular ones and there are plenty of tours that go there. That usually keeps me away, I try to avoid the crowds but the photos I saw of this place were pretty unique. Getting there required another long drive over dusty dirt roads that wound through the mountains and were only one lane at times. Once my Google map said I was there it was still another 15 minutes of kicking up dust, thankfully there were signs.

It was fairly late in the afternoon when we arrived, there were a couple of tour buses in the parking lot and quite a few cars. More people were leaving than arriving so Bob and I went to the entrance booth where I hoped to talk them into letting us go photograph the area without paying. Once again the young woman spoke less English than I do Spanish but I was good enough to be able to say that we only wanted to take pictures. It was a nice try but we needed to pay, so we kicked over the $30. An interesting thing in Chile is they use the $ sign for pesos and one American dollar equals about 650 Chilean pesos. I had to look that up when I hit the ground at the Santiago airport because I was buying a sandwich and the sign said it was $3,000. That must be a good sandwich.

Anyway, once we paid our fee the woman gave each a big thick towel and pointed up the boardwalk. We didn’t bring our bathing suits and we both wished we had. The boardwalk is painted red and runs along a stream up a narrow canyon. As you walk upstream they have built lovely pools that fill with hot water coming out of the mountain. There was a fairly large pool right away with several people in it and a nearby grass roof lodge building with a bar and snacks. Several more pools were right there but the boardwalk kept going and after taking a few shots I followed the boardwalk. Smaller pools were dotted along the boardwalk and it kept going. Each pool had a sign showing the water temperature. As I walked up the boardwalk and the canyon got narrower and more lush. Steam was rising from hot water and it made for a wonderful scene. I finally came to the end and it had to be almost 1/2 mile from where we started. The walk was worth it, there was a beautiful waterfall dropping out of the lush green growth. I checked to see if it was hot water but it wasn’t, it was pretty cold. The hot water was coming from springs in the mountain and being diverted into the pools. But the sight of the waterfalls, beautiful green plants and the red boardwalk was quite a sight. 

08 Dec 2018

I know why they call it Chile’s Lake Region

While eating dinner last night Bob and I were talking to our waiter, a young guy who spoke very good English, which isn’t overly common in southern Chile. He told us about a town to the south that is on a large lake and has yet to be spoiled by tourism. It has an unusual church and it was in the direction of the thermal spring we didn’t get to the other day. The road to Panguipulli was scenic, starting with a fairly flat drive through farmland and then we hit some hills and the pavement went to dirt. That was OK, that usually means more scenic and remote and it sure was this time again. We were on a narrow road high above a large lake. The day had started cloudy but the sun was breaking through and when we came across an overlook the light was great. Streaks of sunlight poured through the clouds lighting up green meadows, mountains and the lake. It was quite the scene and we made a ton of photos before driving on into Panguipulli. 

The town is right at the northern end of the very large Lake Panguipulli. A lone tree stood on the town’s beach but it didn’t look like a place where there was a lot of swimming. I didn’t dip my toe in the water but I’m guessing that since it was glacier fed it was pretty chilly. We then went into the main part of the town and saw the church. It, like much in this part of Chile, has a strong German influence in its design. It has two large steeples on the front and a smaller one on the back. The colors were tan, red and black, quite different from what I would expect in South America.

It looked like it could be in Bavaria and is in need of a good coat of paint. Like most of Chile, the town is modern. My research told me that I wouldn’t likely find donkeys pulling carts on dirt streets and that sure is the case. Cell phone signals were strong everywhere except the most remote areas and people take pride in their buildings and the streets are clean. Many homes aren’t fancy, they look like they are on a subsistence level but that is fine. We didn’t feel threatened anywhere we went.

On the map I saw a cemetery on a hill above the town and we drove up there. It was a large cemetery and full of well kept memorials to those who had passed. Many were decorated, there were lots of photos as part of the headstone and quite a few large structures to honor the dead. It was a lovely scene overlooking the town and the lake. I wandered to one corner and came across something I hadn’t seen before, a children’s section. The graves were small and many had little fences around them. There were at least 100 of them, some look like someone came every day. Others were rather neglected. It was a sobering sight.

We left town and drove south along Lake Panguipulli, which is 8.5 miles wide and 19 miles long. It is surrounded by the Andes Mountains and amazingly beautiful. There are several scenic pulloffs above the lake that give you a view out over the lake and can make for nice photos. At the end of the lake is the small village of Choshuenco, only 20 miles from the Argentina border. I considered driving over to Argentina since I’d never been there but this is a scouting trip and I don’t think I’d take the group there during the workshop, so I tried to stay focused on my mission.

There wasn’t much in Choshuenco but the beach on the lake was lovely. It wasn’t the prettiest or warmest of days so the beach was pretty much empty. As remote as this location is I don’t think it could ever be a packed beach. On the beach there is a wreckage of an old steam boat, it has been propped up so people can climb on it and there is a sign telling about the life of the ship. Of course the sign is in Spanish so I didn’t understand most of it.

Also on the beach is a lone tree, which always captures my attention. I don’t know why but I love to photograph a tree that separated from others. There was one on the other end of the lake on the beach at Panguipulli, but the light and clouds were better for this one. The green of the tree stood out from the lake’s water and surrounding mountains and I just like the way it all came together.

07 Dec 2018

Dust, waterfalls and lakes in southern Chile

The purpose of my trip to southern Chile is to scout the area and see what great locations I can bring clients to in 2020 when a total solar eclipse passes through the area. Well, I saw plenty today. I had done extensive research before coming and had a pretty good idea of what is here and where I should go each day. About 15 minutes into my planned course I saw this dirt road along a beautiful river, so of course I had to check it out. I wanted to head north of Pucon to some large lakes but we were suddenly heading south with no other roads around and I didn’t feel like back tracking. The road went for miles along the river offering occasional views of the volcano but mainly fenced properties. It seems that every property, even in town, is surrounded by a fence. They have some grand entrances and some of the fence posts are thicker than utility poles back home.

After driving for an hour on the dirt road we finally came to another road and I pulled out my Google map to see where we were. I had marked several waterfalls on the map and we were fairly close so we went that direction on more dusty, dirt roads. There was a sign to one I didn’t have marked and the picture on the sign looked pretty cool so we drove down another dirt road to check it out. We got down to what looked to be a parking area and several signs in Spanish and nothing in English. I could make out enough words to know that somebody wanted paid but there wasn’t anybody around and no other cars. A guy came out of a house up the hill and he broke into fast Spanish. I didn’t have much idea what he was saying and my cohort Bob didn’t have any clues. I finally figured out the waterfall was a 15 minute hike up a narrow trail and he wanted about $3 each. It turns out that most of the waterfalls around here are privately owned, or at least managed, and you have to pay to go look at them.

The hike was a little steep in places but not bad, even while carrying camera gear. When we could hear the falls I knew it was going to be worth $3. There were railings and steps down to an overlook that had a couple of viewing platforms with railings made from small tree branches. The falls was fairly large but the way the sun was hitting one side of the gorge it didn’t make for great photos but I was fairly happy with the shots I made.

We stopped at a couple of waterfalls I had marked on the map and they were the same, we were the only ones there and the person collecting money didn’t speak any English, but we made. The last one we went to was a huge falls and you hiked to the base of it. The wind was blowing all the mist from the falls right where you wanted to be to make pictures and I went back to the car to get my raincoat so I wouldn’t be drenched after going to the end of a boardwalk. The sun was shining bright from right above the falls and with the heavy mist it wasn’t possible to make a shot. On a cloudy day with the wind in the other direction it will be a great photo, but not today.

Last night while watching the sun go down I talked with a guy from Argentina who told me there was a big road race the next few days with 3,000 runners. He said they were running up toward the volcano. I knew I didn’t want to get caught up in that mess and my plan to head north fit in perfectly. My detour to the south was a different story. On my map I had located a thermal pool I wanted to see and we headed that direction right into the race. We didn’t see 3,000 runners but we were driving on a very dusty road and kicking dirt in their faces. I went as slow as I could and eventually there was a fork in the road and I went the direction that they weren’t coming from. The bad part was I didn’t know exactly where it went. It headed deep into the Villarrica National Park and the dirt road became a path that wasn’t much wider than the small rental car. At one point I was spinning the wheels in loose rocks getting up a hill. I had to back down and take a second running start at it, made it up around a corner and the road was basically two ruts in the dirt. That was far enough. I turned around and went back and kick up more dust in runners faces. 

I got back to civilization and went toward the large lake that I originally planned on visiting today. I had read about a beautiful white sand beach on one side of the lake. Like a lot of lakes back home, access wasn’t easy. To get to the beach I drove through a narrow residential area that had no parking. There was an access path to the beach between houses and I found a little spot to stick the rental car. It was a beautiful, sunny days, this is summer after all in Chile and the temperature was in the mid 80’s with a nice breeze and no humidity. There were quite a few people on the beach but it was expansive. It turns out it to be a place that would be great to have a picnic, relax and enjoy the scenery but wasn’t a tremendous photo location. I made some shot but didn’t stay very long. I drove to a little town that has what looks to be the only other beach on the massive lake but this beach wasn’t nice sand and you could drive right up to the water. Fun but not what I hoped for photography wise.

I took the scenic route back to Pucon to stop at a set of three waterfalls I had read about. Again, I had to drive a dirt road that wound between a house and their back. There were some pylons in the road and as I approached a very old lady came out to collect our fee. She wasn’t overly friendly but pointed me towards the falls. The first one was next to the parking around and again it wasn’t the right time of day to be there. There was a sign pointing up the hill to the second and third falls. I hiked up the path a ways and then got into the switch backs and noticed my heart rate has accelerated. This was a pretty good climb! As I puffed up the trail there were some tremendous views of the valley and the volcano in the distance. Well worth the hike. The second waterfalls had a couple of viewing areas with railings but you couldn’t get a clear shot of the falls, so I didn’t even shoot any pictures. I decided to take my chances and check out the third falls, hoping it wouldn’t be as far as the second one. It wasn’t too far but it was very cool. It wasn’t a large waterfalls but the scene couldn’t be nicer. The only sound you could hear was the water and everything was green. It would be a great place to go and just ponder. 

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.

30 Sep 2018

Exploring New York City at night

I’m not really a night owl but I had a great time last night hosting a mid town New York photography workshop at night. We started in Central Park before it got dark, which is always a great place to photograph but going alone can be a bit intimidating. This was the first of many workshops I’m planning in the city since I bought a 12-passenger van that makes it convenient for participants to get around. With the help of fellow pro photographer Ron Lake we were able to drop people off and pick them up right at the locations we wanted to shoot.

With the weather being near perfect, Central Park was full of people, which made for some great photos. We started near Bethesda Fountain and the boathouse. The pond was full of row boats, it didn’t look like too many of the people had much experience with oars but they were having fun. A little farther away from the boathouse the boat crowd thinned and I was lucky to catch a gondola floating past while I was on Bow Bridge. The buildings of the city made for a good background.

We left the park and headed for more madness: Times Square. It was packed and full of energy and so bright you don’t need a tripod at night! The lights of color are always awesome and there seemed to be a special energy going on. After getting plenty of shots we got back in the van and went to pretty much the total opposite, a quiet place I know on the East Side where we could get cool shots looking across 42nd St. and then looking east to Queens. They both made for neat shots of traffic moving and blurring with our long exposures.

The night ended in Grand Central Terminal, which is an architectural marvel but it is dark inside. In order to shoot with a tripod you need to get a special permit in advance, which I had done for the group. It is such a cool building and always makes for great photos. It was a good place to end the night.

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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!