Sunday, December 18, 2011

Interesting mistakes

Sometimes a mistake can lead to some interesting creative exploration and even, perhaps, a pleasing image.  Two posts ago I illustrated a shot taken of a small stone building where I had bumped the tripod as I took the shot. Along those same lines, last summer, during my "weekend of the rental Panasonic GH2", I had a similar experience.  I was in a swampy area and it was excessively buggy.  At one point I was trying to take a shot in a fairly dim area, with a longer shutter speed, while being assaulted by mosquitos.  I ended up accidentally pressing the shutter as the camera spun about 90 degrees clockwise as I flapped my arms around trying to clear the bugs away from my head.  Here is the result:

With my finger on the delete button I paused a moment.  It was kind-of an intriguing shot, and compositionally, on some level, it worked for me in an otherworldly sort-of way.  I left it and walked on.  The more I thought about it the more I wanted to try to duplicate that effect.  In fact, it was quite tricky to do.  I'm really not sure how it happened the first time!  But here are the results of my efforts a bit further down the path (by the way, I did come to realize that other people tend to give wide berth to a photographer taking photos while waving the camera around wildly.)

This one is interesting in part because the center is quite sharp!  Almost like a lensbaby effect.

This last one is definitely a bit more like going down the rabbit hole!

The general idea was to use a longish exposure, and rotate the camera very quickly at the exact same time as pressing the shutter.  The original shot was 1/5th second, the second at 1/200th, and the third, at 1/20th.  It's amazing how far you can move a camera in a 20th of a second!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The polarizer: the magic autumn filter

If you only own one filter, make it a polarizer.  Polarizers, in short, remove reflections and glare.  The effect varies depending on what is being photographed, how high the sun is, and what direction the camera is facing, but in general, skies become darker, allowing clouds to be more prominent, glare and reflections disappear from water (allowing a clear view into streambeds among other things), and makes colors more vibrant and increases contrast.  This is a wonderful filter to use to bring out autumn color. 

Note that there are two types of polarizer filters: linear and circular.  Modern cameras require a circular polarizer in order to focus and meter properly.  Circular polarizers consist of two filters fastened together, one of which fastens to the camera and the other rotates freely.  Rotate the outer filter to acquire the polarization effect.  Polarizers work best at an angle facing 90 degrees from the sun, but the effect is still strong for some distance around the 90 degree mark. The effect of reflections on water is also affected by the angle of the camera to the water surface.  Shooting down on a body of water from a height will yield a more dramatic effect than shooting horizontally across the surface.  Fortunately you can see the polarization through the camera, so you can try various adjustments and angles to get the desired effect.

Below is a shot of Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks of New York, in the late morning, using a polarizer.  Although this shot illustrates the use of a polarizer to enhance skies, it also illustrates a potential pitfall of using a polarizer, especially with a wide-angle lens.  Due to the wide angle and also the angle I was facing, the effect is not uniform, growing darker to the left side.  While this can be corrected in post-processing, naturally it's ideal if the polarizing effect is more uniform.  Due to the low-angle to the water, the reflections on the lake were darkened but preserved.

Most commonly, a polarizer is used in an open space when the sun is out, but just because you're in a deep forest or it's cloudy doesn't mean you should put it away.  Experiment!  Since they eliminate reflections on foliage, a polarizer can highlight forest scenes and autumn color, and although the effect is more subtle, they can have a beautiful enhancing effect even under lightly overcast skies.

Here's a shot taken at Fillmore Glen, in Moravia, NY, under overcast skies with a polarizer.  Note the lack of reflections in the water allowing the stream bottom to be visible, and the vibrant colors (which were not enhanced in post-processing):

Here's a pair of "before and after" shots from Fillmore, without post-processing other than sharpening.
First, without the polarizer:
And now with the polarizer:

Be aware that a polarizer also has another effect that may or may not be desirable... It adds about 1.5 stops to exposure time, necessitating either a wider aperature or a longer shutter speed!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Improving on Luck

How much of successful photography, especially nature photography can be attributed to luck?  You just happened to be at the right place at the right time to catch the right light.  Luck is certainly a factor, but you can influence how lucky you are with a little flexibility and preparation.  Keep a camera with you.  As you go to work and come home, especially in Spring and Fall, you may see the sun rising in the morning and setting late in the day as you commute (if you live in rainy Ithaca, NY, you probably see that maybe once a month...)  Be ready if opportunities present themselves.

This was taken one morning on my way to a woodcarving show with my wife.  A crystal clear morning at our house yielded to misty, dew-laden fields in the hills on the way to the show.
Don't wait for luck to happen - try to actively put yourself into situations when something fortunate might occur.  And even if the primary objective isn't working out, be alert for other situations.

This was taken early one morning along Lake Eaton in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.  Fog is one of the few things that will generally guarantee my ability to get out of bed at an early hour, and I had gone out early looking for misty woods shots.  While that didn't work out particularly well, I ran onto a lone loon floating on the lake along with a whole flock of mergansers having a morning spash.

Luck, for me, often seems to come in the form of things not going quite as planned.  While taking a photo of a small out-building at Great Camp Santanoni in the Adirondacks, I accidentally fired off a shot while still adjusting the camera.
Seems almost painterly.  The moral here is, keep an open mind!  What you get may not be what you intended, but it might be interesting in a different way.  Now here's the intended shot.  I don't think it's nearly as intriguing:
Be ready to improvise, change plans, quickly switch your gear and/or settings around, and nab the shot that appears, not the one you may have set up for.  In the shot below, along Lake Durant in the Adirondacks, I was all set with a telephoto zoomed in to capture the tall trees left of center against the sunset sky.  Then behind me I heard someone launching a canoe.  A mildly frantic lens change and reconfigure of the camera, followed by one quick test shot for exposure in this rather complex lighting situation, and I was ready just a moment before the canoe came into view:
Also don't get so caught up in your primary subject that you forget to look all around you.  Many years ago I was taking some shots on a bridge in Annapolis harbor with a friend, snapping away (with slide film at that time!) at an absolutely amazing sunset.  The light faded and we packed up and turned around to leave, and saw this:
We nearly missed what turned out to be one of the best shots of the evening.

So don't leave luck to chance!  Put yourself in positions where luck is more likely to strike, don't limit yourself to only your primary objective, be open to possibilities, don't dismiss your mistakes immediately, and be prepared for a sudden change of plan!  Oh and, don't forget to look behind you or you may miss the best shot!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Keuka Outlet Trail

Whew... it's been awhile!  My "day job" seems to have taken over my existence this summer.  But I do hope to get back to more regular postings here.

A couple of posts ago I talked about a genre I've affectionately come to know as "old stuff in the woods", and for those who have a taste for both hiking and local history, spiced with the opportunity to nab some shots of crumbling ruins, overgrown stone walls, etc., something to look into is the Keuka Outlet Trail.  This is a 7.5 mile walk (or bike) on a smooth, fairly flat path following the outlet of Keuka Lake down about 270 feet in elevation, to Seneca Lake.  This small stream served as the hydro power for many old mills and factories from 1789 to 1968.  The trail passes right by several interesting ruins, a good-sized waterfall, and remnants of a canal with locks, and bits of an old railroad.  This starts as a somewhat urban and industrial walk through part of Penn Yan, along old railroad bridges and past warehouses, but quickly turns into a peaceful, heavily wooded walk, with occasional reminders of the area's past.

Note - do not assume that the visitor center in the old Kelly Tire buildings at about the halfway point is open!  Bring enough water for your whole adventure.  Also, bear in mind that the bulk of the old industrial sites are closer to the Penn Yan end.  I'm told that this is also a fantastic bike ride, but as I don't ride I wouldn't know!

Below are a few tidbits from our day walking through history.  And I promise I won't write about old rusty stuff for awhile after this!
Part of an old paper mill

Giant old flywheel in some brush

Some overgrown machinery near the paper mill

Much of the trail is quite idyllic.

This is a one-shot tone-map done with Photomatix Pro

Another one-shot tone-map.  This is behind the paper mill.  And yes, I was on very solid ground taking this shot!  If one is not exercising common sense, there are ample opportunities to get hurt on this trail. Signs do warn against entering the buildings.

Another one-shot tone-map. This is part of the Kelly Tire complex, a group of semi-intact buildings near the visitor's center.

For more info about the Keuka Outlet Trail and the history of the area, visit this link.  Also the Friends of the Keuka Outlet Trail have a site here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Finger Lakes Land Trust

If you live in or visit the Finger Lakes area of New York, and haven't discovered the Finger Lakes Land Trust, an introduction is in order.  This non-profit organization protects areas that are characteristic of central New York by acquiring land and making it available to the public, by establishing conservation easements on private land, and through helping to fund additional projects.  To date, the Land Trust has protected more than 12,000 acres, with a large variety of features including deep, dark forests, streams, winding gorges, waterfalls, old farmland, wetlands, etc.  Note that Land Trust sites are much less developed and more natural than the local state parks, and one should expect to take care around waterfalls and cliff edges, as there are no fences or warning signs.  Click here to visit their website.

Some of my favorite places to photograph around Ithaca are indeed, in Land Trust preserves.  The Sweedler Preserve at Lick Brook is a particularly stunning one, located a few miles up from Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca. Take Sand Bank to the intersection with Town Line, then turn right and go a few hundred yards to the bridge. Sweedler features a spectacular gorge and waterfall, along with a lovely winding stream with many smaller waterfalls.  1.3 miles of trails enables exploration of the stream as well as a neighboring, smaller gorge. 

A relatively new acquisition is the Roy Park Preserve, near Ellis Hollow, along Irish Settlement Road.  A short trail leads through fields and planted evergreens to an area of beautiful, mature forest, a lean-to, and two streams, one going through a small but picturesque gorge.

A few pictures of the Roy Park preserve can be found below, all taken near sunset.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Old Stuff in the Woods

 As anyone who looks at my photography can likely tell, I'm personally moved by the natural world - waterfalls, deep, dark evergreen forests, mountain streams, foggy mornings, and the joy of time spent in the ever more rare wilderness.  Most commonly this is where my inspiration arises.  And yet... There is something else.  A strange, unlikely genre that I find irresistable, for reasons that I can't fathom. It can only be described as "Old Stuff in the Woods".  Old, moldering buildings, walls, bits of machinery, rusted bits of cars, wells, pipes, ruined, crumbling factories, all overgrown with trees and brush.  Something, probably relating to two almost opposing interests of mine, archaeology and science fiction, conspires to draw me to capture such scenes.  It's a way to provide a window to the past, a reminder of where we've been, and at the same time a commentary on the future as well. I also confess to an interest in photos of "Urban Decay" (some fine examples here), turning something horribly ugly into fine, if poignant art, and perhaps this is simply an extension of that... 

Here are a few samples from my "Old Stuff in the Woods" collection.
Abandoned powerhouse at Sagamore, in the Adirondacks, NY

Girders in a pool in Watkins Glen State Park, NY

Old ironworks in the Adirondacks near the headwaters of the Hudson River, NY

Old ironworks in the Adirondacks, NY

Spring in Fillmore Glen State Park, NY

Monday, April 4, 2011

A look at the Lowepro Slingshot 302AW camera bag

In my seemingly never-ending quest for just the right camera bag (which has been going on for over 20 years), I've finally acquired a couple now that I really like.  For casual outings with my standard kit - DSLR and 2 or 3 lenses, I pull out my Tamrac Velocity 8x.  But for more serious endeavors - hiking some distance or carring more gear, I like to have a backpack.  Up until recently I was using a Lowepro Orion AW, which is an interesting 2-piece item, with a small daypack on top for lunch, bugspray, etc., and the bottom is a large fanny pack, where the camera gear goes.  It's very comfortable to have on, even heavily loaded.  The problem is that it's hard, though not impossible to get at the gear without putting the bag down.  One has to reach back with both hands and unfasten two clips above the hips, loosen the belt, spin the fanny pack around, and unzip it, all while trying to avoid dislocating one or both shoulders.

Lowepro's Slingshot line uses the messenger bag concept where the strap goes over the head to the opposite shoulder from the camera, and allows the photographer to loosen the strap slightly and spin the bag around to the front of the body, where a door can be opened and the camera pulled out.  (My Tamrac Velocity uses this same concept.)  But with the two smaller Slingshots, the weight still lies solely on one shoulder, which is, literally for me, a pain in the neck.  But the 302AW model also has a nice thick waistbelt to help distribute weight.  Some folks find this an annoyance because it needs to be unfastened to move the bag to the front, but this seemed a small price to pay in my own situation.

If you are new to shopping for a camera bag, here's a tip - take your gear with you when you go, to try it in your bag of choice before you buy, because any camera bag will feel quite different fully loaded than empty.  (I always ask before doing this, and also let the clerk know that I've just walked in with a bunch of my own camera gear, just so there aren't any unfortunate misunderstandings!)

The waistbelt on the Lowepro 302 works like a charm.  I've been able to happily walk for hours with it quite heavily loaded with no ill effects on my neck.  The bag has a remarkable amount of space (I use both the small upper pocket plus some of the lower area for non-photographic items) and it even has a built in raincover.  There is a tripod holder on the side opposite the flip door, but be aware that it does not appear to be designed for normal-sized tripods with lever leg releases.  My Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 which has levers, only fits with a great deal of fussing and cramming.  As with other Lowepro bags, there is a built-in micro-fiber cloth conveniently located next to the camera for cleaning lenses and LCD screens, media card holders inside the lid, and there's a small flat pocket on the outside at the top.  There are no dedicated drink holders, but I've attached a water bottle to the tripod holder clip, as well as to the belt, and once put a small bottle inside in the top.  Less-used items can go in the tertiary pocket on the front, but be careful opening that pocket with the pack "slung" to the front.  Unzip it too far, and things may fall out.  One small gripe I have is that the material on the inside of the organizers in that pocket is very slick and with the bag "slinging" from my back to my front regularly, I may open that pocket and find everything has come out of the organizers and is loose and jumbled.  Note - the main pocket has two locking straps that allow access when "slung" to the front, but which prevent unexpected wider unzippings. It is easily possible to get into the two lens compartments closest to the side door when the bag is slung in front by pulling the velcro dividers back.

Here's the outside of the bag.

 Here's the back.  Note the nice, cushy thick straps!
Here's what you see when the bag is slung around to your front and opened. For size comparison, that's a Canon 60D:
Here's the main compartment fully opened. A 17-85 is mounted on the camera in the center, the 10-22 is to the right, and the 70-200 F4L is under the shelf on the left. Mini survival kit is the orange thing at the back on the right.  There is still plenty of room on top of the 70-200 for a flash or, in my case, a very compact extra jacket often lives there.   Note that the dividers can be positioned vertically for shorter lenses, as on the right side here or horizontally for longer lenses, as on the left side.
Here's my "wildlife photography" configuration.  By rearranging the velcroed partitions a little, I'm able to fit my hefty 400mm f5.6L lens on the left with a little space left on top of it.  The 70-200 F4L is mounted on the camera in the middle, with plenty of space on top of that.
Here's the inside of the top. Just big enough for those all-important snacks.  Mesh pocket is along the back wall.

For more info and to see the bag actually in action, check out Lowepro's site (and no, they didn't pay me to post this!  I just liked their bag.)  Note that they now have an even bigger model, the 350AW, which can also hold a laptop.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quick trip after work - Sapsucker Woods

Sapsucker Woods is a bird sanctuary in Ithaca owned by Cornell University, home of the the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  There is a beautiful visitor's center and a number of trails including one around a large pond with numerous bird viewing possibilities.  (Click here for more information on Sapsucker Woods.) My wife and I thought we'd go for a quick walk after work and before dinner, and since I'd been wanting to get some more experience with the "new" 400mm lens, Sapsucker was an ideal location.  Betsy could walk the trails while I toodled along by the pond. This was the first time out on a trail with the 400mm lens, and I must confess, it was more awkward than I'd anticipated, and after the first set-up and take-down, I left it on the camera, on the fully-extended tripod, and just carried the whole assembly around.  Fortunately, late in the day on a Friday, the trails weren't exactly brimming with people, so I had no opportunity to poke anyone unexpectedly with my gear.  About a third of the way along the trail around the pond I stopped at a viewing station that had an excellent view to the east across the water, lit nicely by the late afternoon sun.  After a somewhat frantic day at work it was a little hard to settle into a peaceful state where I was atune to what was around me, but eventually the natural world began to seep in and I stood for a good 45 minutes just taking it all in.  Somewhere along the line a heron swooped in low over the water, landing on an old nest high in a dead tree.  It stood there, motionless, for quite awhile, then it was joined by another heron, apparently its mate.  Evidently they were shopping for a nest, and that one wasn't their style, so they both moved on to another old nest, high in a different tree, where they remained until after sunset.  They were pretty far away, but the 400mm got them quite a bit closer, and some cropping of about 50% or a little more made these shots possible.

F6.3, 1/2500th second, ISO 400, Canon 60D:

F6.3, 1/2000th second, ISO 400, Canon 60D:

Of course, birds aren't the only items of interest at Sapsucker for nature watchers...  1/60th second, F6.3, 400mm, ISO 400, Canon 60D:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finger Lakes Gorges in Winter - Robert Treman

One last "gorges in winter" entry.  Good thing too... it feels like spring today!

Robert Treman is just outside Ithaca on route 13 going southwest toward Elmira, and encompasses the gorge known as Enfield Glen.  There are two sections, separated by a couple miles of trail or a few more miles of steep, winding road.  Both the lower and upper areas are worth a visit in winter but it's the spectacular upper region, with 115' Lucifer Falls, that is the main topic today.  Usually a small amount of parking lot is plowed at the upper area, near an old grist mill.  Follow the main trail over a bridge by the picnic shelter, and take the rim trail where it diverges to the right.  (If you get on the wrong path you'll soon come to an iron gate barring access to the gorge proper in winter due to dangerous conditions because of ice.)  The rim trail winds around through the woods for half a mile or so, then comes out at an open promontory almost directly over Lucifer Falls, with an unparalleled view down the deepest part of the gorge.  Late morning is a great time to be here in winter for photography.  Take in the view here, but don't turn back yet.  Continue on as far as the trail allows in winter and you'll be at the overlook directly across from Lucifer Falls. For winter gorge viewing, it doesn't get any better than this. This spot always puts me in the mind of Middle Earth and perhaps the Mines of Moria!

The shot below is processed with HDR, using Photomatix.  This is four shots, each 1 stop apart, with 1 under, 2 over, and 1 right on.  This is not my usual procedure for HDR, where I take three shots, 2 stops over, 2 under, and 1 right on, but this was early on in my experimentation with HDR.  More on HDR and Photomatix in a future post, but for now, suffice it to say that in the absence of HDR, either the upper canyon walls were washed out and over-exposed or the botton section was an inky pit of dispair.  This shot used Exposure Fusion, so not strictly HDR, actually, but a technique that takes the midtones of each photo and combines them.
This is the last of this series on gorges in Winter in the Finger Lakes.  Now, moving on to spring!  Oh, wait... it's snowing outside again...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Finger Lakes Gorges in Winter - Watkins Glen

Continuing our tour of gorges in winter... Watkins Glen isn't just about race cars!  There is a "glen" in Watkins Glen, for which the town is named.  The glen is an amazing narrow, serpentine crevice, winding 400 feet up past 19 waterfalls and 200 foot cliffs.  For the photographer, endless opportunities abound among the natural scenery, as well as the beautiful CCC-era stonework of the paths and bridges.  Each gorge in the Finger Lakes seems to have its own personality, and this one seems deeply mysterious and other-worldly to me.  Of course, on a fine summer day when it's filled with hundreds of people, this popular local attraction does lose some serenity!  I've found three ways to avoid the crowds myself - go mid-week, preferably before noon (the gorge faces roughly east so it gets in the morning).  Alternatively, go in the rain (actually some of my best shots have been on days when it's lightly raining).  Lastly, go in the winter.  A good way to access the gorge in winter is by parking at the South Pavilion.  Walk down behind the pavilion itself, to the bridge across the gorge for a great view down to the stream.  All trails in the gorge itself are closed in winter, but the bridge connects with the Indian Trail which runs along the north rim and which is open, affording some great views.  The first photo below is from the bridge looking east, and the second, from an overlook on the Indian Trail.  To see more photos of Watkins Glen, click here.  Note that one of the photos at that linked page is shot from the same spot on the Indian Trail, but in the fall!

28mm, F4.5, 1/80th, ISO 50, Konica Minolta A200:

26mm, F7.1, 1/80th second, ISO 100, Canon Rebel XTi:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Finger Lakes Gorges in Winter - Taughannock Falls

This is not my favorite time of year.  Day after day of gray skies and snow showers, single digit temperatures, layers of clothes, short days...  But Ithaca is within easy driving distance of a number of spectacular gorges, some of which are well worth a visit even in winter.  Most trails are closed this time of year due to icy conditions but for the next few entries here I'll detail 3 gorges where a photographer can safely get some unsual winter gorge shots without putting themselves in danger.

First on the list is Taughannock Falls. At 215 feet, Taughannock is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Rockies, and presents an awesome sight. Where most Finger Lakes gorges are quite narrow, Taughannock is wider than a super highway, and the bottom is very flat (although the sides are extremely steep, with 400 foot cliffs in some places.)  This makes the 3/4 mile hike into the falls accessible all year round, a boon for winter nature photographers.  The trail can be a bit slippery, so hiking boots are highly recommended, and even snowshoes or skis wouldn't be amiss.  The view is always different each time, but here's what we found at the end of our trip last Saturday.  Note that for those who do not wish to hike in, there is an overlook along the rim trail on the north side that can be driven to for a slightly different but no less dramatic view.  A few parking spots are kept plowed in winter, but the road going to the overlook is steep and winding, and right after a snowstorm may be slippery.

In these photos, bear in mind that normally the waterfall goes straight into the stream.  In winter though, a tremendous ice dome develops beneath the falls.  This year it seems to be at least 50 feet high!  For scale, note my wife along the trail at the lower right!

Next time, a little further afield - Watkins Glen, an amazing sight in winter!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Prepare for those Unexpected Moments

Out in a canoe on a lake in the Adirondacks, we paddled along on a glorious summer day. I had my DSLR set up for shooting HDR, trying to capture cloud detail along with shadows in the deep woods along the shore. Small aperture, moderate shutter speed, ISO 100, exposure bracketing set to 2 stops over and under, all focus points active.  Then an osprey appeared.  It quickly flew to within 20 feet or so of the canoe and splashed into the water, where it briefly struggled with a fish. After staring in wonder and amazement for a moment, I replaced my mid-range lens with a telephoto, then fumbled through changing the camera settings - higher ISO, slightly over-exposed to compensate for bright sky, smaller aperture, turn off the bracketing, only center focus point active etc.  Meanwhile the osprey lifted out of the water with its catch, winged right over our canoe where it hovered for a moment (I'm sure with its tongue sticking out as I cursed and fumbled) then headed for shore.  My only shot was an underexposed, blurry image of the osprey's retreating backside.  It joins the two shots I have of the blurry retreating backsides of moose, a shot of a stump with the retreating backside of a squirrel that had been sitting there, the lily pad with no frog...  My attempts at wildlife photography have often been dismal, partly (mostly?) because that's not really my area of expertise, but also at least in part because I'm not always able to quickly adjust my camera for the unexpected both related to wildlife and other unanticipated happenings.

This was a factor in my choice of a new camera late last year. My Canon Rebel XTi has all the basics and a few bells and whistles as well, but it was unable to do more than one thing at a time - it had no way to save a configuration for quick recall. One difference between entry level cameras and those further up the sophistication ladder is indeed, this very capability. My new Canon 60D has one such custom setting. I can set up the camera in a desired fashion, save the settings, and then recall them later by turning the main program dial to "C". Since the vast majority of my missed opportunities seem to be related to action shots and wildlife, I've configured the "C" setting to what I would generally want for that sort of photography and now, with a quick lens change and a turn of the dial, I can switch from anything else I happen to be doing, to nab that osprey, moose or squirrel. Further up the camera sophistication line (in Canon-land anyway), the 7D and 5DmII each have 3 different configurations. (Nikon likely has similar capabilities, though I'm not familiar with them.)

Another useful customization found on a number of Canon cameras (and again, likely others as well) is the customizable menu option. On a modern DSLR there are an extraordinary number of menu items and it's easy to forget where something is and waste valuable time trying to find it. The "MyMenu" feature allows you to fill one menu screen with your most commonly used options.

Luck in photography, like so many things, stems in part from uncontrollable events, but it's tempered by being prepared to take advantage of unexpected moments. By the way, the panorama photo at the bottom of this page is from the same day in same general location that we saw the osprey!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Launching the blog!

Here it is!  The first blog post.  Seems like a good place to start would be to talk a little about the Mist, Light & Stone "logo" shot, which appears on my business cards, web site, etc.  Many people ask where this is.  Here it is again:
This is in Fillmore Glen, a state park near Moravia, NY, southeast of Owasco Lake.  It is at the easternmost extent of the North Rim Trail, taken from the top of the small dam that the trail crosses.  It's shot at 22mm (effective 35 with my APS-C camera), 2 seconds at f/20, ISO 100, with a polarizer. It was overcast at that moment, and misting a little.  A great time to photograph in a gorge is when it's overcast and very lightly raining (or just after a light rain).  The light is even, the shadows soft, and the mildly wet conditions bring out more color.  To see a few other of my photos from this park, check out my Fillmore Glen gallery.

One reason I use this photo for my business cards is that the relatively dark stream on the left lends itself to having lettering overlaid on it!