Sarasota Pier, Florida.
We’re back!! We spent a week traveling back to Florida from Maine with our two doggies in tow, Harry and Lucy. We didn’t stay quite long enough in Maine to catch the beautiful fall colors I see others postling, but nonetheless, I’m happy to be here, even if the weather is still a bit too warm. My first week back, I participated in Jennifer Khordi’s workshop, hosted by our photo club. Our work was focused on sunrise/sunsets, the twilight hour and capturing the Milky Way, although the weather did not cooperate for any Milky Way shots. I had fun, met some new folks and learned some more photo skills.
Beer Can Island, Longboat Key, Florida.
We spent some evening time in Sarasota photographing the John Ringling Causeway Bridge and its constant changing color schemes. I haven’t done much evening shooting so it was fun to experiment as the sun set and the sky darkened. I look forward to coming back to these locations in the future. The Sarasota lights would make a good subject to practice on!
Until next time friends …..
Cadillac Mountain Sunrise, Acadia National Park, Maine.
One of my highlights this summer was to experience sunrise on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Overlooking the Gulf of Maine, Frenchman Bay, and Bar Harbor, it is the first sunrise in the United States and an important event for hundreds of people who gather here every day to witness its beauty. We arrived an hour before sunrise, walked a pathway to the highest point seeking a spot to set up my tripod and gear among eager folks bundled up in the cold air. In the darkness, you could see other people spreading out over the rocks, others adjusting their tripods. It was certainly a photographer’s event as we all hunted for our spots. Despite the crowd, which seemed to be 100+, the mountain embraced its feeling of quiet.
As the moment neared, a golden, molten glow appeared in the moments just before the sun actually made its appearance.
This image is a compilation of 6 iPhone X images, stitched together with the app AutoStitch, and the app Distressed FX+ for the final texture.
Acadia, Boulder Beach in early morning.
Recently, I spent several days in Acadia with the hopes of capturing some great sunrises and sunsets. Last year on our visit to Acadia, the weather wasn’t the best so I was pleased when I saw we were going to have great weather. I did the typical sunrise trek to Cadillac Mountain for sunrise photos along with about a hundred other folks but the real shots were along the east coastal trail in the early morning hours. The image above is at Boulder Beach with its smoothed basketball-size boulders that make up the rocky shore. These round, egg shaped rocks made a perfect foreground to capture the rising sun against the distant cliff. I used this image for this week’s assignment of ‘shaped bokeh’. Although, the bokeh isn’t really shaped, I hope at a later time to learn how to do ‘shaped bokeh’. In fact, some may argue that this is lens flare and not bokeh!
Nikon D810, 24mm, ISO 100, 1/30 sec at f/22
Photographers at Work, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Bristol, Maine
The 3-day photography workshop that I participated in with Downeast Maine Magazine illustrated to me how I could better capture sunrises and sunsets by using a method called HDR, high dynamic range. It is taking a series of images at different exposure levels (bracketing and best with a tripod) combining them to create a single image comprised of the most focused, well-lit, and colorful parts of the scene. In the past, I would have had to do a lot of post-processing work to bring out the shadows when shooting into a sunrise or sunset. So I was excited to learn how to better capture those scenes. In the above image, two of my fellow classmates where capturing the same sunrise. One with a tripod in the lower right corner and the other hand-held in the upper left corner. I shot 3 images bracketed at +2 stops but in post processing I realized that I should have captured at least 5+ images since I had to do a bit of processing to bring up the shadows in the rocks. That probably would not have been necessary had I given myself more images to work with.
Nikon d810, Tamron 24-70 lens, 26mm, ISO 200, f/11,
June Beetle on Cacti Flower, Selby Botanical Garden, Sarasota
I have done very little macro photography but when we planned our visit to Selby Gardens, I thought it might be the perfect place to experiment. I didn’t take my tripod and I quickly discovered that it’s almost impossible to capture a sharp image without one when doing macro shots. But it was fun … learning and experimenting with the light and my camera settings but I’ve got a long way to go to capture good macro shots!
This was captured with my Nikon D810, 60mm, edited in Lightroom.
Lioness, Ngala Wildlife Preserve, South Africa
This lioness from the Birmingham pride had just risen from her suckling cubs when I noticed the wound on her nose, probably caused from a scrap with another lion. It’s a wild wild world they live in with no guarantees that they will see tomorrow.
The King of Masai Mara, Kenya.
We came upon this big guy in an open field around dusk on our game drive, just laying there, sniffing the air casually. We had no idea where his pride was or even if he was part of a pride. Young males are forced out of the pride around 2 years old. They form bachelor groups and follow migrating herds until they are strong enough to challenge male lions of other prides. A group of males stay in power in the pride for around three years before another bachelor group takes it over.
He was just one of a number of lions and lionesses we viewed while staying several days at Richard’s River Camp, a private conservancy bordering the Masai Mara in Kenya. Being set in a conservancy means contributing revenue to a conservation area, which has fewer other travelers, and the option to do bush walks and night game drives which are not possible inside the main Mara.
We stopped and watched him for a while. He seemed quite content all alone. It still unnerves me when these wild animals lock eyes with you when they are only 10 or 20 feet away. But at that moment, it was a perfect time to capture a portrait of this majestic wild animal. Captured with a Nikon D810, Tamron 150-600 lens at 350mm zoom, f/8, ISO 1600, 1/250 sec.