I’m battling the cold virus from h#$! so just a quick and easy one today. I’ve had some success over the years in photographing lightning, in fact I have a couple of images on slides that I am pretty proud of (different than the previously posted windmill shot) but never have gotten a decent scan from those. I offer instead this more modern take. Sure, the whole windswept prairie, windmill in the foreground thing makes a good photo, but if that’s not practical there’s always your front porch. That’s where this was taken, my front porch. Click on the image for the super spectacular ginormous version. Hope everyone is having a good Friday.
I was fortunate to spend an unhurried afternoon at Eagle Lake, Acadia National Park, Maine back in October 2008. This is another HDR image that has been processed to (hopefully) appear more on the normal side, rather than surreal. There was a bird (not an Eagle) patiently sitting on that rock in the foreground, which was a nice added touch.
This is a color photo, nature herself did the monochrome conversion on this one. I usually prefer a deep contrast in my black and white images, but a lighter airy feel seems better for this one. An icy winter fog was over the partially frozen lake, but the ducks and geese seemed to be coping just fine. This image is an example of what you can achieve with a point and shoot camera, it was an early test of my little Canon S90. This is a sophisticated ‘point and shoot’, but I don’t recall doing anything special here, I probably chose the f-stop, focused, composed, and clicked. You don’t have to have a big old dSLR (although they sure are nice.)
A couple of weeks ago I posted an HDR image of Lower Baker Pond, New Hampshire that got a good response. I went back into my original files and found another bracketed set of exposures I took during that brief stop, looking in another direction. This time I attempted to process the HDR with less of a surreal look, aiming for something resembling what might be the result of using a neutral density graduated filter during the actual shot. I find it pleasing. The composition may lack that extra 5% to make it great, but the sky, mirror smooth water, and eye popping foliage was an irresistible combination.
This was the same morning I was able to get my favorite image of Mt. McKinley (Denali). This is looking down into the trees in the river valley below the Princess McKinley Wilderness Lodge. There was a fog in the valley that was beginning to burn off. I doubt I did it justice, being obsessed with the mountain left little time for what would otherwise have been my primary focus. One of those ‘just too much to process’ situations. Princess was in the process of building a wooden fence which would block this view, a few more steps forward and there would have been no more photographer-a pretty dangerous spot with an unprotected shear drop off. This was on the grounds of the lodge so I can see their point.
This is from my film days, taken in the late 1990’s during my one and only real storm chase. The person I was with had a meteorology degree and had done this before, so I felt like I was being semi-responsible about it. (That is, until I found myself frantically jockeying a metal tripod around in the middle of multiple lightning flashes.) I fired off a few exposures of several seconds each, then got back in the car, relieved the lightning had behaved. In this particular spot everything came together visually when looking west towards the setting sun (behind the clouds.) The clouds were interesting, the foreground of fence and windmill in silhouette, lightning, and the absence of overhead powerlines. (I hate overhead power lines from a photographic perspective, although I confess to enjoying the electricity they provide.) This particualr storm cell dropped a tornado a few minutes later to the north, but we were out of the immediate area by then.
During most of my film era I shot transparencies (“slides”). For some reason now forgotten I started shooting print film for awhile, this storm was on print film. I am embarrassed to report that the original negative is lost, or at least misplaced on a long term basis. OK, it must be lost. I have every slide I ever took, but those darn negatives must have been tricky to keep organized.
As you may have gathered, I am not a photo purist, I like to experiment with image manipulation on occasion. This particular little building/hut/shack/house is at the stingray attraction on Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. It is painted a variety of colors, and looked good as a straight HDR. The composition is kind of in your face, but it seemed like the way to go at the time. I’ve been inspired by my friend Ken’s classy work over at Oneowner to try something like this, but the blame is mine if it fails miserably. Click on the photo for a nice big version if you dare, it looks better.
Here’s a landscape without the land…I suppose that would make it a seascape. In any case, this was a sunset in open ocean somewhere in the vicinity of the Bahamas. I would have preferred a rocky seacoast, interesting island, tall sailing ship, or something similar for the foreground or mid-ground, but alas – none were available. This one had very little post processing, just level tweaks and a small saturation boost to the flat RAW file.
I was fortunate enough to spend Saturday in my wife’s hometown of Belleville, Ks. photographing my lovely nieces and assorted family members. At one location, off in a field in the distance, I spotted an interesting abandoned stone house that was falling apart. (I think this was probably a circa early 1900’s farmhouse at one time anyway.) I’m always a sucker for abandoned buildings and architectural details, so this was a moth-to-the-flame type situation. My primary mission in Belleville was portrait photography, but my brother-in-law was kind enough to drive me over to the stone house for a quick (under ten minutes) photo session. So what do you do when confronted with an interesting subject, but under mid-day harsh sunlight and an uninteresting sky, and a time limit? Why you just wing it of course. (Then do some monochrome conversions when you get back home and hope you got something worth keeping-that’s what I did anyway.) I’m not sure how successful I was, but thought it might make for a mildly interesting post. I’ve filed this location away as somewhere that would be worthwhile re-visiting in more dramatic lighting conditions-or even at night. I can’t believe my wife never told me about this house.
~Just a final quick note, it looks to me like these particular photos benefit quite a bit when viewed at the larger size you should get when clicking on the photo. ~
I was kicking myself later on the image above. If I had been thinking clearly I would have centered a single distant tree in the window opening. Dang it.
Cadillac Mountain is located in Acadia National Park, Maine. At 1,528 feet it is a mere bump compared to the major mountain ranges, but it is the tallest peak along the coast of the eastern United States. I was able to be at the summit for one sunrise, and it was very interesting. (You can drive to the summit and park your car, but if you want to picture me heroically rope climbing to the top it’s OK with me.) This particular morning it was partly cloudy, there were clouds out over the ocean, low clouds hugging the coast, clouds actually flowing around the summit of the mountain in the brisk wind….it was visually exciting but also chaotic. I didn’t think the photos I took when the sun was lower quite worked….they were interesting but there was so much happening they seemed unfocused. Not literally, but subject-wise if that makes sense. When the sun rose higher it, I shot some images that I find more appealing, even if they looked like they were taken on the surface of Mars. (If Mars had plants.) The sun was filtered by clouds at this particular point…it’s still blown out photographically, but hey…it’s the sun.
Here’s one of the earlier shots, it has pretty colors but I don’t think I quite nailed a satisfying composition. Anyhow, it was fun to be there and quite memorable.