Another 2008 image from Acadia National Park. This was among the very first images I took in the park. We had arrived at Bar Harbor in the evening, and I took a little recon drive into the park. I recall driving around a curve and two things hit me….first I recognized this was beaver pond which I recognized from my trip research, second…wow! I HAD picked the right week to visit, fall color looked to be peaking inside the park. I wasn’t alone either, there were at least five cars parked along the road , and five to ten photographer with tripods shooting the trees and glassy water in the fading light. I pulled over, found a spot, and took a few photos myself of course, the best of which yous see here.
Wet rocks. I traveled almost two thousand miles from Kansas to Maine, to take photographs of wet rocks. Because that’s what we do. (Fortunately, I came back with a lot more than wet rock photos.) These are the particularly photogenic rocks of Boulder Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine. This location is along the shore just north of the Otter Cliffs in my last post. The waves have worn these rocks super smooth. Generally, they range in size from baseballs, up to watermelons. Of maybe softballs to footballs. Most of them are grapefruit sized. You get the idea. I must add that the entire “beach” is composed of these rocks at this spot. It was very difficult to walk around and use a tripod. Not an ankle friendly environment, especially in the rain. The plan was to be here for some super cool sunrise photos-but there were low clouds and rain, no sun – one has to improvise. I re-post processed this one recently and am quite fond of it.
Vermont, in the fall, seems to hold a photo opportunity around every bend in the road. My wife and I were exploring one of the secondary roads in central Vermont, and it seemed like we could do no wrong. I must have stopped our rental car every five minutes or so, jumped out, grabbed a few quick frames, and moved on. We came around a curve, and I saw this beautiful white horse standing there…I mean come on…this is like shooting fish in a barrel! As most of you know who labor at photography know, it’s not usually quite so easy. Sometimes you get lucky though.
When out photographing, I am very happy to wander in an interesting area, free to ‘find’ images on my own. Sometimes, however, I have found a second pair of eyes to be quite fruitful, especially when out driving in an unfamiliar place. As I was driving our rental car through the winding roads near Woodstock, Vermont, it was my wife who spotted these autumn wreaths hanging on the bright white doors of a beautiful church. I’m a sucker for doorways as it is – add these cool wreaths and it’s a win-win situation. This is one of those I would have missed if I hadn’t had that second pair of eyes keeping watch. Thanks Kelley.
One of my first blog posts was an HDR photo of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse at sunset. Now that I have learned more, read more, seen more, I’ve come to cringe a little over that early, over-the-top saturated version. This time I went back and started from the original bracketed exposures and gave it another go, trying to achieve something more realistic. I’ve toned down the saturation, and eliminated most of the halos.
Bass Harbor Lighthouse is just a great location, even if you end up shooting the same shot 1,000 other photographers have gotten. Like I did. At least the sky is different every sunset!
Here’s that earlier version for comparison.
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.
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.
It’s sort of like trophy hunting I suppose. I sought out this specific farm in Vermont. Even if you don’t specifically recall, you’ve likely seen it on calendars or in books. It’s one of those iconic scenes I felt compelled to photograph. I must not be the only one, these folks have had to install a big electronically controlled gate to block their driveway. That’s not a country road in the photo, it’s their private drive. The timing seemed fortunate, as a carpet of red/orange leaves made for a nice foreground. This is a photograph that’s been done to death, but not by me, so I enjoyed shooting it anyway. After the trophy shot was in the bag, I tried to find another way to shoot the farm (from the public road) that would be more original. That was only partially successful I guess, there’s a reason everybody shoots it from the driveway…it looks darn good lol.
That barn is really super attractive, and as usual if I had more time, or was able to actually get closer there might have been more success. Below is my favorite alternate view. Seeing these again really makes me want to go back to New England in the fall.
The response to yesterday’s miracle post, which got me “Freshly Pressed” (thanks WordPress!) was a bit overwhelming. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time out of their day to take a look, and especially those who left comments. Sprinkled throughout the commentary were a few opinions that the HDR on yesterday’s image was overdone, or too saturated etc. I understand. While the general public seemed to like what they saw, HDR can make the more serious photographer’s noses turn up, especially when it is perceived to be overdone. I get it, and that is an entirely valid point of view. For those purists who wanted to see a more normal looking view of yesterdays scene, today I offer a .jpg practically right out of the camera. This is the same hillside and lake from yesterday’s post.
The dynamic range of the whole scene from yesterday’s image was way beyond anything the camera could handle in one exposure, the correct exposure on the trees resulted in a totally blown out sky (and the sky’s reflection in the foreground). The only way to have created yesterday’s image was either with HDR, or some major filter work with a neutral density grad. That would have been especially problematic due to the fact that it was not just the sky needing tamed, but the sky’s reflection in the foreground. If there are any skilled landscape photographers out there reading this, maybe you have an alternative, I’d be interested in learning. In a future post I may illustrate what I’m trying to convey here by posting the 3 original exposures I used to create the HDR I will probably do that if I sense anyone is interested in ‘how the sausage is made’ so to speak. Thanks again to wordpress for finding yesterday’s post as worthy, and to all of you for visiting.
Sometimes you get lucky. My wife and I were driving from Acadia National Park on the Maine coast to Woodstock, Vermont. I had researched the heck out of both those locations, but didn’t know much about what lay between. We were very tired, on a seemingly endless secondary highway winding it’s way generally westward. This was a remote area, towns and businesses were few and far between. Eventually it became clear that a….ummm…..’rest stop’ was needed. I parked on the highway shoulder as safely as possible, walked about 20 feet from the car, and there it was….a mirror smooth lake reflecting a hillside of spectacular fall foliage. I set up the tripod and shot a few bracketed sets of exposures, one set of which was combined using Photomatix software into the HDR image above. Google Earth provided me with the name of the lake – Lower Baker Pond. Sometimes you get lucky, just make sure you have your camera ready.
I know there is debate on the artistic merits of the HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique and how it is applied. I’m not one of the minimalists, but I do agree it can certainly be overdone. To tell you the truth my only barometer is whether or not I think it looks cool on whatever image I’m working on. I thought the more extreme HDR look worked for this one, but of course not everyone will agree. Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park, Maine is a photogenic location, but I was never able to catch it with a calm surface on my short time there. It is certainly a location I would like to revisit someday. This image was created from a bracketed set of three exposures, combined using Photomatix software with a final tweak in Photoshop Elements.
Cloudland Road in Vermont is one of those scenic stretches of classic New England scenery that really get the old photographic enthusiasm flowing. This was taken on the same morning as the image in yesterday’s post, Cloudland Road and Galaxy Hill Road are in the same area and actually intersect. The diffuse fog/mist/drizzle lent an interesting atmosphere to the images and make the fall colors stand out.
While it might seem counterintuitive, a rainy overcast day can really make colors pop. This was a favorite spot we found in Vermont, I visited it twice. The first day was rainy and I jumped out of the car for a few quick hand held frames. The second day was dry, and I came back with a tripod and took some time…but as it turns out I prefer the rainy day images. The light is what really matters.
One of the favorite places I have had the pleasure photographing is the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Maine. Admittedly, it is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the planet – but as they say, it isn’t a cliche if you haven’t shot it yet. Lighthouses hold a particular appeal to me, probably because they are in short supply here in Kansas. In 2008 I was lucky enough to visit Acadia National Park and surrounding areas, including this lighthouse. There are two main places to shoot from, one on the west side looking back east (good for sunrise), and one to the east looking west (good for sunset). We were there for sunset on this occasion, so east it was.