Hatteras dunes – continued

Just wanted to put out a quick post with another shot from my trip to Hatteras Island. For this image, I used a 24mm PC lens, low to the ground and tilted forward. I believe I had about 1 – 1.5 degrees of tilt after finding a focus point in the foreground. When using this lens, I often have to go back and forth between focus and tilt until I am confident that I have both foreground and distant objects in focus. Post processing was done in Adobe Lightroom (minimal), followed by Adobe Photoshop once again using TK luminosity masks. Hope you enjoy…

 

Morning light brings out the details in the sand on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC  © Rob Loughrey

Morning light brings out the details in the sand on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

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Sun, fun and Tony Kuyper Actions

Back in the Outer Banks with my family for a little R&R. We have had a great time here with some excellent weather, both good and bad, but mostly good. I did my best to relax and enjoy the time off this year, only getting up on two occasions to catch the sunrise and venturing out on two other occasions for sunset over the two week period. I paid close attention to the cloud cover and weather reports and was rewarded with an excellent sunrise on this day.   I returned to an area that I had scouted out the day before and was able to catch some great light in an area of dunes on the North end of the Island. I spent a good couple of hours shooting the area with two lenses – a 24mm PC and a 17-35mm zomm. Here is one of the first images I processed, shot with the 24mm lens that I used to create a panoramic shot. I took advantage of the tilt function on this lens giving the image sharp focus from near to far with just a few degrees of tilt. Thanks to Sean Bagshaw for his tips on how to use one of these lenses.  Recently, I began to use a new approach to process my images as well. If you haven’t heard of Tony Kuyper before, be sure to check out his TK actions panel utilizing Luminosity Masking to giving yourself complete control of your image. I found his site through Sean Bagshaw’s site and subsequently purchased the actions panel and videos that were created by Sean. I have to give both Sean and Tony major props for the videos and actions. Without the videos, It would have taken me much longer to understand the concepts behind the actions. Tony is an absolute genius with these actions and the panel, giving you complete control to edit your images beyond your imagination. I have watched the videos several times and am developing my own workflow utilizing the TK Actions panel as a primary source of editing.

Hope you enjoy my first TK Action processed image…

Windswept dunes, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

Windswept dunes, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

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Early summer at Ricketts Glen

I have had the opportunity to make a few trips to Ricketts Glen over the past couple of months. Once in mid May and most recently a few weeks ago in mid June. The water levels in May were really good. Results of the snow melt off in the mountains and spring getting into full swing. Some of the falls were running so well that there was either a strong wind coming off of the pool or there was so much mist in the air it made it difficult to get close. For times when the mist is heavy, I keep a clear shower cap in my bag. I know it sounds crazy, but it is really helpful in getting your camera setup and composing a picture. You can even adjust your polarizer with the shower cap in place.  I place the shower cap over the end of my lens before going down into the water and get setup. Once I’m happy with the composition and my exposure is set, I quickly take off the shower cap and snap a few images. At this point, I am going to start getting water build up on the front lens element, but if you move quick, you can get off a couple of good clear shots. After that, I usually remove my camera from the tripod, turn around with my back to the falls and wipe off any of the water. Put the shower cap back on and try again. Here are a few shots from my recent trips to Ricketts Glen. Hope you enjoy…

 

Mowhawk Falls - Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

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Amazing Sky after dark

It was just after sunset, the temps were dropping and we were once again skunked by the cloud cover while at the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains. We wanted to take in the setting sun, but it didn’t work out for us. Don’t get me wrong, I will take clouds over an empty sky any day. When the conditions are right, the clouds light up providing a spectacular sight as the sun dips below the horizon. It just wasn’t our lucky day. The wind was blowing pretty good and I noticed that the clouds were also moving at a pretty good speed. Our lucky break was, that the wind was in our face, so I took advantage and pulled out my 10 stop ND filter. I shot my test image and adjusted my exposure to be 1/2 sec at ISO 200. Don’t remember what my aperture was because it wasn’t important at the time. I just know that when I add my 10 stop filter onto the camera my exposure goes from 1/2 sec to 4 minutes, which was what I wanted for good cloud movement in the sky. I made sure I focused and composed ahead of time, set my exposure to the bulb setting and then added my 10 stop filter. I use my phone to time the exposure and fired away. The tough part about this is that the light is rapidly falling off as the earth turns. So on my 2nd and 3rd exposures, I either added a minute onto the exposure or opened up a stop. I also turned off my long exposure noise reduction to make sure I was able to shoot a few sequential shots and adjust my exposure. This prevents a second 4 minute exposure with the shutter closed (the method the camera uses to reduce the noise). The trade off is, that I have quite a bit of hot pixels to deal with in post processing. The image you see is pretty much right off the camera. I cleaned up the hot spots, of which I’m sure I missed some, but I’m happy with it at the moment. Hope you enjoy…

 

Long Exposure atop Clingmans Dome - Great Smoky Mountains NP © Rob Loughrey

Long Exposure atop Clingmans Dome – Great Smoky Mountains NP © Rob Loughrey

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More from the Smoky Mountains…

On the second day of my trip, we made plans to view the sunrise from Clingmans Dome. We had not been there yet, so we gave ourselves an early wake up call to make sure we were on-site with an hour to spare. We arrived while it was still very dark. There were clouds moving through and the wind was blowing. We were amazed to see the temperature change go from in 60′s in the valley to around 38 degrees up on top of the mountain. We were a little disoriented being on the mountain top – not knowing which was East. We figured it out pretty quickly and setup our tripods to capture the sun cresting over the mountains. Unfortunately for us, there was some heavy cloud cover looking East, so we never actually saw the sun rise. There was a rain storm in the distance blocking our view but filtering the sun. The sky was light up a bright orange with the dark clouds above, making for some great contrast in colors. I set my camera to Tungsten mode to make the clouds and sky a cooler tone.  I used my 80-200mm f/2.8 lens with a 2.0 tele-converter to zoom in tight on the mountains and rain. I shot a number of shots moving from left to right and stitched them together in Photoshop to create this panoramic image. Minimal processing after the image was stitched using On One Software for Tonal Contrast and increasing the saturation slightly. Hope you enjoy…

Daybreak from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains  © Rob Loughrey

Daybreak from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains © Rob Loughrey

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