Recently I was asked about how I achieve the ethereal look to my images of seascapes or waterfalls so I decide to post some information about it. Almost always I prefer this look over having a stopped action shot of the waves crashing in. I tend to use two different methods to create these images. It is very dependent on the ambient light at the location. A tripod is a must for this type of photography. You will also need a cable release. Either a wireless or wired connection. Your camera will also need to operate in bulb mode. This is where you lock open your shutter for as long as you like. Consult your owners manual to confirm that you have a bulb mode on your camera. I will normally take a meter reading from the sky, about midway between the horizon and directly overhead. This gives me my initial meter reading to start from. I adjust my aperture and/or ISO on the camera to give me a 20 sec exposure to start. I snap a 20 sec exposure and review it on my cameras LCD display. I make adjustments as needed to get the proper exposure. After I review the image, I decide if I need a much longer exposure or not. Sometimes I shoot images at 2 and 4 minutes using a 5 or 10 stop ND filter. This really makes the clouds blur and gives a real ghostly feel to the water. Another technique if you have access to Photoshop software is to take 8-15 20 or 30 second shots of the exact same scene, and then stack them together in Photoshop as one file. If you would like more info on how to do this, drop me an email and I will be happy to elaborate. These shots are from a recent trip to Jekyll Island. A 2 minute exposure with a Singh-Ray 5 stop ND filter and Singh-Ray 2 stop Grad ND. I took both a portrait and landscape mode image.
Another favorite shooting location for me is Ricketts Glen State Park in Northern Pennsylvania. This part has over 20 waterfalls on a 7 mile loop that is just fantastic. I try to visit this park twice a year and each time the park seems to have different things to offer. This year I went in both the spring and fall. I went a little early in the spring and the colors were very muted and the leaves had only started budding. Apparently there is a good 1 – 1 1/2 month difference between when Maryland Trees and Pennsylvania mountain trees have leaves on them. I wasn’t able to get there later in the spring so I waited it out until fall. I went in early October which happened to be a perfect time for color change. There were still plenty of leaves on the trees and the color was close to peak. The only thing that I was surprised by was the low levels of water on the falls. This was my 6th trip there and was by far the lowest amount of water I have seen. Even with the heavy rains we recently had, the water was still significantly low. This has its good and bad points. The falls looked a little naked compared to what I had seen before. However, I was able to get across the streams with little or no fear of being swept downstream and sent over a 20 or 30 foot falls. A few of the falls are very tall with the largest at over 90′.
Here is a shot from one of the falls along the path. I took a different approach on this one by standing back instead of getting down into the stream. I captured the image using an image stacking technique to make sure I had good focus from near to far. Images were blended and processed in Photoshop.
Hope you enjoy…
Do you ever go somewhere and take some pictures and then look at them later and say to yourself – this really doesn’t do it justice? I’m not afraid to admit it. Photography is a means to help people experience what you did when you picked up your camera and decided to capture an image. It has taken me years to get to a point where I feel I can convey the experience of being there in my photography. One thing that helps me is to stop for a minute and look around at the scene. Take it all in and look for the details that moved you in the first place. Capture the small things that surround you. It is all part of the experience. These 3 images were all taken within a short distance of one another. The first – I was on a hill driving down a farm road, looking toward the sun. I used a wide angle lens and captured the vast expanse of the farm land. Second image, I zoomed in a bit and focused on the fog and the way the sunrise was lighting it up. I drove a little further down the road along the fields where the fog was rolling through and looked at the details. The fence, the field and trees bring it all together for me. When you are out taking images, pay attention to the details & capture them. Hopefully it will help you grown in your craft as well.
I’m sure I am not alone in this, but I have to say that Fall or Autumn – which ever you term you choose – is my favorite of all seasons. For me fall is one of the most intense times to view the landscape. For those of you who haven’t heard this before – I am color deficient or Red/Green Color Blind as some people would like to say. Keeping this in mind, I can only imagine what the trees look like to everyone else – since I know I am looking at it from a different perspective. There have been times when I look at the sky morning or evening twilight and ask someone what color the see. Often times, they tell me it is a beautiful pink or purple. Unfortunately it is normally grey to me at those times, fading into a blue or orange. I don’t do well with pink and I really don’t see purple at all. Even so, fall has a great deal to offer in the color spectrum for any of us. The sunrise and sunset times are perfect for me while I driving to work each morning. I can drop off my son at school and stop off to snap a few sunrise shots in the morning and still make it to work on time. For a 6 week period between mid September and the end of October, the weather changing also comes with matching temp and dew points. This usually means fog in the low lying fields or over water. Here are is a shot of one of my favorite haunts in Anne Arundel County. Shot as the sun was cresting over the trees, lighting the fog like a scene out of a movie. The winding road into the sunrise just really grabbed my attention. Mornings like this are why I love going out and capturing images and spending time in this amazing world. More to follow…Read More
Hello folks, sorry it has been so long since I have posted. As many of you can imagine, life catches up with you at times. I have been extremely busy at home and work lately. We recently moved into a new home, have been settling in and working on selling our old house. Work, excersize, family stuff – it all catches up with you. I have have been out shooting in the mornings, just haven’t had much time to do anything with any of the images. To make it better, I have been having issues with my laptop, which is now 6 years old. Another battery has decided to expand on me which may or may not be causing the keyboard and other things to act with a mind of thier own. Enough about all of that…
Since I have been quite busy – I will post one of my favorites from my summer trip to the Outer Banks. This is another shot of some of the star gazing we were doing out on the beach. A perfectly clear night, the waves crashing in, a small campfire dug into the sand and a few of us kicked back in our chairs looking up at the stars. The beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore have to be one of the best places to view the stars on a clear night. I can only imagine that it is even clearer during the winter months. I plan to make a trip down there at some point to find out…
Nikon D800, 16-35mm F4 lens, Enduro Tripod, Really Right Stuff Ball Head, 13sec @f/4.5, ISO 5000