It had been quite some time since I last visited Nubble Light in York, ME, so I decided to make the short trip up there this afternoon to catch the sunset.

The tide was low and the water was as calm as I’ve seen it, but the sky made up for it with some nice color just before the sun went down. And having some of that warm sunlight shine directly on the lighthouse really made the scene special.


Although I have yet to pick up my camera in the new year, I feel compelled to create my first blog post of 2017.  And I’m doing so with this image from this past summer.  It was taken at the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells, ME during our annual family vacation in Ogunquit.  After catching the incredible pre-dawn light, I came across this perfect little bench at a viewing area along the trail through the marsh as the sun began to come up.

Even though the bench is facing the away from the rising sun, it’s still a beautiful and peaceful spot to watch the sunrise.  And I was not in any hurry to leave.


Morning BeautyI just got back from a family vacation in southern Maine, and managed to get out for sunrise on a couple of occasions.  This particular morning presented an absolutely beautiful display of clouds and color with zero wind; perfect conditions for some long exposures.  So where is this, you ask?  It’s the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in York, ME.  It was my first time visiting the refuge, and I can guarantee I’ll be back again soon.  It’s an impressively large place, with thousands of acres of protected land spread out from Kittery all the way to Cape Elizabeth near Portland.  I chose to explore the southern part, and the trail I was on is an easy 1 mile loop through the refuge that provides several lookout spots along the salt marsh and woods.  Although the tide was low, this little estuary made a great leading line through the image towards the rising sun.  Morning beauty indeed.


 

Back Bay Storm

After the stormy weather moved through Boston this past weekend, we were left with windy conditions, and plenty of leftover clouds just as the sun was getting ready to set for the night.  In other words, ideal conditions for some long exposure photography.  While the sky was on fire to the west – the vantage point of my post from the other day – it was more pastel to the southwest where I was now aiming my camera over the Back Bay skyline.

Now the price you pay for having the streaking clouds and smooth water is of course the crazy movement in the trees.  And while some may disapprove, I actually really like this effect.  The contrast of the sharp buildings against the movement of just about everything else in the frame is a look I’m constantly searching for.  And on this night, I was treated to a brilliant opportunity to create such an image.


Ayer Mill Clock TowerThis past Saturday was an incredibly windy day with plenty of clouds in the sky – a perfect recipe for some long exposures.  Unfortunately, by the time I was able to get out with my camera in the afternoon, much of the cloud cover had moved out.  There were thankfully still enough, however, to provide some nice movement in the sky, anchored by the various mills of Lawrence like the Ayer Mill here.

I really liked this composition, but because my subject was at a distance, the motion of the clouds was less noticeable in this 30 second exposure even though they were still moving pretty fast.  I have some other images I’ll share in future posts where the camera is positioned closer to the mills, and the clouds appear to move much faster across the frame.  This shoot really highlighted the importance of perspective and camera position with long exposures of moving clouds, as this is a key factor in determining how much of the “streaking” effect you can achieve.  Please click on the image for a larger view.


 

After the Storm

After all the stormy weather we had yesterday here in the Northeast, I made a last minute decision to see what I could find to shoot at sunset.  While the colors I had hoped for never materialized, there were enough clouds moving across the sky for me to try some long exposures.

I headed over to this barn, which fortunately is only 5 minutes away, and slapped on the 10 stop ND filter.  At a little over a minute exposure, I was able to get some action in the clouds, as well some fleeting color.  There was even some filtered sun hitting the front of the barn, which was an added bonus.  And most importantly, I was also back home 5 minutes later to put my son to bed.  Not a bad evening.


Stormy Motif

When you’re in a creative rut like I’ve been for the past few months, any old photo subject will do.  Even one that happens to be one of the most photographed and painted structures on the east coast, Motif #1 in Rockport, MA.  This thing has been documented to death, yet it’s still great place to go when you need a slam dunk, no-brainer photo subject.

The fact that we had some major clouds and wind made things perfect for long exposures like this image.  Same old structure; perhaps somewhat unique image (thanks clouds!).



Painted Clouds

The other day I witnessed an incredible sunset over the Merrimack River in Lawrence, and posted an image showcasing the beautiful colors.  After the sun went down and the color started to fade, I decided to stick around a while longer to try some long exposures of the clouds moving over the river.  This was my favorite shot, and seemed tailor-made for a B&W conversion.  Be sure to click on the image for a larger view.


Stone Long Exposure

After our recent Historic Mills photo walk around the Lawrence mills, I spent a little time trying some long exposures with the Stone Mill.  It was mid-day, but there were some great clouds moving quickly over the mill which looked to have potential.  I experimented with a variety of shutter speeds to finally get the look I wanted, and knew I was going to convert to black and white based on the harsh light.

And speaking of Historic Mills photo walks, we just so happen to have one coming up in a few weeks on July 27th.  Please visit our site for more information about this free event, as well as several other great events coming up in the next few months.  Between now and October, we have a full-day workshop, a photo walk for the Essex Heritage Trails and Sails event, and a new night time/light painting workshop that we’re very excited about.