What a morning I had yesterday.  Bob Lussier, Mike Tully and I headed out early to shoot a different location in South Portland, ME (images to follow in a future post), and decided to visit Portland Head Light afterwards. Although we arrived past sunrise, the light was still sweet, and allowed us time to explore all around the lighthouse to take advantage of the beautiful conditions.

After shooting closer to the lighthouse, we trekked down an icy slope to get down to the rocks and spent some time at this wonderful vantage point as our last spot to shoot.  With my trusty 10 stop ND filter, I was able to get some nice long exposures that added a misty quality to the rocks and waves, while adding nice color saturation as well.


As we brace for the first real arctic cold of the winter here in the northeast, I thought I’d post an image from warmer times.  This shot was captured this past summer in Ogunquit, Maine along the famous Marginal Way.  This mile-plus path winds it way along stunning rock cliffs  from Ogunquit beach to Perkins Cove, and provides unlimited photographic opportunities.  Sunrise, in my opinion, is the best time to be there – not only for witnessing the beauty of the sun coming up over the ocean and cliffs, but also for the peacefulness and quiet of being there virtually alone. The Marginal Way gets quite crowded during the day in the summer, so I really look forward to being there at sunrise.

I woke up early to a promising forecast, and was certainly rewarded for the effort.  As I walked along the path, I was seeking out some leading lines in the patterns of the rocks that would take the viewer right out to the morning sky, and found this spot which did the trick.  I’m definitely looking forward to getting back there this winter to get some images with snow on the rocks.  Once I’m a little more used to the cold that is.


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.


Garwin Falls II

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy photography at places like Garwin Falls.  For several hours on Sunday morning I was the only one there, and had free reign to explore the area without worrying about anyone or anything else.  It’s just so peaceful to be at a beautiful location where the only sound is the water rushing over the rocks and the occasional click of the camera’s shutter.  I had the flexibility to really take my time, and made far fewer images than I typically would as I spent more time enjoying the moment.  Had the sun not come out from behind the clouds to create very contrasty light, I would’ve been content to hang there all day. With multiple levels of cascading water, surrounded by both evergreen forest and changing leaves, this is truly a magical place.

This is probably my favorite image from the morning.  A six second exposure was all it took to capture the swirling water in the pool at the bottom of the falls, while adding that smooth, milky appearance to the water.  I manually blended two images together for this shot – one of the falls and one of the trees in the center background that were blown out with the long exposure.


Garwin Falls

As we move further into October, we continue to be a bit short of peak colors here in central New England.  I’ve been trying to get out each weekend to see the progress, and was able to get out for a short trip yesterday.  My destination was Garwin Falls in Wilton, NH, and yesterday was my first time visiting it.  It’s a beautiful waterfall, it’s reasonably close to my house, and I was the only one there.  Couldn’t have been a better morning.  Even the sun stayed hidden behind overcast skies for the  first few hours of the morning, giving the falls and the trees the soft, even light they deserve.

The colors are definitely on their way towards peak, and I spent the better part of the morning exploring the area.  This is one of the more traditional views of the falls, and with lots of water flowing from recent rains, it did not disappoint.  I’ll have more images from here to share in future posts.


Lights Over Boston

Not much to say about this image.  Just that my love for both long exposures and the Boston skyline magically came together the other night just after the sun set.

It was incredibly windy, so there’s unfortunately a bit of blur in the buildings.  Certainly not enough to stop me from posting this shot, however.


The Gahden

No, that’s not a typo.  It’s how you say “garden” when you’re from Boston.  Or at least every movie made about our city in the past 20 years would make you think that’s how you say it.

Anyway, this is a fairly common view of the Boston Garden and the Zakim bridge, and one I’d been wanting to get for a while now.  So when I had a chance to go into the city a few nights ago for some sunset shooting (images to follow later), I made sure to stop at this spot before I drove home.  Traffic was just strong enough to create some light trails, and although the clouds had mostly disappeared when the blue hour hit, there were still enough to add some additional interest.


 

Snoqualmie Falls

As the #ExpeditionPalouse trip got underway, we left Seattle in the morning for our 4 1/2 hour drive to the Palouse.  We were anxious to start shooting far sooner, however, and decided to make a stop at Snoqualmie Falls not too far outside the city.  This is not one of those remote waterfalls that require a 1-2 mile hike up the side of mountain, but instead is one of the most popular scenic stops in the state.  It’s just a short walk from the parking lot to the falls, and there are paved walkways and overlooks all around.  There’s even a gift shop if you want a souvenir beyond your photographs.

We spread out along the paths and found any space we could among all the tourists to set up our tripods.  As it was late morning, the sky was of no real use, so I focused tighter on the falls and worked on some long exposures.  It’s difficult to get a unique composition here (at least without some climbing gear to get lower), but I was still happy with my images having never been there before this trip.  Even a well-known location that’s been photographed extensively is still worth shooting when it may be the only time you’ll visit and photograph it.


Looking Down on Fenway

Last night I left work and joined my friend Bob Lussier for a photo shoot in Boston.  Bob had recently created some images from the observatory at the Prudential building, and wanted to try some new things with a return visit.  And in my eagerness to steal all of his good comps, I decided to come along and create some images of my own.

The observatory, called the Skywalk, is on the 50th floor of the Pru, and provides some incredible views of the city.  Unfortunately we didn’t have access to views from every side as there was a private function taking up some of the space, but we knew there was a Red Sox game at Fenway, and the view of the ballpark was there for the taking.

I wanted to capture the lights at Fenway, and have light trails from traffic on the Mass Pike as well.  I experimented with different exposure times, apertures, etc. to get the look I wanted, and this was my favorite capture.  One of the things I learned, however, is that long exposures can’t be too long from this height and distance, as even a building as large as the Pru will still move in the wind causing a tiny bit of blur in the details.  On my next visit, I’ll be sure to take this into account.

P.S. Sox 2, Rays 0