Sunset at Eastern Point

During the 4th of July weekend, Bob Lussier and I decided to go up to Gloucester, MA to try and catch the fireworks exploding over the lighthouse.  Well I decided, and dragged him with me.  Unfortunately, the fireworks ended up being too far away from the lighthouse, and thus too low in the sky.  I got some decent shots of the fireworks over the harbor, but not over the lighthouse as I had hoped.

We had planned for this possibility, however, and made sure that the trip wouldn’t be a total bust by getting there before sunset to at least get some images of the lighthouse in the late afternoon light.  In this regard, we were not disappointed.  The evening provided a colorful show for us, long before the fireworks started.  I slapped on the ultra-wide lens for this shot, and got as low as my tripod would allow to get the reflection of the lighthouse in this small pool of water.   In post, I chose to keep the scene somewhat dark to add a little moodiness to it.

P.S. For those of you keeping score at home, I did indeed remove the annoying antenna from the image.  I usually have a strict “don’t alter the scene” policy, but thought I could violate it just this once.


Palouse Panorama

I’m having such a great time going through all my images from my trip to the Palouse.  Especially the images of the rolling hills as seen by looking down from Steptoe Butte.  No matter which direction you look, you’re treated to views just like this one.

This shot is a panorama of seven vertical shots stitched together using the new panorama merge function in Lightroom CC.  I’ve also been playing with the new Dehaze function which was just released the other day.  I’m finding it to be quite useful, and applied a touch of it to this image.  It’s amazing that so much can be done now in Lightroom without having to jump over to Photoshop.  How did we live without Lightroom in the past???


 

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.


 

Rolling Hills of the Palouse

This is the landscape I flew across the country to see.  The Palouse region of Washington state has been on my photography bucket list for some time, and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to visit the area with the NxNW crew last week.  We had an incredible time and got to see some truly stunning landscapes.

One of the iconic locations in the Palouse is Steptoe Butte.  It’s basically a small mountain of about 3,600 feet in elevation that provides panoramic views of the surrounding farmland, hills and distant mountains.  Driving up the road to the top you’re treated to beautiful vistas in every direction, providing unlimited photographic opportunities.  Pictures just don’t do it any justice, but of course I had to try.

On our first full day in the area, we drove up the butte at both sunrise and sunset as the light is remarkably different in the morning versus the evening.  This particular image was taken just before sunset as the low light of the sun casted shadows across the hills.  Just spectacular.


Weber House and the Milky Way

I just returned from an epic photography trip to the Palouse region of Washington state.  Four plus days of shooting some incredibly beautiful landscapes with a terrific group of photographers known as NxNW.  This was my first time joining this group, and it was absolutely amazing.  We visited many of the major spots in the area including Steptoe Butte and Palouse Falls, as well as several of the old abandoned barns and homes that dot the landscape.  Sleep was about the only thing not on our agenda as we shot from sunrise through the evening, with a brief break during the middle of each day to recharge our batteries and back-up our images.

Although today’s image was taken on our last night, I couldn’t resist using it as my first blog post from my trip.  This is the Weber House (Homestead) outside Pullman, WA.  It’s a well-known location for photographers, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  We got there in the afternoon to shoot sunset, and ended up staying late to get some Milky Way images as well.  This was my first time photographing the Milky Way, and I have to admit, I’m hooked.  I can’t wait to try this again somewhere local (or close to local as it’s fairly bright where I live).

We were also fortunate to catch a huge meteor that streaked across the sky while we were capturing the Milky Way.  I was working on some star trails when the meteor lit up the sky, so my capture  wasn’t great as a standalone image.  Some of the NxNW crew were able to catch it as well, and I’m sure you’ll see their images soon on their respective blogs and social media posts.

I’ll be posting more Palouse images in the coming days and weeks, including some other views of the Weber House, so stay tuned.


 

Block Island North Light

Over the Memorial Day weekend, my family and I had the opportunity to spend a few days on Block Island with some family and friends.  It’s a beautiful little island off the coast of Rhode Island, and has the quintessential look and feel of New England with its shingled homes, several beaches, lots of shops and restaurants, and of course, it’s two lighthouses.  Although this was a family trip, the lighthouses have been on my “to shoot” list for a while, so I made some time to get out and shoot.

This is the Block Island North Light, located as you can guess, at the northern end of the island.  The first lighthouse was built here in 1829, although it was replaced several times over the years due to storms and the need for more powerful lights.  The current granite and iron structure seen here went into service in 1868, and has undergone a recent restoration.

On our last night, our host for the weekend came along with me to visit the lighthouse so we could bring the kids with us as well.  And while they explored the area, I set up to grab some sunset images.  It was a fairly cloudy evening, and I grabbed this shot a short time before the sun went down.  I have some other images from this lighthouse, as well as some from the Block Island Southeast Light that I’ll post soon.


This past weekend I had the pleasure of photographing a terrific family on one of those perfect warm “feels like summer” afternoons, even though it was only mid-May.  I couldn’t have asked for better light, or more importantly, a nicer and more friendly family.  I think the kids were a bit apprehensive at first, but got very comfortable in front of the camera in no time.

Here are a few favorites from the session.  Please click on any of the images for a larger view.

Thanks Heather, Lila and Nick for a fun afternoon.

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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


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.


Back Bay Dawn

A cloudy pre-dawn morning is an excellent time to create long exposures, especially when you can include a skyline, such as the Back Bay area of Boston, as part of the image.  Streaking clouds with pastel colors always contrasts nicely with buildings.

What makes this image kinda interesting, is that someone unfamiliar with Boston would think that the snowy foreground area is simply a large field, when it’s in fact the frozen Charles River.  Hopefully frozen for not too much longer, however, as I think we’ve all had enough of this winter by now.