Repeat Visits Pay Off in Photography

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Photographers who teach and write will often tout the benefits of returning to a spot again and again. It pays to get to know a place well. The season of the year, time of day, weather, light — there’s a whole host of factors that, in an almost unlimited number of combinations, will pretty well guarantee that the spot will never look exactly the same twice. Add to that such factors that are more under your control — your vantage point, lens, focal length, exposure, etc. — and if you’ve found a place you like, it can be a virtual goldmine of different images for you.

I’m going to illustrate this for you with examples of images I’ve made from one of my favorite spots over the years: Second Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island. Water, sand, rocks, light, people — all these and more go into ensuring an endless variety of photo opps.

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The rock with the wave breaking against it is for me one of the main visual attractions on Second Beach. Rhode Island’s coast is often windy and it didn’t disappoint on this January morning. It’s a matter of taking several shots, trying to anticipate what an approaching wave is going to do, and hoping you got a couple of good images out of the perhaps dozens you took. Tip for wave photography: Be sure your Exposure Delay Mode is turned off!

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Here’s a complete contrast. The tide is in and the water is calm. I made these images in the evening in order to be able to get the long exposures needed to get that ethereal look in the water.

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This features a close-up of the piece of rocky coast that’s on the right of the first image. I deliberately heightened the contrast between light and shadow in order to make the most of the morning sun highlighting the people.

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When the waves are up, this is a popular spot for surfing, including surfing on these stand-up boards, which attracts all ages. Here I’ve turned slightly to the left to make the most of the golden early morning light. In the background is the silhouette of Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge, a favorite site for photographers and birders alike.

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Again looking left, this time a wide-angle view featuring clouds and reflections toward the evening.

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Finally, a classic example of “Don’t forget to look behind you”: the spires of St. George’s School against a red setting sun.

Another featured attraction close by is the famous rock where Bishop Berkeley used to sit, ponder, and write. It was Bishop Berkeley who posed the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it still make a noise?” Berkeley’s rock is a photo opp all in itself.

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Black and White Photo Challenge

Fellow photoblogger Janice Sullivan nominated me for the 5-day Black and White Photo Challenge. It had been a while since I’d done any serious B&W conversions so I was glad to have this discipline. Below are the photos, with something about each one. Each image was originally posted on my Facebook page.

Ed IMG_1190 Nik Neutral sThis is the interior of The Coffee Pot in Littleton, NH; the old-fashioned interior lends itself well to B&W. I had already processed this in color and chose to make the B&W conversion from the psd file instead of from the jpg to which I had added some Topaz Adjust finishing touches. This conversion was made with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, in which I used the Neutral preset and simply increased the structure a bit as I like the somewhat gritty look that gives.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you know my image Dreamtime at the Ashokan Reservoir, this is another taken on the same day. After preliminary processing in Lightroom 5, I brought it into Photoshop and added a B&W layer, decreased the Cyans and Blues to darken the clouds (and their reflections in the water), and increased the Yellows and Greens to lighten the bridge structure to make it more prominent. I also cropped it a bit from the bottom; without the “dreamy” look of the color image I wanted the bridge to stand out more.

 

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This was taken at the Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown, RI, when sun and wind combined for the right conditions early one morning. Observing the waves and trying to capture “the decisive moment” is a meditative experience. Here I was struck not only by the wave action but also by the play of the rising sun on the edges of the rocks. B&W conversion was simply a B&W layer in Photoshop CS5. I darkened the Cyans and Blues at the top of the image to make the contrast with the wave stand out more.

 

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This image of a barn and tree in the Adirondacks first went into Lightroom to increase clarity to enhance detail in the barn and the grass. Then I brought it into Photoshop for B&W conversion by adding a B&W layer. I tweaked the Blues to darken the sky but not too dark, then increased the Greens to bring out more detail in the grass.

 

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Finally, here is the Diana’s Bath waterfall in New Hampshire. I began by working on my processed jpg, but then decided to take the psd file back into Lightroom to increase the Clarity. That worked! Then back into Photoshop where I added a B&W layer, then tweaked the Shadows/Highlights a bit. In the process, I ended up with a better color version as well.

What do you think? Let me hear from you. If you’re interested in purchasing a print as a gift for yourself or a friend, click on the photo to go through to my FAA website. Thank you for looking.

ROCKport and Gritty Ol’ Bearskin Neck

In my last blog post introducing Rockport, Massachusetts, I mentioned that settlers were initially drawn to the area by two things: fishing and timber. Then, in the 18th century, came the quarries. It’s interesting, given Rockport’s proximity to The Granite State (New Hampshire), that this little nearby village in Massachusetts should have had the reputation for rocks – which is, a lifelong resident pointed out to me, where the name came from – but that’s how it is.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the first granite quarries were developed, and by the 1830s, Rockport granite was being shipped to cities and towns throughout the East Coast of the United States. The Industrial Revolution was on, and Rockport became a major source of the high-grade granite that was now in demand.

DSC-0108 cr - 2 blThe remnants of one of the major quarries can be seen at Halibut Point State Park. The northernmost point of Rockport, Halibut Point is a lovely day (or half-day) outing. I was blessed with great weather the day I visited — the sky and thus the water, as well, were deep blue, and the calm winds allowed me to get this reflection.

You absolutely can’t walk through Rockport village without coming to (and continuing through) Bearskin Neck. Bearskin Neck is indeed a neck that juts out into Rockport Harbor, and it gets its name (so the commemorative sign tells us) from a bear that was caught by the tide in 1700 and killed. For Rockport’s first 150 years, Bearskin Neck was its commercial and shipbuilding center. During the War of 1812 it also had a stone fort to protect against invasion.

I like to think of Bearskin Neck as the “gritty” part of Rockport. It’s where you find fishing shacks (including Motif no. 1) and rows upon rows of very old buildings, now repurposed into interesting shops and restaurants. Here are some of my photos.

These vintage bottles sat in the basement (the windows were just above ground level) of a historic old building in Bearskin Neck.

These vintage bottles sat in the basement (the windows were just above ground level) of a historic old building in Bearskin Neck.

When I photographed the Harbormaster's little boat, it sat just under Motif no. 1.

When I photographed the Harbormaster’s little boat, it sat just under Motif no. 1.

 

To purchase any of the photos in this post, just click on the photo and it will take you through to my site. Thank you!

This fishing shack occupies the pier next to Motif no. 1.

This fishing shack occupies the pier next to Motif no. 1.