Dancing Skies

29 Jun
Nubble Lights :: ME

Nubble Lights :: ME

If you want the shot, you have to show up.

Monday had been a long day, but when I heard there was a strong chance of Aurora sightings, I knew I had two options. I could go back home and spend the night sitting on my couch, editing photos and watching Netflix….or I could seize life and make it happen.  It’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to cross something off of your bucket list. Obviously, I had to go.

I did a quick tally of the places north of me that I suspected would have dark enough skies, and settled on Nubble Lighthouse in York, ME. I couldn’t find anyone willing to drop everything on such short notice, so around 7pm I hopped in the car and took the 2.5 hour drive to Maine alone. (The drive home was not fun. I got home at 2 am and got about 4 hours of sleep that night.)

Although it was a long tiring drive, the experience was 100% worth it. I sat on the rocks in front of the lighthouse, listening to the waves around me, and watched the pillars of light in the sky dance. All around me, I heard other people gasping and laughing at the magic of Mother Nature’s show. It was an experience that I will cherish for years to come.

I hope you enjoy the shot. This was taken at ISO 1600, f/3.5, 10 mm, 20 seconds. :-)

Choose Life, Choose Love

18 Jun
Emerge :: VT

Emerge :: VT

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” – MLK, Jr.

 

The Charleston shooting is horrifying and tragic on so many levels.  I find most violence difficult to swallow, and this even more so because the victims were spending their energy on prayer.  It is just one of many world-wide incidents that continue to sadden and frustrate me.

 

It saddens me that one human can feel so filled with hate, fear, a need to feel power over another, etc that he or she can feel justified in taking the lives of another living being.  At what point do we sit down and have a talk with our children about the root causes of violence?  At what point do we address the fear and the hate, regardless of its source, that we hold in our own hearts?  At what point do we encourage love instead?  At what point do we take and expect personal accountability for our actions?  At what point do we acknowledge the wrongs done to us personally, and accept that one incident doesn’t need to define us OR our interactions with people who weren’t involved?  At what point do we base our assessment of a fellow human on their character and actions alone?  At what point do we ask our fellow citizens to take a look at themselves and do the same?

 

It frustrates me that these continued acts of violence are polarizing our country, when the only way to bring about equality for every human is through unified purpose.  There is only one race.  No matter where you were raised, your gender, what circumstances you were born into, what religion you embrace or whom you fall in love with, we are all brothers and sisters.  You don’t have to like your siblings to respect their rights to live, to choose, to opportunity and to peace.

 

I am afraid for our country and our world.  I think a lot about the brave, vocal leaders our world has seen who have worked tirelessly to advocate for their fellow man.  Beacons of love, equality, education, acceptance and understanding like MLK, Ghandi and Mother Theresa have been bright lights in the dark and violent history of mankind.  When do we take it upon ourselves to light our own candles?  When do we put aside our differences and embrace civility?

 

The path to peace is built on equality, and paved with both determination and hard work.  The cost of living in a society is responsibility.  On a personal level, you are responsible for your thoughts, your actions and your willingness to work towards a better life.  But there is more to it than that.  Ultimately, choosing to live in a society means you are part of a whole.  There must be an understanding that your choices affect the people around you.  If you choose to live in a way that negatively impacts the people around you, including encouraging hate and fear in others (including your children), what incentive is there for society to continue to support you?  Even if you choose not to actively raise other people up, you have a responsibility not to tear them down.

 

Our actions now will shape the future.  There is no need to drag around the choking weight of hatred, misunderstanding and intolerance…they only serve to poison your life.  You can acknowledge and respect our collective history while still choosing to rise above unhealthy fears.  You will find the world to be a brighter place when you are working towards a better tomorrow.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of all of these sort of tragic events around the world.  #PrayersForCharleston

Painting with Light Gallery

15 Jun
Maine, Abstracted

Maine, Abstracted

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Painting with Light Challenge! The gallery is here. Check out the rest of the entries, give them a hello. :-)

 

If you liked this challenge, make sure to keep an eye on our website…we try to do fun creative challenges like this to help you get the creativity flowing!

10 Must See Places You Need to Photograph This Summer (New England Area Edition)

10 Jun

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Exploration and landscape photography go hand-in-hand, but finding time to research potential locations can be challenging.  If your time is at a premium, but you want to see some of the beauty of the Northeastern region of the US (and beyond) has to offer…this list is for you.

Light The Sky :: Maine

Light The Sky :: Maine

1)   Acadia:  This is a no-brainer.  Acadia is a gorgeous national park that highlights the natural, rugged beauty of northern New England.  Furthermore, there is something for everyone and every fitness level in Acadia, from relaxed strolls to involved hikes.  Several of the beautiful, varied landscapes are easily accessible, with convenient parking and short walks to the site.  Personal favorites are Sieur de Monts and Little Hunter Beach.

 

Vigilance :: RI

Vigilance :: RI

2)      Rhode Island lighthouses: For the purposes of landscape photography, Rhode Island has some great shore line.  Although not as rugged as Maine’s coastline, there is still a great variety of rocky foreground shoreline and sandy beaches along the ocean sides of the state.   Because there is so much rocky shoreline, there are also several beautiful, accessible lighthouses in the state.  Personal favorites are Beavertail in Jamestown, RI and the lighthouses on Block Island.

 

Shades of Gray :: MA

Shades of Gray :: MA

3)      Cape Cod, MA: The small towns and beaches that make up “The Cape” are a perfect representation of what makes the shore of New England so irresistible.  There are picturesque sandy beaches, salt marshes and lighthouses mixed in with iconic New England villages.  As a bonus (depending on you how you feel about the booming population), you can likely try your hand at Grey Seal photography. Personal favorites are Grey’s Beach boardwalk and the hike out to the Provincetown lighthouses.

 

In Wildness

In Wildness :: NH

4)      White Mountains National Forest area:  If you are looking for rugged wilderness, hiking, camping, waterfalls, ponds and birch trees then the White Mountains are for you.  The National Forest is well maintained, but retains a strong sense of nature throughout the entire area, including the land surrounding the green space.  Personal favorite hikes are Mount Washington (mountain and waterfalls), and Pondicherry (site of our forest and ponds workshop).

 

Currents :: Vermont

Currents :: Vermont

5)      Vermont Green Mountains area: The Green Mountain area of Vermont is interesting in that it is interspersed with pockets of civilization throughout, but never loses the magical feel of an untouched wild space.  There are plenty of mountains views, forest hikes, waterfalls and wildlife (moose!) to be had in upper Vermont.  As a bonus, it’s not far from Lake Champlain.  Personal favorite hikes are Camel’s Hump and Sterling Pond.  Personal favorite, easily accessible waterfall is Moss Glen in the Green Mountain Forest

 

Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

6)   Quabbin Reservoir, MA:  Massachusetts gets two listings because the Quabbin is that nice.  This reservoir used to be four towns that were removed and the valley was flooded to provide drinking water for Boston.  If the creepy abandoned relics factor isn’t enough for you, then the generally flat hikes, biking and abundant wildlife are sure to win you over. Personal favorite is Hanks Meadow on the lower Quabbin shore.

 

Round and Round She Goes :: Canada

Round and Round She Goes :: Canada

7)      Niagara Falls, NY / Canada: For those of you who have a passport, Niagara is a MUST SEE.  The falls themselves are the kind of powerful that leaves your jaw on the floor and your knees a little shaky.  There are locations and activities along both sides of the border, but in my opinion, the Canadian side does it best.  It can be a bit “touristy” in town, including a giant ferris wheel to get the best view of the falls light show up at night, but there is a wider variety of things to participate in.  Personal favorites are Cave of the Winds (American side) and the butterfly sanctuary (Canadian side).

 

The Space Between :: Ricketts Glen, PA

The Space Between :: Ricketts Glen, PA

8)   Ricketts Glen in PA: What if I told you there was a park with 21 beautiful waterfalls in Pennsylvania?  Now, what if I told you that 18 of those waterfalls were easily accessible along a 3 mile hike?   Ricketts Glen is a photographer’s day hiking paradise giving you a lot of bang for your buck.  (Or time, as the case may be!)  Personal favorite is Oneida Falls.

 

Breathing Dreams

Breathing Dreams :: NY

9)   Upstate NY gorges: There is a reason that Ithaca, NY’s slogan is “Ithaca is Gorges.”  The area surrounding Ithaca is loaded with rock walls and stunning waterfalls.  The waterfalls vary from “eh” to “dang!”, the sheer volume of photographic opportunities makes this area worth a mention.  Personal favorites are Watkins Glen (if you’re looking for a good return on your time investment, and extremely well-manicured paths) or Taughannock Falls if you’re looking for drama.

 

Sounds of Silence :: Connecticut

Sounds of Silence :: Connecticut

10)   Connecticut’s Quaint Pockets of Nature:  Connecticut is interesting in that the entire state is the attraction.  It is loaded with small working farms, fishing villages, so much forest.  In fact, we’re kinda famous for our foliage in the Fall.  Personal favorites are Enders State Forest for waterfalls and foliage, and either Lighthouse Park or Walnut Beach/Silver Sands Beach for fun shoreline photos.

 

Now get out there and take some pictures!

Seeing Spots Photo offers day lessons, including guided site visits to some of our favorites locations.  For more information about that, check out our private sessions page.

 

Tips to Improve Your Sunrise & Sunset Photos!

8 Jun

SunriseSunsetTipsCover

We asked what you wanted to learn, and iso100vignette answered!

We all struggle with new photography techniques and concepts – it’s part of what makes our art fun, and occasionally frustrating!  To help you out, we have begun putting together some PDF guides to help you elevate your images.

All that we ask in return is that you sign-up for our newsletter (we hate spam too, so we won’t share your email address) and that you help spread the word about us.

Sign up for your newsletter here, and after you confirm your email address, a welcome note will appear in your inbox with the password to our FREE TIPS PAGE.  Once you make your way there, you will find our free PDF sunset tips that will make your sunset photos shine!  (See what I did there?  Shine…sunlight…ha!)

HAVE SOMETHING YOU WANT HELP WITH?  Let us know!

 Also, as a reminder, our painting with light challenge ends this week. If you want to be part of the final gallery, email David your submission by June 10!

Painting with Light Challenge!

3 Jun
Over The Rainbow :: New Hampshire

Over The Rainbow :: New Hampshire

Last week I shared David’s post about our newest photo challenge, designed to help you kick start your creativity!  For those of you who missed it, and are interested in trying something fun and making some new friends along the way, here is the gist of it.

How the heck do I create a painterly image in camera?

It’s really easy. I mean, making an image look like a painting is easy, but the challenge is nailing the composition. These are 2 techniques that we use to create painterly images in camera:

  • Switch to manual focus and shoot out of focus on purpose
  • Use a slow shutter speed and move the camera while the sensor is exposed.

Tips to help you create something awesome:

  • Take a lot of photos. We’d be amazed if anyone got an award winning shot on their first try with a new technique.
  • Try different subjects. These techniques will work better for some subjects than others. Experiment and see what you like. Obviously, panning works well when there are strong lines present.
  • Let your eyes go out of focus so you can try to see the world similar to an out of focus camera.
  • Try to use the rule of thirds to create a pleasing composition.

The Deadline – June 10th

We want to make sure you have plenty of time to play with these techniques and get something that you’re happy with. Submit your images to d.pasillas@yahoo.com, by June 10th, and we’ll create a gallery with all the participants, and a link to their blogs.

Examples of painterly images created in camera

The above shot is an example of slow-shutter speed and panning.  If you’d like to see more examples, taken with both a dslr and artistic phone shots, you can check out the original blog on David’s site here. :-)

We hope you join us!  Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Free Photo Giveaway!

1 Jun
Currents :: Vermont

Currents :: Vermont

 

Who likes free stuff???!!

Obviously, you do.  And boy, oh boy, did you come to the right place!

For this week only I will be holding a free 8×10 giveaway contest.  The winner will be drawn on Friday June 5, 2015 and can choose one image from my gallery to decorate their walls.

To qualify, you need to do at least 2 of these things:

– sign up for my newsletter (if you haven’t already)

AND

– like me on one or more social media pages, if you haven’t already (twitter, facebook, instagram, G+, etc)
– share this post
– follow my blog (if you haven’t already)

Yes, we will be checking. :-)

Also, for those of you wondering, the above photo was taken in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  This particular peak is Camel’s Hump, the third highest in the state.

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