Tag Archives: connecticut

Best Of 2016

28 Dec

 

2016 was a year of photographic growth for me.  I set several technical goals for myself as a way of pushing myself to be consistently better at my craft, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.  I’ll admit, it was often a mix of trial and error (a lot of error), persistence, and supportive people around me but I feel like I made a noticeable difference in the quality of my images.

This year, I made a consistent effort to focus stack where appropriate, to really keep an eye on my histogram so that I wasn’t shooting 12 frames when I really needed 1 or 2, and I tried improving both my night sky/milky way techniques and lightning images.  Those in-the-field efforts are represented in this “Best of…” gallery.

 

I’ve also grown in the editing arena, an area we can always work on, no matter how accomplished we are.  I feel like my ability to *see* the weak areas of a raw image, and my ability to enhance the light in a positive way with my edits has grown immeasurably.  Again, this was a matter of practice, feedback and support from my peers.  I’m particularly proud of my Opal Creek wilderness forest shot, as it involved some creative shaping of the light.

 

The winter image in the gallery was a conscious attempt to force myself out of hibernation.  Apparently, I need to do that more often – turns out winter light is lovely! Lol

And finally, the biggest reason I chose all of these images was the LIFE they represent.

I suspect it’s human nature to take things for granted – we developed our ability to tune things out as part of our survival mechanisms (because how could our ancestors focus on important things like hunting and gathering if they were constantly distracted by…oh, the wind!  Oh, shiny rock! Oh, noise!  Oh, a bird!  What was I doing again??).  Therefore, it takes a conscious effort to remember to appreciate the blessings in our life.

 

Write that life lesson down, folks.  It’s particularly important in the relationships you hold dear.

So where am I going with this?  Well, I’m an American woman.  Currently, that means the law considers me to be a person with inherent rights, one of which is the ability to obtain resources and pursue my life aspirations.  On the whims of fate, I was born here.  I am not viewed as property, or less than human.  I have the stability provided by a nation dedicated to protecting our freedoms.  I am educated.  Compared to so many places in the world, I grew up like a queen – I had food, clean water, health care, and never had the threat of war, unrest and violence looming on my doorstep every day.  Although America isn’t perfect, I am GRATEFUL every day for the progressive ideas that surrounds me.  As a country we can always improve.  We are but a nation of flawed humans afterall, and will always have room to be better versions of ourselves…. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t already holding the human rights bar pretty high and I desperately hope we continue to do so abundantly, and equally across the country.

Because I was blessed be born in a place that respects my rights and raised to believe in pursuing my dream (so much thanks to my family for always inspiring and encouraging me), I have seen and experienced SO MUCH JOY all in pursuit of a photograph.  I have traveled to places that have stolen my breath.  I have met some incredibly interesting, funny and supportive people who are a constant source of light in my life.  I have taken chances that have fed my soul.

 

In 2016, I was able to see the forest and seascapes (and….uh…wildlife) of Oregon and Northern California, the towering waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, try out the delightful food trucks in Portland and have my heart swell at the beauty of the Steens Mountains and the Alvord desert.  I soaked in a hot spring, while smiling with strangers.  I sat under the stars with friends, and pretended to play a violin under the Milky Way.  I explored NY and much of New England.  I was assaulted by a frog near the Adirondacks, got to see bald eagles in Acadia, the wild ponies on Assateague and black bears in Shenandoah.

I have taught photography students and built friendships around the world through Light & Landscape (thanks for that opportunity Matt!), I wrote another photography book with my business-partner-in-not-crime David, I was blessed to photograph weddings for some amazing couples with my other business-partner-in-not-crime Melissa, worked with one of this year’s 40 under 40 winners (you rock, Fitz!), refined my inner photo-journalist with freelance assignments through the newspaper (shout out to Jared and the staff at the paper for the feedback and encouragement), and saw AMAZING shows / met some wonderful musicians during my nights as a concert photographer (so much thanks to the venue, Kathy, Pat and Angelo).

 

In short, I have the freedom to LIVE THE LIFE I WANT and these photos represent the landscape side of that.  They are a reminder to be THANKFUL EVERY DAY.

Remember to count your blessings often, and appreciate the people and things that enrich your lives.  Dwell on the positive, and embrace GRATITUDE instead of criticism. Open your heart to the people that care and the endless possibilities in front of you.  Take chances, even knowing you may fail….failure can generally be overcome, but you’ll never get back the time you waste on “What ifs”.  Travel as often as you are able to responsibly do so, so that you can learn about the magical places in the world….how else will you learn to cherish and protect them?  As you travel near or far, make sure to appreciate that you have the ability to do so.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2017!

Ships Passing :: CT

20 Sep
Ships Passing :: CT

Ships Passing :: CT

Sometimes, to make a photo outing work with the conditions you’re given, you have to think outside of the box a bit.  I hit the road thinking I’d create a wide-angle landscape shot and ended up striking gold with this intimate landscape instead.

Last month our students focused on minimalism, so the idea of simplifying has been on my mind. This particular sunset, the sky was sort’ve “blah” but the reflecting color was so damn purty. ❤

Settings: 75 mm, f/8, 30 sec, ISO 100

Summer Nights & Lightning Strikes

25 Aug
Summer Nights :: CT

Summer Nights :: CT

 

These last few weeks have been full of pretty incredible storms.  It has been a great learning experience for me.  Obviously, safety is the number one concern with lightning shows.  Once you take the basic precautions, though, it’s interesting to focus on the absolute beauty that comes along with this powerful display.

This shot was taken in Bolton, CT at the heritage farm. f/2.8, 137 sec, ISO 100, 11 mm

Want to learn more about these sort of shots?  We teach both in the field technique, editing techniques, and run a structured, customized online lesson program.  Ask us for more details!

Snowstar

12 Feb
Snowstar :: CT

Snowstar :: CT

Singles Awareness Day is coming up soon. For those of you with good fortune in the love department, you know this day as Valentine’s Day. We think everyone deserves to feel appreciated on the 14th, so help us spread the love.
If you use Instagram, and want a chance to win a free copy of our book, you have TWO tasks. First, follow @dpasillas, and @seeingspotsphoto. Second,  comment on the contest post. Boom. Done. Just like that, you’ve put your name in the running to win a free copy of our book, “Photography. Duh!”
Already a follower? Great! You sound smart and attractive! Just leave a comment to enter the drawing. 
The winner will be announced Monday the 15th.

Days Gone By

25 Aug
Days Gone By :: CT

Days Gone By :: CT

If you follow my IG account, you saw last Friday’s epic rainbow situation.  The sky just blew up, like, Whoa.

After the colors died down a bit, I began my walk to the park entrance, and came across this composition.  It’s just so *New England*.  It is also a perfect example of how beauty really is hiding around every corner here in Connecticut. 🙂

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.

 

Our Little Secret…

19 May
Our Little Secret :: Connecticut

Our Little Secret :: Connecticut

A lot of us have them….a place we love to just *be*.  A place we can explore, and play, and experience nature. A place that we love, and that we don’t really share because…well…that’s how you preserve the magic.

It’s interesting to me how wildly different, but equally lovely different parts of the world can be. Connecticut may not have the tallest mountains, deepest canyons, colorful rocks or most dramatic open spaces… but there is still so much beauty to be found in our own backyards. Saturday was overcast, so I spent some time exploring my corner of the state, chasing waterfalls.

Chasing Waterfalls

Chasing Waterfalls

This particular set of falls is not a “secret”, per se. It’s just not talked about much and as far as I’m concerned, that’s okay!  It’s one of the places I sneak away to when I need a little fresh air and call me selfish, but I enjoy it just the way it is…quiet. 😉