Tag Archives: ocean

Sounds of Silence

20 Jan
Sounds of Silence :: Connecticut

Sounds of Silence :: Connecticut

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day, a day to reflect on the impact of this revolutionary man and the powerful changes that he now represents. His conviction that people should embrace love, treat each other as brothers and weigh the content of someone’s character over other factors (skin color, gender, religion, sexual preference, etc) are powerful sentiments that we can all benefit from in both on the large and small scale.

On the small scale, little acts of compassion, kindness, tolerance and an attempt at understanding would bring less friction, less selfishness, more smiles and more joy into both your life and the lives you touch.

On the large scale, how much unrest, injustice and tragedy could be avoided if the world embraced love and understanding first? We humans are selfish by nature, innately interested in self-preservation. But I challenge you to think beyond your body and family. I challenge you to bring something to the table that helps your fellow man and enriches the rich, beautiful, eclectic, intense variety of the tapestry of humankind.

Collect some good karma points, smile at your neighbor, sprinkle some kindness wherever you go and leave the world a more beautiful place. ❤

 

This image is part of an ongoing personal project to showcase the beauty of Connecticut, a state often overlooked by my landscape photography peers. 🙂 You’re missing out, guys! And ladies, of course. Lol

I took this sunrise photo in Milford, CT over the long weekend. It was incredible to see the world and the water so quiet, despite the frigid temperatures. Sunrises are always a time of peace and reflection for me, and this one will be one that I remember for a long time.

For more info about my images, private lessons or upcoming workshops on the East coast, shoot me an email or sign up for my new newsletter! 

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Eternity of the Tides

6 Jan
Eternity of the Tides

Eternity of the Tides

And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually. -Hendrix

I’ve noticed, lately, that I spend a lot of time photographing water. It’s powerful, eternal, enchanting and dangerous. How can any reasonable girl resist those charms?

Gear Review :: Induro Adventure ABK Tripod

2 Jul

 

A Shore to Call Home

A Shore to Call Home

I’m of the opinion that with most things in life…relationships, work, etc…there is almost never a perfect situation.  You have to look at the all of the pluses and minuses, run a little cost benefit analysis and decide what compromises you can live with.  Gear is no different.

Now, just a few short weeks ago, I found myself traveling across the country to Cali for some photo exploration and education.  Last time I made that trip, I flew Southwest, where bags travel free and I put my very large, very solid Manfrotto in the luggage.  This time, I flew a different airline and tried like hell to avoid bringing anything more than a carry-on with me.  That meant I needed a much smaller tripod, as the average height of a carry-on bag is between 20-22 inches.

I found myself with a bit of a dilemma.  You see, to me, having a rock solid base is important.  Furthermore, I’m 5’ 10” with a bum knee, so crouching down is difficult over long periods of time.  Having a tall tripod is a major plus, in my book.  Also, I’m not a big fan of twist lock legs…just a preference, I guess.  I find it unnecessarily time consuming, and generally speaking, not as solid as tab locks.  At some point, every kind of twist lock I’ve used eventually slips because I didn’t tighten it enough.  No thanks.  I’d rather just flip a quick lever and set up is done.

My Manfrotto fills all of those requirements, and I love it.  I just don’t love it for traveling!

In the time I’ve had the Manfrotto, I have more than once wished it were a bit lighter.  It’s a beast to carry up a mountain.  Also, because it is a tall tripod (with center column extended, it can reach above my head) with only three leg sections, it is bulky.  When it hangs off of the back of my bag, I feel like I spend a lot of time apologizing for hitting it on people and things. Haha

So, the trip to California (and my upcoming hike in August for a Mt. Washington sunrise) were exactly the impetus I needed to do some tripod research and spend a few bucks. Now, price is a big factor for me.  My life goals involve spending most of my excess money making memories, not collecting things.  However my photography goals involve making the best quality images I can, to the best of my ability at any given point in my life.  This means I wanted to find a durable, lightweight, 4 section tripod that opened up to be tall enough for a giant like me, with enough weight to it that it wouldn’t fold in a breeze, but not as heavy as my current tripod.  Oh, and for a reasonable price.

I spent a bit of time on Google looking up the best tripods out there, specifically brands that wouldn’t require international shipping (because that costs extra, duh!), that fit the description I was looking for.  My search led me to Induro, where I read enough reviews about their adventure series (versus their more expensive carbon fiber options) to make anyone’s eyeballs cross.  For approximately $150, I felt that the ABK (sometimes labeled as ABK0, depending on the store) was worth taking a chance on.

Slacker Hill Sunset, Courtesy of David Pasillas Photography

Slacker Hill Sunset, Courtesy of David Pasillas Photography

So, the pro’s… this tripod is extremely light weight (I had more than one panic attack wondering if it had fallen off my bag), folds down to about 20 inches (fit in my carry-on), has lever lock legs, and provides a sturdy base for the camera.  Like most tripods, it becomes less sturdy with the center column extended, but I tend to use a shutter remote or a timer, so it helps combat some sources of potential vibrations down the tripod.

Now for the con’s…this tripod is not really tall enough for me.  Even adding several inches for the camera, with the center column fully extended, I still need to bend down a bit.  For situations where I want the sharpest image possible (and therefore didn’t extended the center column), I tended to set up the composition using live view which required less bending.  I tried using the center column hook to add some weight to the tripod in the wind, but if the center column was up, the weight of the bag below it slowly dragged it down.  I didn’t even bother using the bag hook feature a second time.  In high wind situations, I just put my hand on the top of the tripod, where the legs come together, and leaned some of my weight onto it.  That did the trick and was an easy compromise, given how much I enjoy this tripod’s other features.

Some of the reviews I read spoke harshly of the ball head that came with the tripod, but I had no problems with it.  (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, you don’t have to buy that separately…for $150 you get the whole kit! Plus a carry bag, which I didn’t use, because it has the name on the side and I don’t like to advertise how expensive my gear is to potential muggers. Haha)  The plate is smaller than I’m used to, but the plate lock is solid and keeps my camera safely attached, so as far as I’m concerned it does its job.  I used the ball head/plate combo with a Canon 7d and a variety of lens sizes…no slippage!

Overall, at this point, I would recommend this tripod.  It appears to be solidly built and any of the features that don’t quite meet my requirements are easy to work around.  And hey, for less than $200 you get a great piece of equipment with a strong company name on it. For me, it was a good investment.  I’m glad I took a chance on Induro. Read more about their products at http://www.indurogear.com

The photo at the top of the page is of a dark and cloudy sunrise on the shore line in Santa Cruz, California…and also the first series of shots taken with the new tripod. 🙂

Swept Away

11 Jun
Swept Away

Swept Away

 She was impetuous and changeable, unpredictable and dangerous, and more beautiful than an ocean sunset on a summer day.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a workshop hosted by three well respected photographers / time-lapsers whose work is inspiring and emotive – David Gaiz, Toby Harriman and Michael Shainblum. They assured me they will be hosting more clinics in the future, mostly on the west coast, so if you’re out that way and you have the opportunity, I highly recommend taking a class with them.

Without giving away too much, their workshop focused mainly on seascapes, and went through everything from the technical aspects of camera settings and filter use, to the creative process and using the environment to your advantage…the shapes of the changeable water, allowing the water to wash away footprints in the sand (or not, depending on what you’re looking to accomplish with your image), etc.

The three guys were very open and generous with their time.  I really enjoyed hanging out with them, a few of their photographer friends from TX and my good friend David Pasillas for the weekend. A gal can’t ask for a better trip. 🙂

Now, as for the images we created – we spent the afternoon and evening on Marshall Beach near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, watching the fog roll over the area and dash our hopes for a sunset. Haha  But, a little challenge never hurt nobody.  The fog added texture to the sky (which I happen to like) and mood to the scene.  There were plenty of interesting rocks, a bridge and of course, the water with which to compose a scene and tell a story.  It was also a prime opportunity to play with filters, long exposures, etc.

Overall, this workshop (and the weekend as a whole) was just a great opportunity to get creative, meet other artists and feel inspired.  As I told David Gaiz after I sat got back to the east coast and sorted my shots, I can think of at least 3 blog posts, lessons and personal projects all stemming from my time in California.  Furthermore, it was an opportunity for me to talk to the guys about the ins and outs of running a workshop because (spoiler alert) that’s on my future to-do list. 🙂

Keep your eyeballs peeled for future workshops with these three, and in the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out their photography and time lapse pages.  You won’t be disappointed!

And Time Marches On

4 Jun
Bones in the Sand

Bones in the Sand

 

During low tide, the ocean gives up the bones of an old coal ship, the Howard W Middleton on Higgins Beach in Maine. We only had a small window of time to play among the wreckage before the water swallowed the ship back up.

 

Timing is everything. The light, the tides, the weather are play such a big role in creating an image. While most people might have been bummed about a sky full of clouds during a day at the beach, to me, it was a blessing. It was uncomfortable, chilly, and best of all, oh-so-dramatic. 🙂

Free Photo Giveaway!!

25 Nov

Contest

Do you like free stuff? Of course you do!

Do you like pretty stuff?? Check!!

So do yourself a favor and head on over to the Facebooks where you will:

– Like our photography page
– Comment on the contest photo (same one you see above, but it will be on Facebook), telling us which 8×10 print you want to win

So easy, even a caveman can do it! (Assuming cavemen had electricity.)

For a bonus entry…that’s right, TWO chances to win a free print…share the contest with your friends!

(Sharing is caring, afterall.)

So…what are we gonna do!!??
Like, comment and share.

When are we gonna do it??
Now! (Or sometime before Friday, November 29, because that’s when the winner will be announced!)

Go team!

XOXO
Thank you all for your continued support.  Happy Holidays, Friends!
Shannon

Finding Peace

21 May
Blue Serenity

Blue Serenity

“Complete peace equally reigns between two mental waves.” –Swami Sivananda

This photo was taken in La Jolla, California a few months back during blue hour.  I believe this was taken right after I narrowly missed being swept out to sea by a gigantic wave. haha  Since the moment I decided on this composition, before I even snapped the shot, I loved this scene.  It gives me a sense of calm.

Call me a peace-loving hippie (because I am), but I spend a fair amount of my time on introspection.  What is worth dumping my energy into, what will yield results that will increase the quality of my life, are my actions ones I can live with long term, etc….  My goal for every day is to resist the negativity around me.  Aggravations and annoyances happen, and there isn’t much I can do to control that.  I can only control how I react.

Often, during trying moments, I will remind myself of the logic of the situation.  I tell myself, “It can always be worse.”  During my saddest and angriest moments, I remind myself to be grateful for the good things in my life.  I have food, shelter, and family that loves me, friends that support me, and a great set of basic rights protected by my government.  I’m not desperate, I’m not property, and for the most part, I’m safe.  In the grand scheme of things, whatever is bothering me is probably relatively insignificant.

I suspect at this point, if you read the blog, you know music and musicians are a big part of my life.  This month, one of the musicians in our circle passed away.  He was a young guy, always happy and full of positive energy.  He made a huge impact on the people in his life, both through his music and his attitude.  The tragedy shocked our community.  It is never easy to lose someone who had so much life to live still, but in particular, it was hard to lose a shining light in the sea of humanity.

Events like this are a huge reminder to appreciate the things we have and to live our lives to the fullest every day.  We are but a sum of our experiences, and every day we face choices that will lead us down the path of anger, or the path of quiet peace.  I can’t say that every time I take the high road, but I’m trying. haha  At the end of my days, I don’t want to carry the weight of regret.

We only get one shot at life.  It’s a wild, unpredictable journey and it’s up to every one of us to seize opportunity, to feed our passions, to encourage happiness and to find love.  I’m rooting for all of us. 😉

XO
Shann