Tag Archives: sea

Nirvana :: RI

15 Oct
Nirvana :: RI

Nirvana :: RI

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” – Sarah Williams, Twilight Hours

The Milky Way season is winding down. 3/4 of a year has flown by. Does anyone else wonder where the time goes? I blinked and it’s officially the first day of fall.

On the plus side, that means apple cider donuts…

Rush Hour :: ME

22 Jun
Rush Hour :: ME

Rush Hour :: ME

This month, our students over at L&L wanted to learn about HDR.  Now, while some HDR created using algorithms is very good….well….some is not.  It’s very easy to go too far, to create halos, unnatural colors, unnatural light, etc.  Blending by hand tends to give you more control while still extending your dynamic range.

Similar to the last photo (Insomnia), this is a mash up of three different exposures – two for the sky, and one for the long exposure water/foreground rocks/lighthouse.  To create the base composite, I used layers and masked what I wanted from each shot into one final image.  That created a base on which to build, with the standard curves, levels, etc.

The final image is similar to the treat Mother Nature gave me the morning I took this.  This is sunrise at Nubble Light in York, ME from early June.  It was one of four light houses David and I stopped to see on the Great Lighthouse Tour of 2016.  This one, by far, had the best light of the day.

Interested in more in depth help with your own images? For more information about our teaching program over at L&L, go here. 🙂


21 Mar
Defiance :: CT

Defiance :: CT

“An island of calm in a sea of uncertainty…”


I spent a little time last week down at the shore, putting together example images for next month’s Light and Landscape Member’s Area lesson plan.  This photo was a happy little by-product of the trip.  And by happy, of course, I mean angry skies. haha  We’ve been having some strange weather lately.  This morning, the second day of spring, we woke up to 4+ inches of snow in the back yard…but that’s New England for ya!

If you’re interested in getting any info about our teaching program and photography community, you can contact us at support@availablelightmedia.com .  We’d be happy to give you the overview and answer your questions!  You can also check out a small sampling of some of our student’s work in the next issue of Light and Landscape Magazine, the number one landscape photography magazine on iTunes. 🙂  You can find it in the newsstand app!

The settings, for those interested: 10 mm, 4 seconds, ISO 100, f/11, grad ND

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. 😉


Rapture in the Lonely Shore

8 Nov
Watch Hill Sunset

Watch Hill Sunset

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar…” -George Byron
Some things just stick with you, and this poem by GB…well, for me, that’s one of those things.  Ever since I was young, the words have resonated with me.  Nature never fails to inspire me, to awe me and to lift my spirits.  This view at Watch Hill Light in Rhode Island was no exception. 🙂

The Art of Patience

8 Aug
Rockport Rowboats

Rockport Rowboats

Holy Busy Few Days, Batman!

Late last week I took a quick day trip down to Old Saybrook, CT…I felt the itch to photo, though I wasn’t entirely certain what I would find. I’ve been hoping to shoot some old piers…if anyone out there in cyberspace has local suggestions, I’m all ears! =)

This past weekend I also made my way to Boston for a girl’s night on Saturday, and Sunday I got up super early, took a few photos of the shore while I was there, then rushed back to CT to take care of things on the home-front. So what I’m saying is…the theme of the week is going to be ocean, ocean and more ocean images. Time to get our boat on!

Today’s images are of some rowboats moored up on a dock in Rockport…these little workhorses were weathered, full of texture and character. Better yet, they were constantly shifting on the water, creating an ever-changing scene. The compositional variants, the subtle slide of an inch or a foot, the endless repositioning of the subjects created a wealth of interesting photographs. I easily sat on that dock for 20 minutes, just waiting for the scene to fall into place, then I would snap and wait some more.

Row, Row, Row(Your)Boat

Row, Row, Row(Your)Boat

Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Truly, one of the skills any photographer needs is patience. Generally speaking, we need to travel for hours, scout the scene, wait for the light, look for the moment when the subtleties of an image come into frame, anticipate the right look or turn of the body within your subject, wait for the moment of celebration or defeat, joy or sadness… There are infinite aspects of creating an image that you cannot control. It is our job to accept that, to watch an evolving scene diligently, and to be prepared to shoot when the moment arrives.

These boats were a perfect example of photo-patience. Personally, I think these images were worth the wait. =)


18 Jul

I always tell myself I’m going to be at my genius sunset locale at least an hour beforehand.  I put it on my to-do list…charge batteries, pack batteries, triple check I’ve packed the camera itself (though for some reason, I don’t always remember my tripod. haha) and lastly…be there before the sun sets.

That plan works about 1% of the time.  The rest of my shoots involve more traffic than I accounted for, more gas than I had in my tank, and stopping for more snacks than I brought with me. haha

For this particular trip, I believe I got to the Castle Hill lighthouse as the sun was setting.  I remember grabbing my backpack and tripod (thankfully I remembered it this time!) and literally sprinting to the shore. Set up tripod, slap the camera on top, 2 second composition, check your camera settings, shoot.  Pick up camera, run to next spot, repeat.

Oh…and somewhere in there add “sweat” and “huff and puff”. haha

The end result?  A silhouette!

Lighthouse Silhouette

Lighthouse Silhouette


30 May
Beavertail Lighthouse - RI

Beavertail Lighthouse – RI

Let me start by saying, I’m not a “water” person.  I’m definitely an “I like my feet to be on solid ground, where sharks and alligators can’t eat me” kind of person.  I am also an “I almost had a panic attack while kayaking the other day” when my friend pointed out a snapping turtle in the water near us.

That being said, as much as I love being dry, I am drawn to be close to the water. It’s a powerful, beautiful force of nature and it makes a great addition to most photos.
Being at Niagara this weekend reminded me of how incredible, impressive and intense water can be.  There is a spot on the American side (in the Cave of the Winds) where you can stand under just a sliver of the Bridal Veil Falls.  The water slams into your skin, and the wind from the falls pushes you around on the deck – it is an experience that always takes my breath away.

As I walked away from the Bridal Veil this weekend, I turned to my friend and explained my feelings about water.  I don’t love the idea of being in it, but boy do I respect it.  And I love, love, love to photograph it in its various forms.  In fact, in the next few blog posts, you will definitely see some photos from the weekend.  But first…!

Today’s photo is one I’ve been sitting on for a few weeks.  It wasn’t what I envisioned when I drove to the coast in Rhode Island to take photos.  I have hopes of a colorful sunset on the horizon, rock formations in the foreground, leading lines, and somewhere in there, a lighthouse.  What I got was fog.  And some crazy powerful waves.  And lots of wind.  And raindrops on my camera lens.  And dangerous footing.  And about an hour of reflection – when nature acts up, it reminds me that we are just small (but mighty!) creatures in a gigantic (amazing, beautiful, wonderful!) world.

As I’ve had time away from the photo, it’s grown on me.  It is a pano, with only the rocks processed for HDR.  This was taken around 8:45pm, so obviously long exposure was used.  Also, as us photographers all know, the details make the shot.  It took me a few versions of this image before I realized I was missing the light from the lighthouse.  With it being socked in, I was hard to make out exactly what it was without the light so I had to begin counting the seconds per rotation.  Seven seconds per revolution, two second timer to allow the vibrations from my finger to dissipate.  So I set my focus, and began counting…at five seconds, I’d press the shutter and hope for the best. =)

Da Silky and Da Smooth

5 Apr

It’s a recipe, of sorts.  A recipe for photographing moving water.

The ingredients:
A camera with adjustable exposure settings
A stable surface / tripod
Perferably, a shutter release or timer

The recipe:
The smooth water effect is blur.  Bam!  The secret is out.  Shortest blog post ever, right? =)

But if you’ve been reading this blog on any sort of regular basis, you know I’m a bit long winded at times…ohhh…ummm…I mean, curious with a desire to know “why” and “how”.  And obviously, since you’ve made this far into the post, you are too!  Two peas in a pod, we are.  So let’s discuss, ok?

Blur is bad, right?  Well…generally yes.  But in the case of moving water, it can create a nice artistic effect.  In fact, for this image, I think too much detail in the water would have detracted from the impressive clouds overhead.  This is a situation where blur created a nice, artistic counter-balance and since the water is the only thing moving in the scene, the rest of the image is in focus.

As always, my first priority was composing the scene.  Once I scouted the location and decided what the best angle would be for my soon-to-be-image, I thought about the available light, and what I wanted to accomplish within the image.

For example, the image is a composite.  The sky was shot for HDR, because I knew I would want to pull as much tonal range out of the clouds as possible.  The water, rocks and reeds, however, are a single exposure.  The camera settings were:

F-stop: f/22
Focal length: 28mm
Exposure time: 13 seconds
Exposure bias +2.7
ISO 100

As you can imagine, with so much cloud cover, it was a low, soft light kind of day.  I wanted as much of the scene in focus as possible, so I chose an f-stop of f/22.  However, by doing so, I knew I would be letting less light in and would need to compensate by increasing the exposure time and changing the exposure bias.  That was the only way I would both create a smooth water effect and expose the scene properly.

In order for the rocks to be in focus, I needed to make sure the camera was as steady as possible.  I mounted the camera on my tripod, put flat rocks under the feet of the tripod (because it would sink into the sand as it was capturing the image…very confusing at first!), and used the timer feature.  This gave the camera a few moments to settle, so the vibrations from me pushing the button did not affect the image.  A shutter release (remote or cable) would have worked just as well…but in my hurry to get down to the beach before sunset, I left a number of items in the car.  (Oops!)

So the point of all of this?  Well, in a nutshell…

Long exposures + Moving water = Purty

Silky Smooth

Silky Smooth


Sometimes I Feel Like RBG…

3 Apr
Rock Art - Color

Rock Art - Color

…Sometimes, I don’t.

Rock Art - Monochrome

Rock Art - Monochrome

Isn’t it interesting how much a little thing like color can drastically change an image?

Which one do you prefer?