Tag Archives: tips

Dance With The Devil

4 Nov
Dance With The Devil :: NY

Dance With The Devil :: NY

Back to your regularly scheduled waterfall photos! haha  I’m starting to think that perhaps I should mix things up a bit.  I’ll try to grab some mountain or tree or beach shots soon, mmmkay?  In the meantime, enjoy this little gem from Ithaca’s Treman Park. 🙂

I opted for Black and White for this one for a few reasons.  First, it was taken before the leaves really started to turn beautiful shades of autumn…so the scene had that awkward, in between, non-harmonious color scheme.  Also, if you read my tips on Seeing In Black and White, you’ll know that shapes and repeating patterns usually convert to monochrome well.  In this case, the fallen log and the waterfall shapes complimented each other perfectly, while simultaneously creating a nice line into the frame.

Haven’t read the Learning to See in Black and White article?  If you’re an iPhone/iPad/etc user, you can read it in one of the older issues of Light & Landscapes, a free magazine through the newstand app.  If you’re not, I uploaded it into my Tips & Tutorials page.  To access it, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter and in the confirmation email, we send you the link/password to access our latest tips write-ups!

Plus…you know…we have a holiday give-away planned (when I finally get around to writing the next newsletter) and if you GET the newsletter, then you’ll have the opportunity to enter the drawing!  Double win!  Free tips and stuff! 🙂

Oh…and before I forget…the photo info: f/11, iso 100, 0.8 sec, 10 mm

5 Tips for Capturing the Northern Lights

22 Oct
Nubble Lights :: ME

Nubble Lights :: ME

‘Tis the season for the Aurora!

Looking for tips on photographing the Northern Lights? I did a write up on the subject here for The Outbound Collective! 🙂

Shoot for the Moon

1 Oct

Eclipse merge

Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Of course, that’ll really only work out for you if you happen to be wearing a space suit…. haha

This past weekend we had a super blood moon eclipse.  I don’t recall ever seeing a lunar eclipse before that, and I have to say, it was pretty damn cool.

For those of you who missed it, this is a photo stack composite of the first 20 minutes of that eclipse.  These exposures are approximately 2 minutes apart.

As for the image itself…it’s not going to win any awards.  Unless you’re giving out awards for being awesome?  Yeah, it might win that. 😉  But it *is* an opportunity to talk about photographing the moon.

When you choose to shoot for the moon, you have to remember three things: underexpose the scene to properly expose the moon, large (to large-ish) aperture, and fast shutter speed.

The moon is very bright, and in order to catch the details on the surface, you need to under expose your image.  Otherwise, you’ll blow your highlights.  This is one of those times were it is okay to crush your shadows on the histogram!

In order to prevent the “starburst” effect, you need a wider aperture (aka f/lower number). I would say if you’re heading toward f/16 or higher, you may run into problems. Your camera’s sweet spot (generally f/9-f/11) or lower number will be a wide enough aperture to prevent the starburst effect.

Because our position in the surface of earth is constantly changing in relation to the moon, you will also need a fast shutter speed to prevent blur in your images.  That works out fine, though, since underexposing your image is part of the master plan!

To capture these exposures, I used a tripod and a 2 sec timer to avoid camera shake, a zoom lens, I put my camera into manual mode, and used the live view feature to focus manually. If your camera doesn’t have a live view feature, setting your focus to infinity should get you pretty close and you can tweak it from there.

The image settings are: ISO 100, 135mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6

Happy shooting! 🙂

Salvaging Your Blue Skies

1 Sep
Poetry of the Earth

Poetry of the Earth

Another photographer recently talked to me about his silly habit of taking camera gear with him wherever he goes, even if he knows the light is going to be harsh.  I think he expected me to agree with him, and tell him he really *should not* hike with that extra 15lbs of gear up a mountain.  Instead, I reminded him of Murphy’s Law.  If he didn’t hike with his gear, he would get to the top of the mountain, only to find a unicorn standing under a rainbow, in front of a (completely unforecasted) partial solar eclipse.

Now, don’t get me wrong, blue skies at mid-day are not ideal light to shoot in.  I’ll always prefer the diffuse light of sunrise and sunset, or the textured light of cloudy New England days.  But if I find myself somewhere epic, with only a small window to shoot, I’m going to make the best of the conditions I have.

So, how do we do that?  First, I’d invest in filters to help you tame unruly light.  Circular polarizers help to cut down on harsh glare, beef up blue skies and give foliage a lush feel in bad light.  A neutral density filter will help you decrease the amount of light entering the camera.  Graduated neutral density filters are particularly handy for modifying the harsh light of blazing, mid-day skies, while still keeping your foreground well-exposed.  (If you want a bit more information about this, check out our practical tips e-book!  You can get a copy in our store, or on itunes through the Light & Landscapes magazine…found in the Newstand app.)

I’d also be certain that if you have the option to shoot in RAW, you do so.  As long as your highlights aren’t clipped and your shadows aren’t crushed, you may have enough data to work with to recover some of the image’s detail.  Remember to keep an eye on your histogram as you shoot and adjust your camera’s settings to give you the best possible chance at a successful photograph.

Balanced Flow :: RI

Balanced Flow :: RI


If the shadows and highlights are just too severe, you may also consider converting the image to black and white.  Personally, I prefer a well exposed black and white with full tonal range…but if image detail can’t be salvaged, B&W can generally support high contrast images.


Most of the time, your best bet will be to shoot during good light, as it will have fewer tonal extremes and be easier to edit.  Sometimes though, some places just won’t allow you to shoot during the golden hours.  In my opinion, you shouldn’t let that stop you from capturing your “epic place” experience.  Play with your camera and filters.  You may not get any award winning shots that day….but then again…you might!

If you know anyone who might benefit from this article, share it! 🙂

Photography. DUH.

13 Jul
Light The Sky :: Maine

Light The Sky :: Maine

“The lens hood not appropriate for all situations, but for landscapes, it will probably help your images and editing workflow to some degree…unless you like extra work in post cloning out lens flares. Or your name is J.J. Abrams and lens flare is kind of your thing.”

 

Photography. DUH. …….yeah, that’s REALLY what we named our book. haha

Photography. DUH. is a firsthand account of the landscape photography mistakes you shouldn’t make!  Why?  Because mistakes are embarassing.  And costly.  Inconvenient.  Frustrating…..  You get the idea.

So why make mistakes if you don’t have to??  This book is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes instead.  And possibly laugh at our expense.  (Probably both.)

Not sold yet?  Fine.  I’ve included incredibly accurate review by photographer Derek Kind, and a few images from the book, to give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. 🙂  When you’re done with that, head on over to the book store HERE and make your purchase.  For a limited time only, the book is ON SALE!  So…you know…chop chop!  Get a move on!  Vamanos!

Photography. DUH is a collection of downright useful common sense knowledge presented with an engaging brand of humor that will keep you entertained as well as enlightened. Filled with the type of good solid advice that would have saved me much trouble if only they’d had the decency to write it a few years earlier, Shannon and David lay out all the stuff budding landscape photographers ought to know and probably don’t. Two thumbs up, five stars, +1 and a Like for a thoroughly recommended book.” – Derek Kind

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!