Archive for June, 2009

30
Jun
09

6/30/2009

Stained Glass Water: Fernald Brook, Kennebunk ME

Stained Glass Water: Fernald Brook, Kennebunk ME

Getting out of the house for the first time in a week with camera in hand and sun in the sky is always a treat. This day, having limited time, I decided to explore a tiny section of woodlands between our home and the railroad tracks. I knew Fernald brook crossed under the tracks a 1/4 mile from the underpass right down the road from the house, and found a way down the embankment and into the woods well short, where I could still get down the bank safely. Much to my surprise there was a well beaten path right inside the woods. Turns out some boys, some summer long past, had dragged lumber and poles out and built a major tree fort near the brook. There was even a bridge worthy of Teribithia.

The stream itself, when I continued past the fort, was a maze of loops, cutting back and forth through lush forest, running pure and clean, but a deep tannin brown. The sun slanting through the trees and reflecting off the sandy bottom of the stream caught all the color and created almost a stained glass effect. I took many shots, attempting to capture the effect.

This is the stream as I first walked up on it, a simple framing of one straight section of loop across the stream’s wider bed among the ferns and skunkcabbage. Indeed a magical place.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide. F2.7 @ 1/50th @ ISO 100. Programed auto. I was able to hand hold the shot at ISO 50 because of the Sony’s built in sensor image stabilization, and I was able to shoot straight Programed auto because I knew I could draw the green, sun on the ferns and leaves, highlights back in Lightroom with the Recovery tool when I got home. I did try a few shots with Program Shift, attempting a better overall exposure, but I could tell even on the camera’s lcd that I was loosing too much of the effect of the sun in the water.  The result is a compromise, with some of the green highlights reaching saturation, but the stream bed standing out as it did while actually there.

Recovery in Lightroom, then, for the highlights. A touch of Fill Light and the blackpoint to the right just slightly. Added Clarity and Vibrance, and Landscape sharpen preset. I was still not happy with the highlights so I went in with Lightrooms Local Adjustment Brush and painted adjustment masks, heavily feathered, over most distracting highlights. Reducing exposure in those areas, and adding some saturation to retain the color, made, I think, for a more pleasing rendering (and one closer to the actual visual impact of the scene).

From Around Home, Kennebunk ME.

29
Jun
09

6/29/2009

Black Admiral

Black Admiral

The thing about butterflies is that they have two sides. The upper side is beautiful, and the underside can be two. The second thing about butterflies is you take what you can get. Some never sit with wings open, so open wing shots are almost certainly collected samples, and some only sit with wings open. The Black Admiral is one that does both, though closed wing is more common. When this one lit beside the trail, I was able to get one tel-macro shot of it open winged, and then it closed, and, though I waited, and though I worked the equally beautify closed wings, it never sat open winged again for me.

This shot is taken from about 2 cm. using the H50s macro setting on full wide. In this case the butterfly was perfectly posed, with background foliage far enough behind to be well out of focus (and some interesting bokeh). I like the way the light, slightly from the side, catches in the furry surface of the wing and brings out the detail.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide and macro. F4.0 @ 1/160th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Cropped slightly from the right for composition in Lightroom. Some Recovery to bring down the brightness of the sunlit leaf. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Landscape sharpen preset.

From Around Home: Kennebunk.

And for those who wonder, here is the open wing shot, cropped slightly to make the subject larger in the field.

Black Admiral (open wings)

Black Admiral (open wings)

28
Jun
09

6/28/2009

Infinate Cadillac

Infinate Cadillac

Happy Sunday!

This is perhaps an appropriate shot for the last entry from this year’s trip to Acadia. I tried several before getting this low angle, flower and lichen  in the foreground, expanse of the rocky top and ziz zag of the  environmental fencing, and then leaping  out across Frenchman’s bay to the horizon with its clouds. I was trying to capture at least one aspect of Cadillac and Acadia: the sense of being suspended, all life, from the flower struggling against odds to the humans tiny on the near horizon, between the rocky, gritty particular and an awesome infinity. For me, that is an essential element of the Acadia experience.

Practically speaking, I used Program Shift (see In Praise of Program Shift on Point and Shoot Landscape) to get the smallest aperture for greatest depth of field to keep everything from the foreground rock detail and the flower petals to the far horizon relatively sharp. It took me quite a few shots and 20 minutes to find the right flower. F8 on a P&S is pretty deep focus, but I found that I had to put the flower up into the field a bit and let some of the rock go soft right at the bottom of the frame. I cropped out the out of focus area in Lightroom during post processing.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide and macro. F8.0 @ 1/200th @ ISO 100. Programed auto, program shifted for smallest aperture.

In Lightroom, besides the crop, Recovery for the sky, some Fill Light and added Contrast to compensate in the foreground, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Landscape sharpen preset.

From Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor 2009.

27
Jun
09

6/27/2009

Off Cadillacs East Shoulder: Cranberry Isles and the Atlantic

Off Cadillac's East Shoulder: Cranberry Isles and the Atlantic

On a good day on Cadillac the views in every direction are astounding. Though the clouds over the Atlantic were of a different kind and a different quality than those over the landmass, they are no less beautiful, and the Cranberry Isles, dotting the mid-ground before the Atlantic shades off into the horizon make for an interesting vista. This is another shot I have taken on every trip, and another shot that is never the same twice.

Sony DSC H50 at about 40mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

In Lightroom, Recovery for the sky and clouds, added Clarity and Vibrance and the Landscape sharpen preset. Because I wanted the foreground to pop, I used a graduated filter effect from the bottom up two thirds, and added Exposure, Clarity, and just a touch of Contrast.

From Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor 2009.

26
Jun
09

6/26/2009

Off Cadillacs North Sholder (Frenchmans Bay)

Off Cadillac's North Sholder (Frenchman's Bay)

Leaving Jordan Pond and the Bubbles behind for the moment, we make our way to the top of Cadillac Mountain, one of, if not the highest point on the East Coast (that is to say, directly overlooking the Atlantic). Reputed to be the point of first contact in the US for each sunrise. There is an excellent paved road to the top, and it has been a major tourist attraction for more than a century.

It is always dramatic, but there are still days when it looks like you can see forever, the clouds provide a sense of infinite depth, and the sea is deep blue to the horizon. This was not quite one of them.  You can see, looking north here that there is a haze over the landscape…but still…those clouds, that sky. Who could resist?

Sony DSC H50 at full wide.  F5.6 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Cropped in Lightroom from both top and bottom to improve composition. Recovery for the sky (which also cut some of the haze). Some Fill Light to compensate. Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and Vibrance and Landscape sharpen preset.

From Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor 2009.

25
Jun
09

6/25/2009

Bubbles Unconventional

Bubbles Unconventional

I have tried shots like this many times…trying to catch the Bubbles from an unconventional angle. After all, I have hundreds of shots from the end of the pond. Somehow they just never have enough drama. This one is different. The play of light and shadow on the foreground rocks, echoed as it is by the cloud shadows on the slope behind, and the wisp of clouds overhead, make it a satisfying shot, and a worthy tribute to the Bubbles. Of course, from this angle they are much less bubble like, but we still know what they are.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide. F5.6 @ 1/400th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Recovery for the sky in Lightroom, then added Clarity and Vibrance and Landscape sharpen preset. I may have moved the blackpoint to the right a little.

From Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor 2009.

24
Jun
09

6/24/2009

The Length of Jordan Pond

The Length of Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond is reputed to have the clearest, cleanest water in the east, and images like this tend to bear out the claim. This was taken from the small check damn at the southeast corner of the pond where, this day, water was flowing into the pond from the marshy area behind the dam.  (I always assumed it was an outlet, but I guess not). It shows the full length of the pond, though the Bubbles are somewhat hidden behind the east shoreline. This is another low angle shot, taken squatting close the flowing water from the middle of the dam.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide. F5.6 @ 1/400th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom effects the clouds and sky, as we were mentioning yesterday, but it also does a really good job of clearing a layer of surface reflections from water…making the water look more transparent. Added Vibrance and Clarity, and Landscape sharpen. Cropped at bit a the top for better horizon placement.

From Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor 2009.