Archive for October, 2010

31
Oct
10

10/31/2010: Cape May Sunrise hdr Panorama

Happy Sunday!

Looking east from the sundeck of the Montreal Inn in Cape May a few moments before sunrise, yesterday.

Sunrises, I think, touch a special place in the soul, and, of course there is noting like a sunrise over the ocean where you can see right out to the edge of the world. On a morning like this, even if just for a second there, it takes a hard heart indeed…or one deeply troubled, beaten well down…not to embrace the cliché: every new day is a miracle. It is easy for the hopeful to take such beauty at the beginning as a promise of the potential of the day. And, of course, part of the wonder comes from the fact that every sunrise is not so spectacular. Our lives don’t always allow us to see the sunrise at all, and there are days when the sun just sneaks up behind clouds (literal or figurative) with no display (or none we can see). So we have reason to celebrate the moments like this one. The moment itself is a gift from the creator, and so is the ability to appreciate it.

On the technical side, this is a 9 exposure HDR panorama: 3 sets of 3 exposures blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix, the results stitched in PhotoShop Elements, and the the panorama final processed in Lightroom. Best viewed as large as your monitor will take it.

30
Oct
10

10/30/2010: Sunset cape May, HDRs

There are not many spots on the east coast where you can photograph a sunset over what looks like the ocean. Cape May New Jersey is one of of them. I am staying at the Montreal, and the view from the sundeck above the 4th floor is pretty spectacular. The first shot is about 15 minutes before sunset, and the second is about 15 minutes after sunset.

And here are clouds over Delaware Bay a few moments later.

These are all three-exposure HDRs with the Canon SX20IS, blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix and final processed in Lightroom.

This is my first experiment with HDR for sunsets…I am wondering what you all think? In hindsight, I would like to attempt these again without the –2/3 EV exposure compensation that I use of daylight landscape, since the real challenge is getting a realistic light level on the foreground. Maybe I will get another chance before heading back to Maine.

29
Oct
10

10/29/2010: bath Hawk

We were looking at a Merlin in the top of the pines across the entrance/exit loop by the  parking lot at Cape May Point State park, in front of the Hawk Watch, when one of the gents that was waiting in line for a look through my scope said, “Hay, look at that!”

That was an immature Red-tailed Hawk taking a bath in a fair sized puddle in the center of the loop, about 60 feet in front of us, right in line with the Merlin. So I swung the scope down, and the camera in. One wet hawk! In the image above he seems to be asking pretty plainly “Whach you lookin at?”

The hawk was, shall we say, busy, so I got to play with the zoom on both the camera and the scope and try several different framings, as well as some video.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. ISO 125, 1/320th and 1/640th.

Processed in Lightroom using a touch of Fill Light, some Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. Color adjusted by eye.

As you will see in the video, these shots were taken over a parking lot and a roadway, both in direct sun, and there was already a lot of heat shimmer in the air…which limits the resolution of the images.

Red-tailed Hawk Bathing
28
Oct
10

10/28/2010: second helping of fall

One of the advantages of my travel schedule is that I get to experience extended springs and falls. Just as the foliage show is over in Maine, the last week in October, I always travel to Cape May, New Jersey, and, most years, the foliage in South Jersey is just at peak. Next month, just before Thanksgiving I will be in the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico. Fall is more variable in New Mexico than it is in New England, but about 3 out of 5 years, my visit catches the cottonwoods along the Rio Grande at their golden best. Spring is even more stretched for me, beginning in January in Florida, Feburary in Southern California, etc. I even occasionally catch Arizona’s second spring in August. 🙂

This is, according to my map, Ludlum’s Pond. Route 347, just north of where it comes back into 47 in Dennis, crosses the west end of it, and I have stopped several times on the way from Philadelphia to Cape May to photograph the foliage. This year the weather was chancy…with rain, thundershowers, and even a tornado warning in effect…but when I passed by the pond, it was no more than heavy overcast and a kind of watery light. With an HDR treatment, the weather actually shows the foliage to better advantage than full sun would have. Good thing, since that is all I had to work with.

HDR, in this kind of light, allows for a richly textured sky, while keeping enough light on the foliage and reflections to make for a very satisfying image. IMHO.

Canon SX20IS zoomed to about 48mm field of view for framing. Three exposures, auto bracketed, with the center moved down 2/3s EV. ISO 160.

Exposures blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. My tone mapping in Photomatix is never extreme because I know I am going to do final processing in Lightroom: A bit of Recovery for the sky, some Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And here is a more open, wider angle view, of the other shore. Another three exposure HDR.

27
Oct
10

10/27/2010: Sanderlings, Wings on Wednesday

Sanderlings, plain as they are in winter plumage, are interesting birds to watch as they dance along the edge of the surf feeding…constantly feeding…constantly moving. Difficult to photograph though, and especially difficult to digiscope. These shots are along the South Beach at Jekyll Island GA, just off the St. Andrews Picnic Grounds, where the fisherman work with their hand nets at the right tide, and the dolphins play and feed at almost any tide. Same with Sanderlings. At least in October.

Canon SD4000IS behind the new Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. The top two shots are at about 2000mm equivalent field of view, and the bottom shot, where the bird was closer, was at about 1000mm. All at ISO 125 and 1/1000th sec. with the f-stop around f5-f6. The rig was running right along the line where some exposures were scope limited and some were camera limited.

Blackpoint right in Lighroom, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

Even at 1/1000th of a second, these guys are hard to hold still.

26
Oct
10

10/26/2010: Down the Mousam to the sea

This is another autumn HDR, looking down the Mousam from the Route 9 bridge toward Great Hill and the sea beyond. The sky is interesting, but for me, it is the light on and in the water that makes the shot, especially balanced against the fall foliage behind the marsh. I like the way wind and current draw patterns in the water. The two posts redeem what would otherwise be a rather ugly patch of mud and stone, and, for me, draw the eye to the transparency of the water along the shore.

Canon SX20IS. Three exposures, auto bracketed over 2EV with the center moved down 2/3rds EV. ISO 160.

Exposures blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. A touch of Fill Light and Blackpoint just right in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

25
Oct
10

10/25/2010: old falls on the Mousam

Old Falls and an old fall combine in this HDR shot of the Mousam River in West Kennebunk Maine. This is right across the road from Old Falls Pond of a few days ago, but here the ravages of wind and rain and late October are more obvious. Now we just hunker down and wait for snow. 🙂

If you click the image above you will see a different view of the larger shot. If you just click the Info button on the right a panel will drop down with full exif data.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, three exposures auto bracketed around a center shifted –2/3 EV. ISO 160.

Blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. Processed for Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen in Lightroom.