Archive for the 'autumn' Category

06
Nov
10

11/6/2010: Morning flight, Cape May nJ

One of the great migration shows is the Morning Flight at Higbee Beach, in Cape May NJ. Most mornings during fall migration the birds wake up in Cape May after a 24 hour rest and a good stoking among the fall seed heads of the point and fly north…yes, north…up the shore of Deleware Bay, presumably looking for a narrower stretch of open water to cross. This northward flow along the shore concentrates the birds something wonderful. Thousands of some species pass every day. For many years now CMBO and ZEISS have put counters on the dyke at Higbee to count the passing birds, beginning a hour before sunrise and ending two hours after. These days here is also an observation tower below the dyke and, on weekends, an interpretive naturalist there to tell folks what is going on.

A week ago today was one of those high days when Cape May was alive with birds. The best migration day, some said, since 1999. Before dawn the dyke at Higbee was populated with birders waiting for the show, cars were parked all up and down the road, and it was standing room only on the observation tower. 

This is a three exposure HDR, with some extra processing in Lightroom to bring up the foreground. Canon SX20IS.

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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.

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.

24
Oct
10

10/24/2010: reflections of fall

Happy Sunday!

My daughter was accompanist for a young lady in a voice competition at Bates College yesterday, and I was chauffer. I had my laptop with me to do some video processing, but first, of course, I took a walk around the campus to see what I could see. There is a decorative pond right next to the Olin Arts Center, and between the morning light, the lingering fall colors, and just enough wind to fracture the surface of the water, the reflections were irresistible. Here they are set off by the foreground cattails.

Canon SX20IS zoomed in to about 160mm equivalent for framing, f4.5 @ 1/200 @ ISO 200. Landscape program.

Some Fill Light for the foreground in Lightroom, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and some Vibrance, Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And here is a shot, similar processing, zoomed out to a little over 300mm to isolate just the reflections.

Which leads me to my Sunday reflection: I like both the bold splash of color across the wind fractured water, abstract because there is no particular resting place for the eye, a subject in itself, but hard to hold on to…and the way the mundane cattails in the foreground capture your eye and instantly put that glory firmly in the background. It is the way of life, isn’t it? Always confronted by the fractured reflection of the glory of eternity, our eyes are caught by the detail right in front of us…which should still, if we are seeing right, be displayed against that backdrop of glory. 

Smile

23
Oct
10

10/23/2010: Old Falls pond, tail end of fall

The foliage show is just about over here in southern Maine. One more big wind and we are done. This is Old Falls Pond in West Kennebunk again. I used the zoom to frame a small section of still bright shoreline and its reflections. This is a 3 exposure HDR on a day of high winds, so there is some blurring in the evergreen boughs framing the top but I think it is still effective.

Canon SX20IS at about 60mm equivalent, three exposure HDR, auto bracketed around a center shifted down 2/3s EV.

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

18
Oct
10

10/18/2010: Mousam fire

There is a little park around what used to be a skating pond on the banks of the Mousam River in Kennebunk Maine. It is mostly now a picnic and dog walking area, but it also provides access to the rapids for fly fishermen…and photographers. This little foliage tapestry is from the bank of the Mousam looking upstream.

Canon SD4000IS zoomed into its max 106mm equivalent for framing, f5.3 @ 1/250th @ ISO 125. Foliage program (yep. Canon puts a foliage program on all its P&Ss, and it works!, tweaking the sensor response and internal processing to retain all the richness of the fall color).

I shot with the SD4000IS because this was taken on a grocery run and it is what I grabbed on the way out the door.

Processed in Lightroom with some Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and smidge of Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.