Archive for the 'reflections' Category



07
Nov
10

11/7/2010: in the frame now, happy Sunday!

I woke this Sunday morning from a dream of worship…that in itself is odd…though I do have a few of those dreams each year, and I suppose Sunday morning is appropriate for one…but before I was fully awake this post formed, and now, up and at the computer, all I have to do is build what I saw.

At my best as a photographer I am only a frame and an instant.

I am a frame. All I do is point the frame of the camera’s rectangular view at the world. Today I use the zoom on the camera to  change the size of the frame…make it bigger and more inclusive, more grand…or smaller and more particular, more intimate. I can move in close for a true macro of lichen, or add magnification by shooting through a spotting scope for portraits of sparrows. I can zoom out to wide-angle for the sunrise. I can even stitch frames together into the larger frame of a panorama. But whatever I do, it is still a frame…a little rectangle imposed on reality. The frame says “This is what I see. Look!” I am a frame.

I am an instant. I control when I push the shutter button. I choose the instant, and it is only an instant…a fraction of a second, when the camera records, for better or worse, whatever is in the frame. Even if I shoot a burst of images, as I often do when digiscoping birds, I still have to pick the one instant out of all those instants that I want to show the world. The instant says “This is what I see now. Look” I am an instant.

I do not fill the frame, I can only point it. I do not create the instant. I can only choose it. But in those two choices is all the power of photography.

The rest is just technique.

This is what I see now. Look!

I don’t of course, know what you see when you look at one of my photographs. I can hope that if I have done my job, you will see something that captures your attention…maybe even something that stirs your soul, that moves within you and touches places that need touching. At best, looking at what I see might open your eyes to something you would not otherwise have seen. It might change the way you see the world. That is the power of photography at its best.

I took pictures for a long time before I knew what I was looking for…what fills my frames and draws me to the instants I choose. Interestingly enough, the actual photographs did not change much, if at all. One day I knew why as well as what and when.

And that brings us full circle. As I have said, I am sure, on more than one Sunday in the past, my why is worship. What fills my frame in the ever-changing now is always some aspect of the beauty…the awe-full beauty, the intimate splendor, the wonderful power, the amazing compassion…of the Creator God displayed in the creation. Every picture is a celebration of that in God and that in me that brings the world to being through love. I frame those instants, from macro to panorama, when I am most aware of God. That is worship. That is my why.

So, this is what I see, now. Look.

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04
Nov
10

11/4/2010: Cape May Point pond reflections

Just a week ago in Cape May NJ: The front approaching that pushed all the birds in on Friday and Saturday. The main pond at Cape May Point State Park, from the boardwalk behind the Hawk Watch platform. There were birds aplenty and I was there to digiscope, but that does not mean I turn a blind eye to the other splendors nature has to offer. Interesting sky, eye-catching fall foliage, interesting reflections, interesting water, for many layers of interest.

This is a three exposure HDR using auto-bracket on the Canon SX20IS, with the center of the bracket range shifted down 2/3 EV using exposure compensation. ISO 125 at the wide angle (28mm equivalent) setting.

Blended and tone-mapped in Photomatix. Processed with a bit of Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and some Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset in Lightroom.

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.

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.

17
Oct
10

10/17/2010: Autumn marsh pools

Happy Sunday!

You have seen variations of this scene before. This little stretch of old rail bed, known as the Bridle Path for some reason, that runs through a isolated patch of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (Rachel Carson is one of the most fragmented NWRs) between Route 9 and the ocean along the lower Mousam River in Kennebunk Maine (to be precise), never fails to turn up something of interest. I digiscoped a lot of birds and chipmunks there this summer, found my first Wood Lily and Wood Nymph, and this fall this particular view over the marsh pools toward the trees and houses along route 9 has often been interesting. See 9/23/2010: hdr marsh pool panorama or 9/13/2010: marsh mirror sky. Here the fall weeds in the foreground add yet another layer to a layered landscape, and a 3 exposure HDR treatment captures an unusual range of light and shadow to render the scene very close that what the eye actually sees (at least the eye of a painter). HDR skies are dramatic, but its ability to maintain detail in the shadows of the foreground and to pull full color out of the the fall foliage is what makes it worth the effort in this image.

Being Sunday, I return to how fruitful this particular little patch of out of the way ground has been for me this year…how often I have have been blessed (given an unexpected and underserved gift) there, and how often I have been blissed (opened to the joy of contact with the creator through creation). In many ways this has been my church this year, from late winter to deep fall, just as much as the building with the steeple down the road, and my moments of worship there have been just as vital to me, though solitary. I am thankful. In so many ways.

Smile

Technically, this is a 3 exposure HDR at 28mm equivalent on the Canon SX20IS, using auto-bracket with the center of the range shifted down 2/3s EV. Exposures blended in Photomatix and final processing (including a bit of distortion control which was needed because of the odd angle of the lens to the landscape) in Lightroom.