Archive for the 'storm' Category


12/31/2010: Snowbound

Happy last day of 2010. I suppose this should be a day of reflection…but for me it is a day of anticipation…what will 2011 bring?

This snowbound salt farm sits at the edge of Laudholm Farms and the Wells National Estuarine Research Center in Wells ME. The Blizzard closed the road (which is, for the most part, unused as the entrance to Laudholm is beyond the farm on the other side where there is access from another road). Salt farms were a feature of the northern New England Colonial Coast, where the first and richest farms were established on the tidal marshes and estuaries, which did not have to be cleared. Salt hay was a staple for New England dairy in winter until well after independence.

You can see that the road had been plowed sometime during the storm, but drifts closed it again quickly.

And here is a detail from the left side of the image above…I zoomed in to isolate it.

Both images have been cropped for composition.

Canon SX20IS. 1) 28mm, f4 @ 1/640th @ ISO 80. 2) 190mm, f5 @ 1/500th @ ISO 80. Snow Mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lighrtoom. Exposure was reduced in 1) for better tones on the snow.


12/25/2010: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! May joy find you today!

Walking down paths at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters during a snowstorm, where mine were the first footprints, I discovered that someone with a Christmas spirit had been there before me (and before the snow). I was blessed. I am hoping you will be too, especially on this most blessed of days (or on the day we celebrate such a blessing).

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/250 @ ISO 80. Landscape mode.

I did my usual processing for intensity and clarity in Lightroom, but I wanted the wreath to stand out more than it did in the original exposure. I boosted the saturation and the luminance of of the greens and yellows using the spot HSL control, but even then the wreath was too dark. I resorted to the local adjustments brush, with which I painted over the green of the wreath, increasing brightness, contrast, and clarity. And all of that just to present something closer to the feeling of the place, so that you can, hopefully share in it. 🙂

Merry Christmas!


12/24/2010: Snow Fall!

A small pond, falling snow, burdened evergreens…a classic winter shot for this, the day before Christmas. Even the patterns on the snow and ice seem to be saying something extra here. I have this shot in both color and b&w, and, honestly, you can’t tell which is which without close study. It was just that kind of day (and I have been waiting for one for what seems like forever this year).

Canon SX20IS at 170mm equivalent, f4.5 @ 1/125th @ ISO 200. Landscape mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom. It took much more than usual Fill Light, and then I converted it to b&w using the “look 3” filter.

This is the color version.

It will repay (they both will) a look at a lager size by clicking the image to open my WideEyedInWonder gallery and adjusting the size to your monitor if necessary. For this version I used the selective HSL controls to boost both the saturation and the luminance of the green, yellow, and aqua channels. You can’t see the result much here, but in larger views it does bring up the evergreens so you can actually tell it is a color image. 🙂


9/12/2010: Self Portrait in the Shadow of Earl

Happy Sunday!

The morning after Hurricane Earl passed by Southern Maine was still showery and very windy, with lots of moisture hanging in the air and some high clouds building where a cold front pushed the storm further out to sea. I was out early to see what could be seen. The whole marsh behind Parson’s Beach, where Back Creek, here still full with the flood tide, flows to the Mousam, looked, in the early morning light, like it had been tousled by the retreating waves (see 9/9/2010)…producing interesting textures and patterns in the wet grasses. Here I attempted to set off the marsh patterns with a touch of vivid color from the rose-hips.

In doing so, I inadvertently created a self portrait. I try to keep my shadow out of landscapes, but for this shot I intentionally left it in. Can you see me in the rose bush? I will give you a clue…I am wearing a Tilley hat with a wide brim.

And, of course, every image I capture and publish is a self-portrait, whether I caught my shadow or not. I can not avoid intruding on the landscape I photograph…and there you go:  “avoid” and “intrude” are already casting the matter in the wrong light.

Myself, the way I see and respond, is what I bring to the image…my gift…my contribution to creation…to the creation. All any photograph says is “I saw this and it moved me…I wanted to show it to you too.” And the only honest response to any photograph is “I see it. I see what you were looking at, and why it moved you.” When the photograph is truly great, we can also say “It moved me too!”

Of course, what is moved in us is not shadow, but light…which is, I guess, why I try to keep my shadow off the landscape.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent @ f4.0 @ 1/640th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Recovery in Lightroom for the sky and clouds, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, Sharpen narrow edges, and slight crop from the bottom for composition.


9/9/2010: Earl’s footprints

The storm surge from Earl, on the high tide, was not over a foot in Maine, but it was enough, and carried enough extra energy, so that where the water was sucked back out to sea over the marsh, it left a track of grass swirled, combed down, and left all akimbo. Add the low, early morning sun on the heavy dew, and the heather along side, and you have a study in texture and light. I used a moderate zoom setting to frame.

Canon SX20IS at 60mm equivalent @ f4.0 @ 1/640th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

A bit of Fill Light in Lightroom. Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Earl Passes By: Kennebunk ME.


9/8/2010: Earl passes by, Kennebunk ME

Hurricane Earl passed Kennebunk well off-shore during the night last Friday, or Saturday morning rather…and may in fact have been downgraded to a tropical storm by then anyway. Certainly the only sign we had of it was rain, a stiffish breeze on Saturday AM, and some uncommonly big waves along our beaches…and, of course, some amazing skies. This is from Narragansett point, which separates Middle (or Stony) Beach from Gouches (or Big) beach.

With the sun and warm weather, more like August than September, Earl provided a excellent day for our local, and long suffering, surfers. Surfing in Kennebunk means wetsuits, waves that rarely deserve the name, shorts runs and long swims. Earl provided a rare treat.

I tried some HDR for the skies, which you will see more of in the coming days, but these are straight shots. One of the first things I learned about both panoramic and HDRs is not to try to include anything that moves as fast as surf Smile

Canon SX20IS 1) 28mm equivalent @ f4.0 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. Landscape program. 2) 128mm equivalent @ f4.5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Adjusted for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpening in Lightroom.

From Earl Passes By: Kennebunk ME.



The Dom: Wetzlar, Germany

There is an interesting story, of course, behind the Dom…the not quite cathedral of old Wetzlar. The original church was built in the 1300s, but as the city of Wetzlar grew (salt and iron), the town fathers found the ambition to be a cathedral city, and began to build a new church around the walls of the old. That’s how they did it then…they literally built the new building with the old one inside it. Before it was completed, Wetzlar fell on hard times, and construction was abandoned. It was restarted, as I remember the story, 3 separate times in the next 200 years, as the fortunes and ambitions of the town and the town fathers waxed and waned, each time with a new architect and a new style.  It never was finished. There were supposed to be two towers, and inside the church there are doorways half way up blank walls where new floors had been planned and never installed. And yet, because of that, it is one of the most interesting churches in Germany, containing as it does, written in stone, a record of the changing styles in church architecture over almost 3 centuries.

Sitting high on the hill on which old Wetzlar is built, the Dom dominates the skyline from any direction, but it is actually not easy to find a good spot for photography. This is a classic distant shot, taken from the long park along the River Lahn, beyond the stone bridge, again on my one rainy late evening of photography on this trip to Wetzlar. In this light, and with that sky, it certainly has drama. What you see is a Photomatix HDR rendered from two Canon SX20IS wide angle exposures. (The blue on the tower is not a lens or sensor flaw. There is scaffolding the full height of the tower where they are repairing and reinforcing the walls, and it is, characteristically, covered in bright blue polyester tarps.)

After blending and tone-mapping in Photomatix Lite, I did my usual Blackpoint adjustment, added Clarity and Vibrance, and sharpen in Lighroom. Some perspective adjustment was also applied.

From Germany and England 2010.



Mill Canal, River Lahn: Wetzlar Germany

I love to walk the old town of Wetzlar, and I never fail to find something new to photograph, or to discover a new light on an old favorite scene, but my only opportunity this trip was between 8 and 9PM at the tag end of day of heavy rain. I took my umbrella, and used it, as I explored what the fading light had to say about the ancient town. This is the mill canal along the old town side of the River Lahn were it separates, for the most part, Old Wetzlar and New. I love this jumble of houses, of many different ages (and that is using ages in its historical sense), along the canal, and the light gave me a good excuse to try an HDR shot where nothing else would have worked. The long exposure required for the late evening foreground would have burned the sky white, and an exposure for the clouds would have left the foreground close to black. I took two exposures separated by 3.5 stops, –2EV and +1.5EV, and combined them using the Detail Enhancement/Tone Mapping mode in Photomatix. The result is actually pretty close to a naked eye view. Presented as an photograph, it might strikes the eye as painterly, since we know, from daily experience of recoded images, that a camera could not have caught that range.

The image is not perfect. I was working, as usual, without a tripod, and trying to balance an umbrella as well…but I still like the effect. You would have to walk along the canal in Wetzlar, on a rainy evening with your umbrella up, to know how well it captures the atmosphere of the place.

In addition to the treatment in Photomatix, I adjusted color balance in Lighroom, slid the Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and used the Sharpen narrow edges preset. I also used the distortion controls, both for lens and vertical perspective, to restore a natural look.

Corrected distortion is actually another reason why the experienced eye sees this image as painterly…we have come to expect, to totally accept, wide angle and vertical distortion in photographs…when it is not there, or when it is corrected as in this image, we miss it!

From Germany and England 2010.



Storm Over Parson’s

Parson’s Beach, that is. This is actually the mouth of Back Creek where it flows into the Mousam. The storm passed just south of us, scattering a few drops on the far end of the beach, but soaking Wells. A shot like this is, of course, all about the drama in the clouds. Here the curve of the creek adds to the composition.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

I tipped the camera up to meter off the clouds, then tipped it back down for composition. I tried Recovery for the clouds in Lightroom, but ended up using a Graduated Filter effect pulled down from the top to the horizon to reduce exposure and add a bit of brightness and contrast. Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint just a little right. Added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Around Home 2010.



Bush’s Through Reeds

Lovely warm evening sun, storm off the coast, the Bush estate in Kennbunkport (Cape Arundel), and a few reeds in the foreground. Moderate telephoto to frame, flip out LCD to get the low angle.

Canon SX20IS at 85mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Recovery for the sky in Lightroom 3, Fill Light for the reeds, Blackpoint right for intensity (gently in Lr3 as the tool is works much faster), added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. Cropped slightly top and bottom for composition.

From Around Home 2010.