Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category

Purple, Botanical Gardens, and Tannic Acid

Botanical gardens are really awesome places. In Atlanta, it’s great to be surrounded by nature and wonderful flowers while seeing the entire cityline and skyscrapers in the background. In maine, it is purely nature surrounded by nature, with clean air, the ocean, and more nature. And you know I’m a sucker for flowers 🙂 I had the macro on most of the time, and I will get around to posting those up on MobileMe. For now I will post two hand-held HDRs that I took with the 16-35, as there was no time for a tripod between my parents wandering ahead and Eleni making fun of me for my weakness for flowers… but hey, they are pretty and I don’t care how cliché! I spent my entire school career doing art photography; a little cliché can’t hurt now and then. But it won’t hold a candle to what Giacomo and Andrew are sure to post in the aftermath of their Yosemite adventure, and I honestly hope I can find better subject matter (for HDRs anyway; the macros today came out great) in the coming days. For now, some purple and some tannic acid.

One of these things is not like the other....

The decaying plant matter releases tannic acid, and the tannins make the water brownish red. It's also what's in tea.. :O

Iconic Maine Lighthouse

It seems that every single mention of Maine in the media, books, movies, etc has to include a lighthouse. This may be due to the fact that Maine is home to many of them… and they are much like the windmills of Holland, a big part of the landscape and an icon of the place. This one in particular is on Pemaquid Point, on the other side of the point from the shot that I posted yesterday. Another mediocre sunset, but this one was greatly aided by the presence of the lighthouse 🙂 It is really a tranquil place to spend some time and I have really good memories of it going back to childhood.

On another note, I have joined MobileMe, Apple’s web-based service that provides, among many other things, an easy way to upload photos and make online galleries. Check it out! I will be adding TONS more over the next few days… this will be the main space where I put my “straight” photography, be it the work I am doing for J Young, family-related photos, vacation shots, high-school independent study work… lots will go there. I will also have an “HDR” album that will include JPGS of all that I have posted here, as well as some ones that didn’t make it to the site. It is mainly a place for me to put large bodies of work that are non-bloggable… blogs are great for a single image that you write about, and so it is perfect for HDRs as they usually take lots of time to plan, shoot, and process, so by the end of it you feel like it’s really special. With normal photos, especially in the digital age, it is easy to take 500 photos and choose 200 of them that you think are good… and not want to write about any!

An iconic lighthouse in Pemaquid, Maine.

Working A Scene in Maine

I haven’t posted for a bit… but It’s great to be in Maine again!

There are times, especially in Maine, when I really want to go shoot some HDR.  I head to a location that I have been to before and did some straight photography that I liked, such as Pemaquid Point. Ever since I began doing HDR work, I have wanted to return there and shoot from “Sunset Rock” or whatever it’s called, it’s “Sunset-something-cliché”.  As spectacular as Maine sunsets usually are, tonight there was not a cloud in the sky, making for a rather boring sunset. When there are clouds and spectacular colors, the sunset can be the main focus of the image, requiring little thought when you are shooting. I used to get discouraged at times like these, because the sunset itself is not captivating enough to be your subject. Instead of giving up, I have simply begun to explore further, trying to see if some combination of camera settings, focal points, unorthodox framings, and odd shooting positions can come together to turn the mundane into a blog-post-worthy HDR. When I got there, I began shooting at f/16 to exploit the low sun and attempt to get the most pronounced “light stars” that I could… that ended up just giving me massive, ugly lens flare that made the images unusable. I backed down to f/8, and fell back on one of the rudimentary lessons in composition, the so-called “rule of thirds.” In high school I was taught by a teacher who would give you no more than a B- if your image did not follow this rule, regardless of how good your photograph actually was. At the time I was annoyed, but I came to realize that things really do look better when they are off-center, and when you have a landscape it is almost impossible not to use this rule, in fact I think most people see it without knowing it, that it looks better to have either the sky or the foreground take up more of the composition. I shot some with this rule in mind, making the foreground loom large while the sky only took up the top 1/3 of the image… still not what I wanted. Not feeling discouraged yet, I trekked along the rocky shoreline across the slippery seaweed to see if I could get up on a rocky outcropping away from the spectators and the “usual” spot from which people view the sunset. After nearly dropping my camera, I was rewarded when I discovered the sun hitting a random red plant and decided to make use of my last resort, ultra-cliché depth of field. Backing down to f/3.2, I focused on the plant, popped my tripod as low as it would go, and took a ±4 stop, 5 shot bracket that resulted in the image below. I even followed my rule of thirds; France Dorman would have to give me at least a B for this one!

Don't yell at me for being cliché! It was all I could do to salvage the so-so sunset.

Another Average Day in Maine

I don’t have to say it twice but I will anyway; it’s moments like these that make Maine the great place that it is. I came home from dinner, saw the sunset, and raced down to the dock to make sure I got a few good HDRs in before it went down. The dock is, well, floating, and therefore very susceptible to the slightest movements which are the bane of HDR’s existence. Luckily, it was fairly calm out and I was able to use the options in Photomatix to compensate for the fact that the boat drifted half a foot toward the dock during the brackets… I cannot wait to go back at the end of the month!

The sunset flares over Seal Cove in Maine. Our little dinghy floats in the foreground.

Just Another Day in Maine

The thing I love about this place is that sunsets like the one we had tonight are considered commonplace, not even worth spending time looking at because they happen so frequently. I guess that marks me as a non-Mainer, but I don’t care… I got out of the car in the pouring rain to get this shot! I spent about 15 minutes outside shooting, and my camera was literally soaked when I was done but I just trusted Canon’s weather sealing and all seems well. The sunset was really awesome by Atlanta standards anyway, and I figured, on my last night here, I gotta get the shots, whatever it takes. Braving the mosquitoes that were out despite the downpour, and the rain itself, as well as fighting to keep my mini tripod (I’d left the big guy back at the house) stable through the ±4 stop, 6-shot bracketing was no fun, but I kept thinking… wait till they are processed! And I was rewarded. After spending 2 hours in Photoshop editing out the drops of water that showed up as large out of focus dark blotches on the images because I was shooting at F11 to attempt to get the sun to make a light star, which failed in this particular image but worked in a few others… I got this, which sums up Maine in a picture.

The many colors of a Maine sunset suffuse the sky and waters of South Bristol.

Dinner at the Pemaquid Co-Op

We surprised my Grandpa for his 80th birthday, and (almost) the entire family made the trip up to Maine to celebrate! He was truly surprised; we had fooled him into thinking we were taking him out to dinner and he arrived at his house to find it entirely decorated, with dinner ready and all of our extended family there. The day after, the families ate a lobster dinner at the Pemaquid Lobster Co-Op, a restaurant that is also a commercial fishing cooperative, and thus has a huge dock out into the bay where the lobstermen come and deliver the day’s catch. I had a few minutes after dinner just as the sun was setting, and, arming myself with the trusty Trek Tech mini tripod, adventured out onto the dock for some HDR fun.

Lobstermen come to the docks of the Pemaquid Co-Op every day to drop off their catch and refuel.

Yet another great Maine sunset. Wish I could have been there longer, but the family was waving at me to hurry up!

Sunset on the Dock

I went down to the dock at sunset tonight and braved the gnats to shoot a ton as the light changed rapidly. I got a lot, and have processed most of it, but I will add them to my “to sprinkle in later entries” pile. There was absolutely no wind, so the water was completely still allowing for great reflections. I attempted to do an HDR panorama but omigod that is going to be so much work that I don’t feel like doing unless the scene is 100% worth it and, in this case, it just wasn’t… the sun made great colors, but the sky could have used more clouds. I will eventually find something that is worth attempting this on but it will entail probably a weeks worth of time in Photomatix and Photoshop that I just don’t want to do right now. I have yet to do some star trail work, but that is in the works… I can’t guarantee if that will be HDR or not, but either way it will show up here or on my photo page. I will take some time in the near future to upload some of what I shot this morning to my “straight photography” blog; I went down the road to this garden to get some absolutely awesome macros of flowers covered with droplets of water after the rain this morning. I’ll break the “HDR only” rule and put one in this post… I have like 8 shots from tonight that I want to put up but I will limit myself to my favorite one!

Kayks, docks, oceans, and great sunsets... that's Maine! (Well, that's a lot of places that are not Atlanta anyway...)

No, this is not HDR... but isn't it awesome how the surroundings are reflected in the individual droplets of water? This is a 100% crop of the full res version; click for the whole thing!

More Mass MoCA and Maine

Back from Mass, I sat down and processed a few more of the shots. I did a TON inside the Sol Lewitt exhibit; going hand-held and just simply bracketing everything made it so that I ended up with way too many HDRs… but I will keep sprinkling them around as I am happy with them all. It was a really fun place for composition, and the phrase “be responsible for everything in the frame” kept popping back in my mind all the way from 9th grade photo class. You’ve gotta keep all the angles, lines, and elements in order to make it all come together. When I got back, I went outside our house and took a few quick shots… I’ll be posting more when I get a better sky (ie go out more towards sunset…) but these were fun enough. (On second thought, I just looked at the other image I wanted to post, and I like the composition but I’m going to wait for a better, non blue sky and then I’ll put it up. So just these two for now :D)

Another of Sol Lewitt's wall paintings. This one comes free with cool clouds!

Reflection off the door on the side of our house.

Summer in Maine…

…sure beats summer in Atlanta! We have settled in here, and I went out tonight for an hour or so to see what I could get. Not the best sunset ever, but theres a lot more time for that, not to mention the amount of places I want to go and shoot. We got to our plane with 6 minutes to go before the closed the gate, and all of the overhead bins were full, so we had to gate-check our carry-ons. I am SO lucky that I got the Pelican hard case when I did! They would have checked my camera gear in it’s soft case that I previously had and that would almost certainly have ended in disaster; as it was I cheerfully handed them my Pelican, knowing that they could literally drop acid on it and it would come back to me fine. After unpacking, I went into the nearby town of Damariscotta to get these two shots.

Sunset over the Damariscotta River as it meets the Atlantic Ocean, which results in churning waters during tide changes.

Same sunset, different view, this one taken from the spit of land that the Damariscotta hospital sits on.