Sun Reflection Peaking Through Clouds

This landscape was taken at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge Maryland in Dec. 2011. Heavy cloud coverage hid the sun, but the colors shone through the clouds and reflected in the water. Usually we photograph Wildlife at Blackwater NWR, but you can also get some great landscapes with water or wooded areas. I also especially like the colorful sunsets with birds flying through them. This image was taken with a Canon EOS 1D MkII with a Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5 – 5.6 @ 12mm, 1/1000 sec, f/16, effective focal length 15.6mm,  aperture priority -0.67 exposure compensation. Below are a series of B&W versions using Nik Silver Effects plug-in in Photoshop. The next to last one is using a Black & White adjustment layer in Photoshop. The last is just an adjustment of contrast. I usually do not think to use B&W images anymore for myself, (too many long hours, years ago, in the darkroom for commercial clients), but I thought this image might be interesting in Black &White.

Walk in the Woods

I took a leisurely walk around the Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, NJ on Sunday looking for Fall Still Life images. I found a few I liked and also a few general interest Fall images as I was walking along the path. Here are some of what I found. I used my 1D MkIV with the Canon 70-300mm DO lens for the longer zoom range which comes in handy for a wider range of images, especially if you do not know what you will come across while on your walk. It also works well with extension tubes for closeup images when you come across them. The 70-300mm DO makes a great walk around lens especially with the Image Stabilization. I usually carry a 12mm & 20mm extension tubes with me, along with 12″ silver/gold collapsable reflector & 12″ diffuser for either reflecting light into a subject or for diffusing harsh sunlight.

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Last Flight at Blackwater NWR

Going through my older files from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, I came across this series that I never worked on. Blackwater has great sunsets because of its proximity to the coast with the moisture in the air. This was shot in December, near the end of daylight. I like the sun’s rays coming down through the clouds, giving streaks of sunlight in the lower clouds. This one lone bird was flying through the sky under the dark higher cloud bank. The photo just made me think  “Last Flight of the Day.” Sometimes you can see large flocks of birds going through the evening sky, but late on this day there was just one lonely bird heading home, which I thought gave an interesting look. I usually do not like having the subject in the middle of the frame, but in this instance I chose this one because the bird is so small it was not as powerful off to either side and looked unbalanced. This was shot with a Canon 7D with a Canon 400mm DO f/4 telephoto lens. Exposure 1/1250 @ f/8, ISO 400.

Pocket Camera for Landscapes

Many times while I am out in the field, I am carrying 400mm telephoto lens on a Canon 1 Series Body, which is large and after a while becomes heavy.  So I usually do not carry a second body or second wider lens. But I do not want to miss opportunities if I come across a great shot that is not right for the 400mm. I usually have a Panasonic LX1 compact camera in my pocket for those instances where I want to take a few wide or detail shots while my main camera with long lenses. I have used the LX1 for years and it still works well even though it is getting a little dated in todays fast paced technology feature updates. It has the ability to shoot raw files which is important for my workflow and the images it produces are fine for prints up to 16×20 prints & even up to double page landscape spreads in my ebooks. Newer cameras like the Sony RX100 II & similar cameras are also excellent & handy backup cameras. Sometimes if I think I might need  a wider zoom range I use a Panasonic GH2 m43 camera with a 14 – 140mm lens (equivalent to 28 -280mm on full frame cameras). Even though it is smaller than a DSLR and easier to carry, it still would not fit in a pocket and might get in the way. I have also tried images from my iPhone, but I do not think it is a viable option yet. All examples here are with the Panasonic LX1.

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Favorite Images from the Celery Farm Natural Area in Northern, NJ – Sunrises & Sunsets

The Celery Farm Natural Area in Northern NJ is a local wildlife area that is close to home so it is easy to get to and wander around with a camera for an hour or two. It has a little over 100 acres to explore.  Over 240 species of birds have been spotted here along with a variety of mammals, insects, and reptiles. I used to often get there early for sunrises and see the birds flying through the warm colors. Sometimes I would go back in the evening to catch a sunset. Here are a few images from those early morning/evening  photo treks.

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Bombay Hook NWR

I was looking through some of my backed up files and found images from Bombay Hook, National Wildlife Refuge in Smyrna, Delaware. The refuge has a Wildlife Drive that is about eight miles long along the Delaware Bay and covers over 16,000 acres. You can find many subjects for your photography – Wildlife, Birds, Flowers, Landscapes. and macro subjects.  There are also many trails and lookout towers. So depending on the day, you can find a wide variety of subjects for your vision. Usually we only drive through quickly on our way to Blackwater NWR in Maryland. We are planning to go back to spend the day and fully explore the refuge.

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Happy First Day of Fall

Happy First Day of Fall. Can’t believe another Fall Season has come upon us. Cooler Days, Colorful Leaves and Wonderful Photographic Opportunities are coming here in the Northeast. Take advantage of the Fall to stock up with colorful landscapes, panoramas (both horizontal & vertical), leaf macros & closeups and skyscapes before the dull winter months. This gives me a stock of images to work on during the Winter months. I like to look for interesting leaf color combinations, trying different crops or processing techniques on the same image. So get out and have some fun capturing Fall in all of its colors.

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Try Capturing a series of images from the same subject, trying wide to closer up. You can use this to help tell a story or just to see what image you like better for next time.

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For landscapes intermix verticals in with horizontal formats. See what works best for what you are seeing in your minds eye.  Also shoot a few different views or crops in the same area. Often a composition I liked best looking through the viewfinder, seems not to be the “best” once I am working on editing them on the computer.

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Look for detail images when you are working on your landscapes. Helps show the area and what is happening in the landscapes.

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