I have thousands and thousands of photographs that either sit on a hard drive or are in a filing cabinet in slide form. A very small percentage have seen the light of day, I decided to change that. Recently I've started working on a 30 year retrospective book project and I've been going through my archives, here is one the photos I found taken on Fuji Velvia film. I used to be obsessed with macro photography but in recent years I've strayed away from that, I think it's about time to go back to my roots.
A couple of weeks ago Google announced they were making the Nik software suite free to download. You can't beat free so I downloaded the software and here is one of the first images I processed using Silver Fx Pro. This image was made by opening up Silver Fx and just playing around with it. There are a lot of how to videos on Youtube that cover the use of all the different aspects of the Nik suite, I plan on watching some so I can take full advantage of the program.
This image shows why I wasn't able to get a clear photograph of the milkyway during my last visit to Popham, which would've been behind me. This is facing west and the glow on the horizon are the lights of Cape Elizabeth and Portland. Even though they're miles away the long exposure really makes them show up, the 30 second exposure also causes the clouds to streak as they head east.
Here’s another example of when sometimes plans don’t go according to plan. Last Sunday I drove to Popham Beach for 3 AM hoping to get photos of the milkyway over Fox Island. Well, despite clear skies when I left the house there was a thin cloud cover at the coast. I did spend a couple of hours photographing the night sky because stars were still visible, I just couldn’t clearly see the milkyway. It was almost 5 AM when I decided to call it quits on the stars but figured there might be some potential for a good sunrise. The clock sprung ahead that morning so the sun was not due to rise until almost 7 AM. I went back to the car to kill some time, I wanted to be back on the beach by 6 because on the coast, the sky starts to brighten at least an hour before the sun actually gets above the horizon (nautical twilight). This is the first image I took after walking back to the beach. It was still very dark and I could see no color in the sky with the naked eye. I exposed for 30 seconds at f/8, ISO 400 figuring I'd get a blue hour type of image but this is what showed up on my display after exposure. I knew then I made the right decision to hang around and my guess for a good sunrise was correct. I spent the next hour taking photos of the sky as it really lit up, this is one of those times where I was glad I decided to hang around.
After looking at my photos from Pemaquid last week, I wasn't totally satisfied, I knew I could do better. I thought about it all week and envisioned the type of photograph I wanted to take. My original plan was to go early Sunday morning but the below zero temps kinda put a damper on that so I decided to go Monday morning. Well, the temps didn't warm up at all but the sky conditions were right for the image I wanted. I have two apps on my iPad, Sky Walk and The Photographer's Ephemeris that show all the features of the night sky and where they'll be at certain times of the day and times of the year. Normally the milkyway is photographed during the new moon because moon light will wash out the stars. This particular day the quarter moon set at 12:30 AM so I knew there wouldn't be that extra light to deal with. My two apps showed the milkyway would rise shortly before 4 AM and this time of year it's low in the sky in the east, just above the horizon. I got up at 2:30 AM and hit the road, it was 10 below zero F. This is one of the images I took, It's a combination of 5 five photos combined in Photoshop to make the panorama. Monday morning was the first time I had a battery stop working because of the cold, luckily I had just bought a spare so I was able to exchange it and keep on clicking. By the time I got home shortly before 7 AM the temp had dropped to 15 below, I'm so glad I had hand warmers. It's hard to make out in this picture, but the sub zero temperatures created plenty of sea smoke. The base exposure for the combined images was 30 secs. at F2.8 and ISO 3200. The camera sees more stars in the sky then you can with your naked eye.
Back in the 80's and 90's when I was active in the local camera club, one of the rules for entering a nature competition was the photograph could not show the "hand of man." Any photo with something man made in it would not qualify in the nature competition category, even cultivated garden flowers would be a no no. With the blog name being Maine Nature Photos, I've tried to stick to those guidelines when posting photos but this isn't a competition so I don't need to stick to strict rules. A good example is today's photo, a man made object in a natural setting, it may not qualify in a nature competition but I still think it's appealing. Pemaquid Point is one of the iconic, and oft photographed lighthouses in Maine, but this was actually the first time I ever photographed it.
My book is hot off the presses at Blurb! Take a sneak peek and place your order if you're so inclined by clicking on the cover photo above. An eBook version for download to your iPad or iPhone is now available in the iTunes store.
I live in Lewiston, Maine and have for most of my life. I've always had an interest in nature; as a kid I read books by Edwin Way Teal, Rachael Carson, among others, and I used to love studying the Golden Nature Guides. When I got into photography it was natural for me to take pictures of the natural world. A few years ago I got into kayaking and that allowed me to get to places I would never be able to by hiking and of course this gives me more photography oppurtunities. I realized years ago you don't have to travel to exotic locations to get good photographs. I have to admit I'm lucky to be living in a beautiful state with a lot of natural diversity, but I've taken good pictures right in my own back yard and neighborhood.