Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top.

“Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve,

they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”

~ Anatoli Boukreev

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

 

 

Caution: Objects In The Scene Are Smaller Than They Appear.

Sunrise Fire Over Baxter Lake

Getting up close and personal with a wide-angle lens is a great way to play with perspective in a photograph. Placing the camera close to your foreground element, in the case of the image above, the “giant” boulder made nice foreground element.

In reality, that “giant” boulder in the foreground is only slightly larger than a soccer ball. Setting up my tripod in the water so the camera was only about 12″ (30cm) from the rock rendered it quite large in the frame.

All Squished Together.

Layers, Mountains In Green.

Another way to manipulate perspective is to use a telephoto lens to compress the scene. Using my 70-200mm lens I was able to create the illusion that the mountain ridges in the above image are much closer together than they are.

Line And Layers.

Another benefit of using  a telephoto lens in landscape photography is the ability to isolate a small part of the wider view. The result you’re left with in an image that focuses more on shape and line than the grand scenic views. Though the below image does a bit of both ;-)

Blue Mountain Layers

Why I Photograph

Falling Back-Asswards Into A Passion.

It Began In The Stars.

Holiday Lights At Nubble Light.

Some of you know how I came to find a camera in my hands, many do not.

Here’s my story.

Unlike a lot of photographers, photography was never my “Thing.” I hadn’t been shooting for decades, born with a camera in my hands, lamenting the loss of film. To me film was pretty much a dinosaur from the past. Sure I’ve heard about it, even seen it before, but as far as I was concerned it belonged right next to the dinosaurs in a museum.

Digital was well established by the time I started looking for my first camera, so that’s the way I wanted to go. I was on a budget, and not having to pay for film processing was a huge draw.

Back in ’07-’08, I had a brief, expensive but brief, interest in astronomy. I had my own big(read lots of $$) telescope, and all the fancy gear that went with it. Looking through all the astronomy magazines I started thinking, “I could get some of those awesome photos through my telescope too.” So off in search of a camera I went. I figured I should at least get a camera that I could use to take snap-shots too, as opposed to a dedicated astro-imaging camera, a little box with a sensor in it that needed to be hooked up to a computer while taking photos. Something a little more practical.

I didn’t want a point and shoot though, had to be a DSLR. And since two friends were Canon shooters, I became one too.

A lone mute swan sits motionless on the still surface of the water, with a wall of brown reeds as a backdrop.

 

Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun.

Antique Side-by-Side On Autumn Leaves

Coincidentally, I was an avid hunter at this time as well. The passion I have for capturing images of the great outdoors now, I put into my pursuit of all things feathered back then. Ducks, geese, pheasant and grouse were my quarry of choice. And along with my dog Bailey, pursue them I did.

Dear Sweet Bailey

My dear sweet Bailey was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known, gentle beyond measure, my first daddy’s little girl.

Put her in the woods however, and she changed. Miraculously that sweet, cuddle on the couch, member of the family, was replaced by an all business, pure bird hunting machine. It was pure joy to watch at work. Those of you with any experience seeing a good bird dog work the woods know exactly what I mean, she was canine poetry in motion.

Sadly, around the same time I was in search of my first camera, Bailey was becoming too old to hunt. The desire was there, I could see it in her eyes, but what her mind wanted, her body could no longer deliver. While I continued to hunt, without her with me, my joy of time spent in the woods lessened considerably. Without my girl it just wasn’t the same. I started looking for reasons to stay home.

Yet a spark in the back of my mind had begun to glow.

Blue Mountain Layers

All those mornings spent standing in a beaver pond, or laying in a corn field, waiting for the first mallards or geese to come in, also held something else.

They held magic.

Surprisingly up to this point in my hunting life, as many times as I had thought, “this would make an amazing picture,” as I witnessed the world waking up, seeing nature come alive in ways most will never see or experience, it never clicked that maybe I should get a camera.

What can I say, I’m a slow learner.

Passion Is Born In 2008.

Long exposure image of an unnamed waterfall on the Mad River, Farmington, NH

Once I started taking my camera with me on my hunting trips, it really didn’t take long to convert my love of all things hunting into a love of hunting a different, and often more elusive prey, with a much different “weapon” of choice.

All the time spent in the woods, I was never blind to what was around me, but I didn’t really see it either. I had always felt deep in the forest was one of the most beautiful places I could be, but it took leaving my gun at home, entering the forest armed only with my camera, to really begin to see and appreciate my surroundings. It was then that perfect light became my quarry, and I was relentless in my desire to capture it.

So, I gave up hunting,  sold all of my firearms, and I’ve been focused, pun completely intended, on capturing and sharing the beauty of the natural world ever since.

Beauty most people will never see first hand.

On the plus side of giving up hunting with a gun, I don’t need to pluck a photograph. The downside though, they don’t taste very good either.

That was back in the spring of 2008.

I hadn’t set out to become a “photographer” back then, that was purely by accident. I never thought photography would become anything more than another in a long list of expensive hobbies.

I’ve never been so wrong about anything in my life.

Swiftwater Falls, Winter

 

So, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

And for those of you wondering, I fell so deeply in love with capturing the landscape here on Earth, I ended up selling my telescope without ever having so much as mounted my camera on it.

 

What brought you to photography, I’d love to hear your story.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning The New Year

Chasing Sea Smoke. 

Whaleback In The Sea Smoke

The conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for capturing my first images at the beginning of the new year. The northeast had just experienced a nor’easter that brought as much as a foot of fresh snow to the region, followed by brutally cold arctic air.

When my photographer friends and I heard that the temperatures Saturday morning were forecast to be well below zero, many of us thought the same thing ~ Sea Smoke.

Sea smoke can make for dramatic and ethereal seascape images, and when backlit by the rising sun, the results are magical. But the conditions have to be just right for sea smoke to form. It has to be cold, very cold. Below 0°F is best, along with little to no wind. And when this extremely cold air mixes with the thin layer of relatively warmer air near the water’s surface, you get smoke.

This past Saturday, with predicted lows well below zero, there was no way I could resist heading to the coast.

Those of us willing to brave -5°F were amply rewarded with the ghostly wisps of smoke blanketing the ocean.