Sharp lens, blurry photo.
Having recently added a Canon 70-200 f/4L IS lens to my camera bag, I needed to go out as soon as I could to test it. Reported to be one of, if not the, sharpest zoom lens Canon has ever made, you might think I’d be out shooting trying to see just how sharp it really is. You’d only be partly right.
While I did come away with a good hand-held shot of a favorite wildflower, the purple trillium…
…my favorite photo of the day is this abstract reflection titled “Water Colors.”
Sometimes you want it sharp, sometimes you don’t.
Sharpness does not make a photograph, there is so much more. And in the case of “Water Colors,” capturing a tack sharp image was the furthest thing from my mind.
The Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge.
One of my favorite views in all of New Hampshire is this one looking out over Cherry Pond towards Mount Washington and the Presidential Range.
Cherry Pond sits on the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson, NH. It’s a beautiful place, and if you ever find yourself in New Hampshire I highly recommend a visit. It’s an easy hike of just under 2 miles along an old railroad bed.
I look forward to returning again and again.
Some of the most dramatic “Changes” take place in nature. Here’s one.
From the striped, almost clumsy appearance of the caterpillar, to the fluttering gossamer wings of the Monarch butterfly.
Color Color Everywhere!
The brilliant white of the church steeple towering over the roof tops of historic Portsmouth, NH.
The vibrant greens and golds of the salt marsh grasses as the sun burns off the early morning mist.
The fiery colors of a day at the drag races.
The vivid purple of a wild orchid.
I could go on and on…
My “Neighborhood” is large, very large.
From my front door,
To the lake I live on,
To the seacoast,
To New Hampshire’s White Mountains,
Within an hour or two, in any direction, I can find myself in photographic bliss.
A guy with a camera, or iPhone, could do a lot worse.
Wide and all-encompassing is not the only way to photograph a scene.
While out photographing, I’m often drawn to what I refer to as intimate portraits within the scene. While the grand scene before me may very well be quite spectacular, the overlooked details often provide the beauty within the beauty.
I do love Tucker Brook Falls.
Both in it’s entirety…
…and up close and personal.
While looking for that grand nature scene, it pays to look a little closer.
And don’t forget to simply look down.
Focusing on the details can often yield spectacular results.
One of my favorite landscape lenses is the Canon EF 70-200 f2.8L. In fact, if I could only own one lens this would be it. For isolating small key features of a landscape, a moderate telephoto lens and the way it has a compressing affect a scene, is often the perfect lens for getting “Lost In The Details.”
Getting up close and personal with one of my favorite summer visitors to the lake.
And there’s a snake in the picture too!
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EF 300 f4L IS
Exposure info: ISO 400, f7.1 @ 1/250
Original Capture Date: 5/30/2009
The Weekly Photo Challenge Theme: Forward.
This weeks theme actually has me looking back and Forward. Again I’m participating in the Lens Pro To Go 52 Week Photo Project. This week we’ll have completed Week 8, the theme being “Coffee.” So here I’m looking back on the first 8 weeks images, and looking Forward to the next 8. Enjoy!
(If the images don’t readily seem to fit the theme, visit my Flickr page to see my explanation. Or just ask in the comments section)
My goal this year is not to use any pre-existing images for the weekly themes. As we are given the themes in 8 weeks at a time, that should give me plenty of time to think of something new.
Here are the themes for the next 8 weeks.
Week 9: Colors
Week 10: Cheese
Week 11: Where I Live
Week 12: Planted
Week 13: Balloons
Week 14: Textures
Week 15: Something I Don’t Like
Week 16: Cookies
If You Just Can’t Wait.
If you’d like to keep up on my new images for the Project as they are made, hop on over to the Jeff Sinon Photography Fan Page, as each weeks image will be posted to the LPTG 52 Week Photo Project Gallery. While you’re there, BECOME A FAN! You know you want to
Longer Days Ahead.
The sun is rising earlier and setting later, a sure sign that Spring is on the way. With the onset of Spring my attention is inevitably drawn to waterfalls. One of the great things about living in the state of New Hampshire is the abundance of waterfalls that can be found around the state. Luckily, one usually doesn’t have to drive very far to find them either. Whether it’s a popular named waterfall in the White Mountains, one where you may have to wait your turn for the best shooting spots, or the little known unnamed falls scattered throughout the state. Large or small, they’re everywhere and Spring is the best time to photograph them.
The Etherial Flow.
Soft, silky, like cotton candy, however you describe it, that silky flowing appearance of the water, so common in waterfall images, requires a long exposure. I generally want at least a 1/2 second exposure, but 5, 8, even 10 seconds or more isn’t uncommon. Because of these long exposures, the most important piece of equipment you’ll need for your waterfall photography is a tripod. For capturing the flowing water while rendering the surrounding scenery as sharp, a good sturdy tripod isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. Besides camera and lens, my tripod is the one thing that never gets left behind. This goes for any of my landscape photography, not just waterfalls.
Controlling The Light.
A Circular Polarizing filter(CPL) is another must-have in my camera bag. Not only does it help remove the glare and reflection from the surface of the water, wet rocks, and leaves that may be in the photo, it also reduces the light coming through the lens by 1 1/2 to 2 stops. Reducing that light can help you achieve those longer exposures on brighter days. At times the light will still be too bright to allow a slow enough shutter speed even with a CPL in place. This is when a neutral density filter comes in handy. I carry a 4 stop square ND filter made by HiTech. This filter is designed to slip into a filter holder mounted on the front of my lens, but I often just hand-hold the filter in place. ND filters are available in several variations, both glass or resin slip in type, and round screw on style with as much as 10 stops of light stopping power. Becoming more and more popular are Variable Neutral Density filters, screw on filters that can be adjusted by rotating them to give from 2 to 8 stops of light reduction. As with most anything, you get what you pay for so buy the best you can afford. Another tip with screw on filters, buy a filter that fits your largest diameter lens and then buy step up rings to fit it to your lenses with smaller diameter filter threads. That way you don’t need to buy multiple expensive filters in different sizes to fit all of your lenses.
The Blinkies Are Your Friend.
While shooting waterfalls I always pay close attention to the histogram to help avoid blowing out the highlights. I also turn on the “Blinkies” the highlight alert warning that flashes in the image preview. Overexposed highlights will flash as black, and you want little if any in the photo. I say little because if you’re shooting in RAW, as you should be, a small amount of overexposure can be brought back with the highlight recovery slider in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, or other RAW converters.
The Weather At It’s Best.
Is not the best weather for waterfalls. The best time to photograph waterfalls is on grey overcast days. This will give you nice even lighting across the falls, enabling longer exposures, and more importantly, helping to reduce hot spots on some of the white water on the falls. Trying to get a decent exposure when part of the fall is in the shade and part in the sun will result in either a lot of blown highlights (there won’t be much detail in the flowing water, but it shouldn’t be a featureless bright white either), or a perfectly exposed waterfall surrounded by dark blocked up shadows. The nice even lighting of an overcast day makes getting good exposures almost easy.
(The image of Garwin Falls, above, is a perfect example of what can happen when part of the falls is in the sun. Because of this there are several spots in the white water of the falls that are much brighter than I’d prefer)
Adventures In Composition.
**Let me start by saying that safety should be your primary concern when around swift running water, especially during the height if Spring runoff, and on the slippery rocks along the riverbank.**
That being said, a willingness to get a little wet, maybe more than a little, can often be the difference between your images being “me-too” copies of every other photograph of that particular waterfall, and being truly unique photographs you can call your own. Always with an eye towards self-preservation, more often than not, I can be found standing, even kneeling, and occasionally sitting, in the water downstream of my chosen waterfall.
Be careful. Be sure to empty your pockets(this one is very important, your iPhone probably won’t enjoy a swim). Give it a try. You’ll dry off on the hike back to the car. Just remember, no photograph is worth risking your safety.
Odds And Ends.
Here are a few pieces of equipment that, while not necessities, can make your waterfall photo adventures easier and more enjoyable.
Remote Shutter Release. Sure you camera’s self timer will work, but a remote means you don’t have to wait for the timer to count down. (Yes I am that impatient).
Knee Pads. My knees aren’t getting any younger and kneeling on stream side rocks and stones doesn’t help. Available at any home improvement store for little money. Not just for waterfalls either, they’re always with me when there’s no snow on the ground. Your knees, and pant legs, will thank you.
Micro Fiber Lens Cloth. If like me you find yourself kneeling in the water below a waterfall you’ll also find yourself dealing with a water drop or two finding its way onto your lens. There is nothing worse than getting home to find that “Winner” image ruined by a water spot in the middle of the frame. Check your lens often, and gently wipe it off.
Welcome to my home.
This curious little guy (gal?) was very welcoming to his two-legged guests. As long as we didn’t get too close that is.
A Black Among The Green.
Who doesn’t like the mallard duck? With its beautiful iridescent green head and mahogany breast feathers, a beautiful bird my anyone’s standard. For me though, the American Black Duck, a drake seen above bowing to the camera, is a more attractive bird. Not being a very flashy guy myself, perhaps what draws me more to what most consider a rather drab looking duck, is the subtle beauty of the iridescent green visible only on the sides of the drakes head, compared to the “in your face,” bright green covering the entire head of the much showier mallard. Does anyone really like a show-off?
Often mistaken for a hen mallard, the black duck has darker plumage and while the violet-blue speculum on the mallard’s wing is bordered by white on both sides, the black ducks usually has no, or only one faint white border on the speculum’s leading edge.
The third time’s the charm, right?
On a recent trip to Great Island Commons in New Castle, NH to photograph sunrise I came across this composition and knew the photo I wanted to make. The barnacle and seaweed covered rocks made a great foreground element, the points of rock on either side lead the way to Whaleback Lighthouse beyond made nice leading lines, the water is given a nice, ghostly appearance and the clouds convey their motion by the 30 second exposure. All I needed was the sun to make it over the horizon in time. The incoming weather front foiled my plans and the tiny hint of color silhouetting the lighthouse was the only “sunrise” I saw.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Attempt #2, foiled again!
Try, try again.
Attempt #3, I didn’t even try, but since I was there…
The black and white really expressed the mood and feel of the scene that day.
Sucker for punishment.
Did I mention it was very windy and very cold on all three attempts? Winter on the New Hampshire coast is a great place to photograph, as long as you don’t mind a little wind and cold. Of course I’m going to try again
File this post under persistence!
Livermore Falls, Campton, NH.
I’ve always loved the patterns and colors in the ice along the cliff and now I’m finally getting around to doing something with this image.
I’m coming to realize that winter might very well be my favorite time of year to make photographs.
Original date of capture: 2/6/2010
Camera body: Canon EOS 40D
Lens: Canon EF 17-40 f4L
iso 100, 40mm, f16 @ 1/4 second.
This weeks weekly photo challenge theme is “My 2012 In Pictures.”
Well as luck would have it I had already done a post of my favorites from the past year HERE. Let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy task narrowing it down to 20 for that post!
Never one to pass up a challenge, here are another dozen, give or take, images from the past year that I’m rather pleased with.
Don’t forget, there’s still time to vote for your favorite image that I’ve shared this year!
Details and rules (Please read them carefully) are HERE.
Camera Body: Canon EOS 1D Mk IIN
Lens: Canon 70-200 f4L non-IS
ISO 400, f11 @ 0.5 seconds.
Original capture date: Oct. 3, 2010
You have until January 5th, 2013 to cast your vote for your favorite JSP image of 2012. You can win print of it too! Details HERE.
You won’t find a much more delicate creature roaming the forest floor than the juvenile Eastern Newt, commonly known as the red eft. This little guy (gal?) was only about 2 in. (5cm) and very hard to miss, with such bright orange skin, as I was strolling along the trail. The adults are much less showy in color, and can reach a length of 5 in. (12.7 cm) and can live between 12 – 15 years in the wild.
Photographed on the same day as the Red Eft above, this Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides), a wild orchid found typically in fens and bogs. Also known as the snake mouthed orchid, this beautiful specimen was beautifully crowned with dew when I photographed it.
The clock is ticking…
Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite Jeff Sinon Photography image from 2012! Details and rules HERE.
New England at its finest!
There are four reasons I love being a photographer in New Hampshire.
As is typical of New England weather, the stream-side rocks and surrounding forest was covered in 6 inches of late April snow the day before I made this photo. The remnants of which can be seen is the forest beyond the stream.
In the summer, sunrise comes too early, and sunset too late, but there are flowers, oh yes, plenty of flowers. Whether in my yard, deep in the woods, or waist deep in a pond, flowers of all kinds are one of my top choices for photographic subjects.
The colors of Autumn, there is no single better reason than Autumn’s glorious color to live and photograph in New England!
My second favorite season, after Autumn, Winter provides some of the best photographic opportunities. As long as you’re willing to brave the cold.
Reflections, times three.
North American Beaver cautiously checking out the guy with the long glass eye.
Louvers and flames meticulously painted on the hood of a hot rod.
Fly fisherman patiently waiting for a trout to rise and take his fly.
What have I got to be thankful for? Where do I start?
My wonderful wife, who supports me in every way, and is extremely supportive of my efforts to further my photography. Who never, okay, mostly never, complains when I disappear for days on end in pursuit of my next photograph. She truly is my better half.
My beautiful, unbelievably intelligent daughter (above). Nothing gives me greater pleasure than the sparkle in her eyes, and there is no better sound in the world than the sound of her laughter. She is the light of my life.
My camera. My camera has brought me to amazing places, and introduced to some amazing and talented people. It has enabled me to see the natural world around me as never before.
And finally, you, my fans and followers. You all keep me inspired to create new, and better images, to become a better photographer. For all your support I thank you.
My first thoughts are of Spring, and new growth. But with Winter rapidly approaching, and the snow that will hopefully come with it, the vibrancy of Spring green is a long way off.
However, several of the images below were captured in the dead of winter.
For those of you thinking “I’d like to create amazing photographs but I don’t have a big fancy DSLR.” Take a close look at the image of my friend Melissa sprawled out on the ice. That’s a Canon G11 in her outstretched hands. Now take a look at the images she makes with it, here. I often envy her ability to put all her gear in her pocket when we get together to shoot.
Canon EOS 1D Mk IIN
Canon 16-35 f2.8L
16mm, iso 100, 0.6 seconds @ f11
Renewal = Spring .
Though it’s hard to imagine, with winters icy grip, and its cold white coating of snow, just around the corner, for me when I think of renewal, I think of Spring. Spring is the time of renewal. Soon after the snow melts the wildflowers will begin to emerge and the young animals and birds will soon begin to be born. A new generation is about to commence.
…to the Spring-time forest near you.
Pink Lady among the birches.
Pink Lady’s Slipper orchid.
The Next Generation.
And soon there will be four.
Canada goose eggs sitting safely in their down lined nest.
A pair of black bear cubs and their sleeping mother.
Buried treasure, hidden gems, forgotten images.
Beginning today, I’m starting a new weekly series titled, you guessed it, “Sunday’s Hidden Treasure.”
I love to make photographs, and I make a lot of them. That’s not to say I’m a “spray and pray, hope for the best” photographer. I am quite deliberate when I press the shutter. However, I am also big on experimentation, unconventional angles, compositions, when everyone else’s cameras are pointing up, mine will be pointing down, etc., so I shoot a lot.
Usually only one or two favorite photos from a day’s shoot catch my eye. I’ll then enhance them to my liking, to then be shared with the world. The other photos, many of them as good, for whatever reason go forgotten as I move on the next shoot.
This series is dedicated to those images that are overlooked. The “Hidden Treasure” buried deep, lost and forgotten, on my hard drive.
Without further delay, this weeks Hidden Treasure.
This weeks Hidden Treasure is an intimate portrait of Garwin Falls in Wilton, NH. Captured on 9/15/2012
(Click on image for a larger view)
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Tamron 17-50 f2.8 with B+W CPL filter
Settings: 23mm, iso 100, 13 seconds@f8
Are there any Hidden Treasures waiting to be rediscovered on your hard drive?
Go on a treasure hunt, you may be surprised at what you might find. I’d love to see what you come up with.