Blinded By Disappointment
Have you ever had your heart so set on something that achieving anything less would be a disappointment? That’s how this photograph started out for me.
I was heading to Sugar Hill, NH for the annual Fields Of Lupine Festival, where the photographic possibilities are almost endless. Especially if you like lupine. However, as the weekend drew near, the weather forecast was not looking good. Not looking good at all. “Chance of rain, possibly heavy at times for both Friday and Saturday, though possibly clearing on Sunday”. Being the gambler I am, with visions of dramatic skies lit by the rising sun peeking over mountain tops, in my mind, I headed north anyway, just in case. Dramatic weather = dramatic photographs after all.
Saturday afternoon, after doing a little scouting, I knew the view in the photo above was where I wanted to be for sunrise. That set, some friends and I headed to The Basin, a waterfall I had never photographed before. Then we headed into Woodstock, NH for dinner. If you’re ever in Woodstock, I highly recommend the Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery. Great food and great beer!
Dawn’s Promise Unfulfilled
As I poked my head out of my tent and looked up, I was very happy to see a few stars twinkling through the breaks in the clouds. It was going to be a good morning for photography, or so I hoped. Upon arriving in this field of beautiful purple flowers, not only were we far from the first ones there (if you’re the type of photographer who seeks solitude while practicing your craft, Sugar Hill during the Lupine Festival is definitely NOT for you), but the breaks in the clouds I had seen earlier were nowhere to be found.
My enthusiasm for the morning was vanishing rapidly.
So, blinded by disappointment to the photographic possibilities before me, I set up my tripod, sure I wasn’t going to be happy with anything I got.
Through The Eyes Of Others Mine Are Opened
From the press of the shutter, to the final post processing, as far as I was concerned it was only an “okay” photograph. The exposure was good, the composition was too, and I was fairly happy with the processing. But still only “okay ” at best. But since I hadn’t changed the cover photo on my fan page in a while, and I hadn’t processed any of the waterfall shots from the weekend, I put it out there for all the world to see.
The overwhelming response took me completely by surprise. “Liked” over 600 times, shared at least 100 times (I couldn’t keep track of the shares from shares from shares), I was dumbfounded. Considering my usually care-free, “there’s always next time” attitude towards my landscape photography when the weather doesn’t play nice, I’m surprised by both my complete disappointment at the way the morning turned out, and that it took other people’s response to this photograph to make me see it for what it really is.
Going forward I have every intention of enjoying the photographic possibilities I’m presented with, and not dwell on the ones I’m not.
“Warning, Ice Fall Danger.”
From my last trip into Tuckerman Ravine, this sign should get your attention!
However, the graphics on this sign, which I missed in the pre-dawn darkness at the base of the trail, made me laugh.
Levity aside, the danger is very real. The giant block of blue ice in this photo, came from high on the wall of the ravine behind me!
Personally, I don’t need a sign to tell me that.
Patterned In Green.
I eagerly await the arrival of the false hellebore every Spring. This extremely toxic plant, with its deeply patterned leaves, is one of my favorite plants to photograph.
Patterned In Ice.
On my way home from a winter photo shoot I took a route I seldom travel. I’m very glad I did. As soon as I saw these wonderful patterns in the ice floes I couldn’t turn my car around quickly enough. In my excited haste, I then nearly tumbled down the snow-covered bank of the river as I searched for a good composition.
Patterns In The Flow.
This morning (May 10th, 2013) I found myself standing in the middle of the Mad River in Farmington, NH photographing a favorite waterfall. The long white streaking patterns on the waters surface were created by the bubbles on the water flowing towards the camera during the 30 second exposure.
When out photographing landscapes have you ever wondered, “when is a good time to try a vertical composition?”
Immediately after photographing the scene horizontally of course!
Personally I find that in a scene like this the vertical composition adds more depth to the photograph. Which is also why so many of my waterfall and stream photos captured this way.
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.
This summer is THE summer I climb Mt. Washington, the tallest peak in the Eastern U.S. and the “Home of the worlds worst weather.”
And what better motivation to get me on the trail than to be able to support the Mount Washington Observatory (MWOBS) in the process.
This coming July 19-20 I plan on participating in the “Seek The Peak” hike-a-thon to raise money for the non profit MWOBS.
Rarely will I subject my readers to appeals for donations of any kind, but I truly believe this is for a worthy cause. If any of you would like to help, please click over to my fund raising page HERE to make a small donation.
“What’s in it for me?”
I know only a small number of my subscribers or fans of my photography live anywhere near Mount Washington, and may not have any interest in supporting the work they do. So to sweeten the deal, how about a chance at a signed 16″ x 24″ (41cm x 61cm) print of the image above?
For each $10 U.S. donation you’ll be entered in a chance to win an archival quality, hand signed print of “Mount Washington Summit In The Alpenglow.” All you need to do to enter is click HERE, and then follow the instructions to make your donation. That’s it!
Thank you for your support, and I’ll see you at the summit!
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…
As Told By A Couple Of Beaver.
Two winters ago I made my first visit to Tuckerman Ravine in hopes of capturing the bowl bathed in the beauty of alpenglow. This was also my first real winter hike, and even though I wasn’t able to capture the alpenglow as well as I had hoped, I still consider the trip a success.
The view that awaited as the sun came up was worth the sleepless night in a nearby hostel, temps in the teens, and the 3 a.m., lung and thigh burning, 2.4 mile(3.9km) hike (and that’s only to the fence shown in the image. The bowl is another .7 miles(1.1km) further). Ever since getting my first taste of “Tucks,” I’ve been dying to go back!
Same Fence, Different Day.
This years pilgrimage turned out better than I had hoped. My friend Tracy and I, after having left my house at 1 a.m., hit the trail at just after 4 a.m. for our long uphill slog. Only a day earlier and it would have been 3 a.m., but Daylight Savings Time kicked in during our drive and miraculously shot us ahead an hour, but trust me, my body still said it was 3 a.m.!
Anyway, as the sun rose behind us I was ready, and conflicted at the same time. The sunrise taking place behind me was going to be gorgeous! So now I had a decision to make, and it was going to be a tough one. Do I photograph the sure thing? I mean as the sun got closer and closer to making its appearance above the horizon, the sky was getting more brilliant, and the colors more spectacular by the second. I could see it unfolding before my eyes. I was witnessing about as close to a sure thing as there is in landscape photography.
Do I gamble on the alpenglow, that beautiful, elusive pink glow that may or may not materialize? Alpenglow can be fleeting, lasting mere minutes even at the best of times. So do I go with the guaranteed performance taking place behind me, or do I wait for the pink that, if it comes, could be brilliant, brief, or blah?
Pink It Is!
My choice made, I waited. And waited. Was that a hint of pink starting to show on the otherwise blue-ish tint of the pre-dawn mountains? It was! And it was getting brighter! When it reached its peak, the alpengow was beautiful, brilliant, and lasted longer than expected, though still no more than 3-5 minutes. But what a 3-5 minutes it was!
Sometimes it pays to gamble.
Yea, They Ski That Thing!
Tuckerman Ravine is one of the most popular ski destinations in the East. And there aren’t even any chair lifts!
Can you find the skier climbing the wall?
How about now?
Tuck’s has a long a storied history of skiing. And the skiing here is truly for the die-hard, dedicated, and adventurous, as there is no lift service here. It is a 2.4 mile(3.9km) hike carrying pack, skis, and all your other gear on your back, just to the AMC’s Hermit Lake Shelter, and the caretaker’s cabin, together affectionately known as “Ho-Jo’s.” The bowl is another .7 miles(1.1km) still, and you then need to climb about 1,000 ft(305m) to the top from there! Is it steep? With a slope of as much as 55° in places, yes, I’d say it’s steep!
Here’s a video that really shows the popularity of the Ravine. Judging by the crowds, you’d think it was a full lift service ski area.
As the title mentions, avoiding avalanches is a top priority when visiting Tuckerman Ravine. The Ravine has claimed many lives over the years, and while not all of them were lost due to avalanches, in the winter the smart hiker/photographer pays attention to the avalanche forecast. The forecast for last Sunday was listed as “Moderate to Low,” however just the day before it was listed as “Considerable.” If you choose to visit, don’t become a statistic, please heed the warnings!
If You’re Ever In The Neighborhood.
Come and join me in the bowl, you won’t regret it!
(Thank you Tracy for pressing the shutter. Cause goodness knows I can’t run that fast!)
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
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.
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!
The Top 9?
Who in the world does a top 9? Well as it turns out, you do.
Back on December 13th I challenged the subscribers to my blog to Tell Me Your Favorite Image From 2012, and one lucky person was going to win an 8″ x 12,” signed print of their favorite. The rules were simple, post a link in the comments section to your favorite Jeff Sinon Photography image that appeared on the blog during 2012. Once the votes were tallied, one lucky winner would be chosen at random.
I have to admit, with 660 followers at last count, I was hoping for a bit more participation, however, I’m not complaining. That there were only 9 votes cast by only 6 people* made less work for me, and the odds of winning went up considerably for those who did take part. That’s a win-win in my book
So here they are, the 9 images chosen as favorites from the images shared during 2012.
And The Winner Is…
Jessica from This One Time At Band Camp…, and the image she chose as her favorite,
Jessica, contact me with your mailing address at your earliest convenience, and an 8″ x 12″ print of “Wavy Green” will be on it’s way!
*For anyone wondering, though a few people voted for more than one image, their names were only placed in the drawing once. Based on the number of individual voters, the odds of winning were 1 in 6.
Thank you all so much, I look forward to another year of making photographs for you all to enjoy!
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.
Normally, there is only one source of illumination that matters to me as a photographer. (Hint: Rises in the East, sets in the West).
Though occasionally I do rely on other, artificial, sources of illumination while making my photographs.
Cocheco Mill, Dover, NH.
“Night Glow” at the Pittsfield, NH Hot Air Balloon Rally
THIS IS THE YEAR!
I’ve said that before, haven’t I?
Over the last few years, instead of being envious of my friends who ventured into to mountains, returning with spectacular photographs, I was going to hike to the mountain tops to make my own. But there was always something in the way. Lack of proper gear to hike in the frigid, wind-swept mountains, also, while always smoldering, I seemed to lack sufficient “fire” to give me the final push. Always something holding me back.
This is THE year!
With my friend Nate, the summit of Mt. Avalon in New Hampshire was a good place to kick it off.
2013 Is Going To Be A Great Year!
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.
Here’s wishing you all Happy Holidays.
This weeks “Hidden Treasure” wasn’t really hidden, or forgotten.
But being of a very seasonal nature it hasn’t been looked at since I shared a very similar image this time last year.
Market Square in Portsmouth, NH
Canon EOS 40D
Tamron 17-50 f2.8
ISO 100, 17mm, 15 sec. @ f16
What a year!
2012 has been an unbelievable year. I’ve created more commissioned work for others, and more of my work is finding its way onto people’s walls. I also feel I’m continuing to learn and grow as a photographer. I’d like to share with you my favorite 12 images from the past year.
(For this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge theme: Surprise. The “surprise?” I can’t count, my favorite 12 of 2012 is actually 20! Enjoy!)
Didn’t see your favorite Jeff Sinon Photography image? Well then click HERE and cast your vote and you could you see it in the upcoming “Fan Favorites Of 2012,” AND you’re vote automatically enters you in a chance to win an 8″ x 12″ copy for your very own. Contest details and rules 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.
From late October through most of November, the most gorgeous golden light passes through the woods on the side of the road to my house. So far this is the best I’ve done to capture it. Taken back in 2008, only a few months after I bought my first camera, this is also my first attempt at HDR, not half bad if I do say so myself.
Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L
ISO 100, 45mm, f8 @ 1/100