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!)
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
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.
North American Moose (Alces alces).
They can stand almost 7 feet (2.1 meters) at the shoulder, and an adult bull can weigh anywhere between 840 and 1,500 lbs (380-700kg).
So yes, BIG!
For anyone wondering, yes this is a 100% wild moose, and yes I was very close. In fact, since I had to step out of his way as he went to cross the road. Moments after the last shot in my previous post was taken, he passed by close enough that I could have reached out and touched his antler.
If you have any questions about my encounter with this wonderful guy, or any other photography related questions, please feel free to ask.
Grand mountain vistas, spectacular Autumn color, and a beautiful mountain top sunset,
are what I wanted for my trip to the White Mountains to capture fall foliage images this past Sunday, but what I got was rain. Not a heavy rain, but on and off, mostly on, showers all day long. And when it wasn’t raining, there was always a steady drizzle. Not that I minded much, the color in norther New Hampshire was spectacular! And the overcast conditions really made the colors all the more vibrant and saturated. The colors were popping in the Whites, that’s for sure!
Silver Cascade, Crawford Notch, NH.
(Arguably the most spectacular falls in the White Mountains that you can see from your car).
Stay home where it’s dry?
Not likely. With a tight schedule, and a short window of opportunity for the best fall color in White Mountains, I wasn’t about to let a little rain put a damper on my plans. I packed a few towels, several plastic bags of various sizes, and I headed north.
As soon as it became clear that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate, one word popped into my head, “Waterfalls!” New Hampshire’s White Mountains are loaded with waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. I haven’t photographed many of them, and none of them in Autumn, so if I couldn’t capture the mountain top sunset I had hoped for, then a few nice waterfalls surrounded by some spectacular Autumn color would have to do.
Lower Falls on the Swift River, Albany, NH.
(Not quite peak color yet. In the summer, Lower Falls is a very popular swimming hole, and the rocks and water would be covered in people)
Ripley Falls, Hart’s Location, NH.
(This was my first visit to Ripley Falls, but unfortunately it was a short one. Since the rain was getting a little heavier, I took off my sweatshirt and grabbed my rain jacket. All day long I was constantly using a micro-fiber cloth to wipe rain drops off the front of my lens. I kept the cloth in the front pocket on my sweatshirt, guess where it stayed after the wardrobe change. I was only able to make three exposures before I lost the battle with rain drops on my lens. This was the only “keeper.” In an effort to keep the rain at bay, I held my hat over the lens, so of the three exposures I made, one had my fingers in it, and another had the bill of my hat, both deleted)
“No Swimming.” Rocky Gorge, Swift River, Albany, NH.
(My favorite image from a wet day in the mountains, and my favorite so far of Rocky Gorge).
Tips for shooting in the rain.
Keep it dry, as much as possible anyway. Unless you have a weather sealed camera body and lenses, try to keep as much moisture from them as possible. While there are many commercially available rain covers on the market, I went the DIY route with large clear plastic bags to help keep the elements at bay. Though if it was only a light drizzle, I just kept a had towel with me to periodically wipe the camera down. I also took the camera out of whatever bag or “rain cover” it had been in and set it on a towel on the car seat while driving between locations, giving the camera a chance to dry out a bit.
Keep a micro-fiber cloth handy, and use it. Constantly check the front element of your lens for water droplets. There isn’t much worse than having to delete that “winner” shot because you didn’t notice the water drop on the lens.
Use a circular polarizer when shooting on rainy, foggy days. It will help remove the glare from wet foliage, and really make the colors pop.
Finally, if it isn’t already, get your gear insured. Adding it to your homeowners or renters insurance is pretty cheap, and takes some of the stress out of shooting in potentially camera killing conditions, knowing that should anything go wrong your gear is covered.
Focus on the intimate.
With even the lowest peaks in the White Mountains with their heads in the clouds, grand scenic images were all but impossible. A good idea is to focus on small portraits of the beautiful color before your eyes.
Be careful, use your head, but most of all, don’t let a little rain keep you from that fall color. It’s only here for a very short time, enjoy it while you can.
This is also part of Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Challenge, the theme is Foliage. You can see more entries here.
I Love To Make Photographs…
…but I hate the time spent behind the computer once the image has been captured. Time behind the computer is at best, time away from the camera, and at its worst, time away from my family. I’d much rather be out shooting or spending time with my wife and daughter, than working on photographs.
So, that is why I”ve tried to make my time in the “digital darkroom” as quick and painless as possible with presets and plugins. My photo editing software consists of Lightroom 3 (Lightroom 4 is the current version now available), and Nik Software’s Complete Collection for Lightroom. I have absolutely no desire to become a post processing wiz, in fact, I’m perfectly happy in my “photoshop ignorance.” I want to be in and out and done with a photo in 5-10 minutes, tops! It’s also why I’m brutal when it comes to deleting images, but that a story for another time.
Hi, My Name Is Jeff, And I’m A Lazy Post Processor.
First, I have to say that I do not subscribe to the “I can fix it in Photoshop” school of thought. I believe in getting it right in camera as far as exposure and composition goes. I don’t try to “rescue” crappy photos, I delete them.
I do know how I want my final image to look though, but do I care how I achieve that look after capture? No, not at all. To me the end results are all that matters. That is why I rely so heavily on Lightroom presets, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of free presets available with a quick Google search*, and Nik plugins. Since I started using the Nik software however, my use of Lightroom presets has dropped considerably. Once I correct white balance, if I need to, set my blacks, lens corrections, and capture sharpening, it’s off to one of the Nik plugins. Usually, the first stop is Viveza 2. The control you have over every aspect of the image in Viveza is phenomenal. With Nik’s Control Point Technology, you can correct the color, brightness, contrast, white balance, and more, of an individual color and have the effect as locally or as broadly applied as you wish. Next, it’s off to Color Efex Pro 4. With 55 filters along with a long list of recipes(multiple filters applied together), there is no end to the look you can achieve.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Is mastering image editing software part of becoming a “complete” photographer? Or are you like me and just want to realize the image you envision when you press the shutter, as quickly and easily as possible?
* Here’s a great source of free presets for Lightroom to get you started.
A New Twist on The Photo Challenge.
I love a challenge, and the chance to win free stuff!
The folks over at TravelSupermarket.com have come up with a Capture The Colour photo challenge. The object is to post five travel photos showing the colors blue, green, yellow, white, and red. Well I don’t travel much outside the New England area, and even that is pretty much restricted to New Hampshire and Maine. I was given the heads-up about this challenge by The Retiring Sort, and figured “what have I got to lose?” The prizes are pretty good too, and if all I have to do to enter is share a few photos, I’m in.
If you’re planning a visit to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and a drive up Mt. Washington is on your itinerary, why not make it a sunrise drive. The auto road to the summit is opened several times over the summer for people to be able to witness sunrise from the summit of the “Home of the worlds worst weather.”
The White Mountains of New Hampshire are full of waterfalls in all shapes and sizes. The one above, Silver Cascades, is located just off Rt. 302 in Crawford Notch State Park. The mist that hung in the air the morning I made this photo added a dream-like quality to the image.
For the motor sports fans, here in New Hampshire we have New England Dragway, where “Hell Camino” was photographed. Personally, I enjoy the pit area, over the actual racing, for all the rolling works of art on display. We also have Lee USA Speedway, Star Speedway, and for the NASCAR fans there’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Whether it’s a quarter-mile at a time, or lap after lap, there’s plenty of go-fast fun for the whole family.
One of my favorite destinations in the White Mountain National Forest, Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge offers spectacular views of the Presidential Range. An easy 2+ mile hike along an old railroad bed brings you to this wonderful area.
Nothing can compare to the vibrant reds, along with the yellows and oranges, of Autumn in New Hampshire. People come from the world over the see the explosion of color blanketing the mountains during the peak of the Fall foliage season.
Here are the 5 people I’m inviting to give it a shot.
Third times a charm.
June 24th, 2012 was going to be the day I photographed sunrise from the summit of Mt. Washington, NH. The mountain on the other hand was not informed of this plan and did its best to thwart the effort.
The tallest peak in the Northeastern U.S., Mt. Washington’s claim to fame is being “Home to the worlds worst weather,” where on April 12, 1934 a wind gust of 231 mph was recorded, a record for the highest wind speed measured on the earth’s surface that stood for 76 years, until 1996 when Cyclone Olivia snatched the record away. The summit is also shrouded in fog an excess of 300 days a year.
Somewhere in that cloud is the summit.
Not far after we passed the 5 mile mark on the auto road, we were directed to a pull-out, the summit was completely fogged in and it was suggested we go no further. From past experience, I wasn’t going to argue. The first time fellow photographer Denise Ryan and I tried for a summit sunrise, we waited hopefully as the fog teased us with the possibility of clearing. It didn’t. As I recall, neither one of us pressed the shutter button that day. Lesson learned, if the summit is in the clouds, head down.
A tough act to follow.
On this years adventure I was accompanied by John Vose of Jericho Hills Photography. John’s wildlife photography is outstanding, take a look when you get a chance.
Anyway, this year I was going to better last years photographs, plain and simple. Easy right? The first two images in last weeks Weekly Challenge post are from last years attempt at sunrise on the “Rock pile,” as Mt Washington is affectionately known. Shouldn’t be too hard to top those, just be on the mountain for sunrise, piece of cake.
Not so much as it turns out. Remember those 300+ days I mentioned, this was one of them. The clouds obscuring the sun to the east weren’t any help either.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, at least initially. The sunrise was a non event, with clouds off to the east all but blocking out the sun, add to that not being able to get as high on the mountain as I would have liked, and almost all my enthusiasm was gone. My unrealistic expectations for coming away with photographs topping last years was in hindsight, foolish. I shouldn’t have even been trying to “top” last years photos, I should have concentrated on making this years. Looking at the images from this year, on their own, I’ve become pleased with the results. The sky may not be as dramatic as last year, but overall I think the the images are basically good.
In a first for me, I’ve actually included a person in one of my photographs.
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
- Ansel Adams
All the photos below were made, “created” if you will, not simply taken.
To me, taken implies I just showed up and happened to be pointing my camera in the right direction at the right time. Made however, conveys the effort that went into the creation of the photograph. From choosing the subject and composition, to the willingness to be on location at 3 in the morning or kneel in an icy mountain stream, all to capture the image you have envisioned.
Moments before sunrise from just below the summit of Mt. Washington, NH
As the sun peaks above the horizon, it sets the sky on fire. Mt Washington, NH
A foggy sunrise over New Hampshire’s granite coast. Rye, NH.
Early light over the salt marsh at Odiorne Point, Rye, NH (9 image pano)
My suggestion to you is to get out there and create!
The road through the forest.
I’ve never been down this road past this point…
…because when I get here and look right, I see this.
Through the mystery hole.
I could spend hours photographing the contents of my favorite Jefferson, NH abandoned barn. Unfortunately, unwilling to trespass, I’m limited to the view through the windows.
Or, as is the case with “Horse Nails” above, through the “mystery hole.” The small square hole between the two windows on the side of the barn below. I would love to know what the hole could have been used for, so if any of you “barnologists” out there have any ideas, please let me know.
(Also for the weekly photo challenge: Indulge. As in, indulge my passion for photography and the outdoors)
A Passion Is Born.
About four years ago I picked up a camera for the first time. Well, not really the first time, I had dabbled in the past but nothing serious. Something was different this time though. Almost immediately I realized I loved the act of making a photograph.
It all started innocently enough. I had an interest in astronomy at that time and thought how cool it would be to take a photograph of some of what I saw through my telescope. I was also an avid hunter and “this would make an amazing picture” was so common a thought as I wandered the forests early in the morning that looking back, I’m a bit surprised I didn’t pick up a camera sooner. Once I started taking my camera with me instead of my gun I was hooked, and I haven’t looked back. Never did get around to shooting through my telescope though.
Show Me The Money.
Initially, a lot of my photography was just plain crap. There, I said it out loud. Take a look at the early stuff on Flickr, and I’m sure you will agree. But after a while I noticed my images were getting better. And others did too. After being told countless times that “your pictures are good enough to sell,” and a few first place finishes in local photo contests, I finally made the effort to do just that.
I’m not sure I would like to make photography my full-time profession, but the idea of selling a few photos to offset the cost of new gear is very appealing. Especially to my wife!
Over the last two years I have been putting more of a serious effort in getting my name and images into the public eye than I ever thought I would. A website, facebook fan page, and this blog. Me? I don’t think so. But here I am. All in an effort to get my name out there and sell photographs.
(my three top sellers)
The Ultimate Compliment.
Someone actually paying their hard-earned money for one of my photographs(see my 3 top sellers above) is to me, the greatest compliment. In this tough economy no one “needs” a new photograph for their wall. So when someone pays for one of mine, I am so honored I can’t put it into words. But making a sale is not what inspires me to pick up my camera.
The Ultimate Reward.
Thinking about my photography recently, it occurred to me that image sales plays almost no part in what motivates me to head out with my camera. I would still be out there making photographs if I never sold another print. I was always creative in school, pretty much living in the art room and always drawing something. I was good at it too. Imagine my surprise when, after a lot of years not drawing anything, I felt I needed that creative outlet again, and the realization that drawing is a use-it-or-lose-it talent (and I had lost it) hit me like a freight train. Fortunately my camera has replaced pencil and paper, and photography has filled that creative need I’d been ignoring for far too long.
With photography, the creative juices are once again flowing full force. The pure and simple enjoyment I feel while out making photographs, coupled with the sense of satisfaction I get when viewing the finished photograph, is what gets me up at insanely early hours for sunrise, and has me knee-deep in mud to photograph a wild orchid.
Do I want to sell photographs? Of course. Will I give up the camera if I never sell another one? Not on your life! What I see on my computer, and hanging on my walls is really all the reward I need from my photography. The money from a sale is just the icing on the cake.