Chasing Vibrant Sky

Walk To The Sun

In landscape photography no matter how beautiful the scenery being photographed, having a dramatic and vibrant sky can be the difference between a so-so and a So Good! photograph.

Forget about clear skies.

For the most dramatic skies with the most vibrant colors you need clouds. Not just a few little wisps of clouds either, you need enough clouds in the sky to capture the fiery light of the rising sun.

The down side to chasing vibrant, dramatic skies like in these photos is quite often I come away with nothing.

Let me explain.

When chasing vibrant sky I pay close attention to the weather and incoming/outgoing weather fronts. Living on the east coast of the U.S. I look for passing storm fronts that are moving out over the ocean around sunrise, my hope being that the sun, or at least some of its glowing light, will reach the distant horizon before the leading edge of the storm does. If all goes as I hope I may come away with photos filled with beautiful scenery and vibrant fiery sky.

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All doesn’t always go as planned though. In fact I would have to say that I have lost my gamble with the weather more often than I have won. Sometimes the clouds beat the sun to the horizon, dashing any hopes of a colorfully vibrant sky, and the times the forecast is wrong and the clouds or storm passes leaving me with clear blue, and rather boring to my taste, sky.

However when I do get lucky and win, I often win big with skies like the ones seen in the accompanying images.

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Tips and tools for capturing your own vibrant sky.

1 – Get an alarm clock and use it! You’re going to need to get out of bed early, very early depending on how far you are from your chosen destination. I plan to be on location at least 30 minutes prior to actual sunrise. Some of the most dramatic light you’ll capture happens well before the sun actually peeks over the horizon, and there’s nothing worse than watching that glorious color materialize, and subsequently disappear, while you’re still in your car.

2 – Be set up and ready. Weather fronts can pass quickly giving you a very small window of opportunity to capture what can often be fleeting. Sometimes you may have 5-10 minutes or more of the most spectacular sky you’ve ever seen. Other times you’ll be lucky if it lasts 2. If you’re still fumbling around setting up your camera and tripod it could be over before you’re ready.

3 – Filters are your friend. There is likely to be quite a bit of contrast between the brightness of the sky and the brightness of the foreground. There are two ways to deal with this. One is to take multiple photos with one exposed for the sky and one exposed for the foreground then blending them in Photoshop. The other, and my preferred method is the use of graduated neutral density filters (GNDs) while in the field. My two favorite, both from Singh-Ray, are a 3-stop soft edge GND and a Daryl Benson 3-stop reverse GND. Of those two the reverse GND gets the most use because I photograph seascapes so often.

With GND filters you can more closely balance the exposure across the scene which in turn lessens the amount of post processing time per image. Basically, the more right you get in camera the less fixing and fiddling you need to do in the computer.

If you’d like to see more Vibrant, click HERE to see what everyone else is doing for the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Eye spy…

…with my little eye a lady dressed in red.

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Click Here and see what you can see.

My Happy Place

Beautiful autumn color and a mirror reflection on Wildlife Pond.The White Mountain National Forest.

Over the past two weekends I’ve had the pleasure of leading a handful of workshop clients, (one all the way from Jordan!) throughout the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

From waterfalls to high mountain peaks to beautiful autumn foliage, the WMNF is my Happy Place!

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Let Me Show You The Granite State.

Planning a visit to New Hampshire and don’t want to waste any of your precious vacation time trying to find the best spots to photograph?

Let me be your guide.

I now offer both personal and small group photo workshops and tours throughout New Hampshire.

From the rocky seacoast to the White Mountains, waterfalls to fall foliage, the Granite State is host to a wide variety of photographic opportunity.

My workshops are small, limited to 3 participants maximum, so I’m able to provide more personal attention to each individual. Plus, since most of my workshops are scheduled on an as requested basis, they are more often than not a private one-on-one experience tailored specifically to your photographic needs, wants, and physical abilities.

Here are a few of the scenic New Hampshire locations you could be photographing when you book a workshop with me.

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Whether it’s a spectacular sunrise on the rocky coast, or a winter sunset from the summit of one of New Hampshire’s tallest mountains, or anything in between, I will put together a custom photographic experience based on both your physical and photographic abilities.

The options are almost limitless.

Some examples of the workshop experiences I offer:

1 – The “Ride-along” 

On a ride-along though the focus will be on my own photos and scouting new locations, we’ll spend the day, usually in the White Mountains, taking pictures, scouting new locations, and discussing photography as we drive through some of New Hampshire’s most beautiful scenery. At only $125 the “Ride-along” is a very affordable investment in your photography where you’ll receive a good amount of the same personalized attention that you would on a half or full day workshop minus the ability to choose the locations visited.

2 – Half and Full day workshops custom made for you.

“Half-day” workshops ($250) usually run between 4-6 hours long, with a “Full day”($425) being from sunrise to sunset (with a break of an hour or so mid-day to rest up for the remainder to the day)

3 – Two Day Workshops and Tours. ($675)

On a two day workshop you’ll had better bring a lot of memory cards because we’ll be photographing a wide range of scenic locations and subjects throughout the state. Most of my two day workshops will be focused on a particular subject, such as waterfalls or autumn foliage, will often combine multiple types of landscape subjects. The vast majority of which are easily accessible from the road or via short and easy hike, making them perfect for people of all physical abilities.

4 – Multi-Day Backcountry Excursions. ($675 and up) 

If you’re an experienced hiker and backpacker looking to improve your photography, or you’re simply looking to capture landscapes that haven’t been photographed nearly as frequently as the more accessible locations, I offer 2, 3, or more days of photographing some of the most picturesque wilderness areas you’ll find in New Hampshire. Each day we’ll see and photograph majestic mountain vistas where we may be the only people for miles. Prior to all backcountry excursions a list of mandatory gear will be provided to each prospective participant with a full gear inspection made prior to hitting the trail. I reserve the right to refuse to lead someone I deem unprepared or who overstated their experience level. Safety is my primary concern while traveling in the wilderness. These trips are NOT for the inexperienced, or casual hiker.

And now the fine print.

To book a workshop contact me by clicking on the CONTACT page,

or call me at;  603-973-9886

A 50% deposit is required at least 60 days prior to your anticipated workshop to reserve your space on either a previously scheduled workshop or to book a private workshop, with the balance due within 30 days of the date. Cancelations made at least 30 days prior to the date of your workshop will receive a full refund. Cancelations made less than 30 days prior will be refunded less a $100 cancelation fee.

Meals, lodging, and transportation are not included in the workshop fee.

All workshops are rain or shine, within reason. In fact, in the case of a waterfall workshop you couldn’t ask for better weather than an overcast drizzley day. No refunds are given due to weather, though full or partial credit towards a future workshop will be given if the weather turns out to be truly terrible. Bad weather can result in great photos, but I’m not interested in venturing out if we’ll all be miserable.

Over the course of a multi day workshop, excluding backcountry, if time, location, and accommodations permitting, there may be some image review and post processing sessions during the mid-day.

Whether you’re an experienced photographer visiting the area and don’t want to spend your time searching out the best places to photograph, or a beginner who just bought their first camera, let me help you with your photography

Up Close And Personal

When photographing landscapes, especially with a wide angle lens, I often place my lens closeup to my foreground element. Doing so accentuates the prominence of your foreground in the composition by giving the illusion that it is larger than it really is.

Below are a few examples of how I used a wide angle lens to showcase the importance of the foreground within each scene.

Take a look at these other Closeups in this weeks photo challenge.

R.O.Y.G.B.I.V.

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. 

In no particular order…

(I think I got them all. But if I didn’t I’m sure someone else HERE did.)

The Last Train, Long Ago.

No more calls to board,

The last tickets to ride have long ago been sold,

Even the rails no longer pass,

Broken in spirit,

Yet not ready to succumb,

Maplewood Depot, Bethlehem, New Hampshire