The Early Riser

When is the best time to make great images? I get this question repeatedly when showing people around my beautiful island. Well obviously not all locations are lit the best at the same time of day and at the same time of year. Over this past season it was clear that certain places were better lit at different times. All that being said I am a big fan of early morning light. At this time of year especially, because you don’t have to get up at an un-godly hour. If you are up and out by 6 AM you will see dawn, sunrise, and some beautiful light horizontal to the horizon with gorgeous long shadows. Sunset is nice, and at this time of year the sun is lower in the sky all day which gives you more opportunities to shoot. Either way you look at it golden hour is the best. An hour before and after sunrise and an hour before and after sunset will get you some great results. The images will be warmer (color balance) and the lighting will give your images some texture. The difference in color will be before the sun comes up and just after it goes down because the colors are bluer.

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Early morning light in Ipswich. Warm light, long shadows, and texture. Not the best photo composition wise but it has the three elements I like to work with the most.

This image was made in Ipswich while out for a walk while having my car worked on. It has all three of my points for today’s post. Warm light, long shadows, and texture. In my next post I will be talking about composition. Here’s a tease. Most of my images have a central focus. The image above does not. It has some leading lines but but that’s it. So we will get into a discussion of a few things that I look for when composing an image.

 

 

Canon G15 for Travel

So you think you can’t make great travel photos with a point and shoot! You are dead wrong. I have an older Canon P&S the G15. I love it. Yes the sensor is small and it’s only 12 mp but it sure does a great job. Here is the story behind this photo. I was having my car worked on in Ipswich so I decided to go for a little hike down to the Ipswich River to see if there was any water in it. Along the way I made some shots with the G15 and a circular polarizer that I have for it. Instead of using the Canon filter adapter for the G15 I use the Mag Filter adapter which allows me to easily attach the polarizer. When I got to the river and discovered the gorgeous morning light cast the waterfall area in complete shadow, I was a little disappointed. But being a photographer, I know I must be able to solve problems. The EBSCO building was in beautiful sunlight and was throwing a great reflection on the river with some nice warm light. I wanted to capture that but I also wanted the foreground and the small waterfall. A nice blue sky would help but it was kind of a weak blue.

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The difference between the foreground and the background was at least four stops. So I had to compromise. I overexposed the background by about a half a stop without blowing out the highlights. This would make the file workable in Lightroom. The next problem was the waterfall. I wanted it to have a more silky look to it than the exposure was calling for. At 1/25th of a sec it looks kind of weird. I really wanted something around 5 sec. but I didn’t have an ND filter with me. Lucky that the camera has one built in! So I was able to slow the water down to 1/4 sec which is much better. Then I needed to make the sky nice and dark blue so I put the polarizer on which also takes a stop worth of light away. So the exposure is now down to 1/4 sec @ f 8 @ ISO 80. This is workable – well kind of. The problem now is that it’s a slow shutter speed that I can’t hand hold even resting it on something. I brought my little Gorilla Pod with me to steady it up just a bit by wrapping it around the top of the safety fence on the bridge. Oops I forgot my cable release, now what do I do. I searched for a bit in the function set menu and found the timer function and set it to 10 sec. This was to account for the vibrations of me pushing the shutter button. With all the problems solved I was able to get a nice image I can work with since it was made in raw format in adobe rgb. When I pulled it into Lightroom I had a nice easy file to work with. I used the gradient tool to lighten the foreground and warm it up a little and that was about it. Another successful photo with the Canon G15!

An Oregon Travel Tale (Part 2)

The light was beautiful but as it got higher the sky it was time to start our tour of lighthouses in the horrible high sun. This part of the coast is gorgeous but the driving between locations is long. So back to the podcasts on our sons’ phones with hands on the wheel and back and forth discussions between two old folks and their close to thirty something sons. Heated discussions at times! But interesting never the less.


I have always wanted to see the entrance to the Coquille River. It has jettys on either side which are guarded by a lighthouse. If any of you know the crazy entrance to Newburyport in Massachusetts then you know exactly what I mean. It’s nuts! So much so that the Coast Guard practices going out of the mouth and over the huge waves with their forty footers. We watched one go out for a practice run it was crazy. The waves were huge. The other impressive thing about this location was the amount of driftwood everywhere. 


The beach on the right side was packed with driftwood. Truly amazing. We spent lots of time wandering on the beach and watching the huge waves crashing on the jetty and beach. Then we got back in the car for more driving and listening. More driving – ugh! The next stop was the  Cape Arago Lighthouse which is privately owned by Native American’s so it can only be photographed from far away. Kind of boring looking anyway.


After seeing this scene along the way we travelled up to the Umpqua River light which was beautiful but was not much of a photo in the mid day light. I can’t remember if I shot a photo of it or not. If I find one I’ll slide it into this post. They had a museum there and a great view of the entrance to the river. Then it was back on the road again. More to come in the next segment.