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!

Always Have a Camera

The other day while walking to my car I stumbled into one of the most beautiful sunsets we have seen around here in quite a while. It was magnificent. As I pulled my phone out of my pocket to get a quick shot it occurred to me that my trusty Canon G15 was in the car as it always is and it would give me a much better image with plenty of options. One of my mantras when teaching is to always have a camera with you (use your phone as a last resort). Most photographers I know, professional and otherwise have a second camera they can keep with them when the big heavy stuff is not an option. The Canon G15 is just such a camera. It has a great range, 28-143mm and is fast 1.8-2.8. For most things this camera is great. Sure it does not focus fast and not very good in low light but for most things is awesome! Capturing that memorable moment is all about what you have with you. Hence the image below!

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