Archive for the ‘New Hampshire’ Tag

Weathered Barn Door   9 comments


Weathered Barn Door

It was a beautiful autumn day in New Hampshire. After finishing a hike with Susan and my ol’ college friend, Tom, we were hanging around the truck having some lunch. No need to go anywhere else, as we warmed the bones in the sun.

A woman came down the road walking her dog, and as often happens in New England, we wound up having a nice conversation with her. I had my eye on an old, weathered barn across the street. The woman knew the owner of the barn, and suggested that the owner would have no problem if I moved in close for some pictures.

I loved how, in addition to the weathered wood, shadows from a nearby tree were playing across the doorway. This is the kind of rustic scene that, sadly, we don’t see too much of these days.

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Owl Brook   6 comments


Owl Brook

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We consider this our back yard when we’re camping in New Hampshire.

In a large campground that is often overrun with RVs in certain places, there is one loop we’ve found where the sites are large and private, no RVs allowed, and it has this brook running along the back of the site. After a long day of hiking, or on days where we just don’t feel like hiking at all, we spend some time along the rocks, listening to the running water, watching the autumn leaves fall, and soaking up a few patches of warm sunlight.

If I had any wish at all, it’s that we’d spend even more time in this spot. Really… why go driving around from one place to another when you can just spread out on a rock and soak up nature’s beauty? No driving – no effort – no worries.

We were in this same spot one night, watching the stars in the opening of the canopy, when a large owl flew into a branch just over our heads only a few feet away. He regarded us for a while, as we did him. After a couple of minutes, deciding that we were way too big for dinner, he flew off silently. Since then, we have a new name for the brook.

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This image came from three long exposures shot with a 10-stop ND filter. At f/10, 17mm, shutter speeds were 30s, 121.5s, and 291s. Those three gave most HDR tonemapping programs the fits, so I spread the exposures on each end by converting to TIFF in ACR, generating an even wider dynamic range. Seemed to work well. Post in PS-CS6 involved masking in elements of various tonemaps created with both Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro 2, spiced with Nik Color Efex Pro.

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Bemis Brook Falls (NH)   7 comments


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While sweltering in the heat and humidity of summers in NC, I sometimes go back through my library of images to remind myself of what autumn in New England is like: Cool, serene, colorful, playful, usually clear, sometimes moist, always gorgeous.

One day in 2010, the weather was socked in, making summit attempts pointless. Really… why work that hard in order to see nothing? So, we decided to hike up to Arethusa Falls in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Along the way, we descended to Bemis Brook Falls, a worthy side trip.

During wet weather, you have to be very careful with your footing on these rocks. The algae can make them very slippery. Don’t ask me how I know this. :)

You can see a different view of these falls in portrait orientation here, if you’d like.

Limmer’s Workbench   9 comments


Limmer's Workbench

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The main workbench at Limmer & Sons Custom Boots in Intervale, New Hampshire.

You might recall this location from other images, “The Bootmaker”, “They Never Call”, and “Consigned”, among others. Let’s suggest that it’s a target-rich environment for an HDR photographer.

When talking to Pete Limmer last fall, he had mentioned that some of those earlier pictures were “very detailed.” I never really found out if that was a good thing, or not, but for this image I thought I’d hedge my bets by presenting a more realistic, less ‘hyper’ image. In fact, I had processed this scene some time ago and kept it on file, but when I opened it up for review, it was sort of an assault on the eyes. So, I reprocessed it completely to come up with this version.

I’m planning to create a new video tutorial soon, titled something like, “Why Photomatix Pro alone isn’t enough.” Often, when trying to come up with a realistic-looking HDR image, Photomatix falls short for me — I find that the output can often be soft. Other programs such as HDR Expose (from Unified Color) or ImageFuser tend to be better choices, although I almost always wind up blending in some Photomatix versions before doing more detailed processing. For this version, I started with the output from HDR Expose, adjusted it using 32-Float, and then layered in a Photomatix tonemap at 24% Normal and a Shadowmap at 22% Hard Light as a base before setting about with other adjustments (brightness, skew, de-fringe, etc.) and filter techniques (Nik Color Efex Pro.)

In the end, I think it created a balance between the high-detail of a very complicated environment, along with a good dose of realism. I also really appreciate Peter and Ken letting me into the back of the shop during working hours to capture this unique scene.

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Gotta Get To The Sea   5 comments


Gotta Get To The Sea

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Every autumn, we try to get up to New England to camp, hike and witness the stunning foliage. With equal frequency, we seem to be dealing with a major rain event. (The White Mountain National Forest in NH has been called “The Asbestos Forest”… it never burns.)

Such was the case on our trip in 2010. A major storm moved in over the area for several days. We lashed down the tent and tried to remain occupied despite the weather. Thing is, when you’re living outside, there aren’t many places to hide.

Knowing that local waterfalls would be epic, we descended the steep stone stairs of Glen Ellis Gorge to see what Glen Ellis Falls would look like. Standing in deep puddles and using covers to protect the gear from the rain, we took a series of ten frames on a dark, brooding sort of scene.

In the time since 2010, I’ve left this set untouched, not quite knowing how to approach it. There were many imperfections that needed to be addressed, including trees and foliage being whipped by the winds, rain on the lens, minimal light and a color balance that was far from good. It was only when I decided to capitalize on the dark, apocalyptic nature of the scene that I found what I was looking for.

We left shortly after this picture was taken. We had had enough.

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Not So Fast   10 comments


Not So Fast

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Rainy days while on vacation aren’t always bad. If the weather keeps you from hiking, you can always drive around and look for good photo opportunities, knowing that the midday sun won’t be a problem. (I say that just to cheer myself up.)

On a road that used to be a well-kept secret lies the Swift River Bridge, built in 1869, which would make it 142 years old. (I say that just to demonstrate my limited math skills.)

Originally built in 1850, it stood until 1869. At that time, heavy rains swelled the river, lifting the bridge from its foundation, turning it around, and sending it downstream into the Saco River Covered Bridge, which was knocked off its moorings. Both damaged structures broke up and came to rest two miles downstream. In a demonstration of Yankee thrift, much of the lumber salvaged from these two bridges was used in the building of the new Swift River Covered Bridge constructed by Jacob Berry and his son Jacob Jr. The current bridge was bypassed when a new concrete and steel bridge was built nearby in 1974.

I was heartbroken when I heard about a number of covered bridges in Vermont being washed away in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Some bridges were 250 years old. As before, perhaps they’ll be replaced with new bridges, but there’s nothing like seeing one of these old beauties standing the test of time.

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Storm at the Stage   14 comments


Storm at the Stage, a view of the White Mountains, New Hampshire, in autumn foliage

Storm at the Stage – @ Rob Hanson Photography

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One of our favorite places to spend our vacation time is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We drop our tent in a campground located a bit to the right of this frame, and spend as much time as possible hiking the hills.

The weather doesn’t always cooperate.

I know that there’s merit in climbing a mountain in almost any weather, but as the years go by I see less and less sense in spending the day going up, only to not see a thing. I’ll leave that for the younger ones…

When the weather turns foul – as it frequently does in the mountains in autumn – we retreat to a certain spot along the road, where we can sit in the warm truck, watching the clouds rolling over the peaks, while plotting the next day’s adventures… weather permitting.

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Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do with this image as there was no distinct subject in the full frame that came out of the camera. I found that cropping it as a 2:1 panoramic did the trick. HDR from seven exposures +/-1EV, HDR Express, 32 Float, and Photomatix for the base, Nik and OnOne for the embellishments in Photoshop.

Tenacity   13 comments


A small rock and leaf hold on in the middle of a waterfall, Diana's Baths, NH

Tenacity (© 2011 Rob Hanson Photography)

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My apologies for not posting, lately. I try not to pin up a post unless I have a decent image to show (I could hope), or something to say.

Over the years, I’ve talked to photographers who believe that they’re in a slump. We’ve probably all felt that at times. Hoping to encourage, I tell my friends that in the realm of creating art, there are times of great expression, and times where the well seems to have run dry. We can begin to question our motivation, as well as our commitment to doing what we love to do. On the other hand, when creativity starts flowing again, we get invigorated and run out to capture even more, hoping to push the limit on art and communication with others.

Having to ride those waves of ups and downs, I think, is the hallmark of Creativity. If we didn’t know those dry spells, if we didn’t feel like we should just chuck it all, then how could we ever be enthused about great art when we make it?

I always try to convey: Just ride it out a bit. You’ll soon get back to doing what you love, and all will be well.

I’ve been feeling on the lower side of things. Our fall vacation was cut short because of bad weather, an event I drove hours to cover was a bust as far as pictures go, and there’s nothing cool to shoot in the garden… yet. ;^) During the past week I’ve had interesting and sometimes discouraging discussions with friends where we’ve discussed copyright violations (more common than we know!), whether or not to watermark images, registering copyrights, and whether someone can actually make a living doing this the way they want to do it. Are we avid photographers, or do we become ~ Eeeeek! ~ business people? If that weren’t enough, I had to calculate all the taxes – new ones, even! – that one has to pay to run such a business.

Joy.

Tenacity. “Not easily dispelled or discouraged.”

I was reminded of this when processing today’s image. It’s from Diana’s Baths in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In a small part of a much, much larger waterfall, I saw this walnut-sized rock in the middle of the torrent along with the red maple leaf pinned to its upper side. Even though it took quite a while to shoot the brackets, the rock and the leaf didn’t move a bit, and they never even seemed close to being swept down the hillside.

Do what you love to do. It sure does beat the alternative.

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Out of Chaos Comes Water   6 comments


Out of Chaos Comes Water
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I’m not entirely sure what Nietzsche had in mind with his quote, “Out of chaos comes order”, but I figured I’d adapt the expression a bit for this image.

Taken along the trail to Diana’s Baths in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, this little vignette caught my eye. I was struck by how it looked like a miniature waterfall, and how the leaves in the lower left look so liquid. I guess there’s a benefit to all the rain that we endured while there.

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Oh, No… I’m Getting Happy Feet!   12 comments


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Oh, No... I'm Getting Happy Feet!
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With apologies to Steve Martin for the comedic reference…

On our 2010 trip to New Hampshire, I finally bought a long-desired pair of Limmer hiking boots. Peter Limmer & Sons are fifth generation Austrian bootmakers, and a pair of custom Limmers are pretty much the Holy Grail of footwear for hikers.

Based on the popularity of last year’s images “The Bootmaker”, “They Never Call”, and “Homeless”, Peter once again kindly allowed me to bring my camera and tripod into the shop, but this time, he pointed me to the attic of the old barn building that houses the business. (With customers in the shop, maybe he wanted me out from underfoot, or was trying to figure out just how creeped out I could get…)

Built in 1758, the barn was once used as a dance hall. Geez… That’s over 250 years old! Today, the outer wings and attic of the barn are used mainly for storage, and in this case, for storage of old lasts used in the bootmaking process. Peter assures me that there’s no real system to the arrangement, although they are sorted by size, and are sometimes used as firewood.

I spent about an hour up in the attic. Susan, for some reason, chose to stay downstairs most of the time, chatting with some of the customers.

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