Archive for the ‘beach’ Tag

The Drift   8 comments


The Drift

The Drift

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Some people trick out their cars or motorcycles. Others sink thousands into landscaping. Me? I like to dress out the kayak, mostly with safety bling and sandals. (The boat is a 2000 Perception Eclipse, Kevlar, composite bulkheads, a little over 17 feet. Susan has a similar version, but a bit smaller. And firecracker red.)

The other day – mid-November, mind you – the weather was forecast to be almost 80F, so we felt it was our responsibility to go out for a nice, long paddle trip. This spot is near Hammocks Beach State Park and Bear Island, one of our favorite destinations. Bear Island is separated from the mainland by a few miles, with a network of creeks flowing through rich marshlands, filled with Great Herons, Egrets, Pelicans, and a host of other shorebirds.

We worked our way upwind during the morning, with a nice wind-driven coast back to the landing in the afternoon — just the way it should be. Late in the afternoon, not wanting it to end too quickly, we beached up to take in the last warm rays of the setting sun.

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This is a single-exposure image. I used it to test out several new product versions in the world of Photoshop Plug-Ins. (I have to wonder if these product uprgades were released just in time for Christmas?)

Flipping back and forth between Nik Color Efex Pro 4, Topaz Adjust 5, and OnOne Perfect Effects from Perfect Suite 6, I was struck by the architectural similarity between them.

There used to be a time when running a filter would return a single filter result in a layer (the old PhotoTools from OnOne excepted.) Now, in Adjust and Color Efex Pro, we have the ability to stack effects together, adjusting each to taste, without having to continually pop in and out of Photoshop (or Lightroom, or Aperture.) This is clearly a good approach, as all three companies have adopted this model.

Each plug-in set has different features, pre-sets, strengths and weaknesses, of course. Which one is best for your purposes is a matter of taste and convenience. But I must say, all of these companies are pouring on the steam to develop kickazz modules, and we as photographers benefit from that competition.

If there is any drawback to this, it comes from trying to decide which filters you need at a given time. Oh, the horror of too many options. 🙂

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Closed for the Season   7 comments


Closed for the Season

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There are distinct advantages to traveling off-season: No bugs, cooler weather, fewer crowds, and great foliage, to name a few. On the downside, many facilities are closed, which can sometimes limit recreational opportunities…

Emphasis on the “sometimes.”

After a harrowing, death-defying drive on I-95 through New Haven, Connecticut, we again stopped at Hammonasset Beach State Park, an expansive park on the beaches of Long Island Sound that belies its proximity to major metro areas.

Ignoring the signs, a small group of tourists from Germany braved the chilly air and went for a swim. I couldn’t imagine, but hey, different strokes… The boys looked like they were having a great time.

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To see other images from this park, you can visit Hammonassetsunset, Early One Morning, and Speak Softly

Family Snapshot   7 comments


Two adults and a foal, the wild ponies of Shackleford Banks, Cape Lookout, North Carolina

Family Snapshot

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I was going to lead off today with a different image from our kayak trip to Cape Lookout, but the wild ponies of Shackleford Banks keep calling to me today.

Just a few feet away from the male featured in Bad Hair Day, were these two adults keeping a close watch over the young’n. They never let her stray too far from the herd, and usually kept her positioned between adults.

I’m not sure what it is that draws us so much to babies, whether it’s ponies, puppies, people, or elephants. Is it just the cuteness factor? A sense of innocence and wonder? Perhaps there’s a certain freshness and playfulness to them, but I can never seem to get enough. I snapped quite a number of frames of this group and the foal as they walked toward and along the beach, disappearing into the sand dunes.

Hand-held single frame from Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 70-300mm lens at 300mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/500s

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Hammonassetsunset   13 comments


A stunning sunset over water at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut

Hammonassetsunset

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It seemed an appropriate way to close out the week by posting a nice sunset image to go along with yesterday’s “Early One Morning” sunrise.  This also marks my fifth post out of five days, which is likely a record for me.

This was taken while staying at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut, the evening we landed at the campsite. We had been driving all day long, so strolling around to enjoy the quiet and serenity was just what we needed. We fancied that the fisherman came out of the large house on the right to catch his dinner on the jetty.

Six exposure HDR, f/7.1, 11mm, ISO 200. Merged in HDR Express, adjusted using 32 Float in Photoshop CS5, with Nik Color Efex Pro and Topaz DeNoise. This one seemed a real bear to process. Finding the right balance between foreground and background — so that neither looked out of place — was fairly challenging.

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Early One Morning   13 comments


An early sunrise through fog at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut

Early One Morning

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In coastal North Carolina, the summers can be absolutely stifling. With temperatures steadily in the upper 90s and humidity levels to match, just moving through the day can prove difficult. Three changes of clothing per day are not unheard of.

It’s no surprise that we usually flee the state late in the season, heading up to New England to camp and hike. As we travel from NC toward New England, each day brings progressively cooler temperatures. Like stepping into a walk-in refrigerator, the relief is palpable, and we breathe a little easier for every degree of latitude we gain.

Two days into our drive north in 2010, we stumbled onto Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut. It was surprisingly nice given its proximity to large metro areas, and if we had more time in the schedule, we would have stayed an extra couple of nights.

Early one morning, I rolled out of the tent to find the sunrise bouncing through a fog bank that had rolled off of Long Island Sound. The grasses were wet with dew, and the local wildlife was just getting started for the day.

It has been dastardly hot in NC for this time of year. Through late May and into this early in June, we’re already breaking temperature records with highs of around 98. I felt I needed a little relief from the weather (and from posting farm and garden shots!), so I dragged this one out of the archives as a reminder — an incentive to get through the upcoming summer months.

Handheld three exposure HDR, f/7.1, ISO 200, 70mm. Merged in HDR Express, adjusted using 32 Float, finished with Nik Color Efex Pro in Photoshop CS5

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Air Brakes!   4 comments


A seagull flies into the sunset, quite close to a sharp Spanish Dagger plant

Air Brakes!

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So much to do… so much to do.  So many fun photography projects, so many good people.

I like being this busy. Creating new images and taking a fresh look at past scenes ‘gets the creative juices flowing.’ I think that’s an apt expression, because whenever I engage creative potential, it feels like flowing with a river, steering in one direction and then another, not always knowing how things will turn out. On those occasions where other priorities take precedence or the ideas dry up, it feels like stepping out of the river onto dry land.

I decided to take a short break from rust, grunge, and old farm equipment, even if just for the day. The image above was taken last spring in Atlantic Beach, NC. I was reminded of that encounter with Charles DeGull as he’s likely to be used in an exciting new project in New England. More on that as information becomes available.

It’s a privilege to be able to trade brackets with a number of talented people. These collaboration projects are always fun, as we get to play around with brackets from venues that we might not normally be able to shoot. It’s always interesting to see how six people can have a completely different interpretation of exactly the same scene, applying their personal style in unique ways.  There are several projects currently underway:

The latest round of a six-way collaboration that we call “HDR Swap” has been published on Brian Matiash’s blog site, titled “A Seemingly Safe Exit.” Brian provided a juicy set of brackets, taken in a dingy parking garage. As he says, “you can never go wrong with gross, wet pavement in a dank and empty parking garage.” The contributors for this round were Brian, Bob Lussier, Jim Denham, Jacques Gudé, Mark Garbowski, and myself.

Coming soon will be another round from the same group. Keep an eye on Mark Garbowski’s blog site toward the end of the week.

Also within about a week, we can look forward to another drop from James Brandon, as the “Grunge Collaboration” goes into its third round with James’ brackets from Niles City. Other contributors are James, Jim Denham, Jerry Denham, Chris Nitz, and Jesse Pafundi.

Thanks for stopping by! Please take a moment to visit my friends’ sites. You’ll find some incredible photography and insights there if you do.

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Posted January 25, 2011 by Rob Hanson Photography in collaboration

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Speak Softly   4 comments


A large driftwood tree on the beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut

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“Speak softly, but carry a big stick. You will go far.”

It’s a phrase coined by Theodore Roosevelt, although it is possibly a proverb from South Africa. Roosevelt described his style of foreign policy as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis.”

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I’ve always found portrait orientation to be difficult. Our monitors all tend to be wide-screen, and that makes sense, as that’s how our eyes are conditioned to view the world. I’ve never heard of a “tall screen” monitor, after all. Perhaps that’s why scroll bars were invented. [Correction: Dave Wilson tells me that he has a portrait-orientation monitor.]

For a larger view (and more scrolling), visit this image in a new window on the Waterscapes gallery. Just click the image.

HDR from five exposures at 1EV steps. Photomatix Pro 4, Shadowmapping, and NIK Color Efex Pro filters.

As always, thanks for looking, and for your kind comments.

One Bad Beach Buggy   1 comment


A rusted hulk of an old truck on the beach at Cape Lookout, North Carolina

And sometimes, “bad” is bad.

That must have been one serious downer for the owner of the truck. Being that it’s on a remote peninsula, I have to wonder how they got home.

This poor, unfortunate ride is now a permanent fixture at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Fully covered at high tide (and hence the barnacles on the engine block), at low tide it bakes in the sun. We appreciate it being there, as it serves as a distant landmark for beaching our kayaks at this particular spot where there is a cut-through to the ocean side of the hook.

You can see this extra large in a new window on my Transportation Gallery

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This is an HDR image from three handheld exposures, processed in HDR Expose and 32 Float from Unified Color.  (Discount Available Here.) I had a circular polarizer installed that day, but it was a brilliantly clear day, i.e., no blue saturation was added. I used a little bit of Darken/Lighten Center, and Sharpener Pro, both from NIK Software.

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