Archive for the ‘New Hampshire’ Tag

Fire – Water – Air – Earth   1 comment


— My submission to the Thomas Cook “Explore the Elements” photoblogging challenge. —

As my friend Jim Nix says, “This post is a little different than my normal kind of post.”

About a week ago, Jim tagged me in one of his blog posts, and by doing so, nominated my images for entry into the Thomas Cook “Explore the Elements” Travel Photoblogging Challenge. In this competition, we are tasked with choosing from our portfolios four images that represent each of the natural elements — Fire, Water, Air, and Earth.

Though honored by Jim’s nomination, I also knew that this would be more challenging than it first seemed. For one thing, the judges are Nicole S. Young, Elia Locardi, Dave Bouskil, and Ken Kaminesky. (Sure, no pressure at all.) They are all amazing photographers whose work I’ve long admired, so it’s quite intimidating to think that they’ll be scrutinizing my images for a change. As I flipped through possible candidate images, I was caught up with seeing them anew, also realizing that perhaps they weren’t quite up to snuff. For those images that didn’t pass muster, I wound up reprocessing them with new techniques I’ve learned over the years since they were originally taken.

Below are my entries for this most interesting challenge. At the end of the post, I, in turn, will nominate five photographers to also take part in the challenge.

Along the way, you can click on each image to see a full-screen view in a new browser tab. Enjoy!


“Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit.”


“Okay,” I thought, “energetic, forceful, moving things… got it!”  Ken Shockley’s “Shockwave” jet truck is quite something to experience. (Some people have really cool hobbies.) Before performing high-speed dashes down the runway at air shows, Ken plays in front of the audience, sending out massive amounts of flame and smoke. When he hits the afterburners, he can top out at 376mph.


“Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism.”

Originally published as “Tenacity”, I’ve always enjoyed this image of a small stone and leaf holding on against the onslaught of the many waterfalls at Diana’s Baths in New Hampshire. “There’s a bit of ‘defensiveness’ and ‘suppleness’ in there,” I thought, “along with the fluid, flowing… yeah, that one.”


“Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement. Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom.”

A magnificent sunrise at Cobscook Bay, Maine, not far from the Canadian border

Sometimes, I’m amazed that the sky can be so big. This image was taken early one morning at Cobscook Bay, near Lubec, Maine. (Lubec happens to be the furthest point east in the continental U.S., so it could be said that the sun shines here first for us.) The sky that morning was so dramatic and dynamic that it seemed to be breathing. And as for ‘evasiveness’, the brilliance seen here was gone within 15 minutes as the sun came over the clouds.


“Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth. Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity.”

Capturing the elements of earth, water, mist-laden air, and the fire of fall foliage. At Silver Cascade, NH

This was my most challenging choice. I have a number of images of solid, earthy-like things that might’ve been good, and I went through a few changes before deciding on this one. Can one really separate Earth’s elements one from another, or does the interplay of Fire, Water, Air and Earth account for the natural beauty we see around us? Although this choice is intended primarily to convey the sense of solid “earth”, I think the image brings in all of the elements — solid earth, flowing water, ethereal and foggy air, and the fire of brilliant fall foliage.


Part of the Explore the Elements challenge is to nominate five other photographers to participate, so I’ll call upon my old Collaboration friends to join in. They are all wonderful landscape photographers, so I can’t wait to see their entries. Good luck, guys!

Called out are:

Jim Denham
Jerry Denham
Mark Gvazdinskas
Bob Lussier
Dave Wilson

Mother and Child   1 comment

Early one morning while camping at Dolly Copp Campground near Gorham, NH back in 2010, we were treated to a visit from a mother moose and her young one.

While we were sipping coffee, the pair passed through our campsite only a few feet away from where we were sitting. The two were more interested in browsing on the late season foliage than they were with our presence. We dared not budge until they had moved along, after which we grabbed the cameras and stayed at a respectful distance while grabbing as many shots as we could.

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Otter Cliffs at Acadia National Park, Maine   4 comments

I never was much of one for waking up early, nor much for black & white photography. But, some places suggest pushing past those preferences into finding something new.

Crawling out of the sleeping bag (the nice… warm… sleeping bag, mind you) at about 4:30AM each day, we made a daily pilgrimage down to the cliffs to catch the sunrise. Due to the great weather we had during the trip, the sunrises were a bit droll because of few clouds, so I started playing around with long exposures, neutral density filters, and alternative views of the area.

During post-processing, I tried to conjure up some of Bob Lussier’s great B&W photography. Bob sets the bar quite high, but at least it’s something different to try out.

1/8sec at f/14, 36mm, ISO 100, way too early.

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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


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.


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


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


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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