Archive for the ‘Rob Hanson’ Tag

Grouch   3 comments


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After the chill of the evening wears off, a number of cold-blooded animals climb out of the water to warm themselves in the sun. Alligators tend to favor land or vegetation mats, turtles tend to climb up on logs that stick out of the water. In both cases, the chosen location is a good one in case a quick escape is needed.

This little guy — a Suwannee River Cooter, I believe — is actually only a few inches long, perhaps 5″ at most. I slowly nudged my kayak toward his carefully chosen log and snapped a few frames at 210mm.

Why “Grouch?”

This was the look he gave me just before grudgingly dropping into the cold water.

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Early Morning Sunrise, Late September, Otter Rocks at Acadia NP, Maine   3 comments


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I’ve said it before: I’m not an early morning person… usually.

While in Acadia National Park last autumn, we got in the habit of waking up early — around 4:30AM — so that we could get a cup of coffee and transport down to the waterfront for sunrise shooting. During the two weeks we were there, most sunrises were rather mundane due to the clear weather, but on occasion… this. It was well worth the effort, and had the added benefit of putting us in a place where there were few other people, if any at all.

This was taken from a set of 9 frames, merged in Photoshop Merge to HDR Pro, finishing with a bit of Topaz Clean (for the rock foreground), and a slight radial filter in the clouds to accentuate some of the long exposures.

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They Call It “Thunder Hole”   1 comment


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I was thinking about running an ad: “For Sale: Nikon D600 with 24-70 f/2.8 lens. Cheap. Used once in a marine environment.”

Despite the proximity to the crashing waves, the camera is fine. I kept it covered whenever the spray got too close.

Thunder Hole is a popular destination along the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park, and is usually loaded with tourists. More often than not, people don’t get to see much action at this spot. But when offshore storms kick up larger waves, the place really lights off. Indeed, in the past some visitors have been flossed off the rocks by rogue waves.

At this cleft in the rocks, incoming waves rush in, trapping air in a small cave or hole. Something has to give, and the competing forces of incoming water and escaping air create a thunderous explosion of sound and spray. On a good day, you can hear the “Whump!” from a fair distance, even from the cliffs overlooking the area.

I wasn’t sure how best to convey the action of the place, eventually deciding to create a tetraptych of just one wave as it came in and broke against the rock.

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Jordan Pond and The Bubbles, Acadia, Maine   1 comment


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In the relatively small area that is Acadia National Park, beautiful scenes are everywhere. It’s also one of the nation’s most heavily visited parks, so people are everywhere, and most of them have cameras to capture their share of the scenery. And like most parks, there are certain areas where people are ‘funneled’ into one small section that reveals a highlight.

Such is the case with Jordan Pond and “The Bubbles”, those two small peaks across the water. What you don’t see in this picture are the hundreds of other visitors strolling along the carriageways and paths leading along the pond.

The views in this place are archetypal, and have been photographed probably millions of times. As such, it’s difficult to envision a new approach, a new angle or lighting that would present the subject in a unique way. Sometimes I wonder if that’s even possible without creating an abstract rendition.

We take the shot anyway, hoping to capture this particular scene, on this particular day, with those particular clouds. Perhaps get down low to see it from a worm’s eye view. Maybe add on a neutral-density filter to smooth out the water.

In the end, whether or not we come up with an image that is utterly unique or one that’s fairly commonplace, we can appreciate having been there that day, experiencing nature’s beauty as the light changes with the passing clouds, knowing that each of these moments IS a completely new and unique experience.

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Seaweed Salad   Leave a comment


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When the weather is yucky and overcast, with no subjects of real interest in sight, it’s time to get on the hands and knees and scramble over the rocks.

Down near Ship Harbor and Wonderland on the “quiet side” of Mt. Desert Island, expansive slabs of rock extend into the ocean. Shallow pools filled with life are created from the receding tide, and as long as one is careful with their footing, you can get up close and personal with all manner of little critters and plants. I found this particular collection of denizens to be a lovely composition, but it also looked quite delicious. (I didn’t do it.)
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A Typical Maine Scene   1 comment


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There’s no place for photography quite like Maine, particularly Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park. There are quite a few people in the area — tourists mostly — and any number of areas that might be considered a bit bland, but around almost every bend, you might be greeted with a scene such as this one.

Typical. Typical, and incredibly beautiful.

If only there was a way to capture the sense of salt air; the sound of seagulls squabbling over a found mollusk; the hearty, clean scent of low tide.

Just a bit north of Bass Harbor, we drove past this area before turning around for the shot. For me, it seems to capture the essence of Maine, with the expansive skies, the scenic beauty, and those wonderful boats that conspire to bring me yet another lobster at the end of the day.
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‘Gator on a Rope   1 comment


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Not your average “Soap on a Rope.”

This, it seems to me, is one prime example of a giant bull Alligator mississippiensis, otherwise known as the American alligator. All I need to know is that they have big teeth and strong tails and that my kayak hull is rather fragile when it comes right down to it.

It was a warm day in late April on the Silver River, so the beast came onshore to collect some heat from the sun. Typically, alligators stay sedentary, preferring not to go into the colder water unless they feel threatened. If they do get scared, their normal safety procedure is to scramble directly into the water and submerge. That’s fine, as long as one’s kayak is not between the ‘gator and the water.

There’s a 3 knot current in the Silver River, so once I spotted this guy, I paddled upstream a bit, grabbed the camera and began to drift (from right-to-left in this picture.) As I came directly across from my subject, I noticed the OTHER tail in the woods… “Good ford!” I said, “There’s two of ‘em!” Evidently, this little puppy had a girlfriend.

Not wanting to disturb his marital bliss any longer (they do have reptilian brains, after all, and are not capable of much discernment), I slowly paddled… backwards.

Otter Cliffs at Acadia National Park, Maine   4 comments


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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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The Tortoise and the Heron   7 comments


~While paddling kayaks along the Silver River near Ocala, Florida, one can see a wide range of wildlife, often in interesting combinations. Here, a Great Blue Heron, taking a break from wading, shares a bit of dry space with the turtle.
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While paddling kayaks along the Silver River near Ocala, Florida, one can see a wide range of wildlife, often in interesting combinations. Here, a Great Blue Heron, taking a break from wading, shares a bit of dry space with a turtle.

Who   8 comments


Who
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A neighbor in our community let us know that he had a Great Horned Owl nesting in one of his pine trees. Since he knew the mother’s behavior, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to photograph this rather rare bird.

In order not to startle her out of the nest, we had to climb a ladder along the side of the house, up to the roof, and carefully peer over the peak. Setting up a tripod there was rather challenging. I looked through the lens at 300mm, and… no bird.

My neighbor told me that she never spends more than about 5 minutes out of the nest, so I waited. Sure enough, she came back to the area in a short while. As she flew from tree to tree, she was constantly badgered by other birds, with jays, crows, and mockingbirds all making a racket.

She eventually flew into the nest, settled down, and proceeded to have a staring contest with the human on the roof. (She won handily.)

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