Archive for the ‘rock’ Tag

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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Daniel Ridge Falls, Pisgah National Forest, NC   7 comments


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After returning from New England after our autumn vacation, we decided that we simply hadn’t had enough, so we set out for western North Carolina to catch a few waterfalls.

Okay, so we went for the apples. Farm fresh apples in autumn are not to be considered lightly. We loaded up on several bags of them in between side trips.

One such side trip took us along a narrow forest road, then hiking up a trail for about half a mile to get to the Daniel Ridge Falls. The autumn season had been relatively dry, but there was enough water to provide some interest to the scene.

Three frames at f/11, merged with Photoshop Merge to HDR Pro, toned in ACR, finished in Photoshop with Nik Color Efex Pro.

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Lower Falls of Upper Cascades, Hanging Rock State Park, NC   5 comments


Lower Falls of Upper Cascades, Hanging Rock

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At least I think I have that right. Or, is it the middle of the Upper Lower Falls?

At any rate, we took a few days to check out Hanging Rock State Park in northern central North Carolina… (Ugh! Here we go again.) Traveling mid-week was a blessing, as we encountered very few people in this very popular park. In addition to hiking a number of trails, we made sure to visit most of the waterfalls in the area.

This looks like a perfect spot to hide out on a hot summer day.

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HDR from three exposures. Merged Photomatix Pro to 32-bit TIFF. Adjustments in ACR and PS CS6.

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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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The Bates Cairn   2 comments


The Bates Cairn

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On the east side of Mt. Desert Island (Acadia National Park) are a number of spectacular hikes. We like them because the payoff in scenic views is great relative to the small amount of effort required to get there.

Across the open, rocky tops of the hills, a number trails feature the Bates Cairn, a rather unique feature designed by pathmaker Waldron Bates in the late 1800s – early 1900s. In addition to helping to guide hikers along the trail, they also make for some excellent photo opportunities.

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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.

Schooner Head   9 comments


Schooner Head

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I needed a refreshing change from all this blasted heat here in N.C. It’s been well over a week of days with heat indexes between 100-115F.

Located on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor, Maine, this little ramshackle place sits exposed to the elements. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to build here. Too salty.

This image was created from a single RAW, but I used a second pass in Adobe Camera Raw to bring up the details, blending the second layer in Luminosity mode, thanks to a tip from Calvin Hollywood. I couldn’t resist touching in just a bit of Photoshop’s Oil Paint filter, but not enough to impact the realism of the photo.

Shout out to Klaus Herrmann for the interesting watermarking technique.

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Sittin’ Pretty   7 comments


Sittin' Pretty
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On a casual day hike in the hills overlooking Otter Point, in Acadia National Park, Maine. This is one of the few places I know on the east coast where you can get a good leg stretcher and an outstanding view of the ocean.

I don’t know who these people are. They looked like they were enjoying themselves, so I asked if it would be okay to include them in the picture. If you know them, or if you are them, please let me know.

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