Archive for the ‘water’ Tag

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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The Painter at the Wharf   3 comments

The Painter at the Wharf


After experiencing the demise of more than a few fresh Maine lobsters one evening, we decided to celebrate by catching the sunset at a nearby wharf. There was some sort of seminar or class going on in the area – there were a number of paint artists in the area set up at different viewpoints, and some were being videotaped as they worked.

It was quiet and serene as I went about catching different scenes, with Susan recording some video segments. I asked this woman if I could take a few frames; she graciously said Yes. I’m delighted that she did.


HDR from three exposures, 26mm, f/11, ISO100, merged in Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2, modified with several filters in Photoshop with masking via Topaz Remask 3

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Sittin’ Pretty   7 comments

Sittin' Pretty

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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A House Underwater   7 comments

A House Underwater

In northern Maine, far beyond the tourist-laden coast and southern cities, is a place called Grand Lake Stream, renowned for its trout fishing. While it’s fairly remote and not at all built up, people come from all around the world to fish here.

Too bad we don’t fish.

But, we did have a couple of great nights at a local ‘camp’, staying in a waterside cottage. We spent the days wandering around, taking in the local sights. I’ve always loved the concept of boathouses, especially older ones such as these, and they take me back to some of my earliest memories of New England.

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)

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.


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

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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Pretty Maids All In A Row   9 comments

A string of dories lies in wait on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island, Maine

Pretty Maids All In A Row


A string of dories lies in wait on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island, Maine.

In an attempt to avoid the crowds around Acadia National Park, we took a leisurely drive around the west side of Mt. Desert Island, looking for new opportunities. As we drove past one of the many bays shrouded in woods, we caught a glimpse of some potential well below the level of the roadway.

Sometimes it really pays to swing the truck around to investigate. After climbing downhill about fifty feet, I found a nice spot to catch these dories.

Handheld three exposure HDR, f/14, 24mm, ISO 100, Photomatix Pro and HDR Express

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The Boathouse   7 comments

The Boathouse

After photographing ‘Old Baldy’, the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina, Bob Lussier and I zipped around the island on a rented golf cart, looking for more subjects. Perhaps we didn’t have enough time, or we weren’t looking in the right places, but there was little to be found. As we were heading back to the ferry, we spotted this old boathouse, sitting abandoned in the marsh. Perfect!

Bob produced a great image of this scene, artfully rendering it in black and white. You can see that image at Bald Head Boat House. Previously, I posted a picture of Bob taking that image at Bob Lussier.

I guess we’ve worked this old structure over pretty good by now, but it seemed such an interesting and unlikely place for an old abandoned house, it seems justified.


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Land Ho?   6 comments

Land Ho?

On the return trip from Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout, up ahead in the distance and far from land, we saw an usual sight. Two motorboats (just off frame) anchored in, and the occupants had left to do… something. They might have been looking for clams, shells, or other form of aquatic life. We just don’t know for sure.

This is not just a trick of angle, really. In Core Sound, there are many places where the water is only a few inches deep even at mid-tide. It can make paddling difficult if the water gets too thin, and sometimes, you just have to get out and walk the boat to deeper water.

Single exposure taken from Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at f/5.3, 1/640s, 220mm.

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Reflections: Creativity and Certainty   11 comments

Gulls and terns gather at Great Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware


“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” — Erich Fromm

Time for a little reflection, I thought.

I’m not sure why it came up today. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been posting images online for a year, now. Maybe I was compelled to do some soul searching on election day before heading to the polls. A blog entry by one of my Tweeps, Robert Vander Roest, got me thinking. (Link below*)

It is a time where decisions are hard to come by, a time where nothing seems certain. Whether I consider my own creative endeavors, or decide on who should lead the country (I say “lead” with no small degree of sarcasm), the same questions apply:

– Am I capable? Are they capable?

– Can I be a creative artist? Can they be creative problem solvers?

– Should I stick with what I think I know?  Should we stick with what we think we know?

– Will people want to see what I produce?  Can we stand to see what they produce?

At two ends of a scale — like hot & cold, or pain & pleasure — lie Certainty & Creativity.  People have a need for both in varying measures, depending on your own makeup and conditioning, and which way you lean determines how you move through the world.

On the one hand (let’s call it the Right hand) lies the need or desire for certainty. Stick with what we know. In fact, “better the devil you know…”  Tradition is important. Stability is a requirement. Conviction demonstrates unchanging belief. We want to wake up in the morning and know that nothing has changed.

On the other hand (the Left hand, of course) lies the need for something new, something creative, something unknown.  Tradition holds back change. Instability is a sign of evolution. Static beliefs are seen as close-mindedness. We want to wake up in the morning and know that something new, exciting, and utterly unexpected is going to happen.

It is at the nexus of these two that a tension is to be found, and whether we consider the internal tension that arises when we decide what to do with our lives, or the tension caused between two political ideologies, or the tension between an organism and its environment, it is tension that fuels evolution. Like Yin & Yang, or male and female energies, opposites do not interfere with one another as much as they complement and enhance each other, making a complete whole from seemingly disparate parts.

Certainty without Creativity is stagnation.  Creativity without Certainty is anarchy.

What to do… what to do?

It is the hallmark of evolution that Creativity advances ahead of Certainty, but only by a very small percentage, and it moves in fits and starts. If there were no Creativity at all, we’d still be throwing rocks at each other. But, whenever Creativity gets too far ahead the curve, Certainty is there to reel it back to the middle ground. This is why evolution moves glacially slowly, and why we see a pendulum swing from one side to the other on a fairly regular basis.

Both are necessary. Both are inevitable. And neither is right or complete by itself. Every perspective holds a piece of the puzzle, and none are 100% correct, and it is only by holding both perspectives lightly that we’ll survive and thrive.

As for my personal endeavors, having had a fairly long life of Certainty, today I choose Creativity. While so much of the world admonishes me to settle down, stay stable, and be certain about my future, I’m going to tip the table over and take chances. And as for tomorrow, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

To the decisions that the country will make today, I trust that we’ll see the usual ebb and flow of events, the typical swinging of the pendulum as we pass back and forth, left and right, between Certainty and Creativity.

And for evolution at large?  I trust that things are proceeding exactly as they should, for it can be no other way.

Be happy, and be creative with certainty.

Thanks for stopping by,

* Blog entry by Twitter friend, Robert Vander Roest


This image was derived from a single RAW file. In Photoshop, I applied a curves layer to brighten the scene, then invoked Bleach Bypass from NIK Color Efex Pro. Standard sharpening techniques applied. At the end, I decided to add a touch of bokeh, using Alien Skin Bokeh, to the background birds… at times like this, things need to seem a little fuzzy, I think.

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