This is a long exposure that I made using a tripod and an aperture of F-22. It’s a good thing it wasn’t windy; otherwise, the leaves would have come out blurry. Scenes like this are gratifying for me, and exactly why I love photography in the first place.
I took this a couple of weeks ago on a walk through the forest. Autumn came late this year, and only about half the trees had changed colors.
It’s pretty cool how the forest floor is carpeted with leaves while the afternoon sun shines through the trees. It was an amazing walk, and I was so happy to be in Maryland, which has all kinds of forest trails like this.
To get this photo, I held the camera close to the forest floor and used a small aperture; that way, both the foreground and the background are in focus. That same aperture setting is what causes the sun to give off the starburst-like rays.
The colors are here in the Northeast, so a few days ago, I drove to this random park called Cunningham Falls; it turns out it’s not so random.
I don’t know the area, so; I picked a random place to visit on Google Maps. Little did I know this is a popular spot because there were a lot of other photographers that showed up as well. I took all kinds of shots from different angles, including this, which is a twelve-shot panorama.
This photo is just below Rainbow Falls in North Carolina. It’s on a trail with a waterfall payoff at the end.
I think the word rainbow sums up those fall colors. North Carolina is famous for its autumn tones, which, as I write this, is still a couple of months away. It was nice to hike in the mountains and get a break from the humidity back home.
This is another old photo I pulled from the archives. Old images are veritable breadcrumbs leading back to forgotten details. For instance, from the picture, I recall the hike took longer than expected and, was a little more strenuous. So when we got back to the hotel, we ate pasta and dinner rolls, leaving only, …you guessed it, breadcrumbs.
Here is a photo of Trey Ratcliff and Danny Levin that I took about five years ago. Danny and I were on one of Trey’s New Zealand photo adventures.
That seems like such a long time ago, but I still have a ton of photos and memories. I shot this on the original Sony A7R which was relatively new at the time. Now, I’m on the third generation of that camera, but I still own the original. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
Actually, I processed this with the latest tools. In this case I Aurora HDR 2019 and Luminar 3. Those are also the third generations from Skylum, and I’ve been using them for three or four years now. Every time they come out with new versions I go back and find old photos like this to process. When I do that, it’s like taking a trip down memory lane.
This is an HDR image full of fall colors that I took four years ago in New Zealand. It was the first morning of a five-day workshop with Trey Ratcliff. In the southern hemisphere, April is in Autumn so the leaves were turning.
I had recently purchased the Sony A7R and now, four years later, I’m still impressed with the images. Since that time Sony has created two new generations of that camera so I now use the third generation A7R III. Also, since that time Trey and Skylum introduced HDR software known as Aurora HDR. Now Aurora is in its second or third generation as well. As a result, I’m revisiting these old photos with the new software. The software has improved to the point that it’s very easy to make old photos look amazing.
Four years seems like such a long time, I would go back in a heartbeat. For a photographer, New Zealand is a dream. But I did take thousands of photos while I was there so even if I don’t get back right away I still have these photos to look at and enjoy.
This was taken a couple years back on a walk through the forest in North Carolina. It was supposed to be a short two-hour hike but ended up taking twice as long and was more difficult than we thought.
Apparently enough people get caught in the same mistake that the rangers and locals have formed a small rescue industry. I felt bad because it was my idea and my wife and sister-in-law were following my lead. But in the end we made it back before dark with a story to tell. We were hungry but too tired to go out so we ordered room service when we got back to the hotel.
As far as photography goes it couldn’t have been better; I’m still finding photos I had forgotten about. Coming from a flat place like Florida it was a big change to be in the mountains and hills. I think that also contributed to our misjudging of the hike, it was downhill going in and an uphill climb coming back. Florida has no hills so elevation never crossed our minds.
I just looked up the step history for the hike on my iPhone; it was 14,000 steps and the equivalent of 43 stories climbed. That may not be Mount Everest but it’s a lot of uphill walking for someone from Florida. When I’m taking pictures I get carried away and it’s probably not fair to the people I’m with.
I consider myself tech savvy yet I only learned about the iPhone step tracker about a year ago. My phone has been tracking steps for years; who knew? Now I can match it up with some of my photo hikes and see how far I walked. There are a few in there that I can recall very well. But having sore feet is a small price to pay for good pictures. And I’m sure I’ll do it again and again; only now I can check my steps for an added degree of satisfaction.
I spent a recent afternoon on some winding roads north of Toronto. The drive is nice any time but this time of year is hard to beat. The days are quickly getting shorter and there are dustings of snow here and there. Coming from Florida this was an exceptional treat, not only the colors but the cooler weather as well.
Whenever I saw something I liked I just pulled over and took a shot out the window. That’s a lazy way to take photos but I couldn’t help it, I was in a lazy mood.
Sometimes laziness works, luck works too. Sometimes getting a good photo of a landscape is a meticulous process of preparation and execution. Other times a simple shot out the window will do. I admire photographers that go to great lengths, it shows in their work. Sometimes, I do that, especially when I have more time. But given a quick afternoon drive and a camera, I’ll go with the flow.
It’s a little like taking photos when you’re on a tour. Your time is not your own, your on a tour, following a schedule. So you do your best and get what you can. Sometimes its like that when I have a short time to go take photos, I just go with the flow and have fun.
One thing is for sure, the worst day of taking photos is still better than the best day at work. And this was not a bad day by any stretch of the imagination.
I got this one afternoon when I decided to take a walk in the park. This is Stanley Park in Vancouver and is one of the best urban parks in North America. It rivals Central Park and Golden Gate Park. I took this at a little pond known as Lost Lagoon where there are some resident swans. You can usually line up a good shot if you just wait for the right moment.
Waiting for the right moment is good advice for landscape photographers. If you stay in a single spot long enough, something is bound to happen. It’s all a question of how long you want to wait. Usually I’ll walk up on a scene and not see anything in particular. The scene can be like a puzzle, however it almost as though a sixth sense tells me there’s something there. I just have to recognize it, compose it, and take the photo. So it could be a matter of focusing in on a small area, or it could be just slowing down and waiting for something to unfold. It’s an inexact science but the longer I wait, the more likely I am to walk away with something worth my time.
Another little technique to add to this is pick a time of day when you think something might happen and then get there a little earlier. For instance, in Florida, right at the crack of dawn the pelicans will fly from their nighttime resting spots to their daytime fishing locations. So if you want to get a sunrise with some pelicans flying by, you get there a little early and wait, but be ready because you might only get one chance, believe me I’ve missed more than I care to admit.
With this image I planned to come in the afternoon because I knew the sun set across the water from a section of the path. So I got there, waited, noticed the swan swim by, then click and I had my image.
Oh, and one other thing, if you’re going to be out in nature, bring mosquito repellant. I got swarmed as I stood here and waited. Next time I’ll take my own advice and bring some.