Dec 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Dear Friends,

May your holidays be filled with great joy and happiness and may the New Year bring peace and prosperity throughout the world!

My best,


Dec 18, 2010

Sturdy Tripod for Sharper Image Photography Quality

Besides cameras and lenses, a solid tripod is one of the most important investments for a nature photographer. High quality nature photography is rarely achieved when hand holding your camera. A tripod is essential for low light photography during the morning, evening and twilight, for shooting wildlife, for macro photography and for experimenting with impressionistic or abstract photography. It not only steadies your shooting equipment for maximum image quality, it also will help you discover the world of photography. You are more likely to step back, think and compose the photograph. You will ask yourself: do I have a straight horizon, do I have sufficient depth of field or shall I open up the aperture setting to minimize depth of field, are there distracting elements in the foreground or background of my composition, do I even have a composition?

I personally prefer a ball-and-socket head with quick release for easy and fast adjustments. My camera tripod has no center column and the legs spread independently for setup on uneven terrain. The tripod collapses to almost ground level allowing me to explore ground level objects and photograph from different angles and perspectives. It is not too heavy for the longer photo excursions and trips I often pursue in the national and state parks of New England.

Dec 12, 2010

Photography Tip - Graduated Neutral Density Filter

In this landscape photograph of a blue dinghy on Cape Cod, I was challenged by difficult lighting conditions due to the high contrast of the sunset sky and the darker landscape scenery of the marsh, blue boat and surrounding woods. Metering on the boat and landscape scenery provided detail and good exposure in that area but blew out the beautiful sky colors because of the longer exposure time. On the other hand, metering on the sunset sky provided nice sky and cloud colors but little to no detail in the landscape and blue boat because of the shorter exposure time. As a solution I used the exposure time from focusing and metering on the blue boat, that provided a correct exposure setting for the marsh landscape and dinghy in the foreground. I then hand-held a 1 stop graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens, placing it near the edge where sky and landscape met. Applying the 1 stop split neutral density filter reduced the incoming light on the sky and clouds above the horizon, maintaining its colors while the blue fishing boat, marshland, wooden area, and sky reflection in the river were correctly exposed for best landscape photography impact with strong foreground composition.

Dec 11, 2010

Leaf Photography Artwork

In the past decade I considered the peaking fall foliage in October pretty much the end of my yearly photography efforts. Usually I used November and December to catch up on my digital photography files until the first snow arrived. This year was different and in early November I discovered tree leaf photography for myself. It all started on my front porch when I was pleasantly surprised to find a decaying gray leaf on a pile of brown leaves. It made a fantastic post autumn foliage photograph and inspired me to head out into the field looking for more. I figured the Boston Arnold Arboretum would suit my nature photography quest well. Once again the arboretum did not let me down! I found beautiful colored leaves at the edge of the ponds and in the carpeted wooden areas. Leaves in all colors and forms made this photographic discovery truly exhilarating. Best of all, it extended my nature photography journey further into the year making the cold weather more bearable.

Dec 1, 2010

The Daily Photo

Photo Tip of the Month - December 2010

Tips for Great Pictures, Digital photography tips and techniques that help you take better pictures. Top10 plus photo tips for taking great photos of wildlife at your hand for stunning wildlife photography.

Nov 22, 2010

Tree Leaf Photography

Last Saturday I spent a couple of hours at the Boston Arnold Arboretum with the goal in mind to add to my nature photos macro photography gallery. It is one of my favorite photo locations because of its easy access and its diversity in plants and wildlife. Weather-wise it was one of your typical November afternoons with chilly temperatures and high winds. Inspired by my latest tree leaf photography collection addition, taken the week before on my front porch, I was looking for dropped and disintegrating leaves. I stopped at Dawson Pond where the needles of a cypress tree had changed to many colors and the tree canape was fading into the pond. The edge of small Dawson Pond was covered in brownish cypress tree needles, within them occasionally trapped leaves in all colors from other surrounding trees. I looked carefully around the edges of the pond and studied the patterns and photographic objects that mother nature provided. Half way around the pond I stumbled upon a beautiful setting of a disintegrating green leaf captured in a burgundy red leaf ... what a fantastic leaf photos find I thought. Raindrops from an earlier shower were still present and the red leaf was almost fully submerged in the pond. When I lowered my tripod to ground level, one leg half way in the pond, I realized the full beauty in front of me. The tiny wind driven waves were constantly moving the leaf up and down, creating a current that produced wonderful abstractions perfectly framing the main subject. Although near ground level with my camera I decided to explore even lower, more intimate and frame filling perspectives. I detached the camera from the tripod, moved in closer and lower using one of the tripod legs to stabilize the camera. By hand-holding the camera and moving it in closer I finally accomplished the composition I envisioned when I accessed the scenery earlier. The second image here shows the macro landscape as I found it.

I turned the polarizing filter to maximum impact and used a kitchen towel to diffuse the harsh early afternoon sunlight. I underexposed by -2/3 steps to bring out and saturate the colors. The camera aperture was set to f/7.1 providing me with an exposure time of 1/30 second. In post processing I had little left to do. I removed any dust spots, applied minor contrast and color saturation corrections before sharpening.

Nov 21, 2010

Throughout Hometown

While strolling through Cambridge and Harvard Square last night , enjoying a night out with my wife and eating Falafel for dinner, I stumbled upon one of my landscape photographs on a course catalog cover page. I knew that my landscape photography image "Winter Tide on Plum Island" would be featured and soon published throughout my hometown Brookline but did not expect to stumble upon the photo in Cambridge. It is such a treat to walk through town and see your artwork hanging or published ... made my weekend ... happy Sunday everybody!

Nov 12, 2010

On Our Front Porch

A group of leaves in a shadowed area caught my attention this morning when I stepped outside on our front porch. They were buried behind two folding chairs that the wind had recently blown over. The brighter one on top of the darker, more colored leaves and the detailed veins inspired me to pull out my camera and start photographing. I made the brighter leaf my main subject and used the other leaves to frame it. I set the aperture to f/7.1 to maintain an appropriated depth of field which resulted in a long exposure time of 0.6 seconds. Needless to say that this was too long to hand hold and I had to find something to stabilize my camera. I did not need to look far when I found a nearby flower pot. I moved it close to the composition and combined with the house wall was a perfectly fine substitution for my tripod. I adjusted the polarizer to maximum impact that enhanced color saturation and minimized the blue glare of the cloudless sky. A slightly underexposed photograph at 2/3 stops kept the highlights and detail of the main subject from blowing out. In the digital post processing steps I minimally adjusted lighting, contrast and color saturation before sharpening the image.

At the TD Banknorth Garden

We went to see the Boston Bruins last night and had a blast despite the loss against the Montreal Canadians. I was able to snap a few pics of our first NHL hockey game.

Nov 7, 2010

At the Boston Arnold Arboretum

The day before yesterday my wife and I went to the Boston Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain for a leisure walk in the park. I decided to bring my camera along, thinking I might be able to snap a shot or two to satisfy my need for nature and macro photography. We parked at the Forest Hill Gate and strolled along Forest Hill road passing Dawson and Rehder Pond. We then continued up Bussey Hill and made our way over to the Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection. It was nice to discover the Bonsai trees, especially the Japanese maple tree which was still in peak foliage color. On our way back I noticed a couple of oak tree leaves lying quietly and flat on top of a stone wall. After a few days of rain in the Boston area the leaves were still covered with raindrops. I used the midrib and blade of the leaf to frame the main subject and lead the viewer through the photograph. The focal point was laid on the first large water drop. I then adjusted the camera aperture to obtain the depth of field I envisioned and kept other droplets out of focus. I settled at f/6.3 resulting in 1/15 second exposure time. Underexposure by 1/3 of a stop in combination with a polarizing filter benefited color saturation and minimized glare. I used the stone wall itself as a tripod re-placer that helped to keep camera shaking to a minimum. In the post processing steps I minimally adjusted lighting, contrast and color before I sharpened the final image.

Nov 6, 2010

In Cambridge

Serene Cape Cod was accepted into the juried group art exhibit, Blue. The exhibition features many artists and runs from November 18, 2010 through January 12, 2011 in the Kathryn Schultz gallery and University Place gallery. The Kathryn Schultz gallery is located at 25 Lowell St. in Cambridge, MA 02138 and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm. University Place gallery is only a block away at 124 Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge, MA 02138 and is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.

Nov 5, 2010

Well Within - Massage and Integrated Health

My nature photography is on display in a solo exhibition at the Gallery of Well Within - Massage and Integrated Health. The exhibition features 17 of my finest New England landscape and flower photography and runs from October 15, 2010 through 15 February, 2011. Gallery Within is located at 697 Washington Street #202 in Newton, MA 02458 and artwork is on display during regular hours or by appointment.

Nov 2, 2010

Ohne Fleiss Kein Preis

When I left for Cape Cod in the wee hours last Saturday I had a different idea of photography in mind. I was more on the hunt of landscape or seascape photography than flower photography. But as opportunities often arise out of the blue you have to adjust and take full advantage of them. in my early attempts this morning I first captured the morning sky on fire above the winding Herring River near the Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort and Old Silver Beach. Once the morning glow ended I made my way over to Bourne Farm and Crocker's Pond hoping that there was still some fall foliage color on display but needless to say it wasn't. The fall foliage has passed New England and is now making its way down the east coast into Virginia and North Carolina. With the fading morning light and already turning 9-ish I thought my day of photography was done and I started driving home on route 28, crossing over the Bourne Bridge and then cruising along Scenic Highway (route 6) Almost at the Sagamore Bridge and route 3, a grove of trees caught my attention. The trees were beautifully painted by the late morning light and stood in deep contrast to the ground shrubs of saturated red. I pulled into the next scenic overview parking area, pulled out my camera gear and crossed the four lane Scenic Highway ... not at all scenic when you trying to stay alive and not being run over. Once safely on the other side, another hurdle welcomed me. I stumbled down the bank before finally started shooting when the old German saying crossed my mind: Ohne Fleiss kein Preis - without efforts, no rewards ... how suitable I thought. In hope of better compositions I kept changing locations to explore different perspectives of trees and shrubs.

Then, while walking around and almost ready to continue my journey home I ran into this unexpected loner in full bloom. It never occurred to me that I would come across such a beauty in the beginning of November. Immediately I recognized the potential and envisioned a photo of the flower with the red shrubs as a complimentary background. I got to work and lowered the tripod to a low level that allowed me to use the shrubs as the wonderful reddish backdrop I visualized. Another challenge was the breezy conditions. The constant breeze made it difficult to capture a sharp image but after multiple exposures and demonstrating lots of patience I succeeded to frame one or two high quality photographs. I spot metered on the shaded floral and used exposure bracketing in 1/3 stops. The aperture was set to f/6.3 resulting in 1/25 seconds exposure time. In the post processing steps of the digital lab I applied lighting, color saturation and contrast adjustments before sharpening the image.

Oct 28, 2010

Near Harvard Square

New England fall foliage peak colors near Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA

Oct 24, 2010

On a Mushroom Photography Safari

During my last photography tour to magical Acadia National Park in Maine on Mount Desert Island I decided to capture Otter Cliff despite bad weather conditions. The sky was very overcast and cloudy; rain was falling. From the park's loop road I pulled into one of the parking lots near Otter Cliff. Parking was a non issue because of the rain, and most people were exploring the town of Bar Harbor. I choose the last spot at the end of the parking lot and was immediately inspired by the green forest in front of me. Instead of making my way to the granite seacoast to photograph famous Otter Cliff, I climbed up a little ridge and a few yards into the woods. Here I positioned my tripod to capture the forest. Once satisfied, I started walking back towards the parking lot when I noticed this little tiny thing on the forest floor. Protected by moss and roots a 2 inch mushroom was arising. Instantly caught in the moment, I lowered my tripod to floor level without succeeding to achieve an attractive perspective of it. I was forced to take the camera off the tripod and hand-hold the camera while resting it on one of the tripod legs. This field adjustment brought the camera level really low and I achieved a more intimate composition of the little mushroom. In my first photograph I singled out the mushroom using the moss as a backdrop. I then decided to explore different views when I noticed a second mushroom in near distance.

I again used one of the tripod legs to stabilize and minimize camera shaking. I kept the second mushroom completely out of focus and used the roots on the forest ground as leading lines to it. Because of the same color the viewer then returns back to the main mushroom object that completes the viewers journey through the photograph.

A polarizing filter minimized the glare on the mushroom tips and saturated the forest greens. Aperture in both photographs was set to f/7.1 that resulted in 1/3 and 1/5 seconds exposure time. In the post processing steps I made minimal color and lighting adjustments before sharpening.

Oct 23, 2010

At the Head of the Charles

The Head of the Charles is a rowing race held on the Charles River in Boston, MA. It is the largest 2 day regatta in the world, with more than 8,000 rowers, 1,700 boats and over 300,000 spectators. With the fall foliage peaking in and around Boston and beautiful clear skies it turns out to be a fantastic weekend for the event.

Oct 22, 2010

2011 New England's Color Calendar Online

The 2011 New England's Color calendar features a collection of twelve of my most beautifully composed New England landscape photographs from all seasons.

Oct 17, 2010

2011 Nature Calendars Online

The "Nature’s Color" 2011 calendar features abstract flower photography macros and portraits. It is a collection of twelve of my most beautifully and colorful composed flower photographs.

The 2011 "Abstract Lily Fine Art Collection" calendar is a collection of twelve of my most beautifully composed Lily photographs. The calendar features twelve abstract floral macro photographs at its best.

The "Fall Colors" 2011 calendar bis a collection of my most beautifully composed foliage photography featuring fall leaves in their autumn peak colors in close-ups and macros.

Oct 11, 2010

In the Floral Redzone

Photo Tip of The Month - October 2010

An effective way to lead a viewer into and through a photograph is the use of lines in composition. Naturally when a viewer explores a photograph the eye moves along these lines. Compositional lines successfully used in photography pull the viewer into the photograph, either towards the main subject or through the scenery. Lines can be straight, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved or converging. Used effectively each can have a positive impact on our photography, enhancing a photograph and creating a mood.

Oct 3, 2010

At Cape Cod Herring River

This August I decided to return to Cape Cod and photograph a red boat that I discovered last summer. In my previous dinghy photograph I took advantage of the early morning light while now the idea was to capture it during the evening hours and explore different perspectives. It is such a beautiful photogenic setting and excitement was building up the closer I came to my final destination on Route 28. While finally crossing the Herring River overpass I sneaked a peak through my right eye and to my delight the boat was still anchored in the same location. What I did not expect and to my surprise it was painted blue which revealed a spontaneous outcry of "Awesome!" I pulled into the small parking lot, unloaded my photography gear and got to work from the overpass where I set up tripod and camera. The river current combined with the windy condition that evening made it hard to compose. The boat was constantly moving and I had to be extra patient with my composition attempts. I waited with the release of the shutter until the boat reached the point when it moved back into the opposite direction. This provided a stretched out chain from the blue boat to the buoy and the boat in an attractive position where it leads the viewer into the landscape. I often use a polarizing filter in my landscape photography and it darkened the river by eliminating unwanted bright sky reflection. The polarizer also saturated the green colors of the marsh land vegetation and the blue hues of the sky and boat. I chose a vertical or portrait composition for this landscape photograph to show the beauty and serenity of Cape Cod in large. A small aperture setting provided the required depth of field, the tripod in combination with the camera timer minimized camera shaking. During the digital post processing process I applied minimal contrast, highlight, and color saturation adjustments before finally sharpening the image.

Sep 23, 2010

In Brazil

"Resting" will be featured in an article about pareidolia in the Brazilian science magazine Mundo Estranho ( Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon that finds recognizable forms in any natural manifestation, seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.