Jan 30, 2010

On Plum Island

Today's morning brought me to Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge at the Northeast coast of Massachusetts. The refuge is a fabulous birding sight throughout the year that provides a feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds. During the winter it's famous for its snow owl population. Unfortunately none was willing to pose in front of my camera this morning and I had to occupy myself with some extraordinary winter landscapes. Right now temperatures in New England are frigid; boy was it cold when I got out of the car and walked the boardwalk to the beach. I got plenty of shooting in though my hands were hurting from the cold. Part of me was ready to flee the scene after going through the first battery but I switched to the second one and kept on shooting. The combination of the rising sun and the abstract ice structures formed by high and low tides kept me going and surprisingly I warmed up a little and things got a bit more bearable. I didn't need to walk far on the beach to find many photo objects but was most attracted by the wonderful abstract and frozen beach sand ripples formed by the ocean. Not far away was a compilation of boulders that were quite photogenic with the rising sun and fog from the bay. In the end I was frozen to the bone, jumped back into the car to make my way back home. It was not easy to leave the unfamiliar scenery of marsh channels covered in ice and perfectly painted by the early morning sunlight. I had no choice but to get out of the car to set up one last time for this morning.

flower canvas prints
flower acrylic prints
flower prints
flower metal prints
flower framed prints
orchid flower art
orchid flower photos
orchid flower photo canvas prints
orchid flower photo framed prints
orchid flower photo acrylic prints

orchid flower photo metal prints
orchid flower photo prints
orchid flower prints
orchid flower metal prints
orchid flower acrylic prints
orchid flower framed prints
orchid flower canvas prints
orchid flowers canvas prints
orchid flowers art
orchid flowers photos
iris flowers photos
iris flowers art
iris flower art
iris flower photos

Jan 23, 2010

At Bowman Beach

When we visit Florida's west coast during the cold Boston winter we usually take a trip out to Sanibel Island. It is such a fun place to spend a day. On our very first trip out to Sanibel we visited the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge which is a fascinating and wonderful place to explore. Side trips always lead us to the soft white sand beaches on Sanibel or Captiva. Dinner and margaritas await us in Captiva's outdoor restaurants at the end of the trip where we wrap up and reflect on the day.

This year we explored and spent some time on Bowman's beach and I took the opportunity to capture some beach impressions in B&W. I walked the beach with my camera for three plus hours and came across beautiful flocks of birds just standing in the cool breeze, tons of beach shells, and driftwood washed up on the beach. It was getting late in the afternoon and the sun was beautifully setting across the Gulf of Mexico painting the somewhat clouded sky in yellow hues. A scenic colorful sky unfolded and at first I refused to switch the camera settings from B&W to color but then couldn't resist. I switched back into color mode photography and after a dozen images I saw the potential for a great B&W seascape capture and continued for the rest of the day in B&W.

That day I wished that there would have been more time to get lost in nature's beauty and experience it to the fullest but dinner and margaritas were waiting!

Jan 18, 2010

At Singing Beach

These are a few more photographs from my Saturday trip to Singing Beach at Manchester by the Sea on Cape Ann. I think the sunrise pictures just do justice of what I had experienced that morning.

Monthly Photo Tip - January 2010

Tips for better sharpness in your photographs:

1. Use a solid tripod with head or use other supporting gear to minimize image blurriness.

2. Keep your elbows close to your chest to support camera stability when shooting handheld.

3. Use a remote or cable release. If none handy use the self-timer on your camera.

4. Don't use cheap filters that may compromise the sharpness of your image.

5. Shoot in continuous mode or take lots of photos in difficult and windy conditions.

6. Switch to manual focus instead of auto-focus to find the correct focus point.

7. Choose the right aperture and shutter speed setting. Increase your ISO setting if shutter speed is too low.

8. Find your sharp aperture lens f-stop setting. Do some test shots to determine this setting.

9. Carefully use your noise reduction software since it may "fix" small details in your pictures.

10. Sharpen your images in the end of your work-flow.

 cityscapes art


Jan 16, 2010

At Singing Beach

This morning I went to singing beach at Manchester by the Sea on Cape Ann. It's called singing beach since the sand makes a noise underfoot - more like a squeak than singing though. It is one of the best beaches in Massachusetts and one of my personal favorites. I trusted my inner clock instead of setting my alarm and jumped out of bed at 5:35 am. Ten minutes later I started the car and was on my way. As usual I missed my turn and had to take some back roads to find my way back. The sky was already lighting up and I was worried that I would miss the morning show by only minutes. Luckily I gave myself some extra time and I arrived at singing beach just on time. The sky was turning purple and orange just in front of me and I captured the sunrise in its full beauty. While I was clicking away some folks were walking their dogs and some just took an early walk on the beach; enjoying the morning their own way. Once the sun peaked through the horizon I focused more on the shore and massive rocks out in the water. The morning light painted them golden and red while keeping others still in the shade; little areas of snow became visible too. There is something so calming and relaxing when you witness day come to life ... just another perfect morning. Life is good!

Jan 10, 2010

At Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

After the Holidays I spent a few days in Bonita Springs, Florida with my family. On a late afternoon I dedicated a visit to the nearby Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. This wildlife sanctuary is located just east of Fort Myers and rewards the photographer with a pristine habitat for nature photography. The water in the slough is always on the move although visitors often think of it as an area of small lakes with surrounding swampy areas. In fact though the water always flows like a shallow, slow moving river.

The 1.2 mile boardwalk guides one through different areas of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. Pine woods lead into the cypress slough that is made of the hardwood transition area, flag ponds area in the center of the preserve and small islands of higher elevation called hammocks. The most visible and beautiful forms of wildlife found in the slough are permanent residents such as raccoon, grey squirrel, five-lined skink, red-shouldered hawk, woodpecker, heron, wild turkey, turtle, southern black racer, branded water snake, cottonmouth and alligator. Visitors that may pass through the slough are bobcat, river otter, deer and even black bear. During my short visit I encountered alligator, turtle, ibis, anhinga, egret and many other birds. Lots of the forest floor is covered with beautiful swamp ferns. Sage old cypress trees tower above and cypress knees that provide the cypress trees with additional support in the wet soil are everywhere.

That evening I deviated from my color photography and adventured out to capture the preserve in B&W photographs. Ferns, bromeliads, cypress trees and knees lent themselves for this experiment. Gator lake at the beginning of the boardwalk is spectacular in the evening hours. On my way out I decided to take one last look at the lake. Because of the interesting sky formation I was hoping for stunning reflections in the lake but was awarded with an unexpected spectacular nature setting. Flocks of egrets and other birds were flying in and landing in the one area of shrubs and trees opposite of the overlook. There were probably a hundred birds looking for a good night sleep. The early wee hours may even provide better photo opportunities for this setting but I had to settle for the evening pictures.

I certainly will return to the beautiful six mile cypress slough preserve to experience more then the glimpse I got of the mysteries of this swamp.

Jan 4, 2010

At Boston Arnold Arboretum

Today was my first photo excursion of the new decade. I decided to visit one of I my favorite nearby spots, the Boston Arnold Arboretum. I was not exactly sure what to expect after a 48 hour snow storm with 8 inches of snow since the storm ended yesterday. Nevertheless it turned out to be a very successful photo trip, taking 59 photographs, keeping 23 that I will share later in the week. The two bamboo photographs are very appealing to me and they were captured on my way out of the arboretum. At that point my hands and feet were deeply frozen after 2 hours of wandering through the park. I was looking forward to getting into my car and heading home for a nice cup of coffee to warm up. Turns out I was not quite there yet. The bamboo grove just jumped out of nowhere and I could not pass up this opportunity under any circumstances. I scouted the hillside for interesting compositions in the bamboo grove and finally succeeded when I found what I was looking for. I set up my gear and started shooting when my left leg slid fully away sending me down the hill for a couple of yards. At least the tripod and camera stayed dry and in place this time. I climbed back up and completed shooting. Regardless of the circumstances and difficulties of the shooting I am glad that I stopped at the bamboo grove to capture "Ballerina", the last image of today's trip.