Friday, July 16, 2010


Going home today. Last chance for an early shoot. And, of course, not a cloud in the sky. As sure as death and taxes the day we leave is typically pristine. Not totally excited about what I captured this morning - still on the long exposure bandwagon and should have pushed this puppy further. But despite the lack of interest in the sky there were some nice colors to be had.

Now off to pack.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tick Tock

Time flies. Incredibly, we're already at the last full day of our two weeks at the lake. So what better way to show the passage of time than with another hit of long exposure?

While biking around the area I noticed this information hut at the shore. Winds were (and still are) heavy, blowing thick cloud and white caps onto the beach. I had been waiting for these kinds of conditions and came back shortly afterwards with gear in tow. These exposures are each just north of two minutes long thanks to a stack of neutral density filtration (2-stops from a polarizer to define the clouds, another 10-stops from the Lee Big Stopper, and three more from a second Lee ND).

What I'm now trying to figure out is which composition I prefer. For now I'll stick with three variations on a theme while I enjoy the last of our time here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Where Is the Sun?

I'll withhold the expletives as we "enjoy" another sub-standard day of weather here at the lake. Started out nice and sunny and then these clouds started rolling in about mid-morning. Has been up and down ever since and now the rain is falling yet again. I guess these images reflect some of that gloom.

That said, it's still vacay. We're still at the lake. Sounds like Miller Time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Heavy clouds were the order of the day today. The boats on the lake could have been in for some nasty business. Fortunately didn't get too bad and now the sun is struggling to peek through.

Morning Jaunt

Who says you have to get up at the Crack of Insanity to shoot a landscape at the lake? Mid-morning can work quite well here. Not as dramatic as dawn but offers a more comfortable alternative to the ├╝ber-early morning.

Also gives me something with which to reminisce as I gaze outside and watch the rain pour down.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Wood

This driftwood made for cool foreground interest at last night's dusk shoot. Had an audience this time as well, with people asking what I was taking pictures of. Not an unreasonable question when you have a wide angle lens pointed largely at the ground. Always get a kick out of their reactions when I show them the picture on the LCD.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Got Wood?

Couple things caught my eye today. One a graphic element courtesy of morning shadows. Another a simple door with lots of texture and contrasting lines. Both deserving of a strong black and white treatment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Crack 'o Dawn

Up again early this morning. Looked outside and was hopeful as the sky was full of broken cloud that I expected to make for a great sunrise. Unfortunately, by the time I made it out to the pier heavy cloud had rolled in. So much for great light. That said, those clouds made for some good black & white fodder.

They look a lot nastier than they actually were. Was actually pretty calm out and comfortable out there. Another started life as color, but when processed was either too flat to be interesting, or pulled too much color to look natural. My original inclination on this was B&W as well so I stuck with it.

Figured I would take advantage of the even light for a detail/fine art type effort...

Feeling the need for some color left me with these. In the first, the buoys offered interesting contrast to the rest of the scene. In the second, a variation on a theme but with a long exposure to draw out the clouds (would have better to have them blowing into rather than across the frame).

Will see what the rest of our final week brings.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Quick Draw

Last night while visiting at a friend's cabin it struck me that I really should have brought my gear; the sky looked amazing and the sun was dropping rapidly. Ran to get my tripod and various accoutrements. Quick drive and setup later down at the shore. Staked my spot, got the grad in place, and let 'er rip. Ten minutes later and I'm heading back up to the cabin to finish my beverage.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Figured I'd add something different to the mix today from this morning's wanderings. First up, a bike rack. Mundane, but I like the look of it in black and white.

I think I'll call it "Sold!".

Next, a fallen stop sign. Why it's down I have no clue. But the graphic look appeals to me. As does a common object in an uncommon space.

Finally, a down-and-dirty HDR of dappled morning sun over the entrance to the park lodge.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good Morning!

Finally got my arse out of bed this morning to catch some early light. Clear skies (but could have used some clouds for color and drama), cool, and quiet. Off to the lake to see what I could find. The usual presented itself off the pier...

What started as another more-of-the-same shot ended up getting cropped for just the rocks as they got hit by the rising sun.

Finally, on my way back to bed I was greeted with some low-lying mist getting spiced up by the sun filtering through the trees. Called it a wrap and grabbed a bit more sleep.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mood For a Day

Fairly lousy weather today. Got up early to catch sunrise but a blanket of dull cloud gave me an excuse to crawl back into bed. Mid-morning was a bit better and created some opportunities for black and white. And a chance to switch gears from some pretty vivid color from the last couple of evening shoots.

The Bridge: Part Deux

Still trying to get what I want with The Bridge. No joy yet but there is time. These will have to do for the time being.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Go Long!

It's that time of year again. Back at beautiful Clear Lake for our regular family sojourn, and armed as usual with an arsenal of camera equipment. This time I bring a fresh new set of Lee graduated and neutral density filters, having giving up on the cheap=crappy Cokin filters used in previous outings (they imparted brutal color casts and were prone to flare). I was particularly excited to put the Lee Big Stopper into use. It's a 10-stop pair of sunglasses for your lens that reduces light by (if my math is correct) about 1000x, thereby allowing for extra-long exposures that deliver the silky smooth waters I really like.

First crack at it was the bridge to the pier. More of a proof-of-concept as I want more wispy cloud movement. Will keep trying. The exposure here is 100 seconds.

Although you wouldn't know it from this image, the water was actually quite choppy and there was a constant flow of people passing by on the bridge. All rendered smooth and invisible thanks to the 10-stop filter. A Lee 3-stop hard grad balances the sky with the foreground.

Last night presented an opportunity for capturing beautifully colored clouds at dusk. But 100 seconds was pretty pedestrian. What happens at 166 seconds - almost 3 minutes?

Again a single exposure - no Photoshop funny business with the brightness of the sky tamed with the 3-stop hard grad. Water was much rougher as the wind blew in off the lake. Here, instead of the normal 1/6th second exposure without the filter those waves are blurred into oblivion. Splashes against the rocks become a fine mist. And the clouds become a sweeping blanket of color. If this image doesn't relax your soul I don't know what will.

Feeling saucy I figured I'd push it farther one more time. 251 seconds. Over 4 minutes. Trip the shutter and have seat. Yields this purposely abstract rendition of the waning light.

Challenge with this type of photography is, while addictive, can also become redundant. So I'll need to exercise some will power over the next couple of weeks and not overdo it.