Monday, June 20, 2011

Lupine in Sugar Hill, NH

On Saturday, my dad and I travelled to beautiful Sugar Hill, NH. We went there to see the annual Lupine Festival. Local residents and businesses have grown thousands of lupines in locations with fantasic views of the White Mountains.

I was blown away by the beauty of Sugar Hill. Lupines are one of my favorite species of flowers. Combining them with one of my favorite regions in America is a can't miss photographic opportunity.

We started our day at Polly's Pancake Parlor. We partook in the famous pancakes while we waited for the early morning rain to dissipate. While my dad settled for plain pancakes, I tried the coconut corncakes and the the buckwheat walnut pancakes. Both were excellent, but the buckwheat walnut were definitely my favorite!

After breakfast we photographed the lupines across the street from Polly's. This view included a beautiful light grey horse, an old barn, thousands of buttercups and a view to the Franconia Range. Quite frankly it was stunning!

Later in the morning we photographed St. Matthew's Church, where we saw a bride and groom taking their wedding shots. Then we traveled down the Sunset Hill Road where we made multiple stops for more shots of the lupines and fantastic mountain views.

After touring through most of the sites that were included on the Lupine Festival Map, we doubled back to revisit the early morning locations when it had been cloudy. The afternoon brought sunshine and clear views for miles.

This was one of my favorite days and locations in all of New England. The only places that compare to the Lupine Festival are Acadia National Park at any time of year and the Kancamagus Highway and Crawford Notch during peak foliage. Sugar Hill when the lupine are in bloom is truly a special place!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How Sweet It Is...

This squirrel was sitting on my garden trellis enjoying the first strawberry of summer. Below is a sneak preview of my July Adventures in Photography Article. This series of articles can be viewed monthly in the Freebird Times. Past articles can be found on this blog and on my website at

Adventures in Photography: Once in a Lifetime Shots – Be Prepared
In regards to once in a lifetime shots, the Boy Scouts motto “Be Prepared” is the best advice. Photographing wildlife consistently puts this theory to the test. Wild creatures are unpredictable. They often turn up in odd places at odd times, when you least expect them. Having your camera gear ready maximizes your potential for capturing these fleeting moments.
I am fortunate to own two camera bodies with interchangeable lenses. I always keep one camera body ready for sudden wildlife action. This includes having the camera set to aperture priority mode at a low f stop, with an ISO of 400 or higher. My longest lens remains attached to the camera while traveling around. In a moments notice I can stop the car, grab my camera and begin to photograph. The ability to be quickly ready dramatically increases my chances of making a successful image.
This afternoon, my beautiful wife Brenda, suddenly called me to the kitchen. When I arrived, she was pointing out the window and exclaiming “Awww…It’s so cute!” Sitting on top of my garden trellis was a squirrel eating a fresh strawberry. It was cute!
My mind went into overdrive. I hadn’t used my camera for quite some time. Where was it? My day job gets extremely busy during the months of May and June. Often, my camera sits in a lonely corner all but forgotten, while I march parades, direct concerts and take my bands to various competitions. Fortunately, it was exactly where I always leave it and it was easy to find.
As I got back to the kitchen, I had my camera turned on and ready. I didn’t need to spend time adjusting my settings. My only decision was where to take the image from. If I left my house, I would scare the squirrel away. Shooting through the screen of my window turned out to be my best option. Many professional sports photographers often photograph through protective mesh nets, by using a trick. They set the aperture to a very low f stop. This makes the netting practically disappear in the photograph, allowing for a clean image of the subject. In this case, the subject was not a baseball star, but a very charismatic squirrel.
After quietly opening my kitchen window, I pressed the edge of my lens to the screen and composed my image. Over the next ten seconds I made a handful of excellent images. Then, the squirrel left to eat his strawberry in peace. Not only did I make a great image of an unexpected wildlife encounter, I had protected my strawberry patch too!
If I had not left my camera set up with the correct lens and settings and been fore armed with the knowledge of how to photograph through a mesh screen, I would not have successfully made this image. Being prepared is the key to successful photography!

This Month’s Tip:
Try to plan for the situations you may encounter as a photographer. Having the correct equipment and knowledge available at a moment’s notice will help you to make many exciting images.
Nature Blog Network