Friday, October 26, 2012

Snowy Owl Exhbit Featured in the Middleboro Gazette

The Middleboro Gazette published a short article about my upcoming exhibit "The Year of the Snowy Owl."   You can read the article at this link:

The opening of the exhibit will be at the Massachusetts Audubon North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield on November 3, from 2-4PM.   The address is 2000 Main Street
Marshfield, MA 02050.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Year of the Snowy Owl

Please join me for the opening of my exhibit "The Year of the Snowy Owl".   I spent the winter of 2011-2012 photographing snowy owls.   This exhibit will include twenty of my favorite snowy owl images and writings about my experiences photographing them.   The images will include many beautiful owl portraits and an action sequence of a peregrine falcon attacking a snowy owl.  

The exhibit will be held at the Massachusetts Audubon North River Sanctuary in Marshfield, MA from 2-4PM on November 3, 2012.   It will run until November 21.   I hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Adventures in Photography: Stone Barn Farm

Adventures in Photography: Stone Barn Farm

On my recent workshop to Acadia National Park, we stopped at the beautiful Stone Barn Farm in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Our visit was serendipitous.   Every moment of the visit was better than the last.  

                The Stone Barn Farm was built in 1820 and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.   One of the workshop participants had requested a stop at the historic farm.    As we arrived, I knocked on the door of the farmhouse and was greeted by a loud, deep bark that emanated from a large French mastiff ala Hooch from the movie “Turner and Hooch”.   Fortunately, his owner, Mrs. Owen had him under control.   She graciously allowed us to photograph her farm.

                Soon, we were making many satisfying images, especially of the famous stone barn.   After fifteen minutes of enjoying the scenery, a man drove up in an antique yellow Chevy pickup truck.   Mr. Owen had arrived home in style and he was quite a sight to see.   Harry is 85 years young and vibrant.   He gladly positioned his truck ideally for photographing and then he happily posed for us.

                After a few minutes, Harry asked us if we liked green trucks.   We enthusiastically said “Yes.”   Much to our delight, he opened the barn door and hopped into his 1929 Model A Ford pickup. It was even more intriguing than the previous truck.   Harry spent some time posing with his truck and discussing its color.   He had spent a long time researching the name of the color.   It turned out to be “Commercial Olive” as confirmed by the Ford Motor Company.   Commercial Olive made for a subtle contrast against the grey and red barn with the proud Stars and Stripes hanging from the door.

We were soon greeted by Rufus, the aforementioned French mastiff.   He seemed much friendlier as he came to greet every photographer.   He was one of the most handsome, yet ugly dogs that I have ever seen.   He was an enormous, energetic, yet friendly five year old pooch.   I am so glad that Harry had him well trained.   Rufus was the cherry on top of our photographic sundae.  

All told, we spent less than an hour at the Stone Barn Farm, but we all agreed that it was a fantastic highlight of our visit to Acadia National Park.   

                This Month’s Tip:   Take the time to introduce yourself to the people who you photograph.   Then listen to what they have to say.   Their story will enhance your photography.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Acadia National Park: From Dusk til Dawn

These four images were made on my recent workshop in Acadia National Park. We got up early for sunrise and stayed out late for sunset. Pre-sunrise and post sunset are some of my favorite times of day.

The first image of the silhouetted pine tree at dawn has the moon and Venus shining in the early morning light. This image concept was a rework from my film days in the late '90's. Silhouetted trees along the shores of Acadia are simply beautiful.

The second image is of, you guessed it, silhouetted trees near Bass Harbor. The sun had set and the colors of the sky were starting to burn. I made this image with my long lens, the Tamron 200-500mm. The extreme length of that lens allowed me to isolate my subject from an other wise cluttered background.

The third and fourth images are from the western side of the island. The third scene was made famous by Edward Weston. This is my version of the famous view. The fourth image is of one of my favorite scenes that few people ever notice. Acadia is full of photographic opportunities. They abound around every corner.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Night Photography in Acadia

Last weekend I led a workshop in Acadia National Park.   It was a great weekend with excellent weather and even better company.   On our first night, some of the participants wanted to try some night photography in the park.   

We went to Eagle Lake and photographed the stars, mountains, lake and foliage.   The stars were more bright and clear than in any place I have ever been.   The cold weather and the dry atmosphere certainly helped.   We had a clear view of the milky way.   It was pretty amazing!

The first view shows the reeds along the lake with the mountains of Acadia in the background.    It was a 25 second exposure at f2.8, ISO 1600.   This image was made with my D7000.

The second image shows a birch tree with the milky way above it.   The foliage on the tree was a yellowish green.   With a little help from NIK, the foliage became a more pleasing yellow.    

It was great fun to be photographing at night and working as a team with a great group of people!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Northeast Kingdom in Review

I spent two great days photographing the Northeast Kingdom last weekend.   My friend Carol invited me to join her and the South Shore Camera Club for the weekend.   Carol brought us to many of her favorite places.  I have posted four of my favorite images from the trip.

This image was created on a small mountain pond. The owner's of the canoe were outstanding. They paddled around and around the pond for us to photograph the canoe in a wonderful reflection of a mountain with plenty of foliage. Afterwards, they invited us to their cabin for a better view of the lake. They had a great rustic cabin. No water, no electricity, just a couple of bunk beds and a large pile of fire wood. I was quite impressed with this cabin. Its view was fantastic, overlooking the pond and the surrounding mountains. What a fantastic family retreat!

These cows appeared out of the fog and greeted us like old friends. This was classic Vermont. I had hoped for an image just like this! Of course my primary wide angle lens malfunctioned while making this image. Not a bad image for a broken piece of glass!

This beautiful draft horse quickly became my bud. He came over to check us out and soon I was petting him on the forehead. I was impressed with his new haircut. He was a very friendly horse and it was a thrill to meet him!

After the club split up and went their separate ways for home, my friend Al and I returned to a favorite farm. We met the owner and she invited us to visit her family's sugar shack. It was hidden on a long dirt road and surrounded by excellent foliage. It was quite a treat to see a part of Vermont that few other people have visited!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Foliage in Franconia Notch

Passing through Franconia Notch last weekend provided fantastic opportunites to view some fall foliage. At dawn, there was thick cloud cover and fog throughout the notch. Occasionally, the fog would lift just enough for a view. In my opinion, the fog enhanced the views. The first image was a quick snapshot made from a pullout along the highway. The beauty was undeniable, but I did not have time to stop for long. I was on my way to visit friends and photograph the NEK. I did not want to be late.

On the way home, I stopped to make an image that I had envisioned earlier in the summer. I found a nice spot along the Pemigewasset River in Franconia Notch State Park. Hiking to this spot in the rain was quite a challenge, but it was worth it. My dad made the hike too and we had a great time photographing the river together.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Foliage in the Northeast Kingdom

This weekend I traveled to the Northeast Kingdom and joined my friends from the South Shore Camera Club for some fantastic fall foliage! My friend Carol organized and hosted the event. She brought us to many of her favorite places in the NEK. We had a great time with many fantastic views.

This image of a feather on a red maple leaf was one of my favorites. I found the feather and the leaf near each other and realized their potential. So I put them together and had a great time with my macro lens.

Many times, people ask me if I am breaking the rules when I relocate leaves to enhance an image. My answer is it depends. If I were to represent this as a found image, meaning that nature made this, then yes, I am breaking the rules. However, if I am simply creating art, my answer is no.

Photography is an art form. The confusion comes when we think of photography as a representation of reality. If this were a painting, no one would care if I moved the leaf and feather. If the subject was a bowl full of fruit, it would be expected that I had arranged the elements of the subject to be most pleasing. This is a still life of natural subjects, plain and simple.

Some photographers insist that I have committed a gross misrepresentation of nature by rearranging these natural elements. I contend that photography is art and the artist maintains control over what is permissible and what is not. I agree that as photographers, we should admit when we have created a still life. The veracity of an image is important. After that, it is truly up to each artist to decide how they will present their vision and images.

So, in summary, I believe that it is permissible and in fact imperative to create art from nature. However, if we change elements of an image and or rearrange these natural elements, it is critical that we be honest about it. Furthermore, I would strongly argue that we should not harm nature to create these images. Finding a fallen feather and a fallen leaf is a perfect example of creating art from nature without causing any damage. I did crop some grass to improve this image, but considering that we were on a lawn in a state park, I don't think that I did any harm. For full disclosure, I also cloned a part of the feather to cover up a small piece of grass that I found to be distracting. In for a penny in for a pound.

Is this art? Is it beautiful? I think so, but that is for you to decide. Thank you to Carol for opening her house to us and for all of her hard work in preparing for this weekend. She did a fabulous job sharing her corner of Vermont with us! You can check out her blog and many of her images here:
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