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October 2013

October 2013 (4)

Saturday, 26 October 2013 23:58

Fishing from Galilee

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Point Judith Pond is a large salt water embayment whose man-enhanced opening into Point Judith Harbor on the Atlantic coast of Rhode Island created a wonderful port for a large and active fishing fleet. The port from which this fleet operates is known as the Port of Galilee, and it is a marvelous location in which to photograph the workings and material objects that are part of our country's rich marine fisheries heritage. I could spend an entire day here, easily, wandering among the boats and docks piled high with netting and lobster and crab pots; but it's the late afternoon light and setting sun that can really turn Galilee into something special. The main docks run north-south, so the boats themselves face mostly east, with the setting sun behind them on the other side of the pond where is located the smaller port of Jerusalem. One evening, several days ago, it was so overcast that seeing the sun at the end of the day seemed unlikely, and I almost decided not to travel the short distance to Galilee; but something told me to go so I did. It became apparent as I approached the pond that something exciting was about to happen. I stood on the edge of the mainland and pointed my camera at the first row of boats; then I chose a focal length and a proportion of sky-to-water that would emphasize the drama above me, while simultaneously featuring the boats and watery reflections as important elements. As the show unfolded, I used the cloud-enhanced light to brighten the boats and give me a more evenly lit scene with more detail than silhouette. The magic of the light did the rest. A focal length of 36mm allowed me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 at a shutter speed of 6.0 seconds at ISO 100 gave me an overall exposure of somewhat darker than medium. The water was so calm that the boats do not show motion even at the relatively long shutter speed used.

Saturday, 19 October 2013 21:22

Then the Tide Rushes In and Washes My Castles Away

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It is called Hazard Rock; and to look at it, as well as to feel, the solid density of its granitic structure is to tempt one to declaim that the reason for the name is the obvious peril that surrounds it. However in truth its name comes from a prominent family that once lived ashore here after the western margin of Narragansett Bay was purchased from the Narragansett Indians in the seventeenth century as a location for shipbuilding. Despite the name, its beautiful conjunction with the bay beyond, especially at mid-incoming tide at early light, is a breath-taking reminder of how land and sea come together with light to create awe. The morning I arrived, hoping to photograph the sun as it peered through the rocks over the rim of the Atlantic, there was a band of clouds just on the horizon; so I had to wait patiently as it climbed above them to enlighten the land and the waters with its early glow. This was one of those times when placing the horizon nearly in the middle of the frame did not seem to be problematic, perhaps because of the mass of the rock on the left side of the image. I wanted to bring in the tip of the far point down the bay to create the sense of an enclosure for the water. A focal length of 27mm allowed me to do this and to include the flow of the waves as they washed near my feet. An aperture of f/16 gave me enough depth of field; and a shutter speed of 1/4th second at ISO 200 allowed me to curb the motion of the water somewhat and give me a medium overall exposure at the same time.       

Saturday, 12 October 2013 22:28

Buttermilk Leaves

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As the beautiful Adirondack stream, Raquette River, empties out of Forked Lake on its way into the lengthy confines of Long Lake, it flows through a well-defined channel which carries it for several miles that include a series of short cascades totaling, in all, some forty feet of elevation change. There is an optical phenomenon at work such that the river appears to be elevated above the bedrock on either side of the channel. In the rocks near the base of the cascades, aptly named Buttermilk Falls, it is common to find small pools which care for nothing so much as to capture falling autumn aspen leaves from trees which line the banks on either side; and if a few pine needles fall in too, all the better. These two leaves fell in while I stood watching, and the water-strider limbs of the needles acted like a raft to keep them afloat. In the still water of the pool, the blue of a nearly cloudless sky became a polished mirror, which I polarized only slightly - just enough to reduce a bit of the glare on the surface and enhance the azure reflection. The warm red-orange and the cool blue hues were a perfect tonal combination. I chose to isolate the leaves and needles completely and leave no hint of surrounding rock. A focal length of 420mm from a distance of about 6' allowed me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/22 gave me sufficient depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds at ISO 200 gave me an overall medium exposure, as well as a fast enough shutter to freeze the slight movement created by the wind off the falls. 

Friday, 04 October 2013 18:37

Walking the Dunes of the Province Lands

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When the Europeans calling themselves the Pilgrims anchored their good ship, the Mayflower, in Cape Cod's Provincetown Harbor on November 21, 1620, the Province Lands were heavily wooded with a beautiful forest of beech and pine, stunted and shaped by the ever-present winds of the North Atlantic. Within a few generations nearly all of the trees were gone, cut for lumber by a colony fighting nature and the elements for its survival. The vegetation that remained became forage for their pastured cattle; and finally the breezes themselves blew away the topsoil and left the starkly attractive dunes that remain today. Their beauty is an ever-present reminder of man's capacity for destruction, even in the face of his awareness of what his actions bring to pass. From the trailhead on US Highway 6 in Provincetown to the ocean and back is a 2.5 mile walk that takes you up to a 70' high perspective of the mighty Atlantic, as well as down into the belly of some of the most amazing sand you have ever experienced. I knew that I wanted to create a wide-angle perspective of the sight, so I dropped to my knees and set the tripod up with the camera about 18" above the sand. A focal length of 31mm gave me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 gave me plenty of depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 1/25 second at ISO 100 gave me a somewhat lighter than medium overall exposure.   

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