Late Summer Sunflowers

These were planted in late July instead of late June which had been the normal practice here.  Other than extending the blooming season, it probably made little difference.  There’s no maintenance involved.  You plant the seeds and Mother Nature does the rest.  These Van Goghs lasted right on into September.  A nice lead-in to fall!  Thanks for looking and have a good week.  See you next time.

Advertisements

So Far, So good…..

Our farm in Southeastern North Carolina is about 45 air miles from the Atlantic. We’ve seen a lot of storms here. From Nor’easters to tornadoes to hurricanes.  Where most people check their  local weather every morning, we check in with the National Hurricane Center.  I’d been tracking Hurricane Irma since it formed up off Africa.   When it reached the Central Atlantic, with another storm, Jose, right behind it, we decided to get moving.  I spent about a week clearing out drainage ditches, preparing generators, stocking up on gasoline, non-perishable food…all the things on everyone’s Hurricane Prepare List.   Fittingly, perhaps, we’ve been getting a rash of nasty weather unrelated to Irma for the past couple of weeks. It served as a reminder to get ready for the big show IF……  As you might surmise, there hasn’t been a lot of time for photography other than a few shots of some rather dramatic sky shots in the fields, a taste perhaps of what might be ahead. 

I keep a two gallon zip lock freezer bag in my camera bag for rainy days and it got a nice workout for the shots in the cotton field taken during light rain.  I put the camera in the bag and close the bag until it is snug around the lens.  Works great.  Even though two of my cameras are water resistant according to Nikon, why take chances?

As it turned out, Irma stayed away from our coast, and so far, Jose has seen fit to dance around in the Atlantic just south of Bermuda.  I have little doubt there will be other storms before the long hurricane season is over at the end of November.  Just this morning, I noticed another suspect forming up off the coast of Africa.  As Mr. Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s Over.”   Stay alert. Be Ready and above all Be Safe. See you next time.

Seeing Them Again For The First Time

As happens from time to time, nasty weather sent me trolling through my rather substantial collection of rejects;  RAW Files which for one reason or another I had taken a look at but passed on processing.   Many were pitched into the digital circular file because of excessive haze; a frequent problem when shooting on the coast.  Like many of you I suppose, I employ UV and Haze filters when shooting at the beach but in many cases the scene is just overwhelmed by what I call heat haze.   Frequently, of course, haze is an important element in a composition but often, I want a look at the scene without it being shrouded in mist.  Then this past week, quite by accident, I came across the Photoshop Haze Removal tool.  Bingo. Problem solved.

I’m a frequenter of the “Enhance” category which includes Color Curves and Light and Shadow adjustment, but for some reason I cannot explain,  I never noticed the “Haze Removal” button.  I quickly went to work.

The original versions of these three photographs were almost completely blanketed by rather dense morning haze which gave something of a surreal atmosphere to the scenes, but I always wondered what they would look like sans the haze.  This is it.  If only I took the time to  familiarize myself with all   software can do before I start using it.  The story of my life.  At least its keeping my aging brain active on a rainy day.  Thanks for the look. See you next time.

Breaking an old Habit.

My usual practice in shooting landscapes, or perhaps in this case, “seascapes”, is to click a wide angle lens on the camera, framed it up and shoot.  I have several wide angles I lug around in my bag: a 24mm prime, a 18-35mm and a 24-120mm and a 12-20mm I use on my small sensor DSLR.  In Nikon-eese  DX.  I had decided to break out of that habit on this particular trek to the ocean and use my 70 to 300mm lens.  I was leery of this radical departure from my comfort zone,  but I swallowed my reticence and pushed ahead.  The above shot taken perhaps five minutes before actual sunrise was shot at 70mm.  It’s among my favorites from that morning.  Then I cranked the lens all the way out to 300mm and went trolling over the waves at periscope depth, and there it was: a small coastal trawler with its outriggers deployed getting an early start on the days catch.

A more powerful telephoto, a 400mm, or one of the new 150 to 600 zooms would no doubt have gotten me closer, but I like this view with the small trawler alone on the horizon.  I was right pleased with myself.  Proof perhaps that even an ancient shooter like me can learn to break out of old habits.  Thanks for the visit.  See you next time.

Fog at Sunrise 2

 

The thick fog that has been forming toward the dawn for the past few weeks has been yielding some rather surreal views across the rural landscape.  Worthy I thought of posting a couple of additional shots.

Getting into position to take these shots has been an adventure unto itself.  I came within a hair of smashing my face into one of these utility poles feeling my way up the path in the foreground.  The fog was so dense it was like walking through gray cotton.   No filters or tricky processing here. Just raw images converted in Adobe Photoshop. By 9:30 or 10 in the morning, the fog has burned off as the summer heat begins another trip into the high 90’s.  Thanks for the look and have a good week.  See you next time.

In the Fog at Sunrise

I do a lot of rural and farm photography.  For one thing, it’s where I am and for another, I’ve found a a bit of a market for it.  I’m often drawn by what is growing the fields.  I suppose cotton is the most photogenic of the crops grown in Eastern North Carolina with Tobacco running a distant second.  There’s just something magical about a big field of pure white cotton at dawn.   As for Tobacco, I find it quite photogenic when it begins to ripen and flower.  Soybeans have little appeal for me until their foliage begins to turn and the beans ripen to a golden brown. I seldom venture into a corn field except to photograph the stalks left in the field in the fall.  The less traditional crops here, Sunflowers, Peonies etc will always get my immediate and undivided attention.

Primarily though, I’m drawn by the weather and the sky condition at dawn.  A foggy morning will always find me in the field, regardless of what is growing there……even if it’s nothing but weeds

On this particular morning, I was blessed with an interesting sunrise, a healthy crop of tobacco and fog.

That’s tobacco on the left side of the service road, cotton to the right and in the far distance, field corn. The fog, which has begun to burn off, gives the colors a bit of a pop like that of a polarizer. I use no filters when shooting on a foggy morning.  I particularly avoid any haze filters and obviously have no need for a polarizer.  So next time you encounter a foggy morning out in the boonies, get up, get out there and grab a little magic.  Thanks for the visit. Have a good week. See you next time.

To Zoom or Not To Zoom

66mm

110mm

One of the best lenses I ever purchased remains the Nikon 24-120 constant  f/4.  I picked it up at B and H Photo Video in New York in an open box sale. The lens had been used as a shelf display model.    It pretty much lives on my Nikon D750 Camera.  I suppose you could say it is my walk around lens. Even so, it took me a while to take advantage of what it offers.    With landscapes, my practice was to frame up the wide shot, shoot it and move on.  Typical for old folks like me who are set in our ways.  This past weekend on the Bogue Banks of North Carolina I proved that even at 72, sometimes it pays to revisit old habits. The two shots above were taken a few seconds apart during  a rapidly changing sky after a storm.  The first was taken at 66mm, the second at 110mm. It really gave me two almost completely different shots. That in and off itself is probably not a tip.  If there is one, I suppose it is this, don’t be reticent to change up old habits, particularly in photography.    Thanks for the look and have a good week. See you next time.