• Andy’s E-BOOK — Photography Travel Guides


    All Images and writing on this blog are copyrighted by Andy Richards. All rights are reserved. You may not, without my express, written permission, download, right click, or otherwise copy my images for any reason. Copying an image and putting it on your blog, website, or even as a screensaver on your computer is a breach of copyright, EVEN IF YOU ATTRIBUTE THE SOURCE! Please do not do so.
  • On This Blog:

  • Categories

  • Andy’s Photography Galleries

    Click Here To See My Gallery of Photographic Images

    LightCentric Photography

  • Andy's Flickr Photos

  • Prior Posts

  • Posts By Date

    June 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « May    
  • Advertisements


Reflections; Cascade River, Minnesota

Water is one of my favorite photographic subjects. Water is essential to the world we inhabit, and the one we photograph. Water covers nearly 80 percent of the Earth’s surface. So it is not surprising that water is often an obvious part of the images we capture. But there are also some very subtle ways in which water occurs photographically.

There is almost always a connection with photographic images and water

There is almost always an indirect connection with photographic images and water. Water is used in many industrial applications for heating and cooling, as a solvent and cleaning agent. Indeed, water has been referred to as “the universal solvent.” Water is also an essential nutrient for humans and most other animals, as well as the majority of plant life. Thus, whenever we photograph wildlife, people or flora, it is likely that water has played a part. Water is often the basis for recreational activity, including swimming, boating, canoeing and kayaking. And what about skiing and snowshoeing? Even when water is not a primary element, there is still an indirect connection. For example, photographs of desert sands and other arid environments signal to us the lack of water.

The water droplets on this daylily add photographic interest and suggest the healthy growth of plant life following a fresh spring rain.

Photographically (and scientifically) water takes on 3 forms, each of which present unique and inviting photographic opportunities. Water in its liquid form is perhaps what first comes to mind. As such it is probably the most often found reflective surface for reflection images. I routinely look for ponds, rivers, pools, fountains and even puddles for reflections, either as an image in and of itself, or as a foreground object of interest.

Fountain in front of Texas State Capitol, Austin, Texas

Water in motion is equally captivating, in my view. One of my favorite subjects is waterfalls. Whether a steep, powerful cascade, or swirling rapids, moving water can present some intriguing compositions. We use shutter speed to control the “look” of the water. There is something beguiling about silky, dreamy, flowing water blurred by slow shutter speeds of 1/15 second or longer. Use of neutral density filters in front of the lens can achieve even slower shutter speeds, further blurring the movement of water, or controlling light conditions to produce the slow effect. Moving water can also contain swirling reflections; a double benefit in my view.

Mad River, the namesake for "Mad River Canoe," is really just a small stream, not navigable by canoe. However, this part of the river contains several series of dramatic drops and riffels, making is a wonderland for photographic images

Other times, the photographer may wish to do exactly the opposite, using very fast shutter speeds to “freeze” the powerful or whimsical motion of moving water. Thundering waterfalls or high, splashing waves are sometimes exciting subjects. I used a fast shutter speed and a burst of exposures to capture this crashing wave on the rocky shoreline of Acadia National Park.

Atlantic Ocean surf, Bar Harbor, Maine

Light is clearly the secret to compelling images. Nothing reflects and shows light at its best like water, especially if it is moving.

Bartlett Falls, Bristol, Vermont: Getting a "just right" shutter speed in difficult, but dramatic lighting conditions makes this image unique

Water takes another fascinating form as a gas. Clouds, ground fog, and steam rising off water surfaces are all mesmeric elements in photographic art. These conditions come with a combination of elements. Generally, a rapid change in temperature, preceded by extremely moist circumstances, creates fog or steam. I look for a cool, clear morning following a particularly rainy period, for example, to create these conditions. Also, a precipitous change in temperature will create fog. When in Vermont in October, 2010, I followed the remnants of a tropical Hurricane which dumped several inches of rain on the state. Cool morning temperatures created wonderful ground fog conditions every morning.

Cool early morning temperatures following a heavy rainfall created magical atmospheric conditions for this image

Foggy conditions and clouds filter sunlight and often create vivid coloration in skies. Changes in weather conditions will often yield some of the most dramatic skies one can imagine.

Cool (32 degree) temperatures following a very wet period created wonderful steam and colorful morning cloud conditions on this pond near Barton, Vermont

In its frozen form, water has great photographic possibilities. The obvious is snow. However, ice, icebergs, flow ice and icicles all can be entrancing. And frozen water can even make dirt look interesting!

Margerie Glacier, Glacier National Park, Alaska

Thanks for reading………


Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay

The rest of the cruise was a slight change of routine.  After departing Skagway at 8:30 in the evening, we were aboard ship until the end of the cruise in Whittier.  The next 2 days involved cruising in Glacier Bay NP and then in College Fiord, north of Whittier.  Both involved up close and personal views of glaciers, as well as some pretty impressive wilderness.

Snowcapped Mountains, Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park has the distinction of being the only U.S. National Park that is accessible only by air or water.  Nearly all wilderness, there is one visitor center and a couple of reservation-only rustic guest cabins.  While I have read much about kayaking in the park, the bay is huge and the water deep and cold.  Such a visit would, in my view, take a particularly hardy soul.

Floating Glacial Ice, Glacier Bay

In the mouth of Glacier Bay, we were joined by National Park Service employees who came aboard for the day to educate us on the park.  The waters in the bay are thousands of feet deep.  We cruised from the mouth, all the way north to the Grand Pacific Glacier, some 65 miles!

Margerie Glacier

Winter; Love it or Hate it!

Winter sucks!  There.  I said it (I have been thinking it for the last month).  I have often, tongue-in-cheek, described my home in Saginaw, Michigan as “flat, brown and boring, unless you like power lines.”  But in winter, it actually changes from brown  to white (and then back to off-white or grey).  And here, Winter lasts for as long as 5 months, followed by about a
month of the brown “mud” season.  Maybe I am being
unfair to Saginaw.  I have certainly found a successful photographic image or two during the 25 years I have lived here.

Thinking back, I haven’t made a “successful” winter or snow image in years.  But I wonder if that isn’t my own fault?  Actually, to quote Jimmy Buffet, it is “my own damn fault.”  Winter–and snow–present some wonderful photographic opportunities.  Light, texture, color and shapes are all elements readily available in snow.  Water and ice are also prevalent and can create dynamic compositional elements and wonderful, contrasty, “black and white” or monochromatic images.

Snow images present challenges.  As a new photographer, I remember finding a bright yellow barn with a silver metal roof on a bright, snowy, sunny day.  I enthusiastically shot it, following the suggested setting on the “match-needle” metering on my new Canon SLR camera.  Afterward, I anxiously awaited the return of my mail-in slides, only to be crestfallen when the photographs came back severely underexposed!  How could that happen?  My “intuition” told me that if anything, that all that bright sunlight with white background and foreground would, if anything, cause my photo to be overexposed.  In reality, my meter did exactly what it was supposed to do (turn my beautiful white snow grey–hey, come to think of it, if I have been in Saginaw, I could have metered directly off that “neutral grey” snow).  In my view, bright conditions which provide high contrast in a monochromatic context are perhaps the most difficult of photographs.  Detail in the snow and other brightly reflected elements require attention exposure.  And with modern digital cameras, getting proper white balance (so we don’t get blue snow) is also an important consideration (although I tend to deal with that afterward in my RAW converter–you just had to know I couldn’t stay away some from “gear-based” technical discussion).

So, why have I not made any successful “Winter” images?  Its cold.  Its dark.  I am more comfortable sitting on the couch in front of my laptop.  I don’t have time.  Winter does that to me.  I really have no excuse.

I am posting this more than a week after I wrote the original text.  As I sat there thinking about blog topics that Sunday morning, it occurred to me that maybe I should have gone out and found a Winter photograph.  My personal challenge/commitment then and there was to get out and get at least one “successful” Winter photograph (I plan to
write a post in the future about my idea of a “successful” photograph) for illustration before I published this post.  On Saturday, I traveled to the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan and found a small stream (The “Rapid River” — there is another “Rapid River” in the U.P.) and actually made some winter photographs.  The day was dull and grey; not the best light for photography.  But it was still a more fulfilling experience to be out in it than to sit on the couch and write about it!

Thanks for reading . . . . .