Winter wonderland

We have been seeing a good bit of cold weather here in Maryland, along with the recent snowfall, I feel like I am living in upstate PA right now. I think this is the longest time I can remember that we have had freezing or below temps for an extended period of time. I have taken advantage of some of the recent storms and gone out braving the weather looking for some good shots. The wind was blowing with 30-40 mph gusts while I was out this morning earlier in the month. The direction of wind forced me to turn towards the sun for my shots, to protect me and my camera/lens. I found a spot in a field that had some interesting wind carved snow and setup my tripod low to the ground. My camera was only a few inches of the ground, forcing me to lay down to compose my shot. I was well prepared with coat and pants so this was an easy choice for me. Shooting into the sun I knew I was going to need something to help diffuse or block the bright area in my image even tho I was using a 2 stop ND grad filter, so I used the tree branches to accomplish this. I setup to that as the sun moved to the right, it would go further behind a limb for a minute or two before appearing on the other side. Using a smaller aperture of around f/16 helped me achieve a good star-burst effect on the sun.  I processed the image using a sharp foreground photo with a sharp image of the tree, manually blending them in Photoshop. Hope you enjoy…

Snow covered field, Maryland Sunrise Farms, Anne Arundel County, MD © Rob Loughrey

Long Exposure Comparison – No filter vs 10 stop ND filter

Hello everyone!
I was out taking some long exposure shots and decided to show a comparison between two exposures. If you have ever been interested in long exposure photography, here is an example of the difference between using no filter and a 10 stop neutral density filter. The first shot is without a filter and was at 1/5 sec at f/32. I tried adding a polarizer to help lengthen my exposure a bit. I adjusted accordingly to 15 sec at f/25. This still wasn’t what I was going for so,  I pulled out my 10 stop neutral density filter and changed my exposure to 4.5 minutes at f/32. I calculated my exposure from the first shot without any other filters and it came out to 4 minutes. I added the extra 30 seconds in just to play it safe. I have found when dealing with long exposures, it is always good to add 30 sec to a minute on just to make sure I have enough range in the RAW file.

If you are interested in this type of photography, there are a number of apps out there (for both iOS and Android phones) that provide some help. Search on Long Exposure Calculators and you will find plenty to choose from. You have the advantage of being in the digital age where you can view your shot right after it is captured. This will help you determine how to correct an exposure if it is off. Additionally, there are a number of publications out there that explain all of the aspects of long exposure photography. Just do a web search on it and you will find tons of information. If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me. I would be happy to help you.

Which do you prefer? For me:  The first image is really boring – It doesn’t have much interest to it at all. I’ll probably delete it from my archive. The second – looks better – getting there but still lacking a bit. Third – a keeper. I will probably get a large print and hang it in my house. I love the look of the sky when the clouds have been blurred for several minutes. It is a way that we aren’t used to seeing things. Make the image look so much more surreal.

Hope you enjoy…


Long Exposure Comparison. 1/5 Sec at f/32 - No filter



Long Exposure Comaprison - 15 sec /f25 - Polarizer filter



Long Exposure Comparison - 267 sec @ f/32 All images © Rob Loughrey


Jekyll Island Cool Toned

Following up from my previous post on Jekyll Island, the tide came in and the sun came up. There was a heavy fog rolling through the area, blocking out the sun but providing some great light. I decided to process this image with a duo tone look to give it a different feel. Overcast conditions are a double edged sword. It is great for taking images of flowers because everything is so evenly lit. There are very little harsh shadows to deal with. The other side of it is because the sun is diffused so much, it tends to make images of greater expanse very flat and uninteresting. I knew this while out shooting that morning and envisioned processing them as black and white or a toned images. On this particular image, I made it a cooler tone to give it a different feel. I positioned myself so that the sun was almost directly behind the tree. After composing, I took several bracketed images to ensure I had a good exposure. Processed in Lightroom ® and Nik Color Efex Pro ®. Hope you enjoy…

Driftwood beach - Jekyll Island State Park, GA © Rob Loughrey

Sidney Lanier Bridge and morning fog

This is another shot of the Sidney Lanier Bridge on the Brunswick River. This river is the outlet to the Saint Simons Sound just outside of Brunswick, Georgia. I spent the morning on the beach at Jekyll Island and then headed over to the North Bank of the river adjacent to the bridge. The location where I shot the image used to be a ship manufacturing port during WWII, where they built “Liberty” Cargo ships. You can see in the image that there are concrete ramp beams that dive down into the river. This is where actual “Liberty Ships” were built and launched during the 1940’s. During the recent rise of the real estate market, a real estate developer tagged the location as “Liberty Harbor” and was constructing a waterfront neighborhood at this location. The model home was finished and the real estate market crashed – sending Liberty Harbor to the history books along with the shipyard. The model home still stands right behind where I was located in the shadow of the bridge, but it beginning to deteriorate and has been plagued with vandalism as well.
On this morning, I had a good amount of seasonal fog rolling through the tidal waters obscuring the bridge for a long period of time. I spent a good hour at this location watching the fog pass through allowing me to capture different images of bridge and river. I waited long enough for the fog to begin to break but was still diffusing the rising sun enough for the picture to work. Hope you enjoy…

Sidney Lanier Bridge and fog - Brunswick, Georgia © Rob Loughrey