Persistence pays – Part II

Hello everyone,

Been a few weeks since I have been able to work on any images. To follow up on my last post, where I described working a scene and waiting for the right light, I decided to follow my own advice. During my annual visit to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, I took a more relaxed approach to my photography outings. I really just watched the weather and waited for what looked like a good evening and only ventured out 2 or 3 times during the week long vacation. This is a big difference from what I normally would do, which is going out every evening. On this particular evening, the clouds were looking pretty promising in the afternoon. I took a short drive down to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and walked out onto the beach. I scouted out the area for about 30 minutes before settling on a location. I found a spot where I had a good view of the lighthouse and felt the setting sun would be in a nice position. I setup and waited for the light to change. Over the course of an hour, I watched the sun dip down as the clouds rushed by. The position of the clouds really worked out well and I came away with some images I was very happy with. I processed these in Adobe Lightroom and then Photoshop using Tony Kuyper’s luminosity masks. Tech Details: Nikon D800, 24-120mm lens, cable release, Induro Tripod. Hope you enjoy.

Sunset light - Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC © Rob Loughrey
Sunset light – Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC © Rob Loughrey
Summer color - Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC © Rob Loughrey
Summer color – Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC © Rob Loughrey
Sun, sand and a gentle breeze - Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC © Rob Loughrey
Sun, sand and a gentle breeze – Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, NC © Rob Loughrey

Hatteras dunes – continued

Just wanted to put out a quick post with another shot from my trip to Hatteras Island. For this image, I used a 24mm PC lens, low to the ground and tilted forward. I believe I had about 1 – 1.5 degrees of tilt after finding a focus point in the foreground. When using this lens, I often have to go back and forth between focus and tilt until I am confident that I have both foreground and distant objects in focus. Post processing was done in Adobe Lightroom (minimal), followed by Adobe Photoshop once again using TK luminosity masks. Hope you enjoy…

Morning light brings out the details in the sand on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC  © Rob Loughrey

Sun, fun and Tony Kuyper Actions

Back in the Outer Banks with my family for a little R&R. We have had a great time here with some excellent weather, both good and bad, but mostly good. I did my best to relax and enjoy the time off this year, only getting up on two occasions to catch the sunrise and venturing out on two other occasions for sunset over the two week period. I paid close attention to the cloud cover and weather reports and was rewarded with an excellent sunrise on this day.   I returned to an area that I had scouted out the day before and was able to catch some great light in an area of dunes on the North end of the Island. I spent a good couple of hours shooting the area with two lenses – a 24mm PC and a 17-35mm zomm. Here is one of the first images I processed, shot with the 24mm lens that I used to create a panoramic shot. I took advantage of the tilt function on this lens giving the image sharp focus from near to far with just a few degrees of tilt. Thanks to Sean Bagshaw for his tips on how to use one of these lenses.  Recently, I began to use a new approach to process my images as well. If you haven’t heard of Tony Kuyper before, be sure to check out his TK actions panel utilizing Luminosity Masking to giving yourself complete control of your image. I found his site through Sean Bagshaw’s site and subsequently purchased the actions panel and videos that were created by Sean. I have to give both Sean and Tony major props for the videos and actions. Without the videos, It would have taken me much longer to understand the concepts behind the actions. Tony is an absolute genius with these actions and the panel, giving you complete control to edit your images beyond your imagination. I have watched the videos several times and am developing my own workflow utilizing the TK Actions panel as a primary source of editing.
Hope you enjoy my first TK Action processed image…

Windswept dunes, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

After the sunset…

A quick follow up from my previous post…
I always stay in a location for a good amount of time. To me that often means several hours of being in one location and working the scene. The light changes so much over time that it is almost like being in a new location after an hour goes by. Case in point – this photo is from the same coast line I was on during the last post while the sun set. I had walked out to the coast on the pier shown in this photo. While the sun was setting, I walked north along the marsh to a pier that was washed out except for the pilings. After the sun went down, I walked back to the pier and used it for several photos. I put on my Singh Ray Mor Slo 5 Stop ND and Gold & Blue Polarizer filters to make sure I had a good 25-30 Sec exposure. The Gold & Blue filter also help to enhance the colors. I love the long exposure look in coastal photographs. The water and clouds are blurred but your stationary elements are sharp. I think it gives the image such a different feel. In future posts, you will see how the landscape changes even more as the stars start to become visible…

Twilight - Cape Hatteras National Seashore © Rob Loughrey

Summer sunset

During a recent vacation to Hatteras Island, I went out on a few ventures during Sunrise, Sunset & a few all nighters out on the beach. The week we were there it was a new moon phase, which was great for night photography. The skies were clear nearly every night. It did make the sunsets a little less dramatic, but I made due the couple of nights I went out.
There are a number of places I have scoped out during previous trips that I like to go back to. One of the things I try to do each time is shoot a different angle or perspective of the scene. I am also a stickler to make sure that I don’t have intersecting lines if I can avoid it. What I mean by this is I try to make sure foregroud elements don’t overlap with middle ground elements, or that elements in the middle of the image don’t intersect with the horizon. To me, these are distractions. Maybe no one else notices it but I think it makes for a stronger image when you can accomplish this. At times I have to raise or lower my point of view, stand on a tree stump, climb on rocks …etc. Whatever I can do get the right angle. I take a test shot and then review the image on my camera, zoomed in and looking at each of the areas to make sure there aren’t any distractions.

This is a shot from the Pamlico Sound side as the sun was setting. Calm waters and a slight breeze, it was a great sunset.


Summer Sunset - Pamlico Sound - Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

Coastal Sunset

A sunset shot from ta trip to the Outer Banks, NC. I found this pier by searching google earth and The Photographers Ephemeris software. I have posted previously about what a valuable tool this software is. It allowed me to see that the sun would set directly down the middle of this dock while I was there. I also took some time to hop off of the pier down into the marsh to get a few shots. Something I don’t recommend unless you have some good bug spray or you are visiting in the winter time when the bugs are sparse. Looking forward to the next visit – I have already scouted out a few places to get some photos. Hope you enjoy…

Sunset over Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC. © Rob Loughrey

Outer Banks Stars – Part II

Here is a vertical shot of what I was shooting each night on the beach. One one night, I had both of my cameras snapping pictures. One in horizontal format, the other in vertical format. I tried to keep the North Star on the edge of the image. You can see that there was a thunderstorm out over the Atlantic Ocean. The lightning strikes can be seen on the horizon. The bank of clouds I spoke about in my previous post can be seen inching into the image on the right.

Stars over Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

Outer Banks Stars

If you read my previous post, you already know I spent a number of nights out on the beach after midnight. The skies were clear except for the few times I had a stray cloud pass by. Towards the end of my time lapse shoot, I did have a bank of clouds roll in which started blocking out the stars. It is both quiet and noisy while out there all alone. The surf is crashing in over and over, but that is all that you hear. It was so peaceful that I ended up falling asleep on the beach while my camera was clicking away. More to follow….

Star trails over Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

First shots from my trip to OBX

Back down in the Outer Banks for some rest and relaxation. I always try to make some time to get out and capture some images of the area. The moon was full the first night we were here, so I made the most of the first couple of days getting some night shots of the local pier, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Hatteras Island beaches. The first several nights proved pretty good with clear skies for the most part. I went out to one of my usual locations on the sound side and found the dock and pier that I have photographed on previous visits to have been wiped out from the hurricane last summer. The dock was well on its way to being rebuilt but not completed. When I visit this location, I always check with whomever is staying in the rental home to make sure they don’t have an issue with me going out onto the dock. The dock was built by the homeowner and is marked as private use for the renters. I met a very nice lady who happened to be from PA, not to far from where I grew up. It was nice to have some good conversation while I shot a few images and the sun went down. I used a Singh-Ray 3 stop Reverse ND filter to bring in some detail to the setting sun.
Sunset over Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore © Rob Loughrey


Sunset over Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore © Rob Loughrey