Anne Arundel Morning

There is something about the months of November and December when it comes to morning photography. Quite often, temperature inversion happens and the fields are covered with a blanket of mist and fog. This is a great time to be out getting some sunrise images of the areas around you. One of my favorite haunts is a local farm where I am able to go out and be a part of the days awakening. It’s cold, the snow geese are moving and there is a distinct calm in the air. Scouting an area and knowing where the sun will rise is a great help when you are trying to capture a specific image. I use various apps available for my phone that provide the exact location of the sun throughout the day. It is a tremendous help in getting the shot you envision. Sleeping in on days like this is overrated. Get out there and enjoy the world….

Sunrise – Anne Arundel County, MD © Rob Loughrey

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

 

The details…

Do you ever go somewhere and take some pictures and then look at them later and say to yourself – this really doesn’t do it justice? I’m not afraid to admit it. Photography is a means to help people experience what you did when you picked up your camera and decided to capture an image. It has taken me years to get to a point where I feel I can convey the experience of being there in my photography. One thing that helps me is to stop for a minute and look around at the scene. Take it all in and look for the details that moved you in the first place. Capture the small things that surround you. It is all part of the experience. These 3 images were all taken within a short distance of one another. The first – I was on a hill driving down a farm road, looking toward the sun. I used a wide angle lens and captured the vast expanse of the farm land. Second image, I zoomed in a bit and focused on the fog and the way the sunrise was lighting it up. I drove a little further down the road along the fields where the fog was rolling through and looked at the details. The fence, the field and trees bring it all together for me. When you are out taking images, pay attention to the details & capture them. Hopefully it will help you grown in your craft as well.
 

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Fall – my favorite season

I’m sure I am not alone in this, but I have to say that Fall or Autumn – which ever you term you choose – is my favorite of all seasons. For me  fall is one of the most intense times to view the landscape. For those of you who haven’t heard this before – I am color deficient or Red/Green Color Blind as some people would like to say. Keeping this in mind, I can only imagine what the trees look like to everyone else – since I know I am looking at it from a different perspective. There have been times when I look at the sky morning or evening twilight and ask someone what color the see. Often times, they tell me it is a beautiful pink or purple. Unfortunately it is normally grey to me at those times, fading into a blue or orange. I don’t do well with pink and I really don’t see purple at all. Even so, fall has a great deal to offer in the color spectrum for any of us. The sunrise and sunset times are perfect for me while I driving to work each morning. I can drop off my son at school and stop off to snap a few sunrise shots in the morning and still make it to work on time. For a 6 week period between mid September and the end of October, the weather changing also comes with matching temp and dew points. This usually means fog in the low lying fields or over water. Here are is a shot of one of my favorite haunts in Anne Arundel County. Shot as the sun was cresting over the trees, lighting the fog like a scene out of a movie. The winding road into the sunrise just really grabbed my attention. Mornings like this are why I love going out and capturing images and spending time in this amazing world. More to follow…
Daybreak at MD Sunrise Farms © Rob Loughrey

Around home…

I am a big fan of finding locations nearby your home that work for your style of photography. I scout out areas myself and often get suggestions of places to check out from friends. This location was suggested by a friend of mine who takes morning walks in the area. The Piney Orchard Nature Preserve is a 100 acre nature preserve that includes woodlands, wetlands, grassy fields, freshwater ponds and 5 miles of walking trails. The trails vary in length but are mostly from .02 – .07 miles long. You can find maps on-line and at the preserve that can help you decide which trails to take. The preserve is located on the southern end of the Piney Orchard Community of Odenton in Anne Arundel County. There is public parking to access the trails off of Riverscape Road. Trails include bike paths and walking trails. During mid June, the Lotus’ bloom each morning for about 2-3 weeks. If you haven’t seen this, I highly recommend checking it out. There are hundreds of lotuses in Duck Cove Pond at the nature preserve, making it quite a site when they all open up at once. Here are a couple of shots from one of my recent mornings. All shots taken with my Nikon D800, Manfrotto tripod, Really Right Stuff Ball Head and Singh Ray LB Color Combo Polarizing Filter.
 

Daybreak - Piney Orchard Nature Preserve © Rob Loughrey

 

Lotus flowers, Piney Orchard Nature Preserve © Rob Loughrey

 

Pax River at night

During a trip to see family during the spring, I was out trying to get shots of the Panstars comet that was passing through our galaxy. I wasn’t able to go somewhere like the mountains of West Virginia to get away from the light pollution around here, so I had to make the best of it. I searched the internet for information on how to locate the comet and used a set of binoculars. For the life of me, I couldn’t find the darn thing. I had to mark it up to too much light pollution because I did see other photographers in the midwest were able to get some great shots of it.
I didn’t want the night to be a total loss, so I took some images of the boat dock at Granny & Poppy’s house. I used a 24mm tilt shift lens and shifted the lens left to right to capture 3 images that I used Photoshop to create a panoramic image with. The process is pretty simple once you know what to do. Photoshop does all of the heavy lifting with stitching the frames together. I made some minor adjustments after that and exported the image. As you can see, I was able to catch a few stars in the upper portion of the image, but not many. Need to spend some time away from the light pollution. Nikon D800, 24mm PC lens, Manfrotto Tripod, Really Right Stuff Ball Head.

Hope you enjoy…

Patuxent River under the stars © Rob Loughrey

Monday inspiration

I took this shot awhile ago in my backyard – but decided to post it for some Macro Monday Photography inspiration. This bleeding heart plant is was planted by the previous owners of my home and it continues to get larger each year. Always good for some macro photography. The trick is to get some images on a day when the air is still. This flower has some long stems that hang out pretty far and it tends to sway quite a bit with even the slightest breeze. Nikon D200, Tamron 180mm Macro lens, Bogen Tripod, Really Right Stuff Ball head.
 

Bleeding Heart Flower (Dicentra spectabilis) - Anne Arundel County, MD © Rob Loughrey

Stormy night at the OVFC Carnival

During the OVFC Carnival last night, some heavy storm clouds rolled in while the sun was setting. The sky was lit up with these ominous looking clouds and shortly after 9:30, they brought some heavy rains and a bit of lightning. The carnival grounds cleared out quickly with the storm rolling in. You can see all of the people from the kitchen hard at work. 🙂
 

Storm clouds roll in over the Odenton Volunteer Fire Co. annual Carnival, Odenton, MD © Rob Loughrey

Life finds a way…

During a recent visit to our family who lives in Southern Maryland, I was out taking some photos along the Patuxent River. I noticed a large log from an old tree that was lying on the beach – just a few feet from the river. The stump has been there a long time and has been deteriorating over time. During storms, the river level rises and this stump is underwater. It looks very weathered. As I was looking at the stump, I noticed this very tiny hole on the top, which was probably where a branch used to extend out. After closer inspection, I noticed this very tiny leaf sticking out of the hole. When I say tiny, I mean tiny. The stalk was only an inch long and the leaf was only 1/4″ long. I was amazed that enough of the right ingredients made it into the hole, add some water and sunlight and life finds a way. I wanted to capture this moment in time so I changed out to my 180mm macro lens and adjusted my distance to ensure a life size image. The sun was setting and the knot hole was very dark. I wasn’t carrying a reflector around and was trying to figure out a way to get some light bounced into the void to give some depth to the photo. Then I thought for a minute and realized I could use my sunglasses. They have a reflective lens that is a gold/orange color. I composed the photo and had my remote cable release in one hand, while playing with the angle of the sunglass lens until I saw the back side of the stalk lighten up and then fired away. I took several images with different reflected angles to make sure I had something that I liked. Hope you enjoy…
 

A small plant grows out of a knot hole in a piece of drift wood along the Pax River, MD © Rob Loughrey