Monday, March 31, 2008

Great Falls, Brookside Gardens and Meadowlark Gardens Private Workshop this past weekend

I had a private workshop this past weekend in Northern Virginia. My client, Joe and his wife were down from upstate New York to photograph early spring along Mather Gorge and the Potomac River. First let me just say how nice Joe and his wife were. It was a real pleasure to spend the weekend shooting with a group so enthusiastic and energetic. We started out at Great Falls at first light on Saturday morning. Joe and I found our way down to a beautiful cascade along the rivers edge. The light was just right with a strong pink glow and blue skies. We spent at least a half hour shooting along this sectioon of the river. Below is the first image captured that morning.

After getting our fill of shooting in the Gorge we wen't for coffee and breakfast before heading over to Brookside Gardens to work on Macro and Multiple Exposure Techniques. The flowers all looked good and we ended up spending around 3 hours shooting in the conservatory. Here are a few images from Brookside.

Click on any image for a larger view.

After lunch and image critiques we headed back over to Great Falls to catch sunset from the first overlook behind the Visitor Center on the Virginia side. We had some really nice light and sunset and twilight lasted for a really long time. This of course allowed the rimwe to make some great images. Here is my favorite image from sunset.

On sunday we met for sunrise again at Great Falls and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing image critiques, software training and macro work at Meadowlark Gardens. All in all, what a great weekend. Thanks Joe and Pam for making the long hual from New York and allowing me the pleasure of leading you to some of my favorite spots in the area. Here are a few images from Sunday's shoot. Enjoy, Joe.

Click on any image for a larger view.
I am available for private instruction and tours from 1 person to groups of 5. Click here for pricing and details.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Morning Shoot at Brookside Gardens

I had to get out of from behind my computer, so I decided to make a quick outing to Brookside Gardens on Saturday morning. Knowing it had rained the night before, I was hoping for some nice dewy images and good light. I was going to go over to Great Falls for a sunrise, but decided against it, thinking that the water through the Gorge would be to muddy with snow melt in the mountains and the recent rains.

I started out at first light shooting macro images near the conservatory and then as the sun rose over the tree line, I moved up along the hill to shoot dewy grass and tree abstracts. Some of the dewy grass images are my favorites and these were made by laying on my belly with a 300mm and a 25mm extension tube. This allowed me to focus very close while also throwing the background out of focus and created those beautiful specular highlights. By shooting with my aperture wide open, the specular highlights become a big orb of light. Here are a few examples.

I then headed into the conservatory to shoot far about an hour before the light became to harsh and the crowds arrived. All in all it was a really fun and productive morning. Now its time to get back to finishing up on some images for submission to my stock agency. Later this morning, I will be heading over the eastern Shore to St. Michaels to scout some new locations to shoot and for our upcoming workshop this summer. Have a great weekend, Joe.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting the best angle might mean getting your feet wet !

Waterfalls along Pendelton Run, Blackwaterfalls State Park, West Virginia.
Nikon D200, 17-35mm, Singh Ray Warm Polarizer, raw capture, 15 seconds @ f16

I made this image of waterfalls along Pendleton Run last month while leading a workshop in Blackwater Falls State Park. On the last day of the workshop I lead the group down to photography waterfalls along Pendleton Run. This small stream drops hundreds of feet into Blackwater Canyon and has some really beautiful waterfalls and cascades along the way.

Climbing down a rock ledge into the stream provided me with a unique angle of this section of falls. I squatted down into the water and ran through compositions. Upon finding a perfect angle, I attached my camera to the tripod and fitted on my Singh Ray Warm Polarizer in order to reduce glare on the wet rocks thus increasing contrast and color saturation. The hardest part of making this image was keeping my lens free of water during the long 15 second exposure. I would have to get up out of the water and creep around to the front of the camera. Wipe the lens free of spray and mist, trip the shutter and keep my fingers crossed. It took me about 15 shots to get only a few without water and moisture on the lens. It was well worth the effort and frozen feet.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Great Falls Spring Photo Workshop

Sunrise from above the Gorge, Great Falls National Park, Virginia

We only have 2 spaces left for our Great Falls Spring Workshop on April 12 -13. This is a great time to shoot in the park. Fresh green leaves, great water along the Potomac, cool temps and fog and mist in the morning. If anyone is interested, please send me an email. This workshop should fill up in the next couple of days.

On a side note, I would like to thank everyone who attended the "Abstract Photography Techniques" class at Meadowlark Gardesn on Saturday. What a nice and info hungry group of students. I had a great time spending the morning with you all.

Now back to putting the finishing touches on a Natures Best magazine submission and my lecture at the Loudon Camera Club for this week. Peace.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Abstract Nature Photography Class This Weekend

Well it has been an extremely busy week. I have been putting together images for my Abstract Nature Photography Class this weekend at Meadowlark Gardens as well as preparing for a lecture on March 13th at the Loudon Camera Club in Virginia.

The class this weekend has drawn quite a lot of interest and we had to turn away a dozen or so people due to the size of the facility. Because of the interest in the class, I will be adding another date later this year probably in July or August.

On a side note, one of my images from Great Falls National Park has been chosen as a finalist for the 2007 Nature Conservancy Places We Protect Photo Contest. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the image makes it all the way to the 2008 calendar. Wish me luck. If I can manage to get away from the office this weekend, I will try to do some shooting on Sunday morning. Then it’s back to slogging out a few magazine submissions and preparing for a private workshop I am leading in Great Falls Park later this month.