A couple of weeks ago Google announced they were making the Nik software suite free to download. You can’t beat free so I downloaded the software and here is one of the first images I processed using Silver Fx Pro. This image was made by opening up Silver Fx and just playing around with it. There are a lot of how to videos on Youtube that cover the use of all the different aspects of the Nik suite, I plan on watching some so I can take full advatage of the program.
Here’s another example of when sometimes plans don’t go according to plan. I drove to Popham Beach for 3 AM hoping to get photos of the milkyway over Fox Island. Well, despite clear skies when I left the house there was a thin cloud cover at the coast. I did spend a couple of hours photographing the night sky because stars were still visible, I just couldn’t clearly see the milkyway. It was almost 5 Am when I decided to call it quits on the stars but figured there might be some potential for a good sunrise. The clock sprung ahead last night so the sun was not due to rise until almost 7 AM. I went back to the car to kill some time, I wanted to be back on the beach by 6 because on the coast, the sky starts to brighten at least an hour before the sun actually gets above the horizon (nautical twilight). This is just one image of many I took and not necessarily the best, I’ll save that for my 2017 calendar. This is one of those times where I was glad I decided to hang around.
This image is from my first trip to Pemaquid Point a few weeks ago. It was taken during nautical twilight and the sun is till an hour away from rising. To the naked eye it was still very dark but the 30 second exposure at F2.8 and ISO 3200 shows the sun is bright enough to light up the sky even though it was well below the horizon. Also, this is a focus stack of two photos, one with the lens set at infinity for the sky and lighthouse, the second one focused on the foreground rock. The two were blended in Photoshop.
After looking at my photos from Pemaquid last week, I wasn’t totally satisfied, I knew I could do better. I thought about it all week and envisioned the type of photograph I wanted to take. My original plan was to go early Sunday morning but the below zero temps kinda put a damper on that so I decided to go Monday morning. Well, the temps didn’t warm up at all but the sky conditions were right for the image I wanted. I have two apps on my iPad, Sky Walk and The Photographer’s Ephemeris that show all the features of the night sky and where they’ll be at certain times of the day and times of the year. Normally the milkyway is photographed during the new moon because moon light will wash out the stars. This particular day the quarter moon set at 12:30 AM so I knew there wouldn’t be that extra light to deal with. My two apps showed the milkyway would rise shortly before 4 AM and this time of year it’s low in the sky, just above the horizon. I got up at 2:30 AM and hit the road, it was 10 below zero F. This is one of the images I took, it’s a combination of 5 five photos combined in Photoshop to make the panorama. Monday morning was the first time I had a battery stop working because of the cold, luckily I had just bought a spare so I was able to exchange it and keep on clicking. By the time I got home shortly before 7 the temp had dropped to 15 below, I’m so glad I had hand warmers. It’s hard to make out in this picture, but the sub zero temperatures created plenty of sea smoke.
Got an invite from my friend Dan, Bicycle with a View, to go to Pemaquid Lighthouse this morning. This image was taken shortly after 5 AM and as you can see, the milky way is appearing in the early morning sky, although the brightest part of it isn’t in this pic. I didn’t realize, while I was exposing the photo, a shooting star went across the sky. Pemaquid Point is one of the iconic, and oft photographed lighthouses in Maine, but this was actually the first time I ever photographed it.
Here’s another from last autumns Acadia trip. The first evening there I was photographing by Thunder Hole but I really didn’t like the photos I was getting, the sky was kind of gray and there were a lot of people milling about. I packed up my gear and headed out on The Loop road. I hadn’t driven for 10 minutes when I noticed the sky starting to light up. I pulled off into the first turn off which happened to be Otter Point, by this time the sky was on fire. I hurried and got the camera gear back out and rushed down the trail from the parking lot to the actual point. When I got everything set up and started taking photographs this was the only color left in the sky. Lesson learned, get to a place early and stick it out.
Acadia National Park can be a very busy place during the fall, making this image was the only time I had the whole area to myself. It shows that it is possible to find solitude in one of the busiest national parks in the country, you just need to find the right spot and the right time of day. This is The Bubbles and Jordan Pond. I was hoping to get a picture of the milky way over The Bubbles but it happened to be straight overhead going from left to right. The photograph is a combination of two, the sky and foreground are seperate exposures. The sky was f2.8 for 30 seconds at ISO 3200 and the foreground was a ten minute exposure at ISO 1600. It was very breezy on this particular evening, causing ripples in the water, so the stars were not reflected on the pond surface.
This photo was taken last summer while on vacation in the down east region. This was sunset in Lubec. I’ve explained in a previous post how waiting for good colors pays off. This photo was taken before the image in the linked post.