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Posts Tagged ‘sunrise’

Long Beach on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Long Beach on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

On the second last morning of my two week visit to Cayman Brac, in the Cayman Islands I awoke to the alarm at 5:00 a.m. and drove out to the eastern tip of the island along the road running along the north side of the island. The entire island of Cayman Brac is 12 miles long and on average 1.5 miles wide, so it does not take too long to get from one end or the other, but one must remember to drive on the left side of the road.

Long Beach on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Long Beach on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Long Beach is hardly a beach as the shoreline is a rugged and jagged terrain that easily chewed up the soles of my sneakers. This rugged shoreline extends from the ocean to the bluff, which stands roughly 140 feet above sea-level. I knew photographing sunrise here would be tricky at best because the sun rises on the south side of the bluff and I was facing the north side. If the conditions were right though, it just may make a wonderful scene. The waves at Long Beach were a little troublesome as there was lots of salt spray to contend with. In order to cope with the resulting salt spray I chose to do what I most often do back in Ontario when photographing waterfalls. I will typically place a clear plastic bag over my camera and compose the scene. Once I have the composition I am happy with I will raise the bag up and away from the front element of the lens, focus, and press the shutter – this technique usually works very well and minimizes the amount of time spent cleaning the front element of the lens and/or filters that may be attached to the lens.

BTW – that large, house-sized boulder sitting in the ocean at the base of the cliff is affectionately referred to as ‘Little Cayman Brac:)

Please click on the photos to see the larger, sharper versions.

 

 

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Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Just a short stroll down the beach from the villa I was renting on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac, in the Cayman Islands was a small grouping of rocks at the water’s edge. Several mornings I made use of these rocks as foreground subjects as I strolled along the beach. Each of the images in this post were created on a different morning. Some mornings the skies were more impressive than others, but I believe it is always a best practice to go out regardless – if I don’t I am missing something.

My most frequently used filter for sunrise imagery is the Singh-Ray Filter’s Daryl Benson 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter. Aside from polarizing filters, the graduated neutral density filters are a landscape photographer’s best friend. Some folks prefer not using these filters in favor of taking several, bracketed photos and either manually blending them or creating an HDR image with them. I prefer to create one image in the field, so I can spend less time at home on the computer. Using graduated neutral density filters allows me to do this easily.

Hope you like the rockpile :)

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper versions.

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Sunrise on Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

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Pollard Bay Sunrise, Cayman Brac

Pollard Bay Sunrise, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

On the morning of February 7, during my two week stay on the tiny island of Cayman Brac my destination was Pollard Bay on the eastern tip of the island, along the south shore. The shoreline here is very rugged and quickly meets the 140 foot bluff that is the spine of Cayman Brac. At 5:00 am I awoke to the sound of the alarm clock, jumped into the rental car and drove east, along the left side of the road :) until I reached the end, which is at Pollard Bay. I gathered my gear and walked out across the rugged and very sharp rocky coast to await the rising sun. After a few minutes of meandering around I came upon this indent in the shoreline where the waves were rolling in and out in a pleasing manner. I composed the scene with my Nikon D800 and Nikon 18-35mm lens firmly mounted to the Manfrotto BeFree Tripod, which is an ideal photographers travel companion. I created numerous compositions on this morning and will share more of them with you in a future post, but the image above is my favorite from that morning. Many of my favorite sunrise images tend to be captured prior to the sun becoming visible on the horizon. For me that is the sweetest light of all.

Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Sunrise on the Caribbean Island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands

Sunrise on the Caribbean Island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands

It has been a most hectic week for me since my return from paradise on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac within the Cayman Islands. I have been busy sending submissions to clients and preparing my entries for the BBC / Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, which closes on February 27th. I held off on entering any images until my return from Cayman Brac as I felt the island held many great possibilities for imagery that would be worthy of entering into this year’s competition – I entered 6 images from my recent trip into the contest.

Each and every morning I would set the alarm to wake me about forty-five minutes before sunrise. I would then walk down to the beach and commence capturing numerous sunrise images. When photographing sunrise scenes it is always a best practice to get into the habit of looking behind you to see what is going on in the western skies, as I did on the morning I created the above photograph. To accurately record the lovely pinkish tones I use my Singh-Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter and because I was photographing at daybreak just before sun-up my exposure was long enough to pleasingly blur the ocean waves.

During my trip to Cayman Brac I really wanted to travel as lightly as possible, which was made possible by Gentec International the Canadian distributor of Manfrotto Tripods. Gentec was kind enough to loan me the new Manfrotto BeFree Tripod for my trip to Cayman Brac. Please keep an eye open next week for my full review of this wonderful tripod that makes traveling a breeze.

Do remember to click on the image above to see the larger, sharper version.

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The photographs accompanying today’s post mark the some of the last photos taken with my Nikon D200 and the last post for a couple of weeks. After a very long wait my newly purchased Nikon D800 has finally arrived and I will be heading out the door to have some fun with the new camera. Why did I upgrade? Certainly not because the D200 was not taking great images but quite simply, I require a new tool to capture the images I want, and I believe that the Nikon D800 will allow me to do just that. In the coming weeks we will see :)  The two images in today’s post are from Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area located neat Elmvale, Ontario. Do note in the last image I should have captured this photo a few seconds earlier when the highest part of the cloud formation was directly above the tallest tree on the right side of the image.

I hope everybody has a safe, fun-filled Canada Day weekend and to my friends south of the border, all the best on July 4 :)

Please click on each image to view a much larger version of the photos.

See you soon!

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Small Lake At Sunrise, Seguin Recreation Trail

While out shooting fall colour about three weeks ago I wanted to visit one of my most favorite trails in Ontario – The Seguin Recreation Trail. This trail is not far from my family cottage on Horseshoe Lake. Sometimes I will drive out to the access point on Highway 69 and other times I will walk a one hour, woodland path off the cottage road out to this trail. For this day’s shoot I decided to drive out to the access point. The trail is no longer open to automobile traffic, only hiking, cycling and ATVs are permitted.

The Seguin Recreation Trail is rich in Ontario history and back in the late 1800′s it was once a railway line. This railway line was built by lumber baron JR Booth and connected Depot Harbour on Georgian Bay to Ottawa. The tracks have since been lifted and the trail is now referred to as the Park 2 Park Trail, which connects Killbear Provincial Park with Algonquin Provincial Park. When in Algonquin Provincial Park if you happen to hike the Mizzy Lake Trail, you will be walking on the old railway bed when you reach the section of the trail at Wolf Howl Pond.

I have always enjoyed this trail for its numerous beaver ponds and small lakes void of hand-of-man elements. Below you will see two versions of two different scenes captured along this trail. I am interested in hearing from folks as to which version of these two images they prefer and why?

Small Lake at Daybreak – Version #1

Small Lake at Daybreak – Version #2

Autumn Wetland – Version #1

Autumn Wetland – Version #2

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Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area at sunrise

Several days ago I drove over to Tiny Marsh for sunrise. I was greeted with a cloudless sky, not the most pleasing of situations for sunrise imagery. However, I ventured out across the wetland trails to see what might develop. As the sun rose above the horizon I captured a few images, minimizing the cloudless sky and allowing the wetland vegetation to dominate much of the image. Shortly after this I decided to walk out along the boardwalk trail to search for my favorite wildlife subjects – frogs. The boardwalk goes through a forested swampy section of  Tiny Marsh. My timing for this was perfect as there were many young Leopard Frogs at rest on fallen branches and resting among the duckweed in the water. I spent the next three or four hours shooting frogs. Since the frogs were in rather unpleasant lighting situations with the blazing sun casting harsh shadows as it streamed through the surrounding forest I decided to use my Nikon SB-400 on a home-made flash bracket to illuminate the scene. When I shoot frogs I always try to get down to their level if possible, so in this situation I lay down on the boardwalk to get as low as possible. The use of the flash solved the harsh, contrasting lighting, but it created another problem that I dislike very much – flash generated specular highlights. So began the task of eliminating these from the images. Often I will work on a photo very large (500-800%) to evict the highlights. I often use a variety of quick masks and clone stamp to complete this task. Due to the glossy, wet look of the amphibian`s skin this can sometimes be a time consuming task, taking 1-2 hours per image on occasion. I do find the extra effort is well worth the end result and when I complete the task why not try running through the photoshop plugin Fractalius.

Below you will see one of my Leopard Frog images from this day showing the original capture, the optimized file and of course the Fractalius rendering.

On another note, I have started a Facebook fan page today, still lots of work to do on it, but you may check it out here .

Original Capture

Optimized Image

Fractalius Version

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Tiny Marsh at sunrise (3-stop reverse graduated filter)

On Friday morning I made a quick trip up to Tiny Marsh for some sunrise photography. Tiny Marsh, located just west of Barrie, Ontario, is one of my favorite destinations for sunrise photography and wetland wildlife images too. Don’t let the name fool you, this is a very large wetland. The wetland section of this location is 600 hectares in size and is surrounded by 300 hectares of forest and fields. It is managed, in part, by Ducks Unlimited Canada. This was my first visit to the marsh this year as I have been too busy to get here sooner. I often arrive long before sunrise to allow time to walk out across the wetland trails to be where I want to be when the show begins. It is always a pleasure to listen to the sounds of the marsh as it awakens with the new day. Black Terns, Pied-billed Grebe, Osprey, Trumpeter Swans, Least Bitterns, Otters and many other critters abound here.

I have begun to use a Singh Ray 3-stop reverse graduated filter for sunrise photos where the sun is just above the horizon. The reverse graduated filter does a wonderful job at holding back the bright sun as it rises above the horizon. This filter yields more pleasing results for these type of images as opposed to using an ordinary graduated filter.

Tiny Marsh at sunrise (3-stop reverse graduated filter)

While waiting for the sun to rise don’t forget to look over your shoulder. Often you will find some rather pleasing colors in the sky. For the image below I used a combination of a Singh Ray 2-stop soft edge graduated filter with a Singh Ray Color Intensifier. The original image was composed with some wild rice poking into the foreground. To include the cloud formation reflections I was forced to include them in the composition and then evict them later in post processing.

Tiny Marsh (Singh Ray 2-stop grad filter & Color Intensifier)

As I was walking out along the wetland trail towards my car, the sun was much higher in the sky and broke through an opening in the cloud cover producing rays of light that shone down on the wetland. For the image below I used a 2-stop graduated filter and a Cokin Blue and Yellow Polarizing Filter. I don’t particularly like using the blue and yellow filter, but do find that it has its place when used sparingly. Often when using this type of filter with digital capture some adjustment to white balance and color temperature is required. If you are interested in using this type of filter I would suggest you purchase the Singh Ray version (I keep putting it off, but need to replace the Cokin one with this one) which is called ‘Gold-N-Blue” and to use if effectively refer to Darwin Wiggett’s blog entry at Focus on Singh Ray Filters.

Tiny Marsh (2-stop grad filter & Cokin Blue & Yellow polarizer)

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Here is a collection of some of initial landscape results, or perhaps more appropriately they should be referred to as ocean-scapes, from my recent trip to the island of Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba. Much of the week there were strong winds that created rough conditions on the ocean – perfect for wave blurs. The last day or so the winds diminished and the ocean settled down quite a bit for some more peaceful ocean scenes. I found my 12-24mm lens to be my most used lens on this trip with my 80-400mm lens a close second, mostly for bird life. I used an assortment of filters for these images here, from ND filters to polarizers to grad and reverse grad filters. The islands in the Jadines del rey archipelago, a Unesco World Biosphere, are dominated by many mangrove sections that are very rich in birdlife. As fate would have it, while shooting landscapes one morning with my 12-24mm lens attached three Crested Caracaras flew by. I was a little disappointed that there was not as much birdlife on this island as I had encountered on a previous visit to Cayo Guillermo in the same archipelago, but nonetheless it is a beautiful location and I was able to add several new species of birds to my image collection which will be featured in an upcoming post in the coming days. Hope you enjoy this selection of imagery.

30 Second exposure at sunrise over Mangroves

Wave blur on the Atlantic Ocean

Daybreak on Cayo Santa Maria and Atlantic Ocean

Mangroves

Wave blur on the Atlantic Ocean at Cayo Santa Maria

Cayo Santa Maria ocean scene at low-tide

Rugged shoreline handheld from catamaran with 80-400 VR lens

Sunrise over mangroves

Atlantic Ocean at low-tide on Cayo Sanata Maria

Daybreak on Cayo Santa Maria and Atlantic Ocean

 

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Going through some of my images from last year and thought I would post a few. Hope you like the photos.

Sunrise at Antrim Lake in Ontario’s Halfway Lake Provincial Park

Fall colour along Irondale River

The Gut on the Crowe River in The Gut Conservation Area

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