Tag Archives: cape may

We Love Cape May

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We Love Cape May

Each year since we started this adventure called Road Runner Photography Tours we have held a Cape May Tour. But truth be told, Cape May was a favorite of ours long before we started Road Runner. This year Mother Nature was quite nice and provided us with good sunrises and sunsets every day of the tour. But Cape May is so much more than just sunrises and sunsets, with the shore birds, salt marshes, fishing boats, people, and the list goes on.

 

Don’t Miss Out!

Don’t Miss Out on our Early Bird Specials and Fall Tour Opportunities!

Alaskan Aurora Adventure – 15% discount expires on May 31, 2016

Current Price (with 15% discount) – $4463

Regular Price – $5250

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To learn more about and register for this trip, click here.

Davis and Canaan Valley, West Virginia – Discount expires on July 31, 2016

Current Price (with discount) – $280

Regular Price – $350

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To learn more about and register for this trip, click here.

Cape May, New Jersey

Current Price – $375

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To learn more about and register for this trip, click here.

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Cape May and the making of Lemonade

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We just finished our annual Cape May Photo Tour weekend and as usual we had a great group of talented and energetic photographers. Cape May is such a wonderful venue that even though we arrived 2 days early to scout the locations, we still did not cover all of our favorite spots!

In regard to making Lemonade. That’s a term of art that I use to illustrate how to deal with the challenges that photography can sometimes present. The shot above was our first stop with the tour group last Friday evening. The access to this point is very narrow allowing for only one photographer at a time. I needed to get my tripod in the water to get the reflection and wanted to show the shot to our clients as an example of one of the possible shots from this location. Considering that I had 10 people in line behind me, I just took a quick snap and on the back of the camera everything looked fine. When I started to process this shot I realized that while I had the foreground sharp, my depth of field was not sufficient to render the lighthouse as sharp as I would have preferred. So I used a couple of Flypaper Textures to give the shot a different feel and I think with the use of textures the importance of sharpness in the image becomes less important.

I also use and recommend the plugin “Dirty Pictures” from Totally Rad Software for managing and working with Textures in Photoshop.

We are planning to do our annual Cape May Weekend next year a littler earlier so we can photograph the iconic Cape May Boats that line the beach! Registration is open and it’s not too early to secure your spot on this tour… . If you want to keep up with all things Road Runner, please join our Meetup and our Mailing List (on the right side of this page).

Creating a Sense of Motion with Long Exposures

Long exposure images can create an almost surreal effect, evoking emotional responses, such as calm, peacefulness, and even angst, depending on the image. Creating these images can be a challenge and generally requires certain gear, such as a sturdy tripod, a camera body that has a bulb setting, various types of filters to reduce the amount of light hitting the camera’s sensor in order to lengthen the shutter speed and show motion in the image, and the right setting (environment).

The best long exposure images are created when capturing moving water or clouds, as these subjects convey movement in an otherwise still environment.

So, let’s chat about the gear and look at some examples of long exposure images.

The images that follow were taken on different trips, literally from coast-to-coast and were taken with either a variable stop filter or a 15-stop filter, as noted. I use Singh-Ray filters, but there are many options on the market. So you can find the one(s) that work best for you. If you are interested in Singh-Ray filters, you can get a 10% discount by using ROADRUNNER10 for a discount code.

For this image, I used variable stop filter to extend the shutter time to just over 66 seconds. This allowed me to capture the movement of the clouds, while creating a plane of glass on the ocean’s surface. I chose a variable stop filter, because the variability allowed me get just the right amount of exposure reduction to meet the needs of the environment. In this case, the heavy overcast would not have been conducive to using my 15 stop filter, which is actually best used on bright sunny days with big puffy cumulous clouds.

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This image was captured in the taken during the day, well before sunset. The sky was too bright for the variable stop filter to achieve the look I was going for, so for this image I used the 15 stop. The 15 stop allowed me to achieve a 3 minute exposure, which resulted in smooth water and a nice layer of fog on the horizon.

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This next image was captured in at sunrise. As before, the setting was not bright enough for a full 15 stops but it was too bright to shoot without a filter, so I used the variable filter to slow the rushing waves down.

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There are times when you don’t even need a filter to capture a long exposure, as in this next image, which was captured after the sunset. The clouds enabled me to get a 6 second exposure, without the aid of any filters.

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In this last image, I used a 10-stop filter to achieve the flowing motion of the river.

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In each of these images, I used a sturdy tripod to help ensure that the still subject matter (e.g., buildings, piers, bridge) would be sharp. The environment and my overall vision for each image helped me decide which filter to use. Long exposure images take experimentation, how long is long enough, how long is too long.

I would say that if you are new to long exposure photography, you might find that a variable filter will provide you the most bang for your bucks, as it allows you to experiment in almost all conditions. You may struggle to achieve 10 minute exposures with a variable filter, but you will easily achieve 1-3 min exposures with a filter that varies from 1-8 or 10 stops, which is adequate to slow cloud and water movement in most situations. Whereas a 15 stop is best used in the middle of the day, bright sunshine, where a variable will not darken the image enough to achieve a slow shutter speed. You can also get filters at other stops, such as 5 stop and 10 stop, each has its own use.

So the question becomes, do you want to invest in a number of different filters to achieve a range of stops, or do you want to invest in one filter (a variable) that provides you a range with which to experiment. As noted, if you are just learning or experimenting with your interest in long exposure you might find that a variable filter gives you the most options early on. Once you are hooked, you may find that investing on set stops, such as 5, 10 or 15, broadens your creative horizons. In either case, long exposure images can open up a whole new avenue to create artistic images. 

Would you be disappointed?

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When you decide to get up early and shoot sunrise are you disappointed when a nice sunrise is elusive?  I must admit that I am, but at the same time I quickly shift gears and look for what is right with the scene rather than what is wrong.  On the first morning in Cape May this past October, we were on the beach while it was still dark and as dawn approached we quickly realized that we were not going to have much of a sunrise.  We just shifted our mindset and started working on long exposures to capture the movement of the clouds and waves.  While I think pre-visualization is important, you must also be willing to embrace what is right with the scene and not let your disappointment detract from the creative process.

Cape May

RRPT just finished up our Photo Tour of Cape May, New Jersey and what a great group and incredible time we had!

At first blush our weather looked unappealing, but as photographers know, bad weather equals opportunity for amazing skies and we were not disappointed. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacularly beautiful.

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We worked on long exposure techniques creating smooth oceans and cloud movement.

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We hit the Pumpkin Run Car Show for some street rods.

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We played with fire.

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For those interested to see how this image was created, here is a video demonstrating Jeff J. spinning wool.

Spinning Wool

This was my first time visiting Cape May and I am ready to go back. In fact, we have added Cape May to our 2014 Photo Tour schedule!

The Waning Days of Fall!

Are you wondering what to do with your first weekend in November?

Well, if you like the beach, the sounds of the ocean, sunrise and sunset on the water, then we have the photo tour for you.

On November 1-3, we are hosting a tour of Cape May, New Jersey, and the surrounding coastal towns. We will be working on capturing the beauty of this region, while practicing techniques for sunrise and sunset shots, as well as long exposure and slow water images.

For more information and to register, click here!

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