Tag Archives: sunset

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.

 

Golden Hour

Some warm thoughts and images on a cold winter’s night.

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The golden hour refers to the time just after sunrise and just before sunset when sun light is at it’s warmest and softest. It is such a spectacular time of day, it is also known as the magic hour. Depending on where you are, this “hour” can last for many hours or be as brief as a few minutes.

Our challenge as photographers is to take advantage of these moments to create magical images, in which we can feel the warm glow of the waning light on our skin.

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The first and second images were shot in Iceland in December. At this time of year, the sun in Iceland only reaches approximately 12º above the horizon… so the golden “hour” lasts most of the day (or rather a few hours.

The third image was taken at Conowingo Dam, MD, also in winter. Although in the U.S. winter days last much longer than in Iceland, the golden hour only last for about an hour in the best of circumstances.

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The fourth image, was taken at the Tidal Basin in DC in April. On a spring day, without cloud cover, the golden hour lasted about 15 minutes or so. Once the sun is up, the light is hot creating heavy contrast in the scene. This was a very brief, albeit beautiful moment on the Tidal Basin.  _DSF4273-Edit

The fifth image was taken in Acadia, ME. Also taken in winter, this sunset golden hour gave the rocks and the sea spray a lovely pink hue. Creating a dream-like feel on a very chilly evening.

The final image was taken in Assateague National Park, MD in May. This sunrise lasted for longer than normal due to the heavy cloud cover in the foreground. The clear sky on the horizon created a beautiful glow that reflected on the beach as the waves pulled back from the shore.

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These fleeting moments are the very ones that draw me to photography. Addicting. They don’t happen often, but when they do, their effect keeps you trying for more.

Get out and chase the light….

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

Epic Iceland! 2015

There is really no way to describe… with words… the majesty of Iceland. This country is like no other! With incredible light and impressive landscapes, Iceland is a photographer’s paradise. Join us as we explore all of its nature wonders! For more information on our 2015 Epic Iceland tour, click here. Only 1 Spot Left!

After Dark

As photographers, we are always chasing the light; looking for that perfect sunrise or sunset with just the right amount of cloud cover to provide the quintessential filtered light. But sometimes it is the light you have access to after the sunlight has fully disappeared that provides the most intrigue.

The images below were captured in Iceland last weekend well after sunset, between 2 and 5 hours actually. All of the images, sans one (the bluest icebergs had a few pops with a very small flashlight) were captured with strictly ambient light (moonlight) or in the case of the sea stacks, ambient city light (from Vik).

Working with ambient light is both challenging and inspiring. It takes patience, lots of it, as it can take multiple attempts to get the image correctly framed and in focus. But the results can be amazing when it works out, providing a whole new way to look at the world.

Next time you have the chance to explore in the wee hours, challenge yourself to see what you can find after dark.

If you are interested in exploring Iceland (day and night) with RRPT, we are heading back Sept 5 – 13, 2015. For more information, click here.

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Big Sur and San Francisco

Big Sur and San Francisco are two of the most iconic locations in Northern California and we are headed there. Join us as we explore these amazing locations from January 22 through 26, 2015. Guided by Denise, who grew up in the Monterey Bay Area, as well as lived and worked in San Francisco for decades; her expert local knowledge will guide us to all the coolest spots!

So many people travel to Northern California in the middle of summer and are shocked to find the San Francisco Bay Area cold, rainy, and miserable… that is summer in San Francisco. One of the reasons that San Francisco is like that in the summer is the oppressive heat in the central regions of the state pull the fog in off the ocean on to the coastline, resulting in shocking cold temperatures. Locals know this. That is why we are visiting this area in one of the two best times of year, January.

To learn more and register for this trip, click here. Early bird discounts for this trip end November 16, 2014 at midnight.

Learn low light and evening photography while capturing stunning images of the iconic bridges spanning the Bay:

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Visit classic neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Fisherman’s Wharf:

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Be there for that special moment (which only happens two months of the year) when the sun glows through the archway in Big Sur:

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Capture sunset on the rugged coastline of Northern California:

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Journey through Iceland

Iceland is a photographer’s paradise with its varied landscapes, massive waterfalls, and epic glacial lagoons. Our 2015 Epic Iceland Tour is open for registration… don’t miss out on visiting this amazing country. Over 8 days and nights, we will traverse Iceland, from Snaefellsnes Peninsula to Höfn, with stops in the Highlands, lava fields, and glacial lagoons. See the remains of a U.S. Navy DC-3. Stand at the foot of a glacier. Surround yourself in mossy lava. Stand in front of, behind, and under looming falls. There is no place like Iceland!

Don and I have mapped out a great trip. We are keeping our trip small, no more than 6 participants. This will keep our group flexible, allowing us to travel to lesser known places. With such limited space and great pricing, you’ll have to act fast. Also, we are running special pricing… get a single room at no additional cost. Our special pricing ends November 16 at Midnight. We are also traveling a bit later in the season, Sept 5-13. We have chosen this time to take advantage of the better weather while doing our best to give our participates an opportunity to capture images of the aurora borealis (weather cooperating)! Also, unlike other tours that go mid-summer when the sun never fully sets, September will also provide sunrises and sunsets with that amazing Icelandic light.

To learn more and register, click here.

Here is a quick video of our most recent journey.

http://youtu.be/EauT0NvuYJM

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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.

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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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