A short video I shot a the beach near Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
I’ve always thought of Circular Polarizers as an essential tool in my camera bag. They take away the glare from objects that is caused by sunlight and are great for capturing a rich blue sky in your photos. I also find them useful for other situations:
Trees – Polarizers take the glare away that can rob your photo of their true colors. Using one will give leaves a more rich and saturated color which is especially important with the red and oranges of the autumn leaves.
Waterfalls – I never shoot waterfalls without my polarizer! First of all, it takes the glare off the water and creates more contrast in the photo. Second, it cuts down on the light entering the camera so it allows you to shoot at a slower shutter speed, which is exactly what you’ll want in order to achieve the look of silky water in your photos.
Lighthouses – Metal Lighthouses get a lot of glare, so a polarizer will give you richer colors there too. The light reflecting off the Holland Lighthouse was blinding when I was there back in December. Using my filter fixed that problem and I came away with some good photos.
Last night I looked outside and saw a bright moonlit sky, so I got the idea of going out and playing with my camera for a little while. Night photography isn’t really my thing, partly because I prefer photographing sunlit subjects and partly because I have little patience for sitting out in the dark waiting for the end of each long exposure that I take. But tonight I was itching to take a few shots, so I headed outdoors.
This trick is extremely simple but it can make an interesting photo. Nighttime is perfect for it because an exposure of at least a few seconds is necessary. For the shot that you see on the left, I set the shutter speed to 30 seconds at f/2.8 to properly expose it. I set my lens to its widest point at 17mm. Once the shutter was open I slowly zoomed the lens in, and since I had 30 seconds to do this I made sure I was turning the ring really slow. The photo on the right is the result. You can do a lot of interesting photos with this, although like me you will most likely end up with more bad photos than good ones. More than anything, its just fun to try different things with your camera and lens to see what you can create. If you do try this, send me a comment or message to let me know how you did!
A must-see video of the Tahquamenon’s Upper Falls by UPGraphics.com
One of my favorite places I have photographed this winter has been the Lighthouses at St. Joseph. The large white and red inner light is a beauty, but the outer light is the reason why I was excited to go there. It really catches all of the spray from the waves hitting the breakwater and becomes one big tower of icicles. Both of these lights are on the north pier and a pretty short walk to get to. The problem I ran into was that I could not get out to the ice-covered one – you had to walk on a narrow icy ledge to get around the first lighthouse. I’ve taken a few stupid risks to get a shot, but this was a no-brainer. I have no doubt that if I would have attempted to walk across that ledge I would have slid off into the icy waters of the channel.
So I put on my 70-200mm lens, set up my tripod near the edge (but not too close) to the inner edge of the pier and was still able to get a decent view of it. I framed up the lighthouse tight enough to keep the edge of the inner lighthouse out of the shot but not to where it filled the whole frame of the photo. The western sky was dark enough to give the photo some contrast and make the lighthouse stand out from the background.
Even though I wasn’t able to get in close with my wide angle lens which is closer suited to my style, I walked away satisfied with my photo of what some people have said looks like a large frozen robot. I think I’m beginning to see it now
Well, I finally made it back up to the U.P. last month looking forward to some good winter photography. On the drive up the temp was around 50 degrees so I wasn’t feeling too good about things! I figured that there wasn’t going to be much snow remaining after the warm and rainy week but I took it as a personal challenge to come away some good photos despite all of that. As we arrived in Munising at about 4:15pm, I knew we had to wait on dropping off my wife, kids and luggage at the hotel and just head straight for Lake Superior – the sun was going to set soon. We made it out to Sand Point (in Munising Bay), saw a nice sunset and as the sky’s colors were fading I spotted a beautiful crystal-clear piece of ice that had a beautiful shape. I took my camera off my tripod and rested it on some ice in front of my subject, stabilizing it as good as possible and composed my shot while using my camera’s Live View Mode. I was in close with my Sigma 10-20 lens which helped to separate it from the background, and the clouds behind it pointed diagonally toward my subject. I was able to take a few shots, then the clouds’ color faded. After my initial discouragement with the warm weather on this day, I knew snow was coming tomorrow and that I had started my photo trip off on the right note. It ended up being a challenging but fun couple of days.