Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Tree: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Don't worry.  My wife knows.  I've been having a bit of an affair with this tree for some time.  This marvelous, graceful old tree is in Marquand Park, in Princeton, New Jersey. This Threadleaf Japanese Maple Tree first got my attention about 15 or 16 years ago, when my wife and I used to take our kids (toddlers back then) to the park.  Over the past three or four years, I've photographed the tree during different seasons, times of day, and lighting conditions.  I've been there in the the middle of a winter storm, and days after Hurricane Sandy. These photographs are available individually or as a set on my ETSY shop. Click HERE to see my ETSY shop.

Winter - Snow Storm
Winter - Foggy Morning
Sunny Spring Afternoon
Drizzly Summer Morning
Early Spring
Two Days After Hurricane Sandy
Early Autumn
Winter Morning
Spring Afternoon

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New York Waterfalls: Photographing Water in Motion

Last weekend my family traveled to Rochester and Ithaca, New York (in the Finger Lakes region). While our primary goal was to look at a few potential colleges for our older son, I couldn't resist making some time to photograph a few of the region's beautiful waterfalls (who needs sleep, anyway!). 

While near Rochester, I enjoyed an early morning at the Corbett's Glen Nature Park (in neighboring Brighton, NY).  In Ithaca I spent about 10 minutes at the Taughannock Falls State Park (my family was in the car while I set up my tripod and camera in a drizzly, windy, cold).  I was also lucky enough to catch a beautiful sunrise at Ithaca Falls (right next to the Cornell University Campus).  Below are a few of my new waterfall photographs.  These are available at my ETSY shop (click HERE).  See below if you are interested in a few tips on photographing water in motion.

Corbett's Glen Nature Park, Brighton, New York
Sunrise at Ithaca Falls, Ithaca, New York
Paradise Falls
Corbett's Glen Nature Park, Brighton, New York
Ithaca Falls, Ithaca, New York
Taughannock Falls State Park, Ithaca, New York
Corbett's Glen Nature Park, Brighton, New York
Paradise Falls
Corbett's Glen Nature Park, Brighton, New York
There are two primary ways to capture moving water.  One is to "freeze" the action by using a very fast shutter speed (1/250th second or faster).  Alternatively, by using a very slow shutter speed you can create the soft, wispy appearance.  For all of the above images, I used the latter strategy.  As I was shooting with a very slow shutter speed (about 6 to 10 seconds for some of these images) I had a the camera on a tripod and used an external shutter release (to prevent any unwanted camera shake).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn Woods: HDR Photographs in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Well, at least the federal government cannot shut down state parks!  Its a good thing, as Bucks County, Pennsylvania has many beautiful areas which really come to life in autumn.  To bring out the full range of colors and tones, I shot all of the following images in HDR (High Dynamic Range).  While people sometimes equate HDR photography with a "grunge" look, I use it to more fully capture landscapes and nature in a manner which replicates the way that our eyes see.  HDR can help make the images "pop."  If you'd like to learn a little about the process of making an HDR image, see the bottom of this post.

Except where indicated otherwise, I took all of these images during the first 2 weeks of October, 2013.  To see more of my photographs at my online ETSY shop, click HERE.

Autumn Woods and Wall
near Cabin Run Covered Bridge
High Rocks Vista, Ralph Stover State Park
High Rocks Vista, Ralph Stover State Park 
High Rocks Vista (taken in late October, 2010)
Delaware River Reflection (taken late November, 2010)
Autumn Reflections
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve
Morning Forest
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve
When we look at a scene which has contrasting dark and light sections, our eyes can quickly take in the various elements - those that are fully lit, those in shadows, etc.  Cameras are not as sophisticated as our eyes.  For a camera, the "correct" exposure (the amount of time that the shutter stays open) for a bright section of the scene will be very different from the "correct" exposure for a shaded part of the same scene.  So, if you base the exposure on the lighter sections, the dark areas will be way too dark.  Similarly, if you base your exposure on the darker areas, the light sections will be completely overexposed.

How do you avoid these problems and make an image in which each area appears "natural?"  To create an HDR image, the camera is usually placed on a tripod.  You then take a series of exposures (holding constant the "aperture" - the size of the opening of the shutter), and changing the exposure speed in regular increments.  You then have a number of separate images (I have created HDR images using upto ten exposures).  Using special computer software (I use "Photomatix") you merge the different exposures into one image.  This final image has the correct exposure for each part of the picture.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Photographing Animal Faces

I'm just back from a safari encompassing Africa and parts of Asia.  Well, not exactly.  Actually, I spent a few hours the other day at the Philadelphia Zoo with the self-imposed assignment of photographing animal faces.  Under my images are a few tips in case you are interested in taking your own zoo photographs.

Snow Leopard Cub

Mother Giraffe with Calf

Black and White Colobus Monkey an Baby

Red Panda

Southern White Rhinoceros

Bighorn Sheep
There's a certain amount of luck involved in getting good animal photographs.  The animals have to be out and visible, the weather has to be good, and so forth.  That said, if you'd like to improve your zoo photographs, here are a few tips:  1) When possible, go at a time when the zoo is not too crowded, such as a weekday morning.  2)  Use a telephoto lens for nice close-ups (I use a Sigma 150-500mm telephoto zoom lens); 3)  If shooting through glass (like in my snow leopard shot), be careful to angle your shot to minimize the reflection in the glass.  4)  Pay attention to the background.  If you want your image to look "natural", you want to avoid buildings, fences, or other manmade objects.  5) In most cases, you want a fast shutter speed, as most animals move around quite a bit.  For instance, in my giraffe image, I wanted to catch the giraffes with their tongues. I watched the pattern of their behavior so that I could time it just right, and I shot at 1/1000 of a second.  6)  Ask the docents for information on anything special at the zoo.  A very friendly and informative docent let me know about the snow leopard cubs as well as the gibbon baby.  7)  If you're shooting through a mesh fence, use a shallow depth of field to render the foreground fence nearly invisible.  For instance, my photograph of the mother white-handed gibbon and baby was shot through a mesh fence, I used f/5.6 at 1/500 second.  Also, you may need to turn off your autofocus (which may be "tricked" into focusing on the fence, rather than the animal). 8)  Most of all, have fun and enjoy the beautiful, interesting creatures that share our planet.

If you'd like to see more of my photographs, click here:  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fields of Dreams (a.k.a. Take Me Out to the Ball Game....): Images of Baseball Stadiums

Mankind has some wonderful inventions on our resume:  ice cream, Chinese Food, the camera (To be fair to the Wright brothers & Mr. Edison, they're accomplishments also deserve some mention!).  But to me, nothing ranks higher than baseball.  From the time I was a young kid, I've played it, watched it, coached it, & for over 25 years I've even been in a "rotisserie" (fantasy) baseball league ("The Little East"...my team is "The Freudmen").  My dad coached my little league team and took me to major league games, and I've done the same with my two sons.  

To this day, as I narrow in on the half-century mark, I still become a little kid when I get to a major league ball park & step through the tunnel for the day's first view of the field.  Over the past few years, I've blended my love of photography with my love of baseball.  Grab a hot dog & some peanuts & take a look at my photos.  To see more of my images, visit my ETSY SHOP.

(The New)Yankee Stadium (July, 2011).
Yankees vs. Orioles

  Fenway Park, Boston (August, 2013).
 Red Sox vs. Yankees

CitiField, New York (June, 2012).
Subway Series:  Mets vs. Yankees

Citizen's Bank Park, Philadelphia (June, 2011).
Phillies vs. Oakland A's


CitiField, New York (Mets):  Before the Game

Night at Fenway Park, Boston

Go Red Sox sign, in Fenway Park

Batting Practice:  Citizen's Bank Park, Philadelphia
(Half Phillies fans and half Mets fans)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Maine - Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

I'm just back from Maine's beautiful Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor region with my wife and 2 sons.  In addition to wonderful outdoor activities like kayaking, biking, and hiking, the area is a photographer's paradise (and its not too bad for seafood and ice cream!).  Below are a few of my new Maine images.  These and others can be seen at my ETSY shop: JOSHFRIEDMANPHOTO on ETSY
Otter Cliff, Acadia National Park

Morning Light from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Morning Lobster Boats, Bar Harbor, Maine

Eagle Lake, Acadia National Park, Maine

Footbridge, Somesville, Mount Desert Island, Maine

Otter Cove, Acadia National Park, Maine

Morning Lobster Boat, Maine

Morning Light on Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine

Tide and Rocks, Acadia National Park, Maine