Showing posts from May, 2014

A View from Jamestown

I've been a slacker lately, getting distracted and not doing the one thing a photographer is supposed to do:  take photographs.  So one afternoon after some rain moved out, the sun was peaking out from beneath the cloud cover and suddenly a sunset shoot looked like a promising venture!  I've explored lots of coastline in South County, but I hadn't been exploring much of the Jamestown coastline next door.  There have been a few places on my to-shoot list:  East Ferry, Ft. Weatherhill cliffs, Dutch Harbor... But with the clouds towards the west I thought a western facing shot would probably pan out best for dramatic color.  
I was half right.  I did experience some wonderful color but there was also substantial cloud cover behind me on the western side of the island moving so slowly that it was still hanging around for sunset and lit up like a fireball as the sun dropped.  So, I got half the color the sky experienced that afternoon but it wasn't a total loss.  I was at …

Weekend Regattas at Coast Guard

The weekend after the Coast Guard Academy hosted the NEISA Women's Championship for college sailing, two high school events were hosted out of CGA in New London, CT.  
First up, on Saturday, was the Connecticut High School State Championship.  Conditions were cool and cloudy with a very light and shifty breeze from the north.  All day the teens struggled against the infamous river current by Jacob's Rock, which seemed particularly strong for this event.  With about 5 knots of breeze, and probably 3-4 knots of current flushing boats towards the ocean, it was a race for the most apt boat handlers.  The current made upwind progress nearly impossible and the only sailors who could roll tack would manage to eek by the windward mark which was set in the middle of the river and in the strongest currents.  But there was no calling the race off when progress was slow, this was a one day event.  They had to manage every race they could, no matter how painfully slow the sailing was.  Ev…

New Kind of Water Panning

I wanted to try something new.  I came across work by notable photographers Morgan Maasen and Katherine Gendreau and they were doing something a little bit different with their seascapes.  They were panning horizontally across the horizon, blurring everything but maintaining a sense of color, ambience and environment.  I wanted to try it.
So on one cloudy and nondescript early spring day, I found time to go to Narragansett Beach.  I took my tripod and my neutral density filters, and set up.  I was rather close to the water since it was low tide and the closer I was to the waterline the more I could minimize the amount of sand in my frame.  I also kept the tripod near eye-level compared to a low angle, which would maximize the amount of water in my frame.  
I tried a couple of different exposures and techniques.  First I tried using the full 30 seconds of the exposure to move smoothly from one side to the other, then I switched it up and using about 20 seconds to go from one side to t…

NEISA Womens Champs

The NEISA Women's Championship Reed Trophy:  a regional college sailing event to find the best fleet racing women's team in the Northeast.  Hosted at the Coast Guard Academy in New London this May, 17 teams competed in a two day event on the unpredictable river and I was lucky to get out on the water for some fierce female competition.

Day one saw windy conditions with a rather consistent northerly coming right down the river.  A Divison was in FJs and the girls were putting on a terrific show!  But day two was more flukey and with a ripping current the playing field took some sailing strategy.  A southerly started to fill in the afternoon but the racing was able to finish out a 34th race (17 per fleet).

Yale came out on top, finishing first since race 7B.  Great job Bulldogs!  This regional trophy was also a qualifier for the national event later in the season.  The top 5 finishers will move to compete in nationals and represent the northeast:  Yale, URI, BC, Dartmouth and C…

Spring Flowers

April Showers bring May Flowers never held so true!  Well, some of these flowers arrived in April, but there were certainly plenty of rains and plenty of flowers.  Light rains, heavy rains, misting rains... and blooms to follow.
I have visited the gorgeous old magnolia tree on West Main Street in Wickford every spring the past few years.  This time around, it was after a morning rain and there were still water droplets covering the flora.  They say some of the best times to photograph flowers is just after a rain.  The sky was cloudy making the sunlight beautifully soft and diffused.  I had my 50mm lens on and with the cloudy conditions I could shoot at ISO 100 and  f1.8 and f2.8 without a hitch!  
But before calling it a day for this short photowalk, I visited the weeping cherry tree at Updike Park across from the Town Hall.  I had never photographed this tree before but I love cherry trees as much as magnolias.
It was a brief photowalk and I loved every second of it!  I even made a…

NK vs. Rogers vs. Sharon

The high school sailing season always feels short.  No sooner are the boats in the water in early March then the season is drawing to a close by mid April.  But before the season championship events, North Kingstown hosted a three-way regatta in Wickford Harbor, inviting the Rogers team from Newport and the Sharon team from Massachusetts.  There was actually breeze and sun as racing got underway around 3:30pm.  These teams milked every ounce of daylight to complete three series of team races, almost all of which resulted in a fifth race to determine a winner.
First up was Rogers vs. NK while the Sharon team drove down from Massachusetts.  NK won the first race with an easy combination but Rogers responded promptly winning the next two races with ease.  With the home team getting together to eek out one more win, Rogers came back to win the series in the last race for a final score of 3-2.
Sharon arrived and it was already almost 5pm.  North Kingstown rotated out and it was Sharon'…

Long exposures in Narragansett

The hardest part of long exposure shooting is predicting the weather.  I'm constantly looking at weather forecasts, watching the cloud cover on satellite maps, and hoping that when I drive half an hour south the sky will somewhat resemble what I'm seeing out my window at home.  I prefer shooting sunsets compared to sunrise because you can watch the weather develop as the day progresses.  Is that rain storm going to clear out in time for sunset, and leave behind some nice fluffy clouds to reflect color?  Is that fog bank on the horizon going to obscure the sun too soon and sap all the brilliance out of the evening?
One early April afternoon with no clouds to speak of for most of the day, a few started to roll in just around 6pm, and I grabbed my camera for a chance to capture it!  Sunset was around 7:30pm so I had time to find a spot, shoot away, and perhaps find a second location before all the color was gone.  First I visited Hazard Rock off Ocean Road in Narragansett.  Ther…

Spring Sailing with NKHSST

Late March... it's technically spring but days like these would probably fool you into thinking it was winter.  High School sailing is almost a month into its short season and my alma mater and local team from North Kingstown was out making the best of a particularly chilly March afternoon.  No warm sun but luckily no snow or freezing rain either.  This team was already undefeated in the few events it had sailed and the rest of the season was looking up!  Even though they lost several great seniors from last year, there was plenty of young talent to fill the void.
On the photography side of things, it was time for me to knock of the winter blues and get back into sailing photography.  I had come across a 24–135mm f3.5 Tamron lens I had completely forgotten about and decided to bring a second body and lens out on the water for a trial run.  I have to say it performed beautifully!  While I still had my trusty 70–200mm Nikon plus teleconverter for the tight shots, it was terrific to…

Looking East

It was April Fool's Day and signs of spring were everywhere.  Ice and snow were becoming a thing of the past, the temperature was getting more tolerable and rain every few days meant more clouds in the sky.  This day in particular I was rushing to go shooting for dusk as clouds began to roll in late in the afternoon.  The sky was going to light up to the west, I just knew it.  But with summer suns setting over land compared to winter suns which set over a watery horizon, I wouldn't be able to get the shot I wanted.  Plus, the closer to the south coast you got, the less clouds there seemed to be!  I had to change my game plan.  If I wanted water and clouds I couldn't be by the south coast, and no chance of shooting with water and sun in the same frame either unless you wanted signs of trees and a populated sky line.
So I went to Black Point in Scarborough.  The wind was gently pushing clouds out of the west and the tide wasn't too high.  Waves weren't too active.  …