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Airglow

Airglow

I recently added a new collection of star-studded (literally) images to my portfolio, captured during a workshop in Maine’s Acadia National Park. The workshop focused on night photography, in particular the Milky Way. Did you know the Milky Way has a season? Here in the Northern Hemisphere its brilliant core, containing some 84 million stars, drops below the horizon in November and doesn’t appear again until next spring. Of course the workshop last June was orchestrated for peak viewing – and photographing – the glowing heart of our galaxy in all its splendor.

I’m not an especially accomplished night photographer but, with expert assistance from the group leaders, I came away with a collection of Milky Way images that I’m proud to add to my portfolio. The technique I was using to capture my shots required eleven minutes of in-camera processing per image – allowing me plenty of time to absorb the summer night air, the soothing rhythm of waves lapping the shore, and the sparkling infinity of stars overhead that we rarely see through the light pollution of civilization.

I added a new word to my vocabulary as well – airglow. Wikipedia defines airglow as “a faint emission of light by a planetary atmosphere.” Even in the dark of night, the sky may glow with softly luminous shades of green and magenta. With its sensitive electronics, combined with the long exposures needed for night photography, a camera is able to reveal more stars and more airglow than the naked human eye can see, making the results of night photography particularly satisfying. Those long exposures reveal the soft colors of airglow on the horizon and simultaneously transform the constant motion of the ocean and surf into an ethereal mist. The resulting images radiate with a magical light that shimmers between earth and sky.

Slideshow:

Posted by Carol in Maine, Night Skies, Seascapes, 5 comments
Fire and Water

Fire and Water

January 2017

My sister Patty and I had booked this Hawaiian photography workshop well in advance, but right after the holidays I came down with a nasty bronchitis and a simultaneous knee injury. I was limping and coughing, generally feeling so under the weather that on the day before departure I was making plans to cancel. Luckily I realized at the last minute my symptoms had bottomed out and I was (barely) on the mend. Although certainly not at my best during the trip, I’m so glad I didn’t pass it up!

On Kauai the focus was on seascapes and beach scenes, where I concentrated on slow shutter technique that gives the waves and water a pleasing sense of motion while freezing the background into place. We started on the placid shores of Hanalei Bay near Princeville, before traveling to more distant beaches, each uniquely characterized by sand and lava rock. At Queen’s Bath a secluded tide pool fills and drains with the incoming wave action. Rogue waves have killed more than a few adventurers there, especially during the winter months when the sea is rough. We kept a safe distance but some more adventurous types were diving into the pool, giving our scenic shots a touch of human interest. On another day, a doors-off helicopter ride over the dramatic highland scenery of Waimea Canyon and the Napali coastline and cliffs provided a jolt of adrenalin along with dramatic aerial views.

The weeklong workshop ended with a side trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, where Kilauea Volcano dominates the landscape. Without a doubt, the highlight of the entire trip was a before-dawn boat trip to the Kamokuna coast, where a spectacular “waterfall” of lava from Kilauea was pouring into the ocean, creating a storm of fire and steam. Our captain maneuvered the boat close enough to the chaos that we could feel the heat and see floating chunks of hot lava sizzle in the water as they bumped against the boat’s aluminum hull. Hawaiian legend says that where lava meets sea, Pele the volcano goddess battles with her sister Namakaokahai, goddess of the ocean. This spectacular firehose of flowing lava had only appeared a few weeks earlier, on December 31, 2016, when several acres of built up volcanic delta collapsed unexpectedly into the sea, opening the lava tube. No one knew when it might suddenly close up again – making this opportunity exceedingly special.

Slideshow:

 

Posted by Carol in Hawaii, Landscapes, Seascapes, Sunrise/Sunset, 0 comments
Lighting the Path

Lighting the Path

 

Here’s another favorite from last week’s exploration of Sabino Creek with the water flowing, mist rising in the chill morning air, and rays of light beaming through the naked branches of the sycamores. I have so many winter portraits of bare-branched trees that I call them my ‘Dead Tree Collection’. There is a rhythm and poetry to the silhouette of bare branches against the sky, uplifted and graceful almost like dancers.

I did pay the price however. I have succumbed to some version of winter crud so, as I cough, blow my nose, and guzzle medicine, I’m keeping this post mercifully brief.

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Sony a7RII, 1/800 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 70mm (24.0-70.0mm lens)

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.

 

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Landscapes, Sunrise/Sunset, USA, 0 comments
Sabino Creek Sunrise

Sabino Creek Sunrise

 

A new year, and back to my photography after a hiatus during the holidays. We’ve been having some lovely rainstorms with snow falling in the mountains. The result is that Sabino Creek, usually dry, is running again. We’ve lost our shortcut across the river, but the enhanced scenery is worth it.

This morning I woke before dawn and saw that a low fog was blanketing the creek. I knew the combination of the coming sunrise and the lifting mist would offer a rare photographic opportunity. I spent a couple of hours at the water’s edge, and even midstream (soaking my shoes) in pursuit of some landscape photographs to add to my portfolio. There were several keepers in the lot, but this one might be the favorite.

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Sony a7RII, 1/500 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 25mm (24.0-70.0mm lens)

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.

 

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Landscapes, Sunrise/Sunset, USA, 2 comments
Feel the Speed

Feel the Speed

 

In honor of the illustrious Breeders’ Cup World Championships held this past weekend in California, it seemed appropriate to feature racehorses as the subject for Photo of the Week. In addition I am a member of a professional horse photography group that challenges its members with weekly assignments. This week the topic was ‘Race’. These two not so coincidentally related events reminded me that a few years ago I had photographed the thoroughbred races at the Del Mar track in California. I never did anything with the resulting images, so this prompted me to go back to my files and browse through them until I found this.

Every photograph has a story to tell. The focus of this particular story is the body language and expression of the lead horse trying its heart out to win. The vibrant colors of the race track are a pleasure to photograph, but in this instance they just distracted from the essence of the shot, which is why I chose to convert to black & white. The blurred motion created by using a slow shutter panning technique amplifies the feeling of speed.

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Nikon D7000, 1/30 sec at f/22.0, ISO 200, 300mm (28.0-300.0mm lens)

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.

 

Posted by Carol in Animals, California, Equestrian, Horses, USA, 0 comments
Winter Cottonwood

Winter Cottonwood

 

 

‘Tis the season for fall color photography! Of course here in Tucson fall color can be hard to come by. Plus the temperature hit 97 degrees just the other day – so it’s a challenge to get into the mood! But today is Halloween, tomorrow is the first day of November, and Christmas is right around the corner. So autumn it is and here’s an image to celebrate the season.

Cottonwoods are my favorite trees. We live along the banks of Sabino Creek, one of Tucson’s last living waterways, and so we are privileged to enjoy the ambiance of a riparian environment and we really do see a bit of fall color from the cottonwoods and the ash trees as they turn bright yellow before losing their leaves at first frost. But cottonwoods cling to their leaves for as long as absolutely possible, even if every other tree in the vicinity is stark naked. Usually the last cottonwood leaf falls in mid-December. The downside is that the raking season is extended by several weeks – and cottonwoods are massive trees with a LOT of leaves.

But by mid-February new leaves are already budding out in anticipation of spring, at least a month ahead of any other tree around. Personally I hate the chill of winter, even here in the desert southwest where snowbirds flock to avoid the real winter in the North and East. Those early budding cottonwoods lift up my depressed winter spirits with their optimistic forecast of spring.

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Nikon D700, 1/250 sec at f/6.7, ISO 400, 340mm

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.

 

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Landscapes, Scenic, USA, 0 comments
Storm Flight

Storm Flight

 

 

Hurricane Matthew’s devastating march up the southeast coast of the United States this past week brought back memories of all the places we visited last year as we sailed northwards from Ft. Lauderdale to Morehead City in North Carolina along the Intracoastal Waterway. City after city making the news as they suffered from wind and extraordinarily high levels of storm surge reminded me of stopovers aboard AVATAR in happier times – Fernandina Beach, Flagler Beach (where my husband Mike grew up), and St. Augustine in Florida, Cumberland Island, Jekyll Island and Savannah in Georgia, Beaufort, Myrtle Beach and Charleston in South Carolina, and so many more.

This photo of an American White Ibis flying into a stormy sky was captured near Southport, NC. I spent a lot of time stalking ibises, my interest piqued in part because it is a bird never seen in the western part of the United States where I live.

For this shot, I had staked myself out on a lengthy wooden pier raised high above the sawgrass marshes flanking the waterway at the marina where we were tied up for the night. The ibises were sailing overhead and landing in the nearby green meadows. It was a breezy day, and I was constantly putting on my prescription eyeglasses to review my shots, and taking them off again whenever I raised the camera to my eye. After repeating this routine multiple times – suddenly my eyeglasses were nowhere to be found. I searched the deck with blurry vision, finally concluding that the wind had blown them off the boardwalk and into the swamp some 10-12 feet below.

Husband Mike was called into the search, and with his unusual eyesight – far worse than mine but with an uncanny ability to focus on minute objects – he did indeed spot them below in the sawgrass. How to retrieve them was another question. Wading into the marsh was an exercise in sinking up to the knees in muck that sucks the shoes off your feet leaving your bare soles exposed to beds of sharp-edged clams embedded in the mud…this scenario derived from personal experience on a previous bird-stalking expedition!

We decided to create an impromptu rope ladder for Mike to climb down and I was sent back to the boat to fetch several lengths of line. Luckily, on the way I spotted an extraordinarily long boat hook belonging to the marina management. Thanks to the boat hook, we snagged the glasses on the first pass, quite possibly saving this post from a much lengthier narrative if our rope trick had proven to be folly!

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Nikon D4S, 1/1000 sec at f/6.7, ISO 400 mm (80.0-400.0 mm f/4.5-5.6), hand-held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.

 

Posted by Carol in Birds, North Carolina, USA, 2 comments
Desert Kaleidoscope

Desert Kaleidoscope

Early this past spring I headed outdoors to photograph a white egret that had been hanging around our property. The egret never cooperated, staying far out of range of my camera lens, but a roadrunner on the hunt showed up instead. I captured several satisfying images of him as he darted by in pursuit of a lizard or whatever a roadrunner eats! I especially enjoy this capture for the kaleidoscope-like effect of the background created by the lens bokeh, while the roadrunner emerges into focus with even his tiniest feathers rim lit by the sunlight.

Nikon D810, 1/1600 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1100, 500mm (200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6), hand held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy, but please respect.

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Birds, USA, Wildlife, 0 comments
Bridle Portrait of Nouska

Bridle Portrait of Nouska

 

Nouska is a Dutch Warmblood mare imported from Great Britain to compete at showjumping’s Grand Prix level. I captured this shot while she was waiting at ringside to compete, and processed it using a high key effect to blow out the background. I like the limited color palette and the great detail that reveals even the stitching on her bridle. Nouska went on to win the Grand Prix that day. She is now retired to broodmare status.

Nikon D700, 1/750 sec at f/4.8, ISO 400, 125mm, hand held

Unfortunately, my online Store|Gallery crashed late last week and the weekend has interfered with a quick fix from tech support. Hopefully all will be back to normal in a few days. You can check in at cbparkerphoto.com – but if you see blank white where the images should be, have patience (mine is wearing thin!).

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy, but please respect.

Posted by Carol in Animals, Arizona, Equestrian, Horses, USA, 0 comments
Early Start

Early Start

 

Only a week ago we were cruising in Maine! On our last morning before heading south again, I woke to the most spectacular sunrise I have seen in years. The intense colors only lasted for a few short moments before fading to softer shades of rose, then gold. I could hear the engines of nearby anchored boats as they warmed up for an early departure, and a small fishing boat was already on its way. We were anchored in a quiet cove near Penobscot Island, and the tide was out – exposing shoulders of boulders draped in weed. Every detail was reflected in the quiet glassy water for double impact. I captured what I could from AVATAR’s deck while the colors were at their peak, then went kayaking to further enjoy the moment.

Sony a7Rii, 1/320 sec at f/4.0, ISO 400, 119mm (FE 70-200 F4 G OSS), hand held

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Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Please respect.

Posted by Carol in Landscapes, Maine, Scenic, Seascapes, Sunrise/Sunset, USA, 0 comments