This is the last of a 3 part post about my trip leading a group of photographers to Harriman State Park in New York.
Harriman State Park is a large park located only 30 miles from New York City. My group of photographers spent the balance of our trip wandering around the area photographing creeks and lakes.
This lake is the centerpiece of Sterling State Forest. We went there to capture the sunset and then returned early the next day and stumbled around in the dark while photographing the sunrise.
How I did it – Sometimes sunrises and sunsets are better photographed from the opposite direction. Here the subtle colors in the evening sky and the red light on the tops of the mountains were much more beautiful than when the sun was on the opposite side of the lake.
As sunset turned to dusk, my attention turned to a cabin by the lake. The scene reminded me of Pennsylvania Impressionist, John Folinsbee’s paintings of night along the Delaware River.
How I did it – Don’t let overcast skies get you down when you go out to photograph a colorful sunset. Cloudy skies are amazing things and can provide interesting and beautiful light that is ever changing. Here the peaceful and idyllic scene created by this nice little cabin is over shadowed by a dark and brooding evening sky. The interesting thing is that this photograph was made only a few minutes after the previous one, showing how changing skies can provide a completely different mood very quickly.
How I did it – Exposing very dark scenes can be tricky because the camera’s meter will “see” this scene like it is midday and overexpose the image. The result will be a noisy (grainy) and flat photograph. Probably not what you intended. Finding the right darkness means underexposing the image and consciously deciding if it is okay for parts of the scene to lose detail and be solid black.
Stony Brook Creek
I’ve hiked along this large creek dozens of times and it is a favorite place to capture flowing water because the flow is always different. This time Stony Brook Creek was almost nonexistent due to the dry fall. When that happens you can leave, or realize that what you wanted isn’t there and open your mind to the creative possibilities that are around you. Then you start to notice the things you may have missed had the creek’s flow been more prominent. In this case the play of light and wind on the forest became fascinating things to work with.
How I did it – Using slow shutter speeds on a windy day can create beautiful impressionistic effects. Elements in a scene will blur when the wind blows them around while the camera’s shutter is open. It is a process I call “Bending Time.” To get just the right combination of impressionistic blur in these photographs I played around with the shutter speed by taking exposures with and without different neutral density filters. I ended up with exposures that ranged from ¼ to 2 seconds. This gave quite a few images with varying degrees of motion blur to pick from.
All in all, it was a great trip with some fantastic photographers who happened to be very nice people to travel with. Enjoy.
Want to be more creative with your camera? I can help so feel free to contact me.