Our main target of this expedition was the northern California redwoods. We were hoping to capture some of the Rhododendrons in bloom among the redwoods, but they were apparently on a different schedule than usual this year. This just meant that we had to search a little harder for some quality images.
On the way south, we stopped for a couple of nights in Bandon, Oregon. The beach there has these wonderful sea stacks that make for great subject in the sunset. I had been there on a previous trip, but did not have any luck. We struck out again with heavy clouds on the first night, but it came together on the second night. We could see the small hole in the clouds as the sun was setting and were hoping it would give us a nice sunburst and light up the scene. It did, if only for a few seconds, but that was enough.
We headed south to Brookings, Oregon for a couple of days there hoping to get something good on the coast at Samuel Boardman State Pak, where there are these wonderful, large sea stacks with trees growing out of them. It was Fog City all day so we headed inland to some trails and captured two very nice images
Next, it was on to California and the redwoods. Here, the fog was what we were looking for and there was plenty of it. Just outside Redwood National Park, there is an area known as the Bald Hills, where the Lupine bloom. I couldn’t resist but to capture an image one morning here.
I return to Oregon in July and will be accompanied on this trip by my sister, who has always wanted to hang out with me on one of my trips. I look forward to it for many reasons. We’ll be working more of the inland areas and are sure to come away with some good images.
December would seem like an odd time to go to the coast for photography, but the sun rises and sets to the south resulting in much different photo opportunities than in the summer. As a result, December has the sun rising straight off the coast in the perfect position for photographing the Folly Beach Pier and the jetty at the north end of the island.
In addition to where the sun rises from, these images must be taken when it is high tide at sunrise or there is simply too much beach sand and not enough of the ocean waves. We got to Charleston on December 3, just in time to have the tide schedule we needed. The sunrises simply exceeded what we hoped for.
Also near Charleston, is the Tomotley Plantation, one of a few of the old plantations that remains privately owned. Although you can’t go to the actual plantation house, the real attraction is the massive old oak trees that line the entry road. Its been on my list for a while and I’m happy to be able to have done this scene justice.
Near the plantation are the remains of the Old Sheldon Church. It was first burned by the British in 1779, rebuilt, and then burned again by the Union Army in 1865. I rarely photograph old ruins, but the contrast of color and the framing by the oak trees made this one irresistible. I love the way the warm colors of the bricks reflect the early morning light.
After Charleston, we headed south to Savannah and Brunswick to explore the “Low Country”. In this area are these beautiful marshes with tall grass that glows with the rising or setting sun. The residents have long docks that extend over the marshes to get to the narrow channels of water. Some of these docks have very photogenic roofed structures at the end of the dock, but they are hard to find where you can photograph them as they are all behind someone’s house. I wanted to capture the feeling of the marsh at sunset, and with this image, I believe I did.
Next up will be some wintertime photography in the Lofoten Islands in Norway in early February. This is another one of those bucket list photography trips that has been in the planning for a couple of years. I am practically counting the days.
In August, the sun rises and sets in Maine from the best locations. The other issue on the coast is the tides. You really want to be there when the tide is close to high at sunrise and sunset to avoid the look of low tide, which is not that attractive.
So, with the timing figured out, it was off to Maine. I have been wanting to photograph the very picturesque Portland Head Light for several years. I stayed in Portland for five days just to be sure I got the sky that I wanted and it worked out great. One day at a location is just not going to get you the best results. It can be a little boring, but that’s just the way it goes.
I spent the other half of my time four hours north at Acadia National Park. I had been there a couple of times before, but did not get the results I was looking for on Cadillac Mountain or at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. In between, I was able to capture some nice images at the Cobblestone Bridge.
Success feels good in any form, and this was no exception. Next up will be the Wasatch Mountains at the end of September for fall colors and mountain vistas. I haven’t been there before and look forward to some serious exploration of the area. I may even sneak in a special side trip.
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Kelly and I headed to the coast to photograph a number of locations from San Francisco down to the Big Sur area. Our first effort was the lighthouse at Pigeon Point, and the sunset was just fantastic. Kelly really nailed that one.
Continuing south, El Nino was kicking up the weather with lots of rain and wind. While this was great for helping California with their drought, it wasn’t exactly what we expected.
As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So, with the high winds and surf, we searched for the best locations to capture some of the dramatic scenes it was presenting.
On one particular day, it seemed like it was never going to stop raining. We were sitting in the hotel watching it rain and then, an hour before sunset, the clouds began to break up. We grabbed our gear and headed to a location we had picked out at Soberanes Point. The sun peaked out for just a moment resulting in an amazing sunset. This is one of the better photographs I have ever taken.
Before leaving, we stopped for a sunset opportunity at Muir Beach, but were convinced it was just going to be cloudy and nothing was going to happen. Once again, the clouds broke for five minutes, the clouds began to swirl and we captured something pretty special.
I had brought a large 500mm lens hoping to have a chance to shoot down some of the waves as they crested. I was absolutely thrilled to have been able to capture some excellent images.
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Next up is Yosemite National Park in February and I’m hoping that the increased snow this year from El Nino will provide us some excellent winter images. Stay tuned.
Last August I attempted to photograph the coastal areas but was plagued by the dreaded cloudless skies and came away with zip. So, I looked at winter sun angles and tide charts and decided to try again. The result, while never what you really want, was vastly better skies and 10 decent images.
In North Carolina, I had wanted to photograph the Manteo lighthouse at dusk, with its nicely lit pier and reflections. I didn’t get color in the sky, but I did get calm water, which was great for the reflections. The line of trees in Lake Matamuskeet provide for a unique photograph and it was at the top of my list. April would be when the sun rises directly behind the trees and a return trip may be in order.
There are only a couple of old wooden jetties in South Carolina that are in good enough shape to photograph. At Pawley’s Island the sun was going to rise in line with the jetty on January 20th and the tide would be high at sunrise, so this was a priority. If you always do your research for sun angels and tides, you will be rewarded. At the north end of Folley Beach is the only other jetty in such great condition. It was a different day, but the results were equally good. Also nearby, is Huntington Beach, which is worth spending some time at.
Just south of Charleston on Edisto Island is the Botany Bay “Boneyard”, where dead trees remain stranded on the beach. Once again, you need to be there when the tide is high at sunrise. I was fortunate to have calm seas, which really made the long exposures work well in smoothing out the water. Of course, some nice color in the sky didn’t hurt.