Thankful for my Teacher

This year I sense a chorus of thankful feelings that our lives have mostly returned to normal after a long period of staying at home and masking our faces to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus still circulates, most of us are traveling and working and getting our families together. Hooray!

I’d also like to take a moment to thank a photography teacher, who has inspired me and enhanced both my knowledge and enjoyment of photography: Gary Hart. Gary hosted a fascinating workshop at the Grand Canyon during summer monsoon season, teaching students about capturing lightning with a lightning trigger, and he will be co-hosting a January workshop in Iceland, where we hope to see and photograph the Northern Lights.

This morning I read Gary’s blog where he described what he is thankful for, especially post-pandemic. His blogs are very well written and always contain a few photography tips, including occasional confessions of his own mistakes, and always a touch of humor.

Thanks, Gary. Looking forward to Iceland!

Gary Hart (second from right) with his workshop assistant Curt Fargo (right) and three workshop students at the Grand Canyon.
Gary Hart’s Summer Monsoon workshop at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Lightning was firing across the canyon.
Gary Hart’s photo of the full workshop group at Desert View, South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Election Night Sunset

New Yorkers could look up at the city lights on Election night and enjoy the red, white and blue lights on the iconic Empire State Building. It was a clear night with balmy temperatures, perfect for rooftop photography.

I made a test print today of this image, 20 x 30 inches, and just wow! What a unique and amazing city!

Empire State Building, Manhattan, Top of the Rock, print
The perfect balance of a colorful sky right after sunset and the city lights adding vivid detail to the skyscrapers in Manhattan, New York City.

My Own Grand Central Terminal

Have you ever seen an iconic photo and wanted to execute your own? I felt that way about long exposures of Grand Central Terminal in New York City. I like the effect of a long exposure in the terminal center, where the people moving appear as a blur. A long exposure also allows you to take a high quality, low noise image in a low light space. I was really pleased with the results. You can even see the constellations painted on the ceiling.

If you love this image too, send me an email to order a print as large as 20 x 3o inches. At that size, the print is truly grand! Perfect for the New York fan on your holiday gift list. (For fast loading, a low resolution version of the image is uploaded here.)

grandcentral, newyorkcity
Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Print available from Cathy Kelly.

Feeling the Sunshine

When I wake up on a cloudy day, I feel like staying in my pajamas. As soon as the clouds clear and the blue sky allows the sunshine to light up the world, I feel a burst of energy. Do your moods swing the same way?

On a sunny afternoon in the Fall, you don’t have to convince me that it’s a good idea to go for a walk. This path into the landscape reminds me of a John Constable painting.

park, sunshine, walk
Sewickley Heights Park (Pennsylvania) on a sunny September afternoon.

Sunset Golf

At sunset yesterday, I was finishing a round of golf with some friends. After the sun went down, we agreed to play one last hole. Fortunately, my drive went straight down the fairway, but I had to make a detour before I hit my next shot.

I spotted perfect red tree, standing alone on the horizon before a blue and pink pastel sky. I had to pause and capture a few photos on my iPhone. Little did I know that day that the highlight of my golf game would be a photo. But I must admit it was a well rounded afternoon with the camaraderie of friends and a relaxed nine holes when we had the course to ourselves.

golf course, red tree, sunset
Sometimes the best part of a day on the golf course is Nature. After sunset, on a western Pennsylvania golf course in October, this lone red tree makes a statement.

Grand Canyon: Isolated Rain

Hey, it’s raining over there! One cool thing about photography in the Grand Canyon is that you can see so far, that you can see one type of weather in one direction, and different weather in another. Even better, you never have to worry if there might be a building or a parking lot in the shot. The vistas are amazing and varied as you look in many directions. (The only problem that you just can’t fix is the haze created by car exhaust in nearby cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.)

This Infrared Photograph, shot in the morning sun into the Grand Canyon from the North Rim shows a towering cloud and an isolated shower. The shape and texture of the cloud competes for visual attention with the amazing land formations beneath it.

I enjoy digital Infrared photography for the high contrast images that can be made in processing. The best condition to get great results with an Infrared-converted camera is a sunny day. I’m glad I packed my Infrared camera with a wide angle lens for this Grand Canyon adventure.

Grand Canyon, Infrared, cloud
Dramatic clouds form over the Grand Canyon, as seen from the North Rim, while a rain shower is visible on the left in this Infrared photograph.

Grand Canyon in Infrared

I enjoy shooting Infrared landscape photographs, and processing them to create some high contrast black and white images. Here is one infrared photograph taken from the North Rim of the Bright Angel fault.

Shooting Infrared, you will get the best results in bright sunlight, so conditions were perfect on this sunny morning. Puffy clouds always add interest to the sky.

I use a separate Sony mirrorless digital camera for Infrared photography: one that has been converted for the “SuperColor” light range by Lifepixel.com.

Grand Canyon, Bright Angel, Infrared
The Bright Angel Fault of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim.

Some Like It Hot

PITTSBURGH…Freeze warning tonight. Where did the summer go? Why can’t Indian summer last longer? Just last week, I was soaking up the warm sun at the New York Botanical Garden, admiring the cacti in the Conservatory.

Cactus, NYBG, New York Botanical Garden
The prickly texture and natural symmetry of this barrel cactus stands out in the sunlight at the New York Botanical Garden #NYBG.

Lower Manhattan from the Edge

“The Edge”is a new outdoor viewing platform, 100 stories high in midtown Manhattan (New York City). You can find this building in Hudson Yards, at the terminus of the Subway #7, right next to the iconic sculpture “The Vessel.”

In the morning with the sun rising over the East River, your best view is to the south: lower Manhattan. The Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the skyline, recently built on the World Trade Center site, dominates the view. In the distance, see the Verrazano Narrows bridge and the entrance to New York harbor. Locals will recognize many details in this tightly packed neighborhood of skyscrapers.

While this day featured a brilliant blue sky, the black and white photograph seemed to me the best way to focus on the shapes and detail of the skyline. This image can be printed as a large print: such as 40″ wide.

New York City, Manhattan, Edge
Lower Manhattan, financial capital of the modern world, as seen from the Edge, New York City.

“Veni Vidi” Lightning

We traveled to the Grand Canyon during summer monsoon season with the hope of seeing some dramatic lightning. If Mother Nature gave us her best, we aimed to capture it on camera. Mother Nature gave us a great show, and we got what we came for. The moment reminds me of Julius Caesar’s famous line, “veni, vidi, vici.”

Grand Canyon lightning
After sunset, the Grand Canyon was robed in darkness, but dramatic lightning struck to the west, seen from Hopi Point on the North Rim.