Blue Hour at Lake Louise

Making this long exposure (1.6 seconds) of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada after sunset inspired me to read about the blue hour.

While the scene was quite dark to the naked eye, a long exposure made while the Sony camera rests motionless on a tripod allows the sensor to collect all the blue light present at dusk, or nautical twilight.

A scientist named Chappuis discovered that the ozone layer absorbs ultra violet light, and after sunset this Chappuis absorption has a significant effect on the color of the sky. I’m going to have to learn more about light wavelengths to understand this in depth.

As a photographer, I will remember the soft and soothing effect of this blue hour. Some artists enjoy photographing city scapes featuring yellow incandescent light during the blue hour. Have you tried it?

Moose Maneuvers

Even more exciting than spotting my first moose was watching a spontaneous show of behavior between two male moose in the presence of a female and calf. Joining a Brushback Wildlife Tour in Grand Teton National Park one evening at dusk was definitely worth the investment.

What are these two moose looking at, you might ask? All eyes are on a mother and calf grazing on the nearby hillside. The young buck just wanted to get close enough to say hello, but the senior moose (notice the superior headgear), would block his path. Young buck takes a few steps to the left, Big Moose takes a few steps to the left. A few steps to the right are also blocked.

#moose, #behavior, #male, #grandtetonnationalpark, #sony, #sony100-400mm, #wildlife, #brushback, #nationalparks, #wyoming, #nature
A younger male moose tries to approach a mother and calf, but the dominant male moose blocks his path. No way, Jose. It’s not happening! Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

#moose, #wildlife, #wyoming, #male, #rack, #dominant, #behavior, #noway, #grandtetonnationalpark, #nationalpark, #nature, #sony
As the younger male inches forward, casually munching on some grass, the dominant male keeps an eye on both the intruder and the mother and calf.

Light was low, and I had to increase my ISO to 3200 and use a tripod on the Sony aIIr7 with the Sony 100-400mm lens in order to capture these images.

A Room With A View*

Before you have ever been to Edinburgh, Scotland, people will tell you, “Edinburgh is a beautiful city.”  You think to yourself, “why does everyone say that?” I wondered if I would come away from my trip saying the exact same words to others. I do.

My simple explanation is that the architecture is beautiful. As you walk the city, you may find yourself pausing to admire architecture right and left. Before we even left our hotel, I was enchanted with this view out our window.

#cathedral, #saintmarys, #stmarys, #architecture, #edinburgh, #scotland
View of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland from our room in the Hilton Grosvenor.

The curve of the street leading to the Cathedral in the West End makes lovely leading lines. This photograph was taken in late evening dusk, around 10pm.

*With apology to E. M. Forster for using the name of his book title.

Black Crowned Night Heron

I arrived at Six Mile Cypress Slough right at sunset, just in time to see this large and beautiful bird begin to hunt for dinner from a cypress knee in the swamp. This is a tall bird, typically 23″ tall with its neck extended, and look at those claws. I loved its indigo coloring as well as the plume of slender white feathers that emerge from his crown.

#nightheron, #blackcrested, #fortmeyers, #sixmilecypressslough, 3nature, #wildlife, #florida, #bird
Daylight was fading fast, so I needed my tripod to capture this beautiful black crowned night heron at 1/13 second with my lens opened up to f 4.5.

I was really excited that the heron chose to hang out with me for 10 minutes or so, giving me time to capture him in several positions.

Waterski hour

Most of us call it “Happy Hour,” but for Jenny, an athletic young Canadian, the best way to relax before supper is to waterski on the lake. I had just arrived at my friends’ cottage on Morrison Lake, having driven nearly eight hours from home, when my hosts said they were going out for a quick ski before the sun set.

“You don’t have to come,” they assured me, knowing I was tired. When I smiled and told them I was coming along, they added, “Bring your camera.”

The light was quite low, and I knew I needed to freeze action with a fast shutter speed. I set my ISO to 1600, and set the lens to f/2.8. The skier would stay about the same distance from me, which helped for quick focus, but depth of field would be shallow, so I worked on focusing and refocusing as I shot. I tried to line up the splash against the dark trees for contrast.

I chose this image of Jenny to share, because I liked the right angle between her body and the water curling under her ski. It’s no surprise that she and her cousin Ian waterski for Canada and competed in international competition last month. Go Jenny!

#waterski, #Canada, #teamcanada, #jenny, #jennaionthedock, #morrisonlake, #muskokalake, #september
Despite a chill in the air, Jenny skis before supper.

“Good Night,” Egrets

Have you ever witnessed a large flock of birds roosting as the sun sets? In Florida, the large wading birds like the heron, egrets and pelicans roost together for protection. They will often find a rookery island where predators like raccoons can’t reach them.

In Six Mile Cypress Slough, a large flock of egrets chose this wooded area along the edge of a pond to roost. As the setting sun sheds warm light on the trees, dozens of these egrets decorate the landscape. It is a special sight to witness, especially for a “snowbird” like me.

#egret, #birds, #roost, #dusk, #safety, #sleep, #florida, #fortmyers
Egrets roost at dusk in Six Mile Cypress Slough, Fort Myers, FL

January Snow

“In January comes the snow, when trees are bare and wild winds blow.”

Shakespeare’s words are bouncing around in my head, and this scene in Sewickley Heights brings them to life for me. I was driving past Allegheny Country Club’s golf course last evening just before sunset, when I saw the sun, partly obscured by the moon behind this bare tree. I stopped the car and hopped out with my iPhone 6 to take a photo.

Today I brought that image into Photoshop and experimented with a few filters. I settled on the saturation and contrast I could achieve with Nik HDR Efex and some dodging and burning of my own.

Enjoy the coming snowstorm, friends in the Northeast, and don’t forget to get outdoors and take some photos!

January 21, 2016 Tree at Allegheny Country Club
January 21, 2016
Tree and setting sun at Allegheny Country Club