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Struggle & Magic

October 16, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

To Paul

Sunset Light, Lake Erie at Sturgeon Point near Buffalo, New York (NY)Sunset LightLake Erie at Sturgeon Point Previously from Sturgeon Point: And Still in White - Back at the Lakeshore for More Moody Photographs - Two Faces of One Lake - Same Lake, Different Beach - Struggle & Magic

This quiet sunset on Lake Erie turned into a detective story for me. It's amazing how puzzling photography can be!

It was a beautiful warm fall evening and the lake was a bit rough compliments of the winds and rain of the previous couple days. But not too bad, just right for my taste to experiment with different exposure times and just having lots of fun with the water.

The sky cleared too much not leaving enough clouds behind to catch the color of the setting sun. Also, I had visited this area of Lake Erie shore several times recently and was looking for something new. Something that would create a whole different photograph that put side by side with another from the same place would not be recognizable as such.

The first photograph you see above was an early one that evening, an establishing frame in my desperate search for something special. I liked the long exposure effect combined with the rocks being lit up like bulbs by the setting sun. And yes, I was able to show this was at sunset with the sunny blast of light on the left but drama was missing. Afterwards, I moved about quite a bit looking for different rocks, different perspectives. I came up empty handed and when the light was pretty much gone I started packing.

iPhone Sunset Action, Lake Erie at Sturgeon Point near Buffalo, New York (NY)iPhone Sunset ActionLake Erie at Sturgeon Point Then, I remembered I did not grab a photo for my Instagram photo stream. I pulled out my phone, positioned it just about where my camera was last but even lower to the ground, waited for an incoming wave, I snapped the second photo you see here.

I will admit, I did not even pay too much attention to what I got. Unfortunately, I felt a bit disappointed and really was in a packing mood already thinking about what was next. It was not the first time I allowed that to happen and I am sure not the last but it is never good and does not help. As I know very well, it is not over until its over!

Once I collected all of my gear in the semi-darkness and make it back to the car, I sat down and checked the photo out. I got both excited and disappointed yet again! This was what I wanted! Something completely different, yet still a sunset photograph. But I only had it on my cell phone, not on the real camera in higher quality.

It just shows how flexible those little devices are. It was so easy to position it pretty much down on the sand of the beach, point it in the right direction while watching a sufficiently bright image on the LCD allowing for easy composition, selecting a focus and exposure point, and clicking as the wave crashed into the rocks near the shore. Don't let the brightness mislead you, it was pretty dark at that point and only because the exposure was set based on the dark water in the foreground did the sky ending up looking this bright. But that is the trick, to make a photograph rather than take one, to make it look like one wants.

The decision was clear. I had to come back another day and attempt to recreate this shot in the camera. But that is always easier in theory, not in practice as I knew from the past and would re-learn on the shores of Lake Erie again. I could not come back the very next day as weather was completely off what I needed to get the strong back-light. But I made it back couple days later.

What happened? Who moved my rocks? I literally spent at lest half an hour crawling on the beach (observed by other sunset lovers who asked me about my crazy activity when I was leaving) trying to find the same angle and just could not. Sounds strange? You bet! I know, but I am not making that up. Those fairly large rocks seemed to have rearranged themselves. Or maybe they were Trolls?

The lake was also too calm for the desired shot. While there were some waves they were about half the size compared to the first night that started this pursuit. While planning is good I had to accept what I was given (Trolls on a quiet lake) and try to turn this evening's photography into something different yet again.

All the while I was crawling in the sand I also suspected that even if I found the lost angle and if a random larger wave found its way to my frame I would still not have gotten my photograph. There just was no light. Heavy low clouds were completely obstructing the horizon and I could barely tell where the lake ended and the sky started.

I got lucky on that front though! As I was losing the last bits of hope seeing that sunset came and went strictly on my watch without any hints of it in the distance, it happened. The heavy clouds broke up quite a bit, an opening was created, the sky turned dramatic, and my camera and I were ready.

Water & Rocks at Sunset, Lake Erie at Sturgeon Point near Buffalo, New York (NY)Water & Rocks at SunsetLake Erie at Sturgeon Point

Water & Rocks at Sunset, Lake Erie at Sturgeon Point near Buffalo, New York

I will be back, looking for my rocks, my angle, and my sunset action photo!

Enjoy the Beauty that Surrounds You! (#etbtsy)

Would you like to see more photographs from Western New York? Visit my Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes and enjoy! To get a dose of winter whiteness, click through to my Winter Collection of photographs. Please, let me know if you have any questions about any photo products offered, or not offered, I will be happy to help! For a quick reference to all photo galleries and collections as well as all photo products currently offered through my site, please, visit the Products page.

Do you like my free content but are not ready to buy a photograph for your walls yet? Using my links to do your shopping helps me share more photographs and write the stories behind them. And it costs you nothing. You just need to start your shopping by clicking on an advertised product or use the Amazon search box in bottom left. It does not matter what you eventually buy as long as you start here. I truly appreciate each purchase, no matter how small. Thank you!

 

Bone Chilling Winter  Cold at Sturgeon Point Marina, Derby, - Evans near Buffalo, NYBone Chilling ColdSturgeon Point Rocky Shore at Sunset, Lake ErieRocky Shore at Sunset, Lake ErieSturgeon Point Sunset Hum of Lake Erie, Sturgeon Point, Derby, New York (NY)Sunset Hum of Lake ErieSturgeon Point All Quiet on Lake Erie, a peaceful sunset at Sturgeon Point, Derby, New York (NY)All Quiet on Lake ErieSturgeon Point Lake Erie on the Rocks after SunsetLake Erie on the RocksSturgeon Point

Sunset Awe at Sturgeon Point, Derby, NY near Buffalo, NYSunset AweSturgeon Point


Shenandoah: Rose River Falls Trail

October 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Waterfall in Fall, Rose River Falls Trail, Shenandoah National Park, VirginiaWaterfall in FallShenandoah National Park Previously from Shenandoah: Trouble with ColorThe Details or the Wide and Grand? - The Skyline Drive View in Autumn - The Lonely Tree - Dark Hollow FallsCozy at ShenandoahSkyline Drive of ShenandoahShenandoah SunsetDifferent Look of Shenandoah at Big MeadowShenandoah is Waking UpOn Skyline Drive - Colorful FlashbackLuray CavernsLuray Valley MuseumFox Hollow Trail - The Treasures of Shenandoah - Distant Views - Hiking - Rose River Falls Trail

It's been a while since this hike, three years, but I still remember it quite well. Even after hiking other trails to beautiful waterfalls this hike impressed me all along the way. I actually struggled to make hiking progress as there were treasures on each step. If you find yourself in Shenandoah National Park, Rose River Falls trail should be on your list. I know, so many trails, such wonderful nature, rarely enough time!

It's been a while for us too. After several back to back annual visits to see Shenandoah during the wonderfully colorful season we have had a long break. It's time to go back, revisit a few favorite places, and find some new ones. This trail will be on the list!

Traditionally, cloudy weather is considered the best for waterfall photography and in general any photography in the woods. The lower contrast is easier to manage and things look more dreamy on their own. Add the smooth flowing water in a long exposure photograph and things can get magical. However, I often struggle with the concept of "great light". Why should something be photographed only during the golden hour of the morning or evening? Why should other things be limited to cloudy weather? We all live during all times of day and all weather. So why not challenge ourselves a bit more and try to capture the wonders in the light many people will actually see it in?

Falling Water of Fall, Rose River Falls, Shenandoah National Park, VirginiaFalling Water of FallShenandoah National Park

Falling Water of Fall, Rose River Falls, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

Did you enjoy this post and the enclosed photographs? Visit the Landscapes Faraway gallery for natural landscape beyond Western New York to see more. Please, let me know if you have any questions about photo products offered, or not offered. Looking for a present? I offer ready to hang solutions like canvas gallery wraps, prints on metal, and matted and framed ready to hang photographs. You can see the photo and product offering on the Products page.

Do you like my free content but are not ready to buy a photograph for your walls yet? Using my links to do your shopping helps me share more photographs and write the stories behind them. And it costs you nothing. You just need to start your shopping by clicking on an advertised product or use the Amazon search box in bottom left. It does not matter what you eventually buy as long as you start here. I truly appreciate each purchase, no matter how small. Thank you!

Would you like to see my photographs printed, matted, and framed? Visit Picture Your Walls in Hamburg, NY (184 Buffalo St, Hamburg, NY 14075).

Colden Falls Head On, a Beautiful Waterfall near Buffalo, New York (NY)Colden FallsHead On Fall At Watkins Glen, Autumn ColorsFall At Watkins GlenAutumn Colors Papermill Falls Sidekick Waterfall, Silver Lake Outlet, Letchworth State Park, New York StatePapermill FallsSidekick

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Road through Fiery Wonders

October 09, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Rock Skyline Road, Valley of Fire State Park, NevadaRock Skyline RoadValley of Fire Previously from Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire: Road Trip through Mars - Road through Fiery Wonders

So what was my destination #2 from the previous post? While not a national park nor a National Recreational Area like Lake Mead, don't let its status of a State Park make you think that it's of a subpar quality. Not at all! And I think it's named appropriately - The Valley of Fire. An amazing collection of natural red rock formations and a spectacular road winding through it all. Whether you are an avid hiker and spend most of your time on foot there or just enjoy a cruise through a wonderful landscape you will find something for yourself here. My humble opinion? If you find yourself in Las Vegas, leave the Strip behind and set your GPS for this state park. Just stop at a store to load up on at least a gallon of water and some snacks, hit the gas, and don't look back.

You will not regret your drive time nor the admission fee and you will know that even as you approach the park. And once in, the views seem to get better by the minute too. It's like a good movie with the plot getting more and more intense, a surprise here and there, and the best left for the end. And on that note, let me do that with my blog post too. Let this be just a small teaser and a step towards what's yet to come!

The Double Yellow, Valley of Fire State Park, NevadaThe Double YellowValley of FIre

The Double Yellow, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you (#etbtsy)!

Did you enjoy this post and the included photographs? Would you like to see more of my travel photographs? Visit my Landscapes Faraway or Travel Photography galleries or the On the Road photo collection. Please, let me know if you have any questions about any photo products offered, or not offered. Looking for a present? I also offer ready to hang solutions like canvas gallery wraps, prints on metal, and matted and framed ready to hang photographs.

Do you like my free content but are not ready to buy a photograph for your walls yet? Using my links to do your shopping helps me share more photographs and write the stories behind them. And it costs you nothing. You just need to start your shopping by clicking on an advertised product or use the Amazon search box in bottom left. It does not matter what you eventually buy as long as you start here. I truly appreciate each purchase, no matter how small. Thank you!

Road to The Organ, Arches National Park, Utah (UT).Destination: The OrganArches National Park Happy on the Road at Lake Mead National Recreational Area, Nevada.Happy on the RoadValley of Fire Yellow Alley at Emery Park, New York (NY) near East Aurora and Buffalo in the Fall - Autumn.Yellow AlleyEmery Park

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Colorful Great Lakes Sunrise

October 02, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

From the shores of Lake Michigan: Lake Shore Grass at Sunrise

Tree at Dawn, North Dunes Nature Preserve, Lake Michigan, Zion - Chicago, ILTree at DawnNorth Dunes Nature Preserve You find yourself on the western shore of Lake Michigan. What do you do? You go catch yourself a sunrise! Living in Buffalo, NY provides for beautiful sunsets over Lake Erie. However, no sun rising from the wet bed of a Great Lake.

And I am very partial to sunrises over sunsets. While I am sure I have more reasons for that than I can think of right now, I believe it is mostly due to the quiet solitude a sunrise can offer. Sunsets just can't match that. Sunsets at beautiful locations are heavily attended and heavily photographed, which for me takes some of the magic away.

Getting up early in the morning during the spring, summer, and fall months is not something too many people are willing to do. And that buys an advantage to those that do, and that is perfectly fine with me.

And so it was this morning. Alarm clock set for 5:45 a.m., which actually was not bad at all compliments of the late September. The sky was still pitch black and the ground was wet indicating it recently stopped raining. Not the best confidence builder. As I drove north the sky started to brighten up ever so slightly in the east. And when it showed enough light to actually illuminate the sky it was covered with a heavy cloud layer instilling even more doubts, and hope. That dual feeling that clouds before sunrise and sunset brings. Without clouds the events can easily lose most of their magic. With clouds, the sky can be on fire with a one of a kind show. With too many clouds, there may be no sunset or sunrise.

Saluting the Sunrise, North Dunes Nature Preserve, Lake Michigan, Zion - Chicago, ILSaluting the SunriseNorth Dunes Nature Preserve

Saluting the Sunrise, North Dunes Nature Preserve, Lake Michigan, Zion - Chicago, IL

At this point there was no more decision making though. My decision was made when the alarm went off and I got up. At this point it was just a matter of what I'd witness and whether or not I'd be able to capture some natural magic in photographs.

Western Glow of Sunrise, North Dunes Nature Preserve, Lake Michigan, Zion - Chicago, ILWestern Glow of SunriseNorth Dunes Nature Preserve Another thing I was wondering was whether I'd even make it to my location of choice. North Dunes Nature Preserve is open sunrise to sunset. Would the gate be open? Or would I be stuck finding a risky parking spot and walking further than planned possibly running out of time for being in the right place at the right time?

As I headed east on the final leg of my approach I had first one reason to smile, and a few minutes later a second one. The clouds on the horizon parted and the sky started showing some beautiful subtle glow. And yes, the gate was open! Not by much but it was open. The ranger was just a little past the   gate at the first parking lot working on opening the whole preserve. 

After parking, I set up my tripod by a little marsh pond and worked on the intended shot. Once I ran out of compositional ideas I looked around and as often happens to me when I keep my eyes open, several photographs presented themselves. I really liked the trees of the preserve standing tall against the colorful dawn sky!

Couple of them stood as stark silhouettes agains the eastern sky and I tried to find the best angle to do their beauty justice. Then, I turned around to see what the sun was up to in the other direction. And look, there were those beautiful pastel colors in the sky and another tree calling my name. The colors were more subtle and the tree was not a silhouette as I stood where the light was coming from. I did my tripod dance and settled on what you see in the last photo here, a low perspective, with the grass also reaching for the sky. As a final tweak of the scene I played with the aperture always keeping the tree in a sharp focus but varying the depth of field rendering the grass more or less out of focus.

And there you have it, a photographic trio of trees from a gorgeous morning on Lake Michigan. A memorable morning undisturbed by others, moments I had to myself. Another photographer showed up shortly after sunrise and and another moments later but that did not matter to me. For the magic moments of the daybreak it was me with my thoughts and the nature putting on a show. Thank you!

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more landscape photographs from places beyond Western New York? Visit my Travel Photography gallery and enjoy! Please, let me know if you have any questions about any photo products offered, or not offered, I will be happy to help! For a quick reference to all photo galleries and collections as well as all photo products currently offered through my site, please, visit the Products page.

Do you like my free content but are not ready to buy a photograph for your walls yet? Using my links to do your shopping helps me share more photographs and write the stories behind them. And it costs you nothing. You just need to start your shopping by clicking on an advertised product or use the Amazon search box in bottom left. It does not matter what you eventually buy as long as you start here. I truly appreciate each purchase, no matter how small. Thank you!


Trains through the Moravian Countryside

September 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Local Train in Moravian Wilderness, Brno - Uhersky Brod route near the village of Nemotice in Southern Moravia, Czech RepublicLocal Train in Moravian WildernessThe Brno - Uhersky Brod route near the village of Nemotice Previously from the Czech Republic: Of Trains & StationsA Stroll through Moravian CountrysideSunset Stroll through Southern Moravian CountrysideRolling Hills and Poppy FieldsThere are as many pubs as there are poppy seeds ...More Travel Treasures, Drying Garlic, Treasures of TravelsThe Power of Simplicity (of the iPhone)Take Me Home, Country Road ...Sound of Music Induced Moment of NostalgiaTravel in Space & TimeOf Trains & StationsRock Cities, Mills, History, and MoreAll About the Rolling HillsAn Irresistible Urge to StopCzech CountrysideTrains through the Moravian Countryside

Transportation makes for interesting photo subjects for me, whether it comes to planes, ships, or trains. And trains are the subject of today's post. This particular day, there were several benefits to the train chasing. I had an opportunity to spend time with my dad on a really long walk, we both had a chance to enjoy the rolling hills of the Southern Moravian countryside, and yes, we both tried to catch a train or two in our photographs.

Entering the S-Curve, local train entering a beautiful Curve on the Brno - Uhersky Brod route near the village of Nemotice in Southern Moravia, Czech RepublicEntering the S-CurveThe Brno - Uhersky Brod route near the village of Nemotice Banking through the Turn, local train in a banked curve on the Brno - Uhersky Brod route near the village of Nemotice in Southern Moravia, Czech RepublicBanking through the TurnThe Brno - Uhersky Brod route near the village of Nemotice

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more landscape photographs from places beyond Western New York? Visit my Travel Photography gallery and enjoy! Please, let me know if you have any questions about any photo products offered, or not offered, I will be happy to help! For a quick reference to all photo galleries and collections as well as all photo products currently offered through my site, please, visit the Products page.

Do you like my free content but are not ready to buy a photograph for your walls yet? Using my links to do your shopping helps me share more photographs and write the stories behind them. And it costs you nothing. You just need to start your shopping by clicking on an advertised product or use the Amazon search box in bottom left. It does not matter what you eventually buy as long as you start here. I truly appreciate each purchase, no matter how small. Thank you!

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