On July 1st, I will be leading a photography workshop at Duke Farms where we will be capturing the luminescence of fireflies.
Each participant will hang their best image in the Duke Gallery for the annual Firefly Festival that attracts over 3000 visitors annually. I think this will be a great challenge for all participants, a way to create very unique nature art, and also a great excuse to chase glowing insects around at night.
A DSLR or camera with manual controls will be necessary, and don’t forget to bring your tripod.
Payment and registration info for the Firefly Photography Workshop at Duke Farms is in the link below.
I found myself situated in a suburban park in downtown Ridgewood tonight. As one expects in the NY metro radius there are many streetlights and plenty of air traffic that prevent definition on most stars even on the clearest of nights. Tonight’s sky was actually partially cloudy, but one or two bright stars periodically beamed there way into my field of view.
A long exposure taken at night in Ridgewood reveals a bit of cloud detail and a bright star. Photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens.
Above photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the tripod-mounted Canon EOS M mirrorless camera. Exposure settings: 30s F/8.0 ISO 200
When I first began doing photography, I thought that the prime objective was to freeze all action to record a moment in time. Getting a sharp capture of a fleeting moment can indeed be difficult, whether it is a closeup view of the supermoon rising on the horizon, a sports photograph like a MLB baseball player nailing a fastball, or a bird photo like trying to shoot a tiny Tree Swallow mid-air. There is also great validity to having motion within your frame. In some cases, this can evoke moods like quickly fleeting action or on the other hand, serenity.
DSLR Nature Photograph from New Jersey showcasing how motion caused by wind can express time and add further dynamics to an image.
The above image was taken recently at the New Jersey Shore using a tripod-mounted Canon EOS 60D camera and the Tamron SP 90mm VC 1:1 F/2.8 Macro Lens. Camera settings in manual exposure: 2.5 seconds F/7.1 ISO 100. VC off (lens stabilization motor), Mirror Lock-up, 2 Second Timer, One Shot Autofocus (near the middle of the grass), and Auto White Balance.
I think the crescent moon has a really great distinctive shape, a shape I generally associate with a peaceful sky. The grass that I have included within the frame is typical vegetation of the mid-Atlantic shoreline, so this gives a nice sense of orientation for the viewer. For others, the grass may be reminiscent of a prairie or meadow. The back and forth motion of the blades of grass tell us that time is passing, and also gives the photo a much softer edged appearance than a motionless capture. I did shoot several similar frames, but in the other images I actually felt there was too much motion and not enough definition on the grass.
This is an impromptu composition that was dictated by the lighting conditions. My intention for this night photography session was to photograph stars in the sky, but the punchy light from the moon and the promenade limited the definition possible in the sky.
Fine Art Photograph taken at night at the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City
The camera settings here are a focal length of 18mm, aperture at F/5.6 and ISO speed of 400. Increasing the exposure would have blown out the highlights and decreasing the exposure would have rendered the scene too dark for my tastes. I originally started off at a higher ISO but the image looked washed out so I lowered it a full ISO stop. I do not shoot still photos in incremental ISO’s as anything other than native ISO values can deteriorate dynamic range or image quality. Other settings: RAW file format, Auto White Balance, Mirror Lock Up, 2 Second Timer, VC (stabilization) off, tripod firmly in the sand
The composition in this photo is a pretty straight-forward rule-of-thirds setup. The horizon is placed about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame and the houses occupy approximately 2/3 of the horizontal length of the frame. Putting those elements dead center in the photo would have killed the dynamics in my opinion.