New Jersey Fine Art Nature Photo: Dusk at the Jersey Shore

This is a recent DSLR image made in Ocean County, New Jersey.  I had seen examples of long exposure photography that exhibited substantial cloud blurring but I hadn’t pulled many off before this.  I still would like to increase the length of this type of shot to minimize shape definition but that will require use of Bulb Mode on the camera and even less light hitting the sensor.

NJ Fine Art Photo

A long exposure DSLR photo facing westward a couple of minutes after sunset. Some low cloud formations briefly reflected vibrant pink and orange hues. Nature photograph taken in New Jersey using the Tamron SP 10-24mm Di II Lens + Canon EOS 50D.

Above photo was taken with the tripod mounted Canon EOS 50D camera and the Tamron SP 10-24mm Di II LD lens.  A Hoya 77mm HDx400 HMC filter is screwed onto my lens thread.  This 9-stop Neutral Density filter greatly lowers the amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor.  Exposure time is 30 seconds at F/10 ISO 100.  Mirror Lock-Up and Camera Timer were also set on the camera to reduce loss of sharpness from vibration of the camera’s mirror or from my hand pressing the shutter button.

Technique: Framing a sunrise

A fairly basic photo, but hopefully it has enough going for it to make viewers look twice.

First of all, I went to a section of the beach where I anticipated possible foreground elements to create a multi-dimensional image. I set my alarm so that I’d have some time to spare before first light came above the horizon, made sure I had my essential camera gear, grabbed a flashlight, and made the short drive over to the beach.

NJ Shore sunrise photo

Gnarled Tree and Sunrise

I walked past this interestingly twisted dead root as soon as I neared the beach, and made a mental note that I could try to incorporate it into my scene. I continued to scout around for a few minutes after that, but realized that I probably wasn’t going to be able to beat the character of the root.

I set my tripod to a pretty low level so that the widest part of the root would not converge with the horizon for this frame, and I will admit to snapping off a vertically extending portion of the root to make sure it would fit into the photo. Another important part of this photograph is the sunburst effect, which I know is generally best achieved with my lens/DSLR combo at an aperture of F/22. I’ve found that having the sunburst disperse across a solid object to help amplify the effect, and I knew that I wanted to frame the sun within a portion of the root to further draw the viewer’s focus to the sun itself. That took some fine movements of the tripod to get things just right.

I also shot some horizontal frames before the sun came above the horizon, and will upload and possibly discuss those later this week.

Setting up Foliage Closeup Photos

I’ve been trying to compose more isolating leaf and foliage macros lately, and there’s certainly plenty of challenges involved in that. One of the most important aspects is the physical condition that the leaf or leaves are in. For the majority of photographs, I believe finding the nearest thing to an immaculate specimen is optimal. Although, depending on the mood of the image, perhaps you are seeking the exact opposite.

Foliage closeup photo

Fern and Rock

The setting for the leaf/leaves is of great importance as well. I experiment with contrasting surfaces and complimentary surfaces just to see “what works”. The texture of the background surface will also play a large role in the feel of the image.

In this particular shot, as with many of my still lifes, I opted to have the plant at a diagonal, as this helps break up an otherwise static and linear image. I’ve also found that a polarizing filter may be essential in these situations as reflectance from leaves can be very distracting in the final image. Lighting conditions? I’ve found flat overcast and shadowless lighting to be pretty good for these kinds of shots.