Winter Sunset on Lake Erie

The sunsets on the south shore of Lake Erie are not quite as brilliant in the winter, due to the position of the sun in the sky. The sun sets south of the lake and doesn't usually light up the clouds. Tonight was just pretty, because the water was so calm in the harbor. The puffy clouds in the sky picked up a little color, but were mostly muted. 

The still water made for nice reflections of the light house. And the moon made an early appearance.

I finally put my new tripod and Platypod to use. A couple behind the scenes shot highlight the gear. Both are fantastic. 

New Gear!! Part 2 - Platypod Ultra Review

Over the holiday weekend I did a photowalk in Cleveland Metroparks Viaduct Park where I had the opportunity to put my new Platypod to work. 

My regular tripod is fine in many situations, but a few shots I wanted to be down close to the water and the rocks made use of a tripod challenging. The Platypod with spike feet installed provided excellent support for my Canon 5DS R with a 12mm lens attached. 

Canon 5DS R mounted on a Platypod Ultra with an Oben BA-113T ball head.

Thanks to rubber caps on the opposite end, the spikes are easy to adjust and provide grip on the uneven surface of the rocks.  It is important to make sure the surface is stable. You don’t want the rock (or whatever surface) to move after you setup your camera. 

The Platypod has a hole for attaching a carabiner clip.  This was really helpful when moving to new locations. I attached the Platypod with the ball-head to my gear bag (backpack), saving the hassle of detaching the ball-head each time. For transport and storage the ball-head unscrews and fits nicely in my bag. 

A few days prior to this hike I used the Platypod at the beach to hold my iPhone while recording a timelapse of the sunset. It setup beautifully on a piece of washed up driftwood. 

So far I am very impressed with the build quality and usefulness of the Platypod. I have a trip coming up later this month and plan to use it a lot there. 


Down by the River

I've been trying for weeks to get a nice shot on the bridge over the Grand River in Fairport Harbor. Some nights I drive by and there is a nice sunset forming, but I don't have my camera. Some nights a group of ducks are swimming in the reflection of the sunset. Last night the ducks were there and the sky was changing colors, and I had my camera.  By the time I parked and walked the 200 yards to the bridge, the ducks had floated out of view. But, I got the sunset and reflection.

My first pass at processing the photo, I left the crop wide, catching the silhouette of trees to the left - this version was posted to Facebook. After I looked at it a while, I feel the pictures is much stronger cropped in on the left.  Here are the two versions. 

First pass - wider angle

Cropped version

My new favorite photo, of my own work

Last week I went to the local state park beach just before sunset. I've been working on my current set of abstract photos. During that shoot, I came up with my current favorite piece to date. 

Headlands Beach Winter Abstract has a wonderful mix of colors and soft textures. The image is direct from the camera, the only manipulation was done in Lightroom, boosting the colors, contrast, clarity, etc. 

I love that this photo looks like it could have been taken on a plane, over the clouds. In reality, it was taken on a snow covered beach. 

In the near future, I plan to get a large print made of this photo. 

headlands Winter Sunset-6236.jpg

Winter Walk

New Year's Day I woke up to a heavy snowfall. After fussing around the house and snowblowing the driveway, I grabbed me gear and headed over to the Lake Metro Parks Chair Factory Falls. There had only been a couple people there throughout the day (based on the footprints in the snow). The snow that collected on fences and trees had remained undisturbed. The hike down the hill to the falls was a little slick, but manageable.  The falls were partially frozen.

With all the white snow, and lack of color, aside from some evergreens, I decided to convert the files to black and white. Earlier in the week my friend, Andrea, posted a fun art related project for her friends on Facebook. Anyone who wanted to participate was assigned an artist to research and find an interesting photograph of there work. I was assigned Ansel Adams who is known for his iconic black and white landscape photographs. I would say this definitely inspired me to look for or create an opportunity to shoot in black and white.