One Photo: Night becoming Day

After publishing yesterday's post, I noticed this image in my Lightroom catalog.  It was taken seven minutes before the photo "Off to Work" in yesterday's post, and four minutes before official sunrise on a day last month.

As the sun approached its actual sunrise position on the horizon (6:42 a.m.), I watched the clouds above me turn pink. I looked up and a little behind me to see just a wisp of the moon. After a quick "whoa", I aimed the camera upwards and autofocused on the moon.

 I was pleased with the photo because of the transition it captures of night becoming day. I was also happy that I actually saw the moon, as my attention was focused east toward the horizon.

"Night becoming Day"
Olympus E-M1 with 12-100 F4 zoom @ 100mm (200mm-e)
Aperture priority @ F4. Auto ISO 200. 1/200 sec.
Processed in Lightroom Classic


One Photo: Off to Work

My wife and I really enjoy our mornings in Maine.  Part of that is because when we are there, we are *not* going off to work. We are on vacation. Part of it is also due to the peace and quiet we experience, especially in the morning.

We like to get up before sunrise and get a pot of coffee going.  We set ourselves up on the screen porch (the mosquitos can be bad at dawn, unless there is an onshore breeze), sip our coffee, and watch the morning unfold until we decide it is time for breakfast. [We feel that this is a great "living in the moment" experience.]

During our sunrise routine, my camera is always at the ready, as periodically I'll walk down to the shoreline to take sunrise photos. The photo below is one such image.  It was taken on a day last month at 6:45 a.m. According to the PhotoPills app on my iPhone, that was two minutes after official sunrise.  I'm facing south.

We are so remote at this location that there are only two morning sounds: gulls and lobster boats. There are a lot of gulls, but just a few lobster boats.  We see maybe four boats each morning.  We love the sound of their engines as they pass in front of us, going out early to check their traps.

"Off to Work"
Olympus E-M1 with 12-100 F4 zoom @ 100mm (200mm-e)
Aperture priority @ F4. Auto ISO 200. 1/800 sec.
Processed in Lightroom Classic


One Photo: Fall Damselfly

Last month while vacationing in Maine, on a day that was not so pleasant for landscape photography, I decided to look a little "smaller".  I saw a patch of ferns that were turning their rusty brown dying fall colors and I thought I might find a nice composition.  What a thrill it was to get my lens lined up and to see this damselfly perched on a dead fern frond.

Both dragonflies and damselflies pose very nicely.  In fact, if you do disturb them and they fly off, they will often come right back to the same spot.  I've experienced that many times.

Do you know the difference between a damselfly and a dragonfly?


A damselfly rests with its wings straight back.  A dragonfly rests with its wings outstretched at a 90 degree angle from its body.

"Damselfly on Fern"

Olympus E-M1 with 12-100 F4 zoom @ 100mm (200mm equivalent)
Aperture Priority at F4.  Auto ISO 200.  1/500 sec
Processed in Lightroom Classic CC


One Photo: Favorite Fall Photo

I didn't get many fall images this year, and I have little hope until next year.  We have had a lot of rain and wind, and I have read that the record high moisture in the air (high dew points) and the longer non-frost season, are not good signs for our maple trees.  And it is the maple tree that gives us our brightest colors.

All that being said, I did like this image taken about a month ago in Maine. Trees near fresh water tend to change colors first.

"Beaver Pond"
Olympus E-M1 with Olympus 12-100mm F4 zoom @70mm (140mm-e)
ISO 500
1/160 sec
Lightroom Classic


One Photo: But thanks to my friend Dennis, two Versions

My friend Dennis commented on the Cadillac Mountain photos included in my last post. He liked the image below, which is presented here pretty much the way I processed it seven years ago in whatever version of Lightroom was then available.

Dennis has a good eye and photographic vision, and he made some processing suggestions that I found worth experimenting with.  The changes, all done in the current version of Lightroom Classic, make this image quite a bit more dramatic.

Based on Dennis' recommendations, in Lightroom I increased the contrast (+41), increased the clarity (+100), and added a slight vignette to darken the corners.  I also warmed the white balance temperature by changing it from 5,100 to 6,500 degrees kelvin.  Instant drama!

[Check out Dennis Mook's blog, especially if you are an Olympus or Fuji user, as Dennis shoots with both systems, with one or more Panasonic lenses thrown in for good measure. Link: https://www.thewanderinglensman.com ]

"Visitors at Cadillac Mountain"
Panasonic G2 with Olympus 14-54mm
 @43mm (86mm-e)
ISO 100
1/800 sec


Clear Views atop Cadillac on Mt. Desert Island

My last post, in which I featured a few photos from the top of Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island on a foggy day this October, had me thinking about all the times I’ve been up there when the views were clear. Because today is a rainy, windy and cold Saturday, I decided to go into my archives (i.e. my lightroom catalog) to find a few images from prior years.  

What I noticed is that I have no images taken during the golden hour.  The last time I was there at sunrise was some 20 years ago with a film camera, and I don't know where any of the photos (if any) are.  And I have never been there during sunset.  So, all of these were taken during the challenging conditions of mid-day. 

Here are a few:

The town of Bar Harbor. Cruise ships are a growing occurrence.
The islands are known as the Porcupine Islands, due to their shape and appearance.


Fog, Mist, and Clouds atop Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain on Mt. Desert Island, Maine is not a big mountain.  In fact it is only 1,530 feet high.  But the views are terrific.  From the top you have more than 180 degrees of ocean and harbor views, and you can see for miles... on a clear day.

Due to it’s height and longitude and latitude, many argue that it is the first place in the United States where you can see the sunrise. But others argue that Mt. Katahdin at 5,600 feet, but further inland, deserves that honor.

Access to the top of Cadillac is easy via a winding road that opened first in 1931 (and clearly has been maintained and improved since then).  The road terminates at a parking lot that is often full at mid-day.  Unfortunately, even during an early summer sunrise, this means a traffic jam of people, especially in recent years.  

I have never been there at sunset, but I understand that that too is spectacular. There are at least two hiking trails leading to the top. My favorite starts at the Black Woods Campground.  

Lichen on the Granite Boulders

As beautiful as it can be atop Cadillac, Maine weather is unpredictable.  And along the immediate coast there can be fog and a cold mist, even while a few miles inland it might be bright and sunny and warm.  That’s what this day was all about!

Winter Berries

On this day I felt sorry for visitors who were hoping for a nice scenic view.  But the top half of the mountain was in a cloud, and it was cool and windy and misty-wet.  Many visitors had their camera slung over their shoulders but few were taking pictures.  I saw a few selfies being taken, all with fog for a background.

Because I didn’t want to go away without a few pictures, I gave up on the “big scenic iconic shots” and focused my attention on more intimate pieces of the landscape, as shown in the four images above. 


One Photo: Fall Blueberry Barren in Maine

Seen here is a tract of managed blueberry barrens.  Soil here is naturally nutrient-poor and acidic. Apparently this is perfect for blueberries, though since this field is harvested commercially, I am guessing that some fertilizer is added to the mix. 

Barrens are wide open areas that are flat or hummocky and covered with dwarf shrubs, like these lowbush blueberries. There are also often “carpets” of reindeer lichen, though I don’t see any from this angle.

"Fall Blueberry Barren"
Blue Hill, Maine
Olympus E-M1 and 12-100mm F4 zoom @ 54mm
Auto ISO 200, Aperture priority F8, 1/125 sec
Processed in Lightroom Classic CC

What is particularly remarkable is that these lowbush shrubs (which are green and of course “chock full” of blueberries in the summer) have some of the first leaves to turn color in fall. And this is a bright red and/or orange!  Unfortunately, summer travelers in Maine never get to see this spectacular fall display.

[These barrens are owned by a friend of mine.  Last summer we picked berries along the edge of this road.  My wife and I picked a couple of quarts each, in just minutes.]


Focus Stacking a few September Flowers

During my one visit to the botanic garden in September I found myself rather disappointed.  Everything was beginning to look a bit ragged. I was nevertheless pleased with these images.
These flowers were photo stacked with between 5 and 12 images.  Whoops, the first one is a wild geranium and it is a single shot.

The lens used is an Olympus 12-100 (24-200mm equiv) F4 zoom.  The camera is my aging Olympus E-M1.  All were done at base ISO 200 and aperture was wide open at F4. All were hand held. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/250 to 1/640. Images were merged and edited in Lightroom Classic.

Wild Geranium (one image)

Phlox (12 images)

Verbana (5 images)

Marigold (9 images)

Anenome (10 images)


Reflections: To Polarize or Not

Based on what I have read, a polarizer is a “must have” filter when near water or when the sky is blue and filled with puffy clouds.  Or, at least that has been my “take away” when reading various articles by the experts.  Near water and other reflective surfaces (automobiles and foliage, for example) the polarizer cuts the reflections.  And when it comes to blue sky and clouds, the filter can brighten the blue and keep details in the white clouds.

In the two examples below, the polarizer was able to simplify the composition in photo #1 but cutting out the reflections being created by the surrounding vegetation.  

But just because you have a polarizer in the camera bag doesn’t mean it must be used!  I actually find them to be cumbersome to use, as the more times you screw one on and screw one off, the more likely it is that you will drop it or at the very least smudge it or the lens. In the situation below it would mean potentially dropping the polarizer in the water, so I didn’t bother with it in photo #2.

These two images are very different.  I don’t know which I like better, but my current favorite is photo #2.  That’s because it seems kind of artsy and abstract.  I guess any time a photo makes me feel like an actual artist, I like it.  YMMV.

Photo #1: With Polarizer

Photo #2: Without Polarizer