Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pine Glades Lake: Chasing The Light

In all of my trips to Everglades National Park I hadn't ventured much off the main road until this winter when I heard of a good spot for sunset and sunrise shots -- Pine Glades Lake.  A few minutes ride on a bumpy and muddy road led to a photographic feast illustrating how a few minutes difference in the light dramatically changes the image -- and how even when the sun goes down it doesn't automatically mean packing up and leaving (but bring plenty of Off! if you stay).
Shot as the sun was heading down:

Three minutes later:

And I am happy I didn't leave then.  15 minutes later, after sunset:

For such a small shooting venue there were many shot possibilities.  I made sure to be there at sunrise the next day.  It wasn't a "knock your socks off" sunrise but beautiful in its own right:

And the Off! was heavily sprayed on me to get the sunset shot before heading out and getting ready to return home:

I went to the Everglades in search of bird shots on the Anhinga Trail but those weren't as plentiful as in years past.  The heavy Canon gear and big telephoto lenses gave way to the much smaller and lighter Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera for these scenic shots which illustrate what a few minutes difference can make in photography.  So many people will grab a quick snapshot and not wait for what might be a better -- or at least nice -- image a few minutes later.  Chasing the light is what it's about.

Artist's note:  There are a few "tools" used to take images like this.  First, the camera must be secure and level.  The V1 was attached to an L bracket which allows it to be used in the vertical and horizontal positions.  The L bracket (Really Right Stuff) is attached to a ball head (Arca-Swiss Z1) which is attached to a tripod (Gitzo 1228).  A B+W circular polarizer helps reduce glare and the Hitech two stop graduated neutral density filter tones down the "hot" sky to balance the image.  A "double bubble" spirit level was used to get the image as level as possible and, lastly, to reduce vibration and improve sharpness, an electronic remote shutter release activated the camera shutter instead of putting my hand on the shutter release button. 

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