Tag Archives: dogs

Bradley Palmer State Park (Topsfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 1, 2019

Location: 40 Asbury St, Topsfield, MA

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Daily parking fee charged Memorial Day weekend through October 31

MA resident  $5

Non-MA resident  $10

There is a pay station located at the parking lot.

Parking: There is a parking area for about 50 or so cars.

Trails Size and Difficulty: 721 acres, easy to moderate

Universally Accessible: Yes, the main trail is universally accessible

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Bradley Palmer State Park Website

Bradley Palmer State Park Trail Map

Highlights: equestrian trails, meadows, plants, flowers, scenic views, wildlife, historic site, wading pool (June 26 – September 7 Open daily, 9:30am to 7:00pm)

IMG_9353

Named after noted attorney and businessman Bradley Palmer, Bradley Palmer State Park has numerous trails for cycling, horse riding or just hiking as well as beauty unmatched by most parks in the area.

There is a variety of wildlife at Bradley Palmer.  Snakes (garters mostly), frogs and toads and birds are abundant at the park.  I was careful to not get too close to the Fowler’s toad as it has poison glands that meet at the back of their eyes.  Actually, I had no idea about this while I took the photo.  It was only after I had somewhat foolishly gotten close to the frog, taken the photo and researched what type of frog it was that I found about this.  I am always careful to not disturb the wildlife though.  The only reason it looks like I was very close was because of my telephoto lens.  But it is something to keep in mind next time.

 

There are also numerous equestrian trails for horse riders to take their horses on.

IMG_8915

There are also open fields with obstacles for horses to make jumps.

 

In fact, it is the open areas with long trails that make Bradley Palmer so special.  There are so many pretty trees and flowers along the trails which are located along the Ipswich River. I could walk along the seemingly endless trails just taking in the scenic views along the way.

 

There are also historic buildings at the park.  Palmer had constructed a mansion called Willow Dale where he resided.  The building was restored in 2007 and is used for wedding receptions and other celebratory events under the name Willowdale Estate.  I didn’t take photos of the remodeled building as there was a wedding reception taking place there during my visit.

There is also an old abandoned building at one of the entrances to the park. I’m not sure what it was originally used for (perhaps a horse barn as Bradley Palmer enjoyed horses).  But, it is fun to think of it as being the home of a gnome or some other fantastical creature.

IMG_9351

 Bradley Palmer is a dog friendly park.  There is more than 720 acres for you and your pooch to explore.  Luke, a 7 year old, Tree Walker Coon hound, had fun on the trail.

IMG_9097

The one thing that made this shoot somewhat challenging (despite the birds who kept flying away before I could shoot them) was the lighting at the park.  Sunlight can be very difficult to work with.  Frankly, it is often easier to get a darker image and fix it in post production.  An over exposed photo can be very hard to “fix” later.  This is why it’s important to get the photo right in the camera whenever possible,

There are two easier ways to avoid getting too much light in your photo: come back later and (time permitting) shoot the photo at a later time when the lighting may be better or try to position yourself in a different angle where the light may be less harsh.  Those suggestions may seem obvious but sometimes the most obvious ideas do not always come to mind, especially if we may not have time to shoot the image later in the day.

When I took a beginner photography class, the teacher told us to shoot at 5.6 “because he said so.”  While it is obvious that this is not always the best setting to use, I did notice I shot most of my photos at 5.6 or 4.0.  Of course, it will vary upon where and when and the environment you’re shooting in, 5.6 is a good place to set your camera at and you can always adjust from there if you’re unsure what setting to use, particularly for beginners.

In a future post I will share some thoughts on photographing birds.  You know, the least frustrating part of photography ( :


19th Annual Master Sand Sculpting Classic (Hampton Beach, Hampton, NH)

Date Of Visit: June 23, 2019

Location: Hampton Beach, 115 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH

Hours: The beach is accessible daily from dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: Hampton Beach offers a variety of parking options.  If you’re lucky enough to get a parking spot in the main parking area it is $2 an hour during the summer.  There are also additional lots that range from 5 to 20 dollars for the day depending on when you arrive.  See link for additional parking info: Parking Info

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes but dogs are not allowed on the beach during the summer

Websites: Hampton Beach 19th Annual Master Sand Sculpting Classic

Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Classic Facebook Page

Hampton Beach

Highlights: sand sculptures

Summary: Ten artists converged upon Hampton Beach to sculpt pieces of work.

IMG_9953

Sand sculptors from all over North America showed off their talents during a two day sand sculpting festival at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.  If you missed the event but you want to see the works of art in person, don’t fret. The sand sculptures should be up for a while, or at least until Mother Nature says differently.  They will be lit up at night until June 27.

In the past, I have spent the second day of the festival at the beach watching and photographing the sculptors at work.  However, this was not possible this year.  I thought I would head off to the park early Sunday instead.  The beach was already packed when I arrived at 7:30 (don’t people sleep in anymore?).  But, I was able to get shots of the finished products and a few of the visitors at the beach.

So, with further delay, the winners were…drum roll please…

The winners, which were selected Saturday, June 22, and runner-ups are listed below.

First place went to Melineige Beauregard of Quebec, Canada for “Breaking Out.”  Melineige’s sculpture represents people breaking out of our old habits.  The child in the back of the sculpture represents our “inner child” breaking out.

IMG_9940-2

Karen Fralich of Toronto, Canada, snagged second place with “Samurai.”  Karen said she saw a photo of a female samurai while she was looking through old photos with her mother and that was the impetus for this work.  You may notice needle like objects protruding from the sculpture below and in some of the other sand sculptures.  These are meant to keep birds from perching on the sand sculptures.

IMG_9965

Third place and also the winner of the “People’s Choice” (in which the visitors at the festival were allowed to vote for their favorite sculpture) and the “Sculptor’s Choice” awards went to Abe Waterman of Prince Edward Island for “Outside In.”   He said his sculpture was about how we perceive others and how others perceive us.

IMG_9995

“Life Goes On” by David Andrews  of Wisconsin placed fourth in the competition.  Like many of the artists at the competition, this was not his first rodeo at Hampton Beach.  Andrews participated in last year’s competition as well.  David said his sculpture was a tree that grew in the remains of a wreckage.

IMG_9934

Fifth place went to another Hampton sand sculptor regular, Greg Grady of New Hampshire for “Ask. Seek. Knock.”  Greg said his sculpture was about a person seeking answers and reaching out for a spirit and seeking answers to his problems.

IMG_9945

The runner ups were still impressive.  It almost seems unfair to have to pick one particular sculpture for first place since they all have so much beauty and it is such a subjective process.

“Connected” by Chris Guinto of Key West, Florida, is about a bird flying away from tree it is connected to.

IMG_9937

“Plastic” by Carl D Jara of Cleveland, Ohio, explained that he had been thinking of plastic a lot before he planned this sculpture but his thoughts about the idea were negative.  He decided to think more positively and this sculpture was the result.

IMG_9976-2

Marc Lepire from Quebec, Canada, who works not only with sand but also carves ice and wood, sculpted “No Fear.”  He said his “dark side” came out while was constructing his piece.

Dan Belcher of Saint Louis, Missouri, sculpted “Hemisphere.”  He said that by having a happy face and  a sad face in the sculpture, the sculpture shows how we can be a mixture of good and bad.  The sculpture depicts our contrasts.

Justin Gordon of Massachusetts created “Hulk 3-D.”  According to Justin, the sculpture shows a 3-d like image.  By making one hand bigger than the other, Justin tried to show motion in the sculpture.  He also said everyone seems to be interested in super hero movies and we’re all looking for a super hero these days.  So the sculpture seemed appropriate.

There were also a few cute visitors to view the sand sculptures.

Missy, who will turn 9 in September, is a Golden/Chow mix.

IMG_0050-3

Chopper is a 3 year old Staffordshire mix.

IMG_0062

Cody, a 7 year old Maltese, got around in style at the beach.

IMG_8834

 


The Boardwalk (Newburyport, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 1, 2019

Location: 36 Merrimac St, Newburyport, MA

Hours: the boardwalk is accessible everyday from dawn to dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is plenty of parking (over 100 spots roughly) that can be paid for at kiosks at the parking lot

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic, monuments, art, replica of historic ship

Summary: In addition to its scenic views, the boardwalk in Newburyport has a variety of memorials, markers and art for every visitor to enjoy.

IMG_8818

Art, memorials, history and scenic views and a few surprise attractions await you at the boardwalk along Newburyport.

Originally constructed in 1977, the boardwalk had a makeover in 2002.  It is now universally accessible.

Fittingly, during my visit the Nao Santa Maria, a tall ship replica of the Santa Maria, was in port.

 

The 200 ton ship, which was designed to replicate every feature of the original Santa Maria, set sail from Newburyport JUne 10.

There are numerous memorials, monuments and other historical markers along the boardwalk.

This memorial is dedicated to the crews of two different ships. the crew of the Heather Lynne II, a 45-foot fishing boat out of Newburyport that capsized off the coast of Cape Ann on September 5, 1996 when it struck a long cable connecting a 272-foot barge to the tugboat it was towing,  Captain Jeffrey J. Hutchins, Kevin Foster and John M. Lowther lost their lives on that vessel.

There is also a plaque on the memorial dedicated to the crew of the FV Lady Luck who were lost at sea during the evening of January 31, 2007. Captain Sean P. Cone (24) and Crewman Daniel R Miller (21) were lost when the ship sank off the coast of Maine.

 

While the anchor, wheel and sheet of paper titled “Let A Payer Be Said”are common types of articles used for memorials, I found the lantern to be especially touching.

This monument is dedicated to the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.  The monument was dedicated on August 4, 1989 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Coast Guard.  The inscription, in part, states the people of Newburyport dedicate the plaque, “to the men and women of the United States Coast Guard who have courageously and faithfully served the nation for 200 years. For two centuries their labor has saved lives, buoyed our channels, ensured safe operation of ports and vessels, protected our shorelines from smugglers and defended the nation in every major war.”

IMG_8811-2

Newburyport, MA, has a very close connection to the Coast Guard as you will see in the following monument just off the boardwalk.

Along the Waterfront Park next to the boardwalk is this marker which states the United States Coast Guard was born with the launching of the USRC Massachusetts on July 23, 1791.

 

It’s interesting to note the Coast Guard’s initial primary responsibility was to enforce tariffs and prevent smuggling.  Their role has certainly expanded since then.

One of the great things about the boardwalk is there are lots of places for people to sit.

A bench and sitting area along the boardwalk is dedicated to Mayor Peter J Matthews, the 57th mayor of Newburyport who served from 1985 to 1987.

IMG_8794

Also, chairs are set up for weary travelers or just photo opportunities.

IMG_8720-3

There is also this maritime symbol along the boardwalk in case you get lost.

IMG_8796

I tried asking this guy for directions.  But, he wasn’t much help.

IMG_8727

Markers along the boardwalk point out historic areas of interest.

 

Of course, there were lots of maritime vessels in the Merrimack River that runs along the boardwalk.  The first boat is the Raven, the Newburyport Fire Marine 2 vessel.

IMG_8651

 

 

The views of and from the Waterfront Park are very pretty.

 

There was also art, lots of art, along the boardwalk during my visit.

The following works of art were located at the Somberly’s Landing Sculpture Park along the boardwalk.

Rick Rothrock constructed “Eastern Portal”out of marble.

 

Wendy Klemperer constructed “Elk” out of steel

 

Robert Motes constructed “An Imaginary Place” out of stainless steel

IMG_8737

Gillian Christy constructed “The Space Within, Buds” out of stainless stell with a powder coat

IMG_8739

Dale Rogers constructed “Another Good Day” out of stainless steel, steel and stone

 

Leashed dogs are welcome on the boardwalk.  And there were plenty of cute dogs on the boardwalk during my visit.

Mortimer is a very agile 3 year old Staffordshire mix.

IMG_8770

 

Peak is a super friendly 7 year old Australian Cattle dog Pointer mix.

IMG_8847

And, if Mortimer or Peak get thirsty walking along the boardwalk, the boardwalk has a special drinking fountain for them.

IMG_8793


Brews And Dogs (Towne Taproom, Agawam, MA)

Date Of Event: May 4, 2019

Location: Towne Taproom, 378 Walnut St Extension, Agawam, MA

Hours: the event usually starts at 12:00 pm

Cost: Free

Parking: There is parking behind the taproom and there are parking lots in the area.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Of course!

Website: Towne Taproom (Facebook)

Summary: Towne Tap hosted their monthly “Dogs And Brew” event.  

IMG_7854

Towne Taproom has gone to the dogs.

Locally crafted beer wasn’t the only thing on tap at Towne Taproom earlier this month.

In addition to their musical entertainment, karaoke and trivia nights, Towne Taproom has been holding “Brews and Dogs” events which allow dog mom and dads to bring their furry friends to socialize.  Just make sure they are socialized and leashed.

A food truck from 4 B’s Mac & Cheese was also there and outdoor seating was available.

There were a variety of dogs at the event.  And, as you can tell by what some of the dogs are wearing, the first 50 dogs received a Towne and Taproom bandana.  The event raised funds for Baystate’s Pediatric Palliative Dog Therapy Unit.

Below are some of the visitors to the big event!

Penny is a 2 year old toy poodle.

 

IMG_7869-2

Rhodes and May (from left to right) are 5 year old labs.

IMG_7900

Elliott is a 5 month old Australian Cattle dog mix.

 

 

 

IMG_7923

Missy is a 5 year old Cavalier and Pekingese mix.

IMG_7938-2

Freya is a 2 year old Newfie.

IMG_7954

Mia is a 12 year old Boxer.

IMG_7962

My mom’s dog Holly is a year and a half ptibull mix

IMG_7965

Mia is a 13 year old Boxer.

IMG_7975

Rhino is a 4 year old Great Dane.

IMG_8002

From left to right is Bruno, a 4 year old Cocapoo rescue from Texas and Olive an 11 year old Golden Doodle mix from Boston.

IMG_8014

Towne Taproom plans on having these Brews and Dogs event on a monthly basis.  But they encourage people to visit their Facebook page to find out when they will be held.  See you this summer for a few brews and dogs!

 

 


Easter In The Park (Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 21, 2019

Location: Boston Public Garden, 4 Charles St, Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking garages in the area and limited street parking

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers, sculptures, swan boats, trees, statues

Website: Boston Public Garden

Summary: The Ducklings were dressed in their Sunday bests as people thronged to Boston Public Garden to enjoy an unseasonably warm day at the park.

The Dressing of the Ducklings has become an Easter tradition for some time.

But, they are not only dressed up for the Easter holiday.  The ducklings, which were installed in 1987, have also been seen wearing jerseys of the home sports teams, particularly during the playoffs or other important points of the season.  They are also dressed up for other holidays or days of interest, most notably Mother’s Day.

The book “Make Way For Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey is the inspiration for these sculptures.  In the book a pair of mallards  decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden. Oh, sorry spoiler alert.

The ducklings are a favorite of the children who like to play with, and sometimes on, the statues.

IMG_7365

The ducklings aren’t the only sculptures at the park.

At the Arlington St entrance, there is a larger than life statue of George Washington.  The 22 foot granite statue stands on a 16 foot pedestal making the total height of the statue and pedestal 38 feet.

IMG_7225

Built by Boston painter and musician Thomas Ball, the statue took 4 years to complete.  Because of shortages of bronze casting due to the Civil War, it would not be completed until 1863.

The real beauty of the park is more natural.  Countless trees, flowers and plants adorn the park.

The views at the park are some of the most beautiful in Boston.  You may see the lagoon that I mentioned above where the ducklings are said to have resided.

I was surprised at how many people were at the park on what I thought would be a “family holiday” for most.  Seeing all of the people dressed to the hilt, I do think many people came to the park after their morning obligations were completed.  These visitors were having fun celebrating the day.

IMG_7285

This creative lady took the opportunity to paint at the park.

IMG_7189

Birds and other wildlife are abundant at the park. Fittingly, I did see a few mallards there.

Some animals are so used to seeing and interacting with humans they will eat from your hand.

IMG_7369

Dogs and even a cat were at the pet friendly park.

IMG_7407

Maggie, an 18 month old Aussiedoodle (Australian Toy Poodle), had fun retrieving a miniature sized ball.

IMG_7445

This brave cat named Blue, a 6 year old Orange and Siamese cat, went to the park with her mom.

Now the fun part.  How did I photograph this place?  Since I left early before the sun was high in the sky and it was overcast for most of my visit, it was easier than on some of the sunnier days,  For the most part, I shot with a 5.6 or 6.3 aperture. I even went down to 3.5 and 4.0 and I kept my ISO at 100 since lighting wasn’t an issue for this shoot.

I usually use the Aperture Value (or Aperture Priority) setting.  So, I didn’t worrying about controlling my shutter speed.  Until I photographed Maggie, of course.  To capture her motion as she rain I used a 320 shutter setting and I probably could have gone to 500 or higher.  The hardest part of photography, especially for us beginners, can be making sure all of the settings are correct before you click.  I can attest to this.  As I went into, gulp, manual mode I made sure to put my shutter speed at 1,000 to photograph Maggie.  But, I forgot to adjust my other settings.  So, I had a few black images in my LCD screen.  Once I made this correction the photos came out better.  This just goes to underscore the importance of looking at your meter and viewing photos in your screen and adjusting as needed as you shoot.

However, I would caution anyone from deleting files from their memory card.  For reasons that are far too technical for me to explain clearly, you can actually damage your memory card if you try to delete images from your card.  Everyone does or has done it, though.  In fact, I did it just the other day out of habit.  Here’s an article that explains it in greater depth: Why you should not delete images on your memory card in your camera

But, another easier way to explain this is to just say you don’t know what you can do to the image in LightRoom or PhotoShop (more on these applications in a future post).  But, take a look at this photo of Maggie, the dog I photographed at Boston Public Garden.

IMG_7395-3

I almost used this photo in my post.  But, I thought the other photo showed better motion and was an overall photo especially since this photo was too dark no matter how much I played with the settings in LightRoom.  But, considering what I had to work with it wasn’t too bad.  This is what the original photo looked like on my memory card before I edited it in LightRoom.

IMG_7395

Yes, that’s what the photo looked like on my card before I edited it.  I was so eager to photograph the cute little doggie that I only adjusted the shutter speed and not the aperture (it was at 22 when I took the photo).  I noticed the error and I adjusted my aperture and shutter speed accordingly (the photo I posted in the blog post above was at 5.6 aperture, 320 shutter speed, 160 ISO and 128 mm).  I should have used a faster shutter speed (500 or 1000) and adjusted the aperture as you can see some blur in her legs and a faster shutter speed would have eliminated this.

The main point of me posting those photos is that virtually any photo is salvageable or at least you can “save” almost any photo, unless, of course, it is blurry.  So, please don’t ever delete in your camera!

I didn’t use a lens hood or any other device to limit sun glare since it wasn’t a particularly sunny day.  I did, however, use this when I was photographing the child on the goose sculpture.

IMG_7826

You slip on the lens and it can help to attract the child’s attention.  It also works with some dogs and other pets (and probably even adults!).  Isn’t it cute?  While I don’t sponsor items or advertise items,  I do like and recommend this item.  I will leave the link for this and other knitted “camera buddies” here in case you may want to look into purchasing one.

IMG_7820

I hope all of this info helps

 

 

 

 


Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition (Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA)

Date Of Event: April 6, 2019

Location: Good Harbor Beach, Thatcher Rd, Gloucester, MA (about 45 mins northeast of Boston, MA or 1 hour and 30 minutes southeast of Concord, NH)

Summary: 26 surfers entered the first Annual Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition.

Websites: Lake Atlantic Invitational

Gloucester Beach Info

IMG_6184

Hang ten!  Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA, was the home to the first Annual Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition earlier this month.

Twenty six surfers from the Gloucester area came together to show off their skills. The surfers went out in groups of 3 or 4.  And each group was represented by a different color which represented a different heat.  The order of the flags were changed so that each group (heat) would get a chance to begin surfing in a different order.  But, the groups were judged individually.

IMG_6036

The top three surfers won one of these cool trophies.

IMG_6023

Since I arrived about an hour before the competition began, I decided to take some photos of this beautiful place.

The beach is only a short drive from Boston, MA.  However, if you plan on visiting this gem during the summer, it may not be as easy as you think.  Click on the link above to view the parking policy during the summer.  In short, you need a sticker to park in the limited parking lot.  You can apply for a sticker if you live out of town.  But Gloucester residents get priority.  Unless you are a resident of Gloucester (and have a parking sticker to prove it), the best times to visit may be before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  Or, during early spring when it’s absolutely freezing.  That’s what I did!

Most of the surfers came from Gloucester or the Gloucester area.  However, one of the competitors, Jake Danzer, 20, came all the way from New London, CT, where he attends the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Alex Debreceni, from Dunstable, MA, was one of the surfers competing that day.

IMG_6032

There were other photographers at the surfing competition including the people who brought this drone to photograph the surfers in the water.  But, this dog would rather play with it.

IMG_6041

While it was pretty cold (in the 30s and 40s for most of the morning) and there was an evident wind that made it feel even colder, the waves weren’t all that, well, wavy.  The surfers did their best to show off their skills.

But, they all weren’t successful.

IMG_6328

Of course, I could no better.  And, just like in life, it doesn’t matter if or even how many times you fall.  What matters is how often you get back up on your board!

The winner of the competition was Colby, 18 of Gloucester. Rhodes Cole, of Rockport, came in second and John Lane, of Yarmouth, Maine, came in third.

Good Harbor is a great place to take your dog.  However, make sure to visit only during the designated times (unleashed dogs are allowed October 1st to March 31st ).  One of the reasons for this is to comply with state and federal laws that protect nesting areas for piping plovers.  Animal control arrived while I was leaving.  So they do enforce this regulation.

Despite the regulations, I did see quite a few dogs at the beach during the competition.

IMG_6029-2

Gracie is a 1 year old Lab mix.

IMG_5991-3

Boss is a 3 month old Cane Corso

A recent feature to my posts which I am trying to make a regular part of them is to explain the settings and methods I used to photograph my shots.  This was a tricky one for me.  I wish explaining photography was easy.  Unfortunately, it can be a little complicated, especially when you try to boil it down.  So, I have highlighted the places where I show the settings I used and any other important tips.  But, to gain a better context of why I used them and how it may help your photography, I would suggest reading the entire passages.   And this one is fairly long.

When writing these tips I always think what would I have wanted someone to tell me when I first started photography.  I learned a lot from trial and error and I would like to help others avoid having to learn this way whenever possible.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not by any means an expert photographer and I have really only been using manual mode and other modes outside of automatic for about 7 months now.  So please leave a comment if you notice I misrepresented or omitted some info.

Motion and sunlight.  They can be the most difficult elements to photograph in any photo shoot, especially for beginners.  But, just like anything else, once you get you get it.  The only way to understand and overcome these challenges is to shoot when these things are available  It’s not hard to find these things.  Shoot a 5K or a marathon.  Or, if the parties are ok with it, and they usually are, shoot some kids or adults playing basketball, baseball, tennis or some other sport.  Or, shoot birds, dogs or other animals.  They always seem to be moving.

To be honest (and I always am about photography), I could have and probably should have used a tripod.  It helps steady your camera and avoid blur when you’re photographing motion.  But, I was being  a little lazy, if I’m going to remain honest.  I, like many photographers, I like to move around, especially when photographing motion, and tripods can sort of slow you down.  But, I do recommend using a tripod when photographing motion.

Photographing motion requires a faster shutter speed.  I generally used the AV (Aperture Priority in Canon or AP in some other cameras) mode.  This allows the photographer to control the aperture and ISO while the camera controls the shutter speed.Given what I’ve mentioned above, fast shutter speed is very important when photographing motion and the AV mode is not the best mode to use for these types of shoots.  Frankly, it doesn’t do a good job handling motion always.  You’re much better manually adjusting the shutter speed.  This brings up one of the scariest two words for many beginning photographers: manual mode.

Being someone who used to get dizzy just thinking of using manual mode, I understand the trepidation some may feel.  It really isn’t as daunting as it may seem, though. Basically, you want to use similar settings you would want to when you’re in AV mode (or even automatic mode) and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.  As a general rule, I usually use a 500 or 1000 shutter speed (that is one five hundredth of a second or one on thousandth of a second) when photographing someone running or moving briskly.  It’s important to note that some cameras may have different shutter speeds depending on the model being used.  I used a 800 and 1000 shutter speed (again one eight hundredth of a second or one one hundredth of a second) to photograph the surfers.  Since there was so much light I went up to a 6.3 and 7.1 aperture for most of the photos when I zoomed in (3.5 to 5.6 when I wasn’t zooming in).  This was, in part, due to the lens I used.  The aperture for my lens will only go to a certain aperture when I zoom in.  If you use abetter (more expensive) lens you can sometimes use a smaller aperture when you zoom in.  I had to work on the settings in Lightroom in post since they did come out a little dark.

It’s also important to keep in mind that showing blur can be OK in some situations.  If you’re trying to show a bird hovering, for instance, you may want to show their tail blurry while the rest of their body is still.  I actually did this by mistake.  I used the wrong shutter speed and I received the results I just mentioned and people actually liked it.  You can see what I mean by the photo below.  Granted, I would have preferred to use a higher shutter speed and I wasn’t going to post it in my previous Facebook post.  But, some of my friends and family told me that by showing the motion the blur was OK, particularly since the rest of the body of the bird is in focus.  I used a shutter speed of 250 (or one two hundred and fiftieth of a second) shutter speed for this photo.  I should have used a 500 or higher shutter speed.

IMG_4615

Some other photographers will also show blur on purpose for effect when photographing vehicles passing by (you may see those photos of streaks of light which become evident when you use a slow shutter speed while vehicles pass by).

This website gives some very helpful tips and a useful chart to determine which shutter speeds to use: phototraces shutter speeds.

Sunlight is the other challenging part of photography, somewhat ironically.  When I first began photography, I used to think sunlight was not only ideal but essential to good photography.  Now, I hope for overcast skies.  The reason for this is sunlight can cause everything from sun glare to difficult shadows.  I always found it interesting and annoying when my automatic flash would turn on during a perfectly sunny day.  This of course had to do with the shadows which the sun can create.  To avoid this I always use AV or manual mode.  Remember to use a higher aperture if it is a particularly sunny day (5.6 or higher generally).  I also use a lens hood to help prevent sun glare. Another hack is to go to automatic mode, seeing what the camera suggests to use for settings and using that as a guide.  However, this is only a guide to get you in the right ballpark.  You can adjust it from there.  Also, if you camera hs a live view option you can preview what the photo should look like as you adjust your settings. Also, last but certainly not least, make sure to adjust your settings in the camera’s light meter. Make sure the line matches up to the middle of the spectrum.  Keep adjusting your settings until it is there.  

Just to touch briefly on lens hoods.  While using one recently I found that it was being picked up in my photos and causing the corners of my photos to look black and I had to crop the photos more than I would have liked.  To avoid this, you may need to make sure your lens hood is in a “12 o’clock” and “6 o’clock” position.  Once I made this fix it prevented the hood from being picked up by the lens.

One last tidbit I would like to mention about sunlight is the golden and blue hour.  Named for the colors of the sky (when clouds are not present) during the hours just before and after sunrise and sunset, the blue and golden hours are ideal for photography.  In fact, some photographers will only photograph during these times. However, realistically, yo cannot always avoid photographing during the non goden hours.  In fact, most of the events I photograph take place during the worst possible times for photography.  The best ways to handle sun glare and washed out photos is to use a lens hood, avoid shooting at or close to the sun and using Lightroom or Photoshop to compensate for shots that may have a lot of sunlight in the photos.

All is not lost though when it comes to shooting in sunlight.  In fact, you can use it to your advantage. For instance, the sun shimmering off objects like water can be very pretty.  Or, a ray of light poking through the clouds can make for a good contrast.

I hope these tips have helped and please leave me a comment to let me know if you like (or do not) this feature of my posts or if you have additional tips to add.

 

 


President’s Day Celebration (Quincy, MA)

Date Of Event: February 17, 2019

Location: Hancock-Adams Greenway, Quincy, MA (about 10 minutes south of Boston and 45 minutes northeast of Providence, RI)

Cost: Free

Parking: There was free parking available at the Ross Garage

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: Quincy, MA, held their first (of hopefully many) President’s Day celebrations which included games for children, a band, costumed entertainers, an orchestra, a play for children and the Fire Gypsy.

IMG_0548

What better place to spend Presidents Day than Quincy, MA, the home to two U.S. Presidents as well as former Governor of MA John Hancock (Hancock has been considered to be from Quincy after the part of Braintree he was from was annexed into Quincy)?

The first Presidents Day celebration included a tour of the crypt where the former Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams have been laid to rest.  Both presidents were originally buried in a tomb at the Hancock Cemetery across the street.  But, since John Adams wanted to buried in a church, the bodies were moved to the basement of what is now called the United First Parish Church.  The tomb where the bodies were originally laid to rest is still at the cemetery.  The presidents and their wives bodies, or remain, are in the crypt at the church.

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

 

Some very tall costumed entertainers greeted visitors.

 

Souljacker ably covered some Rolling Stones and other classic rock bands.

IMG_0088

Behind The Mask performed for the children at the event.

 

There were also games such s air hockey and other table games for people to play.

 

One of the biggest attractions was the Fire Gypsy.  Despite the very cold temperatures, everyone stayed for the entire show.

 

The Presidents Day celebration was dog friendly.  I saw these two dogs during my visit.

Callie is a 5 year old Saint Bernard.

IMG_0068

Ren is a 9 month old Whippet mix.

IMG_0107