Category Archives: Back Story

My Best Photos of 2016

Here are my top 9 images from 2016. It is my fifth year doing this kind of post showing my favorite images of the year.  I do try to show something different each year.  This year I tried some infrared photography along with photographing the Milky Way.  Although bridges and diminishing points always catch my eye, it is the first time I photographed the Zakim bridge and the Hells Gate Bridge.

The pink snow is real.  Just after a brisk snowfall, the sky turned pink lighting trees and the sky with an interesting color cast.

I do like windows… don’t know why but they made a nice subject.  I also included a sad photo of a sunflower.  Just a reminder that not everything will wait for you, you need to be ready and be there for the subject.  “Seize the day and don’t delay”.

Lastly is a still life.  Still trying to develop skills in this area.  It is a subject where your imagination must be in gear to make something interesting.

I hope you enjoy this year’s collection.

You can see higher resolution images here: https://robde.smugmug.com/Projects/Bestof2016/

2016 Gallery

Pink Snow at Sanford Mill Pond

Wonderful light along the Charles in Franklin MA

Wonderful light along the Charles in Franklin MA

Under the Hells Gate Bridge

Originally the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge or The East River Arch Bridge, is a 1,017-foot (310 m) steel through arch railroad bridge in New York City. The bridge crosses the Hell Gate, a strait of the East River, between Astoria in Queens and Randalls and Wards Islands in Manhattan.

Originally the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge or The East River Arch Bridge, is a 1,017-foot (310 m) steel through arch railroad bridge in New York City. The bridge crosses the Hell Gate, a strait of the East River, between Astoria in Queens and Randalls and Wards Islands in Manhattan.

Path under the Zakim

Under the Zakim bridge are a series of bridge and paths to allow pedestrians to walk from Boston to Charlestown. This was form a night stroll during an April evening.

Under the Zakim bridge are a series of bridge and paths to allow pedestrians to walk from Boston to Charlestown. This was form a night stroll during an April evening.

Just a Window

Window at the Lippitt House in Providence, RI. The building was built in 1865 by Henry Lippitt of textile fame.

Window at the Lippitt House in Providence, RI. The building was built in 1865 by Henry Lippitt of textile fame.

Shanghai Window

Amazing view from my seat at a restaurant in Shanghai. Looking at the skyline, you can see the Oriental Pearl Tower. A TV Tower 1,148 feet tall and something you cannot miss from the Bund.

Amazing view from my seat at a restaurant in Shanghai. Looking at the skyline, you can see the Oriental Pearl Tower. A TV Tower 1,148 feet tall and something you cannot miss from the Bund.

Too Late

Heat and drought took its toll on these flowers at Buttonwood farm this summer. Just a reminder is to seize the day and don’t delay! Four days earlier, these flowers were beautiful..

Heat and drought took its toll on these flowers at Buttonwood farm this summer. Just a reminder is to seize the day and don’t delay! Four days earlier, these flowers were beautiful..

Ice House Pond, Hopkington MA

Contrary to the name, this gazebo was photographed on a beautiful spring day. Using an infrared lens, I achieved this unique look.

Contrary to the name, this gazebo was photographed on a beautiful spring day. Using an infrared lens, I achieved this unique look.

The Milky Way

Standing outside the Stage Harbor Lighthouse and looking up at the stars and the milky way. Build in 1880, this lighthouse is Cape Cod's youngest lighthouse. Decommissioned in 1933. In the distance is Nantucket Island.

Standing outside the Stage Harbor Lighthouse and looking up at the stars and the milky way. Build in 1880, this lighthouse is Cape Cod’s youngest lighthouse. Decommissioned in 1933. In the distance is Nantucket Island.

Parts of Time

Still Life. High Key. Some watch parts I found at the flee market that made an interesting subject.

Still Life. High Key. Some watch parts I found at the flee market that made an interesting subject.

Top Photos of 2015

I am afraid to say that 2015 was not my most productive photographic year.  I found that I was not taking my camera out as often as I have in previous years.  There were various personal reasons for this, but trust me, I have not lost my love of photography.

Here are my 10 ten images for 2015.  I hope you enjoy them.  In 2016, I resolve to get back in the saddle again!

The Top three images are my favorite work.  Motif #1, Old 7470 and Big Ben.

Bad Cows just keep making me laugh when ever I see it.

The street performer and fire dancer Ember Flynne (love that name) was a great subject for night photography.

The next three images are plant life in different stages, Summer, Fall and Winter.

I just captured the ice and the lamp-post image last weekend.

The last is a runner-up for the Big Ben image.

I hope you enjoy these works.

 

You can see higher resolution images here: https://robde.smugmug.com/Projects/Best-of-2015/

Trying to deliver a different view to the most photographed location in New England.  This is Motif #1 in Rockport MA.  Originally build in the 1840’s, the original was destroyed in the blizzard of 1978.  This replacement went into service the same year.

Trying to deliver a different view to the most photographed location in New England. This is Motif #1 in Rockport MA. Originally build around 1885’s, the original was destroyed in the blizzard of 1978. This replacement went into service the same year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steam in the Snow.  Conway Scenic Railroad. This is old 7470 at Sawyer Rock, ME.  This was the last run of the locomotive before having a federally-mandated overall.  Expected to run again in 2017, this Locomotive has been in use since 1921.

Steam in the Snow. Conway Scenic Railroad. This is old 7470 at Sawyer Rock, ME. This was the last run of the locomotive before having a federally-mandated overall. Expected to run again in 2017, this Locomotive has been in use since 1921.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is of Elisabeth’s Tower, Part of the Palace of Westminster and home to “Big Ben”.  Big Ben is the name of the great bell inside of the clock not the structure which is what everyone assumes.  The tower took 16 years to build completed in 1858.

This image is of Elisabeth’s Tower, Part of the Palace of Westminster and home to “Big Ben”. Big Ben is the name of the great bell inside of the clock not the structure which is what everyone assumes. The tower took 16 years to build completed in 1858.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While photographing sunflowers at Buttonwood Farm, I came across these two gals.  They were waiting for the gates to open to gain access to the sunflowers for some lunch.

While photographing sunflowers at Buttonwood Farm, I came across these two gals. They were waiting for the gates to open to gain access to the sunflowers for some lunch.

Street performer at Water Fire Providence, RI

Street performer at Water Fire Providence, RI

Fall in New England.  Loving the juxtaposition of the tree and the lamppost.

Fall in New England. Loving the juxtaposition of the tree and the lamppost.

You find beauty everywhere.  These flowers were in a flower pot outside a Longhorn restaurant in Pennsylvania.  Killing time while waiting for our table, I captured these flowers.  I am glad I always have my camera ready.

You find beauty everywhere. These flowers were in a flower pot outside a Longhorn restaurant in Pennsylvania. Killing time while waiting for our table, I captured these flowers. I am glad I always have my camera ready.

Found along the road in Bath PA.  I was driving through PA on my way to visit family after a visit to South Carolina.

Found along the road in Bath PA. I was driving through PA on my way to visit family after a visit to South Carolina.

Winter view at the Tower Hill Botanical Garden

Winter view at the Tower Hill Botanical Garden

Another view of Parliament.  The government seat for the United Kingdom

Another view of Parliament. The government seat for the United Kingdom

A Trip To London

Spent the week on a business trip to England.  Added a visit to London to spend a day photographing this great city.  I spent the day walking around the River Thames.  From Westminster to the Tower of London then back again, about a 6 mile walk.

I photographed almost everything along the path.

You can see my favorite photos following this link.

Big Ben's Tower

 

A day at Fenway Park

Daniel Picano, from the Redsox’s Front Office, invited several hundred photographers to gain early access to the park and have a guided tour.  The event was kicked off when Mike Ivins (Manager of Photography) for the Redsox  he did some Q&A with the Photography team.  You can see Mikes images here.

Fenway Park
Mike Ivins, Manager of Photography and his staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great time with many friends from the Stony Brook Camera Club on hand.

I just posted my images from the event, you can see them here:

http://robde.smugmug.com/Projects/Fenway-Park/

Fenway Park

Front door to Fenway Park. Love how the curves look like a baseball.

 

Photo Friday 14: Fire

Photo Friday: Fire

I’m back again with another Photo Friday installment, this time on photographing fire.  I was inspired when I saw this two-year old video on YouTube by Robert Grant and decided it was time to teach myself how to photograph fire without burning down the house.

This is really all about setup.  And it is all about safety.

What I used:

The messy fire setup

The messy fire setup

  • Cookie sheet.
  • A piece of glass that can fit in the cookie sheet.
  • A large bucket or metal can that the cookie sheet can be placed on.  ( I filled mine half way with water).
  • A room  with not too many flammable items  around.  Concrete floor.  Like a garage without gas cans and cars around.  (I used my basement and placed my setup on top of a large piece of sheet metal dampened by water.)
  • Buckets of water.
  • A water sprayer.
  • Ronsonol –  Lighter Fluid Refiller (Walmart).
  • Barbecue lighter.

The video talks about set up and exposure so I will not cover that here.  I found spraying water to the glass was a good way to add some safety and also guides the location of the flame.  Ignition of the lighter fluid does create a fire burst so first see what it looks like before trying to photograph anything.  I first tested ignition in the sink to see what ignition would be like before using the lighter in the middle of my basement.

About these images

I created a set of seven fire images that I call the Seven Cardinal Sins.  As I photographed and later post processed the fire, I could not help but see faces.  The same faces you might see sitting around a camp fires.  Given my Catholic background, I started to see the 7 Cardinal Sins.  I don’t know why I saw evil in fire, but I did and this gallery represents this concept.  You will notice that in one image (Lust) the flame is upside down and that is on purpose.

<< Clicking on each image to see larger >>

To see a larger version of each of these images and a couple of more fire images, in my gallery.

Composition

I kept the camera level to the flame.  This allowed a great composition and removed distractions.  Since we are exposing only for the fire, all the distractions: the cookie sheet, the ladder, the tarps, the buckets, do not end up in the final image.  It also enabled portraits of each flame which gives the fire this illusion of life.

Technical Details

Equipment

  • Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
  • Lens: EF24-105mm F/4L IS USM
  • Tripod
  • Cable release
  • Camera set at multiple exposure, high speed drive
  • And all that stuff I mentioned above…

Exposure

  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal Length: 55 mm
  • ISO: 1000
  • Shutter Speed: 1/640

Technique

After getting the set up in place as shown above, and after I ran enough test runs to get exposure straight, I turned down most, but not all of the ambient lights.  I then sprayed water around the perimeter of the glass that was on top of the cookie sheet and  sprayed lighter fluid onto the center of the glass.  With the cable release in one hand and the lighter in the other hand pressed both at the same time.  Captured multiple images.  Kept capturing until the fire was no longer interesting.

Post Processing

Very basic post processing.  Cropped, adjusted exposure, added clarity and saturated blue. (There is a bit of blue in the fire that I did not want to miss).

Location

My basement.  (Sorry no GPS locations this time).

Enjoy!