Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sanderling silhouette at sunrise, Parker River NWR

Sanderling silhouette against the waves in Parker River NWR

On my most recent trip to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge I was predominantly focused on capturing some dramatic side-lighting on some sanderlings when they ventured away from the waves and up the beach to where I was positioned. But still, I couldn't help but try at least a few times to turn my lens toward the water and the rising sun. Most of the frames I came home with didn't catch my eye, but these two stood out with the interesting circular patterns in the bokeh.

Silhouette of a sanderling feeding at sunrise in Parker River NWR


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Dramatic sunrise light, Sanderling at Parker River NWR

Sanderling with dramatic side-lighting at sunrise

An early morning trip to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge paid off immediately as I encountered a moderately-sized flock of sanderlings as soon as I crossed the trail through the dunes from the Lot 7 parking lot. Sunrise is my favorite time of day, especially for photography, but it does provide some challenges when trying to capture sandpipers chasing the waves on the main beach of the refuge. Sunrise is great during the summer breeding season at Sandy Point State Reservation as I'm generally aiming toward the beach with the rising sun at my back. But working with this flock of sanderlings that was focused on finding food in the moments between breaking waves offered a much different take on early morning light. Knowing that I couldn't get full portraits in warm light with the birds keeping close the water, I tried to work a more dramatic look of warm side-lighting contrasting against cool morning shadows.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Leaning in, Semipalmated sandpiper at Parker River NWR

Striding semipalmated sandpiper at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts

I read an article recently about photographing wildlife at local parks. It included a thought that resonated with me about looking for a dynamic behavioral moment that can make even a common animal seem more interesting. I tend to find sandpipers fascinating regardless of what they are doing, but as this semipalmated sandpiper slightly changed directions and shifted its weight to the right, its lean added a bit of extra interest to this frame.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

First light on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

First light on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Even with the large crowds, it is a pleasure to watch the sunrise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. In processing this image, I applied a digital graduated filter and also used the dust spot removal tool to clone out two people who stepped into view.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Consolation prize, Sunrise sliding down Sargent Mountain

Sunrise on the peak of Sargent Mountain in Acadia National Park

Every year I've gone to Acadia National Park I've been surprised by the sunrise crowd on the summmit of Cadillac Mountain. This year, I thought I was prepared for it and arrived at the summit 25 minutes before sunrise. Well, by this time the parking lot was already a zoo with no spots, and people were scrambling to cram their cars along the road. I passed through the lot and went down to the Blue Hills Overlook (which was already getting crowded). I had time to take the short walk to the summit, but instead decided to skip the crowd and wandered down the western slope overlooking Eagle Lake. Not a single other person made the same decision and I had the entire area to myself. Sure, I didn't see the first light of the day arrive on the horizon, but instead I was treated to the sunrise slipping down the eastern face of Sargent Mountain. It started as just a hint of warmth as the sun rose above Cadillac's summit, ending with the shadow of the mountain crossing the width of Eagle Lake. Not at all what I had envisioned when I left in the morning, but a delightful way to start my day. I returned to Cadillac's summit later in my trip -- a full 50 minutes early this time -- and was able to get a spot for the more traditional sunrise.

Sunrise on the slope of Sargent Mountain in Acadia National Park


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Striding dunlin, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Dunlin pauses mid-stride while walking on the beach in Massachusetts

This dunlin stood out in a group of mostly sanderlings on a fall visit to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge a few years ago. This was one of the first trips where I was experimenting with taking my camera off of a ground-level tripod to get an even lower perspective. The difference of only a few inches of vertical (from the top of a ballhead to the lens footplate resting on the ground) made a noticeable difference in my images, and I've never gone back.