Winter Sunset

Took a quick trip over to Houghton’s Pond this afternoon hoping to get some good sunset shots that I could enter into a photo contest.  I don’t know that I got any contest winners but did get some nice shots.  This image is actually 3 shots one at metered value and +1 -1, combined in Photomatix Essentials HDR software.  As far as HDR goes, this is my very first ever foray into it, and maybe I should have waited for a better example to post.  But I did like the end result of this 3 shot combo, even though I probably could have gotten the same (maybe even better) image by post processing in Lightroom and or Elements.  I definitely need some more practice before I can put HDR to proper use.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson  Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 3 shot bracket combined in Photomatix Essentials
Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 3 shot bracket combined in Photomatix Essentials

“If your photographs aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough.”

The above quote is attributed to Robert Capa, one of the founders of Magnum Photos.  I believe Capa was mostly referring to the photojournalistic photographs for which he is famous, but it’s true enough for any style of photography.  I spent some time at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Sunday and took a few casual shots while I was there.  Take a look at these two images and tell me which one you prefer.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200 Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm f4.8 @ 1/100 second ISO 100. Post in Elements 10 and Adobe Camera Raw.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson  Nikon D200 Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm  f5.3  1/50 second ISO 100.  Post in Elements 10 and Adobe Camera RawThe first image at least lets you know what you are looking at, an amazing glass sculpture, but the detail shot is the better, more interesting photograph by far in my estimation.

Mystic Seaport

One of the things that make living in New England tolerable is being surrounded by history. The United States “grew up” on the eastern seaboard and New England in particular has a rich maritime history.  Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT celebrates this history and makes it come alive for visitors.  The seaport presents as a working whaling village from the 1840’s and has historical interpreters, museums and artifacts from all eras and it is an effective representation of life in an 1840’s seaport.

In addition to its static displays, the seaport is home to a number of historic ships, some of them serve as live-aboard schools for those seeking to learn more about America’s seafaring history.  The Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in existence, is the seaport’s best known resident, but a number of other vessels, large and small, wait to be explored as well.

Mystic Seaport is home to many of the few shipwrights who still know how to work on these old tall ships, and in addition to being a museum, the seaport is an active shipyard as well.  It has all the facilities, including a dry dock, that were present in Mystic’s heyday and they are active year round, performing preservation work on historic ships and working on new ones.

If you have the slightest interest in history, especially maritime history, Mystic Seaport is worth your time to visit.  Plan to spend the day if you really want to see everything.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200 Nikkor AF-S lens 28-70mm f2.8 lens f8 @ 1/250 sec, ISO 400. Image cropped in Elements 10. Boat was hand built by craftsmen at Mystic Seaport.
Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200 Nikkor AF-S 28-70mm f2.8, f8 @ 1/750 sec , ISO 400. Post in Elements 10. Fishing nets at Mystic Seaport.



I like sunset pictures.  Who doesn’t really?  I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this one.  It was kind of a grab shot; I was packing my gear away in my car and turned around and noticed the sun through the trees and thought it should make a good photo.  It sort of looks like the sky and trees are on fire.  I only had a few minutes to work before the sun disappeared and so shot handheld rather than on a tripod.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M Benson Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18-55mm EF-S IS lens, f8 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 200, post in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop Elements 10

Like I said, I’m not sure if I love this shot or not.  The color seems overwhelming, but that is how it looked pretty much.  Let me know what you think.

Snakes, oh my!

Did you ever take a day to go out shooting and at the end of the day, got home, downloaded your memory card…and didn’t find a single image that you’d be willing to show someone else?  Happened to me yesterday.  Granted I wasn’t out the whole day, only a couple of hours, and in that time I only made about 70 or so images.  But still out of that there should be something I’d be happy to show you here, but there wasn’t.

So instead I present this picture, made at a much warmer time.  These fellows are Northern Water Snakes (I think they are anyway, I’m no herpetologist).  The shot was taken at the grist mill on the grounds of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.  And yes, it is the very inn from the poem “Tales of a Wayside Inn”.  If you’re ever visiting Massachusetts, you owe it to yourself to visit and have dinner at the inn; it’s one of my favorite places to go.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200 f4 @ 1/60 sec ISO 100. Sigma f2.8 70-200mm HSM lens @ 200mm Image cropped in Photoshop Elements 10, no other alterations.


Near my house just outside Boston, there is a very nice state park, Blue Hills Reservation. It has miles of hiking trails, many scenic views, lakes for fishing and swimming, picnic areas, and so forth.  It also has graffiti everywhere.  I don’t think the park service even bothers to try cleaning it up anymore and you can hardly blame them I guess.  It might be a worthwhile project for me to hike all the trails and document the ruination of the park.  That would give me something to do for a few years.  This shot is from inside the picnic pavillion near the Chickatawbut Overlook.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS Rebel T2i, f4 @ 1/30 sec ISO 400 Post processing done in Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Camera Raw.

New Locations

There is a large state park near my house and I decided to walk a different part of it for a change.  This location isn’t too far off of a major roadway, but looks attractive when driving by.  I walked down an access road which promised a good view of a marshy area.  Unfortunately the promise was a lie.  There’s nothing at the end of the road and no access to the marsh.  This was the best shot I was able to make on my short hike.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS Rebel T2i, 18-55mm EF-S IS lens. f16@1/50 iso 200. Post in ACR and Photoshop Elements 10.

I was hoping to find an awesome new spot but this didn’t quite measure up.  Stilll, you don’t know if you don’t try.  I think it might be a better spot come Summer time so I’ll try again.