View 386: Mustang Halloween

I mentioned I got a new car over the summer. Specifically a 2017 Grabber Blue Ford Ecoboost Mustang. I am taking part in an Ecoboost Mustang calendar project and volunteered to do the month of October. Halloween was the obvious choice for a theme and what better place to go than an old cemetery.

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2017 Grabber Blue Ford Ecoboost Mustang photographed outside the Mortuary Chapel and Receiving Vault in Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 8s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod, Macphun Intensify CK.

The Oakwood Cemetery just south of Syracuse, New York contains many old crypts and interesting stone buildings. The Mortuary Chapel & Receiving Vault was built back in 1879 and was constructed in a gothic style using nearby Onondaga limestone.

I found the chapel to be the perfect Halloween background for the Mustang. The Sun was just abut to set and lighting was low. Using a tripod, long exposure and a small aperture, I was able to capture all the detail of the scene and create star bursts from the car’s lights. Macphun’s Intensify CK Soft HDR filter gave the image a suitable mood.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween everyone!

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Player Introduction

I noticed during player introductions last season, I would sometimes capture the spotlight behind the players as they skated onto the ice. I watched how the spotlight operator would follow a pattern. Once I figured out about when the spotlight would swing in behind a player, I would position myself in the face-off circle nearest where the players entered the ice surface. It took a few games last season to dial in everything. This season, I’m ready for them.

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Syracuse Crunch Tanner Richard (71) being introduced before playing an American Hockey League (AHL) game at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Friday, October 21, 2016.
Nikon D500/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, EV 0, 24mmm (36mm DX) Focal Length, Bounce Flash.

Even at f/5.6, the 9 bladed aperture diaphragm of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens created a sunburst effect from the spotlight. The arena is bathed in blue light from the Ephesus Lighting LED stadium lighting which the flash counters by bouncing it off the built-in bounce card.

The Nikon D500 camera was in Manual mode with the shutter speed set to 1/250th of a second which is the fastest sync speed for the flash. The ISO can change from 400 up to 1600. In this lighting, 1600 is usually the result.

The only thing I can not control is how the players skate past me. Some come straight out and turn past me like Tanner Richard did in the photo used for this blog. Some keep going straight out and are not lighted by the spotlight in time. Others are too slow or too fast. Over the course of a 38 game season, I will get most of the players like this. The Crunch like to use them in promotional pieces. I just like them.

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View 385: Day on Bald Mountain

I traveled up to Old Forge, New York to catch the last dry weekend day available to me a couple back. The colors were just past peak and the sky was overcast. I could not complain as the day was dry and warm for mid-October in the Adirondacks.

My wife and I decided to climb up to the summit of Bald Mountain. It is a mile trail (or 1.6km for my metric readers). The trail is fairly easy except in a couple of steep rocky areas. Good hiking shoes do make it easier on those areas. It is a good workout. The rewards being overlooks with beautiful views likes these.

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Views from overlooks along the Bald Mountain Trail near Old Forge, New York.

The name Bald Mountain was easy to figure out. As we got closer to the top, the trail became more rock than soil. The summit, in fact, is mostly exposed rock with trees encroaching it from every side.

This White Pine (Pinus strobus) caught my eye.

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White Pine tree on the summit of Bald Mountain near Old Forge, New York.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, f/16, ISO 1250, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length, Macphun Aurora HDR.

To  pull out the details and to punch up the autumn tree colors, I used a set of five photos from -2EV to +2EV and merged them into Macphun Aurora HDR plugin from Adobe Lightroom.

I had even more fun with a seven photo panoramic set taken on the summit of Bald Mountain which was merged using Lightroom’s panorama processing capabilities.

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View from the summit of Bald Mountain near Old Forge, New York.

The original size of the panorama is 17,893 x 3,443 pixels or 596 x 12 inches. Yep, that is 49 x 1 FEET. Not very useful but still cool looking.

For those thinking getting to the summit of Bald Mountain was the end of the climb, they were mistaken. As the Rondaxe Fire Tower is found there. While it has not been used by rangers since 1990, people can still climb its narrow staircase to the lookout for a spectacular view.

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Rondaxe Fire Tower at the summit of Bald Mountain near Old Forge, New York on Sunday, October 16, 2016.
Nikon D750/28/300VR,f/16, ISO 250, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length, Macphun Aurora HDR.

What, you were expecting a view FROM the top of the tower? Sorry, by this time the wind had picked up with a temperature drop. The clouds had become a little more threatening and we decided to head on down before the rain. Maybe next time. 🙂

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View 384: Taughannock Falls 2016

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Taughannock Falls State Park on the first day of Autumn near Ithaca, New York on Friday, September 23, 2016.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 4000, EV -1.0, 16mm Focal Length, Macphun Intenisfy CK.

I have seen Taughannock Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York in all kinds of weather and at various seasons over the last seven years. I have never seen it like I did last weekend. There was barely any water falling. In fact, it was more like trickling down the gorge. The deep plunge pool was the only thing indicating what is normally a large amount of water flowing.

The Finger Lakes region of New York state has had drought conditions for most of the summer which has affected the mightiest of the region’s waterfalls as well as all the others. I was just amazed at the lack of flow.

I processed this photo using Macphun’s Intensify CK which pulled out all the details in the gorge’s rock surfaces and helped to control the bright sky at the top of the waterfall.

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View 383: Beauty of Walt Disney World

One of the goals I set for myself during my latest visit to Walt Disney World was to show the beauty of the parks. With the help of the weather, Disney’s technical wizardry and a bit of my own pixie dust, I believe I found a few good examples.

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Cinderella Castle just after sunset at the Magic Kingdom on Friday, September 9, 2016 in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/3s, f/22, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Tripod.

I had to be very patient as clouds were not allowing much in the way of a sunset. it was not until ten minutes after sunset did the sky light up. Along with a lighted Cinderella Castle and using Lightroom to open up the shadows and enhance the colors throughout the scene, the image I had hoped for materialized on my screen.

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Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase on Friday, September 9, 2016 in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 720, EV -0.3, 16mm Focal Length, Intensify CK.

Most people photograph the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest replica in the China pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase from the front or framed through the large gate. As I walked around, I found a path which lead off to the side and found this composition. The big white clouds in the sky helped to balance out all the green in the foreground. I used Macphun’s Intensify CK to pull out all the details of the scene.

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A lion peers out from the Tree of Life during a projection show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 5s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0, 31mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Disney has perfected the use of projections on their iconic park structures from Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom to the Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. To get a good photo of them, I either use a high ISO number for a fast shutter speed or find a point in the show where a projection lasts a few seconds. This was the case at the end of one of the shows on the Tree of Life where an image of a lion’s face lingers as spot lights beam out from the tree’s branches.

Hope you enjoyed what my vision of Walt Disney World beauty is.

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