photograph

Cape Cod 2015 – Images 131-141

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Chatham Lighthouse

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Dinghy’s Await

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Ripples

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Boats Asleep

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Thin Orange Line

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Rock Harbor Sunset

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Through the Reeds

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Red Sky

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Golden Hour

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Highland Light View

I just realized that it has been a year since my last post.  Must have been a busy year!!  I have not had many chances to go out and take pictures.  Only now, with summer at hand and the yearly trip to Cape Cod fast approaching, have I been able to shift my focus back to photography.  I just went through my digital album of images from our 2015 Cape Cod trip and included some of my faves in this blog.  I hope you enjoy them.

 

Cape Cod, MA is a “lighthouse” for our family.  A safe place, a “Beacon”, a place for us to focus on, a place that guides us and keeps us on our path.  We refresh and reboot there.  We relax and enjoy each other’s company with no distractions.  It is peaceful, tranquil, beautiful, and revitalizing.  The whole family looks forward to it for varying reasons.

 

Every year we try to find something different to explore there.  This year we are looking at exploring the dunes and Wellfleet as well as some tours (Cape Cod Brewery, Cape Cod chips, Wood’s Hole Science Aquarium, Nobska Lighhouse, Cape Cod Lavender Farm, to name a few).  We will, of course, visit the mainstays such as Nauset, Rock Harbor, and Lighthouse Beaches, Shops in Chatham, Penny Candy Store in Chatham, Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans).

 

But mostly, we will breath in the salt air and relax and refresh.  Eat Well, Drink Well, Play Hard, Sleep In (except for one morning to catch images of the sunrise, of course), and revel in the company of Family and Friends.  Most likely, my next Blog post will be images from our 2016 Cape Cod Adventure…..

 

If you would like to view more of my Cape Cod images please visit:

http://www.mobileprints.com/profiles/justin-connor.html

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My Attempts at Wildlife Photography: Images 117-130

Seagull Outstretched          Seagull Outstretched

Seagull in Flight 1          Seagull in Flight 1

Seagull in Flight 2          Seagull in Flight 2

Soaring Seagull          Soaring Seagull

Seagull Near and Far          Seagull Near and Far

Scarlet Ibis Far          Scarlet Ibis Far

Scarlet Ibis Near          Scarlet Ibis Near

Swan at Twilight          Swan at Twilight

Morning Flight          Morning Flight

Whale Tail          Whale Tail

A Fluke          A Fluke

Seal the Deal          Seal the Deal

We Have Lift Off          We Have Lift Off

I have always been more of a landscape photographer, but I am intrigued by the challenges of wildlife photography.  Getting the best image possible is often entirely up to chance.  First, you have to find the wildlife.  Sometimes that is easy….go tot he Fish Pier in Chatham, MA on Cape Cod and there are no shortages of opportunities to capture Seagulls and Seals.  Go to any Zoo and you are likely to see hundreds of exotic animals to capture (although the challenge there is getting a clean shot with no fences or unnatural habitat in the image, including other patrons of the zoo).  High Speed shots that stop motion are challenging and often come out blurry or with the subject matter not full in frame.  Sometimes you have to use zoom lenses as you cannot get close enough to the animals.  The animal is unpredictable (and not really subject to your request to pose in a better position or in a place with better light).  They move their head just as you are ready to take the shot, or they stand directly behind a tree branch, ruining your perfect shot.

Anyway, the above images are some of my rather amateurish attempts at a genre of photography that I have begun to dabble in and look forward to improving in.  Hope you enjoy…

See more at:

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

The Portrait, My Achilles Heel: Images 109-116

Cape Cod 2013     Cape Cod Family Portrait 2013

Winter 2012 Family Portrait     Winter Family Portrait 2012

Summer Family Portrait 2013     Summer Family Portrait 2013

Whole Family 2013     Whole Family 2013

My Mom and Her Boys     My Mom and Her Boys

Fall Family Portrait 2014     Fall Family Portrait 2014

My Boys 2014     My Boys 2014

My Somebody     My Somebody

I have never been accused of being a “portrait photographer”.  I am not good at people pictures.  I shoot landscapes, seascapes, lighthouses, sunsets, waterfalls, nature, flowers, maybe some wildlife.  NOT PEOPLE!!!  I can’t really explain why, but it is definitely not my forte.  It is the weak spot in my repertoire.

I have had a lot of people ask me if I would take family portraits of them after they see my landscape work, but I always steer them to other Photographers that have the skill to do them justice.  I have met some AMAZING portrait photographers over the years and I will highly recommend them whenever I am asked.

I have the patience to sit around and wait for the right shot when it comes to sunrises and sunsets as well as for the right shot with wildlife, but I just don’t have the patience when it comes to portraits.  I also don’t have the foggiest idea how to pose anyone or how to get the lighting right.  I deal with natural light and generally inanimate (or at least very slow moving objects) that don’t even know or care that I am there!

But, there are times when I have to suck it up and take a Family Portrait.  When all my brothers (and their families) were in town around the fourth of July, 2013, my Mom wanted to get some family shots.  So, we went to the beach and I took shots of each individual family, the whole family, all the grandkids with Grandma, and my Mom with her four boys.  They came out all right I guess.  At least my Mom liked them.

Each summer we go to Cape Cod, we try to get a Family Portrait as well.  We try to take a Family Portrait every Fall or Winter that we often use in our Christmas Card.  I love to see how my boys have changed over the years, how they have grown and matured.  The regular Family Portrait is a great way to document these years, retaining it forever.

And then there is my beautiful wife.  She is the one who stages all the Family Portraits.  She pics out the clothes, she chooses where everyone stands and pics the location.  I just have to show up with the Camera and the Tripod, set the timer and hit the button….lots of times….she always makes me take at least 20-30 shots to make sure we get a perfect one.  Now, she is the first to admit that she often takes a terrible picture.  She has a knack for closing her eyes right as the shutter clicks. I can’t tell you how many family shots I have deleted because her eyes are closed!!  That is why I often take quick candids of her when she doesn’t even know I am taking it, like the one above.   She liked this one so much, she used it for her business card!!

I think they all came out pretty good, but they are miles away from the quality I have seen from some of my favorite portrait photographers.  Let me know what you think!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

Stony Brook Park; Difference Between Summer and Fall; Images 13-16

Stony Brook in Fall 1           Stony Brook in Summer 1

Stony Brook in Fall                                                                        Stony Brook in Summer

 

Stony Brook in Fall 2           Stony Brook in Summer 2

Stony Brook in Fall                                                                        Stony Brook in Summer

 

Stony Brook State Park is right of Route 390 in Dansville, NY.  From Rochester, NY it is only about 45 minutes; an easy drive.  It is a great park with very accessible waterfalls.  Many of the waterfalls in Ithaca are only to be seen, not touched.  You have to look at them from a path.  Don’t get me wrong; the Ithaca Waterfalls are amazing and so much fun to shoot, but nothing compares to being allowed to climb right down into the creek or stream or brook, walking along against the current, and getting some amazing shots.  You can get an amazing perspective from there.

 

I remember hiking at Stony Brook as a child and loving every minute of it.  Recently, I took my wife and my 2 sons there to reacquaint myself with the Park and it’s beautiful scenery.  We first went down in the fall, getting the above shots with the amazing colors and fallen leaves.  We enjoyed the hike, but it was a bit too cold to actually get down in the water!  There is a great playground right at the entrance to the park, which was much more of an attraction for the boys than hiking the gorge and waiting for Dad to take all the pictures he wants to take.  The swimming area was, of course, closed after labor day, so it was interesting to see the brook un dammed.  you could really see the different depths of the swimming area with the water running freely.  We decided that day that we had to come back during the summer months and take a dip!!

 

We returned the following summer and dove in!  Well, not really.  We slowly got into the water, little by little, because it was freaking freezing!!!   We played around in the swimming area for a bit and then decided to hike the trail, this time spending most of the time walking in the water or right at the water’s edge, instead of on the path.  This was much more enjoyable for the boys and offered a different view of the falls.  I was able to set up the tripod much lower for some of the shots I have not included in this blog (I will post some at another time).  I even got some shots from under the stone shelf of one of the smaller falls.  I enjoyed walking through the pools and getting up close and personal with the largest of the falls; getting my picture taken by my wife with by back against the stone face of the cliff with the falls crashing over my shoulders and back!

 

Take a look at the above pictures and let me know which you like better, the fall shots or the summer shots.  If you get a chance to check out Stony Brook, I highly recommend it!!!  I will try to post a few of my other Stony Brook images in the near future, but if you cannot wait, you can visit my sites below to see some more!!!

 

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

 

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

 

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

 

 

Images 9-12: The Same Location, Summer and Fall; Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, NY

Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, Autumn, 1Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, Summer, 1

Buttermilk Falls, Autumn                                          Buttermilk Falls, Summer

Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, Fall, 2Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, Summer, 2

Buttermilk Falls, Autumn                 Buttermilk Falls, Summer

Ithaca is one of my absolute favorite places to shoot.  I have family that live there, and every time we go visit, I bring the camera and sneak off to get some waterfall shots.  There is no shortage of locations for waterfall pictures in Ithaca.

Ithaca is located at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.  It is the home of Cornell University (where my brother went) and Ithaca College.  It is a great city with great restaurants and shops and a genuine “earthy/crunchy” and “organic” feel to it.  You may have heard the phrase, “Ithaca is Gorges”.  It truly is.  There are over 100 waterfalls in the Ithaca area, coming through the gorges formed by glaciers and entering Cayuga Lake.

Autumn, in my opinion, is the best time to go and take waterfall pictures.  Besides the amazing colors, you will usually find that the waterfalls are fuller in the fall due to the increased rainfall.  The waterfalls are raging in the spring, but typically the scenery is too stark then as the leaves have not come out yet and often the light is not right in the spring to get the good long exposure shots.  In the autumn, you get full waterfalls and usually more overcast skies, allowing you to take the longer exposure shots without overexposing the shot or having to come early in the am or later in the pm.  Another bonus of the fall is that you will likely have fewer hikers to contend with.  In the summer, the trails are packed with hikers, and it can be a real pain to sit and wait till none are in your shot (or edit them out later).

If you plan on going and exploring, wear a good pair of hiking boots and be ready to climb a ton of stairs.  It tends to be very slippery, especially in the spring and fall.  Many, if not all, of the parks containing the waterfalls are closed to the public in the winter due to the hazards of ice on the trails.  I would love to sneak in to Buttermilk Falls Park in January just to see what is looks like!!  Bring a tripod and experiment with different shutter speeds for the motion effect.

Enjoy these shots and leave me a comment to let me know which you like better, the Autumn or the Summer shots.  If you want to see more, just visit the below websites and check them out.  The instaprints site has a gallery consisting only of my waterfall shots.  Next week i will post some Autumn and Summer shots of another favorite spot, Stony Brook.  Till next time.

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

Image #2. Bay Sunset. A Great Evening With Friends Results in a Phenomenal Capture

Bay Sunset

A good friend of mine had a groupon for an evening party boat rental out on Irondequoit Bay.  It was late in the season, already September, but we decided to book it anyway.  We kept our fingers crossed for good weather and it worked!!!  We had a gorgeous day.  However, it did not go off without a hitch.

We drove to the location where we were told to go to pick up the boat.  Four couples packing coolers stocked with food and drink.  The sun is shining, the temperature is warm, and we are all excited for the night away from kids.  However, the water level in the bay has been very low all summer and is especially low now.  Apparently, all the boats are now being docked at the mouth of the bay because the levels are too low.  They “forgot” to tell us this when we called to make our reservation.  So, we have to get back in our cars and drive all the way around the bay; and our time of rental is supposed to begin in 5 min.  We are supposed to have 2 hours, and the drive is going to rob us of 15 min of that 2 hours.  This is where my wife stepped in…

I love my wife.  I do.  The best advice I can give someone is, “Give her what she wants, when she wants it!”  She is a reasonable person, but if you try to change the parameters after something has already been agreed to, she ain’t havin’ it.  She strolled up to the counter; I went outside….  After a few minutes, My friend and my wife exited the rental office and we had 2 hours with the boat, beginning the minute we launched from the dock.  She gets her way, more times than not.

We hopped in our cars and drove around the bay.  There was a back up at the dock so we didn’t end up shoving off until 30 min after we were supposed to, but no bother.  Fun times ensued.  Good friends, good food, good conversation, good laughs, good views, good booze.  An all around excellent evening.  My friend, Mark, and I had to jump out at one point to get the boat unstuck off a sand bar!!  I had my camera with me (of course) and took many pictures.  As we were heading back to the dock, approaching the end of our 2 hour tour of Irondequoit Bay, I snapped this Photo of the setting sun.  I hope you enjoy it!!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing, off the Chatham, MA coast

My name is Justin Connor.  I have been taking pictures since I was 12 years old.  My father was an amateur photographer and I took after him, grabbing a camera whenever I could and taking shots.  I took some Photography classes in High School and even entertained trying to go to College for Photography.  In the end, I decided it was not a great career choice, and went to College for Physical Therapy.

My father gave me a Canon AE-1 for my high school graduation and I continued to do Photography as a hobby.  I continued to try to get out and take photos through College and after, even trying to take some portraits of my wife, but I quickly realized portrait photography was not my forte.  I have always been much better at Landscape Photography.  I have always been drawn to Waterfalls, for some reason, and until recently, nearly half of my portfolio was waterfall pictures.  My wife is drawn to Lighthouses, so I have developed a passion for photographing lighthouses.  I recently have begun taking Macro shots of flowers as well and have also concentrated on Sunrise and Sunset shots as well.

I really wish I could travel more in order to really get a chance to shoot some amazing places and things, but as a father of two, the traveling is limited.  I try to get out at least once a month to local places to practice and perfect my craft.  I have recently started going, with my family and some friends, to Cape Cod for a week in the summers.  That is where I took my favorite shot.

I had bought my Canon Rebel T3 for Christmas several months before the trip.  Yes, it took me until 2012 to finally go digital.  For some reason I was a film holdout (I have no idea why, maybe because I was born and raised and still live in Rochester, NY, the home of Kodak).  We were staying in Chatham, MA on the elbow of the cape and I was determined to get up early and take some sunrise shots.  I had already been at Lighthouse Beach for about 45 minutes and was considering wrapping it all up after getting a ton of great shots.  The bugs were driving me nuts.  I had the camera on a tripod and had been messing with some long exposure shots, when I saw this fishing boat coming down the channel, heading out to sea from the Fish Pier.  As it approached my position, I zoomed in and began taking shots.  This is what I got!!!

Canon Rebel T3

Focal Length:  300

f 5.6

1/400

Thanks for reading and visiting.  I will do my best to post new pics and charming banter about photography at least once a week.  Please follow if you like.  i have a few websites that I sell my images on, so please check those out as well!!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor