Lake Mohawk at Sunrise

On the first morning I was at Lake Mohawk (last Friday), I got up fairly early and walked down the road “a piece”, as they say, to the south end of the levee where I set up my tripod to get some shots of the lake at sunrise.  I was hoping that there would be a good bit of fog on the lake, but I think I got out there just a little bit too late, so there was just a hint of mist left.  I took several series of bracketed shots, intending to process them as HDR images, but as it turned out, the breeze was blowing pretty good that morning, so the foilage produced a lot of ghosting on the HDR’s.

So I went through the individual shots and pulled out some to process on their own, and I don’t think they turned out too bad:

These were all processed in PaintShop Pro X3 from the raw NEF files.  The larger versions look better, and can be seen on my Flickr page in the Lake Mohawk set.  Hope you’ll visit there and let me know how you like these shots as well as the ones I posted earlier.

Also, just want to remind you that I have a separate project in the works at  That’s where I’m posting one photograph every day, taken with my Blackberry Tour.  It’s actually a fun little project, and I’d encourage everyone to join in and post those candid shots taken with your cell phone!  Or, if you don’t want to post your own shots, feel free to follow me on my project!


Natural Light is Best

Has it already been a month since my last posting?  Unbelievable!  Yes, I’ve been busy, but that’s no excuse.  I promise to try and do better.  My camera misses me, I’m sure!

We went on our cruise the last week of April, sailing on the Carnival Paradise out of Long Beach, California, with shore excursions on Catalina Island (CA) and Ensenada (Mexico).  I took a lot of pictures on the cruise, but honestly they were mostly of the snapshot variety.  Guided tours don’t provide a lot of opportunities to thoughtfully set up the perfect shot, but they do get you out into the countryside to see a lot of things you wouldn’t otherwise see.  I decided that my time would be better spent actually looking at my surroundings and engaging with the locals, rather than spending all my time looking through the viewfinder.

That said, I did manage to experiment with a few things while we were out sightseeing.  One thing I enjoyed was trying to capture photos of people indoors using the natural light coming through the windows.  Here are a few examples:

This first shot was made in one of the many colorful and quaint shops on Catalina Island off the coast of California.  It was just about 11:00AM on an overcast morning, which made for perfect lighting coming through the shop windows.  I was able to capture lots of details inside the shop, without losing much of the detail outside the windows.  This photo was shot as a JPG, and processed in Paint Shop Pro to up the contrast and add a little local tone mapping.

Shopping on Catalina Island

This next shot was made just about an hour later when we stopped at Jack’s Original Country Kitchen for one of their delicious crepes with Nutella and lots of fresh fruit.  We sat near the front window so we could watch the people go by.  Once again, the light was perfect for capturing the details of the interior of the restaurant without a flash, and without washing out the highlights.

Jack's Original Country Kitchen

This final shot was taken the next day at the L.A. Cetto Winery in Ensenada Valley de Guadelupe, Baja California, Mexico, in their wine tasting room.  We had taken a wine tour of the Ensenada area, and this was our final stop.  It’s a beautiful winery, the largest in the area, and the wines were exceptional.  The tasting room had smaller windows that looked out over the vineyards, so even though it was a sunny day outside, the interior space was much more dimly lit than the shots above.  I like the way the wine bottle and the man’s arm are slightly blurred, suggesting movement as he poured the wine for the tasting.

L.A. Cetto Vineyards and Wine Tasting

I haven’t yet gone through the process of editing all the cruise photos–I guess I got a little burned out earlier this year.  But I’m starting to get the bug again, so hopefully I’ll still remember all the things I learned back in the winter and early spring.  It’s definitely starting to get hot here in the Phoenix area, which makes it much less tempting to go hiking around with a lot of camera equipment.  However, I’m going to be visiting my family in North Mississippi over the Memorial Day weekend, and I’m looking forward to having a lot of new subjects to shoot.  They live on a beautiful lake property, everything is lush and green, and it’s supposed to be a full moon weekend….I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Changing the subject, thanks to a friend’s Facebook postings, I discovered, a website where you are encouraged to upload one photo per day for a year, just capturing everyday moments in your life.  I’ve started a 365 project on this website, only using pictures taken with my Blackberry.  I thought it would be fun to chronicle those little things that you capture on the spur of the moment with the piece of technology that’s most often at hand.  Check it out, follow me, and start your very own 365 project!