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Valle Crucis NC: A Photographer’s Treasure Chest

Valle Crucis NC: A Photographer’s Treasure Chest

Valle Crucis NC is an unincorporated community in Western North Carolina. Situated in the Southern Appalachian Mountains just west of Boone, the valley lies along the Watauga River. In spite of not being a big river it has terrific trout fishing waters. The river provides a very photogenic site for nature photographers. Birds, including Bald Eagles, Blue Herons, Owls, and myriad songbirds frequent the river.

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Does Luck Make the Shot?

Does Luck Make the Shot?

What part does luck play in getting that one special picture?  Being in the right place at the right time, when all the elements of that special shot come together, and you click the shutter release, and you know you got it.  Were you there by pure dumb luck?  Maybe.  Were you there with the camera raised, with the right light, the right composition, and you just happened to click the shutter when that last element fell into place.  Maybe.  I’ve had some shots I like to call “happy accidents” that I didn’t even know I got until I loaded them onto the computer.

More often though, you are there with the right light, and the right composition, and you are waiting for that last piece to fall into place, waiting for that moment to occur, and then….. well, then sometimes that last element comes into place, and sometimes it doesn’t.  But when it does… that last little piece may be luck.  But why were you there?  Anticipation.Boilermaker Road Race Finish Line Celebration

To quote Dan Bailey in his book Zen Photographer:  “Anticipation, which is actually the secret ingredient behind luck, is essentially knowing, or having a pretty good idea of what’s about to happen next.”

Many great shots can be had because you know your subject.  You know what light works.  You know a location.  And you think maybe, just maybe, if that one last little piece can fall into place…  that light will hit that tree in a certain way, or that person would just walk over in front of that door.  That is the shot.  Anticipation.

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Cemetery at Night 3

Cemetery at Night 3

IMG_9019bwSmAnother shot from the Cooperstown cemetery.  You can see some of the shadows cast by the light on the nearby building.  The tree in the foreground is the perfect tree to add that spooky look now that the leaves are gone.  With the lighting here, a good time to come back to this location and shoot will be on a foggy or rainy evening, or possibly even when there is snow in the air.  The moisture in the air will diffuse and soften the light coming from the left.  And it will also add to the eerie feel of the location.

This photo was taken with a Canon 50D using a Canon f2.8 40mm pancake lens, and a Vanguard Alta series tripod.  ISO was set to 1600, aperture was f8, and a 20 second shutter speed was used.  Post processing was done in Photoshop Elements where I did a levels adjustment.  It was converted to black and white using Topaz B&W Effects.

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Cemetery at Night 2

Cemetery at Night 2

IMG_9012bwSmHere is another shot from the cemetery in Cooperstown.  This shot was taken facing away from the building and the strong light source.  I actually ended up cropping it so that I removed a streetlight from the left side of the image.

This photo was taken with a Canon 50D using a Canon f2.8 40mm pancake lens, and a Vanguard Alta series tripod.  ISO was set to 1600, aperture was f8, and a 20 second shutter speed was used.  Post processing was done in Photoshop Elements where I did a levels adjustment.  It was converted to black and white using Topaz B&W Effects.

 

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Cemetery at Night

Cemetery at Night

IMG_9004bwSmThis cemetery is located in Cooperstown, NY, and is a stop on a Ghost Tour you can take during the summer.  This location seemed like a pretty good spot for night photography.  It was a little challenging, because there is a very strong light on a nearby building, so there are some pretty harsh shadows that limit the angles you can shoot from.  However, now that the leaves are gone, the trees have an eerie look about them, so it’s a great time of year for taking some creepy cemetery photos.

This photo was taken with a Canon 50D using a Canon f2.8 40mm pancake lens, and a Vanguard Alta series tripod.  ISO was set to 1600, aperture was f8, and a 20 second shutter speed was used.  Post processing was done in Photoshop Elements where I did a levels adjustment.  It was converted to black and white using Topaz B&W Effects.

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