Half-way over that mythic sunny bridge… A little more ocean warmth, some warmer breezes, sun, sun, sun.. salt water baptisms, and lively stirrings of the soul…..
Monday, March 20th at 6:28am on the east coast, was the vernal equinox. Picture the imaginary plane upon which the Earth revolves around the Sun. The Earth is always tilted at an angle of 23.4 degrees. All winter, the southern hemisphere was tilting towards the Sun. This kind of sucks for the northern hemisphere if you don’t snowboard. It even sucks if you have a wetsuit. On the equinox, however, the Earth’s tilt is such that the Sun shines directly on the Equator – the half-way point between the southern and northern hemispheres. “Equinox” – “Equi” meaning “equal”; “ox” meaning not the 53 point Words with Friends move, but the dyslexic Aussie down-under “kiss”. (Their toilets flush backwards too, xo.) More Sun kisses further into the night. Lord knows we all need some more Sun kissing our faces.
Astronomers often mark this equinox as the beginning of a new orbit around the sun. Astrologers start the year with the Sun entering Aries. Since ancient times, it has been known as a time of new beginnings. Think of the great traditions – Easter, Passover, Spring Break, or the bloody human sacrifices of the Mayans at their main pyramid El Castillo at Chichen Itza, Mexico. The main staircase of the pyramid is constructed at such a precise way that, on the day of the equinox, the sun aligns perfectly to create a serpent of sunlight, slithering down the staircase. Ancient Aliens??? Illegal aliens???? No. Stop. Their calendar ended, died, on the winter solstice of 2012. Sometimes people get out of bloody control and too wrapped up in their own customs.
Easter is a nice myth symbolizing rebirth. Kill a savior. Resurrect him. Rebirth. He planted a pretty big seed there. More symbols… Easter eggs. Eggs. Birth, fertility. Someone planted the seed that on the Equinox, you can balance an egg on its end. Well, don’t try this at home. You will die trying. Some myths are out of bloody control. Some are even co-opted by bloody control.
Spring is green. Its not just a fresh coat of paint on new and burned bridges. Green is chlorophyll harnessing the sun and allowing life for billions of years. It ramps up in Spring, rests in Winter. Every year. For billions of years. We are intimately, genetically, directly, connected to this past, its pattern, rhythms, cycles. (And yet, if you want to think esoterically, your mind should die to all past internal and external noise, and be born again with each new moment. This idea, however, gives everyone but the gods, a freaking headache. Which is fine because Spring isn’t a head thing like bloody dogma. Spring imposes its own new prism, new perspective, lessening the need for a good esoteric game.) Go to the beach or walk through town around happy hour on the first sunny 75 degree day of the year. You feel it. You feel the source of Myth. Warmth on your face, ease in your smile, vitality in your core, spring in your step, blood-pumping, aliveness, buzz in the air.
$16 for a seal- and bird-watching adventure cruise for one ($30 value)
$30 for two Groupons, each good for a weekend seal- and bird-watching adventure cruise for one ($60 value)
“Cruises run on Saturdays from March 18th to April 29th, as well as a Friday cruise on April 14th. Boarding is at 11:15 a.m., with the tour leaving at 12 p.m. and returning at approximately 2 p.m.
The large vessel has a full bar, including hot chocolate, tea, coffee, spiked coffee, and other beverages, and is also equipped with a snack bar and galley. Passengers spend 2 hours gazing out of sizable viewing windows in a large, heated cabin with cushioned seating, enjoying scenic skyline views and spotting Harbor and Grey seals, with the occasional Harp and Hooded seal sighting, as well as a variety of birds. On warmer days, guests can take in sights from the ship’s canopy-covered upper deck. There is a naturalist on board guiding the tour, that gives a presentation on marine life, seals, birds, and the surrounding area on the way. There is also a slide show which is displayed on big screen tv’s, showing pictures, posters and exhibits. The naturalist is available throughout the trip for any questions.”
I don’t shoot much inside anymore, preferring to be outside at the beach. For some reason, with the winter blues or whatever, I didn’t feel like venturing outside in Thursday’s blizzard. I must be living a bit dead, since I am usually twitching to get into the middle of any storm.
A trailer for the upcoming season of Walking Dead played, a memory that a friend had dressed up as Negan for Halloween also played, so I came back to life a bit and set up some lights and played. It had been a while. Gotta shake out the rigor mortis. “I need a phone call. I need a plane ride. I need a sunburn…”
Set up: 3 foot softbox as main light, cam right. Small softbox hair light behind black seamless paper. Reflector cam left. I added a extra light behind subject to control background for a bit more separation from the black jacket. Processing was just some quick Lightroom, except for dropping in the full moon in PS. (Negan doesn’t get skin treatment.) There was also a fog machine for that pic. Shot in living room with 70-200mm, mostly at 80mm. (Negan credit: Adam Snair.)
Anyway, playing with lighting is really a lot of fun. And cabin fever is no good reason to let your brain get eaten. If you have any comments / questions feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for looking!
G’Morning folks. As photographers, we love the term “buy local”. Rather than give money to a corporate black hole, the money goes back into the community, and specifically helps us to keep creating art. To help with the “buy local” and “support local artists” movements, here in Long Island, NY. we have the Long Island Photo Gallery.
Its is a wonderful little shop, right in the heart of Islip, NY. It is filled with great artwork by many different local artists, much of it featuring our beautiful north and south shore beaches and waters.
Long Island Photo Gallery – 467 Main St. Islip, NY.
When you visit, you can browse the walls and see exactly what these beautiful pieces look like and how they will look in your home. While there, Joanne or Jessica are very helpful, and can walk you through a selection and sales process, whether it be for a piece on the wall, or in a digital catalogue.
The gallery is also a great place just to pop in for some inspiration! (Especially this time of year – thanks for nuthin, groundhog.)
Of note: On February 10th, 2017, there will be a reception from 6-8pm, for their new exhibit, “From Dusk to Dawn”. Hit the link for exhibit and gallery details.
Everyone has heard everyone say that equipment doesn’t matter. Yet everyone drools over every new camera that is announced. The drool is only part pavlovian response to enticing key marketing terms. Another reason to drool is the frustration of having a camera or lens that finally starts to limit what you are trying to accomplish. I’m a Nikon guy. For close to 10 years, I shot with a 12 mp D300. It took great photos, and I learned a lot from it. I’ve sold many prints of its output. But….
A ways back, someone wanted a 4 x 6 foot print of a cropped image of mine. I spent a month’s worth of beer money on the print, she looked at it from 6 inches away, and said – nah. We all know that looking at a print from 6 inches away is kind of stupid, but it is what it was. Modern software has made it much easier to up-res, but at some point you will be limited by your camera’s ability to capture enough megapixels. (If you are just shooting for web images or small prints, 12mp is all you need, and today’s entry cameras are superb.) I’m not rich, I opted for a refurbished Nikon D810. No problems whatsoever with the refurb. I love this camera and its 36mp for land and seascapes.
Modern Nikons have also come a long way in their ability to capture dynamic range (DR). No cameras can match the human eye’s DR. Your pupil continually adjusts to expose for what you are looking at. Add in an optic nerve with attached brain, and the ability to squint, and things are literally looking good for us. We can take in visual information over a large range of light intensity. For example, when it is very bright outside, we can not only see the stuff thats nice and bright, we can also see useful information in the shadows. Cameras have a hard time capturing that wide range of light intensity within one image. Cameras have only been evolving for a short time, they have a lot of catching up to do. But they are indeed catching up. The D810 is pretty amazing compared to the old D300. By the way, always shoot RAW. Period. Don’t argue. Modern software like Lightroom and Photoshop can pull amazing detail out of the shadows of a RAW file.
Another area where newer cameras have come a long way is high ISO performance. ISO is basically a way to make your camera more sensitive to light. At higher ISO’s you don’t need as much light to get a good exposure. This enables you to use faster shutter speeds and smaller apertures (larger Fstops) when there is not a lot of light. Think shooting fast-moving sports in dim light. (The downside of this is that images start to get noisy, and you lose some DR.) While the D810 is pretty damn good at high ISO, there are better cameras out there when it comes to high ISO performance. Seems every new camera body that comes out these days has better and better ISO. So, yeah, I’m drooling for a second body, just for high ISO and higher frames per sec.
Advice: Camera bodies keep getting better and better. If you are just starting, or on a budget, they are all good. Camera lenses, on the other hand, are a better investment. You’ll hold on to a good quality lens forever, as the camera bodies come and go.
I’ve recently acquired an Aquatech splash housing, (pic from catalogue). Taking your camera in waves is very fun and a great excuse to get back in the ocean! To do that when the water is cold, I use a Hyperflex Voodoo 5/4 wetsuit, with 5mil gloves and boots. I really do stay warm.