Lessons from a Lesson

I did some one-on-one photography tutoring in Sunapee Harbor Thursday with a very enthusiastic photographer. I took few photos; I mostly helped with shooting modes and methods.

It is important to understand camera settings, particularly the various exposure and autofocus modes.DW926A&B Polarizer I have always recommended Aperture Priority coupled with Exposure Compensation to address challenging lighting situations. When handholding in this mode one needs to be mindful of shutter speed which can be controlled over a large range by a combination of aperture and ISO settings.

Autofocus can be continuous or lock-on and can use a single focus spot which is movable or a multiplicity of focus spots. All the focus modes have their place depending on the situation, so understanding and using them can be very important, especially when shooting moving subjects quickly.

I tooks some photos to demonstrate the importance of a tripod and polarizer when photographing moving water. This pair of photos was shot with an exposure time for 1 second.

I shot the pair below to illustrate depth of field as we walked along Lake Avenue.


The early morning fog was nice.


I used a 24mm lens on a full-frame body for the shot below to try to give depth to the photo of the new covered bridge.


We saw many dogs. She asked permission to photograph each one. I “bootlegged” this photo of one of them thinking of Kim who loves Pugs.


Before we met she stated she loves herons and hoped to see one. I told her not to expect that. Well, we saw 4 in the harbor — two were flyovers — including this one in the Sugar River.


A short time after we went our separate ways I got lucky and got this one.


A quick tip. Exposure is important. It is hard to judge the exposure by looking at the image in the monitor. Using the Histogram and “Blinkies” (Highlight Indicators) is a much better method. If you are willing to do some simple processing of your images, the best exposure is the brightest possible image without overexposing the highlights. This gives the lowest noise.

Here is a brief slide show of the other photos I took while we were together.


Wilder Pond Hike

Wider Pond

Wilder Pond

The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway sponsored a hike in Andover last Saturday from Bradley Lake to Wilder Pond. Led by Lee Carvalho, a group of 20 made the round trip on a beautiful summer day. Here are some of the photos I took during the hike.


Birding while hiking

Several recent hikes with Jann in the Newport, NH area resulted in some bird photos with a fairly short lens and an elderberry long-horned beetle (thanks Mary Sue for the ID). DW826E
Of the birds in the slide show that follows, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was the closest and most cooperative. Also in the show below are Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Eastern Kingbird flying.


Loon Family 2014


After photographing loons on THE POND for many years – film and digital – when no one was there except perhaps Judy, I have been avoiding the crowds that I know have been present in recent years.   I don’t believe I have been back to The Pond for over four years.

Yesterday morning Jann and I took a hike that went past a small pond. We spotted a loon family – two adults and two chicks – very near shore.  It was too late in the morning for good light, but I couldn’t resist anyway. I waded out two yards and set up my tripod.



I watched and photographed for 15 minutes.  The adults dove repeatedly and perhaps 20% of the time came up with a small fish to feed the chicks. Once one surfaced a few yards away from me. The photo on the right showing the loon swimming away is uncropped.

There was a slight breeze which caused the chicks to slowly drift closer to me. Since I was not in a kayak, I did not drift. Several times when a parent would surface after feeding, it would coo softly calling the chicks and then dive almost immediately. The chicks would swim back to the spot where the parents had surfaced. Except for this back-and-forth of the chicks, the family stayed the same distance from me the entire time.


So now I have a secret pond to check out next spring to see if I can get there when the chicks are still young enough to be riding on their parents’ backs.


Here is a brief sequence of one chick getting fed.


If you want to see more loon photos, HERE are the ones that have been published.