Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black and White Exercise

I follow a number of photography blogs, and one of my favorites is "Working Pictures" by Carl Weese.  Carl has done some amazing work and is an expert in the process of Pt/Pd printing.  Recently he blogged about using his camera to take monochrome pictures and gave some instructions on how to do this.  Basically he set his camera to capture both a JPEG and RAW file for each picture, but would only display the JPEG and his EVF  as a black and white picture which would serve as a reminder to him that he was trying to make black and white pictures.  I thought I'd give this a try with my Nikon D90 to see what I could learn about looking at a color picture that would make it a good picture when converted to black and white.  For the D90, this was pretty easy to do.  I always shoot both JPEG(Fine) and RAW.  I selected Monochrome for Picture Control, which would display only the monochrome JPEG on the LCD screen.  I could then import both the RAW and JPEG into Aperture 3.5 as matched pairs.  Since Aperture can't read the all of the NEF instructions, it imports the JPEG as monochrome but the RAW File as the full color capture. This allowed me to directly compare both the color (RAW) version as well as the monochrome (JPEG), side by side.  Here is an example of what I did on a recent photo shoot.   The first picture is the JPEG, straight from the camera without any post processing.  It caught my eye as having some potential as a good Black and White image.

The next image is the color RAW file, with some of my standard adjustments

The final picture is a black and white conversion of the post-processed color version shown above, using Nik Software Silver Fx Pro to produce what I like as a final black and white image.

I think this is a pretty good exercise, and I plan to post a few more examples in the coming week.  I know that some good photographers actually visualize their images in black and white.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to master that.  This exercise might help me though.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cider Mill Reflections

Old Mystic, CT

I caught this reflection on a very dreary, cloudy, rainy Wednesday on a trip to Clyde's Cider Mill to pick up a supply of apple cider for my family Thanksgiving Dinner.   I'll be linking this to Weekend Reflections where you can see lots of great reflections from all over the world.  

Photography is all about controlling light.  This is something I struggle with as I continue to learn more about photography.  Recently I've been trying to improve my skills using a flash so I've done a lot of reading on the basics of flash photography.  I wondered what would result if I used a flash for the image above.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was surprised with the image using the flash, shown below.  I'm sure those very knowledgeable about flash photography would not have been surprised with the resulting image, but I was surprised.  I really expected to see some reflection, at least from the flash itself, but it appears that the flash illuminated everything behind the glass providing a clear display with no reflections.  I thought it was interesting.  Have a nice weekend, and thanks for visiting.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Niantic, CT

My pies never look as good as the pies I see in pictures.  Nevertheless, I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rocky Top Student Center

Hamden, CT

This is the Rocky Top Student Center located on the York Hill Campus of Quinnipiac University.  I thought it had a very unique architecture.  The student center houses a 500 seat dining hall, a fitness center and meeting rooms.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wind Turbines

Hamden, CT

These aren't  the  traditional "windmills" one thinks of that generate power.  These wind turbines generate 32,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.  This is just one of many initiatives of Quinnipiac University that illustrates their commitment to the environment.  I've noticed a number of large three-bladed windmills that have been constructed recently around New England which are more traditional looking.  I'm not sure if the wind turbines pictured here are more efficient or not.  They do look different though.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

The View from York Hill Campus-Quinnipiac University

Hamden, CT

Located in Hamden, CT, the York Hill Campus of Quinnipiac University sits atop a pretty high hill which affords quite a view of the surrounding Connecticut countryside. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Edgecomb, ME

Here's another whimsical sculpture on display at Edgecomb Potters.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Don Quixote

Edgecomb, ME

I love the whimsical sculptures on display at Edgecomb Potters.  I found this guy standing guard over the other displays.  He looks like Don Quixote to me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Edgecomb Potters

Edgecomb, ME

The history of Edgecomb Potters can be found here.  It is a great success story which all started in the red school house shown here.  They are famous for their unique glazes and make a whole line of pottery which needs to be seen to be appreciated.  Other artists also display their work here and at their stores in Freeport and Portland, ME.  Although we have purchased some of Edgecomb Potters pieces in the past, this is the first time we visited the place where it all began.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Shopping

Freeport, ME

Another shop to visit, and more shopping to be done.  This particular shop is pretty special though.  This was taken in the Edgecomb Potters store in Freeport, a place we always need to visit when in Freeport.  They have wide range of great pottery and also sell the works of other artists.  We have purchased a number of their pieces.  This particular trip was no exception.  I'll be posting more about the Edgecomb Potters later this week.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Model Airplane II

Freeport, ME

As you can tell, I had quite a bit of time in this particular Freeport boutique shop.  My wife shopped  and I had plenty of time to experiment with various focal lengths, aperture settings and shutter speeds.  The best part was, we didn't purchase anything but did admire a lot of cool stuff which could be purchased some time in the future.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Model Airplane

Freeport, ME

It usually takes my wife a lot longer to shop than I do.  So, while I'm waiting I busy myself by taking pictures of some of the more interesting works of art for sale.  This particular shop had a number of metal model airplanes which looked very detailed.  They also were rather expensive.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dennison Memorial Clock - L L Bean

Freeport, ME

The L L Bean company was founded in Freeport, and has their headquarters there, as well as their flagship store.  When he first started out after inventing his famous boot, L L Bean realized that hunters kept strange hours, and therefore when he opened his first store, he kept it open 24 hrs a day.  Even today all of the L L Bean stores in Freeport are open 24/7.  There are no locks on the doors there.  Along with all the clothing, hunting, fishing and camping gear in the stores, there are some nice displays in their main store, like this clock.  It's fun to watch the clockworks, and every hour the clock plays a tune.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Reflecting on Portsmouth, NH

It was bright, warm autumn Saturday in Portsmouth, NH.  There were reflections in windows where ever you looked.  So many reflections..... so little time.

In some cases, the reflections made it hard to see what the business was.

Window reflections were only a small part of the reflections seen.  Every reflecting surface seemed to be competing for the best reflection.

I hope you enjoyed these reflections.  For many other very fine reflections, please visit Weekend Reflections.  Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Portsmouth Brewery

Portsmouth, NH

The Portsmouth Brewery is one of the more popular places in Portsmouth.  The place is always busy, serves good food and has a good selection of locally brewed beers and ales.  I highly recommend the place if you're looking for a place to eat while visiting Portsmouth.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Portsmouth Street Scenes II

Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth, NH is one of my favorite cities in all of New England.   I've visited here many times, and no matter what day I'm here, or what time of the year, I always find the downtown historic area of Portsmouth bustling with activity.  There are many restaurants, cafes, boutiques and specialty shops and where ever you look, there are people enjoying the city.  I learned long ago, that it's easier to park in one of the city's parking garages than to try and find a parking spot on the street.  Parking is cheap here too!  Having paid for parking in Hartford, New Haven, and New York City, it was a pleasure to pay only $0.75/hr to park here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

State Street Saloon

Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth, NH, I've been told, has over 80 restaurants featuring all types of cuisines.  This colorful saloon is the home of the $4.99 lobster roll, which is a very good price for lobster roll.  I didn't get the chance to try one of their lobster rolls.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Freeport, ME

Parked outside of L.L Bean's flagship store was this bright red "bootmobile".  I took this picture on Sunday, Nov 3, 2013, a mere five days after the Boston Red Sox won this year's World Series.  Apparently L.L Bean must be a big fan.  It certainly didn't take them long to paint this boot in Red Sox colors.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Blackledge River Reflection

Gay City State Park, Hebron, CT

Although it looks like little more than a small stream this is part of the Blackledge River which flows for about 16 miles from Manchester, CT through Gay City State Park eventually meeting up with the Salmon River near North Westchester, CT.  At one time the river must have supplied power for the mill here, which was featured in a previous post.  Today the calm waters made for a nice reflection on this autumn day.  If you like this reflection, there are many more at Weekend Reflections.  Enjoy the weekend and thanks for visiting.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

South Church

Portsmouth, NH

This is a Unitarian-Universalist church located in Portsmouth, built in 1826, designed by Jonathan Folsom a local architect.  It looks rather imposing in person with it's tall columns and thick granite walls.  It is rather unique in that it is the only granite church in Portsmouth.  One would think that being a part of the "Granite" State, there should be more granite churches in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Old Mill Site Chute

Gay City State Park, Hebron, CT

This is the scene from atop the remaining walls of the old mill, showing a chute which runs from the mill to a small nearby stream.  I wonder what this place looked like back in the early 1800's.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Old Mill Site

 It took me a little while to find this old mill site in Gay City State Park, but after walking along a number of trails, and consulting a couple of maps, I was able to find all that's left of the mill built here in the late 1700's to early 1800's.  The religious sect who settled this area built a mill drawing power from the Blackledge River.  During the war of 1812 the woolen mill fell on economic hard times due to numerous blockades.  After the mill was revived, it burned to the ground in 1830, further leading to the decline of what little prosperity there was in Gay City.
 A paper mill built here helped to revive the small community somewhat up until the time of the Civil War.  Gay City lost a number of their younger men in the war, and shortly there after, that mill also burned which ultimately lead to the demise of Gay City.  People left here for jobs in the nearby big cities and the homes here were abandoned and left to the elements.
In 1943, one of the last descendants of the people who lived here sold the land to the state of Connecticut with the stipulation that it be called "Gay City".  It became a a state park one year later. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013


Gay City State Park, Hebron, CT

This little boulder stood out amongst the grass and fallen leaves.  It almost looked like ice and is quite different from the gray gneiss and schist that make up the majority of the rocks and boulders seen in this part of the state.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Stone Walls

Gay City State Park, Hebron, CT

Stone walls are ubiquitous in southeast Connecticut so it was no surprise to see a number of them while hiking though Gay City State Park.   The walls last forever, it seems.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gay City State Park Pond

Gay City State Park

I could find no name for this pond located in Gay City State Park.  I think it's man-made, but I'm not sure.  the Blackledge River flows through the park and into this pond.  The river provided power for a saw mill built back in the early 1800's.  Today the pond offers visitors a nice beach and a place to swim on hot summer days.  On this particular day, I was able to catch this reflection, which I'm linking to Weekend Reflections.  Enjoy your weekend and thanks for visiting.