An early wake up call that I can blame on the Skyfire feature on my smartphone app The Photographer’s Ephemeris that caused me to drive down to Sandy Point Park for sunrise. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning as a storm front is coming in this evening.
The beach was quiet, giving me full solitude with the waters of the Chesapeake Bay lapping on the sandy shores of the park. The air was crisp but still allowing me to fly my newly added play toy ~ a DJI Mavic Air drone. I’m still learning how to pilot the drone and haven’t quite mastered the smooth movements, but with practice I know I’ll get it. It brings an entirely new perspective to seeing the world and it’s exciting.
Its been part of the steep learning curve that I’ve been on lately, trying to keep up with all of the technological changes that keep happening. But I’m starting to get it, which is quite rewarding.
I had sent most of my camera gear to Canon for service as I’m about to head out for a trip to the Altiplano of Bolivia and the world’s largest salt flats with my dear friend, mentor and outstanding and world renowned photographer Denise Ippolito. It’s been a trip long time planning and it’ll literally take my breath away as most of the trip will be spent at over 10,000 feet in altitude and peaking at nearly 15,000 feet.
And so in preparation for this trip, the drone is just one of the additions to my camera kit that I’ll be taking with me. Another is a true luxury and extravagant purchase which is a Singh Ray Lighter and Brighter Color Combo Polarizer Filter. I saved my pennies for a number of months to be able to purchase it, and goodness knows I hope I don’t misplace it like I’m so prone to do with many of my things. But this filter really made a huge difference with my images from this morning.
At a recent photography class, the discussion of white balance came up and I’m a firm believer that the more you can get it right in the field, the easier your job is at home during post processing. It doesn’t take much to take a few moments to think through the lighting situation and to determine what adjustments you can make to enhance your images in-field. White balance is one of those things that I select while out in the field, rarely selecting the Auto White Balance setting on camera. Actually, I tend to dial in a custom white balance number using the “K” Kelvin option. Neutral Daylight white balance is 5500 kelvin, so I tend to choose anywhere from 5600k to 6000k depending on the situation to help warm up the scene.
A Circular Polarizer filter is another one of those additions that can make a notable difference in your images, both for reflections in water, leaves, etc. and for color saturation. Once I began using it more for landscapes, I was hooked.
I do not have a UV filter installed on any of my lenses because as a wildlife photographer I want every ounce of light I can get. While its been sold as a lens protector, that’s what a lens hood can do for you. And as hard on my equipment as I am and through a number of years of heavy shooting, I’ve yet to get a scratch on my lenses. Mind you, I’m always careful about placing a lens cap back on when storing my lenses in any bags. Although I’ve been known to drive down the road with my camera on the seat next to me, ready to shoot should the occasion arrive.
It was a beautiful morning to be out but I didn’t stay long as duty called. At least I was able to find the two twin fawns on my way out along with their mother in their favorite morning grazing spot. One is a charming young buck and he says hello.