Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Photographing the Night Landscape Workshop - Stellar Again!

Though I've explored many facets of photographing the night landscape, I'm continually learning, continually being surprised by how beautiful it is.  My night workshop in the Adirondacks last week provided more stunning revelations.  I was joined by an intrepid group of shooters looking to learn the intricacies of the craft: how to determine exposures in a variety of situations, how to focus in the dark, how to deal with noise, and discover the possibilities for recording details in the nocturnal landscape and sky.

Night cabin, Inlet
The night weather was threatening but variable, presenting a slew of photographic opportunities.  It was overcast the first night, and again on the second night, until fog moved in late, then clouds above it parted to reveal the Milky Way towering over Raquette Lake.  The third night presented a mix of clouds and clear sky, and the Milky Way shining brightly.  And then a surprise... Perseid meteors — which don't peak until the following week — raining out of the northeast.  We saw and captured dozens!

Milky Way over Raquette Lake
I impressed upon the participants to go out night shooting with a few goals in mind, and they took it to heart.  We shot stars as points of light, as trails and as circles.  We shot meteors, planets, and our home galaxy — the Milky Way.  We made vertical & horizontal panoramas of it, and time lapse sequences of it cruising across the night sky.

Milky Way & Perseid Meteor
If you'd like to explore night photography consider joining us for any of our upcoming fall workshops; the night is so photogenic, we'll shoot it at each.  And of course, I'll run my night workshop again next summer.  See API's website for full program descriptions.  There's so much to shoot at night.  My goal is to keep exploring it, and finding ways to push the bounds of what's possible to capture under stellar dark skies.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Adirondack Life Magazine Photo Contest Winners

It's that time of year again when we get to see all of the beautiful photographs from the photo contest winners in the Annual Adirondack Life Photography Contest

Congratulations to Adam Baker for his grand prize winning entry Foggy Fall Morning at Split Rock Falls.  Click the link below for details and to see all of the winners!

Adam wins a spot in the Weekend with Adirondack Life workshop in Schroon Lake this September.  Get details about this great event hosted by three our of fabulous instructors here!

And congratulations also go out to all of the other winners!  We are so proud to have 5 API Alumni on the winners list!

Richard L. Endres, Loudonville NY (first-place landscape)
Karl Fisher, Cary NC (second-place landscape) API Alumni!
Laura Castelein, Rochester NY (third-place landscape)

Philip Ashwood,Calcium NY (first-place wildlife) API Alumni!
Howard Arndt, Amherst (second-place wildlife) API Alumni! 
Pat McGuire, Washington DC (third-place wildlife)

Eric Thacke, Eatontown, NJ (first-place people)
Michael Fingar, Schenectady NY (second-place people)
Linda Benzon, Carlisle PA (third-place people)

Barb Drake, Bloomfield NY (Honorable Mention) API Alumni...there's a Drake every year!
Nicole Curtin, Long Lake NY (Honorable Mention)
Brad Wenskoski, Cohoes NY (Editors Choice)
Debra Apple, Schenectady NY (Honorable Mention) API Alumni!
Shawn Michener, Port Henry NY (Honorable Mention)

Check out our 2016 schedule below.  You can also find us on Facebook!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mark Bowie's Finding November

Instructor Mark Bowie recently completed a self-assigned project to photograph November, staying close to home in western New England and northern New York State.  He was out nearly every day — anytime from predawn to night — making images and recording his impressions.  His goal was to look beyond the bare trees and gray skies to discover November’s hidden beauty.  It became a very personal project, an exercise in the art of seeing and expanding his craft.  And day after day, image after image found him.

He’s published the resulting images, and the stories behind them, in a new e-book — Finding November.  It's for anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature, whether you’re a photographer or not, and in particular, those who love the Northeast.  The collection reveals the depth and character of the month, and the treasures to be found by looking deeper.

Click on this link to learn more.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Working Winter's Opportunities

The central Adirondacks had received feet of lake effect snow this winter, but a warming trend a couple of days before our annual winter workshop had melted it from the trees and reduced the snow on the ground to a few inches.  Still, the lakes and ponds were covered with upwards of 12 inches of ice.  I've learned that different weather conditions create photographic opportunities that aren't available otherwise.  It's one of the major points I stressed as I went into great detail on strategies, tips and techniques specific to photographing winter under varying conditions.  I covered how to shoot big snows, extreme ice and blowing snow.  And I discussed shooting winter throughout the day and into the night — a wide variety of field craft and processing information participants could use the rest of the winter at home and in their travels.

Each time we ventured out we found something worthy of photographing.  Now the rivers and streams were open and spectacular ice formations along the banks were revealed. We were also fortunate to have three starry nights, despite forecasts for poor stargazing conditions over our entire stay (I've learned not to let weather forecasts psych you out of your plans here).  The Milky Way — even with much of the ecliptic below the horizon —arched brightly over the blue ice of Fourth and Moss Lakes. Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn shone brightly. Several meteors streaked by. Shooting the Adirondack winter at night is truly an unforgettable experience.

Many thanks to the hearty photographers who join me.  I'm inspired by your creativity and enthusiasm, and we all came away with a renewed appreciation for winter in the North Country. I look forward to being with you again soon.

Mark Bowie

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Inspiring Time-lapse Workshop!

Milky Way over Upper Browns Tract Pond

Imagine the Milky Way in all its glory moving across the night sky.  This was our backdrop for my second time-lapse workshop in the Adirondacks, and it proved to be an inspiring time for all.  The first two nights were clear so we took advantage of it to shoot the Milky Way until early hours of the morning.  We then spent the late morning and early afternoon processing images at the conference center of the Woods Inn in Inlet, NY.  I’ll never forget the look of joy on one participant’s face after he produced his first time-lapse movie of the Milky Way!

In addition to night shooting, we also photographed the sunset, making memorable time-lapse movies of colored clouds moving across the sky as the sun went down.  Thanks to all the participants whose camaraderie made this workshop a wonderful time for all.  Please consider joining me in 2016 for a great learning experience with time-lapse photography.

Joe LeFevre

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stellar Night Workshop!

A brilliant Milky Way, billions of stars, hundreds of streaking meteors, and northern lights — an utterly amazing celestial show in the dark skies over the central Adirondacks during my annual night photography workshop.  We all went away awestruck.  I'm still counting the meteors captured in my images!

Milky Way standing on end.  ©Mark Bowie 2015.

This is an in-depth and comprehensive workshop.  During indoor instructional sessions I covered the latest techniques for shooting the night sky in relation to the landscape, with recommendations for shooting the moon, stars, planets, meteors and other celestial objects.  I discussed shooting both wild landscapes as well as artificially lit scenes.  Many thanks to the enthusiastic group of shooters who joined me.  Their commeraderie and creativity were infectious.  And the night shooting was a blast!  We had clear skies on the first night, cloudy conditions on the second and third.  The forecast called for persistent clouds until around midnight on our final night, with clearing afterwards.  We were determined to stay up late, and we were rewarded.  Around 11:30pm the clouds drifted away to unveil the Milky Way shining brightly.  Over the next two hours, we counted about a hundred Perseid meteors streaming out of the northeast and along the axis of the galaxy.  It was a spectacular natural fireworks display!

A Perseid meteor over Fourth Lake.  ©Mark Bowie 2015.

Light trails & lit trees, Inlet.  ©Mark Bowie 2015.

This event sold out quickly, with a lengthy waiting list.  I'm honored by the support.  If you're interested in joining me for next summer's Adirondack night workshop, once the schedule is announced later this year, consider registering as soon as possible.  With enough interest, we'll look at adding a second night workshop.  And I'll continue to share the unbounded beauty, awe and wonder of photographing the Adirondacks by the Light of Midnight!

Mark Bowie

Milky Way & Perseid meteor.   ©Mark Bowie 2015.

Monday, June 29, 2015

3-in-1..... Spectacular Olympic National Park

With towering glacially-sculpted mountains that seem to rise straight up out of the ground, temperate rain forests housing the largest biomass on Earth, and wild and rugged coastlines, Olympic is like three national parks in one.  All this diversity within a few miles.  It's unparalleled.

Joe LeFevre and I led a six-day workshop to the region, scheduled around a new moon to take advantage of Olympic's dark skies. On clear nights the Milky Way shone brightly above the serrated edges of Sitka spruce.  We photographed stars circling over jagged peaks, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the lights of Victoria, British Columbia in the distance.

Sunset from Hurricane Ridge overlook. ©Mark Bowie 2015
We also visited the lush forests of the Solduc River Valley, perhaps my favorite forest anywhere.  Giant spruce, pines, and red cedar climb the hillsides, many draped with hanging mosses.  Velvety green mosses cover boulders in small streams.  We shot golden reflections in the Solduc River, just upstream of Solduc Falls, which plunges through a dramatic chasm.  In the Hoh Rain Forest, our challenge was to make order out of the chaotic richness of Life.  Here plants seems to cover nearly each inch of forest floor.  Elk thrive here as well.  One participant counted thirty-two in one place!

Exploring the Hoh Rain Forest, Hall of Mosses trail. ©Mark Bowie 2015
The mountains and lush forests are impressive, but to me, Olympic's wild sea coasts are the most photogenic.  The motion of the ever-changing tides, the wind and waves that bring in fresh atmosphere, and the presence of numerous sea stacks on the beaches and just off-shore, provide an endless variety of subject matter, forms, textures and color palettes.  At sunset we practiced timing our shots of waves as they curled up on shore, then receded.  We shot time lapse sequences of clouds streaming overhead.  And on one magical evening on Ruby Beach, witnessed one of the most spectacular and long-lasting sunsets we had ever seen.  As twilight descended the beaches and sky turned blue.  Venus and Jupiter appeared, shining over the sea stacks.  They put on a show each night.  We shot into the night, as stars peered out from behind clouds, reflected on the sand beaches.  The possibilities here are astounding!

Early night at Second Beach. ©Mark Bowie 2015
We heartily thank those intrepid photographers who experienced this place with us.  And to all our workshop attendees, whether you've been with us for one workshop or several... thank you for your support.  We'll continue to bring you the latest field techniques and digital workflow information as we pursue our creative endeavors together, in wild places far afield, and at home in the beautiful Adirondacks.

Mark Bowie