I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to go out in my insulated clothes to photograph the icy beauty of the night sky above the Pocono Plateau and then return to warmth and companionship. I hope you have had joy in your life in the past weeks, and I wish you a 2014 filled with beauty and relationship.
My last photo on the Neumann campus in 2013 I had to wait for. I had taken test shots a few nights before, of the Christmas lights on the Mirenda Center, but not all of the lights were on, there were too many cars, and the contrast between a black sky and the bright lights was, well, boring. As I walked to my car at the end of the last day of the school year, all was still; light remained in the western sky; and the lights in the creche were on. I quickly unpacked the tripod and shot several sets of photos, panning across the lighted trees and Center, with the camera on its side (vertical); using the Nikon 10-24 wide angle lens to get plenty of sky. (2.5 seconds, f11, ISO 400, 19 mm on the Nikon 10-24 mm lens.) Stitched together in Photoshop and cropped to fit my monitor, the image is still the one on my desktop. Clicking on the images, below, will take you to my ZenFolio gallery, where you can order prints. (Silent Night would look particularly nice on metallic paper.)
Click this link to go to my SmugMug gallery where you can download images sized for monitors or the iPad.
A week later I was in the Poconos, walking the dogs after dinner, and felt almost scared by the fiery glitter of the stars. I set up the tripod behind my house, because stars, by themselves are not so interesting, unless they are seen through a pretty big telescope.
Adobe Lightroom 4.4 with some help from Photoshop did a great job of bringing out the stars in Winter Night in the Poconos (30 sec, f8, ISO 200, 10 mm) For those who care, the software update from LR 4.0 to 4.4 made a big difference in its ability to brighten the stars without making the sky horribly grainy. Still, next time I will shoot at a higher ISO to make better use of the available light.
A few nights close to zero in Philadelphia led to ice on the Schuylkill like nothing I have seen before.
Cold Snap - looking north from the South Street Bridge, a day after the December cold snap broke. Like the photo of the Mirenda Center it is a photo-merge of 5 or 6 verticals using the wide-angle zoom. (1/160 sec, f11, ISO 200, 22 mm) Compare it with a panorama from February 2013 from the same vantage point, shot with the 70-300 mm telephoto lens (1/250 sec, f11, ISO 200, 85 mm), as the piers for the walkways were just being finished.
Love to all,