I don’t often get to take long exposure shots while on vacation because it involves lugging around a tripod, but this beach was located just outside my cabin on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, so it was a perfect opportunity to set up the tripod and try out the neutral density filter I bought last year. These types of filters enable you to take long exposures during the day without blowing the highlights. I’m still getting the hang of it, but I like the effect here of smoothing the ocean and blurring the clouds while keeping the rocks in focus, almost like a painting.
The night skies over the Canadian maritime provinces are spectacular, particularly in the remote areas where these two photos were shot–the skies are packed with far more stars than most of us are used to seeing on a regular basis. Although my astrophotography remains a work in progress, I feel like these are definitely an improvement over some of my earlier efforts.
The first photo was taken outside of the inn where I stayed on Prince Edward Island. In setting the building against the night sky I tried to capture the remoteness of the inn, which is located by itself out on a cliff overlooking the sea. I always feel weird going outside for night photography, setting up the tripod and everything while people are wondering what I’m doing out there. The women in one of the downstairs rooms kept looking out the window–I think they thought I was up to something nefarious. 🙂
The second photo of the Milky Way was taken outside my cabin on Cape Breton Island.
A hike through Watkins Glen State Park is like a visit to another world, where scenes like this await around every corner. It’s hard to believe that this oasis of pristine beauty is tucked inside a small town in Upstate New York.
Also, don’t forget that the eBook version of my novel, The Eyes of Mictlan, is available for free during the entire month of November, and, if you download it through Story Cartel and write a review, you will be entered into their monthly drawing to win prizes such as Kindle eReaders, Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards, and bestselling print books.
There are three ways in which you can obtain a free copy:
Story Cartel – For the next three weeks, you can download a FREE copy of my novel from Story Cartel (registration is free) and, if you leave an honest review on your favorite book site or your blog, you will be entered into a monthly drawing to win a prize.
Smashwords – You can download a free copy of my novel from Smashwords using the following coupon code: GH76V.
If you do not have a Smashwords account (or do not wish to create one), you can message me on Twitter at @njrappa and I will send you a link to download a free copy in either mobi, epub, or PDF format.
There are no strings attached and the book is yours to keep, but I would be most grateful if you could take a few minutes to leave a review on your favorite book site (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads). And as always, I thank you for your support!
This shot is from our hike along the gorge trail in Watkins Glen State Park last month. A walk through this park has been compared to a stroll through Tolkien’s Rivendell, and it’s easy to see why.
The park is located in the middle of the town of Watkins Glen, which sits on Seneca Lake in New York. Watkins Glen is more famous for its car racing, and the Finger Lakes area is more known for its wineries, but this beautiful park is clearly the jewel of the town and you’d think they do a better job of advertising it (you could easily drive right past it and I didn’t see any references to it around the town or in the “attractions” flyers in the hotel).
For this photo I attempted one of those long exposure shots commonly used when photographing waterfalls. However, I do not have the filter that photographers normally use for these shots to prevent overexposure, so I stopped my aperture all the way down to f/22, put my camera on a mini tripod, and took a two-second exposure. The small aperture resulted in a lack of sharpness but I still think the pic turned out pretty well considering.
If you are staying in Letchworth State Park, a nighttime venture away from the populated areas will allow you to view a sky filled with infinitely more stars than most of us ever see around our hometowns. The first photo was taken at Inspiration Point, from where you can get a great view of the illuminated Middle Falls in the distance with the night sky overhead. For the second photo I just pointed my camera up at a sky so clear that you can even make out a bit of the Milky Way.