Top 12 photos of 2022

It’s hard to pick just twelve.

I enjoyed photography in 2022 and decided to share my pick of favorites. It was not easy! 12 photos for 12 months – not one per month, but just the twelve that I felt were especially beautiful or interesting. See the full gallery – where I recommend clicking the “play” button to see them as a slideshow – and read on for some commentary about each one.

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Snowstorm!

Several days without power, but with snowy beauty.

A large snowstorm passed through New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday. At our house, snow fell for about 26 hours. It was warm (33º), so the snow was wet and heavy, accumulating to a depth of 8″ … but I just know that higher elevations would have seen fluffier snow that got much deeper. Can’t wait for a chance to get out and hike some mountains!

Home, during a heavy, wet snowfall.
Snow on the solar tracker.

Unfortunately, the weight of all this snow caused many trees and branches to fall, blocking roads and knocking out power and Internet across the region. We are fortunate to have battery backup – which lasted for about 17 hours, fed in part by our solar tracker soaking up the post-storm sunshine. In turn, the batteries can be refilled by a propane generator. (The relationship between the two is complicated and buggy, but that’s another story.)

I took the opportunity to ramble around the backyard – local authorities asked everyone to stay off the roads unless necessary – and try to improve my ability to find interesting compositions and to expose properly for snow. Check out the gallery; at the end is a bonus: bald eagles spotted high in the trees during my afternoon walk, including a short video of two eagles taking off to fly across the river and greet a third bald eagle in the trees over there. (Apologies for the low-res iPhone photo and video… it’s all I had with me.)

Snow on the backyard fence.

P.S. Grid power is back! After about 39 hours.

CR3 vs DNG

No more DNG for me.

[Time for another photogeek blog post!] 

I’ve been using a DLSR camera since 2008 and have been photographing in Raw since 2012, after I finally realized the benefits of camera-raw over jpeg.  In 2012 I also started keeping my entire photo collection in Adobe Lightroom, allowing Ligh​​troom to convert any Raw photos to DNG (‘digital negative’) files at the time of import.  Why?  Because I was convinced by books and bloggers that DNG is The Right Way to store images.  Today, ten years later, I’ve changed my mind.  In this post I explain why.

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Alaska photos

Photo galleries from our trip at the end of August.

Some of you will recall that in early September my father and I visited Katmai National Park on the southern coast of Alaska, as part of a Muench Photography Workshop focused on photographing the Coastal Brown Bears that feast on the annual salmon run along the southern coast. I wrote a summary of the trip – and posted a few teaser photos – shortly thereafter, but then became busy. Since then, I have struggled to find time to complete the work of selecting and editing a few photos out of the 8,000 shots I snapped during the trip. I finally finished. Read on!

Brown bear and cub – Geographic Harbor, Katmai.
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Nature First

I just joined the Nature First community, because I am impressed by their efforts to communicate about respect for nature while photographing nature. For more, I recommend their why Nature First page.

The Nature First Principles were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations:”

  • Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
  • Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
  • Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
  • Use discretion if sharing locations.
  • Know and follow rules and regulations.
  • Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
  • Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

Lunar eclipse

We were fortunate to have good weather when North America was treated to a full lunar eclipse this morning. It was expected to occur an hour or more before sunrise, as the moon set in the west. Using PhotoPills as a planning tool, I didn’t think I’d have a great view from my backyard, so I arranged to meet a colleague at a location on the Dartmouth campus – a location that has a great view to the west, with Dartmouth’s iconic Baker Tower in frame.

The moon, at upper right, during a full lunar eclipse – Baker Tower and the Dartmouth campus.
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Sunapee foliage

In living color.

This time of year, my head turns south… as the peak of fall foliage passes southward past our home, I look to the south for opportunities to hike. Today, I headed to Mount Sunapee state park. Although I’ve climbed Mount Sunapee before – sometimes in winter, when its summit is busy with skiers enjoying Sunapee ski area – today I decided to try a different trail, following the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway trail from the western side. Although this route offers no views until the summit, the trail passes through hardwood forests that were at their absolute peak of color today. Enjoy the photo gallery! Here’s one teaser below – and a video that may give you a sense of what it was like.

Fall foliage on the Summit Trail, Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire.
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Tarleton Balds

I set out to do landscape photographs, but put it aside when I saw these two beauties.

Autumn is advancing quickly here in New Hampshire. Last weekend, I shared photos from a trail walk on the west side of Mount Moosilauke, where the fall foliage was accenting the beautiful cascades of Slide Brook. This weekend I had another occasion to head toward Moosilauke, so I brought my camera and stopped wherever the roadside foliage seemed photo-worthy. More trees were bare this week, but many colors were just as vibrant.

Fall colors along Route 10, Orford NH

I pulled into the boat ramp at Lake Tarleton, thinking I might catch some nice views across the lake to the colorful hillside on the opposite side. As I stood on shore and surveyed the scene, my eyes popped when I spotted this lovely pair of mature bald eagles perched high on a snag overlooking the entire lake.

I spent nearly an hour here, exploring the shoreline for a better angle. The eagles sat quietly – except for one or two brief calls.

I experimented with some landscape photographs, went back to the eagles… then some more landscape, and back to the eagles. They were content on their perch, and remained there after I left. Beautiful scene!

A pair of bald eagles, high on a snag above Lake Tarleton, NH

Slide Brook

Fall foliage at its peak.

Fall foliage has hit its peak color in many parts of the Upper Valley. I had limited time to get out into the woods this weekend, but had the opportunity to join some friends on a walk up the first mile of the Tunnel Brook Trail on the southwest side of Mount Moosilauke. Despite their hundreds of visits to Moosilauke over nearly four decades, they had never been on this trail – and I’d been here only once. Today, its trees were at the peak colors of leaf season… with beeches, birches, and maples reaching prime color and dusting the forest floor with colorful leaves. The trail follows Slide Brook as it cascades over the ancient, moss-covered rocks of Mount Moosilauke, so I stopped often to set up my tripod for long-exposure photographs. I’ve selected four for the gallery.

Autumn colors on Slide Brook, Mount Moosilauke.

I am pleased – but in retrospect, have ideas about how I could have done better with exposure, composition, and editing. I’ll just need to go back!

Hunter’s moon

Full moon and fall foliage.

I was out at sunset tonight, driving some of the back roads of Hanover and Lyme, New Hampshire… just to see what I might encounter. Many of the trees are at their peak fall color, and I thought I might find some interesting scenes during the late-afternoon glow. I headed out too late, though, and the sun had set on the interesting locations… but as I rolled along a dirt road I suddenly pulled to a stop when a huge yellow moon appeared over a grassy meadow.

I waded into the grass and attempted to capture the incredible beauty of this moment… but my photos can’t even come close. The chill of the fall evening was settling in fast, the fall foliage retained a bit of post-sunshine glow, the moon seemed extra-large, and the sky had that deep blue only possible at twilight. I had no tripod along, but managed some hand-held photos.

As a photographer the challenge was clear: my eyes have much greater dynamic range than the camera can capture. I was able to see and enjoy the colors of the fall foliage and the detail in the moon – but the camera could only expose properly for the foliage or the moon. I bracketed the exposure in hopes of an HDR merge later, at home… but I’m still learning the Canon R5 and bracketed via ISO and, duh, that was pointless. (The HDR photos were full of noise.)

I hopped back in the car and headed further along the dirt road, deeper into the forest, deeper into the night. Again I encountered something worthy of a sudden stop … a beautiful barred owl, perched perfectly on a branch beside the road. I could not wish for a better photographic pose… except that it was now so dark (even with my high beams focused on it) that every photo I took was more noise than owl. Someday… some day I will capture good photos of an owl!

Meanwhile, let’s enjoy the full moon. Technically, the full moon occurs tomorrow afternoon (around 4pm EDT on 9 October)… so we’ll have two nights of a moon that appears full.