July 4th weekend, 2013 was... HOT. I don't know if it broke any records or anything like that, and I don't care if it was only 90, it felt like it was close to something like 150. I think our dear friends out west may have actually seen those temperatures. YIKES. On Sunday, the last day of a would be four day weekend, I spent much of the day staring at the clouds and hoping to make a break to the lake in the late afternoon to get some long exposure photos. If nothing else, it would surely be cooler at the lake.The day wore on a bit and the clouds just turned into one big menacing blob of gloom. Thunderstorms in Pennsylvania this time of year tend to last about 10 minutes and in about that time I saw the sky starting to break, if only in patches. I grabbed my small gear bag (one body, a 24-70 lens, a tripod, and an umbrella-- not the photography light shaping kind, the kind to keep me dry).
Driving through the mountains I kept checking for good sky and was a little hopeful, but the heavy dark clouds were promising something else if not perfect shooting skies... They granted me an empty dock and barely a boat or jet skier to be seen.
The winds were whipping up pretty steadily, and I think the temperature dropped by close to 20 degrees. It was nice, for the first time in days, I wasn't breaking a sweat, you know, just standing. I quickly set up my tripod, affixed the camera and remote cable, and screwed on some combinations of stacked ND filters and polarizers to get the water to smooth out and the clouds to drift with the wind.
I had to remove the buoy in Photoshop of course. With the shutter staying open for over a minute in this shot, the buoy was a blurry bouncing mess that looked like every spooky creepy ghost in modern horror flicks, you know, where they shake their heads or bodies really really fast... that was my buoy. Spooky buoy had to go. The sign of the times cell phone tower on the mountain in the distance was a casualty too.
And here is the image after being converted to black and white.
I think I took 40 exposures on that scene, experimenting with length of exposure, and watching the shifting skies. This one was the keeper, in color or black and white. But one more was close...
I was happy with the sky here, but for some reason my Singh-Ray ND filter gave me some problems. I think I had it dialed up a little too high (the more you turn it, the dark it gets... ND, or Neutral Density filters are sort of like sunglasses for the camera). Sometimes ya just screw things up. I do. Anywho, whatever I did wrong here caused the really dark lower left corner of the image and the really dark top right. Well, the sky is cool anyway... and no spooky buoy.
Thanks for checking in!