Winter sunsets can make for interesting colors, even if there are no clouds in the sky. On a recent photo outing to capture the full moon rising over the pagoda (see post below or CLICK ON THIS LINK to see image), I captured a few images of the lit Baltimore icon with some beautiful colors in the background.
The image is bracketed and converted into a photorealistic HDR image. I brought the shadows up only slightly so the viewer could see what was in the foreground. I kept the image contrasty and dramatic, similar to what the scene looked like when I photographed it.
Photographing a full moon at night is not an easy task, since photographing the moon is essentially photographing the sun (I think my wife just smiled because I say that quote often). The full moon’s albedo (percentage of light reflecting the sun) is roughly 7%, which is an extremely bright light source when photographing at night.
Even though it can be a wonderful light source when photographing a night time landscape (CLICK on link, Yosemite Falls under Moonlight, to see an example) the moon can create havoc with your camera’s sensor if you’re trying to include it within your scene.
Below are a few things that will help you include the moon within a night time scene without over exposing it:
- Select the longest lens you have. A longer lens (above I used a 200mm) helps compress the scene, giving the moon a larger portion of the entire image versus using a wide angle lens and the moon being just a spot in the sky
- Bracket the scene with several images to ensure the moon doesn’t turn out as an overexposed white spot within your final image. And not just your normal 2 stops below the ‘average’ exposure for an HDR image. You’ll need to bracket many stops below to ensure you maintain detail in the moon. In the image above, the moon above is roughly 7 stops below the ‘average’ exposure of the scene
- First, focus and photograph the moon with the settings that expose the moon appropriately. Then refocus on your main subject and photograph the scene like a normal HDR image (-2,-1,0,+1,+2)
- Blend the images using an HDR software (I tend to develop for a photorealistic HDR image) and then make any necessary adjustments using layers within Photoshop
City skylines are always exciting to photograph and with the winter solstice upon us, now is the best time to grab your camera and head out into the field.
Baltimore Skyline | © Jay Moore Photography
There are a few things that you need to do to capture an image such as the one above:
- Get out during the days around the winter solstice since people will still be working in their offices well after sunset and you’ll be able to capture the city with lots of lights still flooding out each window
- Put your camera on a tripod so you can capture long exposures … The image above was taken with 8 second exposures
- Set your white balance to ‘Florescent’ … Why Florescent? It’s because the lights within the buildings tend to be florescent, thus changing your white balance to florescent will help render the light from the office building as ‘white light’ versus it having go greenish. Plus, after the sun goes down, a florescent white balance will help turn your sky a deeper shade of blue
- Take multiple images across the scene by overlapping each image … This will help you capture all the details of the scene. The image above is made up of eight separate images, stitched together to make an extremely large high res image that can be printed up to 10 feet long
- Combine your images in Photoshop
- Make sure dress warm … And have fun.
One of the best times of year to photograph your city is upon us. The first day of winter (Winter Solstice) is on December 22 this year and is the shortest day of the year. Which translates to the earliest sunset of the year. This is a perfect time to photograph your city because people are still working after sunset, meaning those lights in the buildings are still on when the sky and surrounding area fall into twilight.
Below is one image of a series of images from my shoot last year on Federal Hill looking down into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Check back tomorrow to see the full panorama of Baltimore city, along with a ‘how to’ post on capturing city lights at twilight.
Baltimore Inner Harbor | © Jay Moore Photography
Vino | © Jay Moore Photography
Details are always an important part to photography, whether you’re capturing a wedding or on a photo walk when on vacation. Make sure to capture images of the smaller things around you, because the items and events that aren’t the obvious things to photograph help tell the story and weave the grand images together when the event/vacation is over.
Gate Shadow | © Jay Moore Photography
Textures and shapes are always something that I’m looking for, especially if the scene incorporates shadows. And when I’m out photographing I remind myself to keep an open mind and let my eyes wonder the environment around me, as there seems to always be great images right at my feet.
No matter if you’re on a trip overseas, within the US or walking through your local downtown area, it’s important to remind yourself to look both up and down at the world around you, as images can be found everywhere … if you let them find you.
Building Storm | © Jay Moore Photography
With my wonderful 10 year old niece in town for a few days visiting, we took her to several historic places around the region, including Fort McHenry. It was a blistering hot day, but we braved the elements for a few hours to see how the fort was a turning point in the War of 1812 and its importance to our country’s national anthem.
The steamy summer day created drama in the sky and was perfect for an image that highlighted the area of water where the British fleet was located when it bombed the fort some 199 years ago during the final days of the war, in 1814. In the distance is the Francis Scott Key Bridge (Key Bridge), which is named for the man who first wrote the words to The Star-Spangled Banner, which congress officially made into our national anthem in March of 1931.
ISO 400 | f22 | 1/200 sec | 24mm
Venetian Windows | © Jay Moore Photography
I love photographing windows that tell a story within its reflection. It’s a brief glance into the world of the people who live behind them and the view they look upon on a daily basis … The scenes are like two photographs in one.
In the scene above the vibrant colored wall with three windows seems to be the focal point of the image, until you realize that the reflection within the windows shows the beautiful world around it. The details of the headstones, along with the pointed archway within the right window gives the viewer an opportunity to wander between the two different worlds.
ISO 100 | f5.0 | 1/125 sec | 35 mm
Motion | © Jay Moore Photography
Motorcycle and scooter riders are everywhere around Italy’s major cities, as it’s a very economical way to get around. And since parking is almost impossible, it makes it much easier to slip their bike into almost any open space along the street or sidewalk.
In the image above, I used a swivel technique to create motion within the bike rider, since sometimes motion is what you want to achieve with your final image (not stoping the action like the example in my last post). This technique is a little tricky, as it does take some practice to get it perfect. First you want to set your shutter to a slower than normal speed for the action that you’re photographing. Try and keep your aperture around f5.6 or f8. Set your ISO to expose a properly exposed image. Now the fun begins. To create the blurred background, you will need to swivel your camera with your subject as they pass by you, trying to move at the same speed. If done correctly, the subject will maintain sharp, while the background creates a sense of motion. Hint: start swiveling prior to pressing the shutter button and continue swiveling after the shutter has closed, as this will help you get better results.
Also, if you incorporate an off camera flash powerful enough to stop the action and still maintain the above camera settings, you will get much more predictable results. The flash will record the subject as stopped, while the camera’s longer shutter speed will continue to record the background as you swivel with the subject, creating motion.
ISO 100 | f6.3 | 1/40 sec | 120 mm
Marco Island | © Jay Moore Photography
Marco Island is a beautiful area of the country, nestled along the gulf coast on the tip of Florida. The crescent moon, shell beach provides many picturesque scenes and my wife and I experienced many of them on our recent trip there.
In the scene above, the storm clouds were clearing over head, which created a gorgeous sunset and a great opportunity to photograph part of the beach with a golden light. I decided to minimize the coastline and showoff the massive sky, which helps create drama within the image.
And as a reminder when you’re on vacation or on a photo walk, just because it’s raining (or you’re within a severe thunderstorm), it doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay that way through sunset. The most beautiful sunsets appear right after a passing thunderstorm. So, don’t put your camera away and head to dinner, wait it out a bit longer, because if the clouds open up the light will bring you many beautiful images.
ISO 100 | f10 | 1/160 sec
Piazza Del Camp | Siena, Italy | © Jay Moore Photography
Piazza Del Campo is beautiful open space area in the middle of Siena, Italy and is one of our favorite plaza’s in Italy to enjoy some serious R&R. It’s slightly slanted from the top to bottom of the plaza, thus is perfect for laying on the warm bricks and taking a small afternoon nap after a long Italian lunch.
On this particular day, it was a warm spring afternoon and it interested me how several groups of folks chose to relax in the shadow of the Torre del Mangia. I envisioned it as a black and white image and exposed for the people within the shade, letting the highlights slightly blow out and giving a felling of warmth.
No matter if you’re relaxing on the plaza, hiking up the stairs of the tower or enjoying delicious Tuscan food, Siena is a must stop on your trip through the region.
ISO 100 | f20 | 1/60 sec | 36 mm
Venice | © Jay Moore Photography
Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world and when I visited the city with my wife, it completely lived up to the hype (and maybe then some). As we wondered the small alleys and waterways, it was an absolute pleasure to put our map away and just get lost in the city on the water. It seemed that every turn had a new scene that needed to be photographed.
The scene above is on a bend along the Grand Canal where we noticed that gondola’s would take the outside of the waterway to make the full turn. We found a great vantage point and then waited for the right gondola to make the correct turn. The lighting was beautiful and I processed the image to showcase the warm light, thus giving it a slightly old world feel.
ISO 100 | f11 | 1/125 sec | 70 mm
Vino | © Jay Moore Photography
If you live in Baltimore, enjoy having a few glasses of wine in the park and like lots of tasty local food, then I suggest you head to Patterson Park this evening to take in the annual ‘Wine Tasting at Sunset.’ All proceeds of the event go to support the Friends of Patterson Park.
You can buy your tickets online by going to the Friends of Patterson Park’s Website or show up at the front entrance tonight at 6 pm.
And if you’re wondering, the image above was taken in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy.
Hotel Abstract | © Jay Moore Photography
I’ve enjoyed photographing buildings ever since I lived in New York City a few years back … Mostly because you can have lots of fun finding different lines and shapes with each structure.
When photographing buildings, it’s important to be careful with the vertical and horizontal lines, as they should not converge on each other, but instead should maintain a true line (unless of course you’re trying to converge the lines). I always go with the rule that if I’m doing something where the lines need to be straight, I make sure they’re perfectly straight. If I’m going for something were the lines converge, then I make sure it’s obvious and not somewhere in between.
In the scene above, I waited patiently out on our hotel patio for the right moment, as many people were coming on and off of their patio across the way. The man in the image was only alone for a brief moment before someone joined him and I was only able to snap off a few frames. But, I knew what I was looking for before he arrived, so I was able to get the shot I had envisioned. I like how the man is looking back down into the scene, making the viewers eyes move throughout the photograph.
ISO 400 | f7.1 | 1/160 sec | 100 mm
Ruins and Wildflowers | © Jay Moore Photography
The scene above is one of my favorite images that I captured during my trip to Italy with my wife a few years back. I love how the ancient ruins sits calmly within the new blooms of some spring wildflowers, giving it a beautiful contrast of old versus new.
When photographing detail scenes (like the one above), it’s important to split the scene into sections so the image has a few of elements that are interesting to the viewers and draws their attention around the photograph. If I would have placed the ancient ruin right in the middle of the scene, the image wouldn’t have been as strong because it wouldn’t of had the appropriate balance between the two main elements, the ancient ruins and wildflowers.
ISO 100 | f8.0 | 1/200 sec | 135 mm
Spring Is In The Air | © Jay Moore Photography
One of my favorite times of year is when the first blossoms on the trees begin to pop, as its the first real signal that spring has arrived.
With one of Baltimore’s best parks only a stones throw from my house, I try and adventure out as often as possible during this time of year, to try and capture new images of familiar scenes. The best way to do that is by watching the sky and including different cloud patterns within it, as they will always drastically change the feeling of your images.
ISO 200 | f14 | 1/80 sec | 24 mm
Spring Walk | © Jay Moore Photography
One of the best time of the year to live in the city is during the spring, as the trees and bushes begin to pop with beautiful colors and people come out from their winter hibernation to enjoy a stroll in the park.
I have many different areas around Patterson Park that I revisit each season to photograph and one of those areas are the magnolia trees near the iconic Pagoda. Each spring, I grab my camera and spend a few hours at the location soaking up its beauty. I do it for two reasons, to visit a scene that I’ve photographed many times before (like seeing an old friend) and to try and capture the scene in a different way then I haven’t in the past. For the image above, I found a fresh new spot that gave me an ants perspective. And then I waited patiently for the right people to walk through the scene to capture the feeling of a spring time stroll.
ISO 400 | f5.0 | 1/60 sec | 24 mm
Tranquil Moment | Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms | © Jay Moore Photography
As a photographer, if your eyes and mind are open, sometimes scenes come to you.
This section of trees is the oldest part of the tidal basin, as some of them were planted over 99 years ago. I wanted to show the age of the tree trunks and searched for a scene that could highlight them and when I came upon this gentleman relaxing under the blossoms, I knew i found it. I wanted to show time, so I focused on a long shutter speed to give the people walking a blurred effect. I waited patiently until the right combination of things came together to create a symmetry of the three main subjects … the century old trees, the relaxing man and the moving people.
ISO 100 | f32 | 0.8 sec | 140 mm
Cherry Blossoms & Washington Monument | © Jay Moore Photography
More images from the cherry blossoms from Washington D.C., since they’re mother natures sign that spring has arrived.
In certain situations, it’s important to include more then one element into the scene, since photographing just the blossoms didn’t say D.C. and photographing the Washington Monument doesn’t highlight the cherry blossoms. And although there are thousands of cherry blossoms around the tidal basin, I had to search hard to find one the was appropriately lit for this photograph, as I wanted the blossoms to be in full sun so I could saturate the blue sky nicely behind the monument.
ISO 400 | f16 | 1/125 | 38 mm
Spring In The Park | © Jay Moore Photography
As parts of the east coast begin to see signs of spring, we have to try and remind ourselves that April showers bring May flowers. Thus, I bring you an image I captured last year when the tulips where if full bloom.
Sometimes photography is a waiting game and you have to patiently stalk a location until the clouds, light and environment come together just right. That was the case in this particular scene, as I waited for the high clouds to pass over head and for the sun to pop through an opening, placing a nice, warm light on the Pagoda.
ISO 400 | f10 | 1/30 sec | 24 mm
Cherry Blossoms 1912 | © Jay Moore Photography
The Washington D.C. cherry blossoms are a special grouping of trees, not only because they provide a magnificent show once a year around the tidal basin, but because of what they represent. They were a gift from the country of Japan almost a century ago (1912) to signify our friendship with the Japanese people.
The original trees still live and bloom each year on one particular section of the tidal basin path. This area has a unique feel and serene environment, as you’re able to see the age of each tree through the massive growth of each tree trunk. The scene above is photographed through the branches and blossoms of one of those 99 year old trees.
ISO 400 | f20 | 1/80 sec | 175 mm
You know spring has officially come when the cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C. showcase their beautiful white and slightly pink pedals. People from everywhere flock to our nations Capitol, as it’s one of the best places in the world to see the century old tress show their magic.
I was able to spend the day maundering around the Tidal Basin enjoying the thousands of cherry blossom trees while in their peak bloom. I found many great locations to photograph throughout the day (more images coming soon), but the image above is one of my favorite scenes, as it truly captures the spirit and beauty of the location.
ISO 400 | f22 | 1/50 sec | 70 mm
Patterson Park In Spring | © Jay Moore Photography
As we experience the vernal equinox this weekend and pass into spring, I take a quick look back at an image I captured a few years back in one of my favorite places in Baltimore, Patterson Park.
Being only a stones throw from one of the biggest parks in the city, it gives me an opportunity to quickly grab my gear and head out into the green space when I see special things happening in the sky. But because I’m so familiar with the area, I can be in a spot snapping my shutter within minutes. I think it’s important as any level photographer to maintain locations that you photograph often throughout the months and years, as it gives you an opportunity to experience the same scene within different seasons and times of your life.
ISO 100 | f2.8 | 1/125 sec | 43 mm
Portland, Oregon | © Jay Moore Photography
The clouds finally relented and Mt. Hood showed its peak for the first time during my trip out West. It was a beautiful day, so in the late afternoon I took a trip up the hills of Northwest Portland where the views of the city is accompanied by Mt. Hood in the distance. I drove the roads until I found a street that had the correct perspective of the city and the mountain. I parked the car and walked up and down the steep hills until I was able to position the mountain between a few of the buildings within the scene.
ISO 200 | f14 | 1/640 | 145 mm