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In the Eyes of a Photographer

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In this week’s edition of in the Eyes of a Photographer I will be talking about 2 photos both were taken in the same spot. I took both photos in July at Acadia National park in Maine.  These photos might be some of the best shots I have ever taken. 

Before I start going into detail about the photos,  why I love them so much and what I did to get the pictures. I want to share a little bit about where these photos were taken. 

These photos were taken at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, approximately 9 hours north  located in Mount Desert Island. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point in Hancock County Maine and is highest within 25 miles of the shoreline of the North American continent with an elevation of 1,530 feet. Fun trivia fact: for a portion of the year its known to be first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise and the first place in the U.S. to see the sunset.  With that said, let’s dive right into the 1st photo. The first photo was taken on top Cadillac Mountain using a Tamron 17-50mm lens. What I love about this photo is the color. You have some Blue sky with the partly cloudy sky along with the green from the bushes and the trees. Add in a little blue from the water of the Gulf of Maine and it just makes everything pop. The people in the background brings life to this photo. Another thing that makes this photo pop is the fog that is sitting over the Little Porcupine Islands. I will talk about those islands at a later date.  

As soon as I got into the park that day, I was fascinated by the fog. It was just sitting over the water and did not come into land until late in the day.  The fog  seemed to just jump from one Porcupine Island to another.  So, when I was up at Cadillac shooting away, I started to think “could I get everything I am seeing with my own 2 eyes?” This included the rocks I was standing on,  the partly cloudy sky,  bushes and the trees, and something I had never seen before – fog over water with lovely weather inland. I wondered if I could get an A+ photo with that fog.  I was determined to get that photo. I did not care how long it took, I wanted that shot. 

As I was working the settings I remembered something from the employee at the camera shop I go to told me, “use the light meter in the camera and put it on Auto and look at the settings the camera itself is putting it on and then put it on manual and play with the settings, but use the info I got from the Camera being Auto as a starting point” so I did that. The only change I did from what the Camera was telling me to do was the Shutter speed I put that at 1/320 of a second and upped the aperture just a little bit to F/8.0 to make it a little bit darker so the shot was not so over overexposed. I also put the ISO down to 100 the lowest a ISO can go,  then made sure that everything I wanted was going to be in focus and snapped the photo. It took 2 times to get the photo the way I wanted it to be. After taking this photo I zoomed in on everything to make sure everything I wanted in the photo came out at 1st I did not want any people in my photo but after looking at the photo I was thinking you know what it’s good to have a little bit of people in this shot. It brings life to it, so it kind of worked out. Now you might be saying, “Surely he edited this photo”. The Answer is yes. I did more editing than I usually do on these kind of shots. Why? Just to make it pop. 

1st thing I did was slowly play with the levels to bring the color out more I then got rid of any shadows that might be in the photo after that I de-hazed the shot to get rid of any haze that might be there so the photo pops more. One thing that I did do, and it’s not often I do this, but as I was laying on my hotel bed sipping a cup of hot tea I wondered what would happen if I brought the blue up just a little bit. Would more of the photo pop would more of the sky pop? Well knowing that I could cancel out any changes I did, I slowly put the blue up a little and was amazed how much more in the photo just popped out. In fact, it made the water and the sky just pop out. Even the fog came out a little more.  I was simply amazed that I even took this photo. I clicked ok and saved it and posted it right to Facebook right away.  What amazed me about the fog was that about 6pm when the fog came inland, it was simply the worst fog I have ever seen. It was so bad that even the defogger did not help and also hands became sticky I will be going into more about that fog at a later date and you will see how bad it was. 

Now moving on to the other photo featured here that I took at Cadillac mountain. This was of a Sunset over the Gulf of Maine. In fact,  one thing that’s extremely popular especially with photographers, seeing the sunset from Cadillac mountain was on my bucket list of things to see. To capture the sunset, I got up to the mountain about 7ish after walking the trail, I made it to the sunset. After playing with the camera settings, for the life of me I could not get the photo to look good.  I was starting to think luck was not on my side tonight.  Well, as I was walking and trying to get a really good photo, I was extremely lucky to get talking to another photographer up on the mountain. He ended up having the same kind of camera.  I told him I can’t get my photo right and this guy was kind enough to give me a tip. He asked what mode my camera was on.  I said, I keep going back and forth from form what is called TV mode to a manual mode. He said to  put it on SCN mode.  I had no idea at that time what SCN mode was and had heard of it until then. What is a SCN mode? it’s a mode on the camera that works great in low light places or settings so I looked on my Camera put it on that mode he then changed some settings for me and told me to take a photo.  In this mode, the camera will take about 4 in quick time.  He also told me don’t move because you don’t want to shake the camera.  I kept my hands as still as I could and clicked the camera.  After the 4 quick photos,  I looked at the shots I took I looked and to simply put it,  I was speechless. I could not believe the photo I had just taken after all I said was “OMG OMG I can’t believe I just took this” I shook the guys hand and said thank you so much this is the best photo I have ever taken in my life. 

After I got back to my hotel knowing it was the last night,  I had 0 interest in packing.  All I wanted to do was get this photo on to the laptop.  I then decided to open up photoshop to see if I could bring this pop out more. After checking the levels,  I got rid of any unwanted shadows then played with what is called Highlight. Highlight is a great tool that helps bring the color out more. What I saw was the color from the sky getting even more rich and coming out more. so I clicked ok saved and that was that. 

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks in the eyes of an Eyes of a Photographer and please keep a look out each week I be talking about another photo what made me want to shoot it to what settings I used and the story behind it.

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