Memorial Day at Misquamicut

We celebrated Memorial Day (May 30th) by going to Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island.  Normally, we avoid popular holiday celebration sites like beaches, but this year it was cold and foggy so the beach was empty.  While our little guy amused himself by pouring sand on his head and on our shoes, Chris and I took turns taking pictures of the deserted beach.

This shot, by Chris, is the one we liked best.

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The scene is very simple, just a log and a single seagull on a beach, but it captures the foggy, deserted feeling.  The colors were fairly muted in the original so changing it to black and white helped bring out the contrasts in the shadows of the log and sand.

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Mystic Bridge Composite

This composite of the Mystic Bridge was the latest picture we added to our website.

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Chris took the top picture and the bottom right picture using a fish-eye lens to accentuate the curve of the gear.  The bottom left picture was shot looking straight up one of the sides.  I drew the border in black pen.

It was a fun picture to create since it was a bit different from our usual style.  Originally, we thought about putting up the photographs individually, but after further consideration, we decided to try this approach.  I tried to pull out patterns and themes in bridge construction by putting them in the border.  I could tell you which pieces of the border I like or am not satisfied with, but I think I will leave it up to your own judgement.  (You do not want me to start picking out all the flaws I think I see because I am very picky with my own work!)

What do you think?  Should we try some more composite pictures or should we try something else?

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Back

As you may have noticed (or not), we have been a bit absent for the past several months.  Various life and family things came up and we had to take a photography break.  However, we are hoping to get out shooting again.  Chris has some lighthouses he is interested in visiting.  I am hoping to visit some local parks.  In the meantime, I will get another post up here soon.

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Light, Snow, and Stitching

There were several good snow storms finally.  Chris took a walk after one of these and got a number of these shots.

These two shots we liked because of the sun shining through the snow.

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Chris also got these two pictures while out for a walk.  The sunset he caught unexpectedly, but we loved how it looked.  The picture of the river was actually a panoramic stitching of two images.  Chris had fun learning how to stitch the photos.  At some point, we want to get a wide-angle lens to get a picture like this with one shot.

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Using the techniques learned in the last picture, we were able to get more of this old tree dominating a street corner in Mystic and these boats at the Seaport.

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The last two are available on our Fine Art America Kirkodd site.

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Snow in January

Earlier this week, we actually had some snow sticking around.  Finally!  We had to wait until January to get some.

Chris ran out and got this picture in the early morning.

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This is the Denison Homestead in Mystic, CT.  It looks pretty good covered in snow.  The sun was coming and going behind the snow clouds, so the lighting is perhaps not what Chris wanted, but it is not bad.  The important thing was to get the snow before it melted off trees and rooftops.

Hopefully the storm this weekend actually brings us some snow so we can take more snow photography!

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Winning a Photography Contest

Winning a photography contest last week took Kirsten and I by surprise.  We enter lots of online contests, and although we’ve received votes in the past, we have never before placed in the top three, let alone won.  This time, the subject was lighthouses.  As a fellow artist on Pixels.com pointed out, there are herds of bellowing lighthouse pictures roaming around the internet.  In this contest, 181 artists submitted 316 pieces of lighthouse based art.

Lighthouse Contest Win

To top it off, our winning submission was of a very common tourist attraction lighthouse. Namely, Portland Head Light, from Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  It is a beautiful light, for sure, but one that has been photographed thousands of times.

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light – Cape Elizabeth, ME

I’ve  been trying to determine why this picture did so well in competition among so many other lighthouse pictures from other artists.  I’ve seen many spectacular pictures of this very lighthouse, taken during storms or sunrise, some with snow and ice reflecting and splitting the early morning light into refracting rainbows.  A lot of the contest images were extremely vibrant, rendered in high dynamic range and looking almost fantastical, as if they were from some mystical storybook fairy tail.

In contrast, our image is simple.  It’s a calm scene, taken from some distance from the light using my 8mm manual Panasonic fish eye lens.  I think it was this decision to stand back and capture the cove in wide-angle that sets our image apart, and perhaps caught the eye of voters.  Here is Portland Headlight, but off in the distance.  The arc of the cove stands in the foreground, its curvature enhanced by the uncorrected  distortion of an oddball convex lens.  When looking at the thumbnail images of all the submissions, our picture was one of the only ones where the lighthouse wasn’t immediately visible. Perhaps it was this apparent lack of a lighthouse that caused people to click on it to view it full screen.

http://fineartamerica.com/contests/11-lighthouses.html?tab=artwork

No matter the reason, we’re thrilled to have won our first photography contest.  We’re looking forward to entering many more, including well known New England photography contests (both online and in print magazines).

Have a great weekend!

-Chris & Kirsten

kirkoddphotography.com/

 

 

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Our First Rhode Island Photo Adventure!

Hooray!  We finally added another New England state to our accomplishment list!

As you might have noticed, we have loads of photos from Connecticut and Maine, and a few from Upstate New York (I know it’s not New England, technically, but it feels like it to me).  But, as coastal New England photographers, we still have loads of places to visit.

This past week, we managed to pull off a visit to Rhode Island–Newport, specifically.  The hour and a half drive to Ocean Ave was well worth it, as we got a nice set of photos of the Castle Hill Lighthouse.

 

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Castle Hill Light – Sun through the Lens

Castle Hill Light in Newport, RI is a great place to watch the sun set. This historic lighthouse, located on Narragansett Bay, is an active aid to navigation for ships entering the East Passage. This lighthouse was completed in 1890.  It’s a bit tricky to find, since it is off the beaten path (accessible via a trail through the woods near Castle Hill Inn).

When we got on site, the first thing I noticed was that the sun was peeking through the clouds at just the right spot to let me take a shot with the sunlight blasting through the lens window of the lighthouse.  I haven’t seen a shot like this before, and I rather like it!

The light was fading quickly, so we moved down the cliff face a bit to line up a second shot.  For this one, the sun was warming up the rocks in the foreground, which lent a nice touch to the scene.

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Since it’s December, the plant life on the rocks is a bit on the dead / dormant side, although the slightly desolate and cold feel of this image works (it is Winter, after all!).  Still, it might be worth coming back in the spring to get a livelier shot.

The sun was moving below the cloud line, and the light was changing rapidly.  Still, I managed to capture a series of three bracketed shots before the light went away all together.  Combining exposures produced an interesting HDR scene.  I wish I had been a minute faster at getting in position for this one…the light would have still been playing over the rocks!

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Castle Hill Light Landscape – High Dynamic Range (HDR)

 

It would have been nice to stay longer and view this lighthouse at night, along with the other ones (there are a bunch scattered around Narragansett Bay).  But, Kirsten, Will, and I were tired and hungry, and the New Year’s Eve traffic was starting to crowd us out.  Kirsten did manage to get an amazing shot of the Newport Bridge, though (she saw the awesome lighting on the way in, and we pulled over to get the shot).

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Newport Bridge

The drive over this bridge offers a spectacular view of the Bay, and was well worth the $8.00 in tolls required ($4.00 each way for a car).

The funny thing about this trip is that we picked Castle Hill Light to go visit, which is sort of in the middle of the stretch of lighthouses…since we were successful in pulling off this trip with our 1-year-old, we should be more than able to go visit Watch Hill Light and Point Judith, since they are much closer.

 

Framed prints of these photos are available at our store!  Check it out…

http://newenglandphotoart.com/

 

To view larger images:

http://www.kirkoddphotography.com/All-Galleries/Rhode-Island-Images/

 

 

 

 

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