Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife refuge

While at Kennebunkport Maine, we wanted to check out the birds in that area...and there's no better way of doing that other than going to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife refuge. It's about 2 miles away from where we stayed during our vacation. So we packed our stuff and headed that way.

This guy was basically posing in front of us.

He then flew a bit further.

We got there at around 10 am. The weather did cooperate this time. We got rain the past week, like almost everyday. We parked the car and got our stuff.

The trails were actually good. Not muddy from the previous rains, and the trail wasn't searing hot. It was the perfect temperature. No mosquitos either.

This is a view from one of the platforms. You can see the sea from a couple of miles away.

The center had an information building where we got a poster and tons of info regarding Rachel Carson. We learned about the different things they do in Maine to preserve their wildlife. It really was similar to nature centers here in Illinois.

The trail basically is a loop of around 1 mile which was really enjoyable to walk. There are a lot of viewing platforms where you can take shots of birds going around their daily business. There was also a mini lake where I'm pretty sure there are days where the birds go there and look for food. During our stay, we didn't see any though.

I only had like 3 seconds to shoot this before the bird was gone.

Bords here in Maine seem to be less cautious towards humans.

 Tall grass in front of the lake. I knew I had to shoot this before we left.

I highly recommend the nature center to visitors around that area. Make sure you have a really long lens though when you go. I had my 400mm when we did.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Surfers in Maine

On our way to Nubble lighthouse we came across some surfers battling the waves in Maine. We decided to just come back after going to the lighthouse as it was getting dark. We took a couple of shots of the lighthouse and then came back to see take shots of the surfers again. As always, the weather was still icky. Rained like three quarters of the day and when we got to our destination it was still raining. 

The bad weather didn't stop the surfers from enjoying themselves in the water catching some waves. So I parked the car, attached my 400mm to my 5D MK2, and headed towards the surfers. The sea was kind of rough near the shore. Carrying my camera body with a big lens attached while carrying my Lowepro 300 with expensive equipment in it, I just decided to stay near the shore. I wouldn't wanna risk being pushed by a big wave and falling down on the water and having equipment on my back while were in Maine. Besides, the 400mm gives me enough reach to capture surfers that were around half a mile away from where I was standing.

 I shot frame by frame and got great results from my setup. Though I wished I had a faster camera like a 1D...the 5D MK2 still performed very well. It was overcast and rainy...my camera did give me good results even if I had to increase the ISO setting for some shots. That's the advantage of a full frame camera to a non full frame one.

After shooting, my camera and lens was drenched in rain. I trust the sealing in it so I wasn't worried at all. While we were walking towards our car a surfer asked me who I was shooting for...I just said, It's just for me. How I wish I was shooting for a sports mag or something.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Biddeford pool Maine

All the equipment were soaked in the rain but were still good. Thanks to their excellent seals.

On our third day in Maine, the weather was still not cooperating but that didn't stop us from going around to explore the beautiful scenery around us. We went to Biddeford pool to hang out and take shots of the beach on this rainy day. It was a pretty good experience.

I had to use an ND4 filter for this shot to slow down my shutter speed to get the slow water flow effect. It was pretty overcast but I still was getting a lot of light from the sky. 

It was pretty good because there was no lightning. Only rain...lightning would have changed the game and we wouldn't have gone out. I wouldn't recommend going out to shoot in a thunderstorm...I break this rule sometimes as I can get really awesome lightning shots in a thunderstorm.

Houses by the shore. I wonder how much it costs to own one?

I was alternating between my 17-40 f/4L and my 70-200 f/2.8 lens. It's awesome to take really wide angle shots of the shoreline with everything in it but the scene from faraway rocks and structures made me swap lenses. It takes skills to swap lenses in rain and water without getting stuff in your sensor.

The rocks near the beach has stuff in it, probably seaweed which gave it a little texture.

I just can't stop taking shots of the rock up close. They kinda looked prehistoric.

We came back days later only to be stuck in a thunderstorm in the parking lot of the beach. We just wished that we saw the beach on a very sunny day at least once. We had fun in this place though. 

A close up of the houses near the beach.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nubble lighthouse

A close up view of the Nubble lighthouse

On our third day in Maine last June we decided to drive to Nubble lighthouse in York Beach Maine. It was about a 20 minute drive from where we were staying. The weather was still rainy as it was the past few days, though that still didn't stop us from going down and taking photos of this magnificent lighthouse.

At the side of the lighthouse where I mostly photographed most of my shots.

This time I brought along my huge bag filled with photographic goodies from lenses to wireless triggers. 2 particular lenses were very useful that day for me. My favorite 70-200 IS USM became my main lens that day. The 17-40 f/4 L was an awesome companion to it for the wide angle shots of the beach.

A very close up of the lighthouse itself

The 70-200 was perfect in zooming in at the lighthouse. It was across from where we were standing and it has restricted access. Only people that work in the lighthouse are the only ones permitted to cross to get to it. That does not stop me from using the 70-200's awesome reach to get really close to the lighthouse. It was just enough to fill the frame with the lighthouse without me moving back. 

Swapped the 70-200 with my 17-40 to capture the lighthouse and the sea.

The 17-40 enabled me to capture the lighthouse and the sea in one shot. I was hoping to get a photo of the raging sea and the lighthouse together, and my ultra wide angle let me to do that. I actually filmed a couple of videos of the sea with it too. On situations where you don't know how far your subject is away from you, like in our case because it's our first time in this area, it's really helpful to bring multiple lenses. 

On the other side of the lighthouse was this. An awesome view of a structure and the raging sea.

Man the place was great and had a ton of photo opportunities. We were going from side to side taking shots everywhere we look. We really didn't mind the overcast sky as it added drama to our shots. Well, that's what my wife told me, lighthouses and storms do look good together on photos. After we came back home I was looking at my shots and she was right.

I had to take a portrait orientation shot of the lighthouse of course. 

It was getting late so we headed out and ate. It also loked like a bad storm is headed our way so we called it a night. We had dinner and promised to return another day to take shots of the lighthouse at night.