Hawaii – A most Beautiful State Part II
I begin the second part of my Hawaii blog with the state flower which is the “Yellow Hibiscus.” Needless to say the flowers and foliage on Hawaii are simply magnificent.
The sunsets, as you might imagine, were breathtaking. Below is “Sunset – The Big Island.”
We were given an absolute treat every night on Hawaii. You might say a photographer’s dream. We had the opportunity to visit a Kona Coffee Farm and it was a very interesting and educational tour. Below is “Kona Coffee Man”, who was very funny and really knew his stuff. As an aside he asked one of our group where they were from and upon hearing New Jersey he said, in his Japanese accent “Ah Chris Christy.” Our former governor’s reputation certainly gets around!!
Here he demonstrates hand roasting of the Kona Coffee beans. If you are a coffee drinker like me there is no better experience than a cup of 100% Kona Coffee in the morning. We got to Maui which I think is the most beautiful island. Below is a shot I just couldn’t resist. It is from the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel, and it is called “Through The Arch.”
As I said I never saw a bad sunset in Hawaii. Hawaii is really a paradise and for anyone who has never been there, I think it is a must trip. I leave you with an image I made called “View From Atop Haleakala National Park.”
We had a wonderful time visiting the 50th state and there were limitless opportunities for photographs. Until next month enjoy the summer and remember “Keep Shooting.”
Central Park Gardens
On May 6th a, few weeks age, I went into New York City to the Central Park Gardens to do some spring photography. With me was my friend and shooting buddy Bruce Pitman and his niece Carey Pitman (our guide). This is the second time we have done this, the first being a few years ago when we said we’ll come back the following year. Well with one thing and another the following year turned out to be about three years later! These gardens are just magnificent and in a row, French, Italian, and English. We had a cloudy day and had to make do with lighting. Although I really prefer slightly cloudy to harsh sunlight for flower photography. Our first stop was the French Garden where I got the image below called “French Garden Reds, Central Park, NYC.”
I like the simplicity of these two beauties although as you can see they were starting to show some wear. We then moved on to the Italian Garden which had less flowers but beautiful foliage. The next image below is called “Central Park Italian Garden Scene.”
I purposely kept the light post in the foreground because I think it gives the photograph depth and anchors the scene. In the same area I made this image below called “Italian Garden Path.”
I love the way the trees make a canopy over this long path with benches. If you look very hard at the benches you might just make out a couple sitting on the last bench on the left. The last photograph below is called “Bed Of Color, English Garden, Central Park, NYC.”
I love the way the flowers move you into the image as the colors change. It may not have been the best day to shoot, weather wise, but we had a lot of fun and we all got some great images. The moral of this story is, just because it looks like rain doesn’t mean you can’t get out there with your camera!
Look for the second installment of my new blog called stevescameratalk.wordpress.com coming in early June. A big thank you to all of my loyal blog readers. I hope you have enjoyed these photography blogs and more importantly I hope you have learned something from them. My motto is “Pass It On.” So until next month remember “Keep Shooting.”
I have a quote on my website (rockoffphotography.com) which says “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” Ansel Adams. He was arguably the greatest landscape photographer for almost the whole of the 20th century. But was he right or was he expounding on the value of sometimes breaking the rules if your visualization tells you to make the image that way. I like to think that that was just what he was telling us. The image below called “Great Barrington Forrest” has no leading line, and no singular point of interest,
so there are definitely rules broken, yet many people make comments on how much they like this image. As usual it’s what the beholder enjoys. In my next image called “Bayonne Bridge, Early Morning” you are led into the image by the foreground curve.
I decided when I made this image that I wanted the bridge very high in the frame to show the height and I liked the reflection of the arc of the in the water. In my last photograph for this month’s blog called “Bushkill Falls, Pa.”
I couldn’t find too many rules that were broken so I guess this one is an example of what Ansel called ‘A Good Photograph’. It isn’t how you photograph an image when you are out in the field it is what you saw when you came upon the scene and how you wanted your image to look. This is how I saw Bushkill falls that day in that particular moment. The next time I go there I might just see it differently. I hope the weather gets warmer soon and as always remember “Keep Shooting.”
This will not be my usual spring blog telling everyone, who is a serious photographer, to clean their equipment. You already know that so no need to repeat it! And since I just did, well, you get the message. So what I would like to do is show some of my favorite spring images and talk a little bit about how they were made.
The first image below called “Dromoland Castle, County Clare, Ireland” was taken in late afternoon, which accounts for the beautiful light. It is one of my favorite architectural photographs. Not only because it is a classic castle, but also because of the surrounding grounds and lovely clouds.
Which brings me to “A Soft Irish Evening” below. A fair amount of editing was needed to get just the right effect which was my initial visualization. The image was first edited in Adobe Lightroom and then further enhanced in a new great editing tool called Luminar 2018, by a company called Skylum (formally Macphun). I highly recommend you try this program. It will set you back much less than $100.
My next image which is called “Delicate Falls” is actually a detail image taken at Bushkill Falls in Pennsylvania. A great place to shoot in late spring and early summer. I love the contrast between the falls and the surrounding rocks. Yet we can still see the color in and on the rocks.
On the next image I have to admit to a little cheating. The image below called “Sunrise, Rehoboth Beach, De” was actually made in August but I decided to include it. It was a beautiful morning and I was with my cousin and friend Bruce Steakley, www.brucesteakley.com He is a fabulous photographer and we have spent many early mornings together trying for that elusive ‘great shot’. Take a look at his website and you will see some awesome photography.
My last image is from Sandy Hook, NJ. It is called “Sandy Hook In Monochrome.” To me the entire image is about texture. The sand, the rocks and even the movement in the ocean was enhanced by using a very slow shutter speed with a 5 stop Mor-Slo filter by Singh-Ray. This filter cuts five stops of light when used on the front of the lens. So a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second might become a 30 second exposure giving that smokey effect in the water.
So that’s it for the March Blog. I don’t know about all of you but I am happy to see March go especially after four Nor’easters in one month. So until next month remember “Keep Shooting.”
Hawaii – A most Beautiful State – Part I
I have been to about 35 of our 50 states. They all have a special beauty that makes them unique. I was lucky enough to travel, this past January, to Hawaii, a most beautiful state. We were able to see four islands while we were there thanks to Tauck Tours. www.tauck.com We started off on the island of Oahu where the USS Arizona Memorial stands as a solemn reminder of the horrific start of World War II. Below is my image of the memorial.
Unless you have been there you have no idea how eerily quiet everyone gets as you approach this hallowed spot in Pearl Harbor. On a lighter note we travelled to Hanauma Bay. It is just a beautiful area as my image below shows. It helped that it was a gorgeous day as well.
We also travelled to another fabulous area called Nu’uanu Pali State Park. This is the site of the “Battle of Nu’uanu” which was the unification of the islands by Kamehameha I. His forces arrived at Waikiki in 1795. Below is a more peaceful look at this beautiful park.
We then moved on the “Big Island” or Hawaii. This is the home of Volcanoes National Park. Here are two of the most active volcanoes on earth, Kilauea Volcano and Mauna Loa. Below is an image of Kilauea Volcano.
There were many things to see and do on these first two islands that we saw and plenty of scenery to come. I will talk about the last two islands in the March blog. Meanwhile get ready for spring. Clean those cameras and lenses so you will be set to get out there. Remember “Keep Shooting.”
Ellis Island – 1892-1954 Part II
Before I start part II of Ellis Island I want to thank all of the loyal followers of my blog. Today’s edition starts the sixth consecutive year of the steverockoffphotography.wordpress.com blog. I’ve had a great deal of fun and satisfaction writing this monthly series. My hope is that you have found it interesting and at times educational, both on the subject matter and the photography instruction. As always if you have any questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In last month’s blog I started with a photograph of the main building of Ellis Island. This month my first image below is called “Dawn Ellis Island.”
As you can see it was shaping up to be a beautiful day with fresh snow on the ground. The physical island grew over the years with landfill from the subway system construction. It grew from 3.3 acres to 27.5 acres. Between 1900 and 1914 some 5000 to 10,000 people passed through Ellis Island each day. Sick people who were housed here until they were allowed to enter the country only had to look out the window to see the New York Skyline. The image below is called, appropriately, “New York Through The Window.”
As you might imagine services were needed for all of the staff as well as the sick at Ellis. The laundry building was where more than 3000 pieces of laundry were washed and sanitized each day. The photographs below are called “Laundry Room Washer” and “Laundry Room Dryer.” A little bigger than yours I’m guessing.
As well with diseases like Tuberculosis and others all of the mattresses had to be sanitized by a large steaming device. The image below is called “Mattress Steamer.”
In 1954 a large portion of Ellis Island was closed. About 30 buildings were left with a doubtful future. Since 2000 Save Ellis Island has been working with the National Park Service to preserve Ellis Island and it’s rich history. I hope you have enjoyed reading these two blogs as much as I enjoyed writing them. Ellis Island really should be preserved so future generations will know how most of our ancestors came into this great country. Again my thanks to Tony Sweet, Andrea Phox and the people from Save Ellis Island for a wonderful photographic and educational experience. So until next month remember “Keep Shooting.”
Ellis Island – 1892 to 1954
I was privileged to be on a photo shoot at Ellis Island earlier this month with professional photographers Tony Sweet www.tonysweet.com and Andrea Phox www.andreaphox.com Together with the people from Save Ellis Island www.saveellisisland.org an organization that is working with the National Park Service to continue the important work of preserving Ellis Island. Below is “Main Building, Ellis Island.”
This is where you would go if you took the regular Ellis Island tour. But we were able to go to some of the buildings people rarely see. Unfortunately these buildings are in such a state of deterioration that hard hats must be worn.
Ellis Island opened in 1892 as a federal immigration station which it was for 60 years. The save Ellis Island website says that, “It has been estimated that 40% of Americans today can trace at least one ancestor’s entry into the United States through Ellis Island.” The image below is called “From Across The Sea To America.”
Think about that 40% number for a minute. Based on the most recent estimate of US population (325 million) that means that over 130 million people in America have an ancestor that came through these hallowed halls. The day of our shoot (December 10th) was the day after a small snowstorm that dropped around 2 – 3 inches. It gave the shoot a special feel. Below is “Miss Liberty From Ellis Island.”
The first immigrant to arrive at Ellis Island on January 1st, 1892 was Annie Moore from County Cork, Ireland. She came with her brother and she was given a $10.00 gold piece upon her arrival. The 725 bed Ellis Island hospital complex, completed in 1909, consisted of a powerhouse, morgue, laboratory and housing for doctors and nurses. Covered corridors connected the main hospital buildings to infectious disease wards, kitchens, laundries and recreation facilities for patients and staff. Below is “Staff Corridor.”
These buildings are the ones that need to be preserved. I will go into some more detail in next month’s blog. I know that holiday time is one for giving, so if by some slight chance you find yourself with a little money left over, consider making a contribution to Save Ellis Island at the website I mentioned above. Believe me as you write the check or do it online I’m sure you will think of more than a few of your ancestors that came through that great complex. Until next month I hope everyone enjoys a very happy and healthy holiday season and remember “Keep Shooting.”
Street photography is both interesting and fun. In street photography, which I started doing only a few years ago, I look for interesting people in all kinds of everyday situations. The general rule about street photography is that if you are in a public place there is no expectation of privacy and therefor no release forms are needed. However if you happen to be walking along and see a person inside their apartment you cannot take the shot without a model release form, because that person has a clear expectation that his/her apartment provides privacy.
My first image below is called “Street Scene – Ireland.”
I had a lot of fun shooting these scenes. Sometimes the people would look up and smile at me. In the next image I took a little artistic license and used selective color to highlight her hair. The image is called, appropriately, “Woman with Red Hair – Charleston, SC.”
My next photograph below was just a simple shot that was taken in Clinton, NJ last summer. It is called “Lazy Sunday.”
Notice the unopened book on the table and the active cell phone in the young lady’s hand! I thought the next photo below combined street photography with landscape. It was taken in Tuscany on a partially cloudy day and is one of my favorite street shots. It is called “Newspaper Reader Overlooking Vineyards.”
My last shot was one I just couldn’t resist. We were down in Spring Lake, NJ and I came across this sculpture. This is one I had to take. It is called “Street Photographer Sculpture.”
Notice the old fashioned bellows camera that he is shooting with. This one was very nostalgic for me because I used cameras like this one in the film days. Well that’s it for this month. I want to wish everyone a happy and joyous holiday season and a great New Year. Remember “Keep Shooting!”
Fall In The Berkshires
Before I get into this month’s blog I want to let all those interested that this Saturday October 28th is the workshop in Hacklebarney State Park. I will meet you all in the parking lot at 7:30 AM. For those who still wish to register please go to www.rockoffphotography.com and click on ‘workshops’.
The Berkshires located in southern Massachusetts is a great place for photography in any season, but especially in the fall. Even with this year’s muted colors there were some beautiful scenes. My thanks to my good friend and shooting buddy Bruce Pitman for having us up to his (and Lucille’s) place. Not far from where we were staying is Mt. Greylock which was the main focus of our shoot. It is a wonderful mountain for views of the surrounding area and has many great photo-op stops on the way up. My first image below called “Fall Mt. Greylock” was a beauty of a fall color shot.
The reds and oranges against the blue sky with a wisp of clouds above made for a nice fall photograph. I couldn’t resist this next shot. I remember seeing an Ansel Adams shot called self portrait, which he shot with his shadow against a wall while trying for a different image. Ansel, I have read, had a great sense of humor. The shot below is appropriately called “Self Portrait”, it was a lot of fun.
My third photograph was also a lot of fun to do. Near where we stayed is East Road, Richmond, MA. Some of you will recall a winter image called “East Road” with a little shack surrounded by snow and white clouds with a strip of blue sky. It is on my website if you care to see it. This time I wanted to capture this little shack in the fall. But I decided to make the image look like a painting. So below is “East Road, Special Effects.”
In a future blog I will discuss how this image was made. My last photograph is a dawn panorama taken from the summit of Mt. Greylock. This photograph is eight images stitched together to form the panorama.
A big thank you to Bruce Steakley www.brucesteakley.com for some great help and guidance in panoramic photography. Even after my forty plus years in photography there is always something to learn or improve on. That’s it for this month and I hope you enjoyed the blog. Some of you I hope to see Saturday at Hacklebarney, for the rest of you remember “Keep Shooting.”
Our National Parks
Before I start this month’s blog I would like to mention that there are still spots left for the October 28th workshop in Hacklebarney State Park, NJ. Please go to www.rockoffphotography.com and click on workshops for the details.
We are very blessed in this country because we have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world right here in America. I have been fortunate to have visited quite a few over the years. And since my camera and tripod go where I go I have been lucky enough to have made some beautiful images in our national parks. Our first stop is Yosemite National Park and my personal favorite of all the parks I have been to. It is simply majestic. The two images below “Glacier Point #2” and “Mighty Half Dome” are two of my favorite images from Yosemite.
We now move on to Grand Canyon National Park which I know is many people’s favorite park. It is quite breathtaking. The two images below are “Tree On High #2” and “Grand Canyon First Look #2.”
Zion National Park is also a treasure and simply beautiful in it’s own right. Below is a very lucky shot gotten on a very cloudy day as the sun broke through for a few minutes. It is called “Court Of The Patriarchs #2.”
We leave Zion for, you guessed it, Bryce Canyon National Park. At Zion you are on the bottom looking up, and at Bryce you are on the top looking down. Below are two images from Bryce, “Rainbow Point #3” and “Rain In The Distance #2.”
Last but not least is Acadia National Park in Maine. It is beautiful and pristine. The image below is called “Acadia Nat’l Park View #3.”
I hope you enjoyed this short pictorial tour of just a few of our national parks. If you get a chance please go as these parks and their magnificent views should not be missed. Until next month remember “Keep Shooting.”