Jake Egbert Photography Blog

Mukilteo Lighthouse

I had a chance to visit the Puget Sound north of Seattle a few weeks back on business. It rained all day, but by evening the drizzle stopped and I spent a couple of hours at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo, Washington.

Before my trip I struggled with the decision of whether or not to bring my camera along. As much as I enjoy taking pictures, there are trips (business trips in particular) where I don't ever take my camera out of its case. Lugging the camera on and off of airplanes only to not use it can be a pain. Well, as you can see, I finally opted to bring the camera along again... I think I chose wisely.

Finding myself alone for several hours with my camera in tow in a place as picturesque as this... Well, there are worse ways to spend an evening on a business trip. I watched the ferry boats running back and forth across the sound in tandem, I observed lots of wildlife, and I generally just had a great time. I capped off the evening with a delicious dinner at Ivar's followed by another half hour on the piers watching the sunset.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Salmon River Trail

I'm taking a break from city photography posts for today. In late October Grandpa, several grand kids, and I piled into the van and headed for the hills of Eastern Central Connecticut. One of my coworkers had described hiking on the Salmon River Trail in Colchester, CT and I was curious to see it. My kids love to hike our local nature trails and they really enjoyed this longer hike with it's steeper hills and scenic views.

The trail starts at the Comstock Covered Bridge, one of only a handful of historic covered bridges remaining in Connecticut, which is currently closed for renovation. For a short distance the trail follows closely along side the broad and shallow Salmon river which appears to be perfectly suited for fly fishing. Then the trail gains altitude until it eventually crests the edge of the river gorge, offering panoramic views of the colorful forested hills and rapids in the bend of the river, now far below. We could hear ATVs in the hills across the river, and smoke from a camp fire rose in stark white contrast against the darker woods.

We hiked a couple of miles and only turned around when it became apparent that we were going to be hiking back in the dark. We watched the sun dip over the horizon from the overlook. The ATVs had by then gone silent but the boisterous and festive voices of the riders carried clearly in the crisp evening air. The flash of fireworks created distant silhouettes on the smoke that still hung over and through the trees next to the river. We resumed hiking through the descending darkness, arriving back at the van just as the last remnants of light faded from the sky.

We'll have to come back next season to hike clear through to Day Pond State Park.


Salmon River, Colchester, CT


Mushroom City


Rapids


Kids in a row


Light on the trail ahead


Sepia Sunset


This hiker loved being on the trail


Grandpa and his troop of hikers


This was about the last light I could capture with the camera


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Harkness Park Seascapes

Here are a few shots from Harkness State Park taken at a windy picnic I attended in the middle of October. A few of my friends have already seen these none of them made it to my photo blog... until now, that is. You like?


B/W Conversion


Wedding Pavilion - Too Windy for Vows


Texture and Light


My favorite of the day.
This is probably the highest surf I've yet seen on Long Island Sound. Usually our waves are small.


Probably too similar to the last one to justify posting but I like the way it is framed so here it is anyway...
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Lynde Point Lighthouse Sunset

I was scanning through photos tonight and these shots of the Lynde Point Lighthouse in Old Saybrook caught my eye. On October 6 I was headed home from baseball practice with my son and we just had to stop and capture this sunset. I set up a tripod and let my 8-year-old trip some of the 6 to 10 second exposures, so I guess he technically took a few of these. I have to admit I am thrilled when I see my kids getting excited about this stuff.




We missed the really brilliant moments of the sunset by about 5 minutes so as good as these look they could have been incredible.




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An Evening at Pilgrim's Landing

One evening back in July I was headed home pretty late from work and I noticed distant lightning flashing against what appeared to be a very clear night sky. I was up late already so I grabbed my camera and tripod and headed for Pilgrim's Landing on the Connecticut River near my home. Here are a few of the pictures I captured from the river's edge while an impressive storm front approached but never really arrived (I guess it passed to the North of us). It was sort of eery standing in the dark watching the clouds and the distant lightning while I waited for camera exposures. I was using a small flashlight and every time the light touched the shallow water it became a roiling mass of tiny eels. I assume they were American Eels as I know they are native to the local rivers. Unfortunately, my attempts to photograph the eels didn't turn out very well in the low light.


Bridge to Old Saybrook


Very similar to the first shot, this exposure resulted in a completely different color temp. I struggled to choose between these two shots for a fair photography contest... I chose this one and won a third-place ribbon at the Guilford Fair.


For a dark cloudy night, there were sure a lot of stars showing through


Mirror-Smooth


The canoe landing
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A Fresh Crop of Photos

The way you choose to crop a photo can dramatically change its overall balance and feel. For me, a successful crop of a photo can sometimes take an otherwise boring picture and turn it into something noteworthy. Finding that right crop is often a process of trial and error for me.

I took this photo on at Bluff Point State Park the other day. While trying to find the best overall crop for the photo I came up with several different versions. Each is pleasing to me in its own way. I thought it might be interesting to demonstrate a little bit of my process and how I think about the pictures I decide to keep. I throw away a lot of pictures. However, there are some of them that I end up keeping in multiple different crops and treatments.

I often use my wife and kids as a sounding board when trying to find the ideal version of a photo. They are usually helpful and quite patient with me, however, my wife has on one occasion informed me that she has had enough of trying to choose between seemingly identical photos for a given evening!

As you look at these nearly identical shots, do you have a favorite?

 
1 - Here's the original photo, un-cropped.
This one fits the rule of thirds on the horizontal axis (the road vanishing point is kind of along the right third of the frame), but I thought I might improve it...

 
2 - I cropped it down to shift the horizon down to the lower third of the frame... I like the balance of this one. It makes me think about what's around that bend.

 
3 - Then I shifted the horizon up to the upper third of the frame... Both of these are interesting in their own way. This one puts more focus on the lines of shadow on the road. It's more about what's right in front of me than where I am going.

 
4 - Here's an 8X10 ratio with the focus still on the road.

 
5 - This 8X10 draws your eyes up into the trees a bit more as they follow around the curve in the road. Again, it's got me wanting to see whatever's around the bend.

 
6 - Flipping the 8X10 to a portrait layout yields a shot that might look good framed on a wall as a large print.

 
My Final Pick - After spending way too much time sampling all the above crops, I finally scrolled to the next photo in line (which I hadn't even looked at yet) and decided what I was really looking for was this un-cropped photo which I think may have a better over-all balance than all the others. Incidentally, I ended up cropping this several times, too, until they all started to look exactly the same to me... Sometimes it's just tough to decide!

Ultimately, I have to just make a decision with each photo and move on or I'd never get any of my pictures processed!
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Lyme - World War II & Korean War Memorial

Right across the highway from the Lyme Town Hall (Lyme is not the same as Old Lyme) is this unique monument to the men and women of Lyme that served in World War II and the Korean War. I couldn't tell what I was seeing from a distance but I was drawn to the sweeping curve of the stone steps and as I got closer I was fascinated by the texture of the stone, lichen, and moss.


The washed out color palette of this photo looks like I applied some sort of photo effect, but this is pretty much how it looked right out of the camera.









Kiteboarding - Conimicut State Park

April 25, 2009. One evening the first Spring we were living in New England we went in search of lighthouses and ended up at Conimicut Point Lighthouse near Warwick, RI. We were there at sunset and I noticed a young family playing around with what looked like the biggest kite I'd ever seen. I began taking pictures and eventually struck up a conversation with Jenne and Doug. It turns out they were practicing with the sail for their kiteboard set getting ready for summer, or maybe kitesurfing is a more accurate term. Regardless of what it's called they strap a huge kite to themselves, step on a board and let the wind propel them across the water. These two were just trying to learn to fly the kite on the sand. I even took a turn.


This little boy enjoyed watching the kite drag his mom across the sand.


Having a good laugh after the kite took another nose dive.


And she's off again.


Scenic backdrop


Sunset


This is my favorite shot of the day


And here I am trying my luck at the kite. I was not very successful.

Conimicut Point Lighthouse

I was looking through some of my older pictures and I came across these shots of the Conimicut Point Lighthouse in Rhode Island. I took these at sunset back in April of 2009. It is tough to admit it has been so long since we moved to New England.


I was thrilled to capture this flock of Canadian Geese headed back north for Spring.


Wave


Conimicut Point Lighthouse from Conimicut Point State Park

Night of the Super Moon (Continued)

Here are a few additional shots from March 19, the night of the Super Moon. These pictures do not necessarily feature the moon so here they are in their own separate post! Do you like any in particular?


The crane on the left was in constant motion as it dredged the bottom of the harbor bringing up bucket after bucket of dripping mud.



Similar to the first shot but a much closer crop of the yacht club light house.



Steel water



Lynde Point Lighthouse over the reeds.



I left this exposure open long enough to capture a few stars and quite a bit of light flare. Blurry or interesting?

Super Full Moon


The Super Full Moon or Perigee Moon was the huge and bright over the Connecticut River

On March 19 the full Moon was rumored to be closer to the earth than it will be again for the next 20 years meaning it was going to look bigger than normal. I did a little research and learned that the giant Moon was going to rise shortly after 7:30 PM on Saturday the 19th. We found a spot on the shore of the Connecticut River in Old Saybrook to watch it. There was a bank of low clouds on the horizon so we didn't see the Moon until it was a little higher in the sky than I was hoping but it was still pretty large and impressive.

Several other photographers had the same idea as we did. As I was perched with my tripod at the end of a long dock I enjoyed listening to the bantering of an older couple set up only a few steps away from me. There were grumblings and expressions of frustration as he snapped picture after picture with his huge telephoto setup. They would peer at the digital display and I'd hear her say, "Oh, that one's blurry again." "That one was too long, it's blurry again!" My favorite was her muttering under her breath, "I can just see tomorrow's headlines, dear: Old Couple Found Frozen to Death On Dock in Old Saybrook! Can we just go now?" I was sort of sad to watch them pack up and shuffle back to their car and I wonder if any of their photos turned out.

Of course, none of the pictures I took of the Moon itself impressed me much. The Moon is usually so bright that I find it pretty difficult to capture in any detail. This night it was particularly bright. In most of these pictures the Moon is just a too-bright spot in the sky but I still like the overall results, particularly with all the docks at the yacht club and the glassy water of the Connecticut River.


The long exposure created a unique mirror effect on the water




The lights of Niantic and New London reflect pink on the clouds on the left side of this shot.

May Day at Florence Griswold

This afternoon I noticed my daughter was scrapbooking photos from last summer. I was impressed with a few of them and since I didn't post them before, here they are.

Each Spring the Florence Griswold Museum has a Community Free Day on the first Saturday in May. This past year I took the kids to enjoy the art, to bask in the warm weather, and to partake liberally of the free ice cream!


This shot of the great tree leaning out over the river is the one that really caught my eye today. It's no wonder this was an artists' retreat.


You can tell that this kid was thrilled to be out in the sunshine.


The Rambles is a site specific stickwork sculpture.


Guests are encouraged to wander around and through the sculpture.


Outdoor portrait.


We found a fuzzy dead bee.


We took turns petting the fuzzy dead bee... Which led to problems that were later discussed in our private family blog here. If you happen to want access to the family blog and you don't already have it just let me know...

Sunset on the Connecticut River - Perspectives

Sometimes a very small change in perspective can make a big difference. The five photos featured in this update were all taken from the exact same spot on the boardwalk. Which perspective works the best for you?


This shot was taken from a standing position and at a bit of a slant to make it a bit more interesting.


Here's a bugs-eye view with a mid-range focal depth. The boardwalk nearly converges to a single point at this wide angle.


Same bugs-eye view at higher zoom and a deep focus. I love the line of screws winding down the middle of the walkway and the stand of tall reeds sprouting up like flames over the horizon. This picture didn't do much for me until I cropped it down a bit; now it may be my favorite of the set.


This one brings the focal point up close and personal. This one was my favorite until I cropped the one above.


When I was done laying in the middle of the boardwalk to take pictures I rolled over to get back to my feet and this is what I saw... One of my lovely assistants taking her own pictures despite the very-cold wind!

Sunset on the Connecticut River - Lines

My post Monday night seemed fine... until the pics disappeared. Here goes again to see if the uploads will stick... Thanks!

We took a walk along the river at sunset on Saturday night. I love the color of the light. I came back with many photos. These all feature dominant lines in their composition.


Boardwalk Under the Bridge
(It looks almost 3 dimensional)


Train Bound for Boston
(This one is probably too similar to the first one to be artistically significant... But is has a train in it, ergo, it is cool, ergo, here it is!)



Zigzag Path to the Osprey Nests


Here's another one that is pretty similar to the one right above it. I like enough to include it anyway. Which of the two zigzag paths do you prefer?