This past weekend, Rich Price celebrated the release of his 4th solo album, Moonlight Breaks, with a show at Burlington’s Black Box Theater. This was my first visit to the theater and I didn’t know what to expect. It’s a small, black (aptly named, eh?) room with moderately steeply sloping seats. Every seat in the house has a clear view of the stage and the acoustics are good. It’s an excellent place to see a show like this.
As a way of celebrating, he invited a very talented cast of musicians to perform with him including Jeff Deveau, Clint Bierman, Sean Preece, Jeff Vallone, Peter Day, Brian Chartrand, and Greg Naughton. The night started out with a more acoustic singer/songwriter style set that mixed new and old music. After a quick break, the band returned to play an upbeat mix of songs ending the night with two powerful encores.
if you haven’t had a chance to listen to Rich’s music yet, you owe it to yourself to give him a listen.
Maybe I’m getting old, but I seem to be taking a lot of photos of kids at live music shows. This next one was taken this summer at Nectar’s – it was his first show!
What do you do when it’s 70°F and sunny in Burlington, VT? Hollow out some pumpkins and paddle them in the lake, of course! This weekend was Burlington’s 4th annual Giant Pumpkin Regatta and Festival. In addition to the paddled pumpkins, pictured below, there were food vendors, music, dance performances, and even a dog costume contest.
And now, for something completely different. While I was in Rhode Island, I decided to try some HDR photography. It’s not something I do a lot of, but with this particular vacation I wasn’t willing to take the time to set up a shot when the light was right, so HDR seemed like a good solution. My mom has this theory of gardening – you learn when the best time is to transplant, cut, prune, etc., but you do it when you have the time. If it works out, great. I guess photography is the same way. I knew this was about the worst time of day to shoot and the cloud cover wasn’t going to be ideal. I didn’t have a tripod or neutral density filter on me so I couldn’t do any long exposure experimentation, so I thought I’d see if I could make some HDR “paintings.” The processing on these is a bit over the top and that’s by design. I’d like to print some of these on canvas and give them the feel of a painting.
For those of you who don’t know what HDR is, it stands for High Dynamic Range. The human eye is capable of adjusting very rapidly to a scene that contains very bright and very dark elements but the camera has a fixed range of brightness that it can capture in any single exposure. HDR is a way of tricking your camera into acting more like your eye; you take multiple photos at different exposure levels and merge them together. I don’t normally talk about technique or gear, so if you want to learn more you’re probably best off reading Trey Ratcliff’s HDR Tutorial.
So, one afternoon in Rhode Island we wandered over to Watch Hill to check out the lighthouse on the point and this is what we saw…
HDR photographs don’t have to be over the top. This next photo is much more subtle, but the texture in the wood and the color of the hedges really stands out in this version. It’s not perfect – you can see some halos in the upper left (I think a result of my lack of a tripod, but it could also be how I processed the photos.)
My opinion of HDR is changing over time. In the beginning I was fascinated; then it got really popular and I started to hate it. Now, I see it as a tool to keep available. The nice part about it is that you don’t have to bring any extra gear with you when you’re out shooting. A tripod is really all you need and it’s a good idea to travel with one of those anyway. I’ll continue to experiment with it and refine my technique.
It was certainly fun to shoot some new things while on vacation. So much of my time is spent taking photos of people — either weddings, portraits, parties, events, sports or otherwise — that I forget it can be fun to make images without people as well.
It’s probably opening a can of worms to ask, but what do you think about HDR? Useful? Interesting? Gaudy? Drop me a comment below.
P.S. – if these look familiar to you, it’s probably because we’re connected on Google+. I signed up just before going on vacation and decided to try using it while I was away. If you’re on Google+, too, add me to a circle and we can figure out a new platform together. If you’re not on Google+ but want to be, I’d be happy to send you an invite so you can sign up.
It’s taken a while for me to get around to blogging this wedding. I think it’s because it has special meaning to me; or maybe it’s because I had a hard time picking just a handful of photos to share here.
Peter proposed with his grandmother’s ring and that vintage act seemed to set the mood for the rest of the planning. Between the beautiful Vermont fall foliage, the comfortable, rustic atmosphere at the inn, handmade invitations and wedding favors, and a talented musical lineup, the day came together perfectly.
The flowers that The Blue Toad provided were beautiful and a perfect match for the venue and other decorations.
After a morning of getting the pavilion and ceremony site decorated, Peter was ushered back to his room to get ready with his best man.
The girls ran down to the hair salon to get their hair done (and, rumor has it, stop for a creemee on the way) before returning to change and apply any finishing touches.
Peter didn’t know it, but while he was outside chatting with his parents, Emily was just feet away peeking through the bathroom window at him.
One of the smartest things we did was to find a spot for their first look which was away from the arriving guests. Across the river, there’s an old road or driveway that looked back at the inn. While Peter was waiting for his bride, he got to watch as family and friends made their way to the ceremony.
Best. Reaction. Ever.
First looks are one of my favorite times during a wedding. As a photographer, you get to watch as two people that love each other take a few minutes to themselves. It’s a beautiful sight and almost as memorable for me as for the bride and groom.
We knew that most of the guests had arrived, though, so we had to scurry off to the upper field to make it legal!
Peter was obviously feeling good about the day!
And Emily was almost floating as she made her way up the long walk with her attendants.
Normally, group shots of family & wedding party are pretty cookie-cutter, but when you’ve got a bunch of performers together you can capture out of the ordinary attitude.
The rest of the night is a blur as family and friends celebrated by playing music & dancing the night away.
And when the music finally stopped, there was a fire outside to sit around as we all digested the day’s events.
What a beautiful, perfect wedding. If you’ve got a few more minutes, please take them to enjoy a slideshow of more photos set to two original pieces played by Peter’s band-mates in The Grift.
I took advantage of some free time on Saturday after the Race Vermont Half Marathon and walked around the Shelburne Recreation Path and some of its’ surrounding trails. I followed the trails by the lake until I could follow no further (because of flooding.) Still, I enjoyed seeing the trillium dotting the forest floor and the trees blossoming. It’s about time. It’s been a rough, rainy spring.
In my yard, out in Essex, the flowers are still mostly waiting for a little more sunshine — well, except for the bleeding heart.
As an aside, I was on a business trip last week and got the chance to swing by Frank Lloyd Wright’s most popular building, Fallingwater. I enjoyed the walk around the grounds, but I would like to return when I have a little more time to take the full tour. I had to, of course, take my version of the most famous photo.