Another celebration of autumn in Southern Maine. The ledges on the Batson River at Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport. The low flow of water has the leaves to contend with as well as gravity. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR. Processed in Apple Photos.
As I have mentioned before, the Batson River tumbles down over a short run of ledges at Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport…there is not always enough water to make it interesting, but recent tropical storms and tropical storm remnants have made the ledges merry! I am not a fan of the whole silky water effect thing, when it is overdone, but I do like a bit of blur. Sony Rx10iv at 34mm equivalent. Program with HDR. Program shift for a slow shutter speed and Exposure Compensation to hold the highlights. Nominal exposure: ISO 100 @ f16 @ 1/6th. -1.7 EV. Hand held.
Falls on the Batson River at Emmon’s Preserve. The Batson River is more of a large brook for most of its run, only achieving anything like river size in its last few miles to the ocean, and then not by most river standards. When the water is high there is a nice tumble down a series of ledges between two deep pools in Emmon’s Preserve (Kennebunkport Land Trust). This is a close up of one of the tumbles…using in-camera HDR, and program shift for a slow shutter speed. Sony Rx10iv at 60mm equivalent. HDR with program shift and -1EV exposure compensation (to protect the highlights). Nominal exposure ISO 100 @ f16 @ 1/6th.
At the south end of the village of Wells Maine the Webhannet River crosses deep under Route 1, and, tucked back off just off the road there is a little park built around the old bridge over the river…with a good view, in some seasons, of the falls. They call it the Bridge of the Flowers and it is maintained by the local Garden Club. The falls themselves mark the spot where, in 1640, Edmond Littlefield built the first waterpowered grist and saw mill near the original settlement that became Wells. You can see old stonework on either side of the river that must date from much later attempts to harness the falling water, but the falls have run free for many years now. The vast majority of tourists to the beaches of Wells and the rocky headlands of Ogunquit (not to mention shopping centers, gift shops, art galleries, restaurants, motels, and summer theaters) drive right by the falls without seeing them. I have stopped there a few dozen times in the past 20 years, when I remember, for pictures of the falls, and I have yet to see anyone else there. Most people do not know it is there.
And much to their loss, as it is a lovely spot in all seasons…worth, for anyone who takes the time to look, the 1 minute detour from Route 1.
When Jesus spoke the the words we talked about last Sunday: The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is “single, simple, generous” then your whole “being” will fill be filled with light…the concept of vision was significantly different than it is today. It was used, almost always, as we do when we say “that woman has real vision”. The eye was the lamp of the body because it shed light on the world around us…not because light came in through it. Jesus might have said “if your whole being is full of light then it will shine out through your eyes and the whole world will be good place.” He might have said “be generous in your vision”…”give your light freely to the world around you. and the world will be bright.”
In thinking about it over the past week, that idea of the “generous eye” has grown on my…and “generous” is essential to the idea of The Willing Eye. Maybe to the extent that it is a better name for this aspect of what I do. Be willing. at any rate, to be generous in what you see, generous in what you expect of the world around you, and generous in what you are willing to give to the world around you…and the world will be a good place, bright with beauty, rich with meaning…refreshing to the spirit and the soul. As it was intended to be. Happy Sunday!
I love the little stretch of the Batson River (more a large brook) that passes through the Kennebunkport Land Conservancy’s Emmons Preserve. The meadows above the river behind the Headquarters building are a good spot for butterflies, dragonflies, and birds, and the shaded rapids and small falls and pools of the river as it passes through the forest are always a delight. This time of year, the Ebony Jewelwings dance over the rapids, and I am always attracted to the water where it tumbles down over a rocky bed between moss-grown banks, singing all the way. I have photographed this little run hundreds of times, but I am compelled to photograph it again on every visit.
This shot is an in-camera HDR with the new Sony HX90V, a camera I a trying out for just such scenic views and macros.
I have been thinking a lot, over the past week or so (inspired by a dream I had one night) about a name for the aspect of my photography that extends beyond the technical stuff and photographic inspiration of Point and Shoot Nature Photography (psnp.lightshedder.com). I am about to embark of a series of tours and workshops…group trips to photogenic locations…where I will attempt to help others to get the most out of their Point and Shoot cameras photographing nature…but there is more to my photography than that…more I have to share. There is a way of seeing…there is the underlying motivation for my photography…the act of seeing, celebrating, and sharing…that is a akin to worship…and that gets recorded often in these Sunday posts.
My smugmug gallery is called WideEyedInWonder, and the name is taken from one of my favorite sayings of Jesus: “The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore if you eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light.” (I should warn you there is a little scripture lesson coming…but persevere!) In my favorite, non-literal, translation it reads “If you go through life wide eyed with wonder and belief, then your whole being will be filled with light.” That actually might come closer to what Jesus meant than the traditional translation. We have what he said already in translation…in Greek (which he certainly did not speak)…and the gospel writer used a word for what your eye needs to be that is translated several different ways in different contemporary texts. It could be “single” as in “single minded…focused on one thing.” (as the King James version has it) or it could be “simple, as in uncomplicated” (as several modern translations have it), or it could be “generous, as in giving and forgiving, open to the needs of others.” (which, oddly, no translator has used). Some modern translations say “if your eye is” “clear”, or “healthy”, or “sound.” I think it is a combination of the literal meanings of the Greek word…single, simple, generous…that inspired the “wide eyed in wonder and belief” translation. And the word translated “body” is definitely the Greek work that implies the whole being, body and soul.
However, Point and Shoot Nature Photography is already a long name for what I do. Wide Eyed In Wonder is another long name. I need something (or so the dream said), short and pithy, but something that still captures what the eye needs to be if we are to be filled with light, and if we are going to have light to share with the world. Single, simple, generous.
That is where “The Willing Eye” comes from. It means to me: willing to see, and to see good in all we see, willing to believe (to see the divine in all we see), willing to celebrate, willing to help, willing to share. It is a active seeing…a willful seeing…a vision that celebrates. The Willing Eye.
So it is with this photograph of the rapids on the Batson River. It is seen with The Willing Eye…and if fills my whole being with light…as I can only hope it does yours. Happy Sunday!
There is more to Honduras than birds and bugs, of course. While hard to capture, the rainforest is full of lush growth, rushing water, and occasional vistas from a ridge where the trees thin. This is a waterfall on a feeder stream to the Rio Santiago, 6 km up the side of the mountains from the main route, which is already up on the shoulders of the mountains surrounding Pico Bonito. Our birding group paused here for photos and to enjoy the scene.
Sony HX400V. About 50mm equivalent field of view. In-camera HDR. Nominal exposure: ISO 200 @ 1/50th @ f3.5. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.
I went to Emmons Preserve, and down the trail to the falls on the Batson River in particular, to look for Ebony Jewelwings…the darting, dancing, electric sometimes blue, sometimes metalic green, set-winged Damselflies that prefer rapid water…but of course the rapid waters have their own attraction. The place is beautiful…almost other-worldly…elven…with the still shadowed pools connected by falling runs of peat-brown water, the moss and rocks, the dappled light through the covering trees…a feast for the senses. I try, again and again, to capture it…but the true essence of the place is very difficult to catch.
This is a three exposure in-camera HDR with the exposures separated by 6 EV, with the Sony NEX 5T and the ZEISS Touit 12mm f2.8. I put the camera right down at water level and only inches from the falling water. Nominal exposure, as determined by the Program, was ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/60th. The file was further processed for HDR effect in Snapseed on my tablet. And it is getting there. It is satisfyingly close to the visual impression…or at least to the emotional impression…of the place.
And for the Sunday Thought: there are lots of places, like the falls on the Batson River, that have such a rich emotional impact…such a rich spiritual impact…that any attempt at photography is bound to fall short. That does not, and should not, keep us from trying. We reach, and in reaching, pay homage to the creative spirit of love that shapes both the beauty of the world, and our sense of beauty. Like the Ebony Jewelwings, we dance…our intention dances above the falling water of creation…and we take pleasure in the dance…as we were made to do. Such beauty can not be caught and held…but it can be pointed to…celebrated in the beautiful gesture of the attempt.
I found a program in the Google Play Store the other day called Photo Painter. As the name suggests, it takes a photograph and renders it in various artistic styles…quite a few painting styles, and several sketching styles. You can then apply a realistically rendered 3D frame. I have used a similar program on the laptop called Dynamic Auto Painter. I am still exploring the features of Photo Painter, but the results so far are promising…if you like this kind of thing.
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, you can produce some nice effects…on the other what you have created is neither a painting or a photograph. At best it is a photograph processed to look something like a painting. “Ah,” you say (or at least I think) “but is it art?”
Then too, I am fresh from an encounter with a software expert for one of the makers of image processing plug-ins, who claimed that he turned his images into paintings using the software he was demonstrating because he was such a bad photographer. He seemed proud of the fact. That is just sad, and I, personally, do not want to go there. I promise I will never try to save an image by processing it as a painting.
This image, however, stands on its own as a photograph (imho). Processing it as a painting does not make it better…only different.
Samsung Smart Camera WB800F in Rich Tone mode. Processed in Snapseed and rendered as a painting in Photo Painter the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
Oh, and it is Cascade Falls in Saco Maine.
And for those who are wondering, here is the image with standard processing.
Last Wednesday, in honor of #waterfallwednesday, I posted an image of Cascade Falls and some info on the location…a local picnic and photo-op spot since, well, since before there were cameras. That image was all about the rush and tumble, the splash and splatter, the raw energy of the falling water.
This is the alternative view, taken on a tripod with the Samsung Smart Camera WB800F’s waterfall mode, which takes a very long exposure (30 seconds or more) to blur the water to silk. This kind of shot generally involves neutral density filters on a DSLR, but the Samsung manages it all it’s own, using some kind of digital trickery to slow the shutter without burning out the highlights. 🙂
You are either a fan of the silky water effect or you are not. Anyone who has ever stood in front of a waterfall knows that the effect is purely a photographic artifact. Falling water just does not look like that. Still, the effect is so common in waterfall shots that some people apparently think that water can actually do that. I have mixed feelings. I can appreciate the beauty and the sense of peace that the silky water images capture and project…but I am under no illusions that they are real. They use a photographic technique to produce a mood that is simply not there, as a painter might. And that’s okay, I think. And they have a certain nostalgia to them…I mean, back in the days of slow film emulsions and 8×10 view cameras, any photograph of a waterfall in anything but full sun produced silky water. It was simply all the medium was capable of. Not so today. Silky water is now an artistic choice. And I think, at least on occasioin, a valid one.
Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
There aren’t many waterfalls in Southern Maine, so when I decided I wanted to find a waterfall to photograph I had to Google “waterfalls in York County” to see if there were any I was not aware of. I knew about Cascade Falls, just north of Saco of course, and we had made an effort to find it once soon after moving back to Maine. Without success. However, the land surrounding the falls has changed hands since, and the new owner gave the falls to the town of Saco to develop as a park. There is now a sign, parking lot, and rudimentary trails providing access to the falls. Of course people have been visiting Cascade Falls since the early 1800s, and the town has yet to improve the trails all that much. It is interesting to see the rocks where people have climbed for two centuries showing definite signs of wear.
This is a conventional 3 exposure HDR. Well, not quite conventional. I took the three exposures using Auto Bracketing on the Samsung Smart Camera WB800F, and transfered them wirelessly to the my Nexus 7. Google+ Auto Backup uploaded them to Photos, where Auto Awesome identified the sequence as a potential HDR, assembled the three into one HDR file, and tone mapped the result for display. Then it sent me a notification that it has done so. 🙂 Since the editing tools in the Android G+ app are, so far, rudimentary, I downloaded the Auto Awesome HDRs back to my Nexus, had a final pass at them in Snapseed, and uploaded them to G+ using PicasaTool. It sounds more complicated that it was.