Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.
I always try to get out and make some photos on the solstices and equinoxes, and an assignment to illustrate a story about Trap Pond allowed me to chase the morning light there a few hours after this year’s Autumnal equinox. It’s an amazingly beautiful patch of wild Delaware near Laurel and will be featured in the November issue of the Bay Journal. The pond, created in the 18th century to power a saw mill to convert the trees into board feet of lumber, is the epicenter of the northern most stand of bald cypress trees in the United States. The relatively young trees in the middle of the pond were planted in the 1930’s when the water level was drawn down to allow the trees to grow. Once they’re heads are above the water they seem to do fine in an aquatic environment. Be sure to look for a more complete story about Trap Pond State Park by Tom Horton in the November issue of the Bay Journal.
Bundle up and take advantage of the opportunities for great photos provided the the crisp air, and low angle of sunlight, during winter months.
While cameras have changed much over the past century, one ingredient of good photos has remained largely the same — the tripod.
Photographers go to great lengths to make order out of chaos. A good photograph has a strong point of view, clean lines, generally good composition. In this case chaos IS the point. Anyone who has ever witnessed a flock of snow geese erupt into flight knows that the sight and sounds of those birds says chaos to the extreme. This flock was photographed with a 200mm lens, 2x tele extender, Olympus E-5 camera, 1250/sec. @ f5.6. ISO 200. The scene was made at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge just after sunrise, thin cloud cover.
It was a very cold pre dawn January morning along the Choptank River. Out to capture some winter scenes (since we didn't really have winter last year). I found this ice encrusted plant and made a photo in the early morning light. Wanting more drama in the photo I waited until the rising sun barely kissed it and made another exposure. Sometimes is pays to wait for the light.Both photographs were made with an Olympus E-5, 12-60mm lens at 21mm.
I had been out most of the day photographing a pair of seaside Virginia oystermen in Kegotank Bay, near Gargatha Inlet and was generally pleased with the day's work. The two watermen had been picking up clumps of oysters, breaking them apart with culling hammers and saving the prime ones in wire baskets. Having finished the last few photos of them off loading the oysters, I began to pack up my camera and audio gear when I caught another oyster picker out of the corner of my eye. He was celebrating a 4 bushel day (at $50 per bushel) with a Colt 45. His wonderful demeanor, working man's wardrobe and the nice late afternoon light made for a great combination.
The Winter Solstice started out flat and grey as I drove south from my home in Cambridge toward the marshes of southern Dorchester County. My annual trek to make a photo at first light on the Solstice didn't look too promising but upon arriving at the Blackwater River, a thin sliver of the sun's first rays made an interesting contrast to the blue overcast light.
Following the ‘rule of thirds’ will improve your photo composition whether you’re using a high-end digital camera or a smartphone.