NXNW 2014: Jordan Pond and The Bubbles I

Jordan Pond and The Bubbles

Here is the first image from my weekend trip to Acadia National Park with the NXNW crew. The who, you ask?

The NXNW crew is a group of photobloggers who converge on a pre-determined location for a long weekend of sleep deprivation, coffee, beer and (of course) photography. The location this year was Acadia National Park — that little jewel of the National Park system on the Maine coast.

Since I am the closest to Acadia, I had the honor of playing host. And showing this group of talented photographers and friends around New England was more fun than I could have imagined!

Over the course of the five days of the of NXNW, the guys had the chance to photograph subjects ranging from the skyline of Boston, the mills of Lawrence, Motif #1 in Rockport MA, lobster traps, boats, lighthouses, and the glorious landscapes and seascapes of Acadia.

I’ll be presenting some of my favorite images from the trip on the Blog over the next few weeks. I hope you like them.

If you want to see more from the trip, be sure to check out the blogs of my friends and fellow NXNWers. They each have talent and passion, and are damned fine human beings. They are also very funny. You’ll want to get to know them a bit anyway. I’ll be talking about them:

  • Justin Balog: Came in search of lobster traps (and half of The Photo Frontier).
  • Mike Criswell: Scouting locations for The Empress.
  • Mark Garbowski: The Gray Man brought beer. ‘Nuff said.
  • Rick Louie: Talk to Rick if you want a Rocky Mountain High (I mean the mountains, of course).
  • Armando Martinez: Bringer of Light (and the other half of The Photo Frontier).
  • Chris Nitz: Unicorn Chaser, Magic Maker.
  • Len Saltiel: The only guy I know who can drop the F-Bomb and sound happy.
  • Dave Wilson: The only Scotsman ever to shoot a rodeo, Formula One cars and a puffin (at least he says its a puffin).
  • Scott Wyden: Teacher, Photographer, SEOer, Musician — Renaissance Man.

I also want to thank Mike Tully and Steven Perlmutter, helped play host to some of the guys in Lawrence and Boston and our first stops in Maine. Wish you both could have joined us in Acadia!

Rogers School, Fairhaven

Rogers School

The Rogers School in Fairhaven, MA closed for good last year. I guess the 128 year structure was too costly for the town to maintain.  A shame really, since Henry Huttleston Rogers, the town’s benefactor, left an endowment large enough to maintain the building forever. But I guess nothing lasts forever. Plans for the building are up in the air.

I sincerely hope razing it is not an option. They won’t build another like it.

Christian Science Center Panorama

Christian Science Center, Boston MA

With my office only 8 miles from downtown Boston it is really unforgivable that I don’t make frequent trips into town to shoot, yet it rarely happens. I have good intentions but if I don’t wind up working late, I find another excuse to not take the scenic, more productive route home.

That changed on Tuesday when, in spite of working later than I anticipated, I headed into Boston instead of home after I left work.

I knew I was cutting it close. Sunset was less than an hour away and I had no idea what traffic would be like. I could very well have been watching the golden light slip away as I sat on the highway.

I’m happy to report that the traffic gods were with me. I arrived at the Christian Science Center in time to catch the sunset and blue hour.

This is a 17 image, handheld panorama of the Christian Science Center. Handheld only because I had no time to properly set up my tripod. In fact, I didn’t even have time to properly set my camera, which was still set in Aperture Priority mode from a previous shoot (there’s a lesson there).

The original raw images were each shot at slightly different shutter speeds. I visually adjusted the exposure value in Lightroom  before sending them through Photoshop for stitching.

For those interested, I shot this with the Olympus OMD EM1 with the 12-40 Pro Zoom lens at f2.8. All shots were in vertical orientation with about 50% overlap. The 17 shots enabled me to gather enough data to allow me to maintain enough sky and foreground for an adequate crop (16:9).

Processing was done in Lightroom, Photoshop and NIK Color Efex Pro

Silver City

Boston Skyline

This is an image I shot back in 2008. I distinctly remember shooting it. Not only was it was a gorgeous autumn morning to be out shooting at dawn, but because I rarely get up before sawn to shoot — I tend to remember the times I do!

Anyway, I stumbled across the image yesterday and decided to re-process it in black and white (it’s what I do on lazy Saturdays). Processing was done primarily using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, with some final tweaks in Lightroom.

Lo Presti

Boston from Lo Presti Park

I’m beginning to think that my impromptu shoot at Lo Presti Park a few weeks ago was my most productive photographic outing all year. That speaks volumes more about my lack of productivity this year than about the shoot itself. That said, I am extremely happy with the images I grabbed that night.

This is the latest from that night. It is a very simple comp with some very simple processing in Photoshop and Lightroom.  It would have been a crime not to incorporate this jetty in at least one image (I tried a couple of clomps with it). And for processing I applied a ND filter to the top of the image to bring out the clouds and another to the bottom to soften and darken the foreground. In In Photoshop I applied a couple of curve adjustments in Photoshop — one for contrast adjustment and another for the color adjustment.

Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountains

It’s funny how you can sometimes see an image and not “see” it.

This image was shot in the spring of 2013 on my NXNW photography trip to Moab, Utah. The group of us stopped at a scenic overlook in Colorado to shoot the mountains. I don’t recall the exact Pass we were going through, but I’m sure my friends Justin Balog and Rick Louis can tell you exactly where it is.

It was a very brief stop, really. We were on a mission to shoot ghost towns and arches in Utah but the majestic snow covered peaks of the Rockies were too good to just drive past. Especially for those of us from the east where the mountains, tho much older, aren’t quite as cool and edgy. So we stopped.

The seven of us photo bloggers fell out of two vehicles, quickly set up our gear and snapped away. Within 20 minutes or so we were back in the cars and heading for Utah.

I didn’t forget about this first stop but I did overlook it, focussing instead on my shots from Arches NP, Dead Horse Point and the ghost town of Cisco.

Tonight I revisited these images and found this one.

Boston From Lo Presti Park

Boston Skyline from Lo Presti Park

This was one of the last shots I grabbed during a great solo shoot at Lo Presti Park in East Boston a few weeks ago. Definitely one of my favorites.

I usually use NIK SilverEfex Pro 2 for processing black and white images but decided to put it aside for this image. I wanted to see what I could do using only Photoshop adjustment layers. I was surprised at how quickly it came together and I’m really happy with the final image.

The Odd Fellows Hall

Odd Fellows Hall

Last Friday I had the opportunity to explore some unique space in the town of Franklin, a quaint little mill town in the lakes region of New Hampshire. The town is located at the confluence of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee rivers, where they form the Merrimack River, which flows into my neck of the woods — the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts. Fitting, I’d say.

The area is worth exploring more, but on this day, the shooting prize was what is left of the Odd Fellows Hall. It is located on the third floor (the top floor) of a downtown building. Sandwiched between this ghost of the past and a vacant storefront is a handful of small apartments. Our guide was a local entrepreneur who is in the process of rehabilitating many of the old mills in the hopes of bringing some industry, new culture and new blood into the town.

It is hard to describe the Hall, really. It clearly has not been occupied since the Odd Fellows’ days. The paint and woodwork appeared original, as is the electrical system. Yet it lacked an element of decay you might expect to see. It boasts the original ornate 19th century tin ceilings  and it even has a small theater.

Over the next few posts you’ll see several images from this place.  My goal in shooting it was to capture the stark simplicity of the place. All will be processed in the same manner — using a very simple preset from Nik AnalogEfex Pro2.  The compositions are simple and straightforward.

Today’s image: a shot from the hallway looking into a bathroom on the left, and what we believe was the main function hall on the right.