Most weekends, we find ourselves rushing through personal commitments and chores that have no choice but to be relegated to the two days that are meant for rest and relaxation, but there are some that come by every once in a while that are made for pure hedonistic pleasure. Mine is defined by a weekend where cellphone reception is a bare minimum and the rushing sounds of cars on a freeway are faint, if not entirely absent. To stand in the middle of a fresh and flourishing forest, 1.5 hours away from New York City, surrounded by silence that is occasionally broken by the wind rustling the tops of pine and birch trees and of a gurgling creek that ebbs and flows as several small waterfalls through humble box canyons; is invigorating to say the least. There was even a moment where we lost track of the only trail that led to and from the waterfalls we headed to. A trail that is only slightly beaten and completely unmarked, which is probably why it doesn’t get the massive crowds that a neighboring cascade attracts.
Up on the Poconos, just that side of the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border within the confines of Stokes State Forest are these little known gems called Indian Ladder Falls, they were unknown until they recently broke the news on a TV show called ‘Motion’. But thanks to its well known sibling – Dingman’s Falls – it is far less visited! Although the trail that we were on was unmarked, there is another trail that is very well maintained that reaches the lowest of the falls and then climbs up to the Upper Falls. The one we were on, did exactly the opposite – we climbed down! What does it matter, when there is the sound of water flowing freely and crashing against rocks to keep you company? These sights and these sounds when coupled with photography, is the perfect antidote for ‘photo block’!
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4.30 am is an unearthly hour to be awake, but in the profession I choose to be in, its the time one wakes up, puts on their shoes and heads out into the cold, to catch the preternatural phenomenon called dawn and sunrise. Those minutes just after the darkest hour, when first light begins to break through, when dark clouds part to colors that explode until they calm down to a brilliant sky blue, those are the minutes I have been craving to encounter. Winter sunrises after a storm are brilliant that way, so long as one can shield themselves from dipping temperatures and whipping wind. But luck is as Seneca says, “…. is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” So I prepared, found the beach I wanted to be at to capture dawn and its kin -sunrise, dressed myself in layers; up to the point of looking like a crab with just two eyes sticking out, studied tide charts and made sure I was between tides, chose a day that was to be sunny just after a snow storm, charged my camera, cleaned out all my equipment ahead of time and even went to bed early on a saturday night. So as my favorite author said in ‘Old Man and the Sea’ – “… It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
I was ready! I had prepared and I was about 90% sure the opportunity was right and prime, and boy! was I right!! I could articulate in words that victorious feeling of being right, but pictures sometimes do say a million words, so this time – I will just let them do the talking.
These were shot at Spring Lake, New Jersey – a shore town that am increasingly fond of and can’t wait to go back to. Sometimes, all it takes is the magic of nature to make us feel tiny, not insignificant, but tiny. There are wondrous things happening around us all the time, and we miss it all in the pursuit of so called happiness. This is a free show that happens everywhere, everyday, why not catch one? Its paradoxical when you step out in freezing temperatures to witness something so blissfully warm.
Now on to technicalities – I used two ND Grad filters stacked, since I don’t own an ND filter as yet and I broke my polarizer. The only adjustment done in photoshop was some contrast and a tiny bit of color adjustment(not change, just saturation!). All pictures are copyright of Shruthi V/Photopportunist. DO NOT reprint/reuse in any form, without the authors explicit written permission. If you are interested in prints leave me a message here or on my website – http://www.photopportunist.com.
Summer is here in North America, and as I type this, schools are closing down all over the country for summer vacation. Beginning today, the drive to all points of interest on the Jersey Shore will take more than double the time, but all carnivals and summer fiestas will roll into town. The circus will come in, baseball season will reach a fever pitch ( pun absolutely not intended), the grills are out and people will picnick on every available patch of green grass. Except the heat, everything about summer is fun and we started celebrating it a little early with a carnival at a town close by.
It is so inviting to see a Ferris Wheel tower over the landscape, as your driving along a busy highway. It’s like a tiny beacon, beckoning the kids who pass by – irrespective of their actual age. Shiny, colorfully lit, surrounded by thrilling rides and the rising smoke of an open barbecue with the heady smell of grilled sausages. The closer one get to the grounds, the louder the screams. The louder the scream, greater the fear. There is everything, from laughter at the sheer exhilaration of completing a torturous ride to the disappointment of not being able to ride one; due to height challenges. For us personally the zinger was a ride called ‘The Tornado’, I think its more a reference to how vomit is induced rather than the motion of the ride itself.
Its candy land for a photographer, and if you have read this blog before you know I have a serious fetish for ferris wheels and any kind of lights that go around! One could go to a carnival for interesting portraits or for some fantastic long exposure shots to capture motion, which is what I did and always do. Its hard to resist swirling lights set against the backdrop of twilight. The resulting effect is that of a decadent, giant lollipop! I can’t find better words to describe the effect more eloquently. And if I sound excited, that’s exactly what it is – that’s the effect a carnival has, no matter how mature you attempt at being. Every time I look at a Ferris wheel, the little girl wearing the polka dotted dress comes out to skip along, look at everything with wide-eyed wonderment and eat cotton candy.
All pictures and material are copyright of the Author, please DO NOT reuse in any form without explicit permission from the author of this blog. Click on the picture to view an enlarged version and Enjoy!