Tag Archives: winter

Syracuse, NY – Snowy Thanksgiving Morning

Little Wagon
Little Wagon

Whereas most around the US enjoyed a beautiful autumn morning to welcome Thanksgiving, Syracuse, true to form had snow more akin to Christmas. Yes, that’s right! Syracuse had a snowy Thanksgiving morning. And, although it only amounted to three to four inches. It was indeed a welcomed and beautiful sight.

Without hesitation, I grabbed my camera and took a quick trip around the block. I could not contain myself as I had not seen that much snow in a while having spent so much time in Long Island. Well, Syracuse did not fail to surprise with the bit of beauty hidden in the snow. There were snow covered wagons, snow covered trees, snow covered paths and snow covered windmills.

All had been crystallized and frozen in their own little way.

The branches of the trees had become covered with snow as if a layer of soap suds had been laid out atop them. No matter how many times I see this phenomenon of snow accumulation on tree branches it never grows old.

The pathways which guide walkers safely between homes in the neighbourhood had a layer too. However, with the paths, they looked more like snow bridges. The sides of the paths formed intricate patterns which criss-cross hinting to the fencing which lay beneath. The paths appear to stretch to infinity in their blanket of white and create this impression of a bridge to nowhere.

The ornaments which sit out on lawns were also lined with their own cake-layer of snow. I captured two here – the little wagon and the windmill. Their caked-on layers of snow each helped them stand out and enhance their appearance but limited their functionality as the moving parts became gummed up with snow and ice.

But,  that is what the Thanksgiving experience is like in Syracuse. It is wet, it is cold, it is a blanket of white. It is a snowy Thanksgiving morning.

White Mane

White Mane
White Mane

Like a scene straight out of a fairytale novel, a white maned horse, Jill, pauses and casts here stares in my general direction resulting in the photograph presented on the left which I have titled – White Mane. Indeed, the scene appeared almost majestic as the various elements coalesced into the composition visible here. But to explain how I got to this point let me take a step back to explain the back story.

Since my relocation to Long Island, NY last year, I had been longing for the opportunity to return to the place I now call home, Syracuse. I took the opportunity to visit some family, revisit some old familiar places and to take photographs over the Easter weekend. It was on one such photography outing with some family, Lynne, that I captured this scene.

We stopped at a nearby farm which we have frequented in the past to see two familiar horses – Jill and Jasper. On this visit, we discovered that both had two new companions – Dixie and Tiki. Tiki was not present when I shot this scene but Jill was well represented as she stood out front and center for this photograph. With her striking white mane flowing from her head to her back she stood out majestically among the other horses. Being a draft horse she stands out prominently with muscular legs and tall stature. But, in spite of her size, she is a gentle and beautiful giant.

For me, it is always a pleasure to see this horse. She embodies the sort of qualities which I fancy in horses – strong, majestic and beautiful. An of course, I can’t help but mention about her striking white mane which, to me, is her mos telling characteristic trait.

Lighthouse in the Reeds- Montauk Point Lighthouse

Lighthouse in the Reeds - Montauk Point Lighthouse
Lighthouse in the Reeds – Montauk Point Lighthouse

Like the opening chorus of the song from STAIND, it’s been a while since I have last posted on my blog and given some insight as to what I am currently up to.  It has been a little over a month now since I have relocated to Long Island NY and I am still getting settled in. However, at this point, I am starting to explore the place a little; And, one of the first places I have visited since being on the island is the Montauk Point Lighthouse which I have illustrated in this photo posted on the left – Lighthouse in the Reeds – Montauk Point Lighthouse.

Montauk Point is one of the more easterly facing points on the island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and boy what a view. I personally haven’t seen the Atlantic in years now, and seeing it again was exhilarating in itself. But visiting the Point is not complete without seeing the lighthouse. Unfortunately, when I visited, access to the lighthouse was closed. So, I was unable to gather more information on the lighthouse firsthand. On the other hand, I did get to walk around the lighthouse and observe it from different vantage points – from the shoreline beneath the bluff on which the lighthouse sits, to a nearby lookout point north of the lighthouse.Among the various pictures I took that day, this is the one which stands out the most to me –  the lighthouse in the reeds.

Most of the land on and surrounding the bluffs is sand. There is very little shrubbery to hold the land back from erosion except for these reeds which grow wildly around the point. To me the lighthouse almost mimics the structure of the reeds with its slender build; So, I couldn’t help it but juxtapose the two together, illustrating the light house growing within the reeds.

The lighthouse appears to be a frequently visited spot all year round. I can only imagine what it must be like during the summer when it is a little warmer. I would certainly look forward to visiting it it again then. Till then, I will enjoy and reminisce the memories of my winter visit.

The Eyes have It

The Eyes have It
The Eyes have It

During the preparatory work for Thanksgiving, I took a photograph of a friends daughter. The part of the composition that really caught my attention at first was the back-lit area behind her as she was sitting near a window. But, this had another beneficial effect as it created a reflection on the dinner table surface and bounced a catch light into her eyes – hence the title “The Eyes have It”.

I believe there were other elements which helped this image besides the simple catch light. For one, there was the color of her hair which was more like fire embers. The color ranged from at times from golden yellow to reddish orange.

The other interesting element was her stare. This is just one of about three shots. But, it is the one where the eyes were directed straight back to the camera and, to me, gave the most dramatic effect. This, in combination with the catch light which reflected of her eyes, drew a lot of attention to her serious stare. By no means was she upset or unhappy, but I could tell in talking with her that she was exhausted from doing her morning jog.

The last element which I believe helped the image was the depth of field. Although very subtle in this image, it is noticeable on the curved part of the wooden chair she is sitting on that there is a soft blur that recedes to the window. This brings her to the foreground in a very prominent way creating a sense of depth to the image.

Of course the back-lit scene created by her proximity to the window also helped immensely in creating a minimalist, airy feeling by painting the background white. However, the combination of all the elements came together to create this rather simple but dramatic image which focused attention on the eyes. Thus, the title of the image – “The Eyes have It”.

Winter Berries

Winter Berries
Winter Berries

Thanks to the acute attention to detail of fellow photographer and instructor, Joe Inzalaco, I was able to capture something I rarely take notice of – winter berries.

We were both assisting some students at the Rozamond Gifford Zoo, taking them through the paces of adjusting their camera to take photographs manually. Upon leaving the pond where ducks and flamingos are frequently on exhibit, we paused at the primate park exhibit. There, Joe pointed to a berry plant which had lost almost all its leaves.

Thanks to thick fog and dense cloud cover this morning, the lighting was flat. There were no deep shadows and this allowed me to emphasize the small amounts of light which would break through the clouds occasionally  In this case, there was a small amount of light which shone on the right side of the berries bringing drama to the image.

The leaf shown in the image was the last leaf I observed on this branch; And, I used it to counter balance the berries on the opposite side of the frame. I also used a shallow depth of field to further isolate this singular branch. The photo was taken such that the branch ran diagonally through the frame to add a dynamic feel to the image. Although I had considered converting the image to black and white, I thought the colors were rich and added more to the image than taking away. Further, the purple blurred patches in the background add to the context of the image and makes for a nice smooth background.

For a completely spontaneous image, I thought that various elements came together to make the image work. The soft lighting, the leaf, the shallow depth of field, the color all converged in making an image which emphasized depth, drama and the beauty of these “Winter Berries.”

Southwick Beach Sunset

Southwick Beach Sunset
Southwick Beach Sunset

It was April 8; Four rather restless photographers followed the setting of the sun to Southwick Beach Park in hopes of catching an amazing sunset. Being one of those photographers, I too got wrapped up in the moment searching for a good sunset shot. After pacing back and forth a long the beach front and some of the surrounding area looking for a good place to set up my tripod I selected the one  which allowed me to compose the trunk of a partially submerged tree and some driftwood into the same scene.

The waters of Lake Ontario had become choppy and started to churn more violently as the sun started to set and the sand from the beach began migrating in small wisps as the wind of the lake kicked-up. Reluctant to leave until I had captured the image that I wanted, I remained at my camera, shivering occasionally, in spite of the rapidly dropping temperatures, dwindling day light and inhospitable conditions.The result after more than two weeks of editing, walking away and editing again is the image in this post of the Southwick Beach Sunset. Although, I have been told that it is a beautiful capture, I still feel that I have not captured the essence of that sunset. But, I guess that is just me.

Three Cubs

Three Sunbathing Tiger Cubs
Three Cubs

It’s been a while since I have posted some of my pictures from earlier trips to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. I had taken many pictures on my visit in February of this year.. I had initially intended to enter them into competition. But, I changed my mind in the end opting to keep them so I could continue working on them. Also, I had determined that I wanted to revisit the zoo to improve my skills in capturing the animals in an engaging way.

This capture of three tiger cubs sunbathing on a rock is one which I had lingered on and on about finally developing and releasing it. I had thought about developing the image  on numerous occasions only to have my intent become subdued by mere procrastination. Well, I was finally able to accomplish it. Yet, I am still not satisfied as I thought that I could still emphasize the warm. soft glow of the sun which kissed the cubs where they rested. However, this tranquil moment when all three cubs were resting side-by-side was what I wanted to capture to show a more fraternal nature to them.

Capturing animals during the winter can be pretty tricky given the amount of reflection which comes off the snow. However, I want to return during the spring time to see if I will have any luck capturing a different, and hopefully, more active composition of the cubs.

Sodus Point Light House

Sodus Point Light House
Sodus Point Light House

There is something classical and enduring about light houses. Something about them suggest a metaphorical statement of an enduring light during the darkest times; Or, a spotlight to point the way and steer you clear of danger. This is the same feeling I get whenever I review this photo I took three weeks back at Sodus Point, NY. Sodus Point is a small bay town which sits on the shores of Lake Ontrario in Central New York. If you were to ever visit, the place looks like it sprang from an old fishing village.  I truly don’t know the full history of the town and to really learn that I would have to get that information from one of the locals which I did not have much opportunity to do.

But, back to the lighthouse and its appeal. The photo on the left truly doesn’t do it any justice as I had to crop it somewhat so that the lighthouse would be visible. However, the brooding dark sky really added to its appeal and added atmosphere to the scene that was better experienced rather than simply shot on camera.

What the photograph does not indicate is the frigid, windy temperatures that had to be endured to capture this. I took several shots of this lighthouse because the wind was so strong and constant, that my camera would shake even though it was placed on a steady tripod. I even took extra precautionary steps to avoid camera shake by using my remote trigger. Using the remote trigger also helped me to keep my poor digits warm too. In the end though, I was satisfied with the result and I present it here – the Sodus Point Light House.

The Stare

The Stare
The Stare

Aren’t there days when you feel like this guy. Like someone ticks you off to the highest level of tick-tivity but rather than blow your top you just stare at them. The cold, long stoic stare that this lion had reminded me a lot of that emotion and I could not hesitate but capture that.

Personally, I think he was more concerned about having had to come out in the snow covered pen. I bet he was thinking – “Oh crap, not this snow again!” But, I will leave you to guess what he is thinking and enjoy The Stare.

Penguin Passion

Penguin Passion
Penguin Passion

By nature, penguins are curious animals. Once someone or something enters their personal space they start investigating. Children are just as curious. So what happens when two equally curious creatures meet? – a moment of excitement which I think I captured here in “Penguin Passion”.

I will have to say that this young girl really inspired me. Just seeing how interested and excited she was in encountering this curious penguin made me more interested in studying her behaviour. The excitement she expressed was akin to seeing a long lost friend and being united after years of undesired separation. And, no matter how many times I review the photo, the image continues to evoke this strong feeling of passion and excitement.

This is one of the photos I shot during my last week at the zoo for the month of January and certainly it is one of my favourites. I love this photo.