Landscape and Panoramic Photography

long exposure

Catawba Falls

Views of Catawba Falls from the side of the cascades in the middle of the falls.

Catawba Falls from side, near Old Fort, NC (15″x23″)


Surf City Fishing Pier at Sunset

Four-minute exposure of clouds above the Surf City fishing pier. I tilted the camera up, and I was using a wide-angle lens, so the edges of the pier appear to tilt towards the center of the frame (or the pier is just really old and needs repair).

Surf City Fishing Pier at Sunset (long exposure), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)


Seaview Fishing Pier after Sunset

Clouds moving over the Seaview Fishing Pier after sunset- the top image is ~2 minute exposure time, and the bottom image is ~3 minute exposure time.

Seaview Fishing Pier and Lights after Sunset (long exposure), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)

Seaview Fishing Pier at Sunset (long exposure), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)


Under Surf City Fishing Pier

30-second exposure of waves under the Surf City fishing pier. I can’t decide if I like the color version or the black and white version more- the color version seems to emphasize the mid-ground elements, whereas the black and white version draws the eye in with the patterns formed by the legs of the pier.

Under the Surf City Fishing Pier (Color), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)

Under the Surf City Fishing Pier (B&W), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)


Rain Clouds over Seaview Fishing Pier

After making a series of long-exposure photographs focused on the movement in the clouds and water, I decided to make a panorama that highlights the texture in the clouds and the streaks of rain over the ocean. I chose a half-second exposure time to get some blur in the water and people walking by on the beach to better emphasize the clouds and pier.

Rain Clouds over Ocean near Seaview Fishing Pier, Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x42″)


Seaview Fishing Pier before Sunset

Two-minute exposure of clouds moving in over the Seaview Fishing Pier just before sunset.

Seaview Fishing Pier before Sunset (long exposure), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)


Seaview Fishing Pier at Sunset

Two photographs I made recently from below the Seaview Fishing Pier, North Topsail Island: one is a relatively short (~1/8s) exposure, the other a longer (61s) exposure. I think I like the more minimalist look of the longer exposure to ‘flatten’ or ‘fog’ the water, which eliminates the texture in the waves and clouds and helps to emphasize the repeating pattern in the pier.

Seaview Fishing Pier and Waves (short exposure), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)

Seaview Fishing Pier and Waves (long exposure), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)


Topsail Island and Morning Clouds

I recently took a trip to the Topsail Beach, a barrier island along the North Carolina coast. The first morning, I brought along my camera to explore the differences in focus and texture in the clouds, water, and sand using various exposure times.

Topsail Island Clouds (short exposure: 1/80s), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)

Topsail Island Clouds (long exposure: 2 minutes), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)

Topsail Island Clouds (long exposure: 4 minutes), Topsail Island, North Carolina (12″x21″)


Cabin Creek Falls, Grayson Highlands, Part 3

I like black and white for emphasizing the abstract, patterns, texture, and form, but a splash of color can often bring some extra depth to landscape photographs. See last week’s post for the black and white versions.

Cabin Creek Falls (Foreground, Color), Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (15″x22″)

Cabin Creek Falls and Rock (Color), Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (22″x15″)


Cabin Creek Falls, Grayson Highlands, Part 2

A few more angles on the Cabin Creek Falls. Again, I ended up only working on several of the photographs I made while standing in the water- the angles from the rocks just weren’t quite as good.

Cabin Creek Falls (Foreground, B&W), Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (15″x22″)

Cabin Creek Falls and Rock (B&W), Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (22″x15″)


Cabin Creek Falls, Grayson Highlands, Part 1

I decided to wade around in the water to make several of these photographs of Cabin Creek Falls in Grayson Highlands – glad I got my feet wet. I’d rather be in the water with a tripod than balanced on a slippery rock or try to hop across moss-covered boulders.

Cabin Creek Falls (Mid-ground, B&W), Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (15″x22″)

Cabin Creek Falls and Mini Falls (B&W), Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (22″x15″)


Cabin Creek, Grayson Highlands, VA

Early in July, I spent the weekend camping and hiking around Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia. Although I think the really spectacular open views of the landscape are found along the Massie Gap – Wilburn Ridge – Mt Rogers trail, there is a nice, relative short (~2-3 miles) loop hike down in the valley near the ridge that goes to Cabin Creek Falls. We decided to hike clockwise around the loop (I’d go this direction again so I can see the falls as I hike up to them along the stream), and I stopped briefly at this small set of falls (not the ‘actual’ Cabin Creek Falls) thinking this was the ‘big attraction’. Cabin Creek Falls next week.

Cascading Water below Cabin Creek Falls, Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (15″x22″)


Spouting Rock and Stream

A vertical panorama of the stream and falls above Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. This panorama is composed of three horizontal single-frame images stitched together so I could capture the mini-falls and stream in the foreground below where I was standing as well as Spouting Rock in front/above.

Spouting Rock and Stream (B&W, 2021), Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon, CO (19″x20.5″)


Crater Lake and Maroon Bells

Even at nearly 10,000 feet elevation, the trailhead at Maroon Lake was a bit warm. Fortunately, the relatively short (~1.8 mile) hike to Crater Lake only ascends about 600 feet and is partly shaded through evergreens and aspens. The views of the mountains and gathering clouds above Crater Lake were as beautiful as usual, so the walk, despite the warmth, was worth it. I was glad I had a 15-stop ND filter to make a 4-minute exposure of the lake and the movement in the clouds around noon. I shot the photo at f/16, so I could have even made an 8-minute photograph at f/22 (wish I would have now- the clouds could use a little more blur!).

Crater Lake, Maroon Bells, and Passing Clouds (B&W, 2021), White River National Forest, CO (13″x23″)


Spouting Rock, Hanging Lake, June 2021

There is a long history in my family of hiking up to Hanging Lake and Spouting Rock- my maternal grandmother had heart problems and still managed to make her way up to the lake most years up until she died. After the fire in the summer of 2020 in Glenwood Canyon, I expected the vegetation to be burned out, but most of the trees are still standing in the canyon. There is an occasional charred tree trunk that has fallen into the canyon along the trail, but most of the area around the trail made it through unscathed. Despite the heat wave, it was a nice walk up to the lake. I hope the remainder of the canyon recovers from the fire- the scrub oak are already regrowing.

Spouting Rock (Color, 2021), Glenwood Canyon, Colorado (14″x21″)

Falls near Mortimer Campground, NC (Color)

Color version of the falls upstream from Mortimer Campground (black and white last week). I go back and forth about which I like more. There’s a bit more depth in the color I think.

Falls above Mortimer Campground (Color), near Collettsville, NC (15″x15″)


Falls near Mortimer Campground, NC

In late May I took a weekend trip out to western North Carolina just south of Grandfather Mountain. We stayed in Mortimer Campground for several nights- a lovely location where you can hear the stream flowing by as you fall asleep. We hiked up the trail that follows the stream out of camp and came across a few sets of beautiful falls. Here is one of my favorite images from the hike- this week the black and white version, next week the color version.

Falls above Mortimer Campground (B&W), near Collettsville, NC (15″x15″)


Bridges over Tennessee River, Part 2

More long-exposure photographs of clouds and bridges over the Tennessee River using a 15-stop ND filter. Here, I liked how the leading lines of the clouds and the bridges direct the eye to the right third of the image, but the boardwalk in the foreground leads the eye back to the bridge on the left.

Tennessee River, Bridges, and Clouds (Part 2), Knoxville, TN (14″x21″)


Bridges and Clouds over Tennessee River

Visited Knoxville, TN for the first time a few weeks ago- it was cloudy and moderately chilly. I took a walk along the Tennessee River and used a 15-stop filter to make a few photographs of the passing clouds over the river. So much time and history has passed by this spot.

Tennessee River, Bridges, and Clouds, Knoxville, TN (14″x21″)


Tracks and Self Help, Durham

Buildings and railroad tracks under clouds passing at sunset in downtown Durham, NC. 80s exposure time.

Time and Self Help, Downtown Durham, NC (12″x20″)


Railroad Tracks and Clouds, Durham

Clouds pass over tracks through downtown Durham, NC. 121s exposure time.

Clouds over Tracks, Downtown Durham, NC (15″x15″)


Time Passes

Clouds mark the time passing by. Sometimes it feels slow, sometimes it feels fast. Sometimes we aren’t paying attention. Sometimes it’s all I can think about.

Clouds over White Building, Downtown Durham, NC (15″x22″)


Tree, Field, Passing Clouds in Eastern NC

On my way back from a short trip to the coast late last autumn, a storm blew in on the drive back. The clouds were really moving, so I pulled over on the side of a state highway to make a photograph of the sky over a blank field in front of a tree.

I unfortunately didn’t take the extra 5-10 minutes to walk around and shoot a few angles- I wish I’d moved closer and lower to the ground so the tree was bigger and extended more into the sky. Also, I mis-judged where the clouds were moving, so they lead the eye to the background on the left side of the photo- I think the center would have been better. Even after doing this photography thing for over two decades now, I still don’t get it ‘right’ or exactly the way I want most of the time, but the process is rewarding in itself.

Field, Tree, and Passing Cloud, eastern NC (14″x14″)


ND Awards 2021 Entries

Spent a bit of time thinking this weekend about my ND Awards entries for 2021- decided on the below images: