Red Mill, Clinton

Sony ILCE-7RM2 • FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM
ƒ/8 • 24mm • 1/100s • ISO 100

It’s a good practice to go through years’ old photos now and then, review the collection again with the current mindset, and post-process a photo or two from the pile. As experience expands with the time and number of clicks, the definition of a killer photo also evolves. You will be surprised to see an entirely different photo rendered every time compared to what you had in your mind when you pressed the shutter release button.

Otter Cliffs - Sunrise

Sony ILCE-7RM2 • FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM
ƒ/2.8 • 24.0mm • 1/6400s • ISO 800

This photo is my failed attempt to capture water splash using high shutter speed. Taking a splash water photography always requires a lot of trial and error as you need to sync your shutter click with the exact moment of the splash. The great thing about the digital camera is that you can take thousands of photos at the location and later review and delete all of them except your star photo.

Hadlock Falls, Acadia

Sony ILCE-7RM3 • FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM
ƒ/5.6 • 35mm • 0.5s • ISO 100

Keeping exposure timing less than a half second has another benefit other than tack sharp leaves and branches. If someone inadvertently walks into your long exposure waterfall framing, you take that opportunity and include that person into your photo with less probability of that person will blur out.

I was so happy to take this shot. The person in the photo counterbalances the waterfall in the overall structure of the composition. This balance shifts the attention away from the waterfall as the main subject adds another dimension to the composition, which will be otherwise a predictable and bland photo.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia

Sony ILCE-7RM2 • FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM
ƒ/9.0 • 70mm • 1/80s • ISO 2000

Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point of the North American continent seaboard is known for first place in the United States to see the sunrise. This makes Cadillac Mountain one of the primary destinations for visitors in Acadia.

This photo will give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be at the Cadillac Mountain to view the extravagantly gorgeous sunrise. The shot was a bit tricky because of the low light. It’s always a balance you have to create between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO when you are in such a situation. I wanted to keep the shutter speed around 1100 sec to account for people movements. Hence, bumping up the ISO to 2000 was one option to have acceptable photo quality while keeping infinite depth-of-field. Lowering the ƒ-stop was another option, but that will lead to a decision which part in the composition will be sharp and which not.

If you are planning to visit Cadillac around Autumn, be prepared for freezing temperatures and extremely low wind chills. Do check weather condition night before if you are planning next morning. Avoid planing on overcast or cloudy morning when probability sunrise is low. Car/Van is the only means of transportation. So if you plan to visit for sunrise view, make it to the summit least an hour before. It will be otherwise impossible for you to get a parking spot during this time of the day. Also, make sure you have multiple layers of warm clothing to protect yourself from intensely cold and windy conditions.

Otter Point, Acadia

Sony ILCE-7RM2 • FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM
ƒ/14 • 16mm • 1/20s • ISO 100

You can create many distinct and exciting effects by just experimenting with various ƒ-stops of your lens. One of the most popular effects known among landscape photographers is the sunburst effect, which is also known by other names, such as Sun Star, Sun Flares, etc.

Sunburst effect gives star lines spike around the sun, which can add more visual interest to the sky, especially just a few moments after sunrise or before sunset. The technique to get a sunburst effect is simple; you need to set your lens to higher ƒ-stop number (somewhere between ƒ/11 or ƒ/16). I set my ƒ-stop to ƒ/14 for the above composition, which is moderate enough to get a good sunburst effect.

Note that higher the ƒ-stop, lowers the quality of your photos. You have to constraint yourself while picking the higher number for your composition. Anything between ƒ/11 and ƒ/16 is good enough for the best result. Higher then that will degrade the quality of the photo because of the diffraction caused by high ƒ-stop.

The number of star spikes will depend upon the number of blades you have in your lens. Double of the number of blades you have in your lens and that’s the number of star spikes you will get in your composition. For example, if your lens has seven blades, you will get 14 spikes.

To get more distinct star spikes, try to achieve narrowest possible sun source. That’s why this effect is more effective when the sun is just rising on the horizon. Alternatively, try hiding the sun behind a tree branch or rock, on something by changing your camera position or your composition.

A vital thing to remember when working with the higher ƒ-stop numbers: make sure your lens front element is spot clean from any dirt or smudge. Any imperfection on the front glass of your lens will grossly expose as huge circular spots in your photos. Don’t be surprised if a minuscule dust spike on your glass you never noticed on other pictures is enlarged and spotlighted in your sunburst photos. So do regularly visually glance over and spot clean the front element of your lens; removing those circular spots in Photoshop is not fun.