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2 Comments | Report
JDLifeshots June 03, 2016
Beautiful! Where is this?
jackshipley PRO
jackshipley June 04, 2016
Near Indiana, PA, east of Pittsburgh in Shunk Township. The land owned by the grandfather of Fred McFeely Rogers -- Mr. Rogers -- who played here frequently as a child.

Behind The Lens

My wife's family lives nearby and I figured the hills and streams of western Pennsylvania might offer some waterfalls. My brothers-in-law are outdoors folks, too, and pointed me towards Buttermilk Falls in Shunk township, PA, about 45 minutes east of Pittsburgh. It's a state natural area and used to be owned by Fred Rogers' grandfather. The access to the top of the falls is an easy walk but to get to this angle took a careful climb halfway down the ravine.
Actually mid-afternoon under a cloud cover. Not the "best" time, eh. Trust me, my wife, son and daughter-in-law thought me strange as we got to the falls ahead of threatening rain.
The clouds created diffused light that accentuates the shadow lines in the limestone wall. The shadows were crisply defined yet I could get detail off the cliff face behind the bottom of the falls. I liked the lighting because of the feeling of dampness in the overall image.
Early this year I bought a Nikon D750 with the kit 24-120mm f4 lens. I used an 8 neutral density filter and ran my exposure to six seconds to create the bridal veil look to the water; fitting because the ledge behind falls is a popular betrothal site. Of course, the camera was on tripod and tripped with a remote. Exposure as f18 at ISO 100 and the lens was at 40mm. I bracketed 5 shots at one-third stop.
I'm back on a learning curve and look for opportunities wherever I am but mainly landscapes (and my grandchildren at play). I love sunset and the farms, prairies and glacial geology around me in Northeast Illinois. Nearby my in-laws in western Pennsylvania offers different vista in and among the hills. The camera is my "get out and walk around" motivator. I'm inspired by two photographers I follow on Facebook, Michael Furtman and Bryan Hansel, and the images I see here on Viewbug. Don't underestimate the inspiration of sharing experiences that is so much more rich and deep on-line than the days when I pinned for the next issue. I don't subscribe to Audubon but discovered Melissa Groo's breathtaking wildlife and bird images on line. I've long taken photos but never really developed as a photographer. As a teen, I used a Voigtlander Vitessa my father had purchased when stationed in Germany in the early '50s. The Voigtlander was restored in the early '80s and rests on my bookshelf. I bought a Pentax Spotmatic when I joined the newspaper staff out of college (and spent my spare time dreaming of a Leica M3 at the camera shop down the street from the newspaper office). My last film camera was a Canon Elan. The D750 is my retirement present upgrading from the 3200.
My skills, if you can call them that, with Lightroom and Photoshop are minimal at best. I did a little dehaze, clarity and, if I remember, contrast adjustment in Lightroom but that's it. Yes, I have to break down and take a lesson.
In my camera bag
The D750, Nikon 20-120mm f4, Nikon 24mm f2.8, good polarizing filters, 8 neutral density for the zoom, a new and undiscovered variable neutral density for the 24mm, and a good tripod as well as a not-so-good but lighter tripod. I have a simple infrared remote and a programmable, wired remote I've yet to use. I have a Manfrotto advanced camera/laptop backpack that travels well.
While I suffer equipment lust as much as anyone, don't obsess over what's in your kit. Study compositions. Hunt for good light but use what light you find. Learn to see -- maybe that's learn to trust what you see -- and don't dismiss a misty afternoon for an opportunity to get out.

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