Editor’s Pick at Naturescapes.net for “Medicine”

I’m happy to announce that one of my favorite images from the autumn season has received the prestigious Editor’s Pick award over at Naturescapes.net.

I titled this one “Medicine” as I processed it during some ho-hum winter weather, and it was just the kind of Medicine that I needed at the time. I can still remember myself standing in the cool waters on a mild autumn day deep in the mountains of Tennessee. And what a fond memory it is!

This photograph was taken in the morning along Straight Fork in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The color in the Smokies was quite lackluster (to put it lightly) during the past fall season, but there was still pockets of beautiful color to be found here and there. In this particular location, the lush rhododendrons along the banks helped to kick it up a notch. One of the main issues during this photo excursion was the abundance of high pressure days. During these times of high pressure, not a cloud was seen for days on end. Literally! By arriving at the stream early before direct sunlight filtered in, I managed to capture an image that had beautiful light that was soft, subtle, and directional. On a cloudy day, I would be happy with this image, but it would lack some of the “pop” and complexity that it currently has. The moral of the story: don’t give up shooting certain subjects such as streams on sunny days … just get out there a bit earlier (or later, in the afternoon)!

"Medicine", Straight Fork, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, United States

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 10-22 @ 10mm, Polarizer, ISO 400, f/13, 0.8 seconds, Gitzo 1325 Tripod. Blend of two images, one exposure for the sunlit upper left, and one for the rest.

“Curves”, Ice Droplets, McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, Maryland

With the intense cold snap that occurred last week, I took the opportunity to get out and photograph some truly amazing ice patterns. On the first day, I visited McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Maryland, where I found this smooth, curved structure. At first I attempted to photograph the scene with only one capture at f/22 to maximize depth of field. However, my magnification was too high and the scene too minute to adequately record all of the detail from foreground to background. Knowing this, I chose to set my aperture at f/13 and take a series of photographs at different focus points, later blending the five images together in Photoshop. This was my first time using this technique, and it was painfully easy. I will certainly be utilizing it in future situations!

"Curves", Ice Droplets, McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, Maryland, United States.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 70-200 @ 163mm, 500D Close-up Diopter, ISO 100, f/13, 0.4 seconds, Gitzo 1325 Tripod. Five images focused at different points, later blended together in Photoshop CS6.

“Regrets of the Past” – Red Barn with Ominous Storm Clouds, Vermont

Here is an oldie that I had a lot of fun shooting. While assisting with a workshop, we came across this lovely red barn. Normally, photographing man-made objects is not my thing, but since the workshop group was interested, I made the best of the situation. Using the dark ominous storm clouds as a backdrop, I approached the bright red barb closely, and looked up using a wide angle lens. By using this situation as a bit of a “mental exercise” I was able to step outside of my normal boundaries and create an image that I am still happy with a year later. I doubt I will seek out red barns in the future, but by having this experience in the first place, I will now try to approach my preferred subjects with a fresh mind that is open to new compositional possibilities. If the weather is not cooperating, or the subject is not living up to my expectations, no problemo! Make the best of every photographic situation!

"Regrets of the Past" - Red Barn with Ominous Storm Clouds, Vermont, United States.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 10-22 @ 12mm, ISO 100, f/11, 5 seconds. Gitzo 1325 tripod.

“People of the Place of Flint”, Mohawk Falls, Rickett’s Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

Just a quick picture to post for tonight. This image is of Mohawk Falls in Rickett’s Glen State Park, Pennsylvania. One of the first of 22 named waterfalls along one of the park’s relatively short hiking trails. That’s right, 22 substantial waterfalls! This place rocks. A photographer’s paradise. During my quick visit, dusk was quickly approaching. Using the “shade” of dusk, I was able to shoot on what would have been a bright and sunny day without capturing distracting shadows. Additionally, I was able to control the contrast found within this scene, from bright highlights in the water to dark shadows within the crevices of the rocks. In bright sun, this is simply not possible without taking several exposures and blending them together in Photoshop.

"People of the Place of Flint", Mohawk Falls, Rickett's Glen State Park, Pennsylvania, United States.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 10-22mm @ 13mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1.3 seconds. Gitzo 1325. Polarizer.

Editor’s Pick at Naturescapes.Net for “Hope Remains”

What a great couple of weeks! I’ve been out shooting often in this lovely summer weather, and have been quite happy with the results. I am honored to announce that another one of my new images, “Hope Remains” has won Editor’s Pick over at Naturescapes.Net. Cool!

The image is of an adult Great Blue Heron fishing in the immense rapids of Great Falls National Park, Virginia. This area is close to my home, and one of my favorite locations to photograph at. There is definitely something to be said to visiting a location over and over again in order to learn every little detail about it. Thanks to my familiarity, I knew that there was a Great Blue Heron rookery up the river from the falls, and that both adults and youngsters would be fishing in large numbers during a 1.5 month span in the middle of summer. Making multiple trips to Great Falls during that time allowed me to find these herons in some really interesting locations. Using my 70-200 f/4 lens, I chose to shoot this image rather wide and at a relatively slow shutter speed to incorporate the beautiful flowing water around the heron.

"Hope Remains" - Great Blue Heron fishing in Great Falls National Park, Virginia, United States.

“Hope Remains”

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 145mm, ISO 200, f/11, 2 seconds. Gitzo 1325 tripod.

“The Inevitable Conclusion” – Sunset at Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

All lines lead to the same outcome. As it were, during this lovely summer sunset in the mountains of West Virginia, the lines in the clouds lead to a gripping open space on the horizon. I used this great luck, composing my image so that this brightly colored rock in the foreground led right into that open space within the image. Combined with the amazing stack to the left, and your eye will bounce around within this one for quite some time. I love it when things come together! When out photographing, always be actively aware of these situations. Doing so may just take your photography from being a mere snapshot to an artfully composed beauty.

"The Inevitable Conclusion" - A sunset at Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia, United States.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 10-22 @ 10mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1.6 seconds. Gitzo 1325 tripod. Blend of two images, one exposure for the sky and one exposure for the foreground.

Editor’s Pick at Naturescapes.Net for “Summer’s Flow”

Just wanted to post a quick message to alert readers to my most recent accomplishment. My image, “Summer’s Flow” has received the prestigious Editor’s Pick award within the Landscape Gallery at Naturescapes.net. If you haven’t checked out Naturescapes.net, I urge you to do so. The forums contained on this website are alive and vibrant with many helpful and skilled photographers. It is truly a helpful community to be a part of. For those of you that haven’t seen it, here is the winning image.

"Summer's Flow" - Summertime Waterfall in Rickett's Glen State Park, Pennsylvania, United States.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 10-22 @ 12mm, ISO 200, 8 seconds @ f/11. Gitzo Tripod. Polarizer.

Silence in Chaos – Great Blue Heron Amid Rapids in Great Falls National Park, Virginia

Hello world! I’ve been busy photographing quite often this summer in Great Falls National Park, Virginia. This image was taken from the Virginia side, and depicts a seemingly contemplative bird pondering who-knows-what! He stood in this location for about an hour, but only a few images made the cut that had the right light, head position, and good water flow. The rest … ruthlessly deleted!

Silence In Chaos - Great Blue Heron Amid Rapids in the Potomac River, Great Falls National Park, Virginia.

Tech Specs: Canon 50D, Canon 70-200 @ 200mm, ISO 100, .3 seconds @ f/22. Gitzo Tripod. Polarizer.

Winter Beech Forest, Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, Virginia

Finally! I have obtained an image of my favorite local forest, Scott’s Run Nature Preserve. Long time reader’s of this blog may be shaking their head and thinking, “Finally! Chris Kayler decided to make a post again.” Yes, I have been absent for what seems like ages, and before that, not really posting much. Well, guys, after a pretty long hiatus from photography, I think I am finally feeling dat mojo again. I have big plans this year. Onto the good stuff …

As mentioned, this image was taken at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in Northern Virginia. Who knew? Nestled next to scenic Route 495 (aka the beltway, aka the stuff of nightmares) lies this unassuming little forest close to the banks of the Potomac River. Ever since I found this location as a young photographer, I knew that I wanted to capture the best images of it that I could manage. The most coveted image I had in my mind was that of the beech trees covered in snow. After 10 years, I finally nailed it. One would think that this would be an easy task, yes? Wrong. The branches of the beech tree are thin and feeble, not holding snow particularly well. Every year, year after year, I would try to photograph this area after snow storms. Even with 8 inches of snow falling overnight, the place just looked barren. Only with the help of this mild little storm, where the temperature held close to 32 degrees (it was practically raining), and with absolutely no wind, was the snow able to cling to every tiny little branch. A photographer’s dream. Walking through the abandoned woods I manage to somehow tune out the sounds of honking, slush, and engine braking, and only hear (or, maybe, remember) the pitter patter of fresh snow falling lightly onto the forest floor.

Scott's Run Nature Preserve in Snow, Virginia, United States.

Winter Beech Forest
Canon 50D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 70mm, 1.3 seconds @ f/16, ISO 200.

Hidden Falls, Kannara Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah

This image is from deep within Kanarra Canyon in a rarely visited section of Zion National Park. With snow on the ground as we hiked in, it was definitely a chilly experience. Needless to say, my two pairs of wool socks layered with synthetic socks and Gore-Tex waterproof socks did not keep me completely warm. That’s okay, as being able to visit waterfalls and beautiful streams running through a deep slot canyon was completely worth any discomfort! In this photograph, I particularly like the the small Box Alder backlit by intense canyon glow, and of course, the two tier waterfall.

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

New Website Design

Perhaps you, my lucky reader, has already seen it, but my website has undergone a complete change to a more streamlined portfolio based design. Check it out!

http://www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Peaceful Morning on Connery Pond, Adirondack State Park, New York

This image is from a pleasant morning spent at Connery Pond in the High Peaks of Upstate New York. The conditions were absolutely perfect with rising fog, pink clouds, and no wind. If you have never visited the High Peaks, I highly recommend it. The sheer size of the mountains there, combined with the intimacy of the small ponds and quiet forests really make for a unique experience, and the hiking, while very strenuous, is very rewarding!

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Lone Yellow Maple in Fog, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

Sorry for the lack of posts, my blog was experiencing some technical difficulties. After a few calls to my GoDaddy, the issue has finally been resolved. I’m glad, because after my trip to the northeast, southeast and the desert southwest, I have many new images to show!

This image was taken a wonderful, cool, foggy day in Pisgah National Forest. The color this year was the best I have ever seen. Truly amazing. This single bright yellow Maple tree was found at a high elevation alongside the winding Blue Ridge Parkway.

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

“Ancient Souls”, Indian Head Overlook Star Trails, Adirondack State Park, New York

While in the Adirondacks, I spent one night atop Indian Head overlooking the upper and lower Ausable Lakes. Inspired by what was probably the most amazing view and campsite I’ve ever had, with stars stretching far across the inky sky, high peaks towering 2,000 feet above to my left and right, and the Ausable Lakes 1,000 feet below, I stayed up late taking exposures of the stars fading into the horizon. This particular image was a 30 minute long exposure.

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Haunted Woods, Vermont

Autumn is here, and I’ve been keeping myself quite busy so far. I’ve just returned two week trip to the high peaks of the Adirondacks and the northern half of Vermont. This particular image was taken in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, on a sunny, yet foggy day. As the sun began to break behind me, the diffused light shown upon the foliage and trunks, while the dissipating fog picked up the rich blue color of the sky. In a few days, I will be heading out of town yet again to travel to North Carolina, Utah, Arizona, and wherever else we may end up in between with my friend Alex Mody. I’ll try to post up another image before from my northeast trip before I head out!

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Pendleton Run in Spring, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Another image from the hard-to-get-to Pendleton Run in Blackwater Falls State Park, WV. In this image, I really liked the way the water fanned out into the foreground.

In a few hours, I’m off to Upstate New York to visit family and friends for about a week. I’m hoping to go on a backpacking trip in the Adirondacks and plan to do some scouting while there, as I may plan a trip for this autumn.

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Stormy Sunset from Black Balsam Knob, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

This image was taken high atop Black Balsam Knob in the Pisgah National Forest. This view, from my campsite, didn’t get quite as colorful as I was hoping, but I ended up quite liking the dark and moody feel of the image, combined with the flowing grasses of Black Balsam’s unique ecosystem.

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Falls on Pendleton Run, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Here’s an image from about a month ago, taken during a heavy rainstorm along Pendleton Run. This was the first time I had photographed these falls, and with the heavy spring flow, the conditions were perfect. Getting down there wasn’t easy, with a long, steep, rhododendron-filled scramble to the base, but it was well worth it.

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Magenta Stormy Sunset, Roan Highlands, North Carolina / Tennessee Border

This image was taken atop one of the largest stretches of balds in the southern Appalachians. A bald is basically a grassy, treeless meadow on top of a high mountain. The particular one on this mountain was producing its own weather the night I was up there. Battling 40 mile per hour winds, I placed my tripod as steadily as I could on top of this outcropping of rocks, and photographed the clouds racing by barely above my head. As the sun dipped below the horizon, it lit up the clouds from behind with an intense magenta color. After the big show was over, I retreated back to my tarp and, after two servings of lovely Ramen, spent a long, windy night waiting for sunrise!

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com

Rhododendron Past Bloom, Roan Mountain, Pisgah National Forest

Coming back to you, with a new blog design, here is an image from a short trip I took to the southern Appalachians. I visited parts of the Tennessee/North Carolina border, as well as areas further south in NC. Overall, the area is just amazing, and I am looking forward to a trip back down there, perhaps in autumn. This particular image is of a Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) just days after shedding its beautiful pink petals. I quite liked the simple shapes of the rhododendron branching outwards from the ground, and of course the carpet of pink. While I was certainly hoping to see some flowers in full bloom, I’m happy that I was able to make the most of the situation and create a unique image.

To order this print or purchase stock rights please contact me. To view additional photos for sale please visit my website at www.chriskaylerphotography.com