Year end- London Calling- Night Photography Fun!

pubscene_2016Well 2016 has slipped away.
What were some of your favorite destinations of the past Year?
Today I am going to share a few favorite images from a last minute trip to London yes right before Christmas! As a traveler who loves to take photos I often think of destinations not from a sense of when to go based on Airfare, Vacation time or best temperatures but when is the best time to capture the place the way I envision it.

Think about it- do you see a City in Springtime with trees in full green, sidewalks edged with flowers or do you see a City in the heart of a season like the Holidays- sidewalks full, people hustling and lights twinkling.
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For me London has been a city I viewed in Black/White- stark, dark, mysterious, a place where the likes of shady characters, Sherlock Holmes roamed, writers walked and something always seemed amiss. The Tower of London, kings, beheadings… all seemed kind of dark and gloomy. London seemed a place perfect on a rainy day or dreary cold day… but how about Christmas when the streets might be full with people hustling to buy their gifts, Charles Dickens, children excited.. hmmm I thought..
The characters from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol walked in my head, trampling my desktop with wet footprints… stirring my thoughts… Finally I just realized I had waited too long.. too long- I must go- I must see this place .. London..

So within a few clicks I found an Airfare/Hotel deal and off I was packing… a direct flight and my feet were on the ground LONDON!

London in December before Christmas at NIGHT does not disappoint. Take the tube to any number of neighborhoods, Soho, Kensington, Tower Bridge, the Thames, Hyde Park or Trafalger street… you will see streets draped in lights- store fronts with moving cakes-snow that seems to filter from the air as the lights shimmer, booths with Holiday Jumpers (sweaters to some of us) and all kinds of lights- music and people all moving past in a frenzy!
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Photo tips:
Carry a small camera something like a mirrorless- compact easy to blend in and to keep it tight to you. Many of the newer Mirrorless models perform very well in low=light situations that you will be photographing in at night.

Increase your ISO to try to capture some sharpness in your image=

Keep some composition in mind as you set up your shots- lights will draw a lot of attention in a mostly black image- are there shapes- can you hold you camera still and do a 2 second exposure to get a blurred red line of a car going thru your image? Moving people will just be ghostly barely there images but if someone is standing still where will they appear in your image.. sometimes you can crop them out and sometimes you cannot-

Carry an extra battery with you- low light photography can quickly use up your battery.

Dress to be comfortable- good walking shoes- jacket- hat- appropriate coat for cool weather. If you are cold you won’t be enjoying anything.

Check local websites- newspapers for special events- like tree lightings, Christmas markets,etc.

Most of all- be in the moment and have FUN!!

Thanks for reading my blog=
This is April with FallPhototrips.com and YourPhotoTravelGuide.com hope you had a most wonderful Holiday season and check back for more photography tips, where to travel to get great images and more! carnaby_2016

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New Year 2017- January Photography Destinations USA

Yosemite in Winter....One of the 10 Hottest Cold-Weather Photo Spots !January is here again.
Stark landscapes- great places for using black and white. Locations that have architecture can really benefit as buildings are not hidden behind lush trees and foliage.
Birds gather and migrate to warmer places.

If you have been following the news- California has been getting a bit of rain which can mean snow

Yosemite National Park is a beautiful treasure in any season but to me especially stunning it is quiet season.. winter- fewer visitors and more places to take in the parks majesty and wonder.
Besides the waterfalls, and traditional valley views check out the parks schedule of daily nature walks, photography classes and more!
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/yg17-1.pdf

Plan your sunrise and sunset locations- many of the best photos take a little planning- be in a spot ready and waiting. A great guide to pick up is “The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite” by Michael Frye- pick up a copy before you go- Michael gives you details on locations=times and more-an excellent guide!

Give yourself time to wander- explore- you need to find your own unique place or image that inspires you- once you have collected your postcard image or that wall hanger just have fun or take some time to explore! And again it is always best to travel with a buddy- if you venture off alone be sure to let someone even if it is the front desk know where you are going and when to expect you back… many people are lost or disoriented and winter can descend quickly. Be smart- take a friend someone who enjoys similar activities and will allow you equal space to create and explore. yose_2011_bw

You don’t need to be an avid outdoorsman to take in the beauty or capture some great images here in the Park but you do need to be prepared.
Pack warm clothing- layers are best. A cold photographer is not one that is a happy or focused photographer. Look into fingerless gloves so you can still operate your camera. Warm socks- extremities- fingers-feet are most vulnerable to cold temperatures. Consider renting some snowshoes so you can hike a bit further into meadows or areas that off the trails a bit for unique winter perspectives or new takes on sights that have been photographed many many times.

Location and Camera tips:
Airport: Fresno http://www.flyfresno.com
Airlines that service Fresno- United, American, Delta and Alaska Airlines
Bus=public transport from Fresno – there may be service but you probably want to check first- Yarts is one. http://yarts.com/
Rental cars are available at Fresno Airport.
Lodging- highly recommend staying in the park to get the most out of your visit and increase your photography opportunities!
Yosemite Valley Lodge= originally known as Lodge At the Falls is my first choice for its proximity to the lower falls and valley floor, rooms are comfortable and you have dining options on site as well. Weekends will book quickly so plan ahead or be able to visit during the week.
https://www.nationalparkreservations.com/lodge/yosemite-lodge-at-the-falls/
Camera tips- extra batteries are necessary if out in cold weather.
Bring a back-up set-up. Tripod is really a good idea to get the sharpest images possible. A camera that is resistant to wet weather or be able to wrap your camera well.
Lens suggestions- this is really up to you as an artist but Yosemite is really about Big Landscapes- so a good solid wide angle lens for those postcard images, a macro for interesting and unique tight images that you may find right after a fresh snow or heading out on a trail. You may also want to do some night photography- so again a prime wide angle lens might be a good choice for long exposures for star trails.

Most of all- go explore- and have fun!! Your eye is unique and what you create will be special to you!
Explore and create!
Thanks for reading my blog and may you have an incredible 2017!

April
YourPhotoTravelGuide
http://www.fallphototrips.comyosemitewinter

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History in New England- Photo Day trips

New England is full of HISTORY! Historic spots can offer a wealth of opportunities for photography, architecture, events, and even just wonderful landscapes filled with old growth trees or at least properties that are being cared for continually which makes for great subjects for your photographs.

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Things to check before adding Historic spots to your photography stops is find out
1, Indoor photography yes or no.
2. Tripod or handheld only.
3. Location accessible such as the ground open after hours- some locations you can’t really lock after hours- so you can at least photograph outdoors at sunrise and sunset
4. Your use of the photos-many places are ok with photos for personal use- but selling them is where you may need permission etc.

Links:
http://www.historicnewengland.org
http://historicsites.vermont.gov/

Historic Sites

https://www.nps.gov/state/me/index.htm
http://www.nhstateparks.com/historicsites.html
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5 Places to Treat Your Father in New England

Fathers Day-that day when we honor our Fathers, with something more than another tie, or pack of golf balls.

New England has some great places to celebrate Fathers Day weekend-either for a day, a weekend or maybe a full week!MirrorLake2015

1.How about Lake Winnipeasaukee in New Hampshire-get a cabin by the lake, enjoy some time fishing, boating or just sitting and chatting with a cold drink!

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2.Catch the First Sunrise in the United States on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acacia National Park in Maine.

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3. Seek out a great meal- or again make a round of best burger places-such as Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock, Vermont.

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4. Ice cream at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory tour in Waterbury Vermont

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5. Plan a trip to the White Mountains for Hiking-walking and Photography! Spend time with your Father!

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The Maine Objective- A Dream-A Lottery?

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The Maine Objective… Being a Dreamer somehow and as of this morning I am not sure why I found this or how I found it. The Contest fell into my path, but now it caused my to spend a few sleepless nights considering it…

My Maine Objective- to share the home and Maine with others- no, not good enough, how would my essay stand out among 4200 others. I am a hard-worker but in the end not a great business person. I currently take my vacations every fall and return to Maine-chasing sunrise and those magical places that maybe no one else has captured and shared with a paintbrush or a camera click. The way the light might be hitting the lighthouse, or the storm rolling in across the Kennebec river that divided Bath.

With 6000 lakes and ponds, 3478 miles of coastline not including the islands, 3,166 off shore islands, and 67 lighthouses it would take a lifetime and many seasons to even begin to see it all! But here Bath, Maine sits- right in the middle really of the whole of Maine-at least along the Ocean- 3 hours to Bar Harbor, and Acacia National Park, a few hours north of Portsmouth NH which I basically considered the starting point to any of my Maine trips.

What would one do with a 6000 square foot home- I eagerly thought great a place for those I like to go photographing with, a place for family to visit, or others… but then I thought… need.. I didn’t need the house-in fact did anyone “need” a house that large? Here I was trying to simplify-get rid of additional bills and worries- taking on a 6000 square foot home seemed maybe a step in the opposite direction.

But the house and the dream has kept me awake.
Maine is an incredible place to go-summers swell with tourists, but come October the coves go silent, the morning fog sits and slowly burns off sometimes revealing a storybook cove dotted with boats and trees painted with the brushstrokes of fall, reds, oranges, yellows!

So here’s the Link https://winamainehouse.com/
Good luck in writing a 300 word essay to score a lifelong dream of living in Maine, or in anyplace painted with the magical light that has drawn Artists for years!
I just don’t think I am that lucky!

The deadline is today so good luck with YOUR MAINE OBJECTIVE!
https://winamainehouse.com/

My name is April and I am an artist who enjoys sharing the beauty of nature in these 50 states, including the Fall Colors in Maine- if you want to join one of my trips/tours check out the details at http://www.fallphototrips.com

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10 Tips for Leaf Peepers!

IMG_9210wayside
Somewhere I missed March, April and May… sorry my calendar has passed before my eyes! Actually I have been busy doing a combination of traveling and writing itineraries!

LEAF PEEPERS- that fun somewhat obnoxious group of people who descend on destinations like Vermont, Massachusetts and in general New England in a swarm come late September and last until sometime around the end of October.

Like the “Ugly American Tourist” we don’t want to be labeled as “that or Those darn Leaf Peepers” so it is important to follow a few tips!

1. DO get up EARLY for best light and to make use of the limited light in New England this time of year! Some of my best photos have been made in early morning light! http://www.sunrisesunset.com can give you exact times and if you look-most days in October you have about 12 hours of good light-give or take. Cloudy days or rainy days will feel like they get darker more quickly.

2. DON’T stop in the middle of a busy traveled road just for your Photograph. Choose your spot to park carefully and with consideration for other travelers or private owners. Don’t walk into chicken pens-barns private property!

3. DO stop. Don’t rush past that pumpkin stand or country fair-stop and get out-wonderful home-baked goodies await as well as meeting the locals!

4. DON’T be LOUD-observe a quiet voice when walking in the woods or standing by a wonderful waterfall- a bit of quiet is important in observing nature and you may spot that elusive moose with a bit of quiet!

5. Do ask locals where to go- stay in a locally owned bed/breakfast, small hotel and get great tips on restaurants or where that beautiful trail is! Locals WANT to share the best places and are thrilled when you ask!

6. Don’t forget to pack proper clothes like any good traveler- Fall weather is a mix of sunny 70+ days and can be a chilly bite of frosty 32 degree mornings-bring a hat both for sun or cold. Rain-gear, boots, be prepared and you will find your days much more enjoyable!

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7. DO bring a camera with plenty of space even if you have been before I always see new things to photograph!

8. Don’t overplan. Leave room for spontaneity, you won’t be driving at 60mph (please no), and there is more to see than you will have time for- you can always return the following Fall! There is often much to see in a small area, historic sights, trails, and you need some time to just sit and enjoy. You need time to walk that trail that leads to a waterfall.

9. Do plan ahead for special excursions- boat rides or anything involving tickets especially on fall weekends! New England gets approximately 5 millions visitors in the fall from all over the world and this number may not account for residents who also get out on the weekends to enjoy the colors, fall foliage cruises, and train rides!

10. Don’t be that “Ugly Leaf Peeper!” Wave when driving down country roads, be friendly at the country stores, SMILE, be courteous especially to the locals who may just be trying to get to work in the morning. Pull over and let faster moving vehicles pass you, let the locals get in and out of the convenience stores quickly- be patient and most of all just enjoy!! You aren’t working you are enjoying the beauty of fall in New England! NE_LAKE11

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February -Photographers Calendar – Blossom Trail California

blossom_landscape2016Blossom_Zoe-PoppyBlossom_FlowerBlossom_Zoe-End

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California is a wonderful destination for February. While many parts of the United States are still receiving snow, cold and grey skies California has warm days and opportunities for landscapes abound.
Death Valley is bearable- and this year with some rains there is what is being called an EPIC bloom of wildflowers.
Yosemite National Park experience a unique phenomena when the setting sun can create a glow appearing like FIRE against Horsetail Waterfall in the Valley. Be prepared to get there hours before sunset to get a spot and hold it.
In the mid section of the state where acres of Fruits and nuts grow.. the rows of trees all briefly bloom- pale pinks, bright pinks and white blooms, meanwhile the surrounding hills can be carpeted in bright greens and other wildflowers.

To find the Trees- take Highway 99 and exit when you start to see the trees- follow any of these roads many follow a grid. Be aware many the groves of trees are private property. Stay near the road or obtain permission before you just start trampling into the trees.
Fresno California is a good place if you need to stay over=night or on the Southern end you have Bakersfield. In between there are some newer hotels along Highway 99 check with your local AAA office, Holiday Inn, Best Western or Super 8 for locations.

The blossoms are beautiful and getting close to afford some wonderful images.

Places you may want to look for : The Blossom Cafe (closes by 2pm I believe but serves homemade pie!)
Simonian Farms –
the giant Teapot at Kingsburg California

Tips:
Fixed lens.
50mm or portrait lens for some wonderful portraits
16mm, 18mm or 24mm for some wider angle images to include various compositions of the trees-trunks or rolling hills you may encounter on your way.
Filters such as a polarizer may be helpful to adding some dimension and depth to a washed sky or one that has only a hint of clouds.
Most of all take some snacks and water- there are a few small towns here and there but you may get caught up in the chase of the colors,fruit stands, nuts for sale and honey tastings along the way!

Thank you for reading my Photography blog.
My name is April and I enjoy photography, eating local foods and the thrill of driving down backroads in search of new vistas! Hope you will join me on my next Road Trip, day trip or longer adventure.

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