Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Summer of Sunrises

Summer 2014 was the Summer of Sunrises for me.  I had always preferred sunsets, simply because they occur at an hour when I'm usually awake.  I never realized how superior sunrise actually is until this summer.  That's not to say that I never saw a sunrise before this summer, I just never really took it in.

The first thing that really got me into sunrises was photographing the horses warming up at the Oklahoma Track in Saratoga.  I did that once last summer and several times this summer.  I recently blogged about my summer at the track here, but on this post, you'll see some photos I didn't include over there.
The morning fog, which is somewhat unpredictable, is one of the things that sets sunrise apart from sunset.  

Another sunrise I experienced this summer was at the Saratoga Battlefield.  It was here where I really got to experience the beauty and tranquility of nature in the morning hours.  And man, that light breaking through the trees was out of this world!
Saratoga Battlefield Sunrise Behind the Trees

Sunrise at the Saratoga Battlefield

Kosciuszko Monument at the Saratoga Battlefield

Morning Light Hits the Trees at the Saratoga Battlefield (Panorama Version)

Spider Webs at the Saratoga Battlefield

Sun Coming Up Behind the Neilson House

Foggy Morning Light

Looking Up at the Neilson House at Sunrise

To me, getting up to capture a sunrise isn't just about capturing the sun itself rising, it's about capturing the array of fast-changing light that occurs just before sunrise and continues for almost an hour after.  At the Saratoga Spa State Park, the sunrise wasn't incredible, but the morning light was still beautiful.

Fishy Hall of Springs

State Park Sunrise

Morning Light on Saratoga Spa State Park

Now that summer is over and I'm back on my teaching schedule, I won't be photographing sunrises quite as frequently. Until then, I'll just enjoy the photos I captured this summer.

Tools I used to create the photos this post:  Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USMCanon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM, Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer 2014 at Saratoga Race Course

It was a whirlwind summer. This summer I spent a lot of time on my photography, and with the Saratoga Race Course practically in my backyard, I took to the Oklahoma Training Track, the main track, and the back stretch to photograph horses in a variety of different environments.

On several occasions, I went to the Oklahoma track at dawn to photograph the horses warming up.  The first time I went, I had my Tamron 150-600mm rental with me.  This lens has an incredible range and a decent performance for the price, but the slow aperture made it difficult to use in a number of situations.  If I were to invest in a telephoto lens, I'd rather have a faster aperture and less range, where I could add a teleconverter when needed.
Morning Workout @ 600mm

Oklahoma Track Viewing StandThe Whitney Viewing Stand allows you to view the horses from above without the rail getting in the way, but I find the composition from that vantage point to be less interesting.

One morning, my friend let me use her 300mm f/2.8 lens.  She warned me that I would become addicted, and she was right!  This lens is something else.

One of the Last Summer Sunrises

Oklahoma Workout Series 9

At the Training Track

Another Sunrise at the Oklahoma Track

Onto the back stretch.  Another friend allowed me to use her 70-200 during one of the back stretch tours I went on. 

Back Stretch Workout Pan

The 70-200 has a great IS feature that compensates for only vertical movement when panning.

Back Stretch Breakfast

Horses in Stables at the Back Stretch

Meeting Buddy at the Saratoga Backstretch

At the back stretch tour you get to meet Buddy, a pony who helps the race horses stay calm.

Horses Warm Up at the Backstretch

Stick Out Your Tongue!

Trotting Horse at the Backstretch

Now onto the main track!

Here Come the Horses

Which Horse?

Saratoga Race Course:  Watching and Waiting

Saratoga Race Course:  Waiting for the Horsies to Go By

Out of the Gate

Happy Travers Day!

Horse Bath Time


Number 6

Grand Stand Crowd

At the end of the summer, I made a sort of time lapse of many of the photos I took at the track.  I thoroughly enjoyed capturing the sights and scenes of the track, and I can't wait for next year!

Tools I used to create the photos this post:  Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USMCanon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM