Brief Adventure

Vogel State Park - GeorgiaThe stars aligned perfectly yesterday morning. Well, almost perfectly. I found myself with a 3 hour window in my schedule that I could spend any way I wanted. I chose to make a 1 hour drive to Vogel State Park. It is a 10 to 15 minute hike to the falls from the parking lot leaving me 30 full minutes to go shoot before I had to head back to the city for an appointment at 10:30. The 60 minutes between hiking and shooting was well worth the 2 hour drive. I was able to get away from everything and breathe in some fresh air. I hope I will be able to find some more time this weekend. This image was captured with my new 50mm f/1.4. You can find a high-resolution image on my site at http://www.tobygant.com/vogel#h2549844d.

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Cloudland Canyon State Park – Georgia

Cloudland CanyonWe were not able to go for an adventure last week due to poor weather. We made up for it this week in a major way when we visited Cloudland Canyon State Park near Rising Fawn, Georgia. The park came highly recommend by a friend. (Thanks, Elise.) And it definitely lived up to all the hyperbole. We only had a limited amount of time to spend at the park and we chose to visit the falls this time out. I’m very happy we did. It was truly an adventure. I felt a million miles away from everywhere. I can’t wait until we can visit again. This shot was captured with my 16-35mm f/4. I simply love shooting landscapes with this lens. As always you can see a high-resolution version on my site at http://www.tobygant.com/cloudland. Thanks for stopping by.

Panoramas

We went to Black Rock Mountain State Park near Mountain City, Georgia over the weekend. We trekked the 2.2 mile Tennessee Rock Trail. What an incredible view! The overlooks inspired me to attempt panoramas. This particular panorama is three images shot horizontally and merged in CS5. I took another that is 9 images shot vertically and merged. CS5 makes it easy to accomplish. The detail in the 9 image shot is incredible. I will definitely be making many more attempts at panoramas. But, as far as my first attempt is concerned, I am calling it a success. I do recommend shooting vertically if you plan to attempt one. I plan to post several images from the shoot to my website this week. Please stop by and take a look at  http://www.tobygant.com/blackrock. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Spring Break

Green PeacockLast week was spring break for the kids. We got out and explored parts of Atlanta. I was able to capture this image of a peacock. I like how he seems to flow across the frame like a colorful wave. The image was captured around mid-day and the lighting was simply terrible. I was able to introduce enough contrast in post to save the image. Adobe Lightroom is such an incredible and easy to use tool. If you have not used it, I would highly recommend downloading the demo and giving it a try. It simplifies your workflow in so many ways. For me it makes working in post almost fun. You can see more of my images on my site at http://tobygant.com.

Sweetwater Creek State Park – Georgia

Sweetwater Creek State ParkAdventure was the order of the day this weekend. The weather channel was calling for thunderstorms in the area and we decided to try to beat the weather. We visited Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs, GA. There are ruins of a textile mill that was burned by Union troops during the Civil War. The trails are marked and maintained well. We were able to make it to the end of our trail just as the showers came. The mile hike back to the car in the rain was still fun. It definitely made it a memorable trip. This image of Sweetwater creek can be found on my site at http://www.tobygant.com/sweetwater#h1c5e86b8.

Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls

I woke early this morning looking for an adventure. I revisited Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls. It’s been a few years since my last trip. Since then my equipment and my abilities have improved. It really showed when I pulled them up in Lightroom. I had several captures that I am extremely happy with. As, a matter of fact one is already framed and on the wall. (An honor normally given to only those captures that stand the test of time with me.) The rain held out while I was in the park. I truly do not remember ever having more fun with my camera than I did today. The tumblers all fell in place. I knew which shots would be the best when I squeezed the shutter. You can see this shot and more on my site at http://www.tobygant.com/unicoi. One of the shots in the folder was taken with my trusty old Nikon D80. If you stop by the site, you’ll probably be able to tell which one it is just looking at the thumbnails. (Although I love the composition, the quality is just not quite the same.)

Blue Spring State Park – Florida

Great Blue Heron by Toby GantAs stated in my last post, my trip to Blue Spring State Park was a success. I walked away with several images that I was happy with. I captured the images from the St. Johns River Cruises and Tours narrated nature and ecological cruise. It was a great time. Shooting from the moving motor-powered platform provides its own set of challenges. I’ll  definitely increase my shutter speeds and my active VR if I make the journey again. But, the amount and variety of wildlife we were able to observe would not have been possible shooting from the shore. Recalling the days events, I think I will need to take another day off work soon. Maybe I’ll take 2 next time.

This image of the Great Blue Heron was captured using my 70-200 f2.8 and 2x teleconverter. You can see more of my images of Blue Spring State Park at my site. http://www.tobygant.com/bluespring

My Day Off

Blue SpringI took the day off work Friday. The long hours and stress are wearing me down like never before. I woke about 4:30 am and drove down to Blue Spring State Park with a friend. They have a wonderful boat tour that takes you along the St. Johns River. They basically take you in search of wildlife for a little over 2 hours. The trip did not disappoint. There was wildlife everywhere. I’ve already begun going through my captures for the morning and I can see now that I will be busy in my off time posting images. I have several captures that I already love and I have not even taken the images off the other card. It was a wonderful day for shooting. I hope everyone else has a great day behind the glass as well.

Suwannee River Outing

It’s been a little while since we’ve been able to get away to a park. This weekend we went to Big Shoals State Park in White Springs, Florida. The park sits against the Suwannee river. The park is off of the beaten path, which makes it even more alluring to me. We got off to a late start on the day. Which means we weren’t able to take advantage of the trails. Fortunately, the river is easily accessible from the parking lot. This image is an HDR created from 7 images using the LRenfuse plugin for Lightroom. It was great to be back outside even if just for a short time.

Silver River State Park – Florida

So, my family’s quest to visit all of Florida’s State Parks continued this weekend. We visited Silver River State Park near Ocala, FL. Trail hiking was the order of the day and the kids were troopers. (I’m not certain it’s exactly their idea of a good time.) And they made the best of it. Silver River is a beautiful park and we really enjoyed the scenery. We saw wildlife along the way. There was a water snake, an alligator tortoise, and an alligator that came in close to see what we were doing there. There weren’t a terrible amount of photo opportunities. But, everyone had a good time. We plan to return and canoe the river next visit. The image shown is an HDR image compiled from 6 bracketed images taken 1 stop apart. I compiled the image using the LRenfuse plugin & Adobe Lightroom 3. Lens was my Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR. I’m really starting to love this lens. It is a great piece of glass.

Flight to Freedom – Fort Mose

I attended the “Flight to Freedom” living history event at Fort Mose Historic State Park in St. Augustine, FL today. Not only did I learn a little about history. But, it was a fun photo-op.