13 Aug Lake Wateree From Sun Up to Stars in the Sky.....

by Russell Smith August. 13, 2019 197 views

When at the lake I rise early 20-30 min prior to sunrise so I can drink my coffee and watch the sky and lake turn colors. Most mornings I do not photograph the sunrise because well I would have to wake up a few hours before to drink coffee and get my 2 brain cells sparking. On this morning the sky turned from Pink to Orange as the glowing ball rose in the East. Clouds moved in and hung around as the sun rose.

I decided to play for a moment and focused the lens to infinity checking focus at the far end of the lake (few miles away). Then I metered off the clouds and set the aperture to an insanely small aperture (for me anyway) . Pointed the lens at the sun and clicked the button . No way was I checking my comp through the lens while at 600mm . I enjoy my sight and well looking back this probably was one of the lets see what this small wire (electric fence) running around the garden does when I pee on it moments.

However the results are rather cool and different. Other than adjust the color temp to what I remember seeing and adding contrast through the highlight and shadow sliders I did nothing else to this shot. I think there maybe a sun spot at the 6ish Oclock position. Not sure I would have to dig through SOHO data to see if it was there or not.

After another cup of coffee I decided to take a stroll to see what I could see hoping for a Red or Grey Fox ... No love for me on them yet.

I was luck enough to stop and then Gods' spotlight hit a stump . This guy landed and I grabbed a shot. If you are wondering it is a Juvenile Bluebird. This was not what the scene was like I just lightened the shadows so you could see more of the bird; however the scene was closer to the next shot.

Head and body was in deep shadow and the spotlight was shining on the blue feathers making them glow. I did lighten up the head area mainly because well I set the shutter speed for the meter (spot) on the feather that were blue. I wanted them about 1/3-2/3 stops above a 0 meter reading. This was because honestly for me that was the important part of this shot. The blue and bit of speckles on the back.

Later that evening my mom and I took another walk and we saw some rabbits. They are a bit weary because they tend to get chased out of the garden which they manage to break into the fence that is suppose to keep them out. I guess the plants are sweeter on the other side of the fence.

This guy that is above is something that confused me. It is a Black and White Warbler and in South Carolina it is a Winter species. August is too early for it to arrive here. Something that I confirmed by talking to the manager at the county park I visit. Even he has seen several which confused him too. There have been a few other winter species spotted in the last few days also by him . I wonder if that means an early winter is coming (here is to hoping ... Sorry for the northern neighbors that are cursing this wish right now).

No clouds in the sky and the moon was on a shorter cycle in the night sky so around 10ish my mom and I went out to see what we could shoot.

A thunderstorm across the lake was providing light for the clouds and the yellow on the left side of the frame is Great Falls, SC a small town Northeast of where we were.

I shot a few frames down the lake and the houses provided the light in the center of the frame and the storm illuminated the clouds. The red lights in the sky is planes. The property is located near flight paths for Charlotte NC and Columbia SC maybe even Augusta Ga.

If you squint your eyes just right the milky way is in the shot from right top corner to bottom left corner. I need to practice in OnOne how to process this to get better results. At this time of the night the main part was almost overhead and honestly for all of the light pollution I am happy with getting this frame.. I have some more practice to go before I am happy with my captures but looking back I do see improvements from past years.

Now a few months ago my mom was in the market for a new camera so I asked some questions on what she wanted feature wise and a few more question I recommend for her to go to Best Buy and handle both a FujiFilm Camera body and an Olympus body . She went for the Olympus body mainly due to the in body image stabilization. I have shot a few frames with the camera (EM 5 Mark II) and honestly I love it. Battery life is a bit shorter than my 77d but not a major issue. Well I mention this because there is a feature on it called Live Composite. Basically set the iso and aperture turn it to the Live Comp feature and then set the shutter speed. Press the button first time for a base frame and then press a second time to start the process. Once your happy with the image look on the back of the camera screen to stop press the shutter a 3rd time. You can do some nice star trails this way.

Photo Credit Susie Smith aka Mom

Photo Credit Susie Smith aka Mom

This is about a 15ish min exposure and was the first attempt to see how the feature would do. Pointed roughly north . We took another 2 or 3 frames after this with a couple of different compositions this one was my moms favorite .This practice will allow her to give this a shot on her adventures when she is in a location that has nice night skys.

I can say I am honestly impressed with the noise capability of that camera body in some ways it exceeds what the larger asp-c sensor in the Canon 77d does. Yes there is some noise at higher iso but it is a bit closer to film grain but not to the extent of Fuji which to me as odd as it sounds I enjoy images at higher iso due to the way the noise renders.

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There are 23 comments , add yours!
Heike 1 month, 3 weeks ago

This set is remarkable !!

1 month, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Heike 1 month, 3 weeks ago

:) Thank you.

1 month, 3 weeks ago Edited
Meghan Mccrorey 2 months ago

The sunrise and night sky shots are awesome. I really enjoy your pictures and stories.

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Meghan Mccrorey 2 months ago

I appreciate it .

2 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 2 months ago

Wow! Great variety! 
Thanks for sharing all these fascinating images!

ps..thanks for "liking" my "anonymous artwork" image

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Jay Boggess 2 months ago

:) My pleasure and thank you

2 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Russell Smith 2 months ago


2 months ago Edited
Buster Bruce 2 months ago

Impressive set of photographs Russell. I would have to go with #9 as my favorite. You described the "streaks" as airplanes passing. Did you photograph during the Perseid meteor shower?  Of course the birds and rabbit shots are wonderful as well.

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Buster Bruce 2 months ago

It would have been to early for the Perseid to show up in any of the shots.

2 months ago Edited
Ram Ya 2 months ago

Thanks for sharing this beautiful set with us, Russell!
#7 is my favorite. So beautiful and calm.

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Ram Ya 2 months ago

:) Thank you.

2 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 2 months ago

Excellent series. Beautiful captures. The lake....soooo peaceful.  Love the sunrise shots as well, but most of all what made me spit out my coffee this morning while laughing out loud was your fence comment, perfect! Sometimes its worth living dangerously .😉

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Camellia Staab 2 months ago

:) That is true . The lake is to me the perfect location within a few hours of where I am at the moment for me to relax and recharge.

2 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 2 months ago

A very peaceful post full of beauty and tranquillity. Love it

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Antonio Gil 2 months ago

Thank you :)

2 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 2 months ago

Very nice set,love the sunrise. I also love a bit of noise in some photos.

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Berckmans Peter 2 months ago

As long as it is not from Canon I would agree for some reason Canon's noise is abrasive to me 99% of the time.

2 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski 2 months ago

Wow! So much to love in this set: the bunnies, the little bluebird, and the warbler! But wow, the night sky shots take the cake! Just beautiful.

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Bethany Plonski 2 months ago

It was a perfect night to do them.

2 months ago Edited
Lynn F Medley 2 months ago

I love you and your mom’s walks,, beautiful images!

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Lynn F Medley 2 months ago

smile Thank you.

2 months ago Edited
Sherry Hill 2 months ago

wow.. your night sky shots are incredible.. the milky way - just wow..

2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Sherry Hill 2 months ago

It has been a progression for me. I will shoot them figure out what I do not like about that set and then how to figure out how to not do that again. It was also helpful that I had a nice night to get out there and shoot.

2 months ago Edited
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