Tag Archives: Assabet River

February 2017 Wallpaper

I was pawing through my February archives and ran across a series of abstracts of the Assabet River that I shot in 2012.  I don’t normally do abstracts as part of the wallpaper series, but strangely enough I did one last February.  Although shot two years apart the mystery and lightness of these images obviously keeps getting my attention.  I hope they look good on your screens – it really comes to life when it is displayed on a big surface.

Looking forward to Spring…

Here are your wallpaper options:

Download the 1024×768 version here. (Great for your iPad)

Download the 1280×800 version here.

Download the 1366×768 version here.

Download the 1920×1080 version here. (HDTV widescreen)

Download the 1680×1050 version here.

Download the 2448×1836 version here. (iPads with Retina Screens)

Technical: Canon 5D Mark II, EF 24-70mm f/2.8 @35mm, 13 sec at f/14, ISO 100.   Processed in Lightroom CC. Surprisingly few adjustments – just some basic exposure tweaks to compress in the highlights and bring out the shadow areas (below the surface): Canon Camera Neutral profile; EV -0.1; highlights -37; shadows +64; blacks -44; clarity +9; vibrance +15.

January 2017 Wallpaper

Happy New Year!  This month’s photo was selected with two, somewhat opposing, thoughts in mind.  The first is to express my best wishes for the new year that is dawning upon us.  On many fronts I think it will be a hard-fought one in which to find joy, but the good things we believe in are worth fighting for.  And there is always the light of a new day.

The second thought that went into this selection is bittersweet.  The photograph, albeit from January 2010, is of the Assabet River in my backyard here in Maynard.   In 20-something days we will be handing over the stewardship of this part of the river to Jillian and John as Betsy and I move to (a far less picturesque location in) Fitchburg.   We’ve been here 30 years and we will miss the sound of the river waking us up each morning and singing us to sleep at night.  It has provided me with literally thousands of hours of scenes to photograph and treasure.  Our children and our grandchildren have dipped their feet in the water along the river’s shoreline, thrown hundreds of stones into it, forded its currents, and fed the occasional duck.  It’s time for a new generation to enjoy the gifts nature has provided us here in our little corner of the planet and we’re so very happy that the new owners are in as much love with the yard as we are and we’re sure they will take good care of it.

Here’s to fond memories of a small stretch of a small river … and the joy of discovering the beauty of the new vistas just over the horizon!

Here are your wallpaper options:

Download the 1024×768 version here. (Great for your iPad)

Download the 1280×800 version here.

Download the 1366×768 version here.

Download the 1920×1080 version here. (HDTV widescreen)

Download the 1680×1050 version here.

Download the 2448×1836 version here. (iPads with Retina Screens)

Technical: Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f/2.8 @70mm, 1/15 sec at f/6.3, ISO 100. Processed with Lightroom CC, neutral profile. White balance pushed to 11000K to capture the warmth of the low light.  Generally few exposure tweaks: +0.2EV, highlights -37, whites +61, clarity +20, vibrance +20  Strong contrast curve.

July 2016 Wallpaper

July 2016 Wallpaper

A photograph from July 2008 when I spent many a warm evening photographing osprey at the Assabet headwaters in Westborough.  This photo has something both subtle and amazing every time I see it: the water lily is literally indented into the water with surface tension inconceivably not broken.  Considering this is in the middle of a large body of water is a bit of a testament to how still it must have been that evening in July…

Download the 1024×768 version here. (Great for your iPad)

Download the 1280×800 version here.

Download the 1366×768 version here.

Download the 1920×1080 version here. (HDTV widescreen)

Download the 1680×1050 version here.

Download the 2448×1836 version here. (iPads with Retina Screens)

Technical: Canon 1D Mark II, 500mm f/4L IS, 1/1600 second at f/7.1, ISO 400. Handheld from kayak. Processed with Lightroom CC.  Minor exposure tweaks: Ev-0.8, whites +28; linear contrast curve with slight tweak to the “darks” part of the curve, masked sharpening.

March 2016 Wallpaper

March 2016 Wallpaper

March is not a month that produces a lot of great “spring is here” photographs.  We’re really in between winter and spring and it varies greatly from year to year as to whether you are outside on the right day to find a good photograph.  I dug 10 years into my archive to find something that didn’t have snow and ice…  I hope you enjoy this little sign of spring.

Download the 1024×768 version here. (Great for your iPad)

Download the 1280×800 version here.

Download the 1366×768 version here.

Download the 1920×1080 version here. (HDTV widescreen)

Download the 1680×1050 version here.

Download the 2448×1836 version here. (iPads with Retina Screens)

Technical: Canon 1D Mk II, EF 70-200 f/2.8 L, with 1.4x TC at 210mm, 1/640, f/5, ISO 400. Handheld from kayak. Processed with Lightroom CC 2015 – minor contrast tweaks and spot exposure adjustments.

February 2016 Wallpaper

February 2016 Wallpaper

While searching for a February photograph that didn’t have ice in it I found a series of abstracts I did of the river in 2010 and 2011.   I’ve made a print of the above photo years ago and it is one of my favorites.  I know that abstracts aren’t what I normally use as the monthly wallpaper, but hey, it’s not an ice formation!

If you are interested in how the photograph was made, scroll down to the technical discussion below.  If you are just wondering what you are looking at, it is a river flowing over some rocks with reflections of the sun “drawing” patterns on the water’s surface (done with a long exposure).

Download the 1024×768 version here. (Great for your iPad)

Download the 1280×800 version here.

Download the 1366×768 version here.

Download the 1920×1080 version here. (HDTV widescreen)

Download the 1680×1050 version here.

Download the 2448×1836 version here. (iPads with Retina Screens)

Technical: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L at 125mm, 2 seconds, f/14, ISO 100, ND and polarizing filters. Processed with Lightroom CC 2015.

While, in some sense, all photographs have some level of “previsualization”, when you start moving the camera into the non-human realm of vision there’s a lot more thinking about how the various parts of the photographic process are going to come together when you finally click the shutter.   Details on how I got to this point are documented in this article I wrote at the time (Feb 2010)

Here is the unprocessed photograph.   It still represents an abstract photograph because anyone standing next to me would see glints of sunlight on water flowing over some rocks in shadow.  As your eye would scan the scene your brain would make out the light and color of the rocks below the surface, but the sun is just a collection of sparkles and droplets of spray.

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What happens in the camera is that in a 2 second exposure those sparkles and droplets of spray embody the word photography: they are drawing with light.   The f/14 aperture assures that the sun’s “etching” on the water will be a very fine point (and frankly, I don’t own enough ND filters to bring the light down any further.) The result is an un-natural look of one of the most fundamental scenes in nature: sunlight on water.

From there we have to deal with the limitations of the camera vs. the human eye and brain.  For the camera, the brilliant sunlight on the surface overwhelms the sun-lit bottom of the river, so we have to expose for those highlights and bring out the details in the shadows later.   Once I have the image in Lightroom there is a lot of competing contrast adjustments going on to “compress” the light captured by the camera closer to the mid-tones that you would see if you were standing there.  Here’s essentially what I did for this image:  EV +0.7, highlights -50, shadows +13,   black point -55, clarity +44, vibrance +15,  saturation +10,  linear curve with highlights -15, darks +44, shadows -13.   Sharpening was also pretty aggressive: 113 with a strong low-contrast mask (59).