Category "photography"

Last night I drove out the the West Kennebunk Plains known to locals as the Blueberry Barrens. I knew that this area would be a prime location for getting a shot of the Moon as it was barely over the horizon as its an area of perhaps a few miles in every direction that has no built up areas, giving ideal viewing conditions for stars and planets as there is very little light pollution.

I used timeanddate.com to find the exact time of the Moonrise and then used my Mobius Sky Map iPhone app to find the exact direction the Moon would be rising. I drove out and arrived 10 minutes or so before the moon was due to rise and set up my tripod.

I used a point and shoot Canon Sx40 as well as a Panasonic Lumix x60. I was surprised and happy to see that other astrophotography enthusiasts showed up with the same idea. As the moon rose over the distant tree line I was impressed with its reddish hue, looked like a giant version of Mars almost as its slowly crept up and over the trees before settling to its more regular white/yellowish tinge.

Below you can see a few photos I took of this adventure, hope you enjoy. Next week when the sky darkens again after the moon is gone I intent to do a star rotation photoshoot and plan to put the results of that here.

moon1d

moon2

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I have been taking photographs for just shy of a decade since I emigrated from Scotland to the North East United States. Since the day my father in law put a camera in my hand I was hooked on getting shots that where out of the norm.

I always try to capture scenes that have strange lighting, weather or just surreal in mood. I have always enjoyed astronomy since viewing the Hale Bopp Comet of 1997 and have for many years enjoyed looking at astrophotography.

I have decided that this should now be my main focus of my photographic journey from this point on. The world looks very different after dark and I find it very inspiring to stand outside and gaze up at the stars, not only for their beauty but to contemplate our place as people in the grand scheme of things and to put any problems into perspective when you realize just how inconceivably enormous the universe is.

Below I would like to share a collection of recent astrophotography experiments as well as some shots that go a few years back. I hope you enjoy and if you do like what you see please feel free to share this page with friends and also to follow me on the various social media channels you can find links to in the header of my website.

The Night Sky

A rare event compelled me to grab my camera and stand out in the cold autumn air for 2 hours. A complete lunar eclipse coincided with a super moon (when the full moon is at its closest point to earth) giving us a “Super Blood Moon”. I stood in my back yard with my wife watching this event unfold with scary accuracy on the timing. We joked about civilizations of a bygone era looking up in fear at such events and how far technology and our understanding of astronomy has come.

At approximately 9:08pm eastern standard time we started to notice a small “bite” being taken out of the left side of the moon. It took about 1 hour for the earths shadow to completely obscure the moon and finally bask it in a dim reddish light. Looking at it (aged 37) at the time of this writing I realized with amazement and some horror that the next time I would see such an event would be when I am in my early 50s and my now infant sons would have grown up to be men by then. Below you can see a composite of the photos I took with my trusty Canon SX40 Powershot camera.

In years to come it will be amazing to see how much further cameras evolve, see you for the next one in 2033!

Super Blood Moon of 2015

Super Blood Moon of 2015

2014 was a frustratingly slow year in a creative sense – In the past 12 months I moved state, bought a home and welcomed a second baby into my family, so it was a year of great success but this took a toll on spare time for art & design.
I have a sense of optimism about 2015 and wish to do so much more in the next 12 months. My goal is to take photos as often as possible and to push forward with my traditional artwork both in pencil art as well as branching into oil on canvas works, and to further my knowledge of web design and development to enable myself to showcase my work in the most cutting edge ways possible.

Click on any photo to view in greater detail.

In early February 2012 I was sitting at home, bored and thinking what could I do to entertain myself. Being a photography enthusiast I grabbed my DSLR and along with my wife brainstormed some ideas about potential subject matter. At the time I was living in Salem Massachusetts in an old house built in 1800 (possibly 1790) and the topic of ghosts came up. Having done some light painting photos back in 2006 I came up with the idea of a fake ghost photo.

To begin with we thought of having one of us run around the corner of the hallway into the living area to capture some light streaks in motion. Then I remembered a Christmas present I had received – a small RC helicopter that had a floodlight at the front. Suddenly I was thinking of possibilities for photography opportunities. I then thought of old horror movies like “Poltergeist” and “The Entity” a mix of stairway ghosts and electricity came to mind and this was the birth of a photo that went on to win me national acclaim.

Fast forward a few months, and I am at home after a day at the office, jaded and waiting for dinner to be ready and the phone rings. An unusual number so I am hesitant to pick up thinking its likely just a telemarketer. I answer and for about 10 seconds am confused as the person on the other end is talking about my photography and saying I am a finalist in some contest. Then I suddenly remember that a month or 2 before on a whim I had seen a banner on YouTube for a contest staged by Oscar winning director Ron Howard and Canon Cameras and entered the photo into it for fun.

Over the next month I used all my online and social media savvy to get my photo noticed and voted for by friends, family and colleagues. It paid off dividends when I received a call from Canon’s PR agency informing me I was one of the winners and was in the running to be selected by 1 of 5 celebrity directors to have my photo serve as inspiration for their film to feature at the Project Imagination film festival in Manhattan. Being from a small town in Scotland I never would have thought 10 years prior that (a) I would be living on the other side of the Atlantic and (b) I would be a winner in a US wide photo contest.

A month or 2 later a series of emails went out from Canon’s PR agency informing people of the celebrity selection process. The second email that went out was regarding Twitter founder Biz Stone’s selections. I was amazed to see my name and photo mentioned in the selection. I called my family to inform them and couldn’t believe how things had turned out.

A lot of waiting, talking online with fellow winners and joking amongst colleagues at work followed. Finally I received an invitation the the Big Apple to see my vision come to life in front of a cinema full of talented photographers, and celebrity guests. I spent 4 nights in Manhattan – surprisingly my first trip there for a guy who had spent 7 years in the Boston area and I can say it was a real trip to remember. I arrived at the Lincoln center in the theater district of Manhattan with my wife and great expectations for what the night would bring.

The reception before the films where shown was a real extravaganza. As I walked in I could see my photo on a massive monitor with a clip from the movie it was incorporated into. It was almost like a spoiler – but a happy one as I was glad to see it was used in a very literal way. I mingled with some other contest winners, introduced myself, took photos and just basked in the atmosphere of such an event.

We all went into the auditorium about an hour later to view the films. 10 films where shown in all – 5 directed by celebrities and 5 by contest winners on their own budget. I can in all honesty say the quality of the films was fantastic – every film for me had some draw and I was very interested to see how others pictures had transitioned to the big screen. The second film of the night was directed by Biz Stone and entitled “Evermore”. It had strong themes of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic poem “The Raven” and was a dark but ultimately uplifting drama starring Lisa Eldestein (House), (As Good as it Gets), (What Women Want) to name a few. To see my photo on the big screen in front of a theater of hundreds of people was a surreal and amazing experience to say the least.

After the films ended everyone gathered for a party upstairs in the Lincoln Center’s main lobby. It was weird to be in a room with people like Jamie Foxx and Eva Longoria etc. I was very pleased to get the opportunity to spend some time chatting to Biz Stone (Twitter Founder) to thank him for selecting my photo as well as having the courage to portray an experimental light painting in such a literal way – a way that truly honored the original photograph. It was a real highlight of my creative journey so far and it only gives me more encouragement to keep pushing the boundaries of art and photography. Sitting here now a couple of years after the whole adventure began in the woods of Maine, it only confirms the fact that if you try in life – anything is possible.

Below are some photos from the evening itself as well as the film that the photo helped inspire.

A still from Evermore on the left and my original photo on the right.

A still from Evermore on the left and my original photo on the right.

The Finished Film “Evermore”

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