It feels weird to be writing about beach photos on this 50-degree October day. My fingers are too cold to type about summer vacation! But that’s what I get for procrastinating a couple weeks. Here is the second half of my photos from our vacation last month to Corolla, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. You can find part 1 of these photos here. I’m writing a little bit about the compositional and technical choices I made for each of my vacation photos. The first set of pictures went over well, so I hope you enjoy the second set.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I brought only one camera body (Canon 5DII) and two lenses (70-200 f4 and 16-35 f2.8) on this trip. I brought no flash or other lighting equipment. I thought the technical simplicity of these photos would make them helpful examples for novice photographers to learn about my shooting process.
This sunset photo is one of my favorites from the trip. It was the view from the backyard of our rental house, which faced the Currituck Sound on the west side of Corolla. I love the way the sun dissolves into the water. My goal here was symmetry. I kept the horizon in the center of the screen, and an even amount of orange on the top and the bottom. The sun is one third of the way from the left, which is sort of consistent with the Rule of Thirds. (Except I wanted the sun centered vertically.) I shot it at 200mm to eliminate any light blue sky or water, and to make the sun look as big as possible. As with any landscape photo, I kept the horizon straight. Crooked horizons are a no-no for most pictures.
Last week we spent the final days of summer on vacation with my family in Corolla, North Carolina. We stayed in a waterfront rental house with my dad and my cousin and her family. Unfortunately my mother wasn’t able to attend, due to a work conflict. We missed her! But the rest of us had a wonderful week of beach time, biking, kayaking, and sight-seeing. Danny hasn’t stopped talking about the beesh (beach) and the bool (pool) ever since we got home. I loved seeing him so happy.
I thought that I would post the pictures along with brief descriptions of the technical and compositional decisions behind each one. I hope this will be helpful for novice photographers out there!
I took only two lenses on this trip: a Canon 16-35mm f2.8, and a Canon 70-200mm f4. That’s my most common way of packing light when I travel for vacation. If I want to pack very light, I bring only the Canon 24-70mm f2.8, because it is a great mid-range lens with lots of general usefulness. If I have room for two lenses, I prefer bringing a wide angle and a lightweight telephoto. Lenses with extreme focal lengths make for more dramatic photos than normal focal length lenses can offer. I like a little drama.
For this photo of the geese, I used the 70-200 at f4. I saw the flock of geese resting on the lawn by the Whalehead Club while the landscape crew was mowing the grass. I knew that the lawnmowers would eventually inspire the geese to fly away, so I hurried over toward them and waited. Sure enough, they took off shortly thereafter. I squatted low in the grass to make sure the geese would appear above the horizon in my photo, to enhance the sense of flight.
Liz and Jeremy
October 2, 2010
Mike and I traveled to Florida last weekend for Liz and Jeremy’s beautiful lakeside wedding. They got married at Town Manor, which sits next to Lake Juliana outside Orlando. The venue faces west, so we had a great view of the sunset through the palm trees. I loved their autumn theme and orange and purple colors. October is one of my favorite times of year!
Congratulations, Liz and Jeremy! I hope you’re loving your honeymoon!
Mother and baby capuchin monkeys
Damas, Costa Rica
August 3, 2010
Here’s the final set of our photos from Costa Rica. On our last day of the trip, we took a boat tour through a mangrove forest near the town of Damas. The tour gave us a close-up view of snakes, birds, and lots of monkeys. One of the monkeys even jumped on our boat!
White-faced capuchin monkey
Manuel Antonio National Park
Quepos, Costa Rica
August 1, 2010
Last Sunday Mike and I spent the day at Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. The park is famous for its gorgeous beaches and abundant wildlife. Of course I loved the monkeys! We saw capuchins and squirrel monkeys, as well as iguanas, raccoons, and lots of other animals.
Quepos, Costa Rica
July 31, 2010
Last weekend Mike and I spent an afternoon hiking through Rainmaker Park, a series of trails and rope bridges through the rain forest. It was one of my favorite days of the trip, and certainly a great one for beautiful photo opportunities.
6-week-old and 3-month-old baby marmoset monkeys
The Blue Banyan Inn
Quepos, Costa Rica
August 3, 2010
Mike and I just got home from a week on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. July 30th was our fifth anniversary, so we decided to take a vacation/babymoon to celebrate. We wanted to go someplace warm and tropical, and completely different from our normal daily routine. Mike wanted a beach, and I wanted monkeys. So Costa Rica it was!
We stayed at a miniature resort called the Blue Banyan Inn, near the town of Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park. The Blue Banyan is a bed-and-breakfast owned by an American-Canadian couple named Jim and Barbara. The Inn has just four cottages, a pool, and a restaurant where they served a delicious breakfast each morning. It’s quite a bit out of town, nestled in the rolling hills of the rainforest. The only sounds were those of the birds, insects, and frogs. The peaceful tranquility was divine, especially during a rare break from my busiest time of year.
One of the greatest aspects of the Blue Banyan Inn is that is also the site of an animal sanctuary operated by a non-profit organization called Kids Saving the Rainforest. Barbara and Jim and the volunteers take care of 22 marmoset monkeys at the sanctuary, including these four orphaned babies. Every morning they would bring the four babies to the hotel, and let me keep an eye on them as they prepared breakfast. These baby monkeys were absolutely adorable, and one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.I’ll be posting our Costa Rica photos in four sets, starting with these photos of our hotel and the monkey sanctuary. Stay tuned for more!
April 27, 2010
I spent the last four days on a camping trip in Moab with Mike and our friend Betty. As I mentioned in my last post, Betty’s beloved dog, Idgi, is suffering from lymphoma and doesn’t have much longer to live. Last weekend the three of us decided to take Idgi on an adventure this week, which could be her last. Then on Sunday morning, we packed up Mike’s Jeep with three people, two dogs, and camping gear, and headed west. Eight hours later, we were in a vast desert wilderness with towering red rock cliffs.
We set up camp next to the Colorado river, and spent our days hiking, 4-wheeling, and sightseeing. The dogs loved it, of course, and we loved making them happy. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to spend in Moab. We’ll definitely be back.
Me at Lake Tahoe
Mike and I traveled to Lake Tahoe last weekend for Amanda and Stephen’s wedding, and decided to turn the trip into a mini-vacation. We flew out a couple days early, and splurged on a lovely room at a lakeside resort. We drove all the way around the lake, and enjoyed several stops along the way.My favorite part of the Tahoe area was that it offered the best of all seasons. In one day, we saw people skiing, snowboarding, sledding, sailing, scuba diving, and lounging on the beach making sand castles. It must be a wonderful place to live.
Stephen and Amanda
The Chateau at Incline Village
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
April 18, 2010
Amanda and Stephen got married Sunday in breathtakingly beautiful Incline Village, Nevada. I loved their engagement session so much that I knew their wedding would be fantastic, but I had no idea just how laid-back and adventurous they would be! They were even willing to hop around on lakeside rocks when I suggested it, which gave them an opportunity to have pictures like this one. I had so much fun photographing them by the lake that I was downright giddy.
Thank you, Amanda and Stephen, for bringing Mike and me to your wonderful wedding. We loved it!
Hi, I’m Charlotte! I’m a photographer in Reston, Virginia. I love hiking, running, and exploring the world with my husband and young son.