Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sunrise on Monhegan Island


Finally, I can share my Monhegan Island photos! I bought a new DSLR camera, a Canon EOS 70D, after giving my old Nikon D80 to my daughter for a photography course. In May I took my new camera on a writing retreat on Monhegan Island. When I tried to share my RAW photos, they were unreadable. Eek! The solution was updating my photo processing software. Lightroom 5 has cool new features. Have you ever taken a lighthouse photo that resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa (original photo at left)? Lightroom 5 can correct the wide-angle lens distortion (see top photo.)


My new Canon handles tricky lighting much better than my 2008 camera, but it's heavier, especially with an 18-135mm zoom lens. Even with an image stabilizer, it was hard to hold steady for a long exposure. Luckily my rental apartment had a deck with a flat railing overlooking the harbor. I held my breath and braced my elbows. Next time, I'll pack a tripod. Still, I'm impressed by how well the Canon captured twilight over the dimly illuminated dock, circling gulls and all.


The harbor was peaceful but not especially quiet. Before dawn, I was woken by a barking dog. I opened my eyes to rosy light and reached for my camera. Pulling a jacket over my pjs, I stepped out onto the deck. It was too early for lobstermen or birders so I had the beach to myself.



East of the harbor, the colors were shifting through the spectrum.


It was as if the lighthouse were illuminating the entire sky.


When I glanced back down at the harbor, I thought I was dreaming. After days of fog and rain...


I found gold!


The rainbow doubled, arching over the harbor. A wide-angle lens couldn't capture all of it. 


Even the seagulls seemed to watch in wonder. 


I'm not usually a morning person, but nothing is more lovely than the first light.


I will revisit these photos as I revise my novel, inspired by this special place. 


Disclosure: I received no free products nor any help from Adobe. Photoshop Lightroom 5 is a great product, but Adobe customer service is terrible. Luckily B&H Photo, where I bought my camera, has really good technical support both on the phone and in the NYC store. After trying several options, I liked the Canon EOS 70D best of all. I still need to figure out how to link the touch screen via wifi to an iPad. This post is dedicated to Barrie Summy and other island lighthouse fans.

16 comments:

Charlotte Agell said...

Love that light!

Kristen Lindquist said...

Monhegan truly looks its most magical in first and last light. Beautiful images, Sarah!

Rosemary said...

It looks an inspirational place for both the artist, and the writer - photographers too.
Isn't it wonderful that we can capture these evocative moments forever?

tina said...

Beautiful photos. Oh my gosh you paint such an idyllic setting with your camera!

Donna said...

What gorgeous pictures, and what a great camera! You have inspired me for my own picture-taking in New England this summer!

cynthia newberry martin said...

Sarah, your photos are STUNNING. The colors--the blues and oranges and yellows. Wow. I think my favorite is the lighthouse lighting the whole sky. I have been so pleased with my iPhone photos until recently--and the thing I'm noticing is just that--the colors. It's not always picking them up.

troutbirder said...

Wonderful photography, Sarah. After seeing your pictures, I've decided I must go down to the sea....:)

A Cuban In London said...

Except for your first photo of the lighthouse, which is beautiful, I'm unable to see the others. I don't know why. They are not coming up, not even when I click on them. I'm going to have to sign out and sign back in to see if that's the problem. Thanks anyway, the first shot is wonderfull.

Greetings from London.

Sarah Laurence said...

All, thanks!

Kristen, don't you miss it?

Cynthia, the iPhone does remarkably well for a phone, but it doesn't have the light sensors of a new DSLR. Also shooting RAW records more info than a JPEG. You see the difference in sunrise, rainbows, sunset and other tricky lighting. I knew it was time to upgrade my 2008 DSLR when my iPhone was taking better photos!

ACIL, try again with a faster internet connection. I'm still getting used to the new software and accidentally uploaded large images. In future posts I will downsize for the blog. Sorry!

Sarah Laurence said...

ACIL, I downsized and reloaded the photos so they should be easier to view.

kacky said...

So you got a new camera!!!! I have been playing around with the idea and actually looking at that Canon- I don't take photos any where near what you do/ as good as you but I am trying to learn. I get frustrated sometimes but I know- patience…..I love my camera but am wanting one that does a little more….. I have the Rebel (Canon). Great shots. (no shocker there). Every time I read your posts I want to go to Maine. It looks incredible.

Sarah Laurence said...

Kacky, thanks! Rather than buying a new camera, I'd recommend spending the money on a digital photography course, ideally at an art school. I took a summer school course ages ago in darkroom photography and have applied the skills I've learned there to digital photography. The Canon Rebel is entry level DSLR, but it's still a very good camera. You probably wouldn't know how to take advantage of the more advanced features in a professional grade camera unless you took a course. My camera is actually harder to use because there are more options, and the camera is heavier and harder to hold steady.

Rose said...

Amazing photos, Sarah! You are as much an artist with a camera as you are with a paintbrush. I'm not an early morning person either, but any time I visit a beach I always try to get up before dawn at least a couple of days to enjoy the beautiful sunrises. You've captured the light so well.

Cat said...

I love this post so much! There is nothing better than capturing a special moment! I'm glad you're enjoying your new camera. There is a bit of a learning curve. I'm trying to learn a new camera too. It's interesting how they can be so different and individual. The new one is so much more sensitive to light that a lot of my images seem blown out so I'm slowly figuring it out :)
I do enjoy the challenge.

Looks like your time away was refreshing and so enjoyable. A teensy bit jealous that you got to put a jacket on before you headed out the door!

☆sapphire said...

Wonderful and fascinating photos, Sarah! I've fallen in love with Monhegan Island. You are so lucky to have the island in Maine. I found your disclosure very interesting. I've also heard that the Canon D70 is really great! I particularly love the rainbow shots and the last one. The color blue is beyond words!! It is funny that the Canon Rebel is called "Canon EOS Kiss" in Japan. Almost no Japanese people don't understand what the Canon Rebel is(grin). Maybe because of Japanese kawaii culture, the canon camera has been called "Kiss". My camera are Nikon D7000 and Olympus EPL1. I think the Nikon is a little too heavy for me and the Olympus is too old. Now I'm thinking of getting a lighter one. Have a nice break and enjoy it to the fullest!!

Petra Pavlátková said...

Sarah, the photos are lovely. The first light is indeed wonderful and photographers willing to get up early have a definite advantage. :)

I had to smile when reading about you holding your breath and bracing your elbows while taking the captures in the bad light. I do it almost always when taking a photo in the effort to get my shots sharper... :)

I read everywhere about how the new Lightroom is great and I was thinking about buying it. But then, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements and it seems to me that it has everything the Lightroom has and everything I need so I'm not sure I wouldn't just double the options. Do you have any experience in this regard?

As for the Adobe service, I'd like to add that I was more lucky when once I was trying to solve a problem with installing their software repeatedly. I contacted their online support and the guy who was there helped me to go through and resolve the situation.

Wishing you many pleasant and enriching moments spent with your new camera!! :)