2018 in Review, Part 2

Last week, I posted Part 1 of my year in pictures for 2018. This week, I pick up Part 2 in July.  It’s really been an incredible year, personally and professionally for me. I hope all of you have a great finish to 2018, and an amazing start to 2019.

As always, my work is available at my website in the form of prints, home goods, and more. Check it out!

And now…. part 2 of my Best of 2018!

Sunrise at Spring Point Ledge
Sunrise at Spring Point Ledge. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is often overlooked when thinking of local lighthouses to photograph. It doesn’t offer the drama of Portland Head Light, or the charm of the Nubble, an hour south. But there’s something about this lighthouse, perched at the end of the breakwater at the entrance to Portland Harbor. I often visit and photograph here and have found some of my favorite sunrises and sunsets here.
Wolfe's Neck Reflections
Wolfe’s Neck Reflection. When I first moved to Maine, and found a home in Freeport, I was often told I needed to visit Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. I still don’t get there as much as I’d like, but each time I go, I’m surprised at the natural beauty and peace I find here. This morning was no different, as the waters of Casco Bay were so calm, they reflected the sky as the sun rose.
Dawn at Potts Point
Dawn at Potts Point. I love Orrs and Bailey Islands, just south of Brunswick, Maine. There are many great spots to catch a sunrise and a sunset, but I was unprepared for the vibrance of this sunrise when I walked into Potts Point Preserve back in August. It was one of the most colorful sunrises I’d ever seen.
Tall White Asters at West Quoddy Head
Tall White Asters at West Quoddy Head. I almost missed this one. I had been photographing at West Quoddy Head State Park in August, and was just about finished up for the morning and ready to go find breakfast. I was walking back to my car and saw this grouping of flowers decided to take one last shot using the flowers for my foreground. It’s easily one of my favorite shots of the year.
The Seoul Skyline
The Seoul Skyline. In September, I went to visit my brother at Camp Humphrey in South Korea. We spent a couple of days in Seoul and one of the highlights was having some great German beer in a beer garden in Namsan Park. Then, once the sun set and the lights came up, I photographed the Seoul skyline at twilight. Seoul is an amazing city, on the leading edge of technology, sprawling amongst the mountains of Korea.
Moss Glen Falls And Deer Hollow Brook In Black And White
Moss Glen Falls And Deer Hollow Brook In Black And White. It’s not often that I choose black and white for my images, but the images from this visit to Moss Glen Falls in Vermont seemed to make the decision for me.
Autumn Waterfall in Hallowell
Autumn Waterfall in Hallowell. Vaughan Woods has become a regular haunt for me, especially in the fall. This year, we had some heavy rains so the waterfalls were flowing especially strong on this visit.
Early Morning In The Old Port
Early Morning in the Old Port. Portland’s waterfront has long been a draw for me. I’d never photographed one of its centerpieces, the United States Custom House. In October, I decided to rectify that and managed to catch a sunrise there. The 19th century architecture in the area brings such a historic feel to the city.
Autumn Sky at Wells Beach
Autumn Sky at Wells Beach. I first stumbled upon Wells Beach 20 years ago on a visit to Maine. Now that I live here, I knew I would go back. At low tide, the beach is just full of interest, with rocks, reflection pools, and sand that sometimes ripples from the wind. My favorite time there is sunrise at low tide, when the pools reflect the morning color.
High Tide at Dusk
High Tide at Dusk. I love Portland Head light. I also especially love clamoring across the rocky shoreline to find a perch that gives me a foreground of waves crashing violently and the lighthouse stoically standing watch. On this night, I left work and raced to make sunset at the lighthouse. I had 10 minutes to spare, climbed out on the rocks and took a handful of images before the light faded.
Tidal Cascade At Cape Neddick
Tidal Cascade At Cape Neddick. I love high tide at the Nubble. The rushing water over the rocks always creates such interest, so even when the sky isn’t dramatic, the water on the rocks is.

 

Have a great year!

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2018 in Review, Part 1

As 2018 inches closer to the finish line, I always find it interesting and enjoyable to go back over the year through my photos, and remember who I was with, where I was, what I was doing, and what else was going on in my life at that moment.  My images are very much a part of who I am, and while they may evoke different meanings for others, based on their own experiences at the places I photograph, for me, they are reminders of the accomplishments, challenges, and big moments of the past year.

2018 has been no different. Overall, 2018 was an incredibly good year for me. I did more exploring of Maine, found some new spots, revisited some old ones. Crossed Vermont off the list of states I hadn’t visited yet, and taught some workshops at some of my favorite locations.

This year, I found I had more photos than usual make the cut.  I also wanted to give each photo some love and give a brief explanation of the image, so this edition covers from January through June. Stay tuned for part 2, which will be posted next week.

As always, all of my images can be purchased as prints at my website.  Without further comment, here is 2018 in review, in chronological order:

Icy Morning at Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
Icy Morning at Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. New Year’s Day, 2018. Easily, this was the coldest day I’ve ever been out photographing. The temperature was -14°F with a wind chill of -24°F. Somehow I came away with several good shots of this day, but this one, where the sun broke through briefly and gave the sea smoke a pink and purple tone, is my favorite.
Winter Freeze At Marshall Point
Winter Freeze At Marshall Point. This image was taken one week after New Year’s Day. The temperature was a slightly warmer -4°F. There wasn’t any sea smoke this far into the harbor, but the ice that glazed the rocks made for an especially interesting foreground.
Newfallen Snow At Pemaquid Point
Newfallen Snow At Pemaquid Point. It had been snowing the night before but was expected to clear by morning. I got up early for sunrise and drove an hour to Pemaquid Point, hoping that one, I could make it there without getting stuck, and two, the snow would be as good as I hoped. I was very careful not to walk anyplace I felt might be in the photo, making a big circle around the area I expected to photograph. For two hours, I was the only person there, enjoying the sound of waves crashing on the rocks, the peacefulness of the snow-covered landscape as the sun rose, and natural beauty before me.
Barns At Jenne Farm In Winter
Barns At Jenne Farm In Winter. Jenne Farm is one of those iconic locations everyone needs to photograph. I haven’t had what I would call “ideal” conditions there yet, but I’ve gotten some good shots each time I’ve vistted. This shot was my first time there, as I scouted locations for a workshop I was teaching.
Winter at the Maple Sugar Shack
Winter at the Maple Sugar Shack. Visiting this quintessential Vermont location was an experience I won’t forget. As one of the instructors on a workshop, it was amazing to see the students come up with different images from a single, simple location. I just love the bright red maple sugar shack against the stark white of a freshly fallen snow.
High Tide at Cape Neddick
High Tide at Cape Neddick. This was an early March day, and I was hoping to see some color in the skies for sunrise. It wasn’t to be, but a storm at sea provided some dramatic wave action.
Afternoon Reflection at Portland Head Lighthouse
Afternoon Reflection at Portland Head Lighthouse. There is simply so much to see at Portland Head, that the compositional opportunities are endless. Yes, it’s a heavily photographed lighthouse, but if you’re willing to explore and find a different point of view, it’s very easy to capture interesting images. This pool is a case in point. At low tide, it’s easily accessible, and creates a beautiful reflection of the lighthouse.
Gathering Clouds at Pemaquid Point
Gathering Clouds at Pemaquid Point. The sky put on a show on this evening at Pemaquid Point. While it wasn’t a colorful sunset, the dramatic clouds made it a beautiful evening.
Windows Of The Lobstermen's Shop
Windows Of The Lobstermen’s Shop. I saw this scene in Friendship Harbor, and must admit another photographer showed it to me first (Thanks Janie!). I love the textures of the weathered old building, the repetition of the three windows, and the brightly colored buoys that indicate exactly what the building is.
Spring Morning at Marshall Point
Spring Morning at Marshall Point. I was teaching a workshop along midcoast Maine the morning I made this image. The tide was low, giving us a unique angle on the sunrise behind the lighthouse. It was gratifying to have my students out on the rocks with me, as everyone was able to capture stunning images of the scene- even those who a day or two before would not have ventured out on those rocks!
Doubling Point Lighthouse
Doubling Point Lighthouse. Visited this lighthouse for the first time in the late spring. It’s a quiet little spot on the Kennebec River, just south of Bath. While it lacks the drama of some other lighthouses, it was a fun shoot with lots interest on the banks of the river.
Dory in Bernard Harbor
Dory in Bernard Harbor. I was assisting on a workshop in Acadia and we were photographing what appeared to be a somewhat bland sunset in Bernard Harbor. Suddenly the light turned magical. The lead instructor called to me and pointed out this white dory with bright yellow paddles moored to the dock. He used a tripod to push it out a bit away from the dock, and some of the students took a few shots. When they were done he asked if I wanted to grab a shot. I took a few shots and then we called it a day. The warm afterglow of sunset with the darker water and the dory in front of the fishing shacks and stacks of traps make this a magical image for me.
Young Barred Owl in Acadia
Young Barred Owl in Acadia. While walking the paths at Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park, I came across three barred owls in the trees near the path. Two were juveniles, while the mother watched them from a distance. I’m not usually one to go searching for wildlife to photograph, but I had added the Tamron 100-400mm lens to my bag for occasions just like this one. That lens earned its place in my bag that day.
Fern Layers
Fern Layers. I’m not one for photographing plants much. But once in a while it can be fun to turn my lens towards flowers and plants. This fern was in Asticou Azalea Gardens, near Acadia. I liked the different layers created by the leaves, and, I liked the play of light and shadow coupled with the shallow depth of field.
Dusk at Schoodic Point
Dusk at Schoodic Point. On the last night of the Acadia workshop I assisted on, we headed to Schoodic Point and were treated to a spectacular sunset. I used a Benro graduated neutral density filter to help balanxe the exposure in the sky with the foreground exposure. This puddle on the rocks reflecting the sky provided the perfect foreground interest. The perfect ending to the workshop.

My Best of… 2015??

Ok… so… maybe I’m not the best at this blog thing. I’ve written here intermittently since about 2009, but haven’t really been consistent with it. The past two years I’ve tried to post more regularly, with varying degrees of success depending on what’s going on in my life.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been going through images from 2018 trying to choose the best for my Best Of post to recap my year photographing. It’s fun for me to go back and look at images I made over the past year, and remember what life was like at those times.

As I was reviewing this year’s images, I realized that I hadn’t done a post reviewing 2015. 2015 was a pivotal year for me in my photography life. My career was totally turned upside down- I had left Canon USA the year before to join Lytro. For the first half of 2015, I criss-crossed the country training camera stores on Lytro’s cutting edge refocusing technology.  While I was excited about this new tech, and their camera, I also still saw a place for traditional stills, so my Nikon (you read that right) was always with me as I traveled. In March 2015, Lytro threw up its hands, deciding that they didn’t have what it took to bring their ground-breaking technology to the photography world at large. I was kept around to help get rid of stock, but my time there was done by July.

So a good portion of this portfolio represents time when I was on the road for Lytro. And the rest is what I did after Lytro gave up and cut all us photo types loose, thinking they could make more headway developing for virtual reality instead. Spoiler alert: They didn’t.

2015 became a crossroads of sorts for me. My landscape work took noticeable steps forward. I saw a lot of personal growth, stemming from personal trials and tribulations. But I’m still here, still clicking, still growing. It’s amazing how much things can change in three years.

As always, my work is available for sale at www.rickberk.com.

Without further ado, in no particular order, my best of 2015:

Sunrise Over The East End
Sunrise Over The East End
Cape May Twilight
Cape May Twilight
Lower Kaaterskill Falls II
Lower Kaaterskill Falls II

Golden Sun
Golden Sun
Sunrise, Sandy Hook
Sunrise, Sandy Hook
Oaks In Laurel Hill Park, Mount Pleasant, SC
Oaks In Laurel Hill Park, Mount Pleasant, SC
Sunrise In The Smokies
Sunrise In The Smokies
Autumn Glow
Autumn Glow
Cape May High Tide
Cape May High Tide
Sunset at Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse
Sunset at Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse
Tumult
Tumult
Cape Kiwanda Twilight
Cape Kiwanda Twilight
Day's End in Cannon Beach
Day’s End in Cannon Beach
Skyline Arch in the Late Day Sun
Skyline Arch in the Late Day Sun
Winter's Glow at Montauk Point
Winter’s Glow at Montauk Point
Jersey Afterglow
Jersey Afterglow
Mount Hood Reflections
Mount Hood Reflections
Dallas Aglow
Dallas Aglow
Marin Headlands
Marin Headlands
Sunset at Water's Edge
Sunset at Water’s Edge
Sentinel Dawn
Sentinel Dawn
Sunrise on Sentinel Dome
Sunrise on Sentinel Dome
Tunnel View in Black and White
Tunnel View in Black and White
Steel City Glow
Steel City Glow, Pittsburgh, PA
Mount Rainier Meadow
Mount Rainier Meadow
The Magic Bus
The Magic Bus

 

 

 

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Get free shipping this weekend on all of my work at Fine Art America! Use code BBFTRJ to receive an additional discount. Offer ends at midnight on Sundayn night, November 4th 2018.
Get free shipping this weekend on all of my work at Fine Art America! Use code BBFTRJ to receive an additional discount. Offer ends at midnight on Sundayn night, November 4th 2018.

I don’t like to do too much overt advertising here, but Fine Art America, where my images are available as prints and more, is offering free shipping all weekend, starting today through midnight Sunday!

To take advantage of this, all you need to do is visit Rick Berk Artwork Collections and find an image you like! For an added bonus, only for readers of my blog, use code BBFTRJ to receive an additional discount. Don’t wait, the offer ends Sunday night at midnight!

Sunrise at Marshall Point
Sunrise at Marshall Point

Alaska

Alaskan Dream
Alaskan Dream

It’s been eight years since I was last there, but Alaska is a place that has stayed with me every day since I’ve left. I was lucky enough to spend 10 days there in 2010, with 5 of those days spent camping in Denali National Park.  We camped at Wonder Lake, and I remember how magnificent the view was as we rode the park bus all the way in to Wonder Lake Campground. The sun was shining with lots of clouds hovering around Denali like a crown on its head.

The Road To Denali
The Road To Denali

As we made camp, I was shaking with anticipation of the beauty that awaited us the next day. I had planned to hike the tundra, amongst the kettle ponds, grabbing shots of Denali reflecting in the glacial waters.  The next morning, we took a flight over the mountains where I captured some of the most spectacular images of my life. However, shortly after our flight ended, the rains moved in and remained for two days.

Mountain Peak in Black and White
Mountain Peak in Black and White

The third day, the rains let up and we got some hiking in, but clouds continued to shroud the mountain and keep Denali in hiding. I was able to make a few images I liked, but it wasn’t what I had originally planned, so there was a level of disappointment. As a landscape photographer, you don’t always get to dictate the weather so I made the most of things.

Hidden in Denal
Hidden in Denali

The next day, we boarded the park bus around sunrise for the six hour trip back to the park entrance and four hour drive back to Anchorage. As we were riding along the park road, the skies began to clear and Denali showed her face through the clouds. It was still heavily cloudy, but the little peeks through the clouds made for some interesting images of the mountains.

Returning to Denali is definitely on my list, but the images I captured allow me to relive the last visit each time I look at them. To see more from my trips to Alaska, visit my website.

Alaskan Peak In The Shadows
Alaskan Peak In The Shadows
The Nubble in Black and White

Chasing Sunrise at Cape Neddick

The Nubble in Black and White
The Nubble in Black and White

The first time I visited Maine, in 1998, the first place I visited, other than the bed and breakfast we stayed at, was Cape Neddick lighthouse, otherwise known as the Nubble light.  The Nubble is a small rocky island about 100 yards off shore in the Gulf of Maine. The view of the lighthouse from the shore, evokes romanticized images of a lightkeeper diligently keeping watch, keeping the beacon illuminated to assist ships at sea. I found myself immediately drawn to the Nubble, as so many other photographers have been- Cape Neddick Lighthouse is among the most photographed in the world.

High Tide at Cape Neddick
High Tide at Cape Neddick

It’s been a while since I saw a truly spectacular sunrise at the Nubble, so on Monday I decided to head out and see if something would materialize. Unfortunately, the clouds hung around longer than the weather report I was following predicted, so I ended up with a gray morning without much color.  Thankfully, the clouds moving through were dramatic, so I decided to think in terms of some dramatic black and white imagery. The surf was churning due to a storm at sea that had left the area the day before, so I knew the waves washing over the rocks would create interesting patterns as well, which would also render nicely in black and white.

For the main image in this post, I decided I wanted to try a long exposure. I’d been getting exposures of about 1/3 of a second and knew I wanted at least one minute. I had already been using a Benro 4-stop soft edge graduated neutral density filter to hold down the exposure in the sky, so I pulled out my Benro 10-stop neutral density filter to give me a dramatically slower shutter speed. My shutter speed for this exposure was one minute and 18 seconds. This allowed me to get dramatic movement in the sky and caused the water get a softer, misty look.

Morning Reflections of Cape Neddick
Morning Reflections of Cape Neddick

Since most of my work usually consists of more vibrant color, working in black and white tends to be a rare occasion for me. I did manage to get a few color shots as well. As the morning wore on the sun poked out from behind the clouds and added a little warm light to the scene. Then, I ventured back on Wednesday and sunrise was slightly more colorful. Just slightly.  So after months of not having photographed the Nubble at all, I spent two mornings this week trying to capture new images there. I still haven’t gotten my spectacular sunrise there, but I’ll keep trying.

Winter In Vermont

Barns at Jenne Farm in Winter
Barns at Jenne Farm in Winter

Last week I had the pleasure of being one of the instructors on a Hunt’s Photo Adventure in Woodstock, Vermont. We had a full class of attendees of varying abilities, and a beautiful area of the country to use as our subject. Workshops like this are fun because of the exchange of ideas that goes on between experienced photographers, and the numerous lightbulb moments that happen with the less experienced photographers when explaining various principles of photography, or helping them get past a specific challenge.

Winter Evening on Cloudland Farm
Winter Evening on Cloudland Farm

We based ourselves in Woodstock, Vermont, and visited several landmarks, such as Jenne Farm, Cloudland Road, and a maple sugar shack. Unfortunately, Mother Nature chose not to cooperate fully. While we had some fresh snow when we awoke Saturday morning, skies had been gray Friday afternoon when we started, and remained after the snow Saturday morning.  Well, photographers nutty enough to get up before dawn and spend hours outside in the cold aren’t about to be deterred by a little flat light and gray skies! So we got out there and made images with the light we had.

Winter at the Maple Sugar Shack
Winter at the Maple Sugar Shack

I always enjoy seeing how different people see the same subject differently.  It helps me to look deeper into a scene, look harder for a shot besides the obvious,  and makes me a bit envious when someone sees something I didn’t! At the same time, I enjoy when I saw something differently than others did, and can help them see it as well.

Dusk at Sleepy Hollow Farm
Dusk at Sleepy Hollow Farm

The other challenge for me is the technical help people need with their cameras and lenses.  This is less fun than the creative side for me, but just as important. When you have a group of 10 or 12 photographers, you can potentially get 12 different cameras. Not everyone needs assistance but you never know who will. Thankfully, I’m familiar with most brands to one degree or another, having put in seven years working for Canon, shooting Nikon for the past three and a half, and a Fuji kit for a year as well. I can pretty much find any setting on most cameras given enough time.

Winter Afternoon in New England
Winter Afternoon in New England

I’ll be teaching on 3 other workshops this year for Hunt’s Photo Adventures. In April, I will be in the Great Smoky Mountains. May will find me right at home in Midcoast Maine, and in October I will be in Solon, Maine for an autumn adventure. For all of these I will be assisting Don Toothaker. Would love to see you there!