By Trish Minogue Collins 7-24-19
“Right place, right time,” was the humble reply from photographer Steve Mitchell when I complimented him on his image. Steve implied that his shot was just pure luck. As a photographer myself, I can tell you that a shot like that, and frankly all of the inspiring photos you’ll see in this collection, requires a whole lot more than dumb luck. An artistic eye is one element, but there is so much more than that.
Even being in the right place at the right time takes experience and planning. These photographers have an intimate knowledge of the Long Island landscape. This is vitally important when you’re tracking a storm and need to quickly decide on a vantage point that will give an interesting foreground and also provide you with some cover. You’ll see that Steve Mitchell and Marty Losco captured the same bolt from different locations. Both foregrounds are intriguing and masterfully done. These decisions are often made very quickly as we battle through Long Island summer traffic! On the other hand, images involving celestial events can take days or weeks of planning.
Many of these photographers are familiar with all our local landmarks and plan for when the sun or moon will line up for an interesting shot. One master of this is Fred Greco. He’ll show up anywhere from Montauk or Orient Point to Manhattan and beyond to line up the perfect shot of moonrise or sunset. His “Manhattan-Henge” photo involved scouting the best vantage point, arriving early to stake it out, and holding his ground when the crush of people descended. Of course, it also involved extensive knowledge of what is called “the exposure triangle.” Someone recently asked me what settings I use for sunsets, and I replied that it depends on so many things. Every sunset is different. Cloud cover and composition will dictate your settings. A bright clear sky and a dark foreground, like Fred had, demand a tremendous amount of skill to expose and process correctly.
Equipment is another factor. One piece of equipment most of us can’t live without is our cell phone (not for taking the photo, though that works in a pinch!) There are a multitude of apps photographers rely on. There are weather apps, tide apps, surf apps, and celestial apps that help us plan our shots. There are light meter apps and depth of field calculators for while you’re shooting, and editing apps for processing. All these apps are useless if you don’t have a decent camera and lens and experience with using them. Intimate knowledge of your camera is very important. Conditions can change quickly in landscape photography, and you need to be able to change settings quickly. If you want to try your hand at night photography, like the moon shot by Danielle Leaf or the fireworks shot by Karl Tepfer, you’ll need a tripod. If you want to capture a dramatic long exposure to smooth the motion of water, you’ll need some high-quality neutral density filters. Having the right equipment and using it correctly takes research and experience.
So you see, Steve Mitchell’s shots were not just “right place, right time,” and it was definitely not just luck. The only luck involved with those shots is that he lived to tell about it!
As always, if you’d like to purchase an image from one of these artists, we will put you in touch!
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