Happy Halloween!

Abandoned house near Roper North Carolina.

Abandoned house near Roper North Carolina.

Haunted House

When I first saw this abandoned house near Roper North Carolina, while I was on a CNPA camera club outing, it brought to mind a Halloween card, haunted house. Once I decided on an idea for my photograph, and what I was trying to convey, I tried to use my photographic knowledge to enhance the idea and eliminate anything that did not contribute to the idea of a haunted house.

 Wide Angle Distortion

I used the distortion of my wide-angle (16 x 35mm) lens, set at 16mm to make the house appear to be leaning backwards. This makes for a more unsettling haunted house. I also wanted the leaves on the grass to be prominent in the photo. I set my tripod down low pointing up the short hill, about 10 inches from the first leaf. The distortion from the wide angle lens is greater the further from level the camera is tilted.


I could have captured the dynamic range of this photo in one shot since it was gray day with little contrast. But I knew that using HDR (high dynamic range) would bring details out in the clouds that one image couldn’t accomplish. I took three photographs, each two stops apart and combined them using Nik software’s HDR Pro plug-in.

 Continue To Develop the Idea in the Digital Darkroom

While developing photographs in the digital darkroom I try to remember the idea behind the photograph and continue enhancing this idea with Adobe Lightroom. I made sure to disable the lens profile corrections, I even used the manual lens corrections in Adobe Lightroom to tilt the house back even further.

 Nik Software

I want to thank my photo buddy and fellow workshop leader, Dan Beauvais for helping me with the filters in Nik Software, Color Effects Pro 4. We used the midnight filter and the detail extractor filter to really enhance the spooky feeling of this image. It was a lot of fun messing around with this photo, trying to create a spooky haunted house.


Happy Halloween!


Posted in Photo Tips | Comments Off

Fetch With A Fish

I was recently at Wancheese NC on the Outer Banks, teaching a private photo workshop when we spotted this retriever playing fetch with a fishermen unloading his catch. The fishermen would throw a fish in the water and the retriever would dive in get the fish then swim around to the boat ramp and bring it back to the fishermen. The retriever had obviously played this game many times. We hung around and photograph the fishermen untangling the catch from the net, the retriever playing fetch, and some close-ups pattern shots of all the fish caught. It was nice of the fishermen to let us photograph them while they were working.

A retriever plays fetch with a fishIn Wancheese NC.

Pattern of fish ready to be taken to market on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.           A fisherman untangles his catch from a net in Wancheese, NC on the Outer Banks.

Wanchese Harbor is a great photo destination. It is a real working fishing village located on Roanoke Island. You can expect to photograph everything from stacked up crab baskets, old rusty fishing trawler’s, colorful buoys, fishermen at work, and a multitude of close up photo opportunities. It is a little off the beaten path and most of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Outer Banks don’t know it exists. It is well worth the 20 min. drive from the beach. I also recommend having lunch or dinner at the Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant overlooking the Wancheeses Harbor.


Below is a slideshow and link to my Wancheese photo gallery.

Wanchese Harbor – Images by Daniel Waters

Posted in workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kite Handler

Kite Handler 3485 display_450WM

Each year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Kitty Hawk Kites presents its annual Kites with Lights festival for residents and visitors to the Outer Banks.  The store staff bring their largest kites to the top of the East Coast’s largest sand dune, Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head, NC.  With power generators ready, the fasten Christmas lights to the kites, and send them soaring for an airborne celebration of the start of the Christmas season.

And each year, I climb to the top of Jockey’s Ridge, armed with lenses, cameras, and a tripod.  I enjoy capturing images of the backlit kites before the sun sets.  After the sky darkens, I capture time lapse light traces as the Christmas lights dance in the breeze.

Just as I reached the top of the second ridge, about an 30 minutes before sunset, I noticed a young man about to pick up a flag-themed kite.  Since he was between me and the low sun, I immediately thought of a silhouette.  As he lifted the kite, the color intensity of the backlit kite struck me.  I got five shots in less than two seconds, then the opportunity was gone.

I didn’t set out to make this image.  It just happened when I was in the right spot, but I will take credit for being there with a ready camera, and the vision to see it taking shape.  Luck favors the prepared mind.

It only happens once in a while – where I know I have a killer shot waiting on my memory card.  This was one of those moments.  I made hundreds of images that evening, more backlit kites, more dancing lights.  But those few seconds of the silhouetted young man handling the backlit kite was burned into my mind.

And fortunately, the images that popped onto my monitor when I downloaded the card didn’t disappoint.  I succeeded in recording in bits and pixels what I recorded in my mind’s eye!

- Dan Beauvais

Posted in Abstracts, Patterns, Photo Tips | Leave a comment

22 New Photos Added to My Website

I have had a wonderful couple months photographing these 22 new photos Up-and-down the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I hope you enjoy them.

See all 22 new photos here:

22 New Photos Added

Pier Impression

Standing Ovulation

Posted in landcape photography, piers, seascapes, workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Workshop Participant’s Photos

Shawn Pustay recently visited the Outer Banks, NC and participated in two  Sunrise and Sunset Photo Workshops, Sunset at Jockeys Ridge, and Sunrise at Manteo Waterfront.

Shawn e-mailed us about the workshops she attended, “I really enjoyed both you and Dan B., I learned a lot at both workshops.”

These are some of the photos she captured during the workshop’s.


Shawn, thank you for letting us share these wonderful images with everyone else.

Posted in landcape photography, workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red, White, and Blue – Look for the intimate details

Red White and Blue 8755Red White and Blue 7579

Often, there’s stories that can be found and told by making photos of abstracted elements of larger objects.

The detail of the flag in the left hand photo contains just enough so that we recognize the larger flag of the United States of America, but allows us to also see the texture of the fabric and its stitches, the undulating highlight and shadow tones of the banner as it ripples in the air, and the smaller highlights and shadows of the raindrops clinging to the cloth.  Because the entire flag isn’t shown, it calls attention to there being much more to see.

In the image on the right, what the larger objects are becomes nearly irrelevant.  It’s an riveting composition of simple graphic elements in saturated primary colors.  Red, white, and blue invokes emotions in Americans, especially when presented in that order.  Since our early childhood, we’ve recognized that at the colors of our national flag, a symbol of intense pride and patriotism.  I’ve further reinforced that by displaying the image along with an image of the American flag.  (This is a graphical composition I found in stacks of small sailboats, stored inverted on a dock in Manteo, NC.)

I usually go out with the intent of making grand photos of scenics or of larger objects, such as my aviation photography.  Often however, the images that stick with me are those that forced me to observe and record much more carefully and creatively.  I made the image of the flags while out photographing fall foliage.  The right image was made during a trip to photograph the sunrise over a harbor.

Consider looking beyond the obvious, turning your lens to the little intimacies you’d normally overlook.  There’s endless possibilities when you do!

Join us in affordable photo workshops on the magnificent Outer Banks of North Carolina, where we help you explore the large and small of the prime opportunities of the area!

Posted in Abstracts, Patterns | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing Can Be A Dangerous Business


Close-up photo of a string of fishing hooks used for long line fishing on a Wanchese trawler.

For this photo I was teaching a Sunrise Weekly Photo Workshop at Wanchese North Carolina. We photographed this pattern of fish hooks on a trawler at the dock. They use these hooks for a style of fishing called long line fishing. The fishermen play out a long monofilament line and every so often they snap on one of these baited hooks. This style of fishing is mainly used to catch swordfish and tuna.

While we were photographing these hooks, a fishermen came out of the cabin and explained what they are to us. He had a bandage on his thumb and we asked what had happened. He had gotten his thumb tangled in the long line as it was playing out behind the boat and the monofilament cut part his thumb off. He told us that it was the second time that it happened to the same thumb. Fishing can be a dangerous business.

Posted in Patterns, workshops | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twilight by Dan Waters

The Blues     Red and black surf board at Avon pier near twilight.

For most people photography starts as the sun rises and ends with sunset. Unfortunately these people are missing some of the best and most productive times to photograph. Twilight is that time when there’s just a hint of color in the sky. There is approximately a 10 minute window when the light is just right for twilight photography. It happens twice a day 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset. Why is it worth getting up so early or staying out that late? When photographing at this time the sky turns a cobalt blue and contrasts beautifully with the warm hues of morning and man-made lights. This phenomenon happens whether it’s raining or cloudy, no matter what the weather is. It is a perfect time for capturing city skyline’s, or anywhere there are man-made lights. I suggest keeping the cameras white balance setting on daylight, as this ensures capturing the beautiful cobalt blue color in the sky. You will need to use a tripod because the shutter speeds will be long. I think you’ll agree, it’s definitely worth the extra effort of getting up earlier and staying out later.

At our Weekly Sunrise and Sunset Photo Workshops you will learn to take advantage of the beautiful twilight time.

New World   Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse at twilight.

Posted in landcape photography, Photo Tips, piers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Improve Your Photography

Bridge to Beauty
This is a little story I read the other day and I thought I’d share it with you.

By Kenny McKeithan
“A street performer, long haired and shaggy, sat playing his saxophone on the streets of Manhattan when tourist happened by. The tourist, lost, asked the street performer “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The old street performer looked up at the tourist over his dirty glasses and said, ”Practice man, practice!!”
And so it is with our photography, like anything else, to get better or excel at it one has to practice it.”

Our Weekly Sunrise and Sunset Photo Workshops and One-on-One Private Instructions are a couple of the best ways to practice Photography.

A quote by Percy Harris, “Skill in photography is a result of practice not purchase.”

Thanks Dan Waters
Posted in Photo Tips, piers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Found Photos and Rimshots

By Dan Beauvais

Sometimes, great photo opportunities just happen.  Too many times, my camera was at home when I stumbled upon a perfect image, and I’d have to settle for recording it in my mind’s eye.  I’ve never found that to be a satisfying substitute.  Have you?

Bicycles 5009-13TMI now try to bring a camera and a lens or two with me every time I leave the house.  Even to buy shoes.  How exciting a photo can you make on a shoe buying trip?

Sharing the building with the shoe store is vacation equipment rental agency, stocking everything from blenders for that poolside margarita, to beach umbrellas.  And right next to where I parked my truck was a rack of rental bicycles.  The rack forced the bikes into a pattern.  Not being perfectly aligned, and some suffering a little “use” by tourists, the pattern of bicycle headstocks and tires had an organic feel to its rhythm.  But there, in that long row of orange and red bikes, somebody placed the green one, breaking the pattern.  A cool tone among that pattern of warm tones.  A rimshot in the rhythm.  And it’s what made my image catchy.  It just wouldn’t have been the same without that break in the pattern!

Sing along with me.
One of these things is not like the others.
One of these things just doesn’t belong.

A perfect photo found me.  And this time, my camera wasn’t home in the closet.

Posted in Abstracts, Patterns, Photo Tips, Uncategorized | Leave a comment



By Dan Waters

090915062153 100701200735 copy 100701210934 copy 081229195623AAA 090610173337

Silhouettes are one of the easiest ways to take your photography to a new level.  They almost always have that wow effect.  Frequently, beginners accidentally make silhouettes by placing their subject in front of a strong light source.  However, the best silhouettes are well thought out and planned in advance.  The shutter speeds are generally higher because you’re exposing for the light, which means you can hand hold without worrying about camera movement.

There are a couple simple guidelines to help you make great silhouettes.

1. Place your subject in front of a light source.

2. Expose for the light source.  In other words make sure you’re getting a correct exposure for the light behind your subject.  You can do this by framing your shot without your subject
pushing the shutter button down half way to lock the exposure, then re-frame to include the subject and take the photograph.

3. The subject has to be simple and easily recognizable.

4. Change your angle and perspective until the elements in your photograph are clearly visible, with no overlaps.

If you follow these simple guidelines, silhouettes are easy to master and will give a fresh look to your photographs.

Posted in Photo Tips, piers, seascapes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wright Brothers Memorial Flyover

Every year, to celebrate the first flight on December 17, there is a fly over at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  I went to photograph some of the planes with Dan Beauvais, who is a wonderful aircraft photographer.  He gave me some pointers about shutter speed; if the shutter speed is too fast you do not see the blur of the props and the photo looks static.  It’s a lot harder than you would think to follow the planes, use the right shutter speed, expose correctly, keep everything in focus, and keep the plane framed in the shot.  This is the best shot I took of the day.  The planes were too high to capture the Wright Brothers Memorial and the plane in the same photo and still have the plane look large enough to see well.  It was a lot of fun but judging from the number of discarded photos I took, I need a lot more practice.

Thanks, Dan Waters


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment