On Assignment: Picturesque Places

by | Jul 5, 2024 | Assignments | 0 comments

Where is the most beautiful place you have ever been? Did you snap a high-quality photo or two while you were there? If so, you may already have some prime material for this month’s assignment!

Or perhaps there’s a picturesque spot nearby you’ve always wanted to photograph, but never had a good reason to visit at a pretty time of day? Well, this assignment may be the reason you’ve been waiting for! For this assignment, I went out and explored three new spots that I had never been to before. It was neat to see how each location turned out to be quite different from the others!

For the month of July, we’ll be using the photo assignment to expand a lesser-known resource for photographers on Lenspiration known as the Scouting Guide. It’s a simple map. Only about 350 pins on it at the moment. But each pin provides field notes and photos about good places to stop and take pictures, hopefully making it easier for landscape, portrait, wildlife, or history-buff photographers to know where to stop when they’re traveling through a specific area.brave_4KxJ4KBWGCWhile we’re on vacation this July, let’s do some exploring with our cameras to add more pins to the map! Find some picturesque places, take some epic photos, record detailed field notes, and submit them all for this month’s assignment. But now, I bet you’re hankering to see the photos I took at the three locations in the video!

 

1. Olson Observation Tower, Monongahela National Forest, WV

The first location was truly extraordinary. I had climbed fire towers before, but never one this tall! It happened to be quite close to the route I was already planning to take home across the mountains from an event in Virginia, so it was the perfect place to stop, explore, and take pictures. We arrived in perfect time for golden hour and sunset, but it was much colder than I was expecting! And much more cloudy too. Thankfully, clouds and mist are great for photography too, so it wasn’t a disappointment. The important thing was to get above the trees, and that tower certainly accomplished that, so I was quite happy. Here are my favorite photos from that location.240610_James Staddon_6092 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-15 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 1250240610_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 23 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 400240610_James Staddon_6083 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 800240610_James Staddon_6112 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-6 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100240610_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-25 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 800-4

240610_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 17 mm, 1-25 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 800

240610_James Staddon_6118 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 18 mm, 1.3 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

2. Veterans Memorial Park, Clarksburg, WV

The one section of the park that Julianna and I scouted out wasn’t a bad spot for portraiture. Trees all around, the road was mostly hidden, and plenty of shady or sunny areas to place individuals or groups. Here is the photo that I took at the location I showed in the demonstration video:240618_James Staddon_6072 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 200 mm, 1-320 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 100As you can see, the direct sunlight is creating large white areas on our faces and heads. It’s not positive backlighting. If the subjects (us) were to look at our shadows on the ground, they would be pointing in a different direction than we are looking. The direct sunlight is not adding beautiful hair light. It’s causing our skin to wash out instead. So, if I wanted to stick with that background, it would be better for me as the portrait photographer to have my subjects step into the shade. After I finished recording the demonstration video, that’s exactly what I did. It was not the exact spot as I showed you in the video, but it was still in that field area. Julianna and I stepped into the shade, I took the time to set up a better pose, and got the following photos that I liked better.240618_James Staddon_6150 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 125 mm, 1-400 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6094 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 200 mm, 1-400 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6140 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 125 mm, 1-400 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 100It was a nice little park. Even in the middle of the day, it was not bad for portraiture, but from what I saw of it that day, it was not an exceptional location. You could take portraits with subjects in the shade with green in the background just about anywhere in the eastern half of the United States, so initially, my rating of that park would be pretty low. However, after visiting the park that day, my brother told me that there was another section of the park (beyond the parking lot actually), that had more what I was looking for: stone walls and brick pillars. So, I’ll have to go back, explore some more, and see how it might change my rating!

3. Boardwalk at Stonewall Resort State Park, WV

We had to drive an hour before sunrise to get to this location. And to get there half an hour before sunrise meant leaving home at 4:30am! That took some doing, but it was worth it for that sunrise. It was spectacular! And the boardwalk was a great place from which to view it, not to mention, a great subject to include with it.240618_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 0.3 sec at f - 11, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6128 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-10 sec at f - 11, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6137 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-10 sec at f - 11, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6143 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-6 sec at f - 11, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6146 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 35 mm, 1-25 sec at f - 11, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6155 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 27 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 11, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6181 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6185 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6190 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 18 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100240618_James Staddon_6163 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 28 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 11, ISO 100If I had wanted to get good photos of the lights on the boardwalk glowing at blue hour, I would have had to arrive at least half an hour earlier . . . or shoot after sunset. But we couldn’t spend all day there; there were errands to run in the area. One morning was all I needed to gather all the information necessary to add another pin to the Scouting Guide!

Now It’s Your Turn!

I hope this assignment will be easier for everyone than the last few. Even if you are not traveling in July, feel free to submit places you’ve visited in the past! And you don’t even have to be a Lenspiration Member be one of the 5 winners. Get all the details for the Picturesque Places assignment here, and I’ll look forward to seeing all the amazing places that will be submitted this month!

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