Fall Foliage: Tips and State Foliage Websites

Foliage Photography: Tips for Great Pictures

Foliage Maps:

The Foliage Network Maps – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

Filters

A polarizing filter is really the only “must have” filter to bring along for great digital fall foliage pictures. A polarizer creates dramatic fall foliage pictures by darkening the sky, increasing contrast and deepening colors and removing the sheen from the leaves. Most other filter effects such as enhancing reds and oranges, sepia and graduated effects can be easily created in Photoshop. Your standard protective UV filter should be removed before putting your polarizer on – never stack filters. Also, don’t forget to remove your polarizer when you move back inside, as it reduces light by one to two f-stops. Shop Polarizers in our online store.


Click to see image with and without a polarizer.

A second type of filter is an enhancing filter which does just what the name implies – enhances. This filter is especially effective with the bright primary colors of autumn (reds, oranges and browns). A third filter is a Color / Neutral Graduated filter which utilizes a color (or gray) that gradually diminishes from dark to light across the filter. These filters are often used to deepen the sky or to balance the exposure between foreground and background, which helps you keep the sky blue rather than washed out.

Tips

  • Nothing takes away from foliage more than a bright white overcast sky. In these situations, try to reduce the amount of sky in your images or use a Neutral Graduated filter.
  • Dramatic storm clouds of autumn thunderstorms interspersed with blue sky make a stunning backdrop for the brilliant colors of fall, especially when the vivid colors are brought out with a polarizer filter.
  • Use a tripod for the sharpest possible image. This will allow an ISO of 100 or 200. Remember to use a remote release or self timer to prevent motion when pressing the shutter.
  • Colors are warmer and can be more dramatic closer to sunrise and sunset. The hour before and after sunrise and sunset are considered by many to be the “magic hours” where you get an amazing quality of light.
  • Experiment, take lots of pictures and above all have fun!
  • Since you are shooting more with your digital camera, be sure to edit out some images before showing off your work to family and friends
Once you’ve assembled your camera and a few filters, all you’ll need is foliage at the peak of color. We’ve assembled a list of state hotlines below to help schedule your trip. Need some ideas for places to shoot, be sure to visit Bergen County Camera’s Where to Take Great Pictures page. Have some suggestions of your own? Please send us an email or comment on this post.

Fall foliage Websites and Hotlines

The Foliage Network – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

State by State foliage websites – click on your state of interest below.

New Jersey 
mid to late October 
Connecticut
 Late September - mid October 
Maine 
Early September - mid October
Massachusetts
October 
New Hampshire 
Late September - mid October
New York
Late September - late October
Pennsylvania 
Early October
Vermont 
Early September - Late October
Virginia 
September - Late November
Delaware 
Late October
Maryland 
Late September - Late October
Rhode Island 
Late September - mid October 

Remember to visit Bergen County Camera for filters, tripods, lenses, cameras and prints.

Looking for Something to do this Weekend? 9/10

Croton Gorge Park

35 Yorktown Rd.

Cortlandt, NY 10520

Visit the Croton Gorge Park in Cortlandt, NY. A picturesque location along the Croton River, the Croton Dam is a great spot to bring your camera for the day. The 97-acre area is popular for hiking, picnicking, and hiking. 

“The Old Croton Dam, built to supply New York City with water, was the first large masonry dam in the United States. Completed in 1842, it was the prototype for many municipal water supply dams in the east during the mid-nineteenth century. The city’s needs, however, soon outgrew the Croton Dam water supply. Consequently, work began on the New Croton Dam, also called the Cornell Dam because of its location on land purchased from A.B. Cornell, in 1893. Completed in 1907, the Cornell Dam stands over 200 feet high. The Croton Reservoir has a capacity of about 34 billion gallons of water with a watershed covering 177 square miles.”

The property is open to the public, and is $5 for parking with a park pass, and $10 without on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until October 1st. The park is open 7 days a week, from 8am to dusk. 

More information can be found on their website, here.

Hiking information can be found here.

Lakota Wolf Preserve Trip : October 8th

Out most popular trip is coming around again.

Join Bergen County Camera and Tamron on October 8th, 2017 as we return to the Lakota Wolf Preserve.

At Lakota Wolf Preserve, you will be greeted with numerous opportunities to get unobstructed pictures of the wolves in their natural settings. Since you will be photographing the wolves where they live, in a stress free environment, you will get the best possible photo opportunities. Come as close as 3-4 feet to the wolves during our private photography session.  We will end our morning at the Brook Hollow Winery for a wrap up session and complimentary wine tasting.

There will be a pre-trip evening lecture on Wildlife Photography at Lakota Wolf in our Westwood store, on October 5th 2017 from 7-8pm. The lecture will cover the layout and rules of Lakota, what to expect, what lenses are best suited, and how to get that great shot! The lecture will be presented by Tamron.

 

This trip is limited to 30 people so be sure to reserve early.

Tickets can be purchased below.

 

Eventbrite - Bergen County Camera Trips and Meetups 2017

Customer Spotlight – Don Parenta

Welcome to our seventh Bergen County Camera Customer Spotlight. This monthly posting features a customer who’s made an impression on us. They might have grown in their understanding of photography, gained a mastery of the craft and / or have become a strong advocate of our way of doing business in the world of photography. During the next month you will see this customer’s images displayed on our digital signs in store, in our emails, blog posts and social media. We hope you both enjoy and are inspired by this new addition to In Focus and look forward to your comments and suggestions. 

Don Parenta is this month’s customer profile. Please enjoy a few of Don Parenta’s images in the gallery below.

Here is a word from Don: 

“I would like to thank Bergen County Camera for allowing me to feature some of my photography for the month of September. 

I got the photography bug in college in 1975 when I changed my major from Phys Ed to Communications. A required photography class was the start of my love affair with photography.   

Throughout college and for a few years afterward, I made a few bucks taking pictures for several hair salons and wherever else I could talk them into hiring me.  I used a Canon A1 and AE1 with a 50mm and 20mm lens – that’s it!  I also did my own black and white processing in the basement of my parent’s home.  For my nice Italian family, the basement was also where all the cooking happened, so I was always vying for time before dinner, to develop a roll or two of film in my “darkroom”.  Drying prints was a trip. I used the clothes line that ran through the kitchen, and often found myself negotiating with my mother and grandmother to share the kitchen with them, working around the prints drying on the clothes line.  

It turned out that video was the main-focus of my college curriculum and luckily, it became a career for more than twelve years (1977-1989).  I was an ENG/EFP freelance cameraman and ended up at Cablevision in New Jersey where I met my wife Maureen; then on to News 12 on Long Island shooting news and features, aerial videography and shooting for Sports Channel, MTV, Prudential, Howard Stern and other interesting gigs.  In 1989, I hung up my video career because the hours were crazy, and started a career in technical sales.

Moving on throughout the years, video and photography continued to fascinate me but for silly reasons, life got real busy. I put both aside for a while until I bought my first point-and-shoot digital camera in 2000 and that spark re-ignited my interest in photography. Digital plus very active children playing sports got me back into photography.  For nearly 15 years, I primarily shot sports, chasing my children from elementary school sporting events to college football games. 

So, to wrap up this story, today I enjoy an eclectic choice of subject matter with specific interest in scenic photography; my subjects including the antics of raptors (eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey and owls), to buildings and more recently, street photography.  My Nikon and peripheral equipment was all purchased at BCC and includes both Nikon D3 and D4 bodies with prime and zoom lenses to cover most needs.  My darkroom is now filled with two MAC’s, two Epson printers, inks, papers, with not a clothes line in sight.  My favorite scenic locations are the Lake George Region; Island Beach State Park, NJ; and the Delaware River in PA and NY to name a few.  Most weeks, I work in Manhattan a few days and often take my D4 and a short lens just in case I see something interesting to capture and share.  If you ever find yourself in Bolton Landing on Lake George, stop in Trees, a great store on route 9N where my framed prints are on display and for sale.  Enjoy!”

Find more of Don’s photos at his website, photographybydonparenta.com/

Looking for Something to do this Weekend? 9/3

Tenafly Nature Center 

New Butterfly House

Saturday and Sunday 11:00AM

313 Hudson Ave, Tenafly, NJ 07670

The Tenafly Nature Center has a new 12×24′ butterfly house, open to all ages. Come and explore the beautiful world of butterflies. 

“This seasonal exhibit showcases several beautifully colored butterflies sipping nectar and taking flight, offering guests the opportunity to better understand and appreciate their life cycle and importance to the ecosystem. Inside the exhibit you will be welcome to chat with staff or volunteers, ask questions, or simply relax and enjoy the space while butterflies flit and fly about. See if a butterfly will land on your nectar stick or just watch them fly around you as they move between nectar plants. Observe butterfly chrysalis in the chrysalis box. Maybe you will be lucky enough to see a butterfly emerge!”

The house is open to the public, and is free to residents of the nature center. For non-residents, the entrance fee is $5, which includes 1 adult and 2 children. 

More information can be found on their website, here.

Sunset Sunflower Photography Tour Meetup  – Sept 9th

Join Bergen County Camera for a meet-up trip to Donaldson Farms in Hackettstown, NJ for their Sunset Sunflower Photography tour. Rick Gerrity of Panasonic will guide us as we enjoy the highly sought after “golden hour” in the 25+ acres of Black Oil Sunflower fields. You’ll enjoy a hayride farm tour of the 500+ acre family owned and operated working produce farm with sprawling views of farmlands and long range mountain vistas.

Photo: Rick Gerrity

BCC staff will meet at The Farm Market at Donaldson Farms located at 358 Allen Rd, Hackettstown, NJ 07840 at 5:00pm on Saturday, September 9th. Our tour will begin at 5:30pm sharp. Water and a healthy snack will be provided for our tour.  Feel free to come early and stop in the Farm Market if you’d like to make any purchases before our tour. We’ll stop throughout the evening for you to capture your very best shots with the helpful instruction of professional photographer Rick Gerrity. You’ll learn how to adjust your camera for lighting and effect and go home with some amazing shots! BCC’s personnel will also be on hand to answer questions and help with your photography.

In the event of rain, a decision will be made on Saturday morning. The rain date for this trip is Sunday, September 10th.  All registered attendees will be notified on Saturday morning if the trip will be postponed. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets are $35.00 each.

Register Now Read more

Free Saturday Focus Sessions – September

Focus sessions are Free and take place in our store from 9:30 am – 10:15 am. Focus Sessions are mini classes and discussions and classes about photography. All sessions will allow for questions and answers. Please bring your camera and any images along that you have questions about. Please share your thoughts for future focus sessions in the comment box below. No RSVP – Free for everyone – Please bring a friend!


Hit the “Like Button” to let your friends know. Have suggestions for future focus sessions? Feel free to leave a comment.

Here’s our upcoming Focus Sessions:

 

August 26th – Macro Photography with Tamron

September 2nd – Football Photography

September 9th – To Be Announced featuring Alan Schwab

September 16th – Critique of Summer Photos

September 23rd – Mirrorless Camera Panel Discussion

These are free events – bring a friend along if you’d like. Share with your friends on Facebook – Click the Like button below. Hope you can join us!

Photographing National Parks After Dark with Ken Hubbard

Ken Hubbard, an avid Tamron shooter, shares some of his tips for photographing the night sky in our National Parks.

Pack wide-angle lenses.
This is a no-brainer, since you want to get as much of that jaw-dropping night sky as possible in your photos. The lenses I typically use: the Tamron SP 24-70mm VC G2, the SP 15-30mm VC, and the SP 35mm F/1.8 VC. That prime lens is especially useful because of its fast F/1.8 aperture—it’s desirable to use fast apertures for night sky photos, as you want to reduce the amount of time your shutter is open to reduce star movement. With a 1.8 lens, I can shoot a 10-second exposure instead of 20 or 30 seconds.

There’s a magic number for any focal length you may be using and how long your shutter can stay open before you start getting those streaks in the stars. Although there are some complicated equations, let’s keep it simple. A basic guideline to get you started is the 500 rule: Divide the focal length you’re shooting at into 500; that resulting number will give you the number of seconds your shutter can stay open before you start seeing star movement. So if I’m shooting at 15mm, I can keep my shutter open for roughly 33 seconds. If you see movement in your stars, shorten your exposure.

Determine the optimal time to head out.
Our group tries to venture out during the blue hour, an hour or two after sunset, when there’s still some ambient light to create that beautiful indigo color. You can see an example of that in one of my Sedona photos shown here, where the featured rock formation was also lit up by the quarter-moon that had already risen.

© Ken Hubbard

If you’re going to try for a money shot like the Milky Way, you’ll want to check apps like Sky Guide or PhotoPills to see where and when it will be rising. You don’t want to head out somewhere with a group of people and discover there’s no Milky Way overhead. Capturing it when the skies are darkest—typically between midnight and 2 a.m., depending on the time of year— is ideal. Between April and September provide your best looks: During other parts of the year, the Milky Way either never makes it above the horizon, or it’s too close to sunrise or sunset and will be completely washed out. You’ll barely see it, if at all.

© Ken Hubbard

Research the park you’re going to.
I often start this process months ahead of time, so I’ll know the best times of year to visit, depending on what I’m planning on taking pictures of. Our group will also head out at least a day before a workshop, so we can scout the landscape to make sure it’s everything we were anticipating. You also want to get the lay of the land during the day so when it’s dark you’re not stumbling around with no sense of place.

It also helps to know which parks are rife with light pollution and which aren’t. You can check the International Dark-Sky Association website to see which communities have pledged to preserve the night sky by keeping lighting to a minimum. As far as the national park areas I’ve visited, Sedona is a designated dark-sky community; Zion isn’t too bad, either, and Acadia in Maine is pretty dark, as there aren’t too many towns around throwing off a lot of light. If you do have a park that’s lit up from afar, you can use that light to your advantage (or at least mask it) by using some creative techniques. More on that a little later!

Bring the basics …
A couple of things you’ll definitely need: a tripod, as you’re going to be taking very long exposures (20 or 30 seconds long in some cases). And you’ll want to bring a shutter release cable or some sort of shutter remote. You don’t want to be hand-firing the camera and risk losing images that way.

… and also a flashlight.
One, to see where you’re going, and second for light painting. That’s a terrific way to accentuate your images, like I did in my photo of Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park. One tip I have for this type of creative endeavor: Don’t simply throw the light from behind your camera—your subject will tend to look flat. Because I’m usually taking 20- or 30-second-long exposures in these cases, what I’ll do is hit the shutter release, then walk to one side or the other of my camera and throw the light in from an angle, so it adds a little more dimension with shadows and highlights.

© Ken Hubbard

Sometimes other photographers’ light-painting adventures can work their way into your own photos. This image I took of one of the arches in Arches National Park was a happy accident. I was about 20 seconds into a 25-second exposure when someone who was sitting underneath the arch decided to blast it with light. I didn’t know it was going to happen, but it turned out to be a cool picture anyway.

© Ken Hubbard 

Before you start flashing lights everywhere, know the rules of the park you’re visiting.
Workshop leaders need permits no matter what to host groups in most national parks. The group that ran this year’s night sky workshops for us was National Park Trips Media, which took care of all of the logistics.

Some parks outright prohibit the light painting I mentioned earlier, especially from large groups. I can understand that: It can be annoying to individual photographers or nature-gazers in a park, trying to check out the night sky, only to have a bunch of people show up all at once and start blasting light everywhere. Individually, you often can light paint without a hassle, though check with your destination park before you go, as each has its own rules.

Seek out elements in your landscape to enhance your composition. 
Here’s where landscape photography during the day and at night doesn’t differ too much, because you always want some kind of landscape elements to create compelling visuals. That could entail some sort of silhouetted area or foreground visual—either a manmade one, like a building, or a natural one, like a rock formation. 

More often than not, I’ll try to keep those foreground elements in the lower third of the frame, as I’m using them mainly to enhance the night sky I’m trying to show off. And since I’m typically using a wide-angle lens in my night photography, I get up real close to whatever I’ve decided my subjects will be, as those elements will appear very small in a wide-angle photo otherwise. 

Tap into the leading lines of the landscape. 
I use natural lines to draw the viewer’s eye to where I want it to go. For instance, in my Milky Way photo taken in Zion, I positioned myself so the Milky Way descends straight down into the rock formation with the tree sticking out of it. 

© Ken Hubbard

I’ll also use the shape and structure of the landscape to either enhance the photo or mask issues that might be threatening to distract from what I’m trying to show. For instance, in my other photo here from Zion, I used the lights of the town of Springdale in the distance to silhouette the trees in that gap. And in my image of Balanced Rock taken in Arches National Park, the horizon was really lit up from Moab. To work around that, I stood in a spot so that when I took the photo, the Milky Way streamed down toward the horizon—making it appear as if the Milky Way was lighting up the horizon, not the neighboring city.

You can find more of Ken’s work here.

National Park Lifetime Passes

Do you love to take pictures at National Parks? 

Did you know that if you’re aged 62 or older you’re eligible to receive a senior pass at only $10? Once known as the Golden Age Passport, it is a lifetime pass valid for entrance to over 2,000 federal recreation sites including national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges which normally charge entrance fees. Pass holders that are driving into areas with entrance fees can also bring in traveling guests with them for free. At some areas, the pass even includes 50 percent discounts on camping, boat launching, etc. On August 28th, this pass’s cost is increasing 700 percent to $80.00. The price has been at $10.00 since 1994. The new $80.00 price tag will now be of equal price to that of a years pass for one person aged below 62. These passes can be purchased at locations in person as well as online at https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass.

Looking for Something to Do? Butterfly Fest Sunday 8/13

Butterfly Fest

Sunday August 13th

Noon – 3pm

Looking for something to do this weekend? Look no further than New Jersey’s own Botanical Garden. Visit the New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skylands, located in Ringwood, NJ on Sunday for their Butterfly Festival held by the Bergen County Audubon Society. Meet up at the Carriage House Visitor Center, to learn all about butterflies and how to attract them. Butterfly walks will also be led throughout the day. Guests will be able to walk through the Botanical Garden, and identify the butterflies that inhabit the area. 

The Botanical Garden at Skylands is also a great location for birding, and the 1117-acre property also includes a Tudor revival mansion built in the 1920s from stone quarried in the estate. Tours are led of the estate, and self-guiding tours are available of the grounds. Enjoy a stroll through history at the Skylands Botanical Gardens.

More information regarding this event and the Botanical Garden can be found on their website,  www.njbg.org/, as well as on https://www.mybergen.com/bergen-county-nj-events-entertainment-northern-new-jersey-plays-concerts-fundraisers-comedy/butterfl