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fine art photography

New Images on the Website

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New Images on the Website

 
© Michael Hudson, All Rights Reserved

It takes a while to update a website, and today I’m ‘unwrapping’ a whole re-vamp of the Gallery section. All the pictures are larger, several new images are making their first appearance, and older favorites have been re-processed to be sharper and larger.

I’m now using a 5K (5120x2880 pixels) 27-inch monitor and have really noticed how much the quality of the images matters. The previous gallery images were 900 pixels wide and are now 1500 pixels wide, with panoramas being 2500 pixels. The result is a collection of images that are bigger, sharper and higher quality, with more detail on display than ever before.

Visit the new galleries at this link.

Enjoy :)

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Photo of the Week, September 26

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Photo of the Week, September 26

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This is the picture that almost got away. In color, I didn't think much of this image and almost deleted it, but I worked with it for about an hour, converting it to black-and-white, then making it into a duotone, and adjusting the contrast. I like the results so much, I put it in my book, Under October Skies. More than one person has told me this is their favorite picture of mine. And just yesterday I sold another print of this through Artemis Gallery (@artemisgalleryme) in Northeast Harbor, the second print of this image they've sold. I think this picture also proves the point that autumn foliage doesn't always have to be photographed in bright, blazing color.

I wrote about this image a year ago- click here to learn more about the prices involved in creating it.

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Color or Black and White?

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Color or Black and White?

Newport Cove, Ocean Drive, 6:57am

Newport Cove, Ocean Drive, 6:57am

I always get out of bed early when I'm in Acadia, with the eternal hope that there'll be a stunning sunrise with the sky lighting up in a brilliant show of fiery reds and oranges over a beautiful Acadian landscape. Unfortunately it doesn't always happen that way. Often, the sun remains hidden behind a veil of clouds and at the appointed time, all you see is dull, heavy cloud cover.

This was one of those days. But fortunately, there was a misty fog this morning and as the weak sun tried in vain to pierce the gloom, I knew there would be no good color to photograph that day. So instead, I decided to think in monochrome.

The image here is all about the line of the coast, and the weak sun straining to cut through the fog. When color is an integral part of your image, photograph in color. But often a photo is more about shapes, textures and form, and color might only distract from your image. When doing landscape photography, ask yourself if color is important to the image. If not, think in black and white and pay more attention to contrast, and the subtle differences between light and dark.

Of course, if you're using a digital camera, you're already shooting in color (hopefully your camera is set to shoot in raw), and you'd plan to convert the image to black and white back home anyway. But I find if I think in black and white while I'm shooting, I tend to think more in terms of contrast, and shades of gray. Always have your end product in mind while you're shooting.

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2018 Autumn in Acadia Photography Workshop, October 10-14

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2018 Autumn in Acadia Photography Workshop, October 10-14

For years, I've been working on putting together my own photography workshop in Acadia. For one reason or another, I've never gotten it off the ground, though I've had interest from several people all over the country. Well, that's all about to change.

Autumn is the best time to visit Acadia. The colors are sublime, the air is clear and the scenery is second to none. I'll take you to see many of my favorite locations in the park. As a veteran of eighteen visits to Acadia, I know my way around and will show you the best places to be given the weather and lighting conditions. I wrote The Photographer's Guide to Acadia and can guarantee you'll have great scenery to photograph.

I'll be running my first Acadia photo tour/ workshop, from October 10-14th. This will be a small group, probably 4-8 people at the most. You'll be staying at my favorite hotel in Bar Harbor and spending each day out in the national park, visiting some of my favorite sites, shooting from dawn 'til dusk and receiving personal instruction from me. In the evenings we'll get together to look over the day's pictures, and I'll teach you some of my favorite techniques for processing your images in Lightroom and Photoshop. If you're interested in joining me, send me an email and let me know you're interested. I'm anticipating these few spots will fill quickly.

Small Pond on the Canon Brook Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine

Images of Acadia Photo Tour/ Workshop... $1895

Price includes accommodation as well as transportation around the Park each day. If you look at most other Acadia photo workshops, accommodation and transportation are an additional cost, so this is one of the most affordable photo workshops in Acadia. Hotels near Acadia are not cheap, so several days' lodging can easily add $1000 to your total cost. Breakfast is included at the hotel, but you'll need to cover your lunch and dinner expenses. I want this to be a trip where you don't have to worry about all the extras, but where you can concentrate on your photography and creating art with your camera.

I'll have a van or car to get us around to all the sites. You're free to bring your own, or rent one, but I'll be driving us around to take the burden of transportation from you if you choose. And by traveling together, I'm hoping we can build camaraderie and learn from each other as we compare notes, pictures and 'talk shop.' The idea is to learn not just from me, but from each other and our different backgrounds and experience in photography.

A typical day will start about 6am when we head out for our first sunrise location (the sun comes up at ~6:55am). We'll go back to the hotel for breakfast then return to the park until we break for lunch in a nearby town. After the sun goes down around 6pm, we'll head back to Bar Harbor and have dinner together at one of the town's great restaurants. Then you can wander around the town for a while– Bar Harbor is full of souvenir shops, bookshops and more– before we return to the hotel for the night. If you're still awake and there's interest, I can go through some of the techniques I use to process my images and answer any questions you have.

Dawn at the Boulder Beach, Otter Cliff, Acadia National Park, Ma

What sort of camera do I need to have?? I would say any D-SLR (interchangeable lens) camera is sufficient. You don't have to have the latest, greatest camera or lenses. But a camera that can be set manually is a big plus. I'll teach you how to use manual exposure for most of your pictures, and how to use aperture and shutter speed to create art with your camera. A tripod is a must too. Recently, I've begin using my iPhone for simple grab shots and have been enjoying that- I can share some of my insights with you. I'll be sending you a list of what gear I bring and some suggestions for any extras you may want to purchase before the trip, like filters and even appropriate clothing to bring.

What's the weather like at that time of the year? I generally find it to be pretty comfortable in mid-October. I've seen it get into the 70's but I've also been bitterly cold waiting for the sun to rise on top of Cadillac Mountain, with wind chills probably in the low 20's. But typically, the temperatures are in the 50's or 60's during the day. I generally see rain only once or twice a week during October, though if it rains more often, we'll just have to deal with it!

Is there a lot of hiking? Generally speaking, no. Most locations are pretty close to the road or parking areas, though we'll probably walk into the woods a little or maybe take a carriage trail into the heart of Acadia. But we will definitely be climbing over rocks along the coast. Nothing strenuous, but bring sturdy hiking boots- street shoes won't cut it here.

If you have any other questions, let me know, and I'll also be adding to this page as I think of additional things to include.

I hope to see some of you in October!

Mike Hudson

PS  If you think you're interested in joining us, fill out the form below with your name and email address and I'll send you a registration form.

Name *
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Early morning mist hanging over Upper Hadlock Pond, Acadia Natio

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Photo Impressionism

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Photo Impressionism

Autumn foliage, Duck Brook, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

I've never been a painter. But I wish I could paint. I envy those who can convey the sense of a scene in oils or watercolor, or artists who can conjure up scenes in their minds and commit them to paper or canvas. But instead, I use a camera to create my art. But unlike many photographers, my goal is to create a sense of a place (its essence), not just a snapshot of what it looked like. I want my viewers to see what it felt like.

I could've photographed this pool of water along Duck Brook the way it looked when I came upon it– deep water, littered with fallen leaves and surrounded by the rocky edges of the brook. But to me, I saw it differently. I noticed how the colors of the bright autumn foliage lit by the sun reflected in the water, if viewed from the right angle. And, even though it was almost imperceptible, the pool was slowly revolving, so I brought out that movement by using a slow shutter speed.

I think my interpretation of the scene is an image of the colors, movement and beauty of the scene. This is what the Impressionists in the late 1800's were trying to accomplish. Not a literal transcription of what they really saw, but more an artistic image of the feelings they had when they painted a scene.

I haven't picked up a paintbrush in many years, but instead I use my camera to paint scenes. Not all the time– occasionally a scene just photographs well with little artistic interpretation on my part; natural light paints its own beautiful images without any help from me. But I love the opportunity to use my camera to paint the landscape, and be an artist, not just a photographer.

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Photo of the Week, February 26

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Photo of the Week, February 26

Eagle Lake Dawn

This was a tricky shot to compose. It was about an hour before sunrise when I arrived at Eagle Lake to scout the photo possibilities; it was so dark I needed a flashlight to find my way around, and I was the only person there that morning. Eventually I settled on this location which had a good foreground, nice middle ground, and the distant mountains in the background.

But the water was choppy and messy, so I knew I would need a very long exposure to smooth it out into a large, creamy expanse. And to get this angle, I needed to balance myself and my tripod on one single rock the size of a basketball, about five feet from the shore. In the end, the exposure needed over six minutes, so it was difficult balancing for so long, hoping you don't fall in the water, while trying hard not to knock $13,000 worth of camera gear into Eagle Lake. It's at times like this that you realize that although you're cold, hungry (I still hadn't eaten anything and I probably skipped dinner the night before), you're all alone and your body aches from contorting itself to fit onto your camera position, the end result is worth it- at least you hope, because often it's not. But such are the sacrifices we make for a potentially great photo...

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This image was made about ten minutes before the sun rose. But at Eagle Lake, the surrounding hills block the sun so you don't actually see the sun until several minutes after it comes up in the east. I had hoped for more interesting clouds in the sky but that morning we got plain blue. Better than plain grey, but not by much. The glow off the sun behind the mountains does add a nice touch of color to an otherwise dull sky.

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Opal Magazine Feature

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Opal Magazine Feature

“I’m looking at colors and the way the light plays on the landscape and using my camera to paint an image. I’m always trying to move beyond a snapshot, beyond the big, grand vistas, beyond recording just what I see in front of me.”

Back in June 2017, I had just driven 1300 miles to Bar Harbor, where I was going to show my work at the annual Art in the Park art fair, then doing some hotel photography afterwards. Literally, within a couple minutes of walking in the door of my hotel room, I received an email from the publisher of Opal Magazine, who wanted to do a feature on my photography for an upcoming issue. A couple weeks later, a writer called to interview me and the story was underway.

Opal is a high end publication for luxury hotels along the East coast, from Maine down to Florida. The coffee table magazine will be placed in every room at two of Bar Harbor's premier luxury hotels, the West Street Hotel and the Harborside Hotel, when they open this Spring.

It was a long wait, but I've just received my copies of the magazine and it looks great. They've published a nine page spread of my Abstract Acadia images, where, among other things, I use camera movement, fast and slow shutter speeds and multiple exposures to create more artistic interpretations of the landscape. The images chosen are pretty different from the usual pictures you see of Acadia, but I'm proud of the the fact that they wanted to feature these more creative images. You can see some of the images they chose below, or visit the full gallery on my website here.

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The One that Almost Got Away

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The One that Almost Got Away

It was nearing the end of a long week, and I found myself alone in my favorite woods near the Great Meadow and Sieur de Monts. My creative juices were running low as I wandered through the woods with an 85mm lens on my Canon 5D Mark 2 camera.

I always spend a week in Acadia in October every year. The first day or two are exciting, full of exploring the island, finding out where the best color is, getting up early, staying up late, eating very little and generally having a great time. Then I start to explore areas where I haven't been before. Sometimes I find great new things to photograph, other times it's more of an exploratory trip to check off my list.

By the end of the week, I'm still enjoying myself, but I'm drained– physically and often emotionally. It's hard to keep up that intense search for good photography, always searching for the next image, or planning where to go next, not to mention always watching the weather and keeping an eye on the skies. Occasionally, I'll leave my camera bag in the car and set off on foot down a trail, or up a mountain, not planning on taking any pictures at all (but bringing a long a camera and one lens... just in case).

So on this occasion, I found myself in the woods, walking around, leaves crunching under my boots, half searching for things to photograph, half just enjoying the solitude and beauty of the woods. I took a few photos, but nothing that I thought would be all that good; I'd probably delete most, if not all, when I got back home.

So eventually– a month later– I had some time to go through the images from my trip, and I came to this one. I have to say here that all my pictures are shot in color, even those I plan on converting to black and white later on. The color information is stored in the digital files. With this particular image, the lighting was nothing special, though I liked the way the leaves seem to glow against the backdrop of the woods. But in color, it still seemed dull and uninspiring. I was about to delete it along with dozens of others I was getting rid of that day. But I had a few minutes so I decided to convert it to black and white and start to adjust the tones of the trees and leaves. I lightened the yellow leaves to stand out against the background. And because I had taken the picture with a very wide aperture (f/2 in this case) with a telephoto lens, everything with the exception of just a few crisp leaves was soft. I added some vignetting to the photo to draw the viewer into the leaves and added a sepia tint. Suddenly the dull color image became a beautiful black and white piece of art.

Since I made this image in 2012, it has featured in my ebook (The Photographer's Guide to Acadia) and my coffee table book (Under October Skies) and several people have bought prints of this image. Recently, it was the first print I sold from my new relationship with Artemis Gallery. I know at least a couple people who say it's their favorite images of all my pictures.

I have no idea when I take a picture if anyone will actually ever see the finished print; I have thousands of images that no one has ever seen. But this one has risen to the top and been appreciated by many people. It's a satisfying feeling.

the original raw color image straight out of the camera

the original raw color image straight out of the camera

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