Graphic designer by trade, Marco Crupi is a "self-taught" nature photographer. His ongoing photographic goal is to visit as many of the US National Parks as possible, "but when I’m not traveling to distant parks, I like to go on short trips in and around my home in New Jersey.
"This past Father's Day, I decided to head down the Jersey Shore for the weekend even though the weather forecast was calling for afternoon thunderstorms and showers. What a great call! My wife and I spent most of the day basking in the sun and enjoying the Spring Lake beach area. After several hours of relaxing on the beach, I decided to take a walk and look for interesting photography spots. I walked along the beach but could really not find anything too inspiring at the time.
"But then, I looked up and noticed a pier in the distance! I must confess, I have a fascination for piers. I don't know precisely how it started, but I find them interesting to photograph. Anytime I spot one, I must visually inspect it and of course, photograph it. Anyway, as I looked ahead, it appeared to be at least a few miles away in the neighboring town of Belmar. I walked back and packed our beach gear. We headed to Belmar where I scouted the pier and a great beach-side restaurant for an early dinner -- didn't want to miss the sunset.
"After dinner, I headed back to the pier by the beach around 6:45pm, to start setting up my gear. Judging by the foundation, this is a pier that withstood the fury of Superstorm Sandy. It's been battered and bruised, but this guy hung on tight! I am really glad I was able to make this structure shine once again through my lens.
"I started the process by taking a few test shots and I was liking the light emerging along the coast. It was cloudy yet the sun was beginning to set behind me, offering a fantastic glow. I decided to take advantage of my Singh-Ray Vari-ND and began shooting away. I compared these shots with some tests using only a circular polarizer. Boy was I blown away by the smoothness and richness in colors I was obtaining by simply adding the Vari-ND. While shooting under the pier, the light was still too strong for what I had in mind. As a result, I began taking random shots around the pier and finally came away with the appealing side view of the Belmar Pier seen at the top of this story. With mounted tripod, the exposure settings for the shot were: 30 seconds, f/22, at 50 ISO.
"As far as the belly of the pier, I took several shots at different times during the evening. The first of the three pictures below was taken at 7:36 pm with the settings at 1/30 sec, f/4, ISO 100 and NO Singh-Ray Vari-ND, just a circular polarizer. The second shot was taken at 7:37pm with settings of 6 seconds, f/22, ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray Vari-ND. The third shot was taken at 8:50pm with settings of a 30-second exposure, f/22, ISO 50 and a Singh-Ray Vari-ND. As you can obviously see, the light dropped as night approached and it offered a richer palette for what I had in mind.
"Again, I was able to go home happy -- knowing that I had captured some great water shots using nothing more than a little extra assistance from my Singh-Ray Vari-ND. While I enjoy traveling across the US in search of beauty, it's nice to know you have it so close to home. Just recently, I've been testing the Singh-Ray Vari-ND with other than water effects. Perhaps next time I'll share these exciting tests with you. Until then, happy shooting!"
Marco's passion for landscape photography has led to awards with Photography Master’s Cup, Photographer's Forum and Nature's Best Photography. His pictures have appeared in National Geographic's Intelligent Travel Magazine, National Geographic's "Your National Parks" and Outdoor Photographer as well as The National Park's Traveler site. Marco now also offers his photography and digital darkroom knowledge through scheduled workshops. Please visit his website for further information.
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