Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
I am going to try to make a concerted effort to take and post more photos. I think I am guilty of thinking most things don't appear interesting enough to photograph and as such I don't take as many photos as I would like to.

Without going into detail as to what I do for work, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time looking at this tree today. In the wrong light it looked just like a drab, bare tree ready to face the winter. When what little sun there was today, set for the evening, the drama in the clouds made this a worthy shot. As I framed the shot, I could see it in black and white and knew that was the way I wanted it to be. As I reviewed this shot, I thought to myself the only thing missing would have been a large flock of birds in the tree (preferably crows).

This shot kind of sums up how I feel about the impending season.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bridge Over & Under Troubled Water

Haven't been shooting much lately, unfortunately. I have passed over this bridge on early still mornings too many times to count and thought this would be a good time to stop and take my first photo of the month.

This was taken with the D90 and kit lens 18-105VR

Monday, October 11, 2010

Colorful Reflections

Anytime you can combine nice fall color with reflections in a pond/lake/stream etc. your chances of making a nice photo increase. This was taken in Wilmington, NY in the shadows of Whiteface Mountain.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Autumn on the East Branch

East Branch of the Ausable River. Not as renowned of a fishery as the West Branch and not quite as scenic but a great stream nonetheless. Taken mid day with a polarizer and ND filter to blur the water.

Monday, October 4, 2010

130th Vermont Autumn

I have been into photography as a serious hobby for almost 2 years and this barn offers one of if not THE nicest photo ops I have come across. I saw a shot of this barn in a magazine and wasn't that impressed with the treatment it received. I could tell it was just a grab shot and the photographer either wasn't that adept at photography or just didn't care to take a great shot.

I researched this barn and found other photos of it and found out roughly where it was. When I finally came upon it I immediately smiled and knew it was a great spot. With the mountains behind it, the beautiful early fall light and the hint of fall color this barn is a fascinating piece of Americana. I cannot wait to shoot it in the winter!

I am curious to know when that roof was put on this barn. My guess is that when the barn was built the date wouldn't have been significant as it was just a barn. I could of course, be wrong.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How Many Adirondack Autumns Has This Barn Seen?

I love old barns. Each one tells it's own story and this barn is no exception. This barn sits on Route 9N/73 in Keene, NY along the High Peaks Scenic Highway. If I were to guess that 1000 people stopped and photographed this barn today alone, I would probably be on the low side.There was a steady stream of cars coming and going and I saw an impressive array of photography equipment coming and going as well.

I have passed this barn at least 50 times in my life and each time have thought this would make a great photo. Today, with the fall color in full stride, it was a no brainer. I don't think this barn could be placed in a more picturesque spot. Taken with the D90, 18-105VR and a Cokin Polarizer to tame the sky and color.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Color that Lies Ahead

This was from Rensselaer County last Monday morning. The weather and the lighting pretty much stunk but the color was fantastic. The Rensselaer County area was one of the first places to turn in the Capital District.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest Moon Rising Over the Green Mountains

Haven't been shooting much lately but wanted to get out and get a shot at the Harvest Moon. Last night's weather was a bust and tonight wasn't much better. I couldn't even see the moon until it got in between the lower band of clouds and the higher band of clouds. It was never fully exposed so I had about 5 minutes to get what you see here before it was lost again in the higher clouds.

The harvest moon got its name from the fact that the extra light that bright moon gave off was a help to the farmers who wanted to squeeze that extra time in out in the fields during the harvest. With modern equipment and headlights on tractors I don't know how much the harvest moon plays a role anymore in the agricultural field. It is still a welcome sign as it ushers in the fall season.

Taken with the D90 and 80-200, tripod mounted.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Deadwood on the Mill Creek

Tried my hand at fly fishing this pretty little creek in the Eastern Adirondacks. Didn't try too long and didn't have any luck but the photo opportunity was worth it. This was taken with the D90 and the Sigma 10-20mm


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Post Processing

I have been noticing lately a lot of people speaking of their resentment for post processing. I hear things like "I don't believe in needing to be a computer scientist to take a nice photo." Most of the time when I see people say things like SOOC (Straight out of camera) or "no post processing in this photo", they say it in a way meant to sound like "This photo is better than yours because I didn't need to doctor it with a computer."

It takes a certain level of ignorance to make statements like this. All great photographers have used post processing to some degree (at least all the ones I know of). Ansel Adams spent hours in the darkroom on his photos. Generally when I see these comments attached to photos, they are excuses for pretty lousy photos. Generally they have glaring issues that couldn't even be fixed in post (i.e. very soft out of focus photos, poor composition etc).

I hate to pick on newbies, and I by no means consider myself an expert or pro (because I am NOT), but I am proud of the amount of time I have spent learning what I have learned. Cameras are tools that are used to interpret what we see with our eyes. They are in NO way equivalent to what our eyes are capable of. When you take a photo with a camera the process is just beginning.

The people that make such statements are shooting in jpeg. They don't realize that by shooting their photos in jpeg, their cameras are doing the processing for them. I shoot in RAW as do most advanced photographers (notice I didn't say all). Shooting in RAW leaves all of the available information in the file and allows more creative control over the post processing procedure.

Horses at Sunrise

Sunrises can be hit or miss. When you work a full time job and the weekends are pretty much your main photography time, it can be a big investment getting up at 4:45am to get some shooting time in. It is especially tough if you don't have a spot really planned out and you are just winging it.

That was the case here. I knew that it was going to be a nice morning so I got up early and set out to make a nice photograph. I had to park on the side of the road near this farm in West Charlton and get up onto the roof of my car to shoot over the fence. I could have walked up to the fence, but I definitely didn't want to trespass.

The 80-200 F/2.8 was a no brainer here and I shot it at ISO 800 to help with the low light. There really wasn't a ton of post processing here. Some cropping and straightening of the horizon and some small changes in the color balance (namely making the photo a tad bit warmer).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guardian of the Sunflowers

I have heard it said amongst photographers that you should "shoot for the light" because everything looks interesting in good light. I definitely find some truth to that, but a field of sunflowers is interesting in almost all types of light.

As mentioned in my previous post I set out last night to try and find a sunflower field that I knew existed in Montgomery County. Sheer luck and some decent guess work lead me straight to this field. I was hoping to find it with a beautiful sunset behind it but it wasn't to be.

I think I did a decent job with the light I had and finding this old tree along the roadside certainly helped to add some drama to the scene.

I hope to get another crack at this scene in some better light, preferably a sunrise.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sunflower Field

Sunflower Field
Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
A lot of photos of sunflowers have been posted lately so I decided this was probably the best time of year to search them out. I set out with a vague idea as to where I would find the best field (by vague idea, I mean a particular county in Upstate, NY... pretty vague). I set out on one of the main roads through the county and from there I took another main road and all of a sudden there it was! I wasn't there during the best possible lighting and could probably spend a great deal of time photographing this under different lighting conditions. I might try and get back here for some sunrise lighting.

I am not going to post exactly where this field is because quite frankly I had to do some legwork (mostly driving around) and had a great deal of luck. If you absolutely must know where it is, contact me and I'll let you know.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Graveyard of Trees

I haven't been shooting much. Various factors have played into this, not the least of which is the fact that I ABHOR the heat. It has really knocked out my motivation.

I am not entirely happy with this shot but it was a shoot that was cut short. I was out exploring some new areas and the weather was iffy. It was sunny one minute and then threatening the next. I came upon this scene on a nice tract of state land that I could see from the road. I was down in this marsh setting up my camera and I could still barely see my car parked on the road. The area is extremely secluded (it's not too far from Lake Desolation if that name tells you anything) and there are no houses for at least a mile.

I had my tripod set up and started adjusting the camera and I noticed a mini van that had driven by once already, drive by again slowly. I went back to my business and a few minutes later the van came back and briefly parked directly behind my car and then took off. I am a paranoid person and get annoyed easily. I grabbed my gear and started to head back to my car and as I got back near my car and looked back at the scene, this beautiful golden light was bathing the whole marshy area from over the tree line.

At this point I was fuming and hustled to get back down there. By the time I did the magic was gone and this is what was left. It would have been a spectacular shot.

I don't know if the person in the van was looking for a hiking trail, thought I was a suspicious person or was casing my car. I don't really want to know but would like to be able to head back to this spot at a later time. Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sensor Cleaning & Photo Images in Glenville, NY

Anyone who has shot with a DSLR and has done some small aperture work (i.e. f/22) has probably seen some small black specks in their photos. This is what sensor dust shows up as in your photos. Most of the time this dust is so small you can't see it with your naked eye but chances are if you have been shooting for a while and have changed lenses, it's there! Normally, locking the mirror up and using something like a Giotto Rocket Blower, will do the trick.

Recently, I took a landscape photo at f/22 and noticed that my photo was riddled with sensor dust. I locked the mirror up and tried the rocket blower several times and the dust wouldn't budge.

What I learned was I had some "welded dust" on my sensor. In this hot and humid weather (and horrible) the dust has a higher likelihood of sticking or welding itself to the sensor in your camera. When attempting to blow the dust off your sensor no longer works it's time for step 2. This is where Glenville's Photo Images comes in.

I walked into the store this morning and after a very brief wait, my camera was looked at. The associate (Steve) was excellent and swept my sensor until it was clean (about 5 passes or so). The price couldn't have been more reasonable (less than $22 bucks) and was half of what other local shops wanted to charge. What was even better was that I was in and out in less than a half hour. Some of the other shops wanted a 4 or 5 day turn around.

If your in the Capital District, or even if you have to drive an hour or so it's worth it to take a trip to Photo Images in Glenville. They are at 19 Glenridge Road.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th

Happy 4th
Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
Happy 4th. Enjoy this photo of a beautiful Galway Lake sunset.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why Did the Porcupine Cross the Road?

Looks like this guy was in a scuffle. Seen early in the morning on Consaul Road in Galway, NY.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tonight Was a Real Barn Burner

In photography there is no substitute for the right light. If I had taken this just an hour or two earlier the sky would have been a blown out mess instead of bursting with light and color from a beautiful sunset.

This was taken in West Charlton at around 8:30 tonight. Taken with my D90 and 18-105 VR with no filters.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sacandaga River

Sacandaga River
Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
Passed by the Sacandaga River today near Benson, NY and couldn't pass up getting a shot or two. The Sacandaga runs in the Southern Adirondacks and ends at the Hudson River not too far from Lake George. It is quite wide in some spots but seems mostly shallow with a lot of nice looking pocket water.

I once briefly fished the river with no luck. Anyone do any fly fishing on the Sac? Is it mostly a put and take trout stream or is there some wild fish?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Galway Lake Loon

One of my photographic goals or "missions" has been to get a shot of a Loon on Galway Lake in Saratoga County. I am moderately pleased with this shot considering it was taken with a 30 year old manual focus lens and was shot hand held from a row boat.

Loons are amazing birds. From the speed they can swim under water, to their clumsiness in taking off in flight. It is a treat to be able to watch them and especially listen to them.

One other thing that I have learned from today's excursion is that I need a lens with a longer reach!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thacher Park Overlook

I took this shot a few weeks ago. At the time I didn't think that the park would actually be closing. I am not a politically minded person and I don't discuss politics or want to even attempt to discuss the problems that lead to closing Thacher Park but I can't believe it has come to this. Hopefully the park will open before too long.

This was a shot with taken with the Sigma 10-20mm and the D90 with a Cokin circular polarizer.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Split Rock Falls

I just got home from a long day of working in the Adirondacks. I stopped along the way to some of my favorite haunts and took a few photos. This one of Split Rock Falls on the Bouquet River is probably my favorite from the day.

Split Rock Falls is located in Elizabethtown, NY in the Northeast Adirondack Mountains. It is EXTREMELY dangerous. MANY young people have lost their lives jumping into the turbulent waters here. It is an extremely inviting set of falls for jumping but during the spring months the hydraulics of the falls can pull a person under and keep them there. Ledges exist under the water and if a person is pulled under one of those ledges it can be extremely tragic.

I took this one with the Nikkor 18-105mm "kit lens" and the D90. It was taken with an aperture of f/16 and a shutter speed of 1/2 second. The lighting was terrible and I used a Cokin polarizer and a Cokin graduated ND filter as well to get that slow shutter and blur the water. This photo will eventually make my Zenfolio page and for now it is on Flickr.


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Long Shadow of Spring

I saw this great Highland Cow casting this long shadow on my way home from working near Thacher Park. This was a stop my car quick and grab a shot an then heavily crop it type of photo. This was taken at F/2.8 with the Nikkor 80-200mm. I would love to have a chance at photographing this type of cattle in a not so rushed scenario. They make great subjects.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good Morning

Good Morning
Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
April 3rd Sunrise on Galway Lake

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fat, Dumb & I Don't Want to Find Out

If anyone had told you a month ago April 1st would be like it was yesterday you certainly would have suspected "April Fool's". It was 70 in most places and I took the opportunity to boat on Galway Lake once again (you will notice that is going to be a recurring theme).

There is a cove on the eastern shore of the lake that a friend aptly named "Turtle Cove." It has an abundance of stumps and on sunny days there is never a shortage of turtles sunning themselves on these stumps. This fat snapping turtle was no exception. I used my old Nikkor 300mm F/4.5 and my 80-200 to snap photos of this guy. Although he looked like he hadn't moved in a week, I wasn't getting any closer to see how agile he was.

There was an abundance of birds on the lake, a few muskrats and various other creatures. I believe I saw an immature Bald Eagle but he was too far to get a good photo so the verdict is still out.

Hopefully I will get some more shots of yesterdays shoot posted on my zenfolio site.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Boat House

The Boat House
Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
I had a chance to take a quick boat ride on Galway Lake after work today. The ice went off the lake sometime within the last few days. This is the earliest I can ever remember the ice leaving the lake. The weather was overcast, the temps were in the low 40s on the lake and I couldn't be happier to be on the water again!

I was hoping to get close enough to get some shots of the waterfowl that was coming back to the area but was not stealthy enough with my oars that creak like old floorboards and my rowboat held together with fiberglass patch and spare sheet metal. I did manage to see some bufflehead, mallards, common mergansers, hooded mergansers and more Geese than I have ever seen in one place.

The water was calm and this mustard yellow boat house with a beautiful reflection looked nice against the drab background. Hopefully this weekend will afford me the opportunity to get some shots.

This one was shot with the 80-200 F/2.8 - @ F/7.1, 1/160, 92mm (kinda random settings, I know)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

After playing with my dog last night I decided to walk the banks of the Alplaus in Charlton. I was mostly looking for signs of spring and while it felt that way in the air there was still a lot of ice and snow clinging to the banks. I managed to get this shot, a 3 shot HDR (-2, 0 +2) without any ice or snow in the way. Hopefully it won't be long before the fiddle heads have appeared and some color can be added to the landscape.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rock Soccer

Rock Soccer 1
Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
Does anyone have a black lab that can't get enough of rolling a rock around at a feverish pace? He rolled this rock up a hill the other day and left it in the yard. Today he "kicked" the rock around the yard for about 20 minutes. He must have moved the rock about 150 yards in total around the yard. He usually does this in the water and gets very agitated with the rock. It is quite a site to see. I have never seen another dog take so much interest in playing with a rock.

These shots were taken with my Nikkor 80-200 F/2.8. I should have jacked the ISO to at least 400 and these would have been much sharper... next time.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cheap Wedding Photographers

Cheap Wedding Photographers

This video has been passed around the net now quite vigorously. The majority of the reaction to this video seems to side with Judge Brown's ruling. One popular reaction I have read seems to be the opposite of that reaction:


I am not even remotely a professional photographer. I have never shot a wedding. Had I shot a wedding, I certainly would not have been doing so with the Sam's Club kit lenses this woman was. Assuming the scenario portrayed in this video is a real one, my reaction would be somewhere over towards Judge Brown's side but with the need for more information than what was given in this 10 minute clip.

Judge Brown is clearly in control of his own show and dictates the pace and the treatment of the complainant and defendant. He didn't let the defendant get a word in edge wise. It would appear that Judge Brown has a decent knowledge of photography and showed enough to be able to bully the defendant and allow the uneducated audience to think he was an expert. He by no means showed me anything that would get me to believe he was an expert. He threw around some buzz words and regurgitated the first few chapters worth of knowledge from any basic photography book. He certainly seemed to be more knowledgeable than the defendant.

The defendant in my mind is clearly not in a position where she should be offering her services as a professional photographer. A professional should be aware ahead of time the restrictions in the upcoming shoot and prepare accordingly. To go into a church like setting without a 70-200 f/2.8 type lens or at least a 50mm F/1.8 to me is absurd.

I have some major concerns with drawing any conclusions from this video. It would appear that the plaintiff was in error (or lied) in stating where she met the photographer. The viewer never really learned where they met or what type of portfolio was shown to her when they decided on the specified rate of $1300. If the plaintiff did not meet her at a bridal show, but rather out of a penny saver, that would change the story quite a bit. If the defendant is advertising her services at a wedding show based on what I heard from her in this video, that is a problem. I also could not get an exact representation of the photos that were shown in the video. From what I could see in the video, I have seen wedding photos taken that looked a lot worse, were taken by people that were probably paid more, and that made the bride and groom happy!

The biggest defenders of the photographers seem to want to point out, that the camera doesn't make the photographer and that you can shoot a wedding just fine with a canon Rebel. I do not doubt there is absolute truth to that (I have never shot with a Canon Rebel). Put a Canon Rebel in the hands of Joe McNally and he could certainly shoot a good wedding. However, Joe McNally would never shoot a wedding with a Canon Rebel (or a Nikon D3000). There is a reason professionals use professional equipment. Besides portraying professionalism, better equipment allows true professionals to do the job better and more efficiency. In this case, the photographers choice of equipment seems to correspond with their skill level and low level of professionalism.

Unfortunately, based on some of the comments I have read, it would seem that if the defendant looked more like the plaintiff and the plaintiff more like the defendant, opinions may have been more favorable towards the photographers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Zenfolio is an image hosting site that I use in addition to Flickr. Flickr is more of a social photo sharing site and Zenfolio is a site used to market your photos. Zenfolio allows you to set your own prices on a variety of products, including but certainly not limited to prints and digital downloads.

I chose Zenfolio mostly because of their partnership with the online photo printing outfit Mpix. Mpix is an excellent, ultra affordable and professional photo printing outlet. Their metallic prints are great!

Please check out my Zenfolio site and let me know what you think!

Stephen Matthew Photography

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nikon Lenses For Sale

From time to time I buy and sell Nikon Equipment. I currently have a Nikkor 55-200mm VR lens for sale and a Nikkor 18-55mm (Not a VR). Both are in good condition. I do not have the paperwork with the 18-55. Please email me at smp928s at gmail dot com.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stockade Sunset

Stockade Sunset
Originally uploaded by UpstateNYPhototaker
Another shot of the ice situation on the banks of the Mohawk River in Schenectady's stockade district. The river is that flat iced over area to the right of the chunks of ice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mohawk River - Schenectady

I didn't get down to the river in time to see the ice jam in the river itself. This was the scene this morning before work from the banks of the river. Luckily the river didn't really cause any damage to the neighboring houses or buildings. The blocks of ice were pretty impressive. This was taken with the Sigma 10-20mm on the D90.

Photo blog blogs

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I had a chance to get up to the Adirondacks on Saturday morning. I left Schenectady at around 5am to try and get up there for the sunrise. It was in the negative numbers (-2F to be exact) when I got up there around 7am and didn't really start warming up until much later. My Nikon didn't really like the weather and it took a while for it to warm up and stop groaning.

2 of the shots you see in the slide show below were taken this past summer (I think they will be obvious :) and the other two were taken Saturday. The photo of the foot prints were actually taken on the frozen pond that can be seen in the summer photos. If you look closely in that winter photo you can see the beaver dam from the summer photo far off in the distance.

The photo of the Ausable River isn't quite as impressive as it was in person. Being as cold as it was there was a good deal of steam coming up from the river. The light that was touching those distant trees was quite impressive. It's hard to imagine in just a few short months I'll be fly fishing again in that same area.

Anyone visiting the Wilmington/Lake Placid area I highly recommend the Hungry Trout Restaurant (5239 Route 86 Wilmington, NY). It is a stone's throw from where these photos were taken and the atmosphere and food is excellent.

Nikkor 80-200 F/2.8D ED

This is the first "Pro" grade lens I have owned. I picked it up off of craigslist for about half of what these lenses go for on ebay or through any retailer. It is in great condition and focuses extremely fast on my Nikon D90. This version, for those familiar with the lens, is the 2 ring version. The versatility of having a wide aperture like 2.8 is really essential for anything in low light or when you need to get your shutter speeds up to freeze motion. I love this lens and the more I use it the more I love it. the funny thing is, the more I use it the more I wish I had VR on this lens like the 70-200 F/2.8 VRII. For now I will continue to love this lens.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sports Illustrated for Dogs

This is Dawson's favorite form of exercise. This was a rare miss for him (thrower error). He is still as sharp at catching as the day he learned. These shots were made possible by my new Nikkor 80-200 F/2.8D lens that I picked up second hand. Its a sharp lens with quick auto focus. I am foreseeing a day that I will switch to a full frame camera and this lens will be a great lens in my future full frame lineup.

Please have a look around at my Zenfolio site as well:


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Daily Coyote...A MUST Read

I just got finished reading The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton (her blog: http://www.dailycoyote.net/). I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who likes coyotes, dogs or really animals in general (or the human condition for that matter). I won't go into too much detail about the book but it is a true story and Shreve seems like a truly amazing person. It was a quick read and worth every minute. I got more smiles from that book in a 24 hour period than I have had in the previous month.

I must admit I have been somewhat fascinated with coyotes since I was much younger. I grew up in a pretty rural area in Upstate, NY. In the summers I didn't usually have a/c so all the windows would be open. Our house was surrounded by fields and pretty much open acreage (then, but not so much now...). Many nights I would lie awake listening to the Coyotes. The sound was something to behold for sure. They were probably with a few hundred yards or less of the open windows. Whether it was the heat or how loud their "singing" was, I often missed a lot of sleep those nights.

I went as far as to build a tree stand and buy coyote calls, (rodent in distress, that type of thing) in an effort to see one of these beautiful and often misunderstood animals. I never was able to call one in but their evidence was all around me. It wasn't until much later that I had actually gotten a glimpse of a Coyote.

What does this all have to do with photography? For one Shreve's photography in the book is fascinating and well placed throughout the story. Secondly, the book inspired me and I am going to make a concerted effort to attempt to photograph some of these animals in the wild. I may even have to pull out some of those coyote calls. Stay tuned...