When Frank posts his challenge for the week, I don’t usually respond until the weekend. Most of the week, I am busy with work, commuting in the dark to a location filled with ugly office buildings. Photography is only possible on weeknights.
The last few weekends, and during the week as well, the weather has often been cold, wet, and deeply overcast. This is why I have mostly processed many recent images in monochrome. When all around me feels blah and grey, I try to capture that feeling with monochrome. But this weekend we had a change in the weather.
Osiris and Isis cried parted the skies and called out from the Earth to Ra, the king of the gods. Ra, the god of the sun, the bringer of light, soared across the sky and made his presence known. The temperatures soared to -2ºC with hints of blue all around. I took the opportunity and drove forty-five minutes to Clinton, New Jersey.
My plan was to spend about 45 minutes shooting the Hunterdon Art Museum from the Red Mill Museum Village located on the west bank of the South Branch of the Raritan River. I recently bought some layered cloting to help me withstand the wintry weather better than I have in the past. Before the change in weather, I had originally thought that the water near the two museums would be partially frozen over and that I would get some images capturing how cold it’s been. But Ra’s power was too great, and although I could see some ice on the lower branches of some of the trees, by the time I arrived — around 11:30 AM — the water was mostly free-flowing.
But the skies were clear and blue and as is often true with outdoor photography, I made do with what was available. I walked across the Main Street Bridge, stopping a few times to capture images of the Red Mill Museum Village and the Hunterdon County Art Museum. The art museum is on the opposite bank of this section of the Raritan River.
The Hunterdon Art Museum is in the heart of the quaint nineteenth-century town of Clinton. Visitors can enjoy an afternoon of shopping in unique boutique shops, dine in restaurants that feature everything from light lunch to elegant dinners, and visit the Red Mill Museum Village where you can learn about the industrial heritage of the region, all within a stone’s throw of the Art Museum.
I tried to focus on shooting images of the Hunterdon County Art Museum and the Main Street Bridge. I had already captured images of the [Red Mill Museum Village] on my last visit a few years ago. But, the Red Mill Museum was just too colourful to resist capturing a few images.
I walked across the main street bridge. As I approached the far eastern side of the bridge I notice a group had gathered on the steps that lead down the bank of the river. Some of the ducks were gathered waiting or hoping to be fed. I had not noticed the ducks until then. I waited for the group to disperse so that I could walk down to photograph the ducks. In the meantime, I photographed the Red Mill Museum on the other bank and the Main Street Bridge.
Built before 1880 by William and Charles Cowin, the Main Street Bridge is among a small group of metal truss bridges in the USA, that use cast and wrought iron. The bridge was designed by Francis C. Lowthorp. It can be challenging shooting long exposure images from the Main Street Bridge. The bridge vibrates whenever a vehicle rumbles across the bridge, creating slight movements that cause ghosting and blurring in long exposure images. I kept a close eye for any approaching traffic and captured my images in between arrivals of vehicles.
When the group moved away so did the ducks. I walked down and waited for them to return but they did not. I settled for capturing some images of the Main Street Bridge. At this point I was hungry so I walked down Main Street to the Ye Olde Sub Base, a sandwich restaurant which has 4.5 stars on Yelp. I ordered the Italian sub with ham, prosciuttini, capicola, salami, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and vinegar and olive oil. Whenever I eat a sub sandwich, regardless of where I visit, this is how I like it. I walked back to the car and sat to eat.
But the thought of the ducks was calling to me. I grabbed my camera, and tripod and walked back toward the art museum. I could hear the ducks. It seems the ducks only gathered when they see a group of people. As I approached the end of the bridge I called out to the group of people who had gathered. I explained to them what I thought was going on and asked them if they would mind waiting for me to grab a few photos. They agreed.
I got some close of photos of the ducks. I carefully stepped out onto the rock, many of which were covered in ice, to grab some close up of the ducks. They must be used to people because I got quite close.
I captured some images of the frozen rocks and shrubs in the water. I hope this gives an idea of how cold it was.
Now that I had captured the photos I wanted, I walked back to my car, to sit and eat my sandwich. I thought about my plans for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to stop in at Conclave Brewing to try two of their new IPA. I realised what time it was and that I needed to leave.
I shot all of my images bracket (5 exposures) so I could get a set of images I could choose from for post-processing. However, when I started editing the images in Lightroom, I tried to create a natural HDR image from one set. I applied the Classic Chrome Fujifilm Film Simulation preset to each image before processing as HDR. I like the result. With the exception of the photos of the ducks, I processed the remainder of the images as HDR.