Sunrise at Carnegie Lake

When I looked at what Frank had chosen for the challenge this week, I felt a bit disheartened. I have captured no sunrise images in 2019. The last sunrise I photographed was in October of last year.

I know it's March, but I think Winter and Fall are a few of the best times of the year to capture sunsets and sunrises. The air is often crisp and clear with just a few clouds to add some drama to the scene.

I even started using an app, The Photographer's Ephemeris, that would help me forecast what the sky would look like in the morning. It worked sometimes.

One of the reasons I may be photographing the less often in the early morning is that last year, my contract with the State of New Jersey ended. The commute to Trenton was relatively easy. Trenton is local. It was easy to take more scenic routes to the office, stop and capture anything that caught my eye and not be late for work.

After my contract ended, I started contract work for a bank. They have offices on Wall Street and Iselin, New Jersey. The commute to "The City" is almost two-hours long. When I travel to the Manhattan office, I start commuting very early. Before sunrise. I can see the daybreak from my car or the window of the train. When I drive the 50 minutes to Iselin, the sun is just starting to fill the sky. Because of traffic and these longer commutes, I have no time to dawdle at Carnegie Lake.

But what about the weekend and Wednesday and Friday when I work from home?

Over the last few months, I have been staying up late and getting up late. That's unusual for me. In the past, I was usually up at sunrise or just before dawn. I was always excited to start the new day. I would make coffee, stare out the window and watch the sunrise over the forests in the backyard. Sometimes I would what was about to unfold in the sky and I would rush to grab my camera and drive to the closest open area — usually Carnegie Lake — to capture the scene.

I miss my mornings. I think tonight; I'll skip attempt to return to my old routine; early to bed, early to rise.

These images are from a set I captured last October at Carnegie Lake. I drove over to the lake before sunrise and sat in my car until the sun started to peek out through the clouds. It was a cold morning. I used aperture priority bracketing and created an HDR image in Photomatix Pro.

Sunrise at Carnegie Lake. Yesterday. Before work. The air was cold. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/16, ISO200), Copyright 2018-10-26 Khürt L. Williams

Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve

My sister-in-law, Falguni, and I have been trying to organize some local hikes. We have many nearby trails in our area. We had planned for late October but the timing was not right. Last Saturday it rained most of the day and Sunday we had a family event to attend. The sun eventually came out later in the day but by then the ground was soggy so we postponed to today. Bhavana, my nephew Rohan and his grandfather decided to come along as well.

Mountain Lakes, Nature Preserve
"Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve” — 31 October 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 1/350s at ISO 32

We decided to walk the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. Bhavana and I had walked it before with the kids and had promised to come back. We walked along the red path toward Mountain Lake. My nephew seemed excited to be outside. He asked a lot of questions about where we were going and what he would see.

Mountain Lakes, Nature Preserve, Princeton
"Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve” — 31 October 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 30s at ISO 32

The park is a 75-acre natural area located just outside Princeton. Access to the park is via Mountain Avenue which is just off Bayard Lane/Van Horne Road when coming via Route 206. The park is a favourite for family walks, birding, and fishing. In the early 1980s, it was purchased by Princeton Township and is preserved as open space. The preserve has two lakes one of which is pictured above.

Mountain Lakes, Nature Preserve, Princeton
"Bhavna and Falguni." — 31 October 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 1/220s at ISO 32
I brought my Nikon D5100 with me along with my Manfrotto tripod but after a few captures, I realized I preferred snapping images with my iPhone 6. Setting up the tripod and composing the shot took time. It was quick to pull out my iPhone 6, slide up to activate the camera, and snap! Eventually, I just carried the tripod on my shoulder and captured all these images with my iPhone.
Mountain Lakes, Nature Preserve, Princeton
"My nephew looking for adventure." — 31 October 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 1/490s at ISO 125
Mountain Lakes, Nature Preserve, Princeton
31 October 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 1/580s at ISO 32
Mountain Lakes, Nature Preserve, Princeton
31 October, 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 1/280s at ISO 32
31 October, 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 60s at ISO 32

When my nephew and his grandfather sat down on the bench to take a break from walking, I immediately thought about what capturing an image that told a story about a boy and his grandfather. It was only later at home while reviewing the images in Lightroom that I realized that my nephew was holding a leaf.

"Enjoying a moment.” — 31 October, 2015 — iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm ƒ/2.2, 1/430s at ISO 32

60 Seconds at Carnegie Lake ...

A few weeks ago, when I looked out the window and saw the light fog hanging over the area, I knew I needed to hurry. I quickly assembled my diabetes kit, bolus for my liquid breakfast of Soylent, packed my TimBuk2 messenger bag, grabbed my iPhone 6 and Nikon D5100 and headed out the door. The tripod was already in the car.

Driving along Blue Spring Road, I noticed that the colour start to appear in the sky. A sort of reddish-orange. I headed toward Carnegie Lake intending to capture images of the fog over the lake. But as I pulled into the parking area, I knew I had to do something else. I mounted the iPhone 6 on the tripod and set about capturing some images.

After a few long exposure shots of the lake with Slow Shutter Cam I tried something new. I put myself in the image. I have only done this one time before. I knew I had to stand still to reduce ghosting since I set the shutter speed to 60 seconds.

But as I stood there counting down the second, I forgot about the image. The camera had long ago captured the picture, but still, I stood there. I am not moving. Just enjoying the scene before me. The air was crisp. For 60 seconds, no cars passed by on Route 27. For 60 seconds, I could hear the sound of the lake water lapping against its bank. For 60 seconds, I could listen to the birds call out to each other across the lake.

60 seconds.

This image was captured on my iPhone 6 with the Slow Shutter Cam app. I applied the Fuji Velvia 100F filter in the Really Nice Images Films mobile app.