One weekend this summer, I was on a photography field trip to Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Our guide, Richard Sherman, obtained private access to Boathouse #4 and, early in the evening, to a launch boat (the little boats used by coaches) from which two photographers at a time were able to shoot the boathouses and Philly skyline from a different perspective.

Philadelphia’s iconic “Boathouse Row” offers photographers a variety of colorful and interesting subjects, including the restored Fairmount Water Works, skyline shots of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the 19th-century boat houses and rowing shells along the Schuylkill River.

 Aperture ƒ/5  Camera NIKON D5100  Captured 20 August, 2016  Copyright © Khürt L. Williams  Focal length 66mm  ISO 100  Shutter speed 1/1000s 

We had private access to Boathouse #4 and, early in the evening, to a launch boat (the little boats used by coaches) from which two photographers at a time will be able to shoot the boathouses and Philly skyline from a different perspective. From the launch boat, I got a unique water view of the boathouses. Some members of one of the boathouses were celebrating with dinner on the veranda.

The launch boat took us along the Schuylkill toward the lighthouse on Turtle Rock. This lighthouse was built in 1887 to aid traffic on the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The view of the lighthouse from the launch boat was awesome. I was capturing some images of the lighthouse and zoomed in for a close-up when I noticed this couple basking in the glow of the late afternoon sun.

 

It seems that some debris came down the river and collected in an area in front of the boathouses. It formed a small island which has become inhabited by some ducks. The island also blocks the flow of water leading to the growth of a greenish plant. The ducks seem to like swimming in it.

I love this image. The instructor came running over to me. I had my camera pointed toward the Fairmount Water Works. He said, “Khürt, look up to your left”. I wish I had a pano head.

Philadelphias Boathouse Row at Night Boathouse Row NIKON D5100 20160820 3710

The class had opportunities to exercise all our photographic muscles, from photographing people to shooting architectural details, from wide panoramas to close-ups, from high F-stops to shallow depth-of-field, from dynamic hand-held street shots to using tripods during “blue night” to capture the boathouses and their reflections on the water.

Philadelphias Boathouse Row at Night Schuylkill River NIKON D5100 20160820 3742 6 HDR 1200x794
Boathouse Row just after the sun went away for the day. I was trying to expose for the foreground and the sky.
When the sun had disappeared completely for the day, the lights were turned on at Boathouse Row on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, just north of the Fairmount Water Works and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This was an unplanned shot. I read somewhere that one can find a good sunset following rain. It rained intermittently all day. The pavement was wet when I looked out my bedroom window this morning. Perhaps that was in the back of my mind when I walked out of my doctor’s appointment and noticed that it had rained slightly during my appointment. I looked up at the sky and then quickly drove up Route 27 along Carnegie Lake to the Kingston end of the D&R Canal trail.

I wasn’t sure I would find a good place to shoot the sunset. The dam is under repair so the area I thought I might use was not accessible. I walked along looking for a clearing in the trees. The golden light was fading fast.

I had some challenges with the tripod. I recently changed to an Arca Swiss style clamp and camera bracket. In my haste, I brought with me only the tripod, camera remote, and level. This proved to be a mistake. The Arca Swiss bracket was loose. The Allen wrench was in the camera bag in the car. I tightened as best I could with my keys. I had to do this several times in between shots.

I didn’t realize it but the battery in the camera was almost exhausted. After about four sets of bracketed images, the battery gave out. Good thing too. I was so engrossed in focusing and composing the shot I did not notice that the light was fading fast and the sunset was almost ended. I had a long walk back to the car.

The image is a three exposure HDR from Photomatix. I applied a filter I created in Adobe Lightroom. What do you think?