A departure for me, but nonetheless . . . simple commentary on a complex situation.

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A tropical triptych — Island Skies

This is the first post of a series of photos taken in Maui, HI earlier this month.

Please click an image for a larger view.

Western Sky

Maui Rainbow

Island Night Sky

Photographed at an angle (or altitude) of about 75 degrees, facing east.
This photo required a tripod, high ISO, 30-second exposure, and a wide-open aperture.

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Evolution of a photo—progressive photography

I walk my dog almost every morning in the park in Northport, NY, next to the docks. A few days ago, on an overcast day, I saw colors I like together. Surprisingly, one was the bottom of an aluminum boat, the other was the interior of a fiberglass sailing/rowing dinghy. I tried some post-processing to recapture the feelings I had when I saw the colors juxtaposed.

With the colors being primary, I tried to cut extraneous elements, resorting to a white vignette and a bleaching of surrounding areas.  I applied several filters with NIK Software’s Photoshop plugin, Color Efex Pro 2. This is what I got:

Click on an image for a larger view.

Further experimentation netted me a more diffuse, pastel version—somewhat dreamy:


So far, these photos did not fully evoke a feeling parallel to what I felt when shooting them. The next day it snowed, so I went back and got essentially a “straight” shot.


Still not evocative.

On the third day, after the snow stopped falling,  I returned and got these:




Although the colors, coral and green, were not prevalent, they show boats in a winter setting and are reasonably composed. But they lacked an indefinable “magic.”

Sunday morning (March 10), after the skies cleared, the snow melted, the tide rose, and the water flattened like a mirror, I captured some magic, at least in terms of my own sensibilities.


—After shooting this session, I identified the dinghy as a “Fatty Knees,”
designed by Lyle Hess about 70 year ago. Until a few years ago, it was
built by Edey & Duff of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. After they went out
of business, David Foynes of Sagamore Beach, MA, started building them.

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Black and white images with selective color


“Bottom’s Up”
—Aluminum dinghy overturned on dock. Heavy rains expected.

Over the past few years, I’ve been experimenting with converting some of my color images to B&W using Photoshop’s Black & White adjustment layer. When activated, you move sliders corresponding to red, yellow, green, cyan, green, and magenta to selectively change the tonality in the image. You can thereby emphasize main elements by strategically adding and reducing contrast.

Another effective way to convert color photos to B&W is with NIK Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2.0. This Photoshop plug-in creates a layer above the original color layer. It has a wide range of tonal suggestions and custom tools. You can start from scratch or pick a preset (38 suggestions) then modify to your taste.

With Silver Efex Pro 2 you can globally or locally control contrast, detail (structure), mimic film type, and apply various color filters. When satisfied, you can then finish your piece with vintage toning (other choices available), a vignette,  or any number of image borders.

I have used both methods to transform color to black and white. On some occasions, I retain selective color. This is done by creating a mask in the B&W layer then “brushing out” the selected elements. Here you are essentially erasing the black and white parts on the top layer to reveal the color from the layer below.

I’d like to share some of these photos here:

(Click an image for a larger view.)

“Officer’s Stateroom—Balclutha”
—In sailing vessel in San Francisco’s Hyde Street Maritime Museum.


—Salty wooden sailboat at mooring in Huntington Harbor, NY.


—Classic way-finding instrument—a Constellation compass,
onboard the Mary E out of Essex, CT.


“Huntington Light”
—Positioned in Huntington Bay at the entrance to Huntington Harbor, NY.

Patina Prop

“Patina Prop”
—An oxidized bronze prop on vessel in Greenport, NY.


“Sagittarius Fire”
—About 11 pm—Montauk. A summer custom is to
hang out at the beach by a campfire.

All images are produced on archival canvas or satin-finish photo paper. Please contact John for sizes and prices. Thanks.

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Gathered by a stream


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Snagged maple leaf

While in flight, this maple leaf’s stem got snagged in the pinches of lichen.

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Lone maple leaf


At ease momentarily between bookends of lichen.

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A triptych of lone visitors

As I glide and soar among the branches,
I sometimes alight upon a surface,
If only to get my bearings,
If only for a short while. —JE


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Sun Grazing Isle of Wight—Maryland


Assawoman Bay and Isle of Wight Bay separate Fenwick Island from the Maryland Eastern Shore. Ocean City occupies the southern half of the island. The land in this photo is the Isle of Wight. I shot the sun as it descended for about an hour. I like the geometry of this photo, which I call, “Grazing.”

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Broadkill Beach at Sundown—Delaware


Broadkill Beach is just north of Lewes, Delaware, on Delaware Bay.

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