The Peirce Island Boat Ramp

We all have our comfort zones and our creative muses.  When I see a gorgeous sunset developing, I always scramble around for what the best place to shoot might be.  Sometimes traffic, timing, clouds, people, etc. tend to dictate where I can go….so I was driving around downtown trying to find  a great spot to catch a rainbow that had appeared under the stormy sky.  I wanted to frame the North Church.  I wasn’t able to get both in any frame, then I was inspired to head towards one of my absolute favorite locations to shoot a dramatic sky – Peirce Island.

I was greeted with an increasingly stunning landscape shot, with the essence of it shown above. Check out some previous gorgeous moments from the Boat Ramp here and here.

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The Ramp

The Peirce Island Boat Ramp is always a favorite – although most of the time it is from the viewpoint below.  Heading in one day from a walk after getting a light coat of fresh snow, I decided to head to the ramp to see if the South End was looking good…and of course it was, but nothing extraordinary so I planned to pack it in.  Well, as has happened before, I decided to take a quick turn, to see what the scene looked like behind me and decided to snap the other end of the boat ramp.

Morning Light from Peirce Island

This weekend had some gorgeous photographic opportunities, and thanks to some encouragement from Chris Lazzery for an early wake up – we headed over to Peirce Island to see what we might find.  There were all sorts of surprises for what was supposed to be a cloudless morning….from the pink clouds above the shipyard, to some gorgeous saturated orange sunlight that you see in this shot….and then, all of a sudden (as if a lightswitch was hit), the light became completely muted and lost its early glow.  It actually made for some awesome shots…and Chris snapped one of my favorite shots I’ve ever seen from the Boat Launch.

Featured in the shot is The Chandler’s Loft – which is open VERY early…and located on Pickering Ave at the former Pickering Marina.  You can stop in to grab your bait, tackle, coffee…you get the idea.  I’ll have to stop in for coffee soon – I wish them the best in the new endeavor!

Sunrise from Peirce Island

Here is another shot from sunrise on Saturday morning this past weekend.  Even though the forecasts called for clear skies…we were gifted with some interesting clouds that continued to change through the early morning light.

This shot was taken from the Peirce Island boat ramp, which is one of my favorite places to shoot from…and one of my favorite shots.  Even though getting up for sunrise is easily one of the crazier things I’ve done…it’s right in line with the early morning crew practices I used to do without hesitation – and I’m often rewarded with a decent shot or two, and the satisfaction that I got up to do something meaningful (even if it’s only meaningful to me).

The Peirce Island Boat Ramp

Today’s post poses a question, to HDR or not to HDR?  HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and I’ve begun to use the abbreviation as a verb with friends & family as we joke about the process (which uses multiple exposures overlaid on top of each other to reach a broader dynamic light range)….but as you can tell from scrolling through the website, it’s something that I truly enjoy doing – as I find that it’s similar to the darkroom black & white processing I learned to do in college.  The digital post processing is still the romantic part to me (although shooting the scene is still most important), where it is up to you to create your vision.  I use it mostly to try and replicate what I saw with my eyes when I was taking the photos.  A single exposure often feels too flat to me, still beautiful – but short of the memory I have of the particular scene/experience.

To serve as an example, I’ve posted two versions of one of my all-time favorite images – the sunrise shot taken of the Peirce Island Boat Ramp.  The first is the “HDR” version, while the image below is nearly “out of the camera” with minimal additional tweaking.  Regardless – it was clearly a beautiful scene, but I’m curious to hear – which do you prefer?

Peirce Island Boat Ramp | Sunrise & Sunset

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The Peirce Island boat ramp makes for an awesome shot with homes from the South End in the distance and the Piscataqua River in between.  The shot posted above was taken in the early hours of the morning while the shot below was taken in the late afternoon just before sunset.  I thought it was interesting to see how the light hits the scene during each time of day.

Which shot is your favorite?

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