Saturday, December 02, 2006

New images! Inspirational Imagery Update December 2006

At long last, Inspirational Imagery is getting some updates. I just completed a new section titled "Weekend in New England", depicting scenes from a summertime trip to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island, New York. The new Connecticut Lighthouse section will be completed in the next few days with almost all of the lighthouses in the state of Connecticut. Check out the new updates and products for that hard to buy for person on your Christmas list!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Inspirational Imagery Website Update 08/29/2006

I've got a lot of catching up to do! Lots of trips to tell about, and some pretty sizeable updates to Inspirational Imagery. Let me start with the updates. Added as of 08/29/2006:

Rhode Island Lighthouses - 12 new lighthouses from my trip to New England in June 2006.

Ohio Lighthouses - Marblehead Lighthouse and Vermilion Lighthouse from my trip to New Jersey in April as we passed through on the drive from Michigan.

The Upper Peninsula - Four new images added, bringing the total to six in this section.

Coming this week - New Jersey Lighthouses, Connecticut Lighthouses, and a very special New England photography section. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rhode Island Lighthouses - Warwick and Pomham Rocks, Friday June 2, 2006

The first two lights of the day, starting off about 7:30am on Friday, June 2, 2006, was Warwick and Pomham Rocks. Warwick is an active USCG lighthouse with residents, but when Fran and I arrived at the light, the gate was open. We parked outside the entrance and knocked on the door. The resident graciously allowed us to walk around the exterior and take photos. This light is normally not open to the public, so what a great way to start off the day!!

The entire day it was foggy and overcast, but we worked with what we had. Warwick is such a scenic spot, and the view is incredible here!

Super wide angle shot of the keeper's quarter and the tower, overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Closer to the light tower, we found this sidewalk leading to the keeper's quarters.

In front of the light, & the Bay behind me.

And the tower from behind - I was between the fence and the garage, so it was a tight squeeze.

Next stop was Pomham Rocks. This lighthouse has recently undergone a huge restoration. It resides a mile offshore in Narragansett Bay, so the only way to get a decent view is from a neighboring apartment complex and/or the bike path that runs parallel with the water. This shot was taken from the apartment complex, which was on a good enough hill I was able to use the water as a backdrop.

We then walked down to the bike path via a shortcut - the apartment maintenance manager was working, so he let us use his keys to walk through the locked gate meant for residents only down to the bike path. I worked in some of the flowering shrubs in this next capture.

And another good closeup with my 200mm and a 1.4x converter.

And the maintenance manager was nice enough to park his boat in front of the lighthouse for a great poster shot!

Next up - Nyatt, Hog Shoal, and Bristol Ferry.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Connecticut Lighthouses with NELL (New England Lighthouse Lovers)

I took a long weekend trip to Rhode Island and Connecticut from June 1-5, 2006. On Saturday, June 3, the New England Lighthouse Lovers (NELL) sponsored a cruise to view 10 Connecticut lighthouses in Western Long Island Sound, including the difficult to access Stratford Shoal Lighthouse.

Well, as the weather clearly shows, it wasn't the best visibility the entire 7 hours we were on the water. I actually thought it added to the ambience, searching for lighthouses in fog! It was no more than 1/2 mile visibility most of the day, with rain and drizzle on and off, with temps in the low 60s. Waves weren't too bad, around three foot if I remember. Needless to say, it was one of my more challenging shoots I've been in, not only because of the moving boat, but because even with a 6 inch lens hood on my lens, we all were constantly battling sea spray and drizzle, and also because I had a 1.4x teleconverter on my lens, it made it a slow 5.6 aperture and I needed to keep my shutter speed at a minimum of 1/400 in order to avoid blur. Most of the images I maintained ISO 200 for, but some of the darker fog shots I had to bump to ISO 400.

Our cruise started at 9:00 a.m. from Stamford. We cruised out to the Stamford Harbor Ledge Light, which is now in private hands. It is in bad need of a restoration, as the photo will reflect.

From there, we cruised west down to Great Captain Island. It is my understanding that this is a private island, only open by ferry ride to the residents and guests of Greenwich. This light is also in need of restoration, and I think Jeremy mentioned that one was underway. I love this style lighthouse!

Next on the list was Green's Ledge. It was tough to see in the fog, but once I opened up my images and played with the levels and contrast, it was very obvious how this lighthouse got it's name! We were fortunate to get a passing sailboat for a fleeting 15 seconds in front of this very cool lighthouse that made for a wonderful photo op.

Right after Green's Ledge came Sheffield Island. Boat tours are offered out here on a regular basis. It's the same style lighthouse as Great Captain Island. However, when we visited, due to the fog, the shallow water, and I think the tide being out, the closest we were able to get was between 1/2 and 1 mile. The boat got as close as it dared and then very carefully had to maneuver out of the rocks surfacing about 50 foot from the stern. This image is a cropped vertical shot with some dodging and burning in Photoshop to try and bring out some more detail, but it was so hard to see, I'm lucky my images came out at all.

After Sheffield Island came Peck Ledge. We were able to get right up next to this lighthouse. This was shot with my 17-40 wide angle lens with a polarizer to help with some of the haze and also to add some color to the water.

After Sheffield Island, we had about an hour to reach Penfield Reef, so it was lunchtime. The first thing I did was get the images I'd taken backed up (some of you remember from the WILD cruise the portable CD burner I had? I broke the card slot, so it was toast - thanks to Fran for saving the day by bringing hers!). By the time I was done burning CD's, I got about 1/2 of my sandwich down and the boat was arriving at Penfield Reef. This light is very similar to Rose Island and Pomham Rocks in Rhode Island.

As we cruised into Bridgeport/Stratford area to see the three lighthouses there, we passed by a tugboat pulling a large flat-bottomed cargo ship (sorry, not sure what the proper term for those are!).

Next on the list was Fayerweather Island lighthouse, also known as the Black Harbor Lighthouse. This charmer sits on the end of a tiny strip of land that is now connected by a large boulder breakwater.

The next lighthouse, Tongue Point, sits on the end of a breakwater that I believe is now on private property - a power plant I think, and it's not accessible by land. The better views are from the water. As these two shots convey, you can get a totally different perspective based on what direction you are viewing the light from.

After we departed Tongue Point, the boat coasted up the shoreline towards Stratford Point. We got into the general area, and I overheard someone say that the GPS quit working on the bridge. We coasted up and down the shoreline for several minutes, searching for the lighthouse, which was really difficult to spot in 1/2 mile visibility with the thick fog!! Finally, we spotted this lovely beacon, all lit up, guiding the way.
I understand this is a private USCG residence, and pretty much off limits to the general public. A couple years or so ago, there was a nice family living there that did allow people to enter the grounds and take photos and even climb the tower (Fran, we would love to see some images!). I had intended on hitting this light Sunday morning before embarking on the ferry to Long Island, but I was very short on time, having to be at the dock at 7:30am (I did get some nice land based shots of Black Harbor, which I will post in another thread).

The last light of the day was Stratford Shoal. Located over 8 miles offshore from Bridgeport, it is a difficult lighthouse to access, due to the frequent waves and potential storms that occur. It's extremely isolated location makes it even more mysterious and awe-inspiring at what some of the lightkeepers must have endured for their times alone in places like this.

That concludes the 7.5 hour, foggy, drizzle, and rainy NELL cruise. I still had a fabulous time and thoroughly enjoyed the people and the new faces I got to meet! I have a full day of Rhode Island lighthouse, as well as several on Long Island and the remaining Connecticut lights to post as soon as I get the edited.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Spring Break - Adventures in New Jersey

I'm back from my week long trip to New Jersey! It was a long drive from Michigan, but we made it safe and sound. I managed to hit all the New Jersey coastal lights, the Statue of Liberty, Hershey's Chocolate World in Pennsylvania, The Lost River underground cave, and lots of shopping! We had a great time and I got some INCREDIBLE photos. The weather cooperated for the days I was out shooting and it even snowed on Lady Liberty before it stopped and the sun melted all the white stuff! More photos of Miss Liberty to come.

This photo of Barnegat Lighthouse was an incredible ending to a perfect day. We left at 8:30 am from Frenchtown on Sunday, April 2 and took a wrong turn on the way to Eastpoint Lighthouse and ended up in crossing the Delaware Bridge into Delaware. OOPS! By the time we got home, after hitting Eastpoint, Cape May Lighthouse, Absecon Lighhouse, Hereford Lighthouse, and finishing out the day at Barnegat, it was after 11:00 pm, and the kids were out cold. They were both so good!

Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City is a twin to Barnegat Lighthouse further north up the Jersey Shore. It's too bad the neightborhood in which this light sits is surrounded by condos and the amount of trash that resides on the ground. Absecon Lighthouse was closed, so my only option was to walk all the way around the fence and poke my lens through to get shots. Thankfully, the slats were large enough!

Hereford Lighthouse, located in North Wildwoods, near Cape May, was definitely one of my favorites. I love Victorian-style lights, and judged by the upkeep on this one, it is well taken care of and loved. The gardens are extraordinary and I did get a chance to see some of it in bloom with daffodils, even though it's early in the season. There were a couple of young men who were acting suspicious when I stopped here - they were climbing the metal tower that sits next to the light and they were poking around the back like they were trying to get in. I was watching them and giving them dirty looks since they were in my way anyhow and they didn't like me standing there tapping my foot waiting for them to move! I can only hope I deterred them from an attempted break in.

More news and photos from New Jersey over the next few days, including the fabolous shots of Lady Liberty and Manhattan skyline, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Major update to Inspirational Imagery w/e 03/30/2006

I have added several new images to the website this month. Check out the new lighthouse sections for the following states:

**Wisconsin Lighthouses - 12 Images

**Florida Lighthouses - 4 Images

**California Lighthouses - 2 Images

**Oregon Lighthouses - 6 Images

**Washington Lighthouses - 6 Images

The Wildlife Section has also expanded again, with six new Butterflies.

I am currently at 175 images online. My goal of 200 images by spring should be done by the end of April with more lighthouses coming from the East Coast.

Big promotion! My sweet husband gave me the go-ahead to place a magazine ad for my new website. Lighthouse Digest Magazine will be featuring my online store in their Marketplace section for the April and May issues.

Trip to the Florida Panhandle March 10, 2006

My mom, Michael, and I flew down to the Florida Panhandle to drive my Great-Aunt Harriet home from her winter in Panama City Beach. While we were there, we took an extra couple of days to sightsee. One day we drove over to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, where I spend a couple hours photographing the lighthouse, gators, and all types of waterfowl along the road leading back to the lighthouse. We then took Highway 98 back to Panama City, stopping at Crooked River Lighthouse and Cape San Blas Lighthouse before nightfall. We backtracked three times to find Cape San Blas, and by the time we got there, it was after sunset and the mosquitoes were biting so bad, I only got a few workable images. You can see more photos from this trip in my new Florida Lighthouse section of Inspirational Imagery.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Inspirational Imagery Website Update 03/04/2006

The Lake Superior Inspirational Lighthouses Section has seven new images added. I also took a slight detour this afternoon, photographing the pesky squirrels that never seem to stay out of my bird feeder. So, I've added a humorous squirrel section to Wildlife, with lots of items available - T-shirts, sweatshirts, mousepad, greeting cards, ornaments, journal, posters, tiles, and more!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Inspirational Imagery Website Update 03/01/2006

The Wildlife Section has been reorganized into seven new sections by animal type:

- Cats and Kittens
- Dogs
- Butterflies
- Birds and Waterfowl
- Zoo Animals
- Farm Animals
- Under the Sea

Today, I added three dogs to the new Dog Section. In Cats and Kittens, a new Seal Point Siamese design and a yellow tabby cat design were added, and a jellyfish was added to Under the Sea. The Waterfall Section also received eight new images, consisting of Niagara Falls, Bond Falls, Wagner Falls, a Mountain Waterfall, and an Autumn Stream.

Over the next couple of days I will be shifting gears back to Michigan Lighthouses. New addition plans are as follows:

- Lake Huron Inspirational Lighthouses: 4 images
- Lake Superior Inspirational Lighthouses: 7 images
- Lake Michigan Inspirational Lighthouses: 5 images

Friday, February 24, 2006

Inspirational Imagery Website Update w/e 02-25-2006

I finished adding 12 images to the Lake Superior Gallery and six images to the Lake Huron Gallery under the main section of Michigan Lighthouses.

The Wildlife section is up to 20 images, consisting of cats, camel, polar bear, giraffe, rhino, butterflies, horse, egret, stellar jay, birds, coots, ducks, jellyfish, and a shark. I also have a couple more cats and some dogs to add to Wildlife, as well as more undersea creatures and a squirrel and a young buck deer.

I will be implementing 8 more images in the Waterfall section over the weekend, bringing the total number of photos available in Waterfalls to 12 - new additions will be Niagara Falls, New York; Upper Bond Falls, Lower Bond Falls, Wagner Falls, Upper Peninsula of Michigan; and Franklin Falls, Washington.

Following Wildlife and Waterfalls will be six to ten more images of the Upper Peninsula, followed by Lake Huron inspirational images and Lake Superior images.

I will be flying to Florida the first week of March and I will have five new lighthouses to add to my collection from the Panhandle. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Adventure at Little Sable Lighthouse, Michigan

I decided to drag myself out in the 20 degree air and below zero west wind chill up to Little Sable Lighthouse near Silver Lake on Lake Michigan this afternoon while my other half was watching the Daytona 500 (perfect excuse to get him to babysit!). I have wanted to get up there for some snow shots the past three years and it just never happened, until today. Was it worth the trip? ABSOLUTELY! I spent one hour traversing through 8 inches of snow encrusted with ice on the dunes - it was actually easier than walking on the sand itself! It's the first time I've been out to Lake Michigan since November, when we had a big gale storm come through the state and I went out to the Grand Haven Lighthouse and got some of the best shots of my career.

You can see more of my images of today's adventure at Little Sable on my post here.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Jenifer Selwa Photography - Inspirational Imagery

Welcome to my blog!

I have recently opened a new online store, which I have titled, "Inspirational Imagery", a website with some of my finest images. I know the average consumer cannot afford the cost that fine art photography brings - hundreds of dollars for a signed, limited edition framed art gallery print. Therefore, I have decided to partner with Cafepress, an online company that offers unique designs on products like mugs, calendars, apparel, coasters, tiles, journals, ornaments, decorative collecibles, and many other products, all at affordable prices.

The main theme of my store, Inspirational Imagery, is fine art landscape and lighthouse photography being offered with motivational Bible verses and scripture. The Lord has blessed me with the gift of capturing His magnificent creation, and I want to glorify that gift.

Currently, I am offering landscape and lighthouse photos with and without Scripture. My main focus is Michigan lighthouses, since they are closest to my home in central Michigan. I am also currently offering a wildlife section, full of the wild and tame - everything from polar bears, birds, ducks, egrets, cats, fish, sharks, fun aquatic animals, and also some domestic animals like horses. A few exotics might sneak in - I think my camel is pretty cute! Also available are some lovely images from a Michigan Christmas tree. A large variety of ornaments are being offered - angels, snowmen, the Christmas star, a cross, and others.

I am still working every day on uploading and integrating new images into the website. My goal this week is to get the Wildlife section up to 20 different selections, and Lake Superior Lighthouses and Lake Huron Lighthouses will be coming right behind. I will use this new blog to post updates on new products and photos that will be available on a weekly basis.

I would like to invite you to browse and shop my new online store by clicking the link over to the left. Thank you for your support!