Today' Guest Blogger Betty Wiley Shares Her Vision of Cape Cod

I am so excited to be doing a guest blog post for Rick.  I have followed Rick for years. I remember attending one of his excellent and engaging presentations at Photoshop World in Boston many years ago which was about travel photography.  Traveling to great places, meeting interesting people and experiencing different cultures AND taking great photographs…well, lets just say that I wanted to be like Rick when I grew upJ

So here I am, years later writing this guest blog post and I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. Thank you Rick!

While I do some travel photography, mostly for pleasure, I am a free-lance photographer based on Cape Cod and I am often called upon to photograph assignments for a number of the local magazines. My magazine assignments have included everything from scenics, gardens and interiors of beautiful homes to “lifestyle” features.  Many of my Cape Cod scenes have appeared on the covers of these publications.  Everyone tells me that my work is recognizable…and that my images have a “Betty Wiley” look and feel to them.

The Cape is known for it’s beautiful light and my not-so -secret sauce, so to speak, is the light but also knowing WHERE to go as well as WHEN is just as important.  I am usually out with my camera before dawn and again, at the end of the day when the light is soft and warm…however, I make a particular effort to get up early and head out before sunrise if there has been rain overnight as I love to capture a sunrise with beautiful cloud formations.  Similarly, if there has been rain in the afternoon and if it looks as though the skies might show signs of clearing towards sunset, then I head to some of my favorite spots based upon what the conditions are at the time.

Opening Image: Early morning at Paines Creek. It had rained overnight and it was still raining when I headed out in the dark before sunrise . . . it would have been so easy to stay in bed but I knew how good it COULD be if the skies cleared early.  As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm.  Conditions were ideal…I knew the low tide at this location could provide beautiful reflections of the clouds.

Above: Approaching storm at Grey’s Beach. Some of my best photographs have been taken when a storm is approaching the area or immediately afterwards…I often tell people bad weather is GOOD because that’s when I get the really beautiful light and dramatic skies.  Summer thunderstorms can be particularly dramatic here on the Cape.  For this particular image, I had to shoot quickly and there was no time to set up a tripod.   Since I was hand-holding and because I wanted a smaller aperture to get sufficient depth of field., I had to crank up my ISO to ensure that my shutter speed was fast enough to ensure a sharp image.  When faced with low light in these situations, I don’t hesitate to raise my ISO if necessary because I can manage the noise in my post-processing work but I can’t rescue a blurry image.

Above: Double Rainbow over Cape Cod. As the storm was moving so quickly, I knew that it wouldn’t be too long before the skies would begin to clear – hmm – this usually means a rainbow…and living on the Cape, I know where to go to capture a panoramic vista and hopefully a rainbow as the skies clear.So, I jumped in my car and drove to where, geographically speaking, I would be in the proper position where I would eventually have the sun at my back as the rain and clouds were moving off-shore.   This meant waiting in the pouring rain but I was confident that my patience would be rewarded. it was…a double rainbow appeared and I was ready…this time I had set up my camera up on a sturdy tripod, and I was using a wide angle lens (16-35mm), cable release and a BW circular polarizer on the lens to enhance the colors.

Above: Pot of Gold. Rainbows don’t hang around for too long but I kept shooting…the light kept getting better and better…I switched to my 70-200mm, F 2.8 telephoto to get a tighter shot of the rainbow and boats in the harbor below. Again, I used my circular polarizer to enhance the colors in the rainbow.  I often start shooting a scene with a wide-angle lens then move in with my telephoto lens as I work the scene to get some of the tighter, more detailed shots.

So what is the take home message here?  Living in and knowing an area is really helpful… photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and 500px can be valuable resources, guidebooks are also a huge help as well as reaching out to other photographers who are familiar with the area…and knowing your gear and envisioning what it is you want to capture…and finally…patience and perseverance…sometimes you just have to wait for the right conditions…and sometimes it doesn’t always happen the way you want it to and then you go back or move on.

Above: Clearing Sky at Race Point. This is another image taken after a storm had moved through the area.  This was taken at Race Point, near Provincetown on the Cape.  I recently launched an ebook which details the how, when and where for many of my images.  This is a book for photographers written by a photographer and it includes GPS locations, technical information and settings for every shot as well as other shooting considerations specific to each location.  If you are planning on visiting the Cape, this will be a valuable resource for you. 

For more information and how to order, please visit these links:  

My new e-boook
My Web site.

Thanks again, Rick