My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.

“Finding an outlet at Inlet, NY”



I had a fantastic opportunity to shoot in the Adirondacks for a couple of days with Mark Bowie. Our group would be trying to capture the night sky as it coincided with a new moon. A new moon is the darkest of moons and this would provide less light pollution in the dark skies. I normally see only about four bright stars, due to light pollution from Philadelphia, NYC and to round out this Bermuda Triangle… Atlantic City. This bleeding of light makes it difficult to see and shoot very dark skies, as it creeps up from the horizon and illuminates low-lying clouds and atmospheric humidity.

When in upstate NY, the lack of this light pollution was quite evident from my first night out in the field. It seemed like ‘twinkle overload’ from the amount of stars that could be seen by the naked eye. Perfect conditions surrounded me… very little cloud cover and almost no wind activity. Having only seen the Milky Way in static pictures from science books, I had to prepare myself to sit back and take it all in. This spectacular show seemed to stretch and arc right above me, in an endless stream of pulsating lights. Techniques for shooting at night vary but often share some very similar and sometimes frustrating dilemmas. In my case it was how to focus in the pitch black. My solution, and possibly yours, lies in the ebooks that Mark Bowie, David Kingham and Roman Kurywczak have produced. Some of the photos you see, seem to be lit by a super flashlight. This was not the case, as illumination was actually street lamps and house lights that when exposed for long periods, fill the area in a nuclear luminescence. At other times just the diffused light from a town on the other side of a ridge was enough to create a moody backlit scene.

As many of you know who follow this blog, I am not one to sit around and wait for the next star show to appear. Waking early after staying up late can lead to sleep deprivation or in some cases a magical morning shot. A couple of mornings greeted me with a deep mist and rising fog over the warm waters, while other times, filtered light illuminated the cloudy skies. My outlet is photography and the adventure in finding and shooting things that I have not experienced before. This search lead me to Inlet, NY… where I could sit back and unplug my very busy mind and truly connect with nature. Try it… you just might find yourself energized by the worldliness that surrounds us all.

37 responses

  1. Katie

    We have the oldest cabin on Limekiln lake. Electricity only. I have been going to Inlet since before I was born, the same apples to my 3 children. We live a busy life hundreds of miles from that cabin with all the most modern amenities. Our family dreams of the cabin and can’t wait for our yearly visit. Beautiful photos, keep going there is much more to capture.


    August 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

  2. I will echo and concur with my better half on her favorite shot. Very nice series. A great example in how great photography can happen in low light.


    September 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

  3. Again, Mike- You blow my mind with your images! Night photography has always been a favorite of mine. Although I have not experienced many night time outings, I would hope that we would venture out more often in the dark of night. One of my favorites (and it is hard for me to even pick one) in Inletblog–6. I love every inch of that image! Great job as usual… Such talent you have.


    September 1, 2013 at 8:12 am

  4. These pictures are so beautiful… you make nature shots look amazing!


    August 31, 2013 at 4:37 am

    • Thanks ‘E’ , but nature when you look close enough creates the beauty… love your plant and animal shoots!!!!


      August 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm

  5. Terrific images, Mike. I’m particularly fond of the morning fog/mist shots.


    August 20, 2013 at 2:10 am

    • Thanks Kerry…. my favs also… except for the dog that kept barking at me 🙂


      August 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm

  6. Once again you had us stop breathing for a moment watching these stunning, beautiful skies. The forms and colors just jumps out full of life! Thanks for sharing you unforgettable trip.


    August 19, 2013 at 3:00 am

    • And many thanks to you ‘IT’ for inspiring posts.


      August 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm

  7. Amazing work, as always. The foggy photos and the Milky Way blew me away.


    August 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    • Me too… just being there was awesome… thanks for the comment.


      August 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm

  8. Lisa S

    Great images. The water scenes are so tranquil. Puts me in a peaceful mood.

    My favs. are,
    Inletblog–5, One of my favorites. You captured a moment of solitude, Inletblog–7, great photo. I can see this image on a greeting card, calendar, etc.
    Inletblog–10, Lovely. Reminds me of a Thomas Kinkade illuminated night scene painting.
    Inletblog-4403, this is a very surreal image. It seems to have an ethereal quality to it, if that makes any sense.


    August 17, 2013 at 7:59 am

    • Hi Lisa… both 5 and 7 were shot on the same morning. The fog was so thick I had to wait an hour for it to thin out and dodge a dog that just would not give up. As you noticed…. the night lights play tricks on the camera because of diff light sources and temps. I really appreciate you taking the time to look through them.


      August 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      • Lisa S

        I agree with “fiebs”, it would be awesome to have a collection of your images and stories in a book. Let the creating begin.


        August 18, 2013 at 8:12 am

  9. I’m glad you decided to deprive yourself of some sleep Mike. This is a great set of images and I appreciate the recommendations in your post. By the way, the last paragraph in this post is so spot on.


    August 16, 2013 at 7:03 am

    • Great big thanks Rich… sometimes its worth it.


      August 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm

  10. What divine shots…. Those colors are just otherworldly. I’ve never visited, but what a sublime place!!


    August 14, 2013 at 11:04 am

    • I know… when I saw them on my lcd I almost had to do a double take.


      August 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  11. denisebushphoto

    Thanks for letting me revisit Inlet. I took Mark’s ‘Night (& Morning) Photography in the Adirondacks’ a few summer’s ago. Some of the locations are the same as those I visited. We did not have the awesome conditions it appears you were lucky enough to experience and capture. The foggy scenes are just as wonderful as the night sky images. I remember the participant that discovered the lagoon location that Mark has now added to his list of locations. You did an exceptional job capturing this place! I imagine you stayed at the wonderful Woods Inn? I recall the sleep deprivation too … I had never been so tired before! Congrats on a fantastic set of images.


    August 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    • Thanks ‘D’… i actually had to stay down the street at the “Marina Hotel” as the Inn was preparing for a wedding. I did the round the clock for 3 days. Couldn’t do it for the last 1 🙂


      August 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm

  12. Wow, Mike! You showed me that there are stars up above all those city lights. Awesome shots and I’m glad you couldn’t sleep and got those early morning foggy shots. Such wonderful atmosphere.


    August 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    • Yes, I finally found them…. and most of all figured out how to capture them.


      August 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm

  13. Adamousky, Allison

    Oh my gosh, Mike, those are absolutely stunning! It really took my breath away when I opened the e-mail. Wow!


    August 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    • Thanks Allison…. thats what I shoot for!!!


      August 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm

  14. WOW! So, when is Mike Pillows’ book coming out?


    August 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

    • Big smile… don’t think i haven’t thought about it 🙂


      August 16, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      • Or maybe running some tours??


        August 19, 2013 at 9:14 am

  15. Nice work, Mike. Having just spent a few days in that world I again regret that it’s as far as it is. I sit there at twilight and commune with the lake scene and the mountains, and I wonder if it would be enjoyable if one lived there 24/7. Tempting.


    August 12, 2013 at 10:18 am

    • Small world…. love the sound the Loons make at night. Tempting, maybe… I think the winters would send me home.


      August 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm

  16. Pat

    Your awe-inspiring photos leave me breathless.


    August 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

    • Take a breath… just kidding… thanks for the response!!!!!!


      August 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm

  17. Bonnie

    Good stuff!!


    August 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

  18. Beautiful colours and superbly captured mists and night skies. I’d also like to know what those chairs are talking about while they’re looking at that gazebo.


    August 12, 2013 at 9:53 am

    • Probably the upcoming wedding… thanks for the comment.


      August 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

  19. Great photos!


    August 12, 2013 at 9:48 am

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