Jen Rinaldi Photography

Capturing Life's Fleeting Moments…

We Cannot Hold a Torch to Light Another’s Path Without Brightening Our Own September 13, 2008

We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.  ~Ben Sweetland

Tokina 12-24

On December 1, 1875 the beacon of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse filled the remaining “dark spot” on the North Carolina coast between the Cape Henry light to the north and Bodie Island to the south. To distinguish the Currituck Beach Lighthouse from other regional lighthouses, its exterior was left unpainted and gives today’s visitor a sense of the multitude of bricks used to form the structure. The lighthouse was automated in 1939 when the United States Coast Guard assumed the duties of the Bureau of Lighthouses. At a height of 158 feet, the night beacon still flashes at 20-second intervals to warn ships hugging the chain of barrier islands along the coast.

Number of steps: 214
Height to focal plane of lens: 158 feet
Height to top of roof: 162 feet
Number of bricks: approximately one million
Thickness of wall at base: 5 feet 8 inches
Thickness of wall at parapet: 3 feet


Princeton University in HDR August 22, 2008

I never finished working with the photos from my Princeton University visit so I completed a couple more HDR shots from that day last week.  I thought I’d share them even though they were from December 28th.

This day provided me some of my best architectural HDR shots to date!  It’s one of the best places locally to get some amazing photos!

You’ve seen these statues in a previous post but here is another version that I just processed:

The rest of the photos below were processed right after the the initial shoot but I don’t think these particular photos were shared on the blog back then.  Enjoy!


Drive-by Shootings With My Mother August 11, 2008

This is Part II of my Friday off from work and hanging out with my Mom and our day’s adventure.

On the way home from lunch in Princeton we stopped at the Rockingham Historic Site in Kingston, NJ

While the Continental Congress met in Princeton, Rockingham Historic Site served as General George Washington’s final Revolutionary War headquarters for almost three months in 1783. In November 1783 Washington received the long awaited news – the Treaty of Paris had been signed, and the thirteen colonies were indeed independent of Great Britain.

For eight years Washington had served his country in the American Revolution, and as one of his last official acts, at Rockingham wrote the Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States, delivered to Newburgh, New York.

Also known as the Berrien Mansion, the original two rooms of the farmhouse were built between 1702 and1710. Enlarged into a grander home in the 1760′s by Judge John Berrien, the house and grounds are preserved and interpreted as the temporary residence of George and Martha Washington. Physically relocated three times since 1896, Rockingham Historic Site maintains a fine collection of 18th century furnishings, Children’s Museum and Colonial kitchen garden.

Click to view larger

Below is my Mom patiently waiting for me, holding my filters, while I snapped some photos of the Berrian Mansion fence line which you’ll see below.

This fence surrounds the whole property of Rockingham and I loved all the lines so I found the perfect spot to take this along the road side.

As we were driving home from Kingston I spotted the top of red barn out of the corner of my eye.  I think I have an eagle eye when it comes to old barns!  As soon as I spotted it I needed to stop and check it out…so I found somewhere to turn and got out of the car to shoot it while mom waiting in the car.

As I was photographing the red barn I caught Mom taking this photo of me with her cell phone camera through my dirty car window…(not my best angle. LOL!)

Then I spotted her in the car sending the photo (above) to my Aunt.  Guess she thinks driving by shootings are funny too! :)

I love barns and even though I couldn’t see much of it I liked that I could see the red peeking out with AMAZING clouds overhead.

I took the 2 photos below with the 18-200VR.  I wish I popped on the 12-24 but I was on the side of the road and hurrying!!

They came out even better than I imagined it would.  I love them!

Click to view larger

I also decided to try processing the photo above with a texture to give it a whole different feel.  What do you think?

Our last stop was at the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve:

The Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve is in the Stonybrook-Millstone watershed.  The trail system in the Griggstown area covers 376 acres, but these trails connect to other trails that transverse the entire length of the  685 acre Ten Mile Run Greenway.  The northern border of much of the property is bounded by Simonson Brook, with Coppermine Road as the southern boundary.  The site contains both 102 acres of open fields and 583 acres of woodland.  Historically the fields were row crops but more recently the property was used as a horse farm.

My mom snapped this of me setting up my tripod through the open car window with my point & shoot camera:

The photos below are what I was shooting when my mom snapped the photo above.  I shot them with the 12-24 Tokina.  Can you BELIEVE the sky? I could not and I still can’t!

I love the little bench on the left…empty benches appeal to me for some reason.  I also love the pathway.  If I see a path I must photograph it! :)

Click to view larger

A minute or two after taking this photo the skies opened up and rain poured down like crazy.

I didn’t care if I got wet but I did care if “the gun” (my camera) did!

We ran to the car, I got the camera put away, and mom closed all the windows and the sunroof in the car and we headed home. What a mini adventure!



Wish You Were Here? August 8, 2008

Sometimes…when I’m processing images…songs I love pop into my head based on the images.

Tonight as I was processing the photos below I was wishing that I was back at the canal…sitting in the sun…enjoying the breeze off the water…watching people go by in their canoes.

The song I Wish You Were Here by Incubus popped into my head.

Have a listen HERE…if you’re interested.

I dig my toes into the sand
The ocean looks like a thousand diamonds
Strewn across a blue blanket
I lean against the wind
Pretend that I am weightless
And in this moment I am happy…happy

I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here

(click to view larger)

I lay my head onto the sand
The sky resembles a backlit canopy
With holes punched in it
I’m counting UFOs
I signal them with my lighter
And in this moment I am happy…happy

I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here
Wish you were here

The world’s a roller coaster
And I am not strapped in
Maybe I should hold with care
But my hands are busy in the air saying:

I wish you were here
I wish you were

(click to view larger)

I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here
Wish you were here


D&R Canal – Millstone Aqueduct August 6, 2008

Sunday morning I woke up and saw what I call a “awesome cloud day.”  The weather was so beautiful so I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera bag and tripod and driving to my favorite part of the Delaware canal in the Princeton, NJ area.  A lot of my waterscape work is taken along this canal.  I live so close to so many sections of it that make for beautiful photos so I visit often trying to get different angles, etc.

The 1st three photos below are all people I saw during my day.

My favorite is the first one of the little boy fishing.  He was so cute and was talking to me about fishing the whole time I was taking pictures next to him.  Sweet kid!

On this day I decided I would do all wide angle shots so I only used the Tokina 12-24.  The shots below are all one RAW file tonemapped in Photomatrix.  I was working on these all night but didn’t get very far.  I have lots of others to share.

I love the railing in the shot and the clouds in the distance (I’m a cloud nut!)

You all may remember this bridge.  It was my first HDR shot EVER and was taken first on the day that I took my favorite fall tree that I just blew up onto canvas.

Click to view larger

The two people below slowed down to ask me if I had seen the turtles.  I was like turtles?  what turtles?  and I just laughed to myself.

I’ve noticed over and over that everyone wants to talk to me when I’m out with my camera and tripod.  I guess it’s like I’m famous for a second.  LOL!  I think 25 different people talked to me that day…asking me am I a professional photographer…is this getting published somewhere?  what am I taking (which made me laugh when I was pointing my camera at the water)…do I shoot bird photos?…Do I do this for a living?… What kind of camera is that?…nice weather we’re having…. Shall I go on? :)

I’m happy I’m approachable but at the same time I went here to be alone with myself and my camera and be in my own little photography oblivion…  Did you ever feel like that?  You just wanted time to yourself?  This day I did…  I went there for a little peace and ended up making small talk with every passer by because I just couldn’t be mean and ignore them.  Maybe they’d want portraits done and I’d give them a business card…you never know!! Hahaha!

After this I said I’m going to make a shirt to wear that answers all of their repetitive questions and when I go out alone they can just read my back…or how about a hat?  LOL!

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On the way home I looked over and saw this farm.  My camera was all packed up but I still couldn’t resist reversing, pulling the camera back out, and running across the street and taking some photos of the scene.  The hedges were tooooooo perfect and it made for great symmetry.  And what a SKY!!!!!!!  I was in LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Click to view larger

At one point I looked back at my car with the hazard lights blinking and realized I left my drivers door hanging wide open. I just laughed because that’s so me.  Cars drove by looking at my car and then at me with puzzled looks (probably wondering what the heck I was doing) but I don’t care!  I just laugh when they look at me strange.  They don’t get it!

I’m going to make a bumper sticker that says “Drive by shooter” with a picture of a camera. If I make that would you buy one? I just may do it, so look out!!  The other one specifically for me is “I brake for good clouds.”

Me and my “gun” are definitely “drive by shooters!”  I stop and shoot when the moment is there! You can’t let it pass you by!  You may never see it again!

Click to view larger


New York City in a Lovely Shade of Tonemapped June 27, 2008

I had nothing new ready for tonight so I thought that I would post some of my favorite photos from new York City from December.

I tonemapped the single RAW image in Photomatrix.

This one is called : MUTED CITY

I call this one: I HEART NY

Let me explain why:

I got to this photo and and I stopped in my tracks when I saw the shot after tonemapping! Take a look at the skyscraper on the left! The sunlight shining on the building created a…..HEART! heart.gif! I couldn’t believe it and I felt it was really special. This was not manipulated.

This photo of Times Square has become another favorite of mine from that day mainly because I love how the sun is shining in the top left of the photo and then the light literally makes its way across the street like a spotlight.


I hope you love them as much as I do!

When I get my new place I hope to blow some of these up to hang them.

If you’re interested in seeing my entire gallery of all of my HDR or Tonemapped RAW photos click here:


Cooling Off with HDR June 14, 2008

More from Villanova University from last Sunday’s portrait session with baby EJ.

Below is the interior of a small chapel on campus that we came up while taking portraits in between the arches of the buildings.  I popped my head inside and immediately thought “HDR!”  Thank goodness I lugged that tripod around with me all day.  You never know when you want multiple exposures!!

The chapel was very simple and I loved how the wooden arches on the ceiling looked.  I was especially happy to have the wide angle lens for a scene like this!  The sun was brightly shining in on the crucifix on the altar so I had a bit of processing trouble there.  I may have try to re-do this HDR in Photomatrix when I have some more time.

Inside the lobby of the wonderfully air conditioned chapel (it was pushing 100 outside!) we spotted this statue.  I loved the way the light was shining on it!




Villanova University June 12, 2008

On Sunday, when I met my friend Nicole to photograph her baby’s 8 month portraits, I ended up getting there a little bit early so that gave me some time to photograph the church on the Villanova University campus with my new wide angle Tokina 12-24.

I love photographing churches; especially ones with so much character like this one. I have an entire gallery dedicated to churches HERE if you’re interested.

I love how wide angle photography looks and I’m so excited about this new lens! Even with the distortion of the angles I still love it!

Each of the photos below are 3 exposures, merged to HDR, with Photomatrix:

I also photographed the interior of another chapel on the campus later that day that had some great wooden arches. As soon as I have some time to work with them in Photomatrix I’ll be sure to post some of them.


Jen xoxo


Lakeside April 25, 2008

EDIT 4/25: When I got to work today on a different monitor I see that none of photos below look how they did last night when I spent hours working on them.

Ever since I darkened the brightness on my monitor I have had trouble with how my photos on every other monitor but my own. I guess I will have to brighten my monitor back to where it was and re-doing every one of the photos below because of the terrible halos on every photo that involves the sky (which is 98% of them).

I have so much to edit and it is really upsetting that I wasted a whole night on processing all of these photos and now I have to re-do them all.

Original post:

I took some time to go to the part after work again. Today I gave the flowers and the macro lens a break. I brought my tripod with me because I was interested in doing HDR waterscapes near the lake.

I can’t even express how wonderful the weather was today. I was so glad to be outdoors even if it was only for a little under an hour.

In order to get these you have to go on a little path through a wooded area and there are little great spots in between where I was able to stick my tripod and get different views of the lake.

These are all HDR shots with 3 exposures each:

(click all photos to view larger)

Next time I’ll try from the other side of the lake. I only had so much time before I had to leave and there were a lot of people out and about at the lake so I was limited on what angles I chose.

Oh the reflections, the reflections!!

I made my way over across the street to another section of the park with a lake and got some more great angles!

This place is gorgeous and the afternoon light was perfect for these photos!

These are some of my favs of the day. I love bendy tree trunks!

Oh and while I was there 2 of the geese at the park had the nerve to hiss at me! LOL! So I hissed right back at them!

I always visit this place so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of it from different perspectives soon enough!

Feel free to check out my entire HDR Gallery:


Country Road in Black & White February 28, 2008

It was suggested I try this in Black & White and I’ve glad it was suggested!

I love how it came out after burning & dodging!


Coutry Road Take Me Home February 27, 2008

After my sister and I visited the beach on February 3rd I headed home from her house on the “scenic” route hoping to catch the sunset over the farms.

I pulled over on the side of the road, set up the tripod by my car and took these two:

(3 exposures bracketed, merged to HDR in Photomatrix)

(3 exposures bracketed, merged to HDR in Photomatrix)

Then I set up the tripod in the actual cornfield across the street and took the next one:

(3 exposures bracketed, merged to HDR in Photomatrix)


Portrait Retouching Tutorial / Back to the Farm January 17, 2008


The following link was shared with me today that’s really helpful for retouching portrait or glamour photos.

Click here:


Other than sharing that information….tonight I worked on some more of the horse photos that I took on New Years Eve. Thought I’d share some of these wonderful animals with you!

The first 3 photos below are tonemapped (using a single RAW image in Phototmatrix):

The shyguy series:

And lastly….the “intense stare”

To view more horse photos check out my horse gallery:


Oh My Darlin’ Clementine! January 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 12:23 am
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Today I met Clementine! My friend Tiffany’s bird. Clementine is some form of a parrot…super small and cute. She reminded me of a bird I used to have…

I had my camera with me so I thought she needed a portrait shoot! All of these were taken with no flash in natural light from the window next to the cage.

Playing shy with me:

No longer as shy as she started out…

I SWEAR she was hamming it up for the camera!

And perched on her favorite spot…on Tiffany’s head!

Here are 2 that I tonemapped the RAW file because I thought they would look interesting and I wanted the blue to really POP!

I put the lens of the camera right in the cage for this one to shoot upwards where Clementine was perched.

To view all of the Clementine photos I took today click here:

PS: I just hit 2000 hits on my blog since August! Woo hoo! So exciting! Thanks to all of my loyal readers!


Oh My Darlin’ Clementine!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 12:23 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Today I met Clementine! My friend Tiffany’s bird. Clementine is some form of a parrot…super small and cute. She reminded me of a bird I used to have…

I had my camera with me so I thought she needed a portrait shoot! All of these were taken with no flash in natural light from the window next to the cage.

Playing shy with me:

No longer as shy as she started out…

I SWEAR she was hamming it up for the camera!

And perched on her favorite spot…on Tiffany’s head!

Here are 2 that I tonemapped the RAW file because I thought they would look interesting and I wanted the blue to really POP!

I put the lens of the camera right in the cage for this one to shoot upwards where Clementine was perched.

To view all of the Clementine photos I took today click here:

PS: I just hit 2000 hits on my blog since August! Woo hoo! So exciting! Thanks to all of my loyal readers!


On The Farm with the Horses and Other Treasures January 1, 2008

Yesterday the rain broke and it wasn’t too cold (until I was outdoors for hours) so my sister and I visited her brother & sister-in-law’s pony farm which is only about 15 minutes from my house. We’ve made a few visits to the farm in 2007 but I’ve never been back since I got the DSLR.

(a couple favorite photos from my first visit to the farm from 2007)

This time I brought my tripod with hopes of doing some HDR style photos. I was successful in getting quite a few that I’m very happy with.

I started the visit with the HDR photos since I had to lug the tripod around the farm (with lots of extra care because you really need to watch where you walk on a horse farm LOL!)

There was a slight mishap when I set the tripod up to take a photo and got distracted by a horse approaching behind me. The wind blew and my tripod with the camera attached fell over. I was VERY lucky. It tipped over onto a soft patch of grass and the roller ball handle of the tripod protected the camera by taking most of the impact (thank goodness!!). There was a little but of mud on the back part of the camera but I was able to take my glove and wipe it off. I didn’t let myself get upset because everthing seemed to be working out okay. Time will tell if something happened to the camera but I used it the rest of the day and the images seemed ok. I’ve always had fears of the tripod tipping over and it happened to me. Last night I learned that the little hooks on the tripod where to attach a weight of some kind to the tripod to keep it from tipping (I guess I need to read the manuals that come wiht things instead of opening and using everything without doing so!) Anyway, I was lucky…that’s all I can say. Literally 5 feet in front of me was a concrete slap….if I was close the camera may have smasjed right on the slab…but it didn’t so I’m thankful! From now on I will be very careful!

I enjoyed taking scenic pics on the farm because they have such great things lying around the farm that are great finds for a photographer but the best part of the day was when we hung out with the horses. For such large and intimidating creatures they are so gentle, playful and loving. They were following us everywhere we walked, getting right in our lenses, nibbling our jackets, and nudging us with their noses. :)

Unfortunately we didn’t have too long until the sun was going down on us. I spent so much time with the HDR photos that I had little time to capture all that I wanted
to of the horses. What I did get of them I loved!

Each of the 4 photos below were single RAW images “tonemapped” in Photomatrix. I didn’t think this process would work for animals but I love the results!

As you can tell I seem to be drawn to the eyes:

These were tonemapped in Photomatrix and then I applied Rob’s Bleach Action over them:

Who could resist these two nuzzling their noses!!

There are so many others I want to share…and I seem to have a hard time narrowing down the ones I like most…

For this photo of the turn out shed I did an HDR in color and then I converted it to B&W as well. I couldn’t decide between them because I felt they each had unique qualities so I featured both on my website (I figured “why the heck not?”.

The old buses on this farm that are used for storage are from a bus company that my brother in law’s grandfather had. They have been featured in many of my photos from previous visits to the farm. Here I was able to capture them in a new way – in HDR!

This old Panel truck is another favorite subject of mine on the farm. It belongs to my sister and her husband. They purchased it a long time ago with the intention of restoring it so that she can use it drive around for her graphics business (Cranbury Custom Vehicle Lettering & Graphics). When she goes on installs she wants this old panel truck to be her vehicle. I think it will be so cool when they get it done.

I love this photo and how it came out becaues of the way the sun was shining on the truck as it was going down and you just can’t beat the trees on this farm!

I liked the reflection in the pond here:

I can’t resist showing the next two of the same turn out shed I showed earlier. The first one is an HDR in color that I desaturated until I liked the colors and then I boosted the black side of the levels tool in Photoshop to give it a darker look (I love the levels tool!). On the 2nd photo, shot vertically from the same vantage point, I did in HDR and then converted from color to Black & White and did some burning and dodging to bring out the brights and the darks. The desaturated might be one of my favorite shots of the day:

On another note…today I ordered some blank greeting cards to place my own photos in from Photographer’s Edge (THANKS FOR THE SUGGESTION ON WHERE TO BUY THEM SUE!). I bought them so that I can create my own photo greeting cards rather than spending countless dollars on store bought greeting cards for special occasions! I think they will be a lot more meaningful if they are my own work with a personal message inside. I started out by purchasing 50 blank cards with a bright white border and a think black stipe around where the photo goes shown HERE. 50 should last me quite a while! I decided not to go with colored border (as much as I wanted a variety). My thinking was the black will go with most photos and if I ordered colors I may find that they are not matching perfetly with the photos. At this point with this project going simple will work best for me.

To view more of my HDR photography click here:

To view more photos I’ve captured of the horses here:


LIGHTS! Camera! Great Subjects! December 30, 2007

Lighting seemed to be a big theme for me on Friday’s visit to Princeton. I noticed it as I was editing the photos. I thought I’d dedicate today’s blog post to it.

I love this old campus and the architecture…the fine details in things like lighting, doors, decorative details blow me away!

To view more of my HDR or Tonemapped Photography click here:



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