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.

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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!

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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! 🙂

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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

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!