Dramatic Skies

My image today features intense cloud formations that were blowing through the area, and lasted just long enough to allow me to run and get my infrared camera/filter combination. I actually think the clouds were more intense when I first saw them, but I am quite happy with what I got here. The shot was done using my old Nikon D70, which was excellent for capturing infrared images when used in conjunction with a Hoya r72 infrared filter. The downside is the fact that you can barely see through the filter,so essentially you focus the shot on your tripod and then add the filter on the lens before shooting. Exposures usually run from 1 second to 8 seconds at f16 in most situations,and you must remove the filter every time you do a new image. As things soon turn greener, Infrared effects will get even better.

Machine shop End Mills

Many of you may have deduced by now that I have been thoroughly enjoying my visits to the old machine shop, and each trip is an opportunity to practice my light painting techniques in the hopes of getting better. This past trip had me trying to come up with some earth shattering image, which wasted an hour of time till I finally decided to shoot this detail shot of end mills and tool holders that were on a shelf. I added the cool oil can and rustic old cutting oil can to spice up the shot. I settled on the tighter shot because I wanted my shots to have some diversity to them. The background is just a wood panel that was part of the shelf unit, and I lit it with a flashlight.

A Stitch in Time

I spent the morning sunday shooting with my friend larry who is light painting master, and we each did our best to do something unique at our local historical society. I chose an old sewing machine, and friends Margi and Dan loaned me several antique sewing items to help bring the shot to life. I used small pen flashlights and my big spotlight to accent the pieces, and the shot took me nearly an hour and a half to do. The best I could figure was this sewing machine is one made by the man who got the first patent for a lock stitch design in 1846, and his name was Elias Howe. Mr Howe had to defend his patent in court from 1849-1854, because he found that Isaac Singer, and Walter Hunt had been selling a facsimile of his machine and lockstitch design. He eventually won the case and won considerable royalties from singer. I can imagine the many hands that worked diligently on this machine in the late 1800s and early 1900s, creating garments and necessities for the family. My grandmother was a great quilter and I remember her working countless hours on her old sewing machine doing patches,and a few times over the years she would relay the stories of how a needle had gone straight through her finger and nail while sewing.

Grain Silo Sunset

Today both myself and my good friend Larry did some more shooting in the machine shop, but for some reason my decision-making was a bit out of whack, because it took me nearly an hour to pick something to shoot. Because of that indecision, I stayed at the machine shop till right near sunset, and then as I began heading home, the sky started to look promising. I decided to head to these grain silos in the hopes of a good sky, and it turned out to be an alright shot I guess. I like the varied hues of the old and newer silos and the warm vs cool tones. Once again I climbed on top of my truck roof to shoot this, and todays winds of 40 mph plus made for some tricky shooting up there.

The Bloated Sea lion

Since we are now into the weekend, I thought maybe its time to share another one of my misadventures near water. That blurred man in the lower photo is me standing on a beach in washington state alongside one of several dozen huge tees washed ashore. My morning started out with my wife and I taking in the beauty along the washington coast, and as you can see, sunny blue skies were in abundance. I said, lets walk all the way down to that island, which you can see in the background of my image, and I calculated it to be only a half hours walk. Well, we walked and walked, rested and walked, and as we get within a hundred yards of the island, you could see a fog bank quickly coming in off the ocean. I thought oh that’s neat, but that was only up until the fog got so thick that you could only see 10 to 20 yards in front of you.

Now in most situations fog would not bother me, but guess what?  As soon as that fog hit us, you could literally see the tide starting to come in, and on a normal beach one would just move up on the boardwalk or something similar, but considering the entire length of this beach was strewn with trees that had trunks 10 feet around, it was quite clear,we were not getting over them, and had to get back to the parking lot quickly. I was like a marine corps drill sergeant, telling my wife to keep moving as fast as she could, and carrying all my gear was really wearing me out. We went on and on, and waves were washing ever closer the entire time, and the final straw was realizing the little sign marking the parking area was nowhere to be found in the fog. we had no idea if we passed the lot a half mile ago, or had a half mile to go, UNTIL we saw the lovely bloated dead sea-lion that was washed up right at the path. luckily we noticed this poor creature at the beginning, and I can truly say I was never so glad to see a blob of blubber as I was that day. My heart was just pounding as adrenaline and survival instincts were on high alert.

The calming feather on rounded stones image was taken the same morning, up the road a bit after our little nature hike. The whole ordeal was magnified in my mind as it was happening, because we had read many signs warning about getting trapped in coves etc along the beach at high tide. Just another great memory around the peaceful waters.

The Doll Maker

For those who follow me here, and are not very familiar with me, nature and scenic photography is what most people know me for, so it is somewhat ironic that I post so many images other than that style here. I have found myself sharing things that I don’t always share in public, and I like to mix things up to keep folks interested. This shot from a local doll maker was done using a lensbaby,which creates a very specific plane of focus,depending on how you articulate the front elements. For me it was more frustrating than fun using it, so after the initial few days of trying it, it is now collecting dust. There are some neat shots on the lensbaby site, but I personally lost interest in it pretty quickly. This effect is exactly what the lens did and was not blurred after the fact. I thought this subject was a good choice to test this device out on, and I like the result on this image.

Hats off to the simple life

I have always had a great respect for the Amish and their way of life, and even though they are not big fans of being photographed, I continue to capture the images that present themselves. I have seen so many things in the Amish community over the years,and I have countless memories of those experiences. The Amish have problems just like the rest of the world, and they have some very friendly characters and some unfriendly ones as well. I have watched younger kids get the greatest joy out of the simplest things, and know they are usually more content with an old tattered item than the person who has every electronic gadget. I have been invited onto hay wagons to shoot at harvest time, as long as faces are not shown, and have seen empty beer bottles flying out of buggies while a boom box blares inside. Hopefully I can share more stories and images of my experiences in the future. This buggy/ hat rack was captured a while ago on a sunday drive in the country, shortly after the men headed inside the barn to begin worship. I took this with a long lens from the road, but the day I took this, a tourist with a little point and shoot pulled up, got out and was on his way to the barn door when I basically told him to get the heck off the property. He must have figured it was some sort of scene that was staged for tourists. This was really the only buggy that everyone seemed to pick to place his hat, and looking at the shot now, I counted 32 hats scattered about.

The Turret Lathe

This is another machine shop undertaking, and once again the layers of color and texture drew me to photograph it. The best I could make out was that it is a turret lathe, but don’t hold me to that. I checked in the folder I save my files in and I  had shot eleven separate files to light this as shown. Many times I will shoot triple that amount so I don’t miss any piece of the puzzle. As I have mentioned before, a sturdy tripod, a basic laptop and a few flashlights are all you need.

Bottom of the food chain

The other day I posted an image from my Canadian Rockies photo trip a few years back, and I got to reminiscing about the experience I had at Moraine Lake, which is shown here. As usual I like to travel in the fall, because I thoroughly enjoy the early mornings with frost and the fresh air this time of year, and I always wait till the bitter end to make any sort of reservation. This trip I decided I would stay at the moraine lake lodge with my wife for several days to take in the mountain grandeur, but I was quickly told we were not staying there after hearing it was almost 400 dollars a night. I stood my ground and we stayed one single night in a room with a fireplace looking out at this lake. To me it was worth every penny,as I woke to head out before dawn to shoot under a lovely sunrise.

Let me explain a bit about my one and only trip to a place where you can be the main course on the menu at any moment. When we arrived, there were two nice sized bears in the parking lot roaming around, which gave me reason to ponder my usual early morning escapades. Signs were everywhere to travel in groups of 4 or more, and make lots of noise. Upon checking in, I said I wanted to hike the 30 minutes or so to this lookout to shoot sunrise, and the girl at the desk said you have two options. First was simply sleep in, and the second was to carry a bottle of pepper spray that was about the size of a small fire extinguisher. I opted for the spray, headed out at dark in the morning and was totally alone for at least an hour. I made so much noise going up that trail, hand on the trigger just in case, and a few prayers said along the way. I kept thinking all they will find is my gear, a chewed up pepper spray bottle, and a bear taking a nap. It really was nerve-racking, but the view up here was unbelievable. I have never seen such aqua/turquoise color in water ever. The angle of the rising sun was less than ideal,but it was sweet nonetheless.

The following day we stayed at a B&B in Banff, and the owner showed us his scrapbook of a mountain lion he shot under his porch. The thing was being held under its front legs and was taller than this guy,who was pretty darn tall. Its kind of humorous, because I started seeing signs for mountain lion activity in places we hiked and I would extend my Gitzo tripod legs all the way out,thinking I would whack this thing if it got any bright ideas. Someone said if they are stalking you, you would never know it till they pounce. Nothing gives you a better sense of being alive than to know you are not the king of the mountains and you better tread cautiously.

Nature’s Pristine Wilderness

Today I thought I would share an image from a trip I took to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada some time ago. This was my only trip to this part of the world and it was simply breathtaking. The image shown is of the location called Spirit Island on Maligne lake, and it requires a 45 minute boat ride through incredible aqua colored waters to get to this final destination. The water is so cold,about 39 degrees  passengers are briefed on what to do in case of problems with the boat and the guide joked no one ever drowned here because hypothermia gets you first. Upon arrival at the landing area, passengers are told they have precisely ten minutes to get off the boat and shoot whatever pictures you can, and be back on the boat for the return trip. I have never been in such a beautiful place with such a miniscule amount of time to shoot. I remember setting a land speed record to get to the overlook before anyone else claimed the best angle, and I also remember some poor soul who had an expensive 35mm camera and his batteries were dead and he had no backup battery. Who on earth goes to such a destination with one battery?  Anyway, as I recall, this area is untouched by man except for the boat that pulls in, and seeing such a pristine landscape really was something special,even if it was for only 10 minutes. I know there are many amazing landscapes throughout the world, but this image is one of my most memorable from my few travels.I went in the fall and will hopefully share more images and experiences of this grand place in the future. I have a slide show presentation I do and within that show I have several quotes including this one from John Muir.   ” Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves”.

Look Out Below!

This image is one that came to mind when a friend called tonight to tell me the geese were starting to arrive in large numbers again in eastern Pennsylvania. For the last several years, tens of thousands of snow geese and tundra swans have made a stop at the Middle Creek Wildlife preserve in eastern Pennsylvania on their way north to the arctic tundra. Depending on the weather conditions, amount of open water on lakes, and other things I have no clue about, their numbers can soar to amazing amounts. The year I shot this photo, The snow geese population was estimated at near 180,000. This image was pure luck and there are so many layers of birds,it is hard to grasp the numbers in such a small image. I had a 44×66 print made of this which is unbelievable to see the birds in every foot of space. I was driving the park road and stopped briefly to get out to watch and an eagle flew over way up in the stratosphere, and because these birds go crazy when a predator is flying, they took to the air just as I started to focus, and I captured birds in every stage of land and air. The Middle Creek website currently lists snow geese at 35,000, and tundra swans at 2,500 and climbing. Early march is usually the peak, and if you are anywhere near eastern Pennsylvania, it would be worth your while to see this yearly spectacle of nature.The blue color in my image comes from a hillside in late day shade. My title is hopefully self-explanatory.

Working Late Tonight

Todays image is one of several from my shoot at the machine shop yesterday. This place has so much history and character in every nook and cranny, that I become overwhelmed at times trying to decide which subject to shoot. I chose what I believe to be a drill press for a shot at dusk because it was positioned right at the windows where the sunset colored the evening sky outside. The patina of oil,dirt,metal shavings and everything else provided the perfect canvas to light paint. Lee who owns the shop graciously allowed myself and a friend several hours of uninterrupted shooting, which was really appreciated. I picked the title because we started shooting around 4pm and finished at 9pm, and a worker from the day shift was still running a mill in the back room to catch up on several jobs for clients as we were heading home to bed. You couldn’t ask for a more accommodating crew than the guys who help us shoot there.

Reflections of simpler times

As a photographer, I am always on the lookout for beautiful locations, and this spot is one I had bookmarked in my brain for the right moment. Many times, I will just drive around looking for opportunities, and this particular evening I saw the potential building in the way the clouds were positioned in the sky, and the angle the sun would probably hit them. I headed to this locale to look things over and after coming across a no trespassing sign at the edge of the public parking area located across the river from the farm, I decided I would put on my hip waders and venture into the water directly from the lot. I had to traverse slick rocks for about a hundred yards to get to this point in the river. All the while I was thinking about all my past experiences with water, and maybe this was not a great idea after all. As I got to the final spot where the reflection looked good, The water was about 6 inches from the top of my hip waders, and I was getting slightly nervous as a slip would mean big trouble for my gear. I mounted a wide-angle on the camera and had it locked to the tripod before I set out, and had my loaded camera backpack on my back, which has to weigh 40 plus pounds, so any misstep can get dicey real quick. The sunset materialized nicely and the water was really pushing against my tripod legs, so I shot a series as things kept building, till everything faded and I made my slow and deliberate way back to shore. Sometimes going the extra mile yields images that others can’t get or are too lazy to try, and I take pride in giving it my all.

Ready for Work

This is the second image from the machine shop that I visited last week. It was fairly light inside the shop,so exposures could not be any longer than 8 seconds, which complicates the whole light painting process, unless of course you are using flash, which I find slightly harder to control in these situations. The reason I prefer flashlights is because I can do a quick test run at certain angles to see what looks the best before tripping the shutter. The various tools used in this shop are quite impressive, and personally I have never seen drill bits on such a heavy-duty scale. The rustic old cart full of tools was just perfect for light painting,and the lathe provided a nice backdrop for the cart.

Valentine’s Day

Unfortunately I have never been known as a great romantic, and these roses were something that were sitting at work recently, so they provided an inexpensive opportunity for a photo. The chocolates were bought at a local retailer to round out the theme, and now I am addicted to the Lindt Lindor chocolate truffles shown on the table. Chocolate inside chocolate should be outlawed, but hopefully I can keep my intake to one or two a day.The metal heart shaped lid proved very tricky to light correctly, and so did the candy box interior. I heard on the radio that the average man spends 180 dollars on valentines day, which amazed me for some reason.

Old School vs New

One more variation featuring the old Remington typewriter. A good friend volunteers at a local computer recycling center, so I asked him to borrow a few old keyboards to use as a backdrop for the typewriter. I had the idea to contrast the old technology with the current. Obviously things were made a little better in those days. I basically skimmed the flashlight across the keyboards to accent the keys.

The Old Workhorse

My photo for today features an old GMC pickup that I spotted yesterday sitting in an old abandoned car wash. Supposedly this vehicle has been parked here for years waiting for someone to restore it to its former glory.I was told the owner wants $5000 for it, so anyone reading this can contact me if you want to buy it. You can see the dust accumulated on the windshield, which is ironic considering it is parked in a car wash. I used a flashlight and some flash to light the truck body and walls of the bay area.This was shot in the dark, except for the fluorescent light, which I had no control over.

The Daily Grind

I am always on the lookout for things that appeal to me as possible photo subjects and I recently made contact with a gentleman that owns a local machine shop. I had stopped by one day for another purpose and while I was standing in the office, I noticed some old machine shop equipment in the back. Everything had a rich patina of dust, grease, and everything in between from years of jobs being performed. These machines go back many decades, are built like a tank, and seem almost indestructible, to me anyway. Everywhere you look, there seems to be endless photo possibilities for those willing to look. You can just feel the history within the shop as your eye moves from machine to machine, and being allowed to photograph there is something I am very grateful for.

The owner not only allowed me and my friend to photograph there, but he also trusted me enough to let me shoot unattended the very first night I was there. This is something that I am very grateful for and do not take for granted. Being all alone in the shop gave me the opportunity to really look for shots that I thought might work with my light painting techniques. For those who read this and enjoy photography, I want to say that I always try to make prints and let the owners use my images as they need in exchange for their generosity. Having the chance to create new images is very important to me, and I am not sure why, but I seem to have a real drive to be creative, even if I am the only person to ever see the work. So in closing, I suggest to always ask if you see something unique that you want to shoot, because you might be pleasantly surprised, and always return the favor in appreciation for someone allowing you into their domain.

I do not know anything about this particular machine, other than it being a heavy-duty grinder. Keep a look out for more great machines from this shop in the future. Again, a special thanks to Lee and his helpful employee who assisted as well.

A light Dusting

Yesterday we got a light dusting of snow and once again it was nothing to get excited about. For some reason I woke up a little early this morning, and took a peek out the front window, and I saw a nice pastel sky with an near full moon getting lower to the horizon. I hurriedly threw on some clothes, while my mind raced to think of any possible locations to shoot. Nothing came to me, so I just drove around and ended up with these two so-so images. Hopefully some significant snowstorms are still coming this year yet, so I can get some real snow scenes.The windows in the house are illuminated by the rapidly approaching sunrise behind me.

Splish,Splash,Takin a Bath

Several people told me they enjoyed the stories of my Maine escapades, so due to the fact I am behind on processing new images, I will share another story and image. Several years ago, I asked a friend if he wants to travel to the Poconos in Pennsylvania to shoot some fall foliage and a few waterfalls. It was a lovely fall day and we arrived to see perfect conditions for shooting. The location shown here is called Silver thread falls and although it’s not the most photogenic, it is among the highest at 80 feet. I was shooting film at the time and this image was snapped on the way to the top of the falls. We took the trail all the way to the top, and upon reaching this point, we were greeted with an overlook of sorts that included a rail fence. I took one look at the fence and decided I was having none of it, and immediately reached over the railing to set my loaded camera bag on the ground on the other side. I then turned to my buddy to say something, only to hear a small bumping sound, which was my camera bag headed down the embankment to the flowing stream. By the time I jumped over the fence, my bag was already heading downstream toward the top of the waterfall shown here. Without hesitation or thinking, I jumped off the bank from about 6 ft up and splashed into the water,which was about knee-deep and grabbed my bag. I made my way to the water’s edge real quick, opened my bag which was buckled shut, and of course every lens,camera etc was totally filled with water. I remember being so upset at my own stupidity as we drove home, as I held my lenses out the window to try to dry them.

The funny moment came when several hikers came rushing up from down below to the top of the falls to find me soaking wet, and told us they thought someone was committing suicide when they saw me jump. As I settled back down after the incident, I realized how dicey the situation was and how it could have gone downhill pretty quick. I was maybe 10 feet from the edge of this falls in fairly fast water, so one slip on a rock and both myself and my gear may have taken the express lane to the bottom. One thing I specifically remember after I got home was that my parents owned this kitchen device that cooked food with cyclonic heated air, which basically was air spinning incredibly fast inside this circular contraption. My 80-200 that would not dry for days, suddenly dried out totally in about 20 minutes in this thing. It was too late anyway, but it absolutely worked to dry the water out. This image is one of the few that survived because they were already in film canisters that stayed dry that day

Persistence pays off

Several people who know me have commented that they enjoy my light painting photos, but want to see more of my nature and scenic photography, so I will appease them with a shot I did in Acadia National Park one fall morning. I really love traveling to the New England states in autumn, because the landscapes and quaint villages make for some terrific possibilities. Many times in the past I have made the trek to Vermont and New Hampshire, only to find a nasty batch of bad weather has destroyed most of the fall color, or I am slightly early or late. After suffering through that situation several times, I started to have a back up plan each trip, and that turned out to be the great state of Maine. The beauty of Maine is the fact that even if the color is a flop, you can hit places like Acadia National Park, which is really quite spectacular. It features a rugged rock lined coast, lovely pines, crashing surf and more. The title of my post refers to the fact that I headed to this mountaintop overlook Four days in a row, and on the very last day I was rewarded with this sunrise. This view is from Cadillac mountain in Acadia, which is the highest point along the atlantic seaboard and the first place you can see the sunrise in the United States. Each day before this one was full of nasty winds, rain, thick fog,etc, but this day awoke to the ocean being covered in a spectacular wave of rolling fog. The Sun made an appearance and provided the finishing touch to the scene. All the mornings of getting up an hour and a half before dawn for nothing great, were soon forgotten as I took in the awesome scene before me.

A few tidbits of info for anyone contemplating visiting Acadia or anywhere along the coast of maine. First take plenty of high-capacity memory cards, wake early and see things that 99 percent of tourists miss by sleeping in. Next, if you are one that likes to get unique perspectives, be aware that if you fall in the surf or get washed out in Maine, chances are fairly good that you are finished. Maine pretty much figures if you are brave or stupid enough to be pulled in, that’s your problem. I basically like that view and will tell two simple stories of my escapades in Maine.

The first is from a trip I took to Acadia years ago, and as I was working the rocky coast, I made my way along a ledge that lead to a small cove of rocks that was almost ten feet high by about twenty feet wide. I was dazzled by the crashing surf on the rocks below,which were at least 8 feet below me,and even though I knew the tide was coming in, I was oblivious to that fact. After about thirty minutes of shooting, I noticed the ledge I came in on, was now under two feet of water. If you ever had a scare where you feel your heart racing, then you know what I felt at that moment. My only possible way out was to climb the sheer walls in this cove, and I did that by using my Gitzo tripod,which is very strong,and I literally stood on it to reach the top. All this while The surf was spraying me occasionally and getting closer. It was a real eye opener, because had The surf got me, that would have been all she wrote.

My next memory of Maine involves a trip to the Portland Headlight, which in my view is a very gorgeous lighthouse. Anyway, as usual,they have a fence to kind of keep you off the rocks, but again, if you are after that special image, you most certainly feel the call to jump that fence. I have ventured into this usually very safe landscape of granite many times, and gotten great images over the years. On this particular trip I was somewhat close to the ocean, but I was standing on a mountain of a rock that no kidding was at least 25 feet high and 20 feet square.This rock was far enough and high enough from the crashing surf that the incoming waves were only just nipping at the rock next to mine. To get a clear picture, imagine you are on a 25 foot high rock and there is a two foot gap to the next rock and you can look down and see surf at the bottom. wave after wave mildly washed around the bottom few feet of these house sized monsters. As I was looking through the viewfinder, I hear a thunderous crash and look up to see the entire rock next to mine covered, the 25 ft deep crevasse filled with water and water washing up to my ankles. If you have never heard the term, rogue wave, familiarize yourself with it, before hitting Maine. Those memories are forever etched in my mind because of the intensity of the experience.

Okay, one more funny one,to me anyway. I was photographing at the pemaquid lighthouse one fall morning. There was only one other guy there shooting. I said hi and noticed a small sticker on his tripod that said John Shaw. I asked why he had a John Shaw sticker and he said well, it’s because I am John Shaw. For anyone who does not know him, he is a fairly well-known nature photographer who has published numerous books. I had all his books, but in person, he looked different than I remembered. He was very cordial, left me load a roll of 220 velvia slide film in his fuji panoramic camera and shoot a series with it. I was dazzled by the meeting and even had my wife snap our picture together.

The Golden Age of Music.

Today I wanted to share a photograph I did recently showcasing a beautiful Wurlitzer 125 Military  Band Organ that dates back to the early 1900s. This amazing musical instrument is from an era when automobiles,airplanes and electric lighting were all new. Given the opportunity to photograph such a marvelous old piece, I cant help but think of the generations of people who must have had a smile on their face as they listened to this mechanical wonder. This organ would have played in a variety of locations, such as skating rinks and carousels and can supposedly really fill the air with a tune.

As an artist, I have always found music to be very inspiring, and the ability that many musicians and singers have to take you to places that let your spirit soar has always fascinated me. This old instrument undoubtedly captivated the imagination of those who heard it play as they skated or simply enjoyed special times with family and friends. Most certainly, anyone from an older generation would have fond memories come flooding back from their youth if they were to hear this classic come to life.

I must extend a very special thank you to the owner of this piece, for allowing me access to capture something so beautiful, and also the opportunity to express my creativity through my photography. Things like this are not seen every day, and it affords ones imagination an opportunity to dream of things of wonder and beauty from times past.The original catalog states it is a 44 key instrument designed for small to medium size rinks. It lists instrumentation as outside visible-13 Brass trumpets, 13 Brass Piccolos, 13 Wooden Flageolets, 2 Drums,and a Cymbal. Inside it has 5 Wooden Trombones, 5 Open Basses, 13 Open Pipes, 6 Stopped Pipes, 11 Pipes in Accompaniment. Bottom- 5 Stopped Basses, 7 Stopped Pipes, 10 Pipes in Accompaniment, 1 Stop for Trumpets, 1 Stop for Trombones, 1 Stop for Piccolos, 1 Stop for Flageolets, Bass Drum and Cymbal.After reading about all the instruments, it’s probably good I did not ask to hear it play in a closed setting. Shipping weight was noted as 800 pounds.There are also two harmonicas lying on the table to echo the whole music theme, and the one is called a Hohnerphone that utilized a small horn like amplifier. Another very cool old instrument on a smaller scale of course.

For many seeing this image may invoke visions of merry go rounds, circus midways or other childhood memories that few other automatic instruments can match. I hope anyone seeing this image enjoys it as much as I did photographing it.

Speed Graphic & Remington

Every day I struggle over what photo I will post and what I might say that will be interesting enough that someone will actually read it. I recently purchased this old typewriter, a Remington model seven from 1897 for 3 dollars at an auction. I picked it up with the sole purpose of photographing it, and decided the old speed graphic camera from 1947 would look okay in the shot as well. The old dresser is sitting in our basement and I threw the flower arrangement in there to soften things a bit. I lit the items once again with flashlights and am fairly happy with my attempt. I am always impressed with the quality and design that things from the past seem to have, and while I would not want to work with this camera or typewriter, they are really cool to look at. The idea behind my composition was one of what tools a reporter from the past might have used.I did this shot sunday morning and it took maybe two hours start to finish. The following are a few quotes about writing, which I am terrible at, but I enjoy trying anyway.

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you.  And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.  ~Arthur Polotnik

Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.  ~Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 19 August 1851

This last quote is so true and hopefully those who are kind enough to follow me here, will see that I try to live an active life, and realize that my photographs are an extension of who I am. Thanks to everyone who hits the like button on my site, but to be honest, I am not sure exactly how some of these site features work, or how many of you found me to begin with?  I don’t even show up on any of the photo pages, which frustrates me, but not sure how to change that.

Mixing things up

A friend sent me a link to a little photo project to try, so today I gave it a whirl. The original idea was to mix water and cooking oil and shoot the resulting effect. After initial tests, I decided to mix rubbing alcohol and canola oil. This seemed to work pretty well as the two were easy to stir up and then they slowly separated from tiny circles to progressively larger circles as time went by. I have included an image of my messy setup to give visual aid to anyone wanting to try this. In the setup photo, you will see a clear glass bowl that the camera looks straight down into, and I simply cut a hole in a board slightly smaller than my dish. I did this to keep spill light from the flash hitting anything but my colorful items and not the glass bowl. The arrows point to my two flashes that were aimed at the pile of colorful clothing that I placed about two feet below the dish. Basically the flash hits the colorful items and the liquid picks up the colors. Flashes were set on manual and I shot around f 16-22 for most shots. I may try water and oil at some point,but initially it seemed they separated too quickly. Lens was a 105 micro and I was almost at 1 to 1 magnification.The three white sticks are to keep my dish from moving.

The Gathering Place

Winter weather can often include interesting skies and nice billowy clouds. This scene features a group of Amish buggies attending a sale at the farm. This shot was taken from the roof of my truck to give a little better perspective on the line of buggies. Sometimes I get strange looks when I have my tripod set up on my vehicle roof, but you would be amazed how much an extra six feet off the ground can help. . The only thing you must be aware of is not shifting your weight if you are using long exposures, but this was a fairly fast exposure, so that was not an issue. this was shot in infrared.

Birds of a Feather

Today I decided to shoot this group of hand-made birdhouses that I occasionally pass in my travels. They are for sale at a roadside stand that features a variety of items for the passerby.They are all made by an older gentleman who lives there. He has no electricity or power tools and cuts everything utilizing good old muscle power on an old miter box. Sometimes it seems I forget many of the places I have shot before, because the wife of the owner came out to tell me about a nice photo another photographer gave them years ago. Turns out it was my photo, and I figured I would share that image along with tonight’s shot. I came up with the title because I think many of the people who follow me here also have a good appreciation of beautiful places and things, hence birds of a feather, flock together. The top image was done with my flashlight this evening using a thirty-second exposure.

The Birthday Present.

I am constantly amazed by architecture from days gone by, and I enjoy capturing locations that I find visually appealing. This home was originally commissioned by Peter Watt, co-founder of Watt and Shand department stores, and he presented it to his wife on her birthday. It was built in 1896 and remained in the family for over 70 years. As far as I know, it is currently for sale, and the last I heard, it started at 5 million, but is now listed at 3 million. If I ever hit the lottery, perhaps I will buy it. I photographed the home from the sidewalk, just outside the iron gate shown in the black and white infrared version.The cascading ivy was the perfect complement as it turned white in the infrared spectrum.I had an old Nikon D200 converted to do only infrared by the light pixel company.I was never really that dazzled by that camera,especially at any iso above 200, but it works great now for infrared.sorry to those who saw only one photo this morning.I missed the update button last night.

Little Deuce Coupe

With temperatures climbing past 60 degrees today, I started to reminisce about a couple of images from the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival a few years ago. Art comes in many forms and I am always amazed what these sand sculptors create with several million grains of sand. These are good examples of getting up before the rest of the world to get images others rarely see. Now I can only hope for a good arctic blast to set everything back on its proper course, and maybe get some snow sculptures instead.