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Spring Elk

October 8th, 2014

Spring Elk

Spring elk in a field I find it peculiar that the only time you can capture an elk broadside, unaffected by your presence is during the off season, after hunting is complete for the year. I had to laugh and joke “where’s my gun when I need it”.

At any rate I shot this image with my 300mm lens after I watched this majestic animal for quite some time. When watching an animal such as an elk take your time, watch the animal watch it more , act , and live. Half of the joy of photography is not just locating your subject but observing it, The trophy in photography is obviously capturing the image.

If we were to compare photography to baseball it would go something like this. The individual game is somewhat like the planning and research of the shoot. It is the work behind or that leads up to the season. The baseball season is similar to the arrival and setup for a shoot the image like the world series has not yet been played but everything that needs to done to arrive at your destination, the big game, is done. The World Series and capturing the actual image are a lot alike. They are the completion of the planning and preparation, the setup and finally now the shot. Like the baseball player, enjoy that which leads up to the cornerstone of your season. The journey is just as much rewarding as receiving the championship ring and the trophy.

To view this trophy, feel free to view this image in our photo gallery by clicking below

Toon Chicago

October 7th, 2014

Toon Chicago

Toon Chicago.This image is a rendering of two famous skyscrapers in Chicago, Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and 311 S. Wacker Drive. Willis Tower is the second tallest building in the United States. This image was shot and then rendered as people would see it as they came off the greyhound or Amtrak at the Chicago terminal. Chicago, if you have never been there is a melting pot of nationalities and cultures that sits on the shores of Lake Michigan.

When traveling by train into the “windy city” one has to stop in amazement of the skyline. It truly does represent American wealth and power of the 20th century. Chicago has had its share of problems as well from Al Capone and the roaring 20’s to challenges for businesses in the new millennium. Over the entire city has survived and continued to thrive through its challenges. One word for Chicago is opportunity, the chance for the average person to come in with little to nothing and the opportunity to to become financially unequal, to seek and gain wealth.

For me this image reminds me of home. I am from Chicago. I grew up and have fond memories of the place. The city truly never sleeps. It’s the home of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Bears and numerous other professional and semiprofessional sports teams.

The rendering matches my view of the city. While actual photographs may capture it in its natural state which for some may be slightly rough the rendering captures the spirit and ingenuity of a people in motion. A somewhat romantic view of the place I once called home.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Trail View Colorado Springs

October 7th, 2014

Trail View Colorado Springs

Trail view Colorado Springs. I am once again revisiting some of my images from Colorado Springs. For me Colorado was a unique place full of mystery and adventure. A place to explore and dream. Although I only spent a week or so there on this trip I came to realize that the saying of those wiser than me “one day can help an individual turn a corner” is so true. I have found that one week can shape an entire lifes trail. To me that’s what this image represents.

The twisted mesquite, cactus, and a fir tree black the way of the path most traveled. You have to change your path or get eaten up by that in which you should never of traveled to begin with. A wise man once told me the height of insanity was to continue to do the same things you have always done in your life and expect a different result. After a long battle with drugs and alcohol I found out how true that saying really was. If you follow your demons they will lead you right into the ground, a life without meaning and purpose. No one ever wants to be forgotten but the trail of meritocracy will do that to you and about you. The life of everything’s just fine, we will get by is a lie sold to us by our upbringing of go to school, get a good education, and get a good job, retire and live out the rest of your days in relative comfort. Blah…. Don’t believe it, it is a trap to keep you held back and barely getting by. It sounds enticing but it is a lie.

I know that Christianity today is not that popular, I understand why it’s the mediocre, the Christians living their lives in relative comfort, broke and having nothing more to show for their efforts than Joe the atheist so for the mediocre the “average Christian” has no more in their lives but an average existence, they may or might not go to church, and resemble the world and those in it in every way. I fell for that trap, I remember being “on fire” as a Christian and life wasn’t easy but worked and then I fell into that mediocre trap as well. Although the tree was lying across the new path I chose to take I decided to crawl over it, though it instead of turning the corner and taking the path although less traveled was clear and blazed as well as the wide one.

I have come to realization that regardless what you currently believe, regardless of your faith whether it be that of the Christian or the Atheist or Christian or any other religion out there do not be mediocre about it be absolutely sold out to it. Be absolutely sold out to a better life for your family, be absolutely sold out to improving your financial position, be absolutely sold out to becoming a better person and fully utilizing your talents.

If you are sold out to your faith, finances, family, and talents and your life continues not to work the way it should change something. Maybe theres an issue with your faith that needs to be resolved, a family issue that needs ironed out, a financial decision that needs fixed, or that you need to work on yourself. But determine what it is and turn the corner on that point in your life.

For the Christians out there we have the biggest indictment, there is a parable in the scriptures about talents. The high and low of the parable goes like this 3 men were given talent based on abilities, three different individuals 3 different amounts and were told by their master to multiply them. After a long time away the master came back and asked what they did with those talents. The first man who was given the most said he doubled them, the second man who was given the second most said he to doubled them, the third man said he buried them and here they are back. The master rewarded those who had doubled their talents (which was an ancient measure of money). He punished and took away those talents of the one who buried them. To be mediocre is no different than burying your talents in the ground and doing nothing with them.

If you truly want life to work, quit being mediocre or the average joe who does little to nothing about life and allows it to happen and become passionate about all aspects of that which you are doing. Promote it like you believe in it, take the other trail when it becomes obvious that this is not the trail you should be on and begin to love life instead of just getting by and letting life happen. A person realizes his or her blessings when they go all in do not hold back to forming their lives in such a way that all their talents are utilized. On that day when all things in life are balanced all the talents are being promoted and utilized, on that day you will find a peace about you and realize how much life is worth living.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Old Man Sea fishing

October 7th, 2014

Old Man Sea fishing

Old Man Sea Fishing. Anyone who knows me knows that it would be rare for me to call someone “old man”. I had talked to this gentleman and that’s what he claimed his name was. At any rate after swimming with my family for quite some time and observing the schools of fish close to the shore I decided to sit up on the beach. The fact we seen a shark jump after a fish and the fact im petrified of sharks helped this decision. I began to watch the sea and the Old Man fishing in it.

He was getting pounded by the surf but it did not seem to dissuade him from casting out and just waiting while standing knee deep in the ocean water at Myrtle beach SC. Do not get me wrong at one time in my life I was a die hard fisherman but the thought of the teeth on some of these ocean fish has kinda kept me from pursuing fishing for them. If you look very close behind the wave that was about to hit the fisherman next you can see the shark in the water.

I did not see the gentleman catch a fish while I was photographing him but as we were leaving he was reeling in a rather large fish, or so it seemed. I give him cudos no fear, enjoying his sport and probably enjoying the sheer beauty of the ocean as much as I was. I will probably never swim deep in the ocean water like many but I know that next year during the season I will be back, with my camera and family enjoying the salt water I once feared and enjoy it with the reverent respect that it deserves. The Atlantic Ocean is a long way from the great lakes, the area which I grew up, but I now see what the draw to the ocean is and look forward to being drawn to it once again.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Cattaeya Orchid

October 7th, 2014

Cattaeya Orchid

The Cattleya orchid is category which includes 113 different species of orchids which originate from Costa Rica and South America. The category is named after Sir William Cattley. This specific one in our image is a c.bicolor variety. The colors are yellow and pink-red.



Orchids give off a sweet smelling aroma which is pretty unmistakable compared to other flowers. This specific image was shot at the Huntington Museum of art greenhouse in Huntington, West Virginia. They have an extensive collection of orchids along with many other tropical plants and flowers. The greenhouse is free to enter and a must see for those interested in photographing orchids.



As for the shoot itself a tripod is a must. This greenhouse as well as others has an active ventilation system and an air exchange system that runs most of the time. I suggest setting up for the image while the fan is in operation and wait to take the image until it has stopped blowing, this will give you the most precise and accurate image. Generally if you take it when the fan is on the image, even at high ISO and shutter speed the air flow will cause some blur and distortion.

The next thing I would suggest is using a short lens. While telephoto lenses are great they are generally slower than fixed focal length lenses and generally do not create the DoF that most photographers desire in an isolating shot.


With that said this specific image was shot with a 50mm lens iso 100 and f/16 and shutter speed 1/6 sec.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Group of Giraffes

October 7th, 2014

Group of Giraffes

A group of giraffes. The scientific name for a Giraffe is Giraffa camelopardalis . The are found in the wind in Africa. There is 6 subspecies of giraffe the subspecies is identified by the patterns in its fur. The subspecies are West African, Rothschild’s, Reticulated, Masai, Angolan, and South African. The animals in this image are of the Reticulated sub-species. They are found around Somalia. Giraffes grow to 16-20 feet tall approximately and weigh up to 3500 pounds. They are herbivores; their diet mostly consists of plants. More specifically acacia leaves.

The reason I took this image is that I found that even though the image was shot at the Asheboro zoo the giraffes were interesting to watch. They are not really known to live in a communal setting and generally will somewhat stay together in this image they seem relatively well adapted to being together. The habitat was formed with artificial termite hills further simulating their natural surroundings in the wild. No cage is what I like best about this zoo. Animals are free to roam and have enough space to have a quality of life. At any rate its time to move onto the shoot itself.

Shooting at a zoo as in this image can be difficult the crowd, the lighting is not normally optimal, ohh and did I mention the crowd while waiting for that image that you actually want to capture. As far as the crowd goes, I would suggest going and shooting on a non-peak day such as Tuesday-Thursday and either early or late in the day. In my experience earlier is better. Second I would suggest the following equipment: monopod and a CPL filter and uv filter. First the monopod a tripod would actually be choice but generally you are limited in setup space and for that matter time to capture the image a monopod is no bigger (or heavier) then the average walking stick as opposed to several pounds of a tripod. It also sets up quick which is a must for those once in a lifetime shots while you’re watching your favorite animal subject. Second the filters a ND filter will clarify the color that will generally not be as sharp in non-golden hour photography that you will experience and the UV filter will assist in filtering out the stray light. I would also suggest using your lens hood for better color depth and stray light elimination.

With all that said the zoo can be a great resource for photographing animals you would not have access to otherwise. Take your time and watch being selective on the shots you take. It can be very rewarding.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Garden View - garden of the gods

October 7th, 2014

Garden View - garden of the gods

Garden view garden of the gods.

This is a pretty serene place in Colorado Springs. WE walked from glen Eyrie to this place. I had heard rumors of this place when I was back on the east coast but seeing is believing.

While I was there I saw many rock climbers scaling the face of some of the outcroppings. People tour the area heavily, but if you take the back trail like I did instead of the near trail you can sit pretty much alone, unbothered. Depending on the time of day you will see birds of prey: eagles, hawks, owls, buzzards and the like flying between the formations. It truly is a semi wild place.

Colorado is interesting; at least where we were was high enough that the skies take on a spectacular hue of blue. Clouds, when there is clouds they are generally the puffball type. Colorado is virtually a desert and gets very little rain as you can tell by the grass in the foreground that nearly looks like hay. To see cactus patches is not uncommon.

Shooting tips:

The best way to capture images in Colorado is on a tripod. The terrain is by no means level in most areas. Because of the altitude the sun seems brighter here than in places closer to sea level, therefore you want to shoot, in the daylight 1 stop darker than you normally would and on a really bright day possibly up to 2 stops darker. A UV lens is nearly mandatory there, but the results, if you heed these warnings can be absolutely amazing. If you are a lowlander the brightness of the sun until you get used to it may bother your eyes, a good pair of sunglasses is definitely a must. Also, make sure you have plenty of water on you, the air is extremely dry and you will get thirsty and stay thirsty until you get accustomed to the environment.

I look forward to the day that I once again fly into the denver airport again and drive down to Colorado Springs to visit The Garden of the Gods.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Sticker in the snow

October 7th, 2014

Sticker in the snow

The sticker in the snow. I love the snow; in West Virginia where this image was taken snow is a fleeting thing. Itll snow some then quickly disappear. As a matter of fact not that snow is rare but it only happens a few times during the cold winters. The common teasel, which this is an image of takes to the snow almost perfectly. It blows into its spines and is held there. If you ever get into a patch of them it definitely will be something you remember for quite some time. The thorns on the body of the stalk can be quite sharp.

At any rate we had drove around on this snowy day for quite some time when we came across this patch of common teasel. I found it unique that most of the snow in the surrounding areas has melted away but in the thorns of this plant and its patch they remained. I find it Interesting that they are a weed and without a doubt attempt to take over any area that they inhabit killing off and native vegetation. With that said the plants are an important food for goldfinches in the winter. Man uses teasels in the floral industries and previous to the 20th century they were used to raise the nap on material such as wool.

Today with the exception of their use in decorative fall pieces, they are considered a weed by most and cut down and destroyed when the opportunity arises. This patch was not intentionally planted or if it was at one time the patch has grown wild and has taken on the characteristics of a wild weed. I do see some extraordinary beauty in the plant and its overall patch. Call me strange but it is interesting that the seed head can hold snow like it does when all around it snow melts.

Weed or not it helps set the scene for a great winter shot.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Psychedelic Duck

October 7th, 2014

Psychedelic Duck

The Psychedelic Duck. Every photographer has that one image that one point in time that they can point to and say this is where it all started, this is where the decision was made to go from hobbyist to professional. I had shot professionally in a studio for years as a young man before giving it up to pursue other avenues for a career. Even after giving up the position in the lab I continued to have a heart for photography but my subjects changed. Instead of working with people I began to dabble in landscape and street photography and then gave up photography for the next 15 years.

After meeting and becoming a close friend with a budding professional photographer who was preparing to retire from His current profession as an active pastor I got back into photography. This time the format was somewhat different it was no longer shoot go to the darkroom and develop the negatives and print but shoot plug camera into the computer and evaluate what I had captured. This was a much quicker process. I actually began to enjoy photography once again and my friends, the Captain and his wife Mrs Capt encouraged me to continue to develop my skills in photography and to go back to school and obtain my BA in college, both of which I have done. They own the first copy of this print and the wallet copy of my degree; they were the encouragement I needed to move forward both personally and professionally.

This image was taken at a conference at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina. On the way to the meeting I walked back to the lake and seen this duck. This duck was unusual definitely a hybrid of some sort. It looks like a mallard and something but I am not sure what the something is. At any rate this duck was unusual so I captured an image of it. At the time I really didn’t notice the pattern in the water or maybe more appropriately I did not believe the camera I was using would capture it. Much to my surprise this basic mid-range point and shoot with a zoom did a fantastic job capturing the image. I guess this proves that it is not necessarily the camera but the person behind the camera and their vision in capturing the image that makes the difference.

But anyway this is how I got my new start and I have enjoyed shooting photographs ever since.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

fall Milton, Wv morning

October 7th, 2014

fall Milton, Wv morning

A Fall Morning in the Country. It was a very interesting morning I was up most of the night with a good friend waiting and attempting to shoot images of shooting stars from the meteor shower that was suppose to be happening the night before. While we did see several meteors capturing them on the camera was a different issue.

Like anything else when you attempt to do something for the first time you may or may not have success when you try it. Unfortunately in this case we were unsuccessful in capturing a good image. Friendship and fellowship was worth the time together even though the images were pretty much a bust.

When I began down the hill from my friend’s house I saw this Mayberry looking image just there waiting and begging to be captured. I stopped my vehicle on the hill going down and captured it. Its interesting just one of those everyday images presented in an unusual way. I think with life in general we are too busy living that we forget to see whose things that are around us. I have driven down the hill 100 times at least and never seen this before. This time I didn’t miss it I captured it and it made me wonder how after all those times I had never seen it before.

The minute we quit living for the obvious and start living to see it’s a pretty amazing thing . Life is too short to let stuff even that which is familiar pass us by. Country scenes, the byways, nature all can be missed if we are not paying attention yet we miss it every day. When life actually qualifies as being lived is when we notice those things we once would have said there it is and finally stop and say wow look at that.

The smoke rising from the chimneys, the sun rising from the east, the valley filled with fog. Life was moving but for just one moment in time all was still. Never to be forgotten.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

 

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