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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

Black Bears

October 7th, 2014

Black Bears

What is it about a black bear that creates fear or at least reverent respect on the viewer? Is it their size, brute strength, or what? One thing is certain they can be a force to be reckoned with.

Native has specific names for black bears, those names are: Abenaki: awasos, Algonquin: makwa, Blackfoot: kiááyo, Carrier: sʌs, Cree: maskwa, Dene: tsah, Ojibwe: makwaa, Crow: daxpitchée, Gwich'in: shooh-zhraii, Hopi: hoonaw, Lakota (Sioux): mato, Navajo: shash (łizhinígíí), Nez Perce: yáakaʼ, Sahaptin: yáka, Shoshone: wedaʼ, Tlingit: sʼeeḵ, Tsalagi: gv-ni-ge-yo-na, Nahuatl: tlācamāyeh, Tarahumara: ojuí, Guarijio: ohoí, Kiliwa: kmákan, Kickapoo: mahkwa, Yoreme: jóona, O'odham: judumi. Regardless of what name you call a black bear by the fact of the matter is that it is a marvelous beast.

Contrary to popular belief the black bear is not endangered. As a matter of fact it is regarded as “of least concern” by those who rank, judge and evaluate animal species to determine if they are in danger of becoming extinct. International Union for Conservation of Nature is one such agency and rates the black bear as secure and estimates their numbers at 900,000 in North America and Mexico. This is roughly the same population as the population of Dallas, Texas. To give even more depth and understanding to this population for bears there are only 8 cities in the United States that have a larger population than the bear population in North America. They are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, and San Diego. All other cities in the United States have a human population lower than the population of the black bear throughout its natural habitat range.

Male Adult Black Bears generally weigh between 130-550 lbs, and Females between 90-370 lbs. The coat of the black bear is determined based on where it lives.


Color variations of black bears by location

Location Pelage Color

Michigan 100% black

Minnesota 94% black, 6% brown

New England 100% black

New York 100% black

Tennessee 100% black

Washington (coastal) 99% black, 1% brown or blonde

Washington (inland) 21% black, 79% brown or blonde

Yosemite National Park 9% black, 91% brown or blonde


The bears diet generally consists of roughly 85% vegetation the other 15% is the meat of fish and small animals such as young deer, elk and the like.

The best and safest way to view this large mammal is to view it in a zoo. If you dare to venture out and view this creature in its natural habitat, be extremely careful particularly with a female has cubs. The end results of those types of encounters generally do not bode well for the individual or the bear.

To photograph a bear in nature a long lens and tripod are ideal. Setting your camera to sports mode with a high ISO will also assist in capturing great images without too much risk of danger.



To view this image in our photo gallery

Dorothy Falls

October 7th, 2014

Dorothy Falls

Dororthy Falls is a waterfall in Colorado Springs, CO. It is on private land so the waterfall is not visited often. It’s fed by a natural spring and creek. When there is a lot of rain it really flows but most of the time the water flow is as seen.

Colorado, because of the heights of the Rockies is virtually a desert. The west side of the state gets quite a bit of rain but most of the rest of the state not much at all. Colorado is the only state in the union I have experienced snow in August.

At any rate I hiked with a few friends from the Glen Eyrie castle the 1.5 miles or so to the waterfalls. The whole area is truly a work of natural art. To get to the waterfall you have to follow a creek or stream bed. Being in Colorado the stream had quite a bit of native brook trout in it. I feel there is little more beautiful than native brook trout. The creek bed is also loaded with snakes. I have to admit I cannot stand snakes and regard them as somewhat a necessary evil.

I found it interesting that long before we reached the falls we could hear the water running over it. The area definitely did not disappoint. It was quite a sight the red granite, the water running, and various critters running to and from all over the spillway area of the waterfall. For some time I was not sure if one of the numerous chipmunks that were running around in this area was going to run up my pants leg or not. It kind of reminded me of the scene from Bambi when all the critters were congregated.

It was interesting both warm and cold water moss were growing in the area chipmunks everywhere, a variety of different birds and larger brook trout were swimming in the pool at the base of the falls. Although the water flow was not as high as I have seen in other locations and other waterfalls there was something really special about this place. I found a specific serenity, a specific oneness with nature at this place. I think I shot the falls and the flora and fauna around it for maybe 15 minutes but I stayed at the location for somewhere around 2 hours. It was a great time of rejuvenation both mentally and spiritually.



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Turkey Tail tree fungus

October 7th, 2014

Turkey Tail tree fungus

The turkey tail tree fungus is an interesting colored and textured tree growth that breaks down dead and dying trees. This example is probably the best that I had seen on that day. Not that I went our specifically looking for tree growth. I actually went out in search of a red fox, which incidentally I never did see.

Well the trip for the most part did not go as I had planned, I had planned to capture an image for my gallery of a red fox. I was told that there was several sightings of this red fox. Now I will give you that a red fox is rather elusive but I figured that since the sightings were by people I know and that they all had seen it that it should not be that big of an issue for me to as well.

I packed my gear and off to Logan State Park in Logan West Virginia. Which was about an hour drive from my house. When I got to Logan State park I had talked to a game warden and he assured me that the fox had been coming out and which mountain it was coming down and it had a den on the north face of a certain hill. So me in my infinite wisdom (yeah right) decided to climb up the mountain.On the way up I stopped to rest about a two hours hiking up the mountain. I hadn't seen anything but a few squirrels. Stopping by a tree I saw this weird growth, the one you see above. I decided that since I hadnt really seen anything interesting except this and a single elm leaf on a sapling that I would explore this for a few minutes. I captured the above image as one of several shots I took trying a few different things with the camera. The texture shape and color caught my attention. My first thoughts were it does somewhat look like a turkeys tail. About the right colors for it as well. So after capturing a few shots I continued on my trek.

Three hours from the bottom of the hill I got to the top of the mountain to find out that either the dnr agent was wrong about the mountain or it was already gone for the day which was now quickly turning into night. No fox no deer a few bear tracks and the sun was quickly going down. It was decision time do I try to follow the trail back down (which will take several hours) or do I do what was affectionately known as the "hill jack slide" down the mountain. I chose the hill jack slide. Why you might ask, well remember it took 3 hours to get up there and following a trail in the dark for several hours was not my idea of a good time. So here we go I began to take a stance that somewhat looked like skiing sideways and leaned back putting my weight mostly on my rear foot gear now stowed in my backpack and slid down the mountain which was about 3/4 of a mile high.

With the exception of some wild rose bushes the slide was uneventful. Fifteen minutes later, at almost dusk I reached the bottom of the mountain. Note to self bring a flashlight and allow extra time to get to and from my shooting location preferably with some daylight. Truth be told sliding down the side of a mountain is not exactly the best idea, you can break an ankle very easily slip and get hurt or a host of other things I really wish not to think about..

The trip was not a waste though I did get some pretty interesting images. The turkey tail happened to be one of them. I suppose that when you are hiking looking to take an image of a specific thing be aware of whats around you. Some great images are captured with one thing in mind and finding other things as well.

To see this image in our photo gallery click below:

Power unleashed - The Waterfall

October 7th, 2014

Power unleashed - The Waterfall

Power unleashed the waterfall is a stop motion shot that shows the power that a waterfall whether man made or natural actually has. There is quite a bit of power when water is in motion. This shot happens to be an image of a man made waterfall. The energy is caused from the spillway of a dam in North Carolina . The water as it comes down the slope of the spillway gains speed, air and energy. While the image is represented as a work of art, one has to admire not only the image and its components but that which is behind the water in motion as well.

This specific image is different than most in our photo gallery, many of the images display the whole scene this particular image shows the object close up and personal. It is just one of those strange images that I really like.

Photography how to

The shoot is simple get close, in this case I was standing in knee deep water. Use a lens that can shoot macro or has low powered zoom (18mm). Set the shutter spped very quick 1/125 of a second or faster on iso 400 or the lowest iso you can capture a clear image. Shoot several photos no two pictures will be exactly the same, the images are just like snowflakes, no two will be the same.

To view this image in our photo gallery click below

Hollow Log

October 7th, 2014

Hollow Log

The hollow log is an interesting specimen. I am not all that sure what the draw to this specific log is. Could it be nature’s fine art could it be that it is unusual that a stream of water is running through it, in either case I am not sure exactly what the draw is or was but what I do know is that everyone who saw it stopped and admired it.

I found myself, just like everyone I was with just stop and watch in a somewhat mesmerized trance over what they were seeing. Was it obvious? Of course it was. But yet how often do you see a tree rot in the center fall into a stream and divert water through the cores now missing due to tree rot.

I waited until everyone had a chance to check out the scene and begin to more on before I set up to take the shot. This scene was captured in Cherokee, NC . I really wish there was a lot to say about this tree limb but honestly there is not much to say. The image was shot in a standard fashion no special filters or setup. The camera was set with an exposure of 1/60 sec at 5.6

I believe the wow factor is the fact that its an unusual shot rather than some grandeur image.



To view this image in our photo gallery click below

A Star is Born - The Acrobat

October 7th, 2014

A Star is Born - The Acrobat

I love watching performers particularly this one she was pretty amazing. Think about it you’re a performer for the circus, you are 100 feet in the air, no net no safety nothing to stop you from plunging to the ground except a solitary “silk sheet”. Yet you hang on to this sheet and slowly descend out of the light and down to the ground doing acrobatic feats that would be a challenge even for the best gymnasts. Even world class gymnasts would have problems pulling this one off. Yet with beauty and grace you begin your descent.

This is exactly what this young lady did. Down from the lights, which is where I captured the image and slowly descending to the earth, seemingly defying gravity and softly touching down in the middle of the three rings in Charleston, WV. I had to admire her grace, probably even more so considering I, at times, am very uncoordinated.

I enjoyed the fine art performance at the circus. Many go to the circus and watch but do not really realize what a true art form it is. It is pure performance art.

The Shoot - The Fine Art



Shooting at a circus can be tricky and this image came out splendid. Photography in the semi dark, in a setting such as a circus has many obstacles. First there is quite a bit of stray light. Second it is mostly low light shooting. Third the subjects are moving in low light. So what do you do?

There are a few things first you do not just jack up your ISO as high as it will go. You take some test images to set the ISO as low as you can and still get a bright enough picture to see the object. The higher the ISO no matter what camera or how well your nr is will introduce artifacts. The ISO must be kept as low as possible and still allow for a clear shot. Second you will need a filter and hood to block most of the stray light. A ND and Polarizing filter and hood were used to block most of this stray light. This combination worked well however it slowed the camera about 3 stops and had a long exposure time so handholding the camera was out of the question; a tripod had to be used. Third is a bunch of test shots to set the ISO. By a bunch I mean I used 7 shots to set the ISO. It took two shots to get it in color and exposure in range and the last 5 to dial in the right ISO setting. The end result of this is what you see.

The best part, my family was with me during this shoot we all had a great time at the circus and I managed to polish off my skills and determine the best setting for this type of low light situation. Incidentally this is the same setting I would use as a wedding reception during the dance or other performances where low light or high frontal light is an issue.

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Fontana Lake before the storm

September 17th, 2014

Fontana Lake before the storm

What can I say I like nature photography.More following that genre even father animals and landscapes. My portfolio is full of them. Now this shoot was different than anything I had previously done. The shoot was done from a moving train.

I took about 1200 images that day. This is one of my favorites. The smoky mountains are in the background the lake up close and a cloud reflection over the water. The conditions were just right to shoot it with an unfiltered 50mm lens, which at 11am is a rarity. I took the trip with my good friends Captain and Mrs Captain, Annette, Chandra, Austin, and Caleb. I believe everyone was shooting pictures on this trip. We would shoot a few and then go to one another and say "hey check this out". As far as photo shoots go, they are all a good time, but this one was different and special. It is not often we go as a group all shooting and sharing what we captured. When we do it makes for a memorable trip.

SO we are on this train, which is traveling about 20 miles an hour and we came up to the lake. Wow what a breathtaking sight. The challenge was, we were crossing the lake on a train trestle (train bridge), with about what seemed like a billion obstructions in the way. The only thing you really could do was shoot in burst mode to try to capture a few good images between the beams and supports of the bridge. This one was timed perfect.

I still sit and look n amazement of the blue skies, the reflection off Fontana Lake of the clouds, the formation of the clouds over the smoky mountains, and reflect on how enjoyable this special trip was. I look forward to doing it again in the fall. The view i am sure will be nothing short of spectacular.

About the train ride itself. The Nantahala Gorge Excursion carries you 44 miles from Bryson City, NC to the Nantahala Gorge and back again. It travel the Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers across Fontana Lake and into Nantahala Gorge. The Cherokee Indian word Nantahala means "land of the midday sun"—an appropriate name for a forest in which deep mountain gorges and valleys are illuminated only when the noon sun is directly overhead. For the photographers out there "the golden hour" is most of the day. "The golden hour" is generally 1 hour around sunrise or sunset where there's enough light to shoot without using a long exposure or needing filters to block the glare from the sun. Noon is the worst time to shoot landscape photography because the glare from the sun on the landscape is at its highest.

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Clydesdale Amish Plow Team

September 17th, 2014

Clydesdale Amish Plow Team

This is the image that restarted it all. It had been years since I picked up a camera and began shooting anything but family snapshots. I missed Photography but at the same time the professional work I did somewhat burnt me out. A close friend, Bob Mullins, who I call Captain and regard as family finally convinced me it was time to rekindle the passion I had for photography as an expression of who I am. It has been several years now that I have been on “the Hunt” looking for that defining image of my essence. I may never find it, but living is all about that which drives you and that which makes you who you are. It is through faith in God and motivation to see the wonders man made and that of nature that inspires me to get up in the morning (for those who know me that means before 2 pm).

This image was taken in Sugar creek, Ohio. We had left the group for a few minutes just to see what we could see and we ran across this Amish Driver and Plow team. After asking permission to take an image and received it we shot this image along with some others. It was an unforgettable trip.

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Baby Donkey in a Barnyard

September 17th, 2014

Baby Donkey in a Barnyard

One of the things a person must do when on an outing is expect and look for the unexpected which is the case with this image of the baby donkey. We were winding down the day, found and shot several choice images and was getting ready to call it quits for the day when we saw this road. After 10 Years of living in an area you would think that you would know all the nooks and crannies pretty much everywhere in that area. I found that this just is not true. I have driven rt 2 no less than a hundred time truth be told the number was probably closer to 200 or 300 times. To make the situation worse this old road was less than 1/2 mile from one of my favorite spots to shoot at, "the swamp". The swamp is a story for another day though.

At any rate we see this road, the road less traveled and decided to take it. Now this road was interesting, somewhat like stepping back in time. There was nothing but farms and churches for as far as the eye could see. Then all the sudden close to the road was a horse farm. I like horses, they are majestic beasts so we stopped for a few minutes. Lone and behold we saw it a baby donkey. Now I have seen donkeys before but I have never really seen a baby one. So we stood there by the fence for a few minutes and watched it. The creature was just beautiful, well as beautiful as a donkey could be and I went and got my camera and tripod and voila here you have it.

Interesting when you are looking for pictures that qualify as fine art photography some days you just never see them. Some days the common can become something of amazment and beauty that on other days is just common and usual. It all has to do with frame of mind and framing in the camera. on this day in West Virginia the home run image was not that which I went out to shoot but rather that chance encounter the decision to do something different or try something different that makes this image special. If your in a rut maybe just try taking the road less traveled, you might be suprised what you actually discover.

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Carter Caves Hidden Waterfalls

September 17th, 2014

Carter Caves Hidden Waterfalls

I have to say this is one of the few places I miss from the WV/KY area. This place is one of my families favorite day trip getaways. This cascade waterfalls at Carter Caves is really a hidden place stuffed behind some trees and 2 creeks. The only way to get there is to cross the cold creek water. During the hot weather the cool stream waters are a welcome place to wade and cool off. In the backwaters my wife and children have claimed at least one injury a piece from the slippery rocks and fast running water.

In the mouth of the cave itself, which is where this image was shot the water is only a few inches deep and we all enjoy climbing up the cascade to the top and looking at the natural spring that feeds this waterfall. it does get pretty tight up there though. Yea the area is mildly dangerous but a fun place for the family and a place to make memories to last a lifetime.

The shoot itself was very tricky. with the naked eye and with a normal exposure time and no filters the cavern is pitch black to the camera sensor. on this shoot I had to use two ND filters and one polarizing lens and a long exposure. Voila and here you have it. I enjoyed this shoot as well as spending time with my family. The cave itself lends itself to the fine art photography. This photograph was one of my first attempts at long exposures.

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Mother and Baby Gorilla Sleeping in a tree

September 17th, 2014

Mother and Baby Gorilla Sleeping in a tree

This was an interesting shoot for me a gorilla and her baby. The image goes to show that love transcends all creatures whether human or animals. It was shot at the zoo, unfortunately a safari is quite out the question for me right now. So this is as close as I can come to it.

I stood there with my tripod and camera in hand for quite awhile to see if this primate was going to move, it never did. Momma and baby well im not sure you can ever consider this youngster a baby were asleep, seeming oblivious to all that was going on around them. As they slept I just wondered how they did it. I know that when I sleep I toss and turn these two seemed content to just be there, together and asleep.

It took quite awhile for me to get the shot I wanted framed in. What you cant see is they were about 50 feet in the air with nothing below them. Safe and secure nested in a tree. It is an art in my opinion to sleep in a tree and not fall out. Had it been me I would have been ground bound.

I shot this photograph with my 70x300 lens. I was close but not all that close. There really was no special setup or lighting required, it was really just a matter of getting the right angle the right timing and shoot. Sometimes the best images are the ones that not a lot of extras are required. That was the case with this shoot. Sometimes fine art photography requires nothing more than being at the right place at the right time frame and shoot. This is a prime example of just that. Pics like this are fun you do not have to really over think the shot and still make a classic image.

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New River Gorge Canoe Landing

September 17th, 2014

New River Gorge Canoe Landing

The New River Gorge is in the heart ofWest Virginia. New River Gorge is also home to some of the country's best whitewater rafting. The focus of this rafting is in the New River Gorge from the Cunard put-in to the Fayette Station take-out. The river levels for the New River Gorge and most other major whitewater rivers in the United States can be checked at American Whitewater.

Interesting enough at this landing the water is relatively calm on this fall day as you can tell by the photograph. Look upstream though not so much class 2 and 3 rapids grace the outskirts of the landing. The New river area truly could be the model for the land before time. The area is home to over 63 different endangered and rare mammals and 48 different rare and endangered amphibians, and 54 varieties of rare plants. One of the reasons the animals continue to thrive here is because the terrain is so rugged that man has a difficult time developing the land here. Fall is absolutely the best time for scenic pics.

Fossils in this area are not difficult to find and it is said that the area contains the best smokeless coal in the world. This coal was the coal that used to fuel the iron furnaces, trains, fleets and industry. It took years for me to learn that not all coal is the same. Functionally it is but the quality and smokeless varieties vary from area to area.

The area continues to grow due to erosion from the river as it does the gorge gets deeper and exposes more of its secrets. It is an amazing place to spend time, explore, and get back in touch with what was the wild frontier in America.

Art is not easily created or captured, it is a creative process of the soul, this holds true for fine art photography as well.

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