Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Black Friday, Don, Annette, Chuck and myself, made a road trip to Bombay Hook with 35 mile an hours winds at our back, face and all around, whew it was a very blustery day, but we went anyway.
After stopping at the guest center, and asking about the location of the snow geese that day, we found out that they were way out in the salt marsh, which meant they were out of range of our cameras, and actually were not even we turned our eyes toward some landscape images, with blowing trees and grasses and overcast skies we made some images. After an hour or so we headed toward Little Creek for some lunch. After lunch, we went back to Bombay hoping for an interesting sunset. One never knows.......well it was a very interesting sunset, with a touch of magenta. Then we headed home and had a nice warm dinner together.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today, I received a call from a photo friend early this morning, to go shooting because the fog had settled in. I really had planned to watch the Macys parade with coffee in the morning, but instead I rallied and out we went. After a ride through Druid Hill Park looking for a photo opportunity, we decided that we would be better off heading back to the county as the fog seemed to be lifting. We drove through Loch Raven and decided our best opportunity was in the Cromwell Valley. We stopped when the tree lined pasture caught my eye. I am really thankful today for all the farms that provide us food! This little blog post is a tribute to the farmers. Even though the farms we photographed are no longer working farms, there is on Sherwood Farm a community vegetable garden, and a horticultural garden center for the community. This area is rich in history and these farms are are beautiful reminders of agriculture in Baltimore County, Maryland. I am very thankful the county purchased the property as park land and the farms will remain.

My childhood memories of this valley, came when my Uncle Bernard purchased an old farm house in Fork, Maryland. Dad drove out Cromwell Bridge Road in the snow at the holidays as the family gathered at Uncle Bernard's farm house. Mom would always comment about the beautiful stone farm houses and pasture land as we rode by. I think it reminded her of her home land, England.
Enough of my rambles, it was a beautiful morning in the valley. Time to eat!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Johns Hopkins

This morning I had an opportunity to work with students in the field for a couple hours on the Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus. I only made a couple images as I was busy helping students with their cameras. However, I could not pass up the beautiful clock tower framed by the last of fall colors. I wanted to spend some time after the class shooting, but it was after 12:30 and the light was getting a little harsh. Hopkins Homewood campus is beautiful. Dad graduated from Hopkins with a degree in business, after he attended night school while working full time. I remember attending his graduation outside on the covered portico on the hill many years ago. It was nice walking around the campus this beautiful morning.
A little history.................

First things first: why the extra "S"?
Because his first name was really a last name.
Johns Hopkins' great-grandmother was Margaret Johns, the daughter of Richard Johns, owner of a 4,000-acre estate in Calvert County, Md. Margaret Johns married Gerard Hopkins in 1700; one of their children was named Johns Hopkins.
The second Johns Hopkins, grandson of the first, was born in 1795 on his family's tobacco plantation in southern Maryland. His formal education ended in 1807, when his parents, devout Quakers, decided on the basis of religious conviction to free their slaves and put Johns and his brother to work in the fields. Johns left home at 17 for Baltimore and a job in business with an uncle, then established his own mercantile house at the age of 24.
He was an important investor in the nation's first major railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, and became a director in 1847 and chairman of its finance committee in 1855.
Hopkins never married; he may have been influenced in planning for his estate by a friend, philanthropist George Peabody, who had founded the Peabody Institute in Baltimore in 1857.
In 1867, Hopkins arranged for the incorporation of The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and for the appointment of a 12-member board of trustees for each. He died on Christmas Eve 1873, leaving $7 million to be divided equally between the two institutions. It was, at the time, the largest philanthropic bequest in U.S. history.

When Johns Hopkins died on December 24, 1873, he left $7 million to be divided equally to found a University and a Hospital, both bearing his name. To the University, he also bequeathed his country estate, Clifton, in the expectation that the rolling 300- acre site would become the campus. Hopkins's will forbade the trustees to pay for buildings out of the endowment, but the income from the principal was not enough to attract quality faculty and students and create elm-shaded quadrangles as well. Thus, the trustees decided to acquire a temporary site in downtown Baltimore, near the Peabody Library, to house the University until enough capital was accumulated to construct a campus at Clifton. Toward this end, the trustees purchased a lot between North Howard Street and North Eutaw Street, improved by two residences that were converted into a single structure, known as the Administration Building; behind this the University erected another building, named Hopkins Hall. These two buildings comprised The Johns Hopkins University when formal instruction began in October 1876.

I think if Johns could see what has grown from his philanthropic behest he would be mighty proud!

Friday, November 20, 2009

National Aquarium Jelly Invasion

Today I visited the National Aquarium on a scouting trip for Penn Camera to determine if it would be a viable spot for a workshop, and I am sorry to say I just don't think so. First, they do not allow tripods during open hours, you can use a mono pod however or contact their public relations team and arrange for a visit before opening......don't know what that would cost. There are some possible shots there but it quickly becomes "invaded" with school field trip groups. The Rain forest is pretty plastic and does not offer any opportunities, so the best shots were in the new display of the Jelly Fish. I was pretty much alone there for an hour, until the dolphin show ended, then I was invaded with little I backed off and just let the crowds view the tanks. Shortly they dispersed and I made a few more shots and explored the rest of the displays. It is definitely a place for enjoying the discovery of sea creatures with families, but not a great venue for photographers. I did make a few shots of the jellies, all hand held, with my 12-24 mm lens pressed against the tank or a few inches in front of it.

Oh and I learned the Jellies are experiencing a world wide explosion of population, as the sea turtles, (their largest predator) are captured in fisherman's nets and become endangered the Jellies multiply. Also as the seas warm the breeding habitat is more favorable for their reproduction......I did see a lot of jellies in the ocean late in the summer this year, and some really big ones.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coastal Storm

We have had an inordinate amount of Nor Easters already this year in the mid Atlantic. I was going to head to Chincoteague again this weekend, but decided after doing some research to cancel the drive. I mean who wants to spend 8 hours in 24 driving in rain and wind for a chance at getting a couple shots..nahhhh I'll do that another time. Right now there are 20 foot seas off the Delaware coast and the coastguard is looking for a boat in the ocean. Check out the storm marine stats, pretty interesting. Since I have a shore place in Bethany I keep an eye on the conditions. I am sure the beach will once again take a pretty god hit. The Rehoboth Cam already shows waves up to the boardwalk with a few more hours til high tide.

So I am culling images for my December display at the Penn Camera Store on Reisterstown Road. I am thinking I will call it "Photographers Favorites" I have an assortment of favs from flowers to seas to barns, boats..and landscapes, so that will be the thrust of the show. All of the images I have in mind would be suitable for home decor and gifts, since the show is in the December time frame, I might just sell one! ; - ) Now I have to whittle it down to the selected 18, that I will print. Ohhhhh I just can't decide!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chincoteague Impressions

Just came home from my second night of instructing the Beginner 2 Intro to digital photography at JHU. It really is a lot to learn when you start from scratch.
Just processed a few more from the one day I spent in Chincoteague. I like textures, all kinds, and the Lighthouse paint was peeling, so I used the Lensbaby to isolate the heavy steel wire and the fitting as a simple subject. I also liked the layers of paint on the bottom of some old boats at Bobs Boats. It was a long day leaving Bethany Beach at 5:15 but I stayed well past sundown to get the wonderful colors of the evening sky over the marsh. The crazy blue, green images here are actually highlights on the water, shot with my 70-200 mm lens at 2.8 and de-focused to create the circular shapes, I then put a gradient map on the image to add the colors. (call me crazy, but it creates a fun abstract image)

Inlet View Drive, Chincoteague, Va.

Sometimes a place speaks to you, for no good reason other than you happen to be there. I have never really stood in a trailer park before much less one that has a magnificent view of the inlet on Chincoteague, but as soon as I parked and got out of the car two feet from the water's edge, I was feeling the lifestyle on that point. The sea was really shining from the mid day light and the fishing boats were going in and out of the harbor. Immediately I saw the place in black and white as the contrast of the light was harsh. After making a few images of the boats back lit on the water, I made some of the falling down pier and a picnic table that still had a bowl sitting on it. The trailers were humorous, with the left over items of daily life scattered about and the handy man additions. It was just a slice of life on Inlet View Drive. I imagined in season, how busy the point might be with fisherman and residents enjoying this water side spot. I saw some humor in the pier that cautioned about the slippery rocks!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chincoteague, Virginia

Met some Facebook friends, Nadia, Jocelyn, Sue and Dorene in Chincoteague for a day of shooting. As I headed south from Bethany Beach I noticed frost all over the farm fields as the light broke, the temperature was 29 degrees. I had informed Nadia I'd be there around 7:00, so I didn't stop on the way there, but I knew if there was frost in Chincoteague, as soon as the sun hit it there would be some neat atmosphere over the marsh......and there was, but when I arrived the light was burning it off pretty fast and I didn't get that shot, but I did have a fun day shooting some birds, textures, light house, boats and marsh at sundown. The rest of the day the light was pretty harsh, and we drove to the end of Chincoteague where the work boats were coming in and out. Because the light was so harsh and the sky was pretty clear, I saw those images in Black and White. I was too tired when I got back to the beach to process any images, had some dinner and crashed. Today is my last day at the beach for this year : - ( and I will be heading home after doing some chores and putting inside the porch furniture. While I was doing some laundry this morning I processed these images. A few from yesterday.......Chincoteague..........

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

I spent the afternoon in Bombay Hook observing the snow geese coming into the marsh until the light was so low I could not shoot anymore. They are flocking into the salt marsh minute by minute. The amount of rain has filled the marshes and the pools are filled with ducks and migrating waterfowl. However today I decided that bird photography is the toughest there is, I think anyway.

First, you really have to have a big lens and that means big bucks....I mean a big fast lens, at least a 6oomm 2.8, unless you are in a floating blind, and the ducks are floating around you. In addition, when the birds are closest to shore, is when the light is getting low, so you need a camera with high quality, high ISO capability to gain high shutter speeds. I make do with the gear I have but need a better camera with a newer sensor. I have the now, old, Nikon D2X which in my book never had high quality ISO images, and I use my 300mm 2.8 coupled with a 2x tele-extender that gives me an effective focal length of 900mm 5.6, but the depth of field is shallow in order to get a high shutter speed and it won't autofocus with the tele-extender on it and my eye sight is not great when trying to focus on such distant subjects manually.....but I work with it because it's what I have and it is so rewarding to watch the migration of the birds, not to mention the exquisite colors of the fall marsh and the fresh air. If you have never witnessed the snow geese migration, make sure you get it on the bucket list! The sound is amazing and the beauty of the birds in flight, filling the autumn sky in cool weather is awesome. These shots only begin to give you an idea of the abundance of the marsh in fall.

I am going to Prime Hook tomorrow and hope to find some snow geese there as well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Beach Run

I left Baltimore today and headed for the beach via Delaware and stopped in the late afternoon at Bombay Hook to see if the snow geese had arrived, and they had right on time, and always by the first week in November. They were too far off in the pools to capture any images, but I'll be back there tomorrow. So I made a couple shots of the beautiful marsh as the light was fading and headed south.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A few from the recovered card from the Adirondacks

Tonight was the first night of The Beginner 2 Intro to Digital Photography at JHU. I had a great group of new students anxious to learn more and improve their images.

Check out the happenings in DC for DC Photoweek: Nov 7-15th, please join me in DC for Photoweek on Sunday Nov 15 for a presentation on composition! There are lots of lectures and events all week long!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Adirondacks Images Recovered! Thanks Lexar!

Today I received a gift; recovered memory card files arrived from Lexar.

I had really given in to the idea that the files from the Adirondacks best day of shooting were not going to be recovered, but Lexar's gurus worked some digital magic and I have all the files off that 8GB card from the Adirondacks that failed after a day of shooting.

I noticed the package laying on the front door step when I was cutting the lawn and cleaning up all the leaves that fell over the last week, when I was at the beach. Whew it was a ten bagger and I didn't even rake the yard, I mowed with the mulcher on the lawn, twice. The ten bags were just from the patio, driveway and street gutters! So after I finished the yard, I was anxious to see the images from that beautiful day in The Adirondacks.

Here's a few I developed so surely was a beautiful day of shooting.......

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beach Treasure

Yesterday was another overcast windy day here at the beach. After doing some things around the house I thought I'd head to OC and make some boardwalk images, (I have this idea to do a bunch of HDR stuff on the boardwalk) but I didn't get any further than Fenwick Island. As I drove down the highway turning my head toward the sea, I kept looking at the beautiful dune crossings, so I pulled into a parking spot and headed to the beach. There were lots of stones on the tide line so I rambled along the shore picking up stones that interested me, stuffing them in my pockets, along the way, eventually to be added to my beach stone and pebble collection. As I wandered I wondered what primal instinct is in us that makes us want to pick up stones? I know I am not the only one......we have had a relationship with stones since the beginning of time...Remember...the Stone Age...Stone Henge...Stone Arrows...all kinds of things stones have been used for over the years...but beach stones...I thought, are just a bunch or rocks like in bags at the store people use in their why did they intrigue me even had a stone she called a worry stone...."With origins in Ancient Greece, worry stones are smooth, polished gemstones in the shape of an oval with a thumb-sized indentation. Held between the index finger and thumb, rubbing them is believed to lessen one's worries".

When I got home I opened up my Beach Stones book and admired the presentation of the images in that book. Josie Iselin the photographer used a scanner to make all the stone images in the book. Gaining some inspiration there, I thought I am going to use the stones I gathered to make some images.

Last night before the rain came I walked out to the beach as I wanted sand for my background and I filled up an empty taffy box with real beach sand. Then I sat and sorted my stones and beach glass I have collected over the years and a few artifacts tossed from the deep to the shore. I began to assemble them in compositions on the kitchen table......OK you are saying this woman has way too much time on her hands!!!!! But really it was fun, playing, whens the last time you played, just to play! Well I went to sleep with the stones and glass all over the kitchen table. After breakfast this morning I emptied the box of sand into a large baking tray and moved it out to the covered porch area, I only had some natural light to work with. I was using my 200 mm macro to make most of the shots and had to stand on a ladder for some of the larger compositions...I switched to my 70-200 for a few more shots. So much for my ramblings, here's a beach stone poem......By Lilian Moore ( I am certain I am not the only one now!)

Beach Stones

When these small
in clear pools and
nets of weed

teased by spray

they glowed
glinted sunsparks on
their speckled

Spilled on the shelf
they were
wet-sand jewels
still flecked with

gray stones
dry and dim.

Why did we bring them home?

---Lilian Moore

Ok thats it for beach for a few days~heading home tonight!