Monday, June 28, 2010

West Virginia Parting Shots

The last evening we were in West Virginia, Marie and I decided to head up the rutted and rocky fire road to Bear Rocks one more time. As we drove the sunny afternoon became slightly overcast. When we arrived at the end of the road a storm was clearly brewing. I dropped Marie off a little before the parking lot and I quickly parked and set my gear up as quickly as possible to catch the scene of the fast moving, gathering storm clouds. As I watched and shot the storm I felt as if I were in some movie; the clouds quickly overcame us and the storm started to behave, with a bolt or two of lightening, huge winds and pounding rain. Marie was disappointed as she wanted to catch another sunset. But I was enjoying the storm from inside the car. She tried to get out and do some shooting but as soon as she got ten feet from the car another bolt of lightening lit up the sky. Through the window we could see the clouds on the horizon thinning and the sun was beginning to shine through on the distant horizon, casting a peach glow. It was pretty useless trying to get a shot as the wind was blowing the rain at a 45 degree angle and would have completely covered our lens. So we waited until the storm past just after sundown and caught the last light of the day. It rained overnight again and in the morning we went to Pendleton Point just to see what was happening. There was awesome mist rising over the ridge as the sun broke through the was a great trip and I can't wait to go back again...maybe fall....

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Life is like's all about choices....or is Photography like life?

How do we select our subjects?
Where do we stand, where do we put our feet down?
Whats our point of view?
Are we high or low, vertical or horizontal?
Do we see a blur or with clarity?
Do we need a multiple exposure or will one do?
Which way is the light coming from? 
Is there a need for a point of view?
Do we see the big picture or are we into the details?
Can we see the trees for the forest, or forest for the trees?
I am sure there are a lot more thoughts on this theme...feel free to add yours!
Photography, like life, some choices are good and some are well not so good...

These images from West Virginia....are about a few simple we like it vertical or horizontal? Do we like a multiple exposure or a swipe? What foreground should I include? How can I minimize a bland sky and still get the framing I want?
I say do it all when you are in the field.
Like life grab it every way you can that works for you! and then decide....are we satisfied with the choices we made, did we get a shot? if not what will we do differently the next time if we get one? Analyze.....?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Canaan Valley West Virginia

Canaan Valley is a beautiful open valley in Tucker County. We spent some time exploring the refuge area, and enjoying the field of black Angus cows across from the refuge. One late morning after breakfast, Susan our innkeeper graciously showed us a spectacular view of the valley below from a private mountain lot. We decided one morning to go there for sunrise.....however it was a disappointing sunrise due to heavy cloud hoping the clouds would be visible from the valley floor wafting through the nearby mountains we quickly headed to the refuge area. As we drove up Freeland Road, we did see the cloud cover, but it was not until we decided to leave, that the shot appeared to Marie who was looking out her window over the valley, so we stopped and made some images.
We also drove down the Canaan Valley Loop fire road. The shot I made there was with the Lensbaby Soft Focus. Canaan Valley Farm is an image overlay, and the flowers were shot with a 200mm macro.

West Virginia Barns

.....During the day when the sun became strong, Marie and I did some back road touring and when we came upon a barn we could access we stopped to make some images. I don't know why I like barns, but I know I am not the only one. Maybe its the pleasing proportions, simple natural lines and character of these basic structures that are honest and offer an integrity of design. Their simple, natural lines create a settled feeling on the land, like the barn has always been there! They possess a traditional beauty with their warm mellowed timbers, a romance and charm that cannot be duplicated in any other architectural form. Or maybe there is some long ago attachment in the DNA from when my family was farming land in the Northern Neck of Virginia in colonial days. When we were shooting we met some very nice folks who came  out to see what we were up to...we met Bonnie Nelson who has the prettiest piece of property on Laneville Road, in Dry Fork. Her front porch overlooks her barn in a field of hay, with the mountains beyond. She was so sweet to talk to and she gave us permission to walk on her land; but as usually in photography when road touring...shooting it from where you first saw it and stopped you with that Oh  man, that's a shot response is usually the best! 

Friday, June 25, 2010

West Virginia Native Shrubs

June is bloom time for many species of plants in the mountains. In Davis the Mountain Laurel was past its peak but on top of Fire Road 19 the laurel was just beautiful filling in the heaths with pastel pink and white. In the Blackwater Falls State Park the native Rhododendron, the State flower of West Virginia were just beginning to bloom. It was challenging doing any kind of macro work as the wind was constantly blowing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

West Virginia

Monday I headed out to Davis, West Virginia to meet Marie Joabar for a couple days of enjoying and photographing in the mountains. It took a little longer than usual due to a road issue around Myersville which caused an hour delay, then about a half hour away I was the first one to approach a flashing RR crossing sign by a mining plant and had to wait about 40 minutes for a coal car to move through. (He sat there for a while across the street for no apparent reason!)

So five hours later I was much cooler than the city and I was very happy to be there! We arrived uncannily at the same time in the parking lot of The Bright Morning Inn. Susan the owner had our keys waiting when we arrived, and it was good to check in. She is delightful and always has great tips on places to go. She also has great breakfasts. After checking in Marie and I headed to Linde Point, in Blackwater Falls State Park to see what would happen there at sunset. We stayed until dark and hiked out and headed back to the inn. On the way back we decided to get up at 3:30 and head to Dolly Sods, in the Monongahela Wilderness for sunrise the next morning. So I got about 4 hours of sleep before getting up.....
These are a few images made the evening sunset and morning sunrise....after the sunrise we headed back to Davis for a hearty breakfast.....and plan the rest of the day.........more to follow later....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cruise Night Chevrolet

Just a few more from last night...As I walked through these cars it was hard to imagine that these cars are really 60, 50, and 40 years old now...the muscle cars..I wonder if I were to live another 50 years (fat chance of that) what or even if anyone would care anymore about these old cars! Or if they would just find their way to some private garage or museum! Anyway it is fun looking at them and having some memories...I loved my 1977 Corvette. Jeez, it would be 30 + years old...and considered a classic....the Time Added Value Theory at work...They are selling now for more than I paid for new! The history of the Chevrolet Bowtie is fun to read. Flash back, I wrote a marketing paper when I was in B-school on the Corvette's amazing marketing story from 1951 when it was conceived to it's continuing success as a product in the industry. It was advertised as a V-8 that goes like a V-2 (as in bomb). No I am not going to buy one again, but I do need a photo truck!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cruise Night Lowes Belair

I was undecided tonight, head down to the harbor or head up the make some the cars won. Always fun to see them and hear them...and it was a great crusin' night!!!!!
It was a really warm and sunny late afternoon when the cars started arriving, and I made some shots with the fish eye Lensbaby, but I didn't like that I was reflecting in the images due to the bright I switched to the 70-200mm so I could grab some details from a distance..... As I was shooting a man asked me about my images, if I ever sold them like in stock, and I said yes I do sell but mostly prints, not stock, and then he introduced himself as one of the Principles in Dreamstime Stock Photography. I might check into putting some images there?? Until tonight I had not heard of them.  These are a few shots from tonight......Oh and I also met the man who owned this car...he introduced himself as Jimmy the Mover and he was running a Nitrous Oxide hook up in his I am sure he moves! It was a very pretty car.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cromwell Workshop

The Talmar Gardens and Horticultural Center's home is located in the Cromwell Valley Parks area of Baltimore County. Even though it was a blazing hot summer like (it is still spring isn't it?) morning we had a great group for the workshop. We worked the Willow Grove, old stone barn and surrounds first and then headed to Sherwood Farm and worked the Manor House and farm. It was about 10:15 when we headed to Talmar for a few parting shots of the area. I was working with Lou on making some multiple exposures of daises in the meadow grasses. His camera only made a three shot multiple exposure, but he had the ability to do an in camera image overlay, so we made two, three shot multiples and then used the overlay function in camera to get a unique image with more shots. He had lots of fun with that idea and did quite well!

The blog image I shot yesterday when I was planning out today. It is shot through heavy plastic in the cold frames...the larkspur filled one frame and the humidity had created some water drops inside. I loved the scene for its already impressionist I worked it a little more today in post processing to get the look I wanted.."the one I felt when I saw the scene". I don't think there is a sharp edge anywhere. To get this look I made 3 or 4 layers from the original shot and versions of the image and then blended the layers. I actually used some PS textures in the artistic mode, from Glass Ripple to smudge and then added a layer of the straight shot and reduced opacity.....I guess one could love it or hate it depending on your preferences! ; - )

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cromwell Valley Parks

This morning I made a quick run out to the Cromwell Valley Parks. I wanted to make a plan for tomorrows workshop shoot. The park is a very pretty rural environment in close proximity to the Loch Raven Watershed. In addition to the barns and old homes on the property, there is a Horticultural Center (501c3) called Talmar. I walked around the fenced area and the cold frames and made a few images there.
It should be a good workshop tomorrow....

Cruise night

Yesterday I was up pretty early and was watching Marty Bass on local TV. He mentioned the gathering of old and muscle cars that meets every Friday night at Lowe's in Belair. Since I was going to be working in Chesapeake City I decided that on the way home I was going to stop and see what was happening in the Lowe's Cruise Night parking lot. When I arrived I was amazed to see how many people and cars were gathered there. It was pretty cool. I arrived a little after 7:00 and made a couple shots with the Lensbaby fish eye. I wish I had arrived earlier when there was a little more light. So I will definitely plan to go back..and see what fun I can have...making some images of those great cars. Now I have to go wash mine.......