Just Some Random Thoughts

As I begin this  post I have no title. I wish to convey my thoughts on a few things related to photography. It has been a a little over a year since I began this quest and while I have garnered a tremendous amount of knowledge I am still lacking in application. Though I think that no matter how new or old you are in this field application is always needed.  I know this will come over time but I want it to occur much faster. It is a feeling much like baking brownies, you have all the ingredients, mix them together, get a little taste of that batter, your mouth begins to cherish the thought of them when they come out of the oven. But then you have to wait for them to cool….You know they are done, but not quite ready yet. You want one now! but they will taste so much better a few minutes later. Patience you tell yourself. But they are perfect now! But in ten minutes they will be heavenly….Patience. All in due time.

Patience is waiting for the moon to be just at the right place in the sky as it rises. I recently used this picture but it fits here too!

Over the Bay


High Dynamic Range. This is one are of photography people either love or hate. There does not seem to be any middle ground with this one. Personally I like it. Great for landscape shots. Simply bracketing your frames resulting in different exposures. They say cheating. Ha! I always considered myself a purist, how does blending three or more   different exposures constitute cheating? Under, over, exact. Especially without further alteration. I could say Photoshop is cheating. Same bloody concept. Putting things where they are not, creating something false. Layers. What is the difference between layers and bracketing? Would not bracketing be a purer form?

DT Shack

Granted I have no idea how to use Photoshop, layers confuse the heck out of me. I am trying to learn Elements but need a hands on class to do so. I shoot RAW. I love Lightroom and use it exclusively for all my developing, er, editing. Which is another interesting topic. You edit your photos on the computer but you develop them in the darkroom. Since LR is my digital darkroom more often than not I say I develop the photos rather than edit. To edit is to change, to develop is to bring out. Yes LR has some fantastic editing capabilities. And I do take advantage of them when needed. Who wants a picture with, um, an imperfection in it….Blemish here, scar there,……….

Ultimately I am a people person. I specialize in Head Shots. I am still fine tuning my approach and need to even out my lighting. Which, will come over time and more sessions (There’s that phrase again). I love the interaction, I love the subtle changes that occur within the minor movements and the way they can make or break the shot. I love the natural reactions as well as the posed looks. I love the fact that I am helping them present themselves in a manner in which they are comfortable with. Peter Hurely pumps me up. Whoa, That was random, but definitely true!


Below is my daughter. What an incredible challenge and a whole lot of work to shoot. Very resistant to follow dad’s coaching. I should pay to get hers done, but why? Why can’t shooting family members be easier. Maybe it is just a teenage thing. There is something about this image that I just love. Perhaps an expression not often seen.


Get her in dance mode though and things do get a whole lot easier.

Britt on Pointe

Dance is another subject I am enamored with. Movements, expressions, shapes. Love it!  Our season is winding down. 8 more weeks to go. I will be compiling the season for a pre-nationals slide show. Got to get them pumped up!

As the pollen encrusts my eyes I guess the moral of this ramble is that I have learned there is no right or wrong in photography, it is ok to break the “rules”, there is definitely good and bad though. Much like life, everyday is a learning experience.

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…

A visit to Seaside Heights

Finally open to non-residents, we decided to take a short jaunt over to Seaside Heights today to witness the sights first hand. I had said I will not document the destruction, and I am not, but some images you have to have in your personal records. Direct access to the beach was still off limits with the State Troopers taking care of crowd control. Still people came, they lined up to see what they could see, cameras in hand, with that WTF look on their faces…

Lined up for the view

The most iconic image of the event still remains, its fate uncertain for all except the Gulls:


To refresh what it once was – @ 36hours prior to it going in:

Sandy SundayWe only stayed about an hour and I only took about 50 shots, many of those bracketed sets for some HDR renditions. I am really liking the HDR stuff right now, though these were probably the last planned ones I will be doing for a while. Since I have no idea how to use Photoshop I feel this is my way of being artistic.

Before I became compliant and crossed back to the other side of the yellow tape…The chairs and a portion of the boardwalk that made it through with building attached!

SSJan6 pSp-6

A different perspective:

Long view

So we departed that section of reality and took a little walk. Take a good look at this next image:

SSJan6 pSp-31I broke out laughing at the perfection of the shot. It struck a nerve though when I came upon this – Coke, Mt Dew or Diet?

Soda anyone?And the monkey in a barrel…Monkey in a barreltrying to find an angle…


while realizing the force…

rebarThe building in the background is used by Triboro EMS for their fundraiser raffles. Since a personal connection exists ’tis a grand opportunity for an HDR shot:

TriboroHDRNot much to say during this posting, I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I tried to find the interesting, the unique and a little humor all in an hour.

Thanks for stopping by!  Till next time…

It really is all about the light…

or lack thereof…..Every article I have read, video I have watched stresses light. Photography without light is like snapshots in the dark. Dull, drab and not worth the time. One thing that is never stated is how much light. It is always quality of light, availability of light and direction of light. If you are outside and the sun is behind the clouds, presto! A great big softbox….But what if the clouds are so thick that it makes the day dreary and dark?

I have been visiting family outside the Smokey Mountains for the past few days and the weather outside has been less than desirable. Rain has fallen since we arrived and only one day does the forecast say the sun will be showing itself. I find it a bit ironic that my photographic desires for this trip have been centered on water.  Though the water I want is the kind that falls from the rocks, down a cliff, running down a mountain and not from the sky. The saving grace is when that sun does come out, and the trails are passable, it will be a spectacular view. One other thing that the rain has inhibited for me, which my wife will love when she gets here, is my accent coming back….It seems that when I talk to folk in these parts my twang returns. I do not even realize I am drawling until I get nudged or yelled at…Yup, that’s me, a northern boy with southern blood…

Yesterday my daughter and I took a drive near Cades Cove, she was a great help holding the umbrella over our heads and the camera when the rain kicked up. We pulled over a few times to grab some stream shots, although with the amount of volume rushing down the mountain I should call it by it’s proper name – a river. This is a one second exposure and I am thinking I should have tried a lengthier one to get that full silky effect.


This next shot is one of my favorites from our scenic cruise. 0.6 seconds at 24 mm.

Stream 24mm

We set out this day, not with any of this in mind, but to do an indoor activity. The caverns were closed however. Sure, I should have called but I relied on their website which said open every day except Christmas…..Their loss, my gain and my daughter seemed to enjoy  her small jaunt in nature. What is a little rain to disrupt a day in the country mountains.

Christmas morning I set out to get some shots of Douglas Lake which is close to where my parents live. No rain was in the forecast but the sky was still dark and overcast. The TVA drains Douglas Lake every winter, exposing its clay banks and rocky bottoms. Some close to shore, some appearing not so close. This is where my question of how much light is enough came from. After a couple of test shots of the area my mind was made up. Time to bracket for some HDR.

Lake Douglas HDR

Yes, no matter what the light, and this light was terrible, you can always turn out something decent. I do not use HDR effects that much, probably because I have been photographing people so much lately, but I do believe it has its place and creates some really nice results.

This bridge actually scared me when I crossed it. Very narrow and barely room enough for two cars side by side. I am not sure if they recently installed safety measures on purpose but like highways that have rumble strips this bridge had a noticeable depression in the road for every drain hole in it. You could tell when you were getting close to the edge every time you rain over one of the drains . Made me feel a bit more at ease, but wiggle room is not a premium here.

Hwy 92 Bridge

There is one day of sun in the forecast this week and we will be taking full advantage of it. This day of sun is preceded by a day of flurries…..Snow is OK. Much better than rain for my desired adventures. Hoping the park service does not close the roads in…We will find out soon!

Thank you for stopping by, till next time…

The Weekend in Review

A weekend full of music and history began Friday with the Uproar Festival. I will say right off the bat that Godsmack was very disappointing. Their set consisted of songs that they have been playing live probably for the past five years, sans two. They have two recent albums with newer material that they did not even touch. well, one song from Four,and one from the Oracle. That was it for the newer stuff. AND Sully’s guitar sound was terrible. Maybe the rumors of a disintegration are true. Shanon Larkin is always great. I love watching him. OK, so it was not that bad, They performed great as always. I just wanted to hear an updated set list, not one that I heard two, three and four years ago.

Now that I have that off my chest Shinedown ROCKED! I have not followed them that close and other than the radio songs I am not that familiar with them. I had a point and shoot with me so the pictures were only so so. Barely Facebook worthy. We were in section 304. I would so love the opportunity to shoot one of these shows with my gear but it is very difficult bringing in “removable lens” cameras to these venues. One of the better ones of the night:

We were fortunate enough to meet them and be there when they received this cake from Rock Candy Cakes. This cake interrupted our conversation but hey, it is not everyday that you meet these guys in their own dressing room. Cool stuff, they are very down to earth and have gained a new supporter.

With little sleep that night we ventured up to West Point Saturday morning for a two hour tour and a walk around the museum. Guided Tours do not really offer the affordability of pictures it seems, everything is go, go, go… and at an installation such as this there is no such thing as a self guided tour. Got some pretty nice pictures of the Cadet Chapel everything else is just memorabilia. These are all on Flickr page. The first shot of the museum came out really good so I decided to bracket a set and HDR it. I really like the way this turned out.

The main event was on Sunday with a trip to the NY Renaissance Faire. We had gone a few years ago and have wanted to return ever since. T’was a great day in merry old England with the “employees” never breaking character. Sword fights, Jousting, street performers, wenches, comedic nuns and even a Royal Chess Match.

This is in the running for my favorite shot of the weekend. Two days may be the best way to experience the show, it is just not possible to see them all in one day. We witnessed the two big ones and a couple of little ones. Bring Cash, lots of Cash, lots of cool little shops and nary a one takes anything but cash. Make sure you get a turkey leg, no utensils allowed! We might have to go back before this season ends just to take in the smaller shows. And spend more cash……And take more pictures.

I have updated my Flickr page, please check it out. Lots of pictures from the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by, till the next time!