Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Have Been Meaning to Share

The picture above is from a trip to Scranton Lace Factory in 2014.   I have a folder where I save images that I plan to share or blog about and just realized this image is almost a year old and it has never seen to light of day so to speak.

Scranton Lace Factory is located in Scranton, PA.  The company was founded in 1890 and the factory was closed in mid-shift  sometime in 2002.  The site has been undergoing cleanup for the last several years and I know the owners have big hopes for redevelopment of the site.

It was a great location to shoot,  but suspect the best shots were from a time when the site was truly abandoned.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Smokies Wrap-up

A couple of weeks ago we wrapped up our Fall Foliage Tour in the Smokies.  Temperatures were great during the day and cool evenings produced some fantastic fog.  Overall fall color was a little late this year, but we were able to get peak color on the last days of our tour.  This made for happy photographers!

Next year Denise and I will be doing our fall color tour in the Finger Lakes region of New York and we are super excited to share this new destination with our clients.

Speaking of next year, to celebrate Nature Visions Expo were are offering a discount on our 2016 tours until the end of the month.  Come visit us at Nature Visions or sign up on our website.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


On my way down to the Smokies for our Fall Color Tour I stopped along the way to check out some old cars.  Most of the cars were in a field with grass almost as tall as me, so I did not get to shoot most of the cars.  But I was treated to a tour of the owner's restoration shop.  She commented that some clients are skeptical because the shop is pretty old and not very fancy.  I told her I totally understood because some people incorrectly attribute a great picture to the type of camera used.  At that point I knew we understood each other.

I think she was skeptical when I said I wanted to shoot this Chevy from the 30's.  After all it's in primer.  But I loved the shape of it and the spot lighting.

By the way I did see one of their completed vehicles and it was beautiful.

I used Topaz Star Effects on the lights.  If you would like to try Topaz Products in your workflow check out our discounts page.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cape May and the making of Lemonade

We just finished our annual Cape May Photo Tour weekend and as usual we had a great group of talented and energetic photographers.   Cape May is such a wonderful venue that even though we arrived 2 days early to scout the locations, we still did not cover all of our favorite spots!  

In regard to making Lemonade.  That’s a term of art that I use to illustrate how to deal with the challenges that photography can sometimes present.   The shot above was our first stop with the tour group last Friday evening.  The access to this point is very narrow allowing for only one photographer at a time.  I needed to get my tripod in the water to get the reflection and wanted to show the shot to our clients as an example of one of the possible shots from this location.   Considering that I had 10 people in line behind me, I just took a quick snap and on the back of the camera everything looked fine.   When I started to process this shot I realized that while I had the foreground sharp, my depth of field was not sufficient to render the lighthouse as sharp as I would have preferred.  So I used a couple of Flypaper Textures to give the shot a different feel and I think with the use of textures the importance of sharpness in the image becomes less important.  

I also use and recommend the plugin “Dirty Pictures” from Totally Rad Software for managing and working with Textures in Photoshop.

We are planning to do our annual Cape May Weekend next year a littler earlier so we can photograph the iconic Cape May Boats that line the beach!   Registration is open and it’s not too early to secure your spot on this tour… .   If you want to keep up with all things Road Runner, please join our Meetup and our Mailing List(on the right side of the page).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

West Virginia Wrap Up

West Virginia Wrap Up

A couple weeks ago we finished our West Virginia Fall Color Tour.  This makes the 3rd year in a row we have had the pleasure of sharing one of our favorite fall color locations with our clients!  As usual West Virginia did not disappoint.  This year the mid-Atlantic was being blasted by heavy rains and some of our clients were questioning if we should cancel.   Our research suggested that West Virginia would be on the outer limits of this storm and we felt this could possibly make for some great photography.  As a practice we try not to shy away from bad weather.  While the safety of our clients is always upmost in our mind, we also want them to go home with epic images!

This fall we were treated to beautiful color, nicely flowing waterfalls, great clouds, and even a nice rainbow over Blackwater Canyon.

We are skipping fall color in West Virginia next year in favor of Fall Color in the Finger Lakes Region of New York.   But our Meetup is planning on doing what is fast becoming our annual camping and star party trip to Spruce Knob and hopefully we will find time to perhaps put a waterfall weekend on the calendar next spring.   If you want to keep up with all things Road Runner, please join our Meetup or our Mailing List(signup on the right side of this page link).  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Icelandic Highlands

We just wrapped up our 2nd epic tour of Iceland.  We had a great group of participants and in spite of some challenging weather, we got to see and photograph a lot of great locations.

The image above was taken in the Icelandic Highlands on a day with light rain and 60 mph winds.

We always rent 4x4 vehicles so we can take our clients into the Highlands.  While Iceland offers much for the photographer without going into the Highlands, our clients agreed unanimously that going to the Highlands was essential and the long rough ride on the Icelandic "F" roads was well worth the extra expense and effort.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Ohio State Reformatory at Mansfield - Caveat Emptor

Last weekend Denise and I took a road trip with a couple of other members of our Meetup to the Ohio State Prison at Mansfield.  

It's a wonderful old building that looks more like a castle on the outside than a prison.  We had signed up for the "photography tour" at a cost of $150.00 per person.  Never having been there, I did not have any concerns and was looking forward to the experience.  Denise and I do tours at places like Eastern State Penitentiary and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and while the pricing is comparable,  both of these other places provide additional value for the money.  It could be freedom to work with minimal interaction with other tourists or access to places that are off limits to the other guests.  But in any case we have always felt there is extra value in paying more than the average tourists.

That changed this past weekend.  We arrived and stood in line with others who were paying $9.00 for general admission.  When it was our turn we paid $150.00 a person and was told to follow the tour route.  That translated to having to wait between 5 and 10 minutes at nearly each shot waiting for the tourists to be out of the shot.  Sometimes I elected not to take a shot because I just got tired of waiting the the people to get out of the way.

To be fair to Mansfield we did go during the summer busy season and after we expressed some concern about being over charged just because we had tripods, we were told they could take us to some places that were not part of the tour.  By that time we were just over it and wanted to get back on the road for the several hour drive that was ahead of us.

If I had it to do over again I would have left the tripod in the car and just shot at a high ISO and used the vibration reduction feature on most of my lenses.

So if you decide to go, I recommend that you go off season and get a clear understanding of what you get in exchange for your hard earned dollars!