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!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Iceland Awaits

After almost a year of planning, Denise and I are soon to head back to one of our favorite places on the planet!   We are leading a group of photographers on a tour of what we think are the best locations in Iceland.   While we have seen much of what Iceland has to offer during our previous trips and tours, we know that much more remains to be discovered.  So we are spending 5 days exploring the north of Iceland before our group arrives.

The photo above was taken in the Westfjords at a waterfall called Dynjandi.  It’s a beautiful and stunningly large waterfall in a very remote location.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

So Worth the Hike

The view above is from Tibbet Knob in the George Washington National Forest, basically the sister hike to another favorite of mine, Big Schloss.  Both hikes are pretty easy if you're in good shape, but throw in hot and humid conditions and the hike is a little harder than I want to admit.

This past weekend, part of the reason for hiking was to get out with Rudy, our recently adopted Labrador.   But even during the middle of the day I wanted to also make photography part of the reason for being there as well.

The panorama above is handheld and stitched in Photoshop.  I shot it with a D200 converted to Infrared by LifePixel.  Using the Infrared is a great choice when the conditions are too harsh for color photography.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Frederick Photowalk

This past Saturday we hosted our first photowalk of the season.  We held it in Frederick, MD, a great little town with a very vibrant old town section.

Photowalks are a great way to stretch your creativity.  Personally I try to find shadows, colors, textures, shapes, reflections and anything else that catches my eye.

It's always cool to see what others see, so check out our meetup page and view the gallery of photos submitted by our participants.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Guest Blogger

I'm a guest blogger on the Hunt's Photo and Video and I share my love and brief experiences with the new Lensbaby Velvet 56.

The shot above was taken with the Velvet 56 at the Lonaconing Silk Mill a couple months ago.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Fleeting Moment

Last Friday Denise and I arrived in Davis, WV just in time to be greeted by significant rain. I was making Denise drive so I could work on my motion abstracts when suddenly the sun pops out before it stopped raining.  Without missing a beat Denise proclaims there must be a rainbow somewhere.  I started looking around and sure enough there was one behind us over the Canaan Valley Wildlife Management area.  We quickly turned in, jumped out, and started shooting.  

From the time the sun popped out to the time the rainbow disappeared was about 5 minutes.  These moments are fleeting and knowing our gear allowed us to jump out and start shooting.  If you have to fumble with your gear you just might miss some opportunities.   

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Palouse Year 3

In a few days Denise Silva and I will be heading to Washington for our Palouse Photography Tour.   This is our third year doing tours in the Palouse. For those who don't know, the Palouse is the largest wheat growing region in the country.   The landscape is full of rolling hills, barns and my personal favorite, lots of old trucks.  

We are looking forward to working with a great group of participants, several of whom have done other tours with us.  We can't wait to see what they create!

During the last 2 years we have mapped thousands of miles of country roads and, believe it or not, we will be scouting some new areas in the days before our participants arrive.  I already know the week will fly by.  Did I say fly?  Stay tuned to this blog to see what that means.