Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A visit with Bambi

A couple of weeks ago Superdog Duke and I decided to hike Shenandoah instead of take pictures. We spent most of the day hiking both Cedar Falls and White Oak Canyon and by the end of the day I’m not sure which one of us was worn out the most. Duke would say he worked harder since he also went swimming in addition to hiking. After a long but really good day I decided to take a trip up to Big Meadows before sunset. The plan was to shoot the deer and then if it looked like a good sunset was in the works, shoot that on the way home. The sunset was a bust, but I got a few shots of Bambi.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

3,391 Feet Closer To Heaven

Last weekend a few friends and I spent the better part of the night on Old Rag Mountain. Camping at the summit is not permitted and personally I had to haul up enough gear, water, and appropriate clothing. No way was I going to add a tent and sleeping bag to that load. It is hard to believe that we spent the better part of 10 hours on that mountain for what amounts to 1 photograph. It really was more than one, but the object of the exercise was to shoot a star trail. My star trail photo is a composite of multiple exposures. I thought about taking a 2nd camera body and tripod, but decided the extra weight and space was just not worth it.

This was my second trip to the summit of Old Rag this year and not any easier the 2nd time. It was hot and humid at the lower elevations and cold on the summit after dark. The summit of Old Rag faces the north. There is a lot of foreground interest at the top, mostly big boulders, some of them 20 to 30 feet in diameter. Facing north allows you to arrange your composition around the North Star. The North Star stays in the same position in the sky and the other stars rotate around it at least that is the visual description. Sorry no lesson on astronomy here!

A few thoughts about nature: No deer or bear on this trip but at the summit the bats would fly over our heads, sometimes only by a foot or so. On the way down I think I saw a spider with every step I took. Considering that snakes are nocturnal, I was on the lookout. A copperhead passed a few feet in front of me when I was only a few hundred feet from the truck on the way back.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunset at Old Rag Mountain

Last weekend friends Corey Hilz, Bill Gercken, Greg Daily, and I hiked up to the top of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park with the intention of shooting star trails. We arrived on the summit about a half hour before sunset. I guess a perfect evening would have involved a great sunset and clear skies for star trails. A good sunset was not in the cards. I had time to work a few shots before dark, but not too many. Also, the skies were almost totally clear so I tended to minimize the impact of the sky in my photos. I found this little fern garden a few feet from the summit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The secret appears to be out. The McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area is the place to go in July for sunflowers. I even heard that Montgomery County was busing in people for 3 mornings. The only problem was that I only got to go one time this summer. My trusty Lensbaby provided me with the shot shown above. Next year I will have to make a point to get there more than once.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The end of a long day

During our recent trip to Philly, the original plan was to shoot the Graffiti Underground, stop for lunch at an authentic Philly Diner, and finish up at Eastern State. Shortly after arrival at ESP, my friend Sara decided to leave, about 2 hours later she called us to say that she had stopped at Longwood Gardens on the way home. Bill got really excited about the idea of stopping at Longwood, so Corey, Karen and I figured why not. This was my first time there during the summer and as always Longwood does not disappoint. I spent most of my time shooting the water gardens and fountains. By the end of the day I was pretty much burned out, but as I recall Corey and Bill were still going strong and if it were not for darkness, I suspect we would still be there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eastern State Penitentiary

The 2nd stop on my last trip to Philly was Eastern State Penitentiary. This was my 3rd trip in the last year and shooting the prison is getting harder. I’m basically a wide angle shooter, that is, I tend to look at the landscape first and details second. Realizing this, I’m trying to make an effort to work the details. It was also quite crowded; we were told that attendance set a record. This of course created some additional barriers to my type of photography.

Click here for a gallery from my first visit last year

Click here for the most recent gallery