Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Playing with Flash

I consider myself a natural light photographer. Usually this means that I work with conditions as they present themselves. For quite some time I have been aware of Joe McNally and the really great work he does with small flashes on location. This past weekend I headed out to the car farm with the goal of doing some light painting and off camera flash. The picture above was shot with 2 Nikon SB-800 Speedlights, both mounted off camera and controlled remotely. While I’m a long way from mastering this form of light, I think I’m off to a good start.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Flower Time

In addition to taking pictures of old cars and other grungy things, I do flower photography. I was thinking it had been quite some time since I posted any flowers and it had been even longer since I had posted a flower gallery. Last night I was at my friend Sara’s house and had a pretty good session in the garden. The added bonus last night was that the wind was nonexistent. One of the frustrating things about close-up photography is the slightest wind causes subject movement. Last night I was shooting 1 second exposures with no movement. In the garden this makes for the best possible conditions.

Click here for the flower gallery.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bambi and the Busy Weekend

I’m spending a lot of time shooting lately and the volume of images is piling up. I had intended on posting the results of several different shoots, but time is not on my side.

This past Saturday I got up at 3:00 am to drive out to Shenandoah National Park. The Big Meadows area is home to lots of deer and usually the fawns are everywhere, but it seems that this year something is amiss. Some of my friends have been scouting Big Meadows for a week or 2 and have only reported seeing a couple of fawns. In spite of this news, I decided to push on and join members of the Manassas Warrenton Camera Club at dawn. I teamed up with Bill Gercken and we scouted the length of the meadow to no avail. My friend Alan DeFelice was also there and being a natural with wildlife soon found one fawn hiding in the brush. The problem was I could not get an unobstructed view to take a decent shot. Over near the visitor’s center we found one other fawn and actually got to spend some time shooting.

It started to rain by 8:00 am so we decided to pack things up. I headed out to the Shenandoah Valley to continue my work on the Route 11 project. I had a very productive day covering the area between Mount Jackson and Harrisonburg. It rained for the first couple of hours, but afterwards I was rewarded with really great clouds the rest of the day. During the afternoon I decided to reenter the park and shoot the clouds from Blackrock Summit in the southern end of the park. This is a great spot that is a half mile hike from the parking area and offers some of the best views and unique scenery in my opinion.

Sunday morning Duke and I went out for a hike near Old Rag and then worked the back roads of Madison County shooting HDR Infrared. The clouds were quite impressive.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The City of Brotherly Love

A couple of weeks ago friends Jack, Bill, Kelvin, Tweety, and Ken took a road trip to Philadelphia to shoot Eastern State Penitentiary. This was my 2nd trip and everyone else’s first. I reshot some of my favorites--the Barber’s Chair and Al Capone’s cell are a must. Beyond the favorites, I tried to find some things to shoot that I overlooked during my first visit last fall. We had nice clouds so I shot a lot outdoors.

After finishing up at the prison I swore everyone to secrecy and then took them to the Graffiti Underground. While a closely guarded secret among photographers, other aspects of urban Philadelphia seemed to know all about it. When we arrived a group of young men were descending on the place for what they described as a “War Zone”. We tried to discreetly shoot some of these guys during their paint ball game, but this proved hazardous to our gear and we backed off.

I’m behind on processing and I hope to visit again sometime this year. Hopefully at that time I can get a gallery posted.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Route 11 Project

I spent all day Sunday scouting the back roads around Mount Jackson and Woodstock, Va. A little over a year ago I decided to do a self assignment and shoot the Shenandoah Valley. The plan is to follow Route 11 and the connecting roads. The blog photo was shot last year on Route 11 just below the West Virginia line. That is the starting point and over the next few years I’ll work my way south.

I’m a little backed up on processing my shots, so no gallery link this time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ghost Hunting II

Last weekend Bill Gercken and I did a little ghost hunting so to speak. We visited an old asylum that was closed due to a court order. I have shot at old places before, but there was something different about this one. It was creepy at best and perhaps evil at worst. The weird thing about this place was the longer I was there, the more I really wanted to leave. I don’t recall ever experiencing this type of feeling before. This place has been closed for almost 20 years. The buildings are in such a poor state of repair you would think it had been longer. After exploring one of the buildings, we found a room with clean sheets on a bed and indicators of recent activity. This in a building where I would have felt better wearing a Tyvek suit and a hardhat. If I had any doubt about how much longer I was willing to stay, that settled it.

I’m not listing the location this time because I really don’t want to encourage others to go. This place is decrepit and possibly dangerous. While I got a few good photos and know others who have made multiple trips, I have no intention of going back.