Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another Night under the Stars

A couple weeks ago I hiked Old Rag again to shoot Star Trails with friends Greg, Alan, Tweety, Cindy, and Nick. When it comes to this type of photography, Old Rag is hard to beat. The amount of light pollution is tolerable and there is plenty of room at the summit to set up different compositions. It is also a very challenging and rewarding hike. I posted a video of our evening on my YouTube Page. I’m always looking for other locations to shoot Star Trails in Shenandoah, I know of at least 3 other choice locations, but light pollution from the Shenandoah Valley is a deal killer.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back Behind Bars

Once again, I had the rare opportunity to photograph inside the walls of the old Lorton Prison. The deal was the same as before, I’m part of a VIP tour and allowed to shoot while they discuss architecture and planning. While I have always regarded this as a unique opportunity and one that I’m grateful for having, these trips are not photo tours. I don’t get to wait for the light to change. Thirty minutes into the trip I was not feeling the magic. Everything I was seeing seemed to be things that I have seen and shot before, so I switched over to my Lensbaby and decided to shoot exclusively with that one lens. It worked. I started seeing and shooting things like it was my first visit all over again.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I like to do a fair amount of planning and pre-visualization in regard to my photography, but sometimes you have to throw all of that out the window and just react to what is in front of you. This past Friday my friend Tweety and I were heading over to McKee-Beshers to shoot sunflowers. I have shot this field several times in the past and this year I was in the mood to try something different. While stopping in Poolesville we noticed a new skateboard park and the kids were really hitting it hard!! We looked at each other and instantly decided this was the place to be and spent the next 2 hours shooting the kids. This brought back many memories; I rode a skateboard when I was teenager, but my talents were far less than most of these guys. We kept shooting until it got dark and my flash ran out of batteries. A return trip is a must!!

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Click here for Tweety's Gallery

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Last Friday night I took the White’s Ferry across the Potomac. I was a Boy Scout the first time I rode the ferry and not much has changed since then. For some reason I find riding the ferry to be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. While the ferry shortens the trip from Virginia to Maryland, I think I would take the ferry if it was out of the way. I have also thought over the years about a way to shoot the ferry at night. I have never come up with a plan, but last night I shot the above picture handheld out the window of my truck. The focus is a little soft, perhaps I’ll go back sometime and reshoot the scene.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summit Point

A few weeks ago my friend Jack Nevitt put together a daytrip to Summit Point Raceway. Many years ago I used to shoot drag racing but the style of racing at Summit Point was new to me. While I was excited about going, it took most of the day for me to get into it. I saw shots that I wanted to do, but for reasons of safety and access they were not possible, at least without special arrangements and certainly not on a race day. I know I need practice and with practice I should be able to achieve better results. Going back is on the To Do list.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Weekend in the Woods

The last post was the first introduction to my recent camping trip with some friends from the Manassas-Warrenton Camera Club. First I must digress; my friend Greg Daily has asked me several times to go camping and I always said no, indicating that my Boy Scout days were behind me. After our “Scouting Trip from Hell” I decided that camping had to be much better than spending the night stuck in the snow. A few weeks ago we finally had the camping trip for our camera club.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the first night we shot star trails and arrived back in camp around 2:00am. I got about an hour sleep before realizing that I had not planned properly and nearly froze to death. So I jumped in my truck and cranked the heat and of course this woke up half the group. So with little sleep we then headed out for an uneventful sunrise at 5:00am. I also found out that I’m not good at sitting around and doing nothing. So during the day I did a little scouting around Staunton and the surrounding countryside. On Saturday night we tried to shoot sunset at Reddish Knob but the top of the mountain was in the clouds. Fortunately about halfway down the mountain we found a nice spot to shoot. Sunday morning we did some more shooting on our way out and then it was time to return home. Overall a very nice trip, I look forward to camping again sometime.

Click here for gallery