Over the years I’ve heard a variety of humorous sayings regarding outdoor photographers.
“If you’re not sitting on the ground, you’re not a photographer.”
“You can always tell a good photographer. Their clothes are always dirty.”
Uhhh yup…folks often do look at me a little funny as I sit or lie down on the ground with camera in hand. And that’s okay because I’m creating an image that is uniquely mine. By changing my perspective or viewing angle, I feel I’m likely to create a more compelling image. And of course, there are times when I may get my pants dirty. But who cares about a little dirt anyway. Soap was invented a long time ago.
I took this photo at Longwood Gardens two weeks ago during the Celebration Of Spring Blooms.
When we left on the doggie walk yesterday morning, I saw these tulips in our next door neighbors front garden. They were still shaded from the rising sun which really made the color pop. I had to get a few shots.
Later in the day I asked our neighbors if I could photograph them the following morning.
They said “go to it!”
I told them I wanted to ask first if it was okay that some man was crawling around in their front lawn at 7:00 am with a camera.
They said they wouldn’t have even known.
Imagine another neighbor talking to them and saying “K&J, there was a prowler crawling around in the grass right in front of your window this morning. Did you call the police?”
Glad I asked first.
I was visiting my favorite greenhouse and garden center the other day with the intention of adding to my floral photograph collection. The abundance and variety there keeps me occupied for several hours.
Before I take any photos, I like to wander around a bit to check out the direction of light and shadows and look for possible compositions. The place is so big I have to take notes and draw a map so I don’t forget where I saw particular plants of interest.
The business is well known in the horticultural arena, and draws people from all over the countryside. While orienting myself to get back to the front of the main greenhouse, I literally bumped into a celebrity named Martha. She was such a sweetheart and was kind enough to allow me to take her portrait.
Oh, her last name is Washington.
Martha Washington that is.
Quite a few years ago, I went on a weekend hiking trip with a few of my friends on part of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. We started the hike in Port Clinton and headed up the mountain and east to our destination, which is an overlook named the Pinnacle. It is perched high on the top of Blue Mountain, near the Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary.
In our haste to go hiking in super October weather, we neglected to do prudent research about this part of the trail. A few steps from the trailhead begins an almost vertical climb up. The trail consisted of pebbles, stones, rocks, boulders, and tree roots, with a sprinkling of gravel mixed in for good measure. Looking back, it would have been better to do this part of the trail during daylight hours rather than starting at 10:00pm. The flashlights we were carrying were feeble at best and barely illuminated the treacherous path in front of us.
After about an hour and a half of slipping and sliding, numerous scrapes and falls, we made it to the crest of the mountain to set up camp and rest for the night. Finding a flat spot on the top of a mountain is a comedy of errors, so we set up right on the trail. We figured the odds of another group of hikers coming by in the middle of the night were slim.
We awoke a few hours later, emerged from our tent, and were stunned to see how we had perched ourselves on the crest of the mountain yet somehow managed to stay there all night.
After eating breakfast on that glorious Autumn morning, we strapped on our backpacks and continued on our way. Five and a half miles later we met a few hikers coming the opposite direction. We chatted about trail conditions and they told us we should have an easy day of hiking. Knowing what was ahead of them, we advised them to lace up their boots tightly and find a walking stick for balance. We suggested climbing ropes for the way down would be handy also.
A few miles later we stopped for lunch. While dining on our rations, a man ran past us on the trail with no backpacking gear. We thought that was odd. Where did he come from and how did he get there? A few minutes later, another man ran by dressed in some official looking uniform. He stopped and asked if we had seen anyone. We advised him of the direction the first man was headed. The uniformed man sped off down the trail. Where did these two people come from and why did they not appear to be tired or out of breath. We were after all on top of a mountain.
We made our second camp a few hundred yards from the Pinnacle lookout in the daylight hours, thinking it would be easier to find a level spot to put the tent. Amazingly it was. Then we gathered our camera gear and headed out to the lookout to enjoy the views and watch the variety of migrating birds soar on the updrafts.
Another oddity of this trip was seeing a few dozen people at the lookout freshly bathed and in clean clothes. They had driven up to the sanctuary and took the relaxing stroll to the pinnacle overlook. Wimps.
I don’t recall the camera settings I used for this shot, but I do know I used a zoom lens. The farm buildings you see are several miles away from the lookout. I really like the patchwork of colors and patterns created by the harvested fields and those that are still green.
My sister has a menagerie of critters in her back yard, and many of them are not shy of humans. You can walk right up to them and they rarely move from their position.
They are also very easy to take care of. She has mentioned in the past, none of the animals have fussy diets, and they really don’t mind where they sleep. As long as someone comes out to visit them from time to time, they are perfectly content.
This shot was taken with my 35mm lens. I was shooting in mid-day and the rooster was in bright shade, so I under-exposed the shot 1/3rd stop to saturate the colors.
Getting a good shot of the moon has been a quest of mine for a long time. Having the right lens, clear atmospheric conditions, a stable tripod, and minimal light pollution are the key to a good photograph.
One night last week I was finally able to get the shot I was after.
Liar, liar…pants on fire.
Back in the day I took a boat trip down the Intercoastal Waterway from Maryland to Florida. This photo was taken when we were in the Albemarle Sound, North Carolina. It is the largest freshwater sound in North America, roughly 50 – 60 miles across.
I was head cook on this voyage, and normally when I was down below preparing meals, the guys went easy on me. After all, it was up to me to feed them. On this particular afternoon lunch detail, something was a little different. Judging by the sounds of the engines and the pounding of the boat on the waves, I knew we were moving along at a good clip. Ripping across large bodies of water like this at full throttle can make food prep a challenge.
I heard conversations from up on deck which explained a few things.
“Dad, can we head over this way?” “How about over here?” “Can I turn the boat real hard and make it lean?”
“Ok Son, just go easy. Uncle David is down below trying to make us lunch.”
I came up from my station below decks with a pot of steaming shrimp we had bought fresh a few hours before. And there was my eight year old nephew at the helm, kneeling on the seat with the biggest grin I have ever seen on his face.
In fact, we got some pretty amazing looks and smiles from other boaters as the young boater zoomed past them…at a safe distance of course.
Well, that novice boater who had the smile from ear to ear while running the boat has grown up to be a fine young man. He is getting married in a few weeks and he still gets that big Cheshire grin whenever we bring up stories of boating and running at full throttle.
A few weeks ago we had a family gathering at my sister’s home. During time-outs between various sports and games, I managed to steal away for a few moments to appreciate her gardens and the new landscaping she and her husband have installed.
Somehow she has managed to force some daffodils into blooming in the middle of the summer. But I do think this part of the garden is a bit rich when it comes to iron content in the soil. I’ll be sure to mention something about soil nutrients when I talk with her this weekend.
I have been around boats of all sizes and modes of power most of my life. Storage and/or a place to moor a boat have always been my challenge in ownership. So, in order to satisfy the need to have a vessel to take out on the water, we settled for a 14 foot canoe. It has served us well over the years and brought plenty of enjoyment paddling and fishing the local lakes and waterways.
My ultimate boat to own would be a 21 foot wooden gaff rigged sloop. Or a 34 foot lobster boat style picnic boat. Come to think of it, any boat would do. Even something like the ship pictured here. She is just slightly larger than my ultimate dream boat, but she would do in a pinch.
If you’re gonna dream, dream big!
She is the CVN 72 USS Abraham Lincoln. I photographed her while she was in the Newport News Shipbuilding Yard in Newport News, Virgina.