Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It's been snowing for the past two days, here. Yesterday's snow was the best "packing snow" we've had all year, so the kids and I build this snow man in the front yard. The snow is still coming down, and the temperature has dropped substantially. It was tough getting out of the driveway this morning. Jay and I shoveled 8 or 10 inches of snow, and I still couldn't get the car up our steep driveway because it was too slippery. So, I added some salt. Eventually, I got out. The snow is still coming down fast - big fluffy flakes that are blowing horizontally because of the strong winds. BUT - the sun is peeking through the clouds every few minutes... just a little. So, I can't really complain. It's incredibly beautiful out there.

If your weather is as bad as ours, please be careful on the roads. And stay warm! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


The last time we shot at Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys, my oldest daughter was stung by a Portuguese Man of War, my son cut himself on a rusty knife he found in the sand, and my youngest daughter was bitten twice by an unidentified bug - all in the same moment. The little one screamed like a banshee. You'd have thought her bug bites were as bad as the Man of War Sting. :) We removed the Man of War tentacles, washed off the cut, taped on some bandages, dried the tears... and then stayed out of the water. :) Everyone survived their ordeals... just barely of course. Despite the trauma, Jay and I retured to Bahia Honda during our recent visit to Florida... this time without the kids. Not so much drama this time, thank goodness. It was nice to walk this beautiful beach and enjoy the peace and quiet... and take some more photographs, of course.

I found this strange object floating in the water. It took me a moment to realize it was a rope - one end was anchored in the sand, and the entire rope was covered by various forms of life. The water here is so clear - and the sand so white - that the rope stands out very clearly. I think it's interesting to see what happens to man-made objects when they are forgotten... Nature reclaims them so quickly.

Things like this remind me that Nature makes the rules. We cut into the land to build our cities, and we force crops from fields that once grew such a variety of plants... but we can't control Nature for long. Hurricanes and earthquakes make short work of our buildings, and flood and fire destroy our fields.

But I don't think catastrophic events showcase the most spectacular power of Nature. Its greatest power is slow. It is the constant trickling water that carves grooves - and then canyons - into solid stone. The creeping vines and seedlings that take over a garden and reclaim it as wild land. The tiny virus that multiplies and becomes our worst nightmare. And life that finds purchase absolutely anywhere - from the depths of the ocean to the hottest desert sands... or on an old rope that someone left behind.

If we don't constantly beat it back, Nature will quietly take over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Yep - my new Canon 40D arrived this afternoon. I feel sorry for the delivery guy - it's awfully cold out there... but not sorry enough to wait till Spring for this delivery. :) I haven't had a chance to shoot with the camera yet, but I spent a few minutes toying with the controls and getting it set up to my liking.

This camera is a transition camera for me. I've outgrown the capabilities of the 20D, but I don't want to purchase a 1Ds. The 5D technology is 2 years old - and I'm not willing to purchase an outdated camera... and Jay already has one, so why buy another? And the Rebel... well... I take my camera with me to some wild places... I need something that can stand up to abuse. I don't intend to abuse it, but you never know what's going to happen on trips like ours... so the Rebel won't cut it.

The 40D will give me the upgrade I need - until Canon decides to get with it and produce a fantastic new camera in the mid-pro range. I want more resolution, and a full-frame sensor... but the 40D will do for now. I love the larger LCD and the RGB histogram. I'll still be able to use my 10-22mm lens with it - that's a plus, too. And although the resolution isn't exceptional, a jump from 8.2 to 10.1 is a start. This will be great for our upcoming trip to Havasu Falls.

I've updated the equipment page on my website. People often ask what equipment I use - the page will answer your question. Do any of you own this camera? If you do, tell me what you think of it. And if you don't - what are you shooting with and how do you like it?

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Images

I've added a few new images to my website. You can visit the galleries section and click on the "Newest Photographs" gallery to see my latest additions. I update this gallery whenever I add new photos to my portfolio, so you have easy access to my latest work.

I always appreciate feedback on my photographs, so if you have the time and the inclination, please send me an email or leave on comment here for others to read. I love to hear from you. Thanks!

Valentines and file transfers...

I created this image last week. The shots were taken last month sometime, but I spent a few hours in PhotoShop on Valentines day, and ended up with this final image. I don't spend as much time manipulating images as I used to. I enjoy doing this kind of thing... but I rarely have the time for it. I didn't really have time on the 14th either, but I did it anyway. :)

We had a photo shoot yesterday. It took six hours (with a break for dinner) - but we had a good time. We got some good stock shots that I'll have time to process later in the week. For now, I'm getting my new computer system up and running. As you can see, I now have internet access once again - but my email program is giving me some trouble. I'll be working on getting things smoothed out this week, so please forgive the decrease in posts. I should be back up to speed soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In between...

In between trips, I spend a lot of time processing photos, working on stock shots, and uploading images to agencies. This past week has been particularly busy. I've been working on a project for someone who wanted a series of images to his specs. That's done - just waiting to hear from him. So now I have a few extra minutes to update my blog.

We're snowed in over here. The snow just keeps dropping out of the sky - and it's getting steadily worse. I've shoveled the driveway twice today - and I'll be shoveling again before I go to bed. If I don't, I won't be able to get the car up the driveway in the morning. Oh Joy.

Tomorrow I'll be key-wording, categorizing, and uploading images to agencies once again. It's not my favorite thing to do, but it keeps the paychecks coming. So I won't complain. Especially since our next trip is right around the corner. :)

Oh - and that's a shot from Florida up there. A beautiful white Heron in the Everglades.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


This trip ended up being more pleasure than work - although I must admit that working is nearly always pleasure for me. Outdoor photography is always challenging, always changing, and always my favorite things to be doing. So you won't hear me complaining about my job. That said - the weather wasn't right for good photography most of the time, so we had more time to just sit back and enjoy the beauty of Southern Florida. We went snorkeling on Saturday. It was a fantastic experience. I've only been once before, and the water was so murky that I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. This time, the water was clear and clean and the sun was lighting up the beautiful reef. It makes me wish I had an underwater housing for my camera! :)

On the boat, we met a very nice couple from Canada - Lara and Kurtis. We had a great time talking to them, so we asked if they'd like to go to dinner. Lara's parents joined us at an Asian restaurant - delicious - and we had a great evening. Thanks for joining us, guys! I'm so glad we had a chance to get to know you!

We did rise early every morning to shoot early light or wildlife - but the skies were unimpressive most of the time. The weather was quite warm for this time of year, though, so it was very nice to be out - especially when you compare the weather there to the same here in Cleveland. Yikes. We got a very nice shot early one morning. You can see it there at the top of the post. There was just one beautiful cloud in the sky - and the light was pouring from behind it like nothing else. So we pulled to the side of the road, put on our long lenses and took the shot. Those little white smudges in the foreground are spider webs. There were millions of them - all catching the fantastic morning light. Wow.

Shooting directly into the sun like this means you are dealing with extreme dynamic range. This image is a manual HDR combination of three bracketed shots. This was a very difficult shot to process, but I think the result is worth the effort. What do you think? This image has not yet been posted on any other forums - not even my website. I like to wait a few days to post images online because I sometimes find that it takes a few days to really feel that the image is right.

Working the Light

My Working The Light article is now available on Outback Photo - and my own website. This article is the second in the Seeing the Light series that started with a post right here on my blog. If you haven't read the first one, you can see it on Outback Photo or download the PDF from my website.

Jay and I have collaborated to write another article for Outback Photo as well. I will let you know when it is online - and I'll post it on my website once it is live on OP. That article will be about our travels to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and it will be the first in a series of Southwest travel articles. We will also be leading a workshop later this year. I will make sure details are available when the logistics are settled.

I'll try to get a post up this afternoon about our trip to Florida. We didn't get very many good shots on this trip. The skies were too clear for good photography. But we did get one or two, and I'll get them up as soon as I can.

And last but not least - I want to thank all of you, once again, for taking the time to tell me what you think of my work. I get lots of emails from people who have seen my photographs, and it's really great to hear from you. I hope you'll continue to tell me what you think (good or bad) and I'll make sure I respond as quickly as possible.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pittsburg to Charlotte...

... to West Palm Beach. The Charlotte airport has free wireless access too. Much less sketchy than Pittsburg. I've checked my website, and all seems to be well. I hope someone will email me if they find an error on the site - I do all my own design, coding, writing, and editing - so, there are bound to be errors every now and then. :)

We're about to board our final flight. The skies are clear here, so we'll avoid the de-icing delay, and we should be in the air on time.

I'm ready for some warm weather. Yippee!

Sketchy connection...

I'm sitting in the Pittsburg Airport. The weather here reminds me of another time and place...

I was in France with my children, and we visited Annecy on a gloomy day. This is the "moody" shot I took that day. My children played behind me on the sand, while I set up my tripod on these slippery rocks. That is Mont Blanc in the distance. Although this isn't one of my very best works, I like the shot.

They have free wireless here in the airport - sort of. I think I've updated my website... I uploaded a few files via ftp, and although it took a while, they did transfer. My galleries page seems to have been updated, but I can't check the individual galleries - the connection can't seem to handle the slide show component. So - I'm hoping everything is running smoothly. If not, I'll correct it next time I have a solid connection. Bear with me, please. :)

We should arrive in West Miami Beach sometime this evening, and we'll head for Homestead first thing in the morning. As usual, I can't count on a connection, so I'll do what I can. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend.