26 December 2017
Take a few minutes to take a virtual flight to Asia...Then enjoy some excellent photography lessons..
18 December 2017
Flash Strobes and Softboxes
For years I was afraid to use flash – why? Because I always had mixed results - sometime success but mostly that hard washed out look we all fear as photographers. Almost 10 years ago that all changed when I choose to follow this guy named Joe McNally, I picked up his book, and watched his videos.. What have I learn in 10 years?
10 November 2017
Nikon 58mm f/1.4
New lens new adventure - early morning light calls my name. I ventured out with the Nikon 58mm f/1.4 lens to see what it light can be captured with a fine lens as this.
6 September 2017
Over the last few years I became interested in the Orb Spiders, in particular, the Black and Yellow Garden Spider as the common name or the Argiope aurantia, scientific name. Ultimately my fascination for spiders and insects in general always cause me to stop and take a closer look when I run across them out in the wild. As a photographer I enjoy taking a few photos at any opportunity, here in this write up I share my observations and images of the Black and Yellow Garden Spider.
27 August 2017
My setup and gear
I spent a few hours outdoors enjoying my macro photography and I hope you enjoy and find inspiration in the images I captured. What do I use for my Macro setup and why? read on...
25 July 2017
Mid Summer Dream
On June 20th we officially enter into summer known as the summer solstice and on that day summer arrives. I took a stroll through open wooded area looking for signs of summer, you know - Dragon flys, and beautiful cone flowers. I was greeted with this wonderful specimen, using my long telephoto I took a moment and snapped a couple images. The color and contrast speak for themselves. Summer is Here!
20 July 2017
I took the reference photo in early July in very bright sunlight at about 9 A.M, I thought I the image was a good photo to make a digital painting from.
22 June 2017
The wonderful Dragonfly
I was chilling this Saturday not motivated to do anything other than clear up some backlog on this site. The weather was going to be hot, humid and miserable and I had no inclination to go anywhere. Then I started to browse around and ran across a few Dragonfly images and realized I just don’t have enough!
6 June 2017
I was not all that lucky in previous years of getting any real useable photos of Wood Ducks in the location I lived, due to the scarcity and short time frame they seem to stay in this area during the late spring season. I find the Wood Duck a stunningly beautiful waterfowl. The males in particular with iridescent browns, blacks, white green, ornate patterns on nearly every feathe, this is one pretty bird. Females very attractive but have a less colorful pattern but the same distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye. I find Wood Ducks in the wooded marsh ares that have hardwood forest adjacent to the water. With some research I discovered they nest in holes in trees or use man made nest boxes. Little did I know they are one of the few duck species with claws that can grip bark and perch on branches- see my photos of a group perching.
29 May 2017
Each year I am blessed by the migration of the Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum through my area of the country. Their visits are timed almost perfectly with the arrival of the fruiting trees and bushes. These delightful birds will stay in the area for several months basically as long as the fruit holds out. See my gallery and read more on these birds.
28 May 2017
I have a couple photographic weakness, Birds and Flowers. Whenever I am out doing some photography shooting regardless what my intentions are, if i run across a great looking flower I stop and take a photo or try to incorporate the flower into my scene. The great thing about flower photography is you really dont need any specialized equipment. I have even taken flower photos with a fish eye lens. I you want to discover more about flower photography read on...
20 May 2017
Super Song Bird
When you spot the Wren it looks to be rather plain but is a Whitney Houston of birds song wise; mostly brown with some lighter brown and speckles on the wings. The Wren is commonly found over nearly the entire Western Hemisphere. Listen for its rush-and-jumble song in summer and you’ll find this species zipping through shrubs and low tree branches, snatching at insects. Wrens will will accept and use man made nest boxes.
13 May 2017
Shooting in the Rain
I admit I like being out during rainy days Why? It is refreshing and stimulating to walk a wooded trail hearing and feeling the rain, and besides that, It offers many opportunities for photographers - if we come prepared.
7 May 2017
Forest for the Trees
I truly enjoy the outdoors especially during spring months, plants and animals begin to flourish and the forest comes alive with colors, sound with a calm atmosphere.
1 May 2017
Help Save My Life on the Wildlife Refuge
HELP SAVE MY LIFE! If you are reading this and live in North Virginia - send the Occuqan Wildlife Refuge an email and ask they NOT ALLOW TRAFFIC on park "grassy" trails during March - Jun due to turtles mating and laying eggs.
FACT: Occoquan issues "special permits" for autos that unknowinly CRUSH the turtles - Help stop the decline of this special creature!! email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The photo you see is of a 16 year old female Easter Box Tortise who lives in the Wildlife Refuge. Over the years I have the pleasure of seeing her out and about in the area she lives in. Also in the area are Eagles, Osprey, Owls, but I respect this creature the most, due to the extreme habitat loss.... Read More..
13 April 2017
Get Out and Shoot
You probably noticed most of my blogs cover the upper end of the Photo Spectrum. I owe it to many my recommendation for getting a 90% solution for fantastic wildlife photography.
10 April 2017
Getting a good Photo
I am lucky to live in an area that the Great Blue Heron is found in most of the year. Here in North Va, you can expect to see the Great Blue Heron in numbers starting in Mid April through Late September. I really enjoy watching and photographing these birds. They are large and somewhat predictable and with some good planning you can acquire a few good photos on most occasions..
13 February 2017
Thank you Nikon for being a wonderful company. In particular as my camera company of choice, I could not think of photography without Nikon as being part of it.
12 February 2017
Last Throes of Winter
This wonderful Male Cardinal sits on a perch as sleet comes raining down, and is undaunted by the ice crystals that are falling on his face and feathers. The Cardinal is a native species of North America and suited for the elements, he appears well protected from these elements.
14 January 2017
Wide Shot Early Morning
This is my early sunrise overlooking the Potomac. This photo was a result of taking 4 images and merge both the exposure and panographic ends together to form a single photo.
14 January 2017
AMTRAK to DC
I enjoy the early morning sun rise in hopes of capturing one good image. My modest setup was a Nikon D7200, great camera.
14 January 2017
Mass Storage Solution
So, you are an avid photographer with thousands of images in your collection. Maybe you have been relying on an USB 3 external drive to as your file backup along with your lightroom database; one copy on your work computer and a backup on the external - does this sound familiar? While that approach is a viable one, you just might be at risk of serious data loss. Here is my story on the near loss of many years of work, and why I decided to go pro, and invest in a serious NAS.
8 January 2017
Life is Good
Many times each year I take time to appreciate wild life and nature, These creatures who fly, walk, slither and live along side us humans. Several things stand our as I write this, one being how amazing are the birds survival capabilities out doors in the cold, wind, and snow, I took a few hours today to brave the near 0 temps to go out and take a few photos of birds being birds.
7 January 2017
Out and about random HDR images
Sometimes when I am out shooting I like to take a set of HDR images and see what the outcome will be when I get the images back in the editor. Most often I get what I expect but when using special techniques you can come up with a lot of variations from the same set of photos.
3 January 2017
Life & Nature
While out hiking a couple years ago my interest in fungal growth started to peak when I began to run across what I thought were a few simple mushrooms scattered about. As I made my way further down the trail, I spotter more and more of various mushrooms everywhere. I knew I was on to something. Why were there so many and what do mushrooms provide or their purpose. I spent several months photographing every mushroom I ran across - It was fascinating.
4 December 2016
Stalking the Elusive
The Pileated Woodpecker is an elusive bird. At least for me it is very true that this bird species is difficult to approach and photograph. For over a year I tried to get one good usable photograph, but at every turn the Pileated eluded me. I keep trying....
12 November 2016
Techniques for Bird Photography
How many times have you either wanted to take bird photos or tried and was disappointed in the results? My guess if you are like me you have had a few false starts and missed opportunities. Although bird photography is extremely rewarding it is also extremely challenging when out in the field. You need to be the master of the equipment you use, and knowledgeable of the birds themselves. Lets cover a few things that will increase your productivity.
9 November 2016
Fall like Spring is wonderful time. In my area we begin to see a few bird species that are less common in the summer months. In my most recent outing I had the pleasure of capturing a few birds and ran upon a fun flock of Eastern Bluebirds.
11 October 2016
Change of Seasons
Time is moving fast this year.. wow, already Fall Season; sometimes we are reminded about passage of time through visual clues and the habits of animals. When I begin to find Orb Spiders and the Pine Siskin birds in the area I know fall is closing in.
11 September 2016
We love you!
Our family feline of 13 years passed away early this morning, bringing to closure Easter's wonderful life with our family. At his passing he was believed to be 20 years + of age. Everyone in his family will miss his presence and are saddened by the loss of our cat Easter. He is survived by Teeny his fellow feline house companion, and three caretakers who provided and received his love over the years.
10 September 2016
Junonia coenia Hübner
A common buckeye caterpillar shown on a host plant. This species is resident across the southern United States, much of Mexico and as far north as southern Canada. When in the butterfly state, it regularly expands its range
each year northward to temporarily colonize much of the U.S., reaching Canada. Starting in late summer and continuing through fall, huge numbers of adults migrate southward, where the adults overwinter.
9 September 2016
Life moves on
Time does move fast when your having fun, and the Summer of 2016 is fast fading away into the memory folder. 2016 was hot and fun, sorry to see it go. My camera was barely worked this year due to my laziness, and photography things went to the sidelines until today, I was out and about enjoying the last sweaty days, here is what I have.
18 August 2016
Keeps the pace
I recently had the opportunity during my vacation to explore the Nikkor 400mm out in the field over the course of a few days in various weather conditions from hot, rainy, humid to dusty. All in all the lens delivers exceptional performance with a price tag to match.
15 July 2016
Looking Over the Potomac
This is a short effort in impressionist paint splatter. The source image was of course an image taken this year of a Great Blue Heron overlooking the Potomac River.
4 July 2016
I am exploring some of my original photographs for re-creating as digital paintings. Some of my favorite photos are of the flowers because of their awesome colors. Flowers are a beautiful source of rich vibrant colors found everywhere and in nature, flowers deserve special consideration for any digital artist work.
1 July 2016
Small Song Bird
13 June 2016
When you are able to go out carry along your camera, then take a few minutes to look around, you will find nature is beautiful. The colors, texture, sounds, and smell came rushing in. Today as I walked through an area I spotted a blush of color that caught my eye in the distance, a flowering tree so, I took a moment to capture a few images of the plants and life happening around me my photographic reward captured.
3 June 2016
Still Roam Earth
This past May was Turtle and Tortise Month! In the area close to the Potomac many river turtles climb out of their natural habitat and walk to higher ground to dig out and lay their eggs. This big girl is on her way back from depositing a dozen eggs in an area that is close to water but not too wet to cause the eggs to not survive. Turtles naturally deposit eggs in best of locations. I now wait for the eggs to hatch....
30 May 2016
Dweller of low light
This is my story about the discovery of a magnificent organism called the Mushroom. It all begins on a warm summer day and continues still. Following a wet spell and increased temperatures I found one "Mushroom" growing in the forest floor, then another and another and another....I was obsessed.
26 May 2016
The Wild Turkey is an interesting bird, who as groups share in the child rearing duties among other females. The male gives gobbling call to attract females. In courtship, males puff out feathers, raise and spread tail, swell up face wattles, droop wings; in this exaggerated posture they strut, rattling the wing feathers and making humming sounds. One male will mate with several females. Nest site is on ground, often at base of tree, under shrub, or in tall grass. Nest is shallow depression, sparsely lined with grass, leaves. The American Wild Turkey is a keen aware bird - always on the look out.
25 May 2016
I found a small flock of Cedar Waxwings going about their child rearing chores. These birds are social that you’re likely to see in flocks year-round. This small flock was in a Mulberry tree swallowing the berries whole, and some plucking them in mid-air with a fluttering hover.
23 May 2016
This Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea
) migratory bird is visiting the North East USA for some nest building and baby rearing duties. You can find this fine bird along trails near wooded swamps or marshes. Here I was able to get a photo of the activities of preparing the nest.
14 May 2016
Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge borders the Potomac River which is a major tributary to the Chesapeake Bay and close to where George Washington has his Mt. Vernon Home. The refuge includes over three miles of hiking trails along grasslands, tidal marshes and the river's edge. Over 650 species of plants and 200 species of birds have been observed athe refuge, recently saw two Fox families being raised on the refuge. The Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest open areas remaining in northern Virginia. Waterfowl, deer, red fox and raptors are also abundant and can easily be observed from the trails. On most weekends a Visitor Contact Station is open on weekends, a fee is charged for entrance to the park unless you have a Virginia State Park Permit.
4 May 2016
Which is right for you
Crop Sensor Cameras (DX) vs Full Frame (FX) Cameras, what are the considerations and is the full frame better than a crop sensor camera? Many of you, like me during the transition to digital cameras had questions or was confused with all the hype, fiction, & rumors on this topic. In this article, we will dive into crop vs noncrop sensor cameras. This article applies in concept to most camera brands while we explore DX vs FX sensors. thankYou For Reading..
24 April 2016
Prince William Forest Park... offer miles of trails . The park is quite and calm in an area comprised of asphalt. In 1936, Chopawamsic Recreation Area opened its gates to house children's 'relief' camps during the Great Depression. Forest Park is a story about what is great in America, our Previous Presidents and Naturalist had the vision to establish called the National Park System, at its core are the finest people & places – go enjoy it!
22 April 2016
This tiny bird smaller than a sparrow was very busy jumping from branch to branch in hunt of small insects to eat. He was so quick, I had a very difficult time capturing a usable sharp image not to mention the distance and size of the bird, with patience I was able to acquire a few images. Although this bird species looks similar to a pygmy nuthatch but is a Blue Gray Gnat Catcher. The Gnat Catcher has an expanded breeding range through the northeast and now is seen up the East Coast into lower New Hampshire, and expansion may be continuing. Enjoy this fine bird this spring & summer season.
10 April 2016
Nikkor Fisheye & Sigma Fisheye
Are you considering a super wide angle lens or possibly a fish-eye lens for your photography bag? In this article I will cover information you may find useful for making a decision to purchase a super wide lens. We will dive into the awe inspiring wide angle lens, the super wide. Making a decision may be overwhelming which lens to invest your money into.
5 April 2016
We may at times find ourselves wondering what else can we use our Nikkor PC-E lens for other than architecture? In this article I wish to share and idea for using a PC-E lens such as a Nikkor PC-E 24mm or 45mm lens to capture stunning photographs of nature and landscapes.
27 March 2016
Photography How To
Correct! this is NOT a photo of an Osprey, but proves a point on equipment - Read on to find out why and enjoy some real Osprey photos in the process. This article is in response to questions I get regularly when out on the trail (in person) concerning taking pictures of Osprey and the best technique. For those who hate to read blogs - Now is the TIME for best Osprey (April - June) photos - go for it..
24 March 2016
Wild Life Refugee
Mason Neck is a beautiful wildlife refugee. The mile or so drive into the main visitor center is awe inspiring with trees towering along the road that are hundreds of hundreds of year old.
24 March 2016
Picnic & Boating
Leesylvania is a Virginia State Park that borders the the tidal shores of Potomac River. Entrance to the Park is by paid permit obtained from the entrance gate, or purchased on line for annual fees. The entrance fees may include access to boat launces, cooking grills, and other resources located on the grounds. Native Americans lived on this land for thousands of years.
12 March 2016
Yes No - Maybe So
We sometimes hear the argument about the use of polarizing filters - some swear by them others bash them. Here is my 2 cents on the subject.
7 March 2016
Lighting & Technique
I enjoy outdoor wildlife and bird photography and is one aspect of photography that makes it all worthwhile - the enjoyment of going out in nature to enjoy. When I go out I sometimes set a goal to acquire a few "good" photos, be it for personal use or posting to your blog or simply bragging rights. As every photographer knows, you don't always come home with your objectives, but you will come home more knowledgeable than before.
6 March 2016
Crop or Full Frame
This is about using a DX camera body or FX body with teleconvertor. Which combination is better? I am sent this question many times - it depends...
6 March 2016
I was preplexed as to why some images were soft and not to an acceptable image quality. In the beginning I thought it was me, I have a new lens and maybe I am not accustomed to using it and might need some additional practice. But, After weeks of use I could not explain why some images were good while others not. Then I took a deep dive into the fine tuning of lenses.
18 January 2016
Pro Sound at a Price
Today I wanted to briefly mention a new audio item I began using with good success and results. The Sennheiser AVX Digital Wireless audio System. The AVX can simplify and speed up your audio setup making the audio portion of your workflow much easier to implement and also get good results with this awesome wireless system.
16 November 2015
Stalking - TIps and Tricks
Here are some of my basic tips on achieving better results in your wildlife photography. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, but have many mistakes and bad images, and like the fish story - you should have seen the one that got away! hopefully you can learn from my shortfalls.
20 September 2015
Last of the Summer Hummingbirds
We in the Northern Hemisphere are moving to the cooler months of winter and with that those small migratory birds called the Hummingbird is heading back home. A few have made the stop at my feeders.
5 September 2015
As summer draws to an end I sometimes am saddened by the fact that it is going to be over soon and with many species of birds who are just temporary visitors are now making their way back to warmer climates. It's with these last few days I find myself fascinated by the smallest of the bird species very energetic and splendid hummingbird, magnificent to watch sometimes very difficult to photograph, this year I have managed to capture a few images of one of my favorite birds the Hummer.
23 July 2015
Get down to ground
Macro close up photography is one aspect of photography that I became involved in a few years back following a period where I wanted to try something different in my photography. In the early days I would stack filters on my normal lens to acquire close focusing capabilities this was hit or miss due to metering and my in experience. Fast forward a few years..