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Tag : Photo adventure

23 Feb 2017

Sunrise at Juno Pier

One of the nice things about doing art shows in Florida is being able to get out early for sunrise and not freeze. I headed to Juno Pier this morning hoping to get some good clouds at sunrise. I wasn’t disappointed. I had hoped to go at 3 a.m. to catch the Milky Way over the pier but it was cloudy when I got up. I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and by then many of the clouds had cleared away.

The crescent moon was shining bright when I got there before any light was in the sky. As the sky filled with color the became less distinguishable and by the time the sun cleared the horizon, the moon was barely visible.

05 Feb 2017

Lot’s of snow for Vermont Winter Photography Workshop

Today was the last day for this year’s Vermont Winter Photography Workshop. The weather was good, there is lots of snow on the ground and we had a great group of eight people. They came from all over, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We were prepared for the cold, so it didn’t feel like 15 degrees during the day.

We hit many locations during the three days, farms, covered bridges, towns, rural scenes and a couple of real Vermont country stores. Several of the group hadn’t walked on a lake before, so going out on Silver Lake to see people ice fishing was a bit of an adventure.

I always know it was a good shoot when my SUV is a filthy mess. After our breakfast stop this morning, I was surprised to see a lovely note scratched on my back window. Thanks gang.

04 Jan 2017

Watching willets at Ding Darling

I love the name Ding Darling, it is a National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s Sanibel Island and a great place for people to observe birds. I was named after a cartoonist who was instrumental in wildlife conservation in the early 1900’s and helped initiate the duck stamp program. The park has a four mile long Wildlife Drive where you can walk, bicycle or slowly drive your car and see wildlife in its natural habitat. I’ve been there several times and it always has something going on. The park claims to have 230 bird varieties visit and I think there are that many types of photographers too. The nice thing is it is easy to drive your car and not have to carry a ton of gear long distances.

This morning I found this group of willets. I’m not a birder and I can’t name a lot of birds, so I had to look this one up. They were fun to watch, they would come to attention as a group and they start milling around looking for food. I tried a long exposure to show some of their movement and I think it worked pretty well.

08 Dec 2016

John Glenn was a true American hero

We lost one of the American great ones today – John Glenn. He was the first American to orbit the earth and the oldest man in space after going up in the Space Shuttle at age 77.  He was a Marine fighter pilot flying 149 combat missions during World War II and the Korean War and was known as “Old Magnet Ass” because his plane was shot so many times and he kept it flying. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross six times.

To be a hero you have to be willing to sacrifice your life in a way that will benefit others. Hero gets tossed around too much, people many times do the right thing but if they don’t put their life on the line, they ain’t a hero. I heard a dog called a hero this week because it bit someone attacking its owner.

But Glenn was a hero, many times over. And a good guy.

He was a Senator from Ohio when I lived there in the ’80s and ran for President in 1984. I worked for a small daily newspaper and even though our circulation area was 50 miles from where Glenn lived, it was such a big story that we covered his presidential announcement. We were an afternoon paper and the event was scheduled for late morning, which meant we had time to get a story in that day’s paper and an AP photo. I talked the editor into sending me and I promised I have a print ready by noon from a 10 a.m. event that was 90 minutes away.

These were the days of film and we didn’t have a transmitter, so the only way the get the picture in the paper was to develop the film during the 90 minute drive back to Marietta. I arranged to use the newspaper’s circulation van and got one of their people to be my driver. I set up a film darkroom in the back of the utility van, I had a changing bag to load my film into a developing tank, the proper chemicals and rinse. I was ready. (more…)

04 Dec 2016

A fun weekend of photographing eagles

c54i5565I took my Meetup.com groups to Conowingo Dam in Darlington, MD, for a fun weekend of photographing bald eagles. The eagles gather at the dam to grab stunned fish that come through the generators. There are eagles that live in the area and many migrate south as it gets colder up north. At one point I counted 89 eagles sitting on the bank across the river and there were many more on an island and our side of the river.

Eagles sit in trees along the bank and then swoop down and grab fish out of the water. Then many times other eagles try to steal the fish and aerial battles ensue.

There are probably more photographers than eagles, it is an amazing the amount of big lenses in use. Canon Pro Services brought a ton of equipment for us to use. A special thanks goes to Tony Kurdzuk of Canon for bringing the equipment and helping our people with their photos. Also thanks to Paul Fishkin who provided us with Benro and Induro tripods and heads.

 

21 Nov 2016

Thinking back on a unique Korean experience

I came across an old photo today and all these years later it makes me feel as good as it did that day. I was lucky to work for the Associated Press at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. I worked the evening shift, so during the day I would go out and shoot around the Olympics. One day I got on the subway and headed out to a neighborhood away from the Olympics. It was a fairly poor area and it didn’t take long to realize not a lot of 6’2″ guys with blonde hair wandered their streets.

I noticed a young boy and girl walking across the the street from me and they were giggling and gawking at me. I waved to them and they waved back. It continued for a few blocks and they disappeared. I thought it was a pretty cool experience when the two appeared again. They came over to my side of the street and were carrying three ice cream cones, one for each of them and one for me. What a surprise!

It was one of the nicest gestures ever. We stood there eating our ice cream and laughing. I pointed to my camera to ask them if I could make a picture of them. They gladly posed, waved goodbye and headed off down a side street. I wished I was able to go to their house but at least I had a great memory and a nice photo. It was fun thinking about it again today.

02 Nov 2016

A real Kodak moment

img_1155This weekend I have an art show in Pensacola, Florida, which is a long drive from New Jersey. Since 18 hours is too much for me to drive in one day, I looked on the map to find a place that was a little more than half way and came up with Knoxville, TN. Looking closer I saw there is a town named Kodak, so I had to look into that. It turns out that a postmaster in 1892 heard about the new Kodak camera and he thought it would be a good name for the village. He contacted Eastman Kodak Co. and George Eastman said OK. So here I am in Kodak!

I thought that it would be cool to hear Paul Simon sing Kodachrome on the radio as I pulled out. It came on an hour later, and yes, I was singing!

07 Jul 2016

Tuscany photo workshop comes to an end

LF5S6415Today was the last day of a great Tuscany photo workshop. It was a long, hot week in Italy filled with great memories, making new friends, eating wonderful food and photographing spectacular scenes.

Tuscany is known for its light and it didn’t disappoint, we were out at sunrise and stayed up late shooting the Milky Way. We covered lots of territory, saw medieval towns with amazing buildings, rolling hills in the countryside covered with wheat and rolls of straw cut after wheat was harvested, vineyards and, my favorite, the cypress trees.

I love making beautiful landscape photos and I was lucky enough to get some decent shots. I also enjoy photographing people and the Italians were gracious when I asked them if I could make a picture of them. They weren’t so polite when driving a car but they always gave me a tender smile when I pointed at my camera and aimed it at them.

Some of my favorite photos are in the slideshow, I hope you enjoy them.

06 Jul 2016

Tuscany’s rolling hills, wheat and trees make great photos

LF5S6644-Edit-2The rolling hills of Tuscany are filled with wheat and it is being harvested as we tour the countryside in my Tuscany Photography Workshop. Toss in a few unique trees and great early morning light and it is a perfect recipe for beautiful photos.

We got off the main roads and got the rental cars mighty dusty as we kicked up the dirt while finding unique places to photograph. Our GPS unit didn’t always find the road we were looking for but it made for more adventure as we got off the beaten path.

We were looking for the long shadows coming across the hills, giving them shape and depth. Deep blue skies added to the scene when I could isolate a tree that was in a wheat field.

See a selection of my Tuscany photos.

 

 

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29 Jun 2016

Lots of sites and people in Rome

LF5S5451I arrived in Italy yesterday for my Tuscany Photography Workshop that starts tomorrow. I’m doing the workshop with friend Ron Lake who has been to Italy many times. We got off the plane after an overnight flight from New York, checked into our hotel near the airport and then headed into Rome to see the sights.

This is my first time to Rome and the shuttle bus from the hotel dropped us off at the Coliseum, which is quite impressive. And many people must think so because there are tons of people seeing all the sites of Rome. I thought it would be fun to go inside the Coliseum but the line was about two hours. We don’t have enough time to stand around that long, so we walked around it, taking pictures as we go and then went off to other sites.

As the sun was going down, we went back to the Coliseum and beautiful light illuminated the exterior. I was lucky to see a pigeon as it soared through one of the openings, giving my photo a little something extra.

LF5S5431Today we went back with a couple of the workshop participants who arrived early and saw many of the same sites. Selfie sticks are everywhere and there were plenty of people selling them if you didn’t bring one with you. I didn’t buy one. But I did enjoy seeing tourists using their iPad camera to get the perfect angle.

21 Mar 2016

A final look back at Guatemala

3814Now that I am back home after flying all day yesterday, I can take a good look at my photos from the trip and think about all the wonderful things I saw and people I met during my workshop in Guatemala. I can’t thank Edgar Monzon enough for putting us in great locations, driving us around, showing me how he connects with people on the street and for helping me get a new passport. Edgar worked hard to set up the trip and it showed, his arrangements were flawless, the hotels and meals were great. Edgar is a special person and I’m happy to be able to call him a friend.

Guatemala is a beautiful country, mainly due to the people. Most of them don’t have much money, many live in pure poverty but as Edgar says they might not be rich with money but they are rich with happiness. They greet each other, and us, on the street and seem to have a special spirit.

I put together a selection of photos below, I hope you enjoy them.

15 Mar 2016

Hang on to your wallet and passport when traveling

A mom and her kids perform at a busy Guatemala City street corner hoping for tips.

A mom and her kids perform at a busy Guatemala City street corner hoping for tips.

Like I said yesterday, the people of Guatemala are very friendly, except for that one guy whole stole my passport wallet, which, yes, had my passport, a couple of credit cards and some cash.

It happened Sunday morning while on the streets during the procession. I had a large passport wallet in my front pocket but it must have been sticking out some. We were wading through people elbow to elbow, so it got pulled while I was in the crowd. I noticed it was missing when I got back to the hotel but I thought I must have left it at Edgar’s condo. I contacted him and since we were going to be back near his condo yesterday, I didn’t worry about it until last night when we couldn’t find it there.

Crap.

So I spent some time online to find out what I needed to do. I’d never lost my passport before and had no idea what to do. Fortunately there are benefits to being American and the State Department is one of them. I needed to fill out a couple of forms online, print them and go to the U.S. embassy back in Guatemala City, 90 minutes away. I planned on taking a taxi but Edgar wouldn’t let me. His daughter drove down this morning and took me to the embassy while Edgar guided the rest of the workshop in Antigua.

(more…)

13 Mar 2016

Guatemalan Procession is like no other

procession carpetEdgar and I got up early and went to a large procession in a village not far from his condo. I have seen small processions in Hispanic communities in the U.S., but nothing like the way they do it in Guatemala. The procession is part of the Catholic’s Holy Week celebrations but on a scale I couldn’t imagine.

First, people stay up all night decorating the streets. I don’t mean hanging flags or banners along the street, they make intricate carpets in the narrow streets where the procession will go. They use fruit, vegetables and other plants to make beautiful displays on the street. But the most amazing is what they do with sawdust. They dye it in bright colors and spend hours, literally not sleeping all night, to do amazing artwork on the street. There are miles of these carpets and then they are destroyed as the procession walks over them.

procession streetThe procession itself is hard to explain. Men carry a large platform that has statues of Jesus during the crucifixion through the narrow streets. The platform they were carrying is larger than a semi-trailer and looks like it weighs as much as a loaded one. They had 40 men on each side of the platform and they could only carry it a few blocks before they needed to change carriers. The grimace on their faces told me they were struggling under the weight. They walked in unison so the platform would gently rock side-to-side in rhythm as they slowly moved down the cobblestone streets. Other men with long poles lifted power lines so the statues wouldn’t get snagged. Making the turns on the narrow streets was a feat in itself, they barely fit around the corners. They procession lasts about 12 hours as they slowly wind through the village. Nearly a million people pack the streets, making it nearly impossible to move.

procession bargeWe could only stay a couple of hours because we needed to get back to Guatemala City to meet the other workshop participants. This is one event I’ll come back and document right. Especially since Edgar said there are even larger ones during Holy Week.procession face

07 Dec 2014

Loving those bald eagles

The Catch

I am continually entranced by seeing bald eagles so today was nearly an overload. I hosted a workshop in Maryland where dozens of eagles nest and migrate. There is a large dam with a hydro-electric plant that is in the perfect location for eagles heading south as waters freeze up north. Of course, this year the north isn’t frozen yet, so there were only about 35 eagles flying around. Usually there is over 100, but I can’t complain about 35.

Eagle Eye LevelThey come to the dam because when it is generating power it sucks fish through the turbines which pulverized them or at least stuns them and thus they are easy targets for the eagles. It is such a thrill to see an eagle circling around and then diving down and grabbing a fish out of the water.

Since I was running the workshop, I didn’t take much time to shoot but I did get a few shots off. The weather was great today, sunny and cool unlike yesterday, which was the first day of the workshop. I did some “light painting” of a nearby lighthouse while the workshop attendees made some cool pictures. Light painting is a fun technique where you can light some pretty large objects with a flashlight while doing a long exposure. It was a cold, rainy night and since I was doing the light painting I didn’t shoot any pictures of the lighthouse. I did take time to get a shot of a nearby pier as darkness was settling in.

Blue Pier

17 Aug 2014

Visiting my sister in British Columbia

bc-0889My sister Lynda and her husband Bill have built a great house on Cortes Island in British Columbia along the Pacific coast in a group of islands just east of the large Vancouver Island.

bc-0873I took a floatplane from Vancouver and landed at a nearby public dock. The ride was pretty neat, the Dehavilland Beaver, built in the 1950’s, made a couple of stops to drop off passengers at other islands nearby. I was a bit concerned when I got on the plane and the young pilot was wearing shorts and flip flops, but I understood when one of the stops was at a beach in front of the passenger’s house and it didn’t have a dock. The pilot jumped out as we hit the beach and had to wade a little to pull the plane up on the sand.

I sat up front in the co-pilot seat and had headphones that let me hear the air traffic control as crossed waypoints during the hour-long flight. We never got over 1,000 feet, usually around 500 and rarely broke 100 mph. The old engine was loud but she sounded steady and it was a fun ride.

Cortes Island sits in Desolation Sound between the much larger Vancouver Island and the mainland of Canada. It is full of tall ferns that grow up to your waist and was once covered by huge Douglas Fir, Hemlock and cedar trees, but were mostly been cut years ago leaving massive stumps. Second growth has taken over and even they are starting to get harvested. I liked the Alder trees that tend to grow quickly in bare places but they don’t last long, their bark is light colored and has interesting patterns.

bc-1897The locals are proud of their Arbutus trees, which have a smooth, almost skin-color bark and Cortes Island is the northern most reach of their existence. Lynda and Bill tell me that they are called Madrone in Oregon and are considered a weed tree and are cut for firewood.

I can tell already this is going to be a great place for photography during my visit this week.

Click to see my British Columbia photo gallery from the trip.