Disney Tattoo

Another practice shot with my new 25mm micro four thirds prime lens. This time of one of my wife's Disney tattoos. The f1.7 of the lens is a great thing for taking shots indoors, but that narrow depth of field is challenging. It's very easy to have the wrong thing in focus. But when you've got a narrow target like this it's great. I did do a little post processing to boost the vibrance and focus your eye on the tattoo, but not much. For those who worry about such things this was shot at f1.7, ISO 400, 1/60 speed

Outside Looking In

Trying out my new 25mm Prime micro four thirds lens (so a 50mm equivalent) and I think I like it. I'll have to get used to actually moving instead of just zooming and probably adjust my composition a bit, but it's light and fast which is great in a lot of situations. Here you can see Mouthy, an outside cat who adopted us some years ago. He spends a lot of time looking through the door, meowing pitifully and trying to convince me that he hasn't been fed...

Icy Pond

I'm looking back through my photo archives to see what I haven't posted. This one comes from a couple of months back when we had that ridiculous amount of snow. The photo was taken about 5 days after the snowfall itself and most of what you are seeing is actually a pond covered in ice, covered in snow. Snow is always challenging to shoot but my phone did a pretty good job here.

Spring Morning

Spring in the Washington DC area is a season of wild fluctuations. One day it's 25 degrees and freezing cold, the next day it's 70 and beautiful. In fact it's quite capable of covering 30 degrees within 12 hours. It's a mystery to me how the flowers know what to do. On this occasion though it was a beautiful and incredibly bright spring morning.

Sunrise Safari At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

So my personal highlight from this year's Disney trip was the Sunrise Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This is (or was) an extended version of the regular Kilimanjaro Safari ride plus a buffet breakfast available for a modest, by Disney standards, price to DVC members staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Sadly this has been discontinued (perhaps due to ongoing expansion work at Animal Kingdom or in connection with the planned expansion of regular Safari hours) though our guide said that a replacement was being planned which would focus on the animals in the Savannah's at the Lodge itself. That being the case I'm really glad I got a chance …Read more  »

World Wide Photo Walk 2014 — Harpers Ferry

This is the second year in a row that I've participated in Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk. Last year I joined a walk at Gettysburg, this year I stayed closer to home and participated in a walk at Harpers Ferry. Originally I planned on doing a different walk since I take photos at Harpers Ferry on a semi-regular basis, but I thought it would be interesting to view the place from other people's eyes and see what that brought to light. One of the reasons I like these photo walks is that they force me to slow my pace down a bit. I have a tendency to walk fast and …Read more  »

Loudon Heights Overlook

Here's a different look at Harpers Ferry. This time round I hiked up Loudon Heights rather than Maryland Heights.While the walk up Maryland Heights is pretty much straight up (well round and round up I suppose) Loudon Heights is a bit more spread out. First you go up, then you walk along the spine of the mountain for a way.At the end of the trail you get this view which is definitely worthwhile.Next time I go up there I need to try out my telephoto lens and get some closer shots of Harpers Ferry itself.

Amber Waves of Grain

Okay well technically it's just regular grass but work with me here. It's also actually a Civil War site, but again, let's not be picky.This panorama is at Harper's Ferry National Historical Park, but it's no at the bit everyone goes to. This is the Murphy-Chambers Farm.While not nearly as visited as the primary site, it does make an excellent walking area with 1-3 miles of mostly flat ground (there are a few ravines if you choose to take them).Amongst other things here you can see the footprint of the John Brown Fort and a gorgeous vista of the Shenandoah River.There are also some earthworks since this is where Confederate General …Read more  »

The Old Vault At Mount Vernon

  As the sign explains (though the text is probably just a little too small in this photo) this is the old Washington family vault at Mount Vernon. George and Martha Washington along with assorted other family members were interred here until the new tomb (which George Washington had instructed be built) was completed in 1831. It's certainly not a very imposing monument. But then I suspect Washington wasn't really anticipating the million or so people who visit Mount Vernon each year. In the absence of any really strong feature I tried to bring out the textures in the wooden door and the brickwork.

George Washington Distillery From The Outside

Here's a more picturesque shot of the George Washington Distillery at Mount Vernon. The building itself is not especially distinctive but the setting is certainly very attractive. The water course adds to the composition of the picture, plus I got lucky with a nice cloudy sky. A little bit of extra processing in Photoshop pulled out the details throughout the picture.

How Much Wood Would A Wood Chuck Chuck?

I went with my son on his recent school outing to Mount Vernon. An interesting place to visit certainly. As part of the trip we also stopped by the George Washington Grist Mill and Distillery. This particular photo is in front of the Distillery portion of the site where a group of people dressed for the part are busy chopping wood. Now keep in mind it was about 90 degrees that day with humidity at 5 billion percent (definitely not a dry heat). It can't have been fun for them. Given the subject matter it just seemed to make sense to go black and white with this one.

Potomac Panorama

On the Maryland side of the Potomac you can walk from Harpers Ferry all the way up to Shepherdstown or further courtesy of the C&O Canal. On the West Virginia side things are a little more limited. But you can walk along the river a way. Which is what I did here, walking until I reached an old rubble dam usually refered to as Dam # 3 (but originally apparently called the Armory Dam). As you can see it makes for an impressive panoramic view of the river.

Foggy Shenandoah

The Appalachian trail runs through Harpers Ferry and crosses the Shenandoah  River via a pedestrian section of the road bridge.It's not a particularly pleasant walk what with the cars and trucks speeding by. But they have put up a barrier in between so you don't feel like you're about to be crushed the whole time.All of which is a very long winded way of explaining that this shot was taken from that bridge looking down on a very foggy Shenandoah. Oh and I can technically claim to have walked on the Appalachian trail.I played around with the processing on this one again to get the painted look. I particularly like what it …Read more  »

Sunrise On The Potomac

This is another spot that I photograph on a regular basis. This is where the Shenandoah (on the right) and The Potomac (on the left) meet and the Potomac then heads through the Blue Ridge Mountains and on towards DC. It's also essentially where three states meet with Maryland on the left across and Virginia on the right, while I am standing in West Virginia. Plus... it's pretty. This panorama is stitched together from about a half dozen images taken in portrait orientation. The same shot could basically have been achieved using about three landscape photos but I've switched to using portrait for the simple reason that it gives you a much higher …Read more  »

Ray of Sunshine

I would love to claim that this was brilliant composition on my part, but in truth it was pure blind luck. The ray of sunshine effect really wasn't that obvious from the viewfinder and I mainly took this shot to compare the how sunny the day was compared with the foggy images I had taken a couple of weeks previously. Well that and I was tired because I had just walked up a mountain and stopping to take a photo is a good excuse for a rest.  

Top Of The World — Zoomed Out

Usually when you're taking landscape photos you want to go as wide as you can and capture everything. Not always though. I thought it might be an interesting comparison to my Top Of The World photo from yesterday to show what the shot looked like before I zoomed my lens in. I don't think this is a bad shot as such. Just a bit non-descript. By zooming in I was able to focus on the strongest visual element in the scene.

Made It, Ma. Top Of The World!

Okay, not actually the top of the world. The headline is a lie! But it did feel like it. I took another walk up to the top of Maryland Heights this morning. And for the first time there wasn't any cloud cover there so I could actually see (well occasionally in-between all the trees at least). This shot is right on top walking along the spine of the mountain and looking east towards the Potomac. I had to zoom in a bit to get the shot I wanted and there was a lot of haze because of the distance. However, a bit of tweaking in Photoshop brought out the details …Read more  »

Mirror Image

This photo is not, as it might first appear, taken out in the countryside. It's actually about a 10 minute walk from where I work and if I had moved the camera just a few degrees to the left you'd have seen a great big office building. The camera lies by omission. This particular pond is on my morning walk route and one of the things I noticed was how still the water was. Particularly early in the morning when the sun is low it tends to act as an excellent mirror.