Another Summer Gone

Today is the first day of Fall. The Autumnal Equinox as they say. Another summer gone. 2013 is nearing it’s end. It has not been a particularly great year for me. Personally and/or in my photography endeavors. I have accomplished some things I had set goals for, others will need to be rescheduled and worked on more next summer. However, I do look forward to getting out for Fall foliage shooting this year. Last year I was still recovering from surgery and I was unable to photo the leaves changing like I had hoped. I don’t think any of us get everything we want to do accomplished each year. Some folks may, but some wind up on detours and interrupted by things that we don’t plan on and wind up having to make choices we were not prepared for. It is these choices and how we handle what has been thrown at us, however, that make us better people and artists in the end.


This photo is one I did not plan for. It was nearing sunset on the day I shot it and I was sitting at home on the porch looking at the sky when I decided to just grab my camera and head into the fields behind my house. I took my dog Icy with me. I had not scouted the area at all, but found this very tall flowering plant that I thought would make a nice foreground subject for this sunset landscape shot. The colors did not “pop” in the sky as I had hoped. I was staring at this shot the other day when I thought why not try something a bit different with the processing.




I’m happy with the results. This was originally a 5 bracket shot but the clouds were moving too quickly and I did not like how they were streaked across the sky when I processed it in Photomatix, so instead I used 3 shots. I then worked it a bit in Lightroom and Photoshop for the final image.


Have a terrific day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!


The Rockpile

A few nights ago my daughter and I went to shoot sunset from a rockpile I had found not far from our home. No, I shouldn’t have been climbing around this thing, but I was searching for the composition I wanted. Did I get dizzy and fall? You betcha! Did I get hurt? Yep. I felt the burning on my shin after I got up but just ignored it. I was busy looking for the composition I wanted! It wasn’t until my daughter said “Dad is that blood?” that I looked down and saw that nice big wet blood spot soaked through my jeans. Did I stop and look? Nope. I was still searching for the shot I wanted. Did I get the shot? You be the judge.




Commitment or should I be committed? You be the judge!


Thanks for stopping everyone!


Hill’s Tavern

Today’s post is another installment from our photo project “Historic National Road” that my daughter Hannah and I have been working on. This is yet another place that we had passed many times without realizing it’s historical significance. We spotted this one evening on our way home from exploring Route 40 and had just enough light to get some nice shots. I’m hoping to try to make arrangements with the owners to do some photos of the interior at some point in the future.


Now known as the Century Inn, the former Hill’s Tavern was built in 1788 and has been in continuous operation since 1794. It is located in Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania on the Historic National Road – Route 40. Many famous people have stayed at the Inn over it’s 200+ year history. People such as Andrew Jackson, Santa Anna, David Bradford, Marquis de LaFayette, and Chief Blackhawk have been to or stayed here. According to the Inn’s website, it was recently discovered that Abraham Lincoln had gone there because he had heard that their breakfast was so good.




This photo is of the front of the Inn which was constructed from stone that was quarred from the area over 200 years ago. Additions have been added to the Inn but are located in the back while maintaining the original front of the structure.




This next photo is of the Historic Marker located in front of the Inn. To learn more about Hill’s Tavern you can visit their website at: Century Inn.


Thanks for stopping today and stay tuned for more interesting photos from our project in the future! Have a great weekend everyone!


Into the Forest

I cannot seem to get out of this dark “black and white” mood I have been in for so long. It has definitely affected how I have been shooting and processing lately. I don’t feel bad, I’m just feeling “black and white” is all. I have shared a few HDR color shots recently, but when I was working on them, it just did not feel right to me at the time. Black and white is what I’m “feeling” right now and I’m just going to go with the flow.


Today’s shot is of a bridge that leads over a small creek on a path through the woods around my favorite local lake. The sun was starting to go down as we approached this bridge and it was pretty great to see the light sneak through the tree canopy and brighten up the center of the little bridge. I instantly dropped to my knees and just started shooting. Luckily it had rained recently and it was mud and not hard ground I dropped into or my knees would still be angry with me! My wife, who was following me, thought I had fallen until she saw I was shooting. She wasn’t exactly happy I had just gotten all muddy, but hey, I’m a boy, we get dirty!




This was originally a 3 shot hand held HDR but I found no matter what I did processing it, it was too green. I then ran it through Nik Silver Efex and after several variations I came up with this.

I hope everyone is having a great week! Thanks for stopping by and for all the comments, RT’s, Likes, and +1’s.


Lone Kayak

I wish I could say that was me in that Lone Kayak out there. I have been wanting to get one for a long time and just cruise this lake a few times a week but haven’t been able to afford it .. yet. Someday. Today’s photo was taken last weekend when we were out working with the 10 stop ND filter. I had to get a few bracketed shots as well! I was all set up for this shot when the kayak coasted into it. It turned out to be a pretty good sunset that night.   lonekayak1-10


I hope everyone is having a great week!


Evening Out

Last evening my wife, daughter, and I went to the lake nearby and both my daughter and myself were shooting some shots with the 10 stop ND filter. We’re both a bit new to this type of shooting but all in all we had a terrific time. My wife was the official dog greeting ambasador. Everyone who walked past with their dogs she had to play with them. She’s always done this. It’s funny. My daughter and her both were also enjoying themselves cracking jokes and of course picking on ME as well. The usual.


Today’s shot is one of my long exposures that I got. I’m happy with it, but I think I have a lot more to learn using the 10 stop. It definitely has that dark moody feeling that I have been in lately with my work.




After the sun had set, we headed downtown to Pittsburgh and up to Mt. Washington to get shots of the fireworks that were scheduled for after the Pirates game. Happy of course because just after we arrived and got a spot among the dozens of photographers that were already there, I checked my scores on my iPhone and saw that the Bucco’s had pulled ahead for another win! I’ll share some of my fireworks shots another time but what really excited me was the shots my daughter got! Her fireworks photos just ROCK! She had a great evening and got a lot of terrific shots from the lake and the city. She now wants to start a blog of her own to start sharing her work so I will be helping her and hopefully soon be sharing her shots as well.


Have a great week everyone! Thanks for stopping!


What’s Around the Bend?

Lately, my photography has been taking me in all different kinds of directions. From landscapes, to macros, to black and white, to street photos. I am not sure why this is, but I am definitely lacking focus on one particular type of photography. One day it’s one thing, another day it’s something completely different.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all these types of photos, but unless I start to travel, how many more landscape/cityscapes can I shoot and share of the skyline of our beautiful city of Pittsburgh? Also, how many shots of flowers and bugs can I take and share? Tons of people do both and share all the time. Black and white photos and street photography are my roots. It’s where I started with photography and film and my Pentax K1000 back in the mid ’80’s. Lot’s of togs doing that as well though.

Some days, like today, I sit here and think to myself  “I want to do something different”. I want to “Wow” folks with my work. But which should I focus on? I’m not out shooting for the pleasure of other people. I am doing it for myself as an artist as I see things and then want to share with the world. I enjoy positive feedback when I share something though! Who doesn’t? Still, here I sit and wonder though. Maybe I should just pick one type and work it for a few months only. Then switch to another. And so on. Or not? Do other togs out there have these same feelings and go through this?

What I mean is, I know many photographers who specialize in one particular discipline. Landscapes, Wedding, Portraits, Street, Macro, Sports, Fashion, etc. I think I take ok photos of most of these things. But when and where did it hit them that they want to focus on that particular style and stick with it? I really am beginning to feel like a “jack of all trades, but master of none”.

As I have been writing this post, I definitely now know I am just not focusing enough on things that mean something to me. Lot’s of distractions in my life over this past year have hindered my artistic views and thinking. I should just get out and shoot right? I read that all the time on the web. I will figure something out. Like today’s photo. What’s around the Bend? I guess I’m just going to have to see.




Thanks for stopping by today! I hope everyone is having a good week and looking forward to the weekend!



One of my most sought after type of photo is of lightning. I just cannot seem to get a really good one. I don’t think it is me, my camera, or my photography skills. It is Mother Nature. She just never seems to cooperate when I head out to get shots of storms. All year this year, so far, the storms keep either breaking up or missing me. Now, here in the Burgh, we do not normally get storms like the sorts that hit other parts of the country, but when we are about to get a good thunderstorm and the sky is flashing, I try to get out and “hope” I will get a shot of the sky lit up with some beautiful lightning.


Today’s photo is from July 4th when the storms rolled in just as everyone was beginning to launch their fireworks. Since I could not get out to get shots of those, my daughter and I set up for some lightning shots. Of course, there is a danger factor, but it’s not like I was out holding a golf club up in the air, just a metal tripod in front of me with a remote trigger wired to it! What happened next you ask? The storm rolled north of us towards the city and we were unable to get any really cool shots of the lightning. I did however capture this one with a single small bolt that was pretty far away. The only thing I know to do is keep trying. One day ‘ol Mother Nature will cooperate and I will get lucky!




Canon 7D, EFS 18-135, ISO 100, f5.6, 30 sec at 29mm


Thanks for stopping today! Have a great week everyone!



Sunset on the Lake

Today’s weekend post is of a sunset on a local lake near my home. Sunsets and blue hour are two of my favorite times for shooting landscapes. I’m not really a “morning” person, so I don’t usually do many sunrise photos. I suppose if I lived near the ocean facing east I would definitely become one though for those shots.


This was taken a few weeks ago when we went out walking in the evening. I loved how the water was very calm and the reflections in the water mirrored everything around it. I will be out shooting most of the day today down in the city and perhaps a few other places!




I hope everyone is having a terrific weekend!