Posted 1 day ago

  One of the things I’ve noticed while touring the local back roads here is a tradition of land owners creating family cemeteries.  This one sits at the edge of a farm field southwest of Wilmington.

  I used an HDR software I like to take what was a rather ordinary photograph of this burial ground and make it different.

  On the same trip I walked into the Green Swamp looking for a misty landscape.  Instead I came across these leaves turning gold and red as if it were fall.  The colors on the forest floor made it even more interesting.

  Finally, a portrait of a lady, a blonde and a resident of Shackleford Island off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina.  Part of the wild pony herd there this animal, and the others around here, were very docile creatures.  After a nice pose we both went off to other pursuits.

  Travel and make photographs - they are things I should do as often as I possibly can. It’s the only way to get better.

Posted 2 weeks ago

  We went to Charleston with friends this week.  Our wives went on the house tour while my friend and I played golf.  But it didn’t take long to realize spring hadn’t arrived yet and blustery winds made the experience even worse. 

  On day two we took time to walk around downtown and I managed to grab a couple of photos with the new Fujifilm X100S camera I bought before heading for home.

  When I shot this photo I realized there were so many angles involved in the building that served as a background that I needed to shoot it wide and then crop the image in the darkroom.

  Crop, indeed.  The finished product is barely a quarter of the original image in the camera!  I guess that provides another good lesson on their being a photo in nearly every scene you find attractive - you just need to take time to find it.

  Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop with a special textured overlay to finish.

Posted 3 weeks ago

  A new camera arrived yesterday and, this morning, after carefully reading the owner’s manual and learning as much as I could I took it out for a test drive.  Here’s a macro shot of crab-apple blossoms on the tree across the started.

  While certainly not as nice as I would like, the photo excites me because the new camera makes the process SO much easier with its small size and automatic features.  While it will not replace the Nikon it will make things like travel much easier.

  Once again, another lesson learned: technology is advancing the craft far more quickly than I imagined and making the process so much easier.  Now a good photographer will distinguish himself with his eye and compositional abilities.

  There is much to work on!

Posted 1 month ago

  Went out to play a little golf this afternoon (Wednesday) and came across a spectacular view on the 4th hole at Magnolia Greens just outside Wilmington, NC.  With no camera gear on board I turned to my iPhone and snapped a couple of versions of this using a camera application called Pure.

  What Pure produced was a 7-megapixel file that I promptly worked over in Lightroom and Photoshop to produce this image.

  I have been toying with the idea of a new camera, a camera much more sophisticated than the ones I have now.  As I ponder the expense I break away to play some golf, shoot this image with the phone and begin to wonder why in the world do I need a camera like that - other than to say I have it.

  Perhaps this is a good time to take stock and worry less about the capabilities of a camera and more about the capabilities of the photographer behind it.

Posted 1 month ago

  Over the last 10 days I’ve had a chance to visit the Outer Banks and come home to photograph at a Revolutionary War battle reenactment at Moore’s Creek, 30 miles west of Wilmington.

  Along the way I’ve added some new software and have experimented with “textures” in photographs.  This still life comes from the Moore’s Creek experience and demonstrates what you can do with a simple photo of apples and utensils when you’ve got textures in your arsenal.

  About the time I think I’ve got everything I need for photo editing along comes another idea, another tool or another process to make it better, easier and more fun.

  I hope it never stops!

Posted 2 months ago

  It has been a while but it’s been a busy while, investigation new software, working on my digital class preparations and adding items that will enhance my photographs.

  The latest involves “textures” and combinations you can put together to make some very expressive images.

  Such is the case with this image = shot at the Veteran’s Cemetary on Market Street in Wilmington.  From the outside it looks like a small burial ground but, once inside, it reveals a large number of headstones.  Some of them even date from the Civil War.

  During my visit, in early December, only one was decorated for Christmas.  Is it a sad reminder of how soon we forget or the first of what will be seen there as the holiday approaches?

  I have added another camera body to my bag - it will serve as a backup to the primary Nikon I carry.  I’m also excited about a new framing device for my iPad that permits me to use it as a 21st century view camera.  It is a lot of fun to use. It is also a prod, helpful in getting me out to make more photographs.

Posted 4 months ago

  I almost forgot - I DID drive down to the river to look back at the Memorial Bridge.  I wanted to see if there was anything worth shooting.

  This was a color image transformed to Black and White with Silver Efex Pro software. 

  This is the Cape Fear River looking south towards the Atlantic.  In this case you’re going to SEE only as far as the bridge.

Posted 4 months ago

  The fog was SO thick on Monday morning that when driving over the Memorial Bridge into Wilmington you could NOT see the river down below.  I took the opportunity of  this “bad” weather to visit the city’s Veteran’s Cemetery and look what I found waiting for me - photographs everywhere I turned.  I didn’t realize that these old Live Oaks dominated the cemetery grounds giving the place a beauty, mystique and grandeur that would be envied everywhere in the country.

   I had just finished working in Section 6 when I turned around and looked behind me only to see this scene. 

  Once again I’m reminded of one of my favorite sayings: “about the time you think there’s nothing left to shoot turn around and look behind you.  Chances are you’ve only just begun.”

Posted 5 months ago

   A recent trip to the Oyster Festival in Urbanna, Virginia, gave us a chance to stop and visit the Hope Plantation near Windsor, North Carolina.  Built for the governor, David Stone, it is a classic example of a working plantation and a beautiful house designed to not only care for family but entertain distinguished visitors from throughout the state.

  Children on the second floor had a view of the farmlands below while, on the mail floor, the Governor’s library included a game table and a rather unique folding ladder (leaning against the cabinet on the left) that reminded us both of Thomas Jefferson’s innovations at Monticello.

 How nice it was to be the ONLY visitors and to be given a very efficient tour by the caretaker who lives in a small house nearby.  How nice, indeed, to have the time to be able to detour from our travel plans and take time to soak up some history!

Posted 5 months ago

   This has already been a busy fall but we managed to squeeze in a trip to New Jersey’s coast to visit the grandkids - Lily and Jack - and even spend some time with their parents - Patrick and Kristen.  When someone suggested a trip to a nearby park for a Saturday morning of fun I decided to go ahead and bring my camera gear.  Who knows?  Perhaps something interesting will show up.  Well, if it hadn’t been for the family and the call for lunch I might STILL be there!  A lovely setting with all kinds of photos just waiting to be taken.  I snapped a few and include one here that I’m proud of.  Lesson learned.  Never leave your camera home because there “might not” be a picture waiting.  There’s ALWAYS a photo.  All you have to do is find it.