Skyline

Skyline Drive (aka The Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley). Order a print here.

“National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.”

President John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States

Flight

Winchester Regional Airport (aka OKV) with Winchester and the Allegheny Mountains in the distance. | Order a print here.

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

I was, without a doubt, a bit nervous before my flight today. It essentially went against all my protocols up to now. Got some pretty epic footage though. Be on the lookout for the marketing videos coming out from the airport soon.

Be A Tourist In Your Own Town

Fields of sunflowers at The Homestead Farm @ Fruit Hill in Frederick County, VA | Purchase a copy here

Look around. I’m sure there’s plenty to see where YOU are.

Time

Daggone it – just make time for the things you enjoy!

As Good As It Gets?

Sunset in Woodville, VA

Don’t settle. Never settle. You can always improve, even if it’s only by just a little.

Real Estate

So it’s gotten to the point now where I’m shooting properties for a second time.  Not a re-shoot, but a new/different sale of a property.  I’m sure many real estate photogs have been in this position many times.  As many creatives do, I look back on my previous work and just cringe, but it indicates how far I’ve come and potentially how much further I have to go.  Anyway, when it dawns on me that I’ll be shooting the same property, I only look back on previous images to remind myself of the property – NOT to replicate the shots I did before.  In my opinion, I’ve improved – and not only in quality of work, but in getting a sense of the property and what shots are important.  By the way, thanks for reading this far.  The first image was shot back in 2016 – back when I thought I knew everything and was on a roll (bahahahahahahaha…).  The second image was shot just yesterday.  I’m amazed at not only how far I’ve come, but at how some folks have a knack for home improvements.  The space was completely different – the transformation was incredible.  I can’t wait to look back on the new image in 3 years and think, “holy crap, what the heck was I thinking?!”

Worth It

Somewhere deep into West Virginia.

Sometimes you drive an hour for a shoot. Totally worth it.

Somber

“…conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Abraham Lincoln. 11/19/1863
Devil’s Den from Little Round Top at Gettysburg National Military Park. | Order a copy of this , or other, images.

Eye Candy

Well, just because.

Eagle Rock sunset. | Order a print of this image.

Why Do I Even Bother?

Drones.  Drones!  DRONES!!  Seems like they’re everywhere.  And, of course, anybody can just walk right in to most big box retailers and get one.  Everybody’s a “drone pilot” now then, right.  NO!!!  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  I try to follow the rules and regulations.  Why?  Because it’s the law.  I’m not trying to be a goody-goody.  I just don’t have the money to pay any potential fines that could come with breaking any of the current laws.  That’s why it just chaps my a** when others around me blatantly break the rules.  Or when others around me disseminate inaccurate information.

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is a big deal in my town.  When I first began shooting photography for the festival, I used a drone.  Drone (UAS) regulations didn’t exist back then.  People (certain specific people as part of a bigger group of people) got bent out of shape and actually posted disclaimers that they were not affiliated with me.  I actually got reported and the police shut me down.  I have a letter of investigation from the FAA!  I should frame it.  Just to be clear, this was before any drone regulations existed!  I wasn’t endangering anybody and was being as safe as I could be.  It was too new, people got freaked out.  Oh no, there’s this flying thingy.  It’s spying on me!  It’s invading my privacy!  IT WAS A PUBLIC VENUE DAMMIT!

Fast forward 4 years and now there ARE regulations in place, but it seems that most people just don’t care.  Should I give them the benefit of the doubt?  Perhaps.  But there are channels to check if folks are legit.  Most are not.  Or at least major parts of their operations are not.

I was told this year that I would be too close to an airport to fly a drone during the Apple Blossom Festival.  Nope.  Incredibly inaccurate.  I fly here all the time and have a working relationship with the airport.  It’s class E airspace.  We’re not too close to an airport to fly a drone.  It’s one thing if a local city/town declares an area a drone-free zone.  Localities do that and I would comply.  I have before.  Laguna Beach in CA has such a declaration so I wasn’t able to fly there.  I get it.  There is no declaration in Winchester at Apple Blossom.  But I was instructed not to fly.  Fine, I wasn’t going to fly anyway.

Then I see multiple images from drone flights over the festival.  At night!  Flights at night are NOT covered by the new Drone certification (license) – Part 107, which is technically CFR 14 Part 107 for folks who don’t know.  Flights over people aren’t covered either.  You have to get specific permission (a waiver) from the FAA to do those flights.  There’s an application process where you have to justify the operations and explain how you’d mitigate the risks involved.  The FAA has a website that lists all waivers granted.  Guess what, no such waivers exist in this area (at least for the folks who shot the images I saw).

The exception here is if you’re flying for recreation.  I never understood this and have never agreed with it.  It’s the same airspace – all drones should follow the same rules.  All cars follow the same traffic laws.  How is this different?!?!?!

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?!?!?!?!?!

Rant over, as you were.

Part 107

Just to be clear, this image was shot back in 2015 when NO regulations existed for drone flight. This is the image that started it all.

He Is Risen

At some point throughout the day, stop and reflect on what is really being celebrated.

iPhone

I’m simply tired/frustrated/ticked/disappointed (you get the idea, fill in the blank) at folks who discount the value of mobile cameras for shooting anything.  Stills.  Video.  Doesn’t matter.  This isn’t about how great the mobile devices are becoming nowadays – I’ve always felt this way.  It’s never been about the equipment !  Get it right people.  There are plenty of videos out there where pros take the challenge of unlimited gear vs. mobile phone.  And the results?  Well, judge for yourself.  Here’s just one example I found.  And if it’s good enough for Steven Soderbergh, then it’s good enough for me.  I’m not saying that the mobile device should be your go-to camera – it’s simply another tool in the proverbial toolbox of gear.  Chase Jarvis even wrote a book about it.

“It’s NEVER been about the equipment!”

So, quit comparing megapixels and L-Series or Art lenses.  Stop the ridiculous talk about the sheer size of the camera/lens system.  Or how much it weighs.  Stop talking about how much everything costs.  This is nonsense.  It’s only ever been about the photographer and their eye.  Give the most expensive gear to a noob – see what happens. Give a point-and-shoot to a pro – see what happens.  Makes me wonder what brilliant things Ansel Adams would have done with an iPhone.

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Yep, you guessed it – shot on an iPhone.

My Corner

My little “corner of the world.”  Stay safe everybody.

corner

Winter

“Winter is here.”

Today’s checklist:

    1. Snowblower successfully started
    2. Winter Blend coffee in the hopper
    3. Snow on the ground
    4. GoT in the DVD player

Winter

 

That Night

From the entire staff @ Cedarmeade Studios, Merry Christmas!  🎄

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Christmas Time

“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’  That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

– Linus Van Pelt

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MoM

So, tomorrow, along with 30+ other men I’ll be a MOM – aka, “Man on a Mission” – collectively known as “Men on a Misson.”  I’ve done this now for 3 or 4 years now and it’s a blast.  The creative side of me really gets jazzed about it – and tomorrow is absolutely no exception.  It’s an event that benefits the Highland Food Pantry so that’s all you need, right?  This year’s theme is tailgating and all I can say is if you’re a Steelers fan, you may want to come check out my display.  There’s no way you’ll miss it.  That’s all I’m saying.

A couple links to more info:

Winchester Star

Highland Food Pantry

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You’re gonna want to see this…

Change (aka I’m Old)

So I’ve arrived at that point in life where I can remember growing up with things and experiences and an entirely new generation can’t relate.  Sure there are those people who talk about certain things/experiences like they know.  They don’t know.  You’ve seen those lists and probably videos of products that millenials didn’t grow up with like cassette tapes, rotary home phones, home phones, the “pound sign,” 8-track casettes, Mickey butters, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, dial-up modems, floppy discs, Nick from Family Ties, Family Ties, console TVs, answering machines, Kodak disc cameras – good grief, the list goes on and on.  Now, I’m not saying kids these days don’t know about these things – they just didn’t grow up with them.  There’s a difference.  I was reminded recently when my sister got an air popcorn popper and had no idea how to use it.  It was fascinating to watch all her friends taking pictures and video (from their new-fangled smart phones no less!).

Good grief I feel old.  Now, get off my lawn!

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James Madison Univeristy’s new D-Hall replaces the previous round building that was my work home during my 4.5 years at the school. | See more images including some of the previous D-Hall.

Sunset

So my app told me there was a 47% chance of a decent sunset.  If this is 47% I can’t imagine what 100% looks like.

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The sun setting over Shenandoah Univeristy in Winchester, VA | Order a print of this image

Scene

Simply felt like a scene out of the movies.  I’m in a big, overgrown field (alone), photographing the landscape and out of nowehere the massive lightning storm erupts before me.  And just like in the movies, I’m telling myself “I gotta shoot this.  Just 5 more minutes.”  Have I not watched enought TV and movies to know better!!!

Scene

I got the shot. | Order a print.