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?!”

My New “Toy”

I’m a big gear head.  Ask anybody who knows me.  A few years ago it was drones, but that’s just not enough anymore (at least in terms what my gear can do for me).  There’s always going to be the creative intuition that one has to have to separate themselves from competition and at that point EQUIPMENT DOESN’T MATTER.  The motivating factor behind getting new gear should be to take advantage of features/capabilities that your current gear can’t provide.  Well, absolutely none of my gear could do this!  I’m just gonna leave it there and let it speak for itself.


I was cleared for takeoff this evening.  Yep, I filed my first (and second) flight plan.  It’s kinda surreal for me that I’ve made it this far.  When I got my first aerial camera, it was so new that there weren’t really any regulations for it (which explains all the images in my collection that I can’t really shoot these days).  It’s crazy how fast the governemnt moved on this set of regulations.  But I’m always about what’s next and that usually spells trouble for me being a gear-head and all.  I have to separate myself from the ever-growing community of “dronies” who are basically shooting with the same super-wide-angle-infinity-focus camera that everybody else has.  That’s not good enough for me anymore.  Not after tonight’s flight.


Can you appreciate what’s slightly different about this aerial image? | Order a print of this image.


School Daze

There’s an incredible amount of construction around here these days.  It’s apparently Winchester/Frederick County’s turn to grow.  These schools are pretty amazing, too – the new Frederick County Middle school looks very much like a high school.  And then there’s that whole trend where the school’s essentially share the same campus (separate, but together).  I remember my primary schools (elementary-middle-high) weren’t even in the same town really.

note – I just read that back to myself and just pictured the old wrinkled man sitting on his porch telling his grandkids that he used to walk through 4-foot-high snow to school both ways barefoot.  I refuse to accept that that’s where I’m headed. 😁


The current Gainesboro Elementary School with the new Frederick County Middle School construction behind it.


The new Frederick County Middle School.


One of my assignments today for The Winchester Star was to shoot an open house type event for a big farm in Clarke County.  I got there and all I wanted to do was shoot the house itself!  You can’t send a real estate photographer (that appears to be my calling these days) to an event at a 200-year-old farm house and expect him to avoid shooting the farmhouse, right?!  What an awesome place.  They’re celebrating all year – check it out one weekend.


My assignment wasn’t to shoot the house itself so I didn’t have the proper tools with me, but this scene just jumped out at me.  What an awesome little reaading nook in the basement at the bottom of the stairs.


The weather wasn’t perfect for the shoot and I’ll probably go back when it is better, but there are so many more possibilities in this space.  In the meantime, here’s a teaser image.


If you’re familiar with Winchester, you’ll recognize the Loudoun Street parking garage in the reflection. | Order a print of this image.

Point of View

One of the first things I try to instill in my photography students is to change up the stereotypical way that they take a photograph.  Most people view the world from essentially the same vantage point, but as a photographer you need to break that mold of seeing “as usual.”  Some of the most interesting images (at least IMHO) are ones that take full advantage of a different point of view.  Go ahead, take that picture you were going to take from the standard photography stance (standing, feet slightly wider than shoulder width with one in front of the other for more stability, camera level, SNAP!).  Now that the obligatory image is out of the way, move around and get into some unconventional positions and take the more interesting images.  It’s always cool to see a familiar scene from a different point of view, isn’t it?


The flagship buidling of the Handley Reginoal Library in Winchester, VA

Wall Art

I know most people already have their dentist that the go to, but I have to plug the fine folks at Tolly Dental.  Bunch of great folks over there – plus they really like my photography.


Order a print of that image of Handley High School or the print of Handley Library.



I Took the opportunity to shoot a little bit while I was at The Handley Library this evening.  It’s been a while since I shot there and I’ve been meaning to get back and do it properly.


Things that make you go “hmmm…” | Order a print of this image.



#TB (Insert Day of the Week)

Wow, it’s been a long time.  Not that I’m lazy, but I’m going back through all my photos to see if I can dig up some good ones.  Someone recently gave me a great quote about what separates a pro from an amateur photographer.  Basically it come down to size matters.  Now, get your mind out of the gutter…

The size of their “trash can.”  Pros take a crap-load of photos and most are never seen by anybody.  In 2015 I shot 6478 “general” photos.  This figure doesn’t take into account all the paid gigs that my studio handled.  That would bump the number of images up to 29,925.  Still not an enormous number compared to a lot of pros, but when you factor in the fact that I only considered 90 good enough to post here, that’s a lot. A mere 3 tenths of a percent were deemed decent enough to represent my studio.

Wow, long story short, here’s one of those images that never made it here (at least I don’t think it did).


It was almost a year ago that we had our first snowfall and two weeks ago it was nearly 80 degrees!


I was out to shoot the full-moon rise, but it didn’t happen like I was expecting.  Never saw the moon, but I’ll take this just the same.


Order a print of this image.


No, not the year of the British Invasion.  It’s the year that D-Hall was built on JMU campus.  I saw this picture and thought, this is probably not too far from what it looked like then especially the concrete tables built into the landscaping (perhaps didn’t have handicap ramps either).  Love it.

The controversy over D-Hall was that it wasn’t consistent with the rest of campus. It was round and didn’t use bluestone in its construction.

The Soul

Everybody needs something in their life that’s stress-free.  You know, that activity that satisfies the soul.  I didn’t realize how much just shooting does that for me.  I was able to get out the other day and just shoot for nothing more than the fun of it.  That’s good stuff.  For me at least


The dome of the Handley Regional Library in Winchester, VA. | Order a print of this image.



That’s my high school.  No, not PMS, the school in the images.  Although it IS now called Wilbur S Pence Middle School.  Local folks call it Pence – Pence Middle School.  Fun, huh?

I graduated with the class that the last to attend all four years in this building.  Coincidentally, my mom graduated in the class that was the first to attend all four years in this building.  Cool.

I graduated with the class that was the last to attend all four years in this building. Coincidentally, my mom graduated in the class that was the first to attend all four years in this building. Cool.


I have so much more respect for the RC community now that I’ve had a chance to fly with some of them.  And I’m talking strictly RC, not the new wave of folks who’ve purchased drones and are flying them around referring to themselves as RC folks.  I’m talking about the RC enthusiasts that go way back to flying with gas-powered craft.  I’ll equate it to talking with photographers who used to shoot on film and develop their own images.  These RC guys (and gals) were around long before we started slapping FPV cameras on the bottom of multi-rotors.  I only spent about 45 minutes around this group in Florida and gained a lot of respect.  It was really cool to watch and listen as they literally flew circles around me (I asked them to – made for better images).  For the record I am NOT an RC guy.  I’m just a photographer that uses an aerial platform.  I have so much to learn.

The RC field in Satellite Beach where I met some really cool RC folks.

The RC field in Satellite Beach where I met some really cool RC folks.  That’s an RC plane (top right) and that was as close as I was willing to get.

The Real Magic

I honestly believe it’s true that ignorance is bliss.  I spent the last week in Disney World where it was very apparent that they’re growing and expanding their offerings.  It seemed as though there was no space that was not under construction.  It could have been so easy for anyone to grumble their way through the experience, but kids don’t care if there’s a construction crane in the shot.  They couldn’t care less that the disguised construction wall doesn’t look quite real.  That stuff’s not important to the kids.  It’s when their eyes light up when they finally get to meet their favorite characters from Up, Dug and Russell.  It’s when they finally get to meet the real Elsa and Anna and they get a warm hug.  It’s when the get so excited when Chef Mickey visits them while they’re eating breakfast.  That’s the real magic.

castle fireworks

Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom. | Order a print of this image.


Lately I’ve heard lots of people use the term “empty nest” when referring to our situation as our youngest just graduated high school. It’s usually with great enthusiasm that it’s mentioned.  After today I’m not so sure I’m prepared for it.  I just spent the day discussing how our daughter is being violently shoved into a position of incredible freedoms and enormous responsibility. I keep thinking that it’s going be rough for her, but I really should consider how rough it’ll be for me. She’s been on the same campus at the same time and has already integrated into a new group of friends. Me?  I’m  stressing about how she’s going to do, will she remember to eat, will she find all her classes, will she discover her passion?  Geez I’m not prepared.

One of the few traditions/superstitions @ Roanoke College is for students to avoid stepping on the seal outside the Administration Building. If they step on it they don’t graduate in four years.

School Days

My daughter makes it known (daily) that she only has about a week left in school before she’s finished.  She likes stating that she (as a senior) finishes before the rest of the school.  That means I only have 8 more school days of taking her to school.  I’ve been driving her to school for the past couple years.  That’ll be weird to not have to do that anymore.

Hey, it's a aerial shot of a school that's not Handley!    This is Blue Ridge Middle School in Purcellville, VA.

Hey, it’s an aerial shot of a school that’s not Handley! This is Blue Ridge Middle School in Purcellville, VA.


These walls could talk about the Civil War and burning of the bridge right outside that south-facing window.  I suppose they could also talk about all the furry little mammals running/flying around in this room.  Kinda gross, but this is the kind of Urbex stuff I’d love to start doing.



I don’t know if it’s writer’s block or what, but sometimes I struggle with my posts.  Or even figuring out what to write.  I’m sitting here staring at this image and am coming up short.  Maybe I have nothing to say or maybe there’s too much to say.  All I know is that I truly enjoy finding new images to make.  There is an endless number of possibilities and I’m constantly drawn to this place.


I love how art is so subjective. I see what I see. You see what you see. It’s all up to the viewer. | Order a print of this image.