Art

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Scott Adams


So this is what greets you now as you arrive at Bears Den in Bluemont, VA.

So this is what greets you now as you arrive at Bears Den in Bluemont, VA.

Favorite

Another awesome sunset over what has turned into my favorite place to shoot these days.  Go figure.

Order a print of this image.

Order a print of this image.

Wealth

“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”

– Plato


Looks like it's on fire.

Looks like it’s on fire.

Camera

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine…and a decent camera.”

– Anthony J. D’Angelo


I added the “decent camera” part. 😉  I had planned on launching the aerial camera up here, but forgot the media cards.  So I challenged myself by only taking one lens – the 50mm.

Bears Den Nature Trail

The nature trail at Bears Den in Bluemont, VA.

Handwriting

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Peak

Anybody have an issue saying the word “foliage?”  I worked with someone once who did.  Anybody have a guess as to who it was?  I wonder if she’s reading now.  Anyway, the fo·li·age [ˈfōl(ē)ij] is about to peak here in Winchester.  Hope the weather holds for some great images.

The foliage on SU campus in Winchester

The foliage on SU campus in Winchester around Wilkins Lake.

Always Learning

I’m a big fan of learning through workshops and tutorials and the like.  I’m always on the lookout for new learning opportunities because you never know what you may learn even in a workshop or on a tutorial where you may think you know everything there is to know.  Even if you do know most of the material, chances are there’s going to be some tip or shortcut mentioned that really has nothing to do with the overall content but you never knew about.  I learn so much this way.

It’s been around for a long time, but I’ve just started really diving in to any and every new class being offered through CreativeLive.  If you’re a creative type, are looking and haven’t found it yet you should check it out.  For real.  I just actually watched parts of a workshop on aerial photography.  There’s a whole ton of stuff on there for all sorts of creative type endeavors.

I've been doing aerial panoramas for a while now, but picked up a few tips recently on further reducing noise in my low-light images.

I’ve been doing aerial panoramas for a while now, but picked up a few tips recently on further reducing noise in my low-light images. | Order a print of this image.

Read the Signs

Leeches!  Are you reading this, Mom?

Along with all the other posted notifications that appear on the pretty obvious board as you drive into the Todd Lake recreation area in the George Washington National Forest there’s a notification that leeches have been, for a long time, part of the Todd Lake ecosystem.  It makes sense I know.  I realize this now, but kids don’t care.  I never read the signs when I was a kid.  I realize that they’re pretty much harmless, but still, gross.  I didn’t spend a lot of time in the lake, but I know I must have spent some amount of time in it.

Gross.

Always read the notifications on the posted signs.

Always read the notifications on the posted signs.

Look Up

Take a walk through the forest and look up.  That’s it.

This is what happens with a fisheye lens when all lines in the image point toward the middle of the frame. | Order a print of this image.

If all lines run across the frame toward the center of a fisheye lens the lines end up straight. | Order a print of this image.

Elkhorn

This was the first stop on my GW Forest visit with my dad the other day.  I mainly wanted to check on the foliage to see how far along it was.  I’d love to get some images of the fall colors at their peak.  This was pretty close.

The foliage is just about to peak at Elkhorn Lake. | Order a print of this image.

The foliage is just about to peak at Elkhorn Lake. | Order a print of this image.

Wetlands

I was out doing some mapping photography today and got a preview of the coming Fall colors.  I think I’m heading to the national forest next week to shoot some photographs with my UAV.  I might even fly at 401 feet.  I’m such a rebel!

Wetlands

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Quick

What a great opportunity for aerial photography.  I’m finding more and more ways where getting above the mess on the ground creates these unique opportunities for photography.  I had my aerial cam in the car, but I didn’t have an SD card for it so I had to be quick about getting home this morning and going through the pre-flight stuff to get up and get this shot.  It was worth the rush.

I got up in time to get some pretty cool images before the sun burned off all the fog. | Order a print of this image.

I got up in time to get some pretty cool images before the sun burned off all the fog. | Order a print of this image.

Stink Eye

[stingk ahy] noun

1. a facial expression of distrust, disdain, or disapproval; also called skunk eye, hairy eyeball

Example

“That cow knows I had a burger for dinner.  Why else would he be giving me the stink eye?!

Word Origin – 1962

I stumbled onto this herd of cattle while I was out surveying the Fall foliage.  That's a stink eye if I've ever seen one!

I stumbled onto this herd of cattle while I was out surveying the Fall foliage. That’s a stink eye if I’ve ever seen one!

Bamboo

I only post one image here per day, but I’ve taken countless images over this past year.  I should start going back through my photos more often because I’d find stuff that I completely forgot about.  Perhaps that’s why I took the image in the first place…

We usually go to Williamsburg in the cold months, but we recently went in the summer so everything was still green.

We usually go to Williamsburg in the cold months, but we recently went in the summer so everything was still green.

It Begins

The yearly migration of the biggest leaves in the world from their branches to our front door is about to begin.  Ok, they may not be the world’s biggest leaves, but they sure as heck feel like it.  This tree is in our back yard and yet, somehow, the leaves end up down the stairwell in the front of our house!  It wouldn’t be such an issue if this tree didn’t litter our yard year round.  Somebody needs to invent the device where we can be proactive just suck the leaves right off the tree.

Sycamore

 

Cross Season

Who thought I would ever be looking forward to cross season as much as I am this year?  Cyclocross season, that is.  I’ve shot cycling now for several years and am always looking for new ways to differentiate myself from other shooters.  A definite difference, IMO, is the fact that I shoot both still and video.  I’m leaning more toward the still side these days, but I produce both and I have a great time doing it.  I certainly created a buzz when I shot an aerial video in Page County earlier this year and plan to do more like it.  But what’s crazy to me is that when I look at a new piece of gear these days I find myself thinking “wow, that would be awesome for cross season.”  So, I may never race during cross season, but at least I’m out there supporting it.  That’s a start, right?  Can’t wait to put the new iPhone 6 through it’s paces this Sunday at the annual Winchester Applecross race.

Granted, this is a video of my dog, but think of all the amazing race footage I can get with it!

Rescue

He was a stray with his two brothers.  Huh.  I always wonder what he was like before we rescued him from the shelter.  We got him at six months old (roughly) so he lived on the street before then.  Where did he come from?  Did someone just let him go?  Or worse?  I’m glad we found him.  He was a guest on the most recent weekly show with Barry Lee – “Talk of the Town.”  He was rescued before that show even aired.

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Train!

You’re not supposed to walk along the train tracks.  I get that but I was scouting out a location for an aerial shoot and a train needed the tracks.  I actually heard the gates closing before I heard the train.  It was a total Back to the Future moment (you know, at the end of the third one – anyway…).  I jumped off the track and launched really quickly.  So quickly, in fact, that I thought for a second I was going to hit the train on the way up.  It really wasn’t as dangerous as I’m making it out to seem.  The train was moving fairly slowly, I wasn’t anywhere near the tracks when the train passed, the aerial cam was well clear by the time the train passed…

…just enjoy the image.

The train tracks that run through the Abram's Creek Wetlands Preserve.

The train tracks that run through the Abram’s Creek Wetlands Preserve.

Change

It’s so weird driving through the JMU campus nowadays.  There’s so much that I remember, but there are so many new and subtle changes.  And, of course, as I look around (not paying attention to the roads) I miss traffic lights and totally look like a tourist.  Never mind the fact that I grew up here.

Today we’re band parents at the first-ever Band Day (I swear I’m hearing “band-aid”) at JMU where high school students will be on the field (briefly, but still on the field – and in the stands) with the JMU Marching Royal Dukes.  What an awesome experience for these students.

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Even the potted plants have the team spirit!

Subtle Movement

We all know that the clouds are moving, but it’s incredibly subtle movement.  At least to the naked eye.  I was driving home this afternoon and that cloud formation was just screaming for me to grab my camera.  I shot some video with the aerial camera, but I’ll have to play with the stabilization a bit before I post it (if I post it).  I didn’t really stabilize this one (as you might be able to tell) because the algorithm was getting confused by all the cloud movement – there’s no real reference point.