Beacon of Light

Yep, that’s what they’re calling it.

It's been a while since I actually shot something other than aerial.  It felt creative.

It’s been a while since I actually shot something other than aerial.  It felt creative.

Second Spring

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Albert Camus


The peaking foliage over Abram’s Creek in Winchester, VA.

Rise and Shine

This is how I started my day – actually about an hour and a half prior to this.  Long day for me.

HLSB (Shenandoah University's Health and Life Sciences Building). | Order a print of this image.

HLSB (Shenandoah University’s Health and Life Sciences Building). | Order a print of this image.

Lunar Eclipse

I clearly didn’t know what I was looking for this morning during the lunar eclipse.  Instead I got to see a pretty awesome sunrise with some low-lying fog.  It made for some great scenery.  I’ll take it.

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Looking for the moon in the west during this morning’s sunrise. | Order a print of this image.


If you asked me a year ago with which lens I preferred to use to shoot races I would have answered, without hesitation, “my 70-200.”  These days, not so much.  Almost 50% of my images from the last two weekends of shooting cyclocross were shot on my 12-24 lens.  This also plays into my purposeful shooting method for sports.  Today’s image has nothing to do with cycling other than it was shot at one of the coolest race venues around.

Every year I discover that the Warfield Complex is more boarded up in certain places and more dilapidated in others.  It certainly makes for some fun images .

Every year I discover that the Warfield Complex is more boarded up in certain places and more dilapidated in others. It certainly makes for some fun images .


If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all my sports shooting it’s that high-speed burst shooting should be used very sparingly.  I think it was last year that I came home from shooting Winchester Applecross with close to 7,000 images.  Three 0’s people!  Sure the high-speed bursts have their place, but for me I’d rather come home with images that were shot purposefully as opposed to images that are simply part of a series of high-speed bursts where maybe one is decent.  I don’t want to be that photographer who tries to impress people with the sound of their shutter rapidly firing off 20 frames at a time in a couple of seconds.  So how, then, do you get the good images you might ask?  Anticipate the action and know the sport you’re shooting.  I still came home with a crap ton of images (2k but that’s a far cry from 7,000).

Winchester Applecross coming my way.

Winchester Applecross coming my way.


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.



Originally opened in 1948 and involved in a recent overhaul and restoration since very early 2009, the Triangle Diner is just sitting there.  For the longest time it was an eyesore of a construction zone, which surprises me because it’s extremely visible to the hundreds of thousands of visitors at the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.  It’d be cool if it were to open like their Facebook page has been saying since very early 2010.  Can’t wait until it’s back – it’ll make for some great images.  And I suppose it’d be a neat place to eat.

The Triangle Diner on the corner of Pleasant Valley and Handley Blvd in Winchester, VA. | Order a print of this image.

The Triangle Diner near Handley High School in Winchester, VA. | Order a print of this image.

Customer Experience

“Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

– Walt Disney

If I’ve learned anything from any of my trainings throughout my entire life, it’s that successful businesses get that way by putting the customer experience at the top of their priority list.  The two companies that immediately come to mind for me are Apple and Disney.  Sure, they’re for-profit companies, but their ultimate goal is to deliver a customer experience like no other.  When you can put aside that “I’m gonna get rich doing this” attitude and focus on being creative and innovative it all tends to work itself out.  And Disney is exceptionally good at it.  To watch my dad over this past weekend was pretty cool.  At almost 80 years old, he enjoyed that park every bit as much as any of the adolescents who were experiencing it for the first time.

There were a lot of ways I could have gone with today's post, but this image worked no matter which way I went.

There were a lot of ways I could have gone with today’s post, but this image worked no matter which way I went.


1. a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
  • “the team was bursting with pride after recording a sensational victory”
    • synonyms: pleasure, joy, delight, gratification, fulfillment, satisfaction, a sense of achievement; “take pride in a good job well done”

 How is Handley Different?  by Dr. V. Doug Joyner

From letter jackets to lunch lines, Handley isn’t outwardly intriguing, nothing differentiates us from any other high school across the nation-but step inside the checkered hallway; have a seat in the auditorium; cheer for the football players at a game and you will find there’s something else that lingers in the hallways.  It’s an unfettered force that the community refers to as “Handley Pride”.  It’s the one thing that sets us apart from the rest.
It’s embedded into the glistening marble hall, woven into the upholstery of the auditorium, and saturates the Handley Bowl on a sparkling autumn afternoon.  The fundamentals associate us with every other school, but pride fractures the concord, and keeps the student reputation from being slandered into uniformity.
As a profile is examined and its features begin to tell a story, the inner thoughts come to the surface.  Even though the picture hasn’t told its story with words the wrinkle of a brow and a shy smile tell more eloquently than words the sorrows of the character.
Most important to the piecing together of a person are the eyes.  Are they quick and alert?  Do they search for something beyond the four walls of the picture?
When a teacher watches many profiles agonize over a test or listens to one lone profile struggling over an oral presentation, they see focus in their student’s eyes.  Focus and motive to achieve, to be known, to excel outside of the four walls of a classroom.
As we live our daily lives, our personalities become exposed, and we expose those of others.  Each situation, whether within the walls of Handley high or experienced elsewhere, defines us. Our surroundings mold us emotionally- no two of us are the same.  We are who we are; our appearance is unique, our mindsets are one of a kind, our experiences differ.
Through our activities, we have revealed ourselves to the school.  As the school year has progressed, the definition of our individual profiles has become sharp, and we have placed our profiles along the halls among all other Handley attendees-past, present, and future.  Our profiles, representing our lives – stay – waiting to expose our experiences for those who follow.

I disagree on that part about Handley not being outwardly intriguing.

I disagree on that part about Handley not being outwardly intriguing.


Bacon’s Castle

No this isn’t Kevin Bacon’s house.  No, they don’t store bacon here.  It was a trip that really started with “let’s ride the ferry today.”

side note:  I had participated in a ride back in 1988 that’s now part of Bike Virginia.  The very first edition was called “The Colonial Williamsburg Bike Trek” and it was a first for me.  First really big, organized ride and my first one on my own.  Big deal as a junior in high school.  No parents.  No siblings.  Lots of responsibility.

Anyway, I remember part of that ride back in ’88 had us hop the ferry over to Surry and ride near all the crop fields and I thought it was a very cool place.  So I convinced my wife to hop the ferry and we explored Surry for a day.  If you’re into history, I highly recommend it.

One of the many Jacobean-style rooms at Bacon's Castle. | Order a print of this image.

One of the many Jacobean-style rooms at Bacon’s Castle. | Order a print of this image.

Mini Me

That’s me on my roof with my son.  Turns out there’s no difference in flight distance from my roof compared to the ground.  Might as well have launched from the driveway.  Oh well, it was fun anyway.


I can do your house, too – just contact me.


It’s sometimes difficult for some folks to make it back to their alma mater to visit.  Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes.  I graduated 21 years ago this year and JMU is such a different school (physically – I won’t get into the politics of all that’s been in the news lately).  I know I enjoyed my time there and hopefully this video will spark some memories if you’re also an alumnus.  Before I did the video of Handley I actually had this one started, but I didn’t have enough footage yet.  I’ve finally collected enough footage – enjoy.

Madison, James Madison
We’ll Be Forever True
Our Loyalty Will Always Be To JMU
While Friends Remain Within Our Hearts
And Knowledge Guides Our Way
James Madison Will Lead Us On
To Conquer Each New Day

Annie Lisle

I’ve posted “One-A-Day” since January 1 and have yet to actually post a video.  It’s about time I did.  I’ve been collecting plenty of video footage over the past couple weeks with this new drone and had an idea to create some school videos for various local high schools and universities.  What better school to start with than the school that both my kids and my wife attended – John Handley High School.  And what better music to accompany than the alma mater. I wonder how many people really know the origin of this tune.  The original lyrics don’t really paint a pretty picture, but I’ll leave that up to you to research.

You may know it as “the ubiquitous alma mater song used by almost every school in the universe.”  – +oldwhtman

I looked all over for this song and all I could really find was the Kellerman’s Anthem from Dirty Dancing.  Or a university glee club singing their own lyrics.  Thank goodness for YouTube!  And thank you +oldwhtman for allowing me to use your performance of it.

A Whole New World

“Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

– Douglas Adams

Yep.  Guess who got a new toy?  Look out world, here I come!

A Whole New World


Dear Today

Letter to Today:

Dear Today,

You could have been better to me.  While washing the car, I almost ripped the fingernail off my middle left finger.  Yeah, this one.  The one I’m holding up and showing to you.  Yeah, that one.  Hurts like crap.  Then I had to cancel a credit card due to fraudulent charges.  It’s getting to the point that the banks red flag ANY spending that’s even slightly outside of my pattern.  I get it, but it’s frustrating when it happens.  I think I’m on my 3rd new credit card in the past year!  Oh, and I ran into the back of a car on my bike ride.  Credit card fraud really sucks.

So, yeah, you could have been better to me.



And just a FYI, I’m fine after the cycling incident (for those of you asking).  I was more embarrassed than I was concerned.  It was one of those “I’ve-ripped-the-fingernail-off-my-middle-finger-(the-one-I’m-showing-you-now)-and-somebody-is-trying-to-steal-money-from-me-but-I-want-to-get-a-ride-in-so-I’m-in-a-hurry-and-I’m-not-paying-any-attention” kind of incidents.

If you play the guitar, you can identify and here’s why.  Let’s say you play the guitar.  You know all the chords.  You’ve practiced.  You know ’em.  But ya still look at the frets from time to time, right?  Ya just do.  That’s the way it works.  It’s the same with us cyclists.  I know where my pedals are.  I know how my shoes fit into the cleats.  But I still look at the pedals every once in a while.  Imagine you’re playing the guitar.  You got a pretty good tune going on.  You’re strumming along and you glance down to check the proper fingering and WHAMMO!  You just ran into the back of a stopped car.  See, now you understand.

There was really no damage to either me or the car, but guess what took the brunt of the impact.  Yeah, my left middle finger (the one I’m showing you now).

Yeah, today could have gone better.

I’m thinking those agoraphobics are on to something.  Of course, I wouldn’t be able to capture images like these if I never went anywhere.

Murphy's Law

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Light Show

So, it’s been quite a while since I’ve actually been at home for the 4th of July.  I completely forgot that the fireworks were set off last night.  Oh well.  No biggie.

I posted an image previously from this lightning storm, but this was what was happening over the ocean in the other direction.  Pretty crazy considering that this was taken between 10 and 11 pm.  Our own little pre-4th fireworks show.

I'd posted an image previously from this lightning storm, but this was what was happening over the ocean in the other direction. | Order a print of this image.

Order a print of this image.


After a while, it becomes difficult to tell what’s up and what’s down. 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

See a bigger version of this image.

See a bigger version of this image.

This Sucker’s Electrical!

“No, no, no, no, no, this sucker’s electrical, but I need a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need.”

– Dr. Emmett Brown

I think Doc Brown would have been all set for a few more trips in his time machine after last night’s storms!  I wonder how many gigawatts were generated from this one.

I give you 1.21 gigawatts! | Order a print of this image.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 1.21 gigawatts! | Order a print of this image.

Longest Day

Exactly one year ago I was participating in “The Longest Day” sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association.  I’ve never experienced anybody who suffers from Alzheimer’s, but now understand how traumatic and very difficult it can be and am thankful that a friend asked me to participate.  If you’re participating this year either as someone who is going through it currently or as a friend, here’s to hoping that today is filled with good memories of your loved ones and friends as you start your longest day.

The Longest Day

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