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?!”

Notes to Self

So along with about 5 million other people (give or take), I traveled to the path of totality.  How could I miss something like that?  Many thanks to my friend Brian Clark for motivating me to travel with him and his kids to experience it.  I may not have come away with the best images, but I experienced it.  It was all worth it.  The distance traveled, the traffic, the waiting.  Icing on the cake?  There’s another one in 2024.  I’ll see you there!

In the meantime, here are some notes to my future self so I don’t forget (the beauty of an online journal, right?):

  • Use the same camera to shoot both partial and total (the other camera is a backup)
  • Avoid extenders if at all possible.
  • Get a solar filter for the longest focal length.
  • Practice.  Actually practice.  It may seem silly, but now you know.
  • Take time away from the viewfinder and experience it.
  • A sturdy/hefty tripod ballhead is your best friend.
  • All camera bodies you use need a fully articulating LCD viewfinder.
  • Go ahead and rent that camera body you really wanted to rent this time around – it’ll be worth it.

Mid-day Sunset

The sunset horizon due North during totality.  One of several very specific images from my gallery – those who were there may appreciate them more than others. | More images here.



One of my workflow tricks as a photographer (now that I kinda know what I’m doing) is to not dive right into my edits right away.  I wait a while and edit later.  I let some time pass between when I shoot and when I edit.  I can’t really articulate why this is, but I just know that if I’m too eager to jump into the edit it’s not as creative as when I wait plus it’s a bonus when I go back through my images and find ones I forgot I shot.  Of course, with thos pesky deadlines looming this isn’t always practical.


Order a print of this image. | North River in Bridgewater, VA shot about a month ago.


Before anybody gets too upset, the camera was really nowhere near the cupola.  Photographers use compression all the time – it’s what makes objects in z-space look so much closer than they really are.  A longer lens will make the objects’ relative size so drastically different and they appear closer to each other.  I was using a 400mm lens (which, on my crop frame camera is essentially a 640mm lens).  I was probably 40-50 meters away from it.

I always err on the side of caution.  I quickly grabbed this shot and then got the heck out of there.

I always err on the side of caution. I quickly grabbed this shot and then got the heck out of there.

Angle of View

My depth perception is always a little off when I’m flying this thing.  Since it’s a pretty wide-angle lens, it’s really difficult to gauge where exactly I am in z-space.  But it makes for some really cool angles and images when I can figure it out.


The iconic cupola at Handley High School


It’s Not OK!

We devote an enormous amount of time and effort to improve our craft.  To develop our own style.  To create art.  We put ourselves out there, sometimes in very vulnerable situations.

When I say “we” I mean Creatives – anybody who creates.  It could be paintings.  Perhaps videos.  How about crafts or wood carvings?  For me, it’s photography.

And those “vulnerable” situations I mentioned have everything to do with this phenomenon called the interwebs.  Internets.  The internet folks.

For most Creatives, their art is their main source of income.  It’s a business.  It’s a job and a career.  It was a choice.  IT’S NO OK, PEOPLE, TO EXPECT US TO ALWAYS GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE!  You don’t expect to walk into your local grocery store/pharmacy/department store and walk out without paying do you?  Why is it any different with photography?  IT’S NOT.  I’ll continue to consider freebies and I’ll make decisions based on my own business model and expectations at the time, but don’t get upset if I come right back at you with a link to purchase a commercial  license to use my work.

The experts say that you need to have a web presence these days.  A social media presence.  Ok.  Done.  That opens up a can of worms doesn’t it?  So how do I keep people from taking my images and sharing them elsewhere?  There’s no way you can catch everything.  It’s a pretty vulnerable situation indeed.  Here’s my thinking:

  • I post an image to a social media platform (an actual image, not a link) – I expect people to share it if the desire hits them.  That’s the way it works.
  • I post an actual image to my blog (here at – I expect people to “like” it or share it.  That’s the way it works.  By the way, all the images on this site are posted with a Creative Commons License.   Creative Commons License
  • I post an image to my online galleries ( – I expect people to purchase those images if the desire hits.  It’s an online store people.  This screen grabbing has got to stop.  IT’S NOT OK!  Just because an image is on the internet does not mean it’s “up for grabs.”  IT’S NOT OK.  Did I mention that already.  Technically it’s stealing.

Like I said, I can’t catch everything.  It’s impossible.  I have, however, discovered multiple issues where an image of mine is being used (one from my online galleries) and I have no record of it being purchased.  That’s stealing people.  IT’S NOT OK!

But the latest issue (the impetus behind this post) has really got me heated.  Angry.  Downright pissed off!  And I’ll be addressing the issue with the guilty party.  I’m hoping that it’ll be a simple “Oh wow, I’m so sorry.” but I feel this goes beyond “simple.”  Who knows, maybe this person will approach me after I post this – we’ll see.

I discovered one of my online gallery images imbedded in a Twitter feed.  I have no record of it being purchased.  And credit was given to someone else for having created it!  WTF?!


I've steered clear of watermarking, but perhaps I'm on to something with this watermark.

I’ve steered clear of watermarks, but perhaps I’m on to something with this one.  Maybe you’d like to order a print of this image – the actual image with no watermarks.



The real trick to creating a decent monochromatic image is to have a really contrasty image to start with.  I’m really digging what the new GoPro cameras can do.  The fact that I now have much more control over the exposure is what drew me to them.  I’m not even using it as an action camera as it was initially intended.  Now I have to figure out a way to attach this to my current aerial rig…