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

Eye Candy

Well, just because.

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


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!!!


I got the shot. | Order a print.

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.



I always wondered what BFE looked like – now I know.  What an awesome place.  A bit of a hike to get there, but so worth it in the end.  Look for more images like this hitting the marketing material of visitwinchesterva.com.


Sunset from Eagle Rock along the Tuscarora Trail right here in Frederick County, VA just west of Winchester. | See more like this here.


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.


There He Is

It’s taken several trips to the beach to get him used to it, but now he absolutely loves running up and down the beach, through the water chasing after any wildlife that moves.  Today he discovered the little sand crabs.


Waldo found his happy place.

Public Speaking

Another fun aerial/drone/UAV/UAS/sUAS workshop tonight at the Blandy Photo Club meeting.  It’s always fun inspiring new people to get into the aerial platform.  It also helps me keep up to date on all the new regulations, which are changing in my favor in a couple of months.  Can’t wait!  😀


Showing off the Inspire 1 to the Blandy Photo Club.


I always love the way the light of the sunset plays with the cloud cover in the opposite direction.


Lots of great texture in the sky last night during the flight demo at the Blandy Photo Club meeting.


Happy Palindrome Day!  At least it’s a palindrome if you use the format 6•1•16.


Wish I could find a decent reflection image, but this one’s nice to look at, too.


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.


Let’s lead with this…

Statistic 01

Just 8 frames later was how quickly I lost the camera.

I now join the ever-increasing number of UAV pilots who’ve crashed their aircraft.  I should make it clear that it was 100% pilot error.  Luckily it did NOT involve any other people, buildings, or vehicles (including aircraft).  I can tell you that it had everything to do with me being rushed in the moment trying to capture the perfect lighting on an incredibly cinematic scene.  And guess what, I got the shot!  I suppose that’s the photographer’s mantra (after “ƒ8 and be there”).

Long story short (here goes) reception officially starts at 7pm:

  1. Took a little longer with the bridal party that I had anticipated (family waiting for pictures at ceremony site). 6:45
  2. Arrive, sprinting, to waiting family. Have to set up aerial platform fast to capture that fading, but awesome, sunset.  6:50
  3. Finish setting it up and ready to fly.  Guests now waiting for dinner.  6:55
  4. Line up shot and start flight.
  5. I continue flight to get more landscape while, at the same time, I begin lining up family shots. 7:05
  6. Last image I see in the display is tree branches
  7. Still have formal family photos to get (including me).
  8. I kinda don’t remember the next hour or two…

My brother and son immediately volunteered to go after it.  We all put our heads together (and our smart phones) to determine its last known position and they went after it.  It was about a kilometer from its ground station and 30 feet up in the tree!  I just didn’t have the altitude to clear the terrain, but it was so close.

Just look at my face – that expression says it all!


This is about 10 minutes after the incident.  Yeah, still not at the reception…


This image makes me think about what it must have looked like before we came along.


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.


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.

Pi Day

Did you have your pie today, we did.  Blueberry – YUM!

The image has nothing to do with Pi Day - just thought the sky was awesome tonight.  This is directly opposite the actual sunset!

The image has nothing to do with Pi Day – just thought the sky was awesome tonight. This is directly opposite the actual sunset!  Order a print of this image.

American Flyers

This picture reminds me of American Flyers (you know, the movie).  It reminds me of the part in the movie where they’ve arrived at the big race out west and the sun is rising on the first day.  I know, I know.  If you know the area, you’d know that this is a sunset.  But it still reminds me of the movie.

I very iconic view of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

A very iconic view of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.


I don’t really get a lot of sleep around this particular holiday.  We’re usually visiting family and playing games until late at night.  So I was feeling a little wonky when I was editing this one.  I shot this one before a couple of years ago, but I wanted to do something a little different with it this time.


Cotton Candy Sky

I recently read a photography post compiled by top professionals indicating what photos I (as a professional wanna-be) should avoid because they’re cliche and “tired.”  You know what, I don’t care.  I don’t always take a photograph based on what the population will consider artful.  In fact, I think being a professional means determining in my own mind what I think to be artful.  And the sunset, although having been shot countless times every day, is different (IMHO) every single day.  That’s the beauty of it.  So enjoy this very unique sunset.


Giving Thanks

With it being almost a year since the demise of the local ABC affiliate in Winchester, I’m thankful that I was able to remain in that area and that my family was supportive as I made the transition into doing what I enjoy doing.  It’s been somewhat of a bumpy ride and it’s certainly not over yet, but I’m thankful that they came with me.

I know, it's not the most traditional image of Thanksgiving.  Just another thing I'm thankful for (we missed the first big storm).

I know, it’s not the most traditional image of Thanksgiving. Just another thing I’m thankful for – we missed the first big storm back home.

Closing Time

It’s a real race to get in position for the sunset these days.  The last buses from the school day haven’t even left the school, yet!  It’s worth it though.  I’m flying from the comfort of a heated vehicle these days.  I wonder how easy it would be to fly from a moving vehicle.  I suppose I should be even more careful now that the FAA is gaining ground with the NTSB, huh?


This one’s on my gallery site, too.