Thankful

The Trails at The MSV are opening to the public on November 25.

As we gear up for the holidays, there is certainly a mixed bag of emotions coming to the table this year.

Wow, I actually had to pause and really think about what everybody must be going through. All the different situations we all, as Americans, are facing right now.

I have many things to be thankful for this year and every year and I think that sometimes I have to take a step back and really think – think about the things I might take for granted. Those are the things that I should be thankful for – the things that I rarely think about actually BEING thankful for. The things that aren’t always front of mind. The things that, if they were removed from my life, would make a serious impact, but I just never think of them so…no impact.

I live within walking distance of a major cultural center in my city and region. I never thought too much of it before I became involved professionally, but I did become involved and I’m pretty thankful I did. I’ve met some really awesome people and experienced some pretty awesome events and exhibits. I took it for granted and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who did.

Next Wednesday (11/25/2020) marks over 3 1/2 years since I produced the first video in a series to promote and begin the fund raising task to bring a brand new experience to the residents of this region – The Trails at The MSV. They open to the public a day before Thanksgiving. It’s an outdoor venue that anybody can enjoy at their own leisure. Yup, the’re FREE.

By the way, I just joined The MSV – no excuse for why it took me this long. You should, too. See you on the trails!

Flight

Winchester Regional Airport (aka OKV) with Winchester and the Allegheny Mountains in the distance. | Order a print here.

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

I was, without a doubt, a bit nervous before my flight today. It essentially went against all my protocols up to now. Got some pretty epic footage though. Be on the lookout for the marketing videos coming out from the airport soon.

Time

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

Why Do I Even Bother?

Drones.  Drones!  DRONES!!  Seems like they’re everywhere.  And, of course, anybody can just walk right in to most big box retailers and get one.  Everybody’s a “drone pilot” now then, right.  NO!!!  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  I try to follow the rules and regulations.  Why?  Because it’s the law.  I’m not trying to be a goody-goody.  I just don’t have the money to pay any potential fines that could come with breaking any of the current laws.  That’s why it just chaps my a** when others around me blatantly break the rules.  Or when others around me disseminate inaccurate information.

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is a big deal in my town.  When I first began shooting photography for the festival, I used a drone.  Drone (UAS) regulations didn’t exist back then.  People (certain specific people as part of a bigger group of people) got bent out of shape and actually posted disclaimers that they were not affiliated with me.  I actually got reported and the police shut me down.  I have a letter of investigation from the FAA!  I should frame it.  Just to be clear, this was before any drone regulations existed!  I wasn’t endangering anybody and was being as safe as I could be.  It was too new, people got freaked out.  Oh no, there’s this flying thingy.  It’s spying on me!  It’s invading my privacy!  IT WAS A PUBLIC VENUE DAMMIT!

Fast forward 4 years and now there ARE regulations in place, but it seems that most people just don’t care.  Should I give them the benefit of the doubt?  Perhaps.  But there are channels to check if folks are legit.  Most are not.  Or at least major parts of their operations are not.

I was told this year that I would be too close to an airport to fly a drone during the Apple Blossom Festival.  Nope.  Incredibly inaccurate.  I fly here all the time and have a working relationship with the airport.  It’s class E airspace.  We’re not too close to an airport to fly a drone.  It’s one thing if a local city/town declares an area a drone-free zone.  Localities do that and I would comply.  I have before.  Laguna Beach in CA has such a declaration so I wasn’t able to fly there.  I get it.  There is no declaration in Winchester at Apple Blossom.  But I was instructed not to fly.  Fine, I wasn’t going to fly anyway.

Then I see multiple images from drone flights over the festival.  At night!  Flights at night are NOT covered by the new Drone certification (license) – Part 107, which is technically CFR 14 Part 107 for folks who don’t know.  Flights over people aren’t covered either.  You have to get specific permission (a waiver) from the FAA to do those flights.  There’s an application process where you have to justify the operations and explain how you’d mitigate the risks involved.  The FAA has a website that lists all waivers granted.  Guess what, no such waivers exist in this area (at least for the folks who shot the images I saw).

The exception here is if you’re flying for recreation.  I never understood this and have never agreed with it.  It’s the same airspace – all drones should follow the same rules.  All cars follow the same traffic laws.  How is this different?!?!?!

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?!?!?!?!?!

Rant over, as you were.

Part 107

Just to be clear, this image was shot back in 2015 when NO regulations existed for drone flight. This is the image that started it all.

My Corner

My little “corner of the world.”  Stay safe everybody.

corner

Winter

“Winter is here.”

Today’s checklist:

    1. Snowblower successfully started
    2. Winter Blend coffee in the hopper
    3. Snow on the ground
    4. GoT in the DVD player

Winter

 

MoM

So, tomorrow, along with 30+ other men I’ll be a MOM – aka, “Man on a Mission” – collectively known as “Men on a Misson.”  I’ve done this now for 3 or 4 years now and it’s a blast.  The creative side of me really gets jazzed about it – and tomorrow is absolutely no exception.  It’s an event that benefits the Highland Food Pantry so that’s all you need, right?  This year’s theme is tailgating and all I can say is if you’re a Steelers fan, you may want to come check out my display.  There’s no way you’ll miss it.  That’s all I’m saying.

A couple links to more info:

Winchester Star

Highland Food Pantry

img_4703

You’re gonna want to see this…

Sunset

So my app told me there was a 47% chance of a decent sunset.  If this is 47% I can’t imagine what 100% looks like.

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The sun setting over Shenandoah Univeristy in Winchester, VA | Order a print of this image

Old Jake

I don’t get to shoot for myself much anymore so I have to grab any opportunity to get creative.  I’ve always wanted to shoot “Old Jake” so after a recent flight for a client, I did just that.  The original “Old Jake” weathervane is on display at The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, VA.

OLD JAKE

Old Jake perched on top of Rouss Fire Hall in Winchester, VA | Order a print of this image.

The Eye

There’s lots of competition these days and I encourage any and all newcomers, but keep this in mind →  it doesn’t take a high-end camera, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the latest “this” or spared no expense on “that” – it takes “the eye.”  Do you have the creative “eye?”  Equipment only matters up to a certain point.

The Eye

“The Eye” at The Handley Library.  The best camera is ALWAYS the one you have with you.

Differences

Put aside your political views/opinions for about 45 minutes each day.  Enjoy the fact that there’s always this to look forward to.

differences

It’s been a while since I shot anything and I know this is a similar composition, but it’s never really the same. | Order a print of this image.

Snow Haiku

I don’t like the cold
The sun looks great in Winter
I want some bacon

snow-haiku

I really like the juxtaposition of the cool tones and the warm tones. | Order a print of this image.

At Least He Cleaned Up His Mess

It’s not every day that an opportunity lands in your front yard and says “photograph me while I rid Old Town Winchester of a black squirrel.”  This is what makes me envious of those people who have fields and forests in their back yards.  But it was cool and weird when it happened on a main street in town.  At least he cleaned up his mess.  

Unfortunately I had to shoot these images through double-paned glass so they’re not as sharp as they could be.

KOKV 291515Z AUTO 21007KT 10SM CLR 17/07 A3013 RMK A02

Great day to fly – yeah, I’m a geek, so.

metar

The weather finally cooperated with me – just wish the foliage would, too. | Order a print of this image.

Painterly

It’s certainly not for everybody and I’ve seen it done with great success, but the “painterly” style is definitely different.

painterly

Shenaodah University’s Halpin-Harrison Hall as the Fall foliage sets in. | Order a print of this image.

Fairy Tale

Makes you completely disregard the fact that this is actually a cemetery, right?

fairy-tale

The gatehouse entryway to Mt Hebron cemetery in Winchester, VA. | Order a print of this image. 

Due Diligence

Ok, now that I’ve done the “heavy lifting” to be allowed to fly a sUAS legally it should be as important for you (the consumer of photography and video) to complete your due diligence.  Make sure the person/company you’ve just hired to shoot your video is also legally allowed to perform the sUAS work for hire.  It concerns me that anybody can walk into Best Buy or Target or Wal-Mart or hop on Amazon or any number of other online retailers and purchase these flying machines.  And young kids these days are seeing the proliferation of drone videos and YouTubers flying with reckless abandon that it seems glamorous and risk-free.  It’s certainly not risk-free, but kids tend to simply plow forward without a second thought.  It worries me to no end that a very young middle-schooler recently proudly announced to me that he just got a DJI Phantom 4 – a fairly expensive flying camera.  Yeah, kids are amazing at video games and technology in general these days, but the decision-making skills are simply not there.  It’s comparable to a drivers license.  There are reasons that teens go through a process to earn a driver’s license which includes an age requirement.  Decision-making skills folks.  And I’m certainly not saying that you have to hire me – just make sure the person/company that you DO use is qualified and legally allowed.

Ok I’m done.  Enjoy this image of Fall colors knocking on our door.

almost-there

Fall colors are popping up quickly.  My goal is to get this shot with much more Fall color in the next couple weeks.

Luck

I completely stand behind my statement that I tell a lot of people about my photography.  There’s certainly a lot of luck involved.  Right time, right place.  As I gain experience, though, it’s becoming easier to be in that right place at that right time.

The Storm

As the double rainbow was strengthening, I was able to spin it around and catch the lightning! | Order a print of this image.

Luck

The magnificent double rainbow over Winchester tonight. | Order a print of this image.

Absence

Has your heart grown fonder?  It seems like it’s getting longer between posts for me.  I suppose that means I’m busy these days with my studio work, which is good for me, but I need those days wheere I can just go out and shoot what moves me and just be creative.

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One of the few landmarks around Winchester that I haven’t really shot – The Museum of The Shenandoah Valley. | Order a print of this image.

Teaser

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.

Teaser

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