Milky Way

I’ve been talking about doing some star trails and Milky Way photos for a while.  Why I haven’t tried it before, I don’t know for sure.  I guess it’s just like other things people put off doing for no reason.  So last night, I just got the bug to go do it.  The moon was right, it was a clear sky, I wasn’t tired, and I tracked the Milky Way using Stellarium software.  Once I decided to go, I quickly threw my stuff in the truck and drove south looking for the darkest spot I could find.  Ideally, I should have used a light pollution map to find a spot that was perfect.  The problem is that “perfect location” really doesn’t exist on the east coast of the United States.  The best places are all out west.


Because of the hills and valleys around my area, I needed a spot on top of a tall hill or mountain.  So I found a cemetery on a hill about 15 miles south of my house.  Yes, I stood in a dark cemetery in the middle of the night photographing the stars.    


After getting back home, I spent some time researching how to process the images.  So the photo I’m sharing with you tonight is my first attempt at photographing the Milky Way.  I’ve got a lot to learn about this type of photography, but I don’t think it is terrible.  What do you think?

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

The Beast

Tonight I’m posting something different.  I think you need something different from time to time and so do I.  For your viewing pleasure, I present to you “The Beast”.  I took this picture off the coast of Isla de Guadalupe Mexico in 2012.  It took us 30 hours by boat to reach this spot.  We traveled from San Diego and by boat to Ensenada Mexico where we checked in with Customs.  Then from Ensenada, we made the long crossing to Guadalupe. 


Once on site, we anchored off shore and drove with the Great Whites for three days.  I don’t know how many different Great Whites we saw, but they circled us on every dive.  Sometimes there would be only one at a time, other times there was up to 5 at time….that we could see.  So I don’t know if there were only 5 sharks or 50 different sharks.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  We had a great experience and enjoyed the show. 


The Beast in this photo was typical of the 14 footers we experienced.  Large, graceful, and just amazing. 

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click here.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click here.

Bar View

First, let me get this out of the way…..  I know this isn’t a great photograph technically.  The photography experts can point to all the problems with this photo.   No need, I already know they exist.

 

Now, the reason I shared this photo was because of the great memories associated with this spot.  This was the view from the beach side bar at the Secrets Silversands Resort in Puerto Morelos Mexico.  I got up before the sun on numerous days to catch the sunrise.  As you can tell, one of my favorite spots for watching the sunrise was from this bar.  For the record, the bar wasn’t open at this time of the day…..so it wasn’t the drinks that made this a great sunrise spot.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Honest Abe

It’s been a long couple of weeks lately and today was tough.  We lost a family pet today due to a tumor.  I’ll stop there with that subject. 


So here is a quick post tonight.  The Lincoln Memorial is one of my favorite monuments in Washington D.C.  Something about his statute looking down at you is impressive.  I also love all the details built into the statute and the surrounding structure. 

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Something Totally Different

Tonight I have something different from what I normally post.  I took this picture last summer while on a visit to Georgia.  This is from within the Aviation Museum at Warner Robins Air Force Base.  Honestly I don’t know what type of plane this is and won’t look it up.  The last time I looked up an airplane name from the museum’s website, I had people telling me that I was wrong.  So I’ll just leave it at this…..  It is a very cool looking plane.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, please click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, please click the photo above.

Canonsburg Lake Sunset

I know, I know…..another boring sunset picture.  I realize you’re getting bored of these.  Please stick with me, even when I post boring stuff like this. 


I took this 7 exposure auto-bracketed HDR photo last night.  We had a very strong rainstorm run through the area about dinnertime last night.  Following that, it looked like we’d have a nice evening.  So I threw my stuff in the truck and drove up the road to capture this photo and just watch the sun go down. 

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Costa Maya Mexico

I know when most Americans think about Mexico, they think of illegal immigrates, drug smuggling, drugs cartels, and poverty.  Not me!!!  When I think of Mexico, I’m thinking about beautiful beaches, warm and friendly locals, great food, sun, and a hard working society.  MJ and I have visited Mexico probably 15 times (maybe more) at probably 10 different locations.  Every one of those visits (some short and some longer) has been great experiences. 


Today’s photo is from the beach in Costa Maya.  We loved this little fishing village and like our other experiences, had a great time.  This was from our last trip to Mexico in the spring…..      

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Water Drops Refraction

This is what happens when:

 

a.     I have free time on my hands

b.     My camera is charged up and ready to go

c.      MJ had tons of flowers around the house from our 25th Anniversary and…..

d.     I’ve wanted to try this idea for a long time……

 

This is a photo of a sunflower refraction in the water drops.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, please click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, please click the photo above.

Here is another sample from my photo experiments.

Here is another sample from my photo experiments.

Pennsylvania Farm Sunrise

There are times when I love being a landscape photographer and there are times when it isn’t so fun…..like this morning when I got out of bed before 5am to photograph this lake.  Getting out of bed was the terrible part.  Once I got in the car and started the drive, I got excited about how cool this photo was going to look.  Plus there is something so cool about being in an awesome spot watching the sun come up.  When we’re on vacation, I’ll get up numerous times to watch the sunrise.


Anyway, this farm belongs to my co-workers’ family outside of Washington PA.  They have the largest man-made pond/lake I’ve seen in Pennsylvania.  It is massive!!  He asked me to photograph some of the farm for them and we went out there after work last week.  Once I saw that lake, I knew immediately that I had to come back for a sunrise photo.  So I paid the price and captured this wonderful photo.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Independence Day

In the United States, it is Independence Day.  We celebrate the 4th of July every year with parades, flags, barbeques, family and lots of fireworks.  I took these pictures tonight in Canonsburg PA.  I probably should have gone into Pittsburgh for the big show, but I got lazy.  Regardless, Canonsburg put on a nice show.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Before I tell you anything about this photo, I wanted to say that I posted this picture for Randy.  Randy is a co-worker who enjoys reenactments like this….so here’s to you Randy.


I took this picture about a week ago at Fort Necessity National Battlefield in Fayette County Pennsylvania.  This is part of the U.S. National Park Service and preserves the battlefield.  This battle (July 3, 1754) was early in the French and Indian War, and resulted in the surrender of British Colonial forces under the command of Colonel George Washington….. a first of many losses for a young George.


This young WVU student volunteer put on a musket demonstration and as you can see I captured the moment.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Daisuke Matsuzaka

I have something a little different for you tonight.  Here is a picture of New York Mets’ pitcher during his full pitching motion.  I took this last Thursday night when the Mets were in Pittsburgh playing the Pirates.


I like how you can see the baseball in three spots during his motion if you look closely.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Heinz Field & Fun With Friends

Sorry I’ve been absent the last couple of days.   We had friends visiting us from Michigan and we were running all over western Pennsylvania doing things with them.  Here is a list of some things we did over the last three days:

 

·      Toured Lauren Caverns

·      Visited National Park Service’s Fort Necessity & General Braddock’s Grave

·      Visited Ohiopyle State Park (2 waterfalls and each tried the natural rock water slide)

·      Watched the Pirates beat the Mets at PNC Park

·      Toured Heinz Field

·      Ate at Primanti Brothers in Market Square

·      Visited The Point State Park

·      Ate ice cream at Sarris

·      Explored some of the international rooms and the Great Hall within The Cathedral Of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh

·      Looked at Pittsburgh from the Outlooks on top of Mt. Washington

·      …… and we still had time to barbeque, visit, etc….

 

Needless to say it was a great time.  So I have two pictures for you tonight.  The first is a picture of “L” (name hidden to protect the innocent) riding the natural rock water slide at Ohiopyle State Park.  The zoomed in section showing his facial expression is classic…..and probably how mine looked when I took my turn…..  The second picture is a panoramic HDR photo I took while we toured Heinz Field. 

 

I want to send a big thanks to our friends.  We had a great time and I am glad they came to visit.

 

NOTE:  The picture of "L" on the rock water slide was removed at the request of one of the parents.  I checked in advance and got approval to post the picture.  I didn't use any names and kept everything generic to avoid any issues.  But apparently that wasn't okay......  Regardless, removing the photo is fine because it won't eliminate all the fun, memories and experiences we had during the visit.

 

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

If you click the Heinz Field photo above, you'll get a larger (much cooler) version.

Calvin!!!!

I know that I should be excited about the World Cup right now, but honestly I am just ready for some American Football.  I’ve secured my NFL Steelers Media sideline pass for the 2014-2015 season.  Now I just need the season to start. 


So to hold me over, here is a picture I took of my favorite player….. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.  I took this photo last season when the Lions played the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.  I stalked Calvin on the field that day.  The Lions only play in Pittsburgh, once every 12 years.  So I had to photograph him as much as I could while I had my chance.  Go Lions!!!

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Pittsburgh Sunset

Here is a 7 auto-bracketed HDR image I took on a photo walk with Dave and Brad Truxell last fall.  We were hanging out near the Hot Metal Bridge and the American Eagle corporate headquarters building.  Great view of Pittsburgh from there and we got lucky with a great sunset as well.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Citizen Hotel

This 15-story building was Sacramento’s first skyscraper.  It was built in 1925 as the California Life Insurance building, now it is home to The Citizen Hotel.  The hotel is a first rate luxury and boutique hotel, at least that’s what the Internet claims.  It has 198 rooms, which are almost all unique in design and décor.  The Citizen is also home to Grange Restaurant & Bar, which I visited with some friends.  I would highly recommend this restaurant because the food was wonderful. 

 

I found the hotel’s lobby by mistake when I left the restaurant’s dinning room to find the restroom.  Once I stumbled upon the lobby, I knew I had to photograph it.  By today’s standards the lobby is very small.  You can’t tell by looking at my photo, but there isn’t much more to this setting.  But as you can tell, it is an amazing spot with lots of rich fabrics, colors, and atmosphere.   

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Vought A-7 Corsair II

This is a supersonic aircraft was expensive to operate and the high speed isn’t required for all combat roles.  This plane was dedicated to ground attack and emphasized efficiency, range, and weapons capacity over speed and maneuverability.  This aircraft type was commissioned in the 1960’s to replace the A-4 Skyhawk on Navy carriers.  This specific aircraft was carried aboard the John F. Kennedy during Desert Storm.  It is on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.  I took this photo last summer and created it with a 7 exposure auto-bracketed image.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.