Boxley Valley in the fall

Boxley Valley in the fall

This weekend my family and I took a quick trip to Boxley Valley to check out the local elk population and the fall colors. We loaded up at 5 am to make the 2 hour drive to Ponca. We wanted to arrive just before sunrise to have the best possible chance at spotting one of the herds that gather in Boxley Vally for the rut. The elk viewing was very thin, there were no herds visible Sunday morning with just a few stragglers mulling about the valley. None of the herds were out in the open. We did hear some distant bugling from the elk, so they were not to far off… So, we made the drive through the valley enjoying the fall color. The peak is just a few days away with most of the trees showing some color.  ...
Milky Way over the White River, Mountain Home Arkansas

Milky Way over the White River, Mountain Home Arkansas

My parents visited over the last weekend, and they stayed at a trout resort just outside of town. The resort they stayed at was located right on the river. The front porch has a river view with the boat dock just a few steps away. They had a fire pit and we came over to sit in front of the fire on their last night here. The night was clear and cold, and we had an awesome view of the southern sky, so naturally I took a few shots of the night sky. I saw several shooting stars, the Milky Way was easily visible in the southern sky last night. I used a Canon 6d + Rokinon 14/2.8 for this shot. I had the camera mounted on a very stable tripod. It was, of course, very dark when I shot this image, so when i set it up the first thing I did was take a few images to get the framing that i wanted. It is hard to tell what you are looking at when you can’t see a single thing through the viewfinder, it took me 2-3 images to get the framing that I wanted. For the framing shots I was using the highest iso my camera has (to get the shortest possible shutterspeed) because I did not want to wait 45 seconds between each shot while i was just framing the shot. After getting the framing right, I changed the iso to a much more manageable setting. In this case I was shooting at 8000 iso on a 6d, which provided a reasonable exposure time and...
What is the value of a photograph?

What is the value of a photograph?

val·ue ˈvalyo͞o/ noun 1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. synonyms: worth, usefulness, advantage, benefit, gain, profit, good, help, merit, helpfulness, avail It is a tough thing to consider, placing a value on something. Often times in our life, value is assigned based on how rare it is and how desirable it is. Rarity and desirability are both variable components, and can change in a moments notice. A few years ago, Andrea wanted a family portrait. One of the images on the list that she wanted was a 4 generation shot. We started planning the portrait session. Andrea wanted to get shots of her entire family, and like any time you involve 12 people could not come to a consensus on time, place to shoot, what to wear, etc. Long story short, we got together, with a few less people than we really wanted, but we were able to get the shot that was most important for Andrea. We also got some really nice images of Andrea’s Grandmother just by herself, and a few with Andrea and her parents. Over the next few years, I got know Dorothy a little better. Caitlyn and Andrea did as well. Dorothy moved here from Texas, so while Caitlyn had met her before, it wasn’t until she moved her that they really got to know each other. It seems that Dorothy was always willing to tell stories, and share her time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I know that Andrea and Caitlyn’s life were enriched by growing a closer relationship with Dorothy, and...
How I got started in photography

How I got started in photography

  I have always had a great affinity for the outdoors. Hiking, camping, and fishing are among some of my favorite activities. But, really, anything outdoors will do. One of the draws of photography for mw was documenting my adventures. Taking a camera on a hike in to the smokes to document the experience was how I got started in the craft. A small group of my friends took a weekend hike on the Appalachian Trail. We started on the Chimney Tops and walked to Kephart Springs on the first day. The 2nd day we hiked to the top of Mount Le Conte. And on the 3rd day we completed the circle by walking the Alum Cave trail back to where we started at the Chimney tops. It was a fairly difficult hike, with a fair amount of elevation change. All the gear/food that we needed for the entire trip had to be carried, and yet, I still found room for a very heavy Pentax k1000 3 lenses and a tripod. Now, keep in mind that for a trip like this, weight and space are at a super premium, and my whole pack with food and water weighed only 35 pounds. The camera and tripod took a significant portion of that. This set of trails in the Smokies is arguably some of the best that the AT has to offer. From the stunning rock formations and vistas of the Chimney Tops to the hidden waterfalls on the Sweat Heifer Trail there is just so much to see and experience. When I was just beginning my journey in photography, the...
Photographing Children

Photographing Children

Kids. Kids and brides used to scare the #$^% out of me. When I first got interested in photography, I did not want anything to do with either of them. No way. No how. Of course, that was before I was married and had a daughter 😉 It is funny how that has changed over the years. Weddings and family sessions can be among the most fun things to shoot (if everyone is cooperative). There are thousands of books and articles written on this subject. Everybody has their own ways to shoot and interact and, their own philosophies on how to interact and engage children. For those of you who might have kids or have photographed kids before you already know that there is nothing that you can do to make a 3-5 year old child do anything if they don’t want to. Bribery, threats, punishment, pleading none of that will work. The only thing that works is when what they want lines up with what you want. Before we shoot, I often ask parents that they set no expectation on small kids other than we are going to have fun. One of the worst things that we can do is to tell a child that he better smile good or else (or smile good and get a prize). For a good child that expectation is a stress that will end up showing in the pictures, for a not-so good kid it just creates more outbursts and trouble. I like to set up a photo-session that is mostly about play. We meet at a park, and go for a...