Floodgates open on Norfork Dam

Floodgates open on Norfork Dam

I have lived here for close to 3 years now, and have never had the opportunity to see the floodgates open on any of the local dams. We have had quite a bit of rain, and today the floodgates were opened. Around 4pm they opened the floodgates, and i heard about it through facebook. It was 9pm, and after a tense 30 min drive ( i am not sure how long the floodgates will remain open) we arrived. The roar of the water was loud enough that we could hear it as soon as we drove into Quarry Park. It was so dark by 9pm, that we could barely see it.          ...
Photographing Thunderstorms

Photographing Thunderstorms

  Warmer weather brings all the things that photographers typically love. The flowers are starting to come up and trees are quickly turning green. In this area of the country, it also brings the threat of severe weather. Photographing weather can be a challenging and fun pursuit, but I can also be very dangerous. Before discussing how to photograph storms, we need to spend a little time discussing safety. It is not really possible to take night shots of storms and lightning with out a tripod, and it should go without saying that standing next to a metal lightning rod (in this case: your tripod) and photographing a storm moving through the area is not a very good idea. Then, you still have to deal with strong winds, hail, tornados, and possibly flash flooding. This is one of those activities that you really should not try at home. Here are some stats about the dangers of being out in severe weather: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/hazstats/sum13.pdf Lighting safety here: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/    Basically, if you can hear thunder you are in danger of being struck by lightning. But, I suppose, if you are like me… you cannot resist the temptation to try to get a few shots of a landscape with some lightning in it. Finding a location. Every storm is a little different, but the formula is fairly similar. I usually have best results after dark. I will watch the weather reports to see where the storm is and which way it is moving in from. Almost always the storms move from west to east here. So I am usually looking for some point...
Stargazing – Photographing the night sky

Stargazing – Photographing the night sky

Last week, We had a storm move through and it reduced the humidity in the air, and cleared all the clouds away. Perfect time to get out at night and photograph the night sky. I met up with a friend, and we ran out to shoot. We picked a location with a view of the southwest horizon, and headed out as soon as the sun set. I used Stellarium [ http://www.stellarium.org/ ] to find the approiate time and position of the Milky Way, and I used Dark Sky finder [ http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/ ] to find the level of light pollution levels. Both are free to use and will work on virtually any platform (windows, mac, linux). Once we arrived at the location we shot for about an hour until the moon came up. Once the moon was up over the horizon the extra light made it very difficult to see any details in the Milky way,  so we packed up and called it a...
Red Bank Access at night

Red Bank Access at night

Last summer we were out exploring the area, and stumbled across the ruins of an old house near Red Bank Access in Gamelia, Arkansas. I have been planning on going back to it to shoot the Milky Way rising behind it. Since there is almost no light there (and to the south of this location there is very little light pollution) this should be an absolutely stunning location for shooting the Milky Way. The old building and lake in the foreground will provide a nice anchor for the image and will add considerable interest to the milky way shot – at least that is what I hope. A friend approached me, and wanted get a few people together to go shoot, I suggested that we go to Red Bank. We had a favorable forecast, it was partly cloudy during the day, but the forecast was for clearing skies by 10 pm. We planned to shoot at 3 am, when the brightest part of the milky way would be at it highest point in the sky. During the day of, the forecast changed a little, calling for the clear skies to become partly cloudy at 3 am; so we moved up our shoot by an hour. As the night went it, it stayed pretty cloudy, and right around 1 am it cleared up. I arrived to the location right at 1 am. It looked awesome, I could see the Milky Way, and so I knew that it would photograph well. It had been almost a year since being at this location, and there was a TON of deadfall along the...
Making star trails at night.

Making star trails at night.

    Making star trail images is always fun. They are time consuming and complicated to make but it is also difficult to find an interesting composition. For it to work, you really need to find a subject that is interesting just by itself, and gives the image a strong anchor. It helps if the main subject includes leading lines that direct the viewer. When I new that I was going to be going to Reelfoot Lake, I used google maps and was looking for noteworthy features that I could use in some landscape images. I noticed that there were several long piers that lead into the water from shore, and I noticed that there was one that was basically facing north. Once we got to Reelfoot, we scouted the locations and decided that one pier in particular would work for what I was looking for. The weather conditions were horrible for us that evening, there was a very strong and very cold wind blowing from the north across the lake. I framed up the shot to include the North Star and the pier. Then set the timelapse at 30 seconds at f4, iso5000. Then I set it up to shoot with a one second pause between each exposure for 30 minutes. It was cold enough, that while the timelapse was running we waited in the car. If it was not so miserable out, I probably would have shot several different shoots, or even tried to make some exposures that showed the Milky Way or more prominent constellations, but I was tired. I had been up driving and shooting...
Music at the County Fair

Music at the County Fair

Well, the County Fair is in town again. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since it was here last. This year a friend told me about a band that was playing at the main stage, and I tagged along and listened to them play. I, of course, brought my camera and snapped a few shots as they played, they were pretty good. Much better than what i was expecting for a rock band in a town of 12,000 people 🙂 They call themselves 9N. Check them out on FB at : https://www.facebook.com/pages/9N-Band/125415524211724   After listening to 9N play, Catie, Andrea and I walked the midway and played a few games. Last year Catie won a goldfish, this year…. it was a hermit crab. sigh. more animals to take care of. I swear, before we are done, we will own a farm.    ...