Diver’s Cove

A favorite scene from last week’s road trip to Laguna

Diver's Cove, Laguna Beach California

Scary Surprises

I was helping a friend set-up a new blog this morning and in the process forget how much effort it took; how much time I’d spent setting this one up. I also exposed myself to the WordPress tool-set for the first time in months and found it had undergone remarkable improvement in ease of use since last I had occasion to visit. Even so , Continue reading

House on the River Bluff

Belle Grove Plantation at Port Conway, King George, VA

Birthplace of James Madison and a Premiere B&B hosted by Michelle and Brett Darnell. A verifiable gem of a place backed by genuinely passionate people.




Santa Elena Canyon

Trailhead – Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Big Bend, TX  USA


Trailhead to the Santa Elena Canyon

Trailhead to the Santa Elena Canyon


Chiricahua National Monument

A few shots from Chiricahua National Monument near Willcox, AZ.

Sunset from Massai Point

Sunset from Massai Point


Shameless Self-Promotion

You can all attest: I rarely if ever tout my work here. I just throw out what I think is proper – sometimes good; sometime not so good – and let you be the judge. Invariably the feedback adhere’s to what my mother and I suppose yours taught: If you haven’t anything nice to say, say nothing at all. It’s not well-informed, constructive criticism but neither does it trample on ego’s and good intentions.

So, having said that I think what follows artistically constitutes some of my best work to date. Most of it has been subjected to minor color correction and there is a crop here and there but a goodly chunk is SOOC (straight out of the camera). In past when I’ve examined other’s works described this way I think “Yeah. Right” because until now I’d not experienced the effect.

I can’t say that anymore.

The composition worked. The light was gorgeous. The scenes fit well into a visual description of the subject – Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE USA.  The sun cooperated. The Delaware Bay Ferry co-operated. People on the fishing pier were friendly and open and curious and did not run away or throw things at me. It was  a great outing.

I went down on this past Saturday morning. I had been unable to get a campsite for Saturday but my friend Indre had so we shared it and then when she left on Sunday I stayed over another night. Indre has camped in this park for years and knew the area well so I was fortunate to have an informed guide on day one. On day two I took advantage of the tutelage I’d gotten on Saturday afternoon.  Would be nice to work under these conditions everywhere I go.

And then there’s the histogram. That little graph that pops up on the back of my DSLR after each shot to tell me….

Well, until recently I had no real idea what it told me. I did not know a good graph from a bad one or why one was good and one wasn’t. I knew it must be of some value else Canon would not have seen fit to include it as a feature but just what that value was?  I was clueless until I stumbled upon a couple of ebooks that talked about how to make use of the information to improve (hopefully) the outcome of my efforts behind the lens. It took a while but it seems to me to have paid dividends in this shoot.

I capture my images in RAW format. This allows me the greatest degree of flexibility in post-process by maximizing the number of pixels I have to work with. By comparison a jpeg format compresses most of those pixels into digital mush before they arrive at post-process. The histogram essentially tells me if I am capturing as many pixels across the white-black spectrum as I can. The more even the distribution the better. Do this well in the right light and you get something like what you see here and over in the gallery if you go. I hope you do.

I was very pleased and that is not often the case – I’m m own worst critic: I beat me up over this stuff all the time.

But not this time. In fact I think a couple of these are going to wind up on walls. Mine or someone else’s. Or both.

Thanks for dropping in. If you’re nearby Henlopen you’re quite fortunate. Click through the pic to see more.



Eastbound and Down

I arrived in Los Angeles late last October with the idea of spending a few weeks before heading south to Baja for the winter and then working my way back east and home to Virginia. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. And I’ve been in LA ever since. I’ve yet to change my voting registration and driver’s license but I’ve come to think of this beautiful place as home. For a died-in-the-wool Virginian that’s hard to believe – but it is what it is. Still, there are places back east I need to be in the near future – principally my daughter’s wedding in September – and people scattered between here and there I need to see so next week after dawdling lo these many months in the SoCal sun I begin the long trek eastward.

One of my projects, not that I’m burdened with many, is to visit and photograph each of our National Parks at least once. There are 59 all told and so far I’ve taken in 27. Nine of those by the way are in California, the state which is home to the largest number of national parks. The trip back will consume 37 days primarily because I intend visiting a few more along the way. Eleven in fact. This project gets tougher as the number increases simply because at some point it’s no longer possible to drive to my destination: there are parks in America Samoa, the Virgin Islands and Hawaii. And eight in Alaska!

I’ll figure it out.

For now I thought I’d share the itinerary in word and image:


  1. 10 July                       Depart Los Angeles, CA
  2. 10 – 12                       Mono Lake, CA
  3. 12                               South Lake Tahoe, CA
  4. 13                               Ely, NV – Layover Point
  5. 14                               Great Basin NP, Baker, NV
  6. 14 – 16                        Capitol Reef NP, Torrey, UT
  7. 16                               Natural Bridges National Monument, UT
  8. 16 – 17                        Blanding, UT – Layover Point
  9. 17                               Hovenweep National Monument, UT
  10. 17 – 18                        Mesa Verde NP, Cortez, CO
  11. 18 – 19                        Heron Lake State Park, NM
  12. 19 – 22                        Taos, NM – Summer Writer’s Conference
  13. 22 – 23                        Great Sand Dunes National Park, Alamosa, CO
  14. 23 – 25                        Black Canyon of Gunnison NP, Montrose, CO
  15. 25 – 27                        Rocky Mountain NP, Estes Park, CO
  16. 27 – 28                        Wind Cave NP, Custer, SD
  17. 28                                Badlands NP, SD – Stopover
  18. 28 – 29                        Jamestown, ND – Layover Point
  19. 29 – 31                        Voyageurs NP, International Falls, MN
  20. 31 July – 2 Aug            Isle Royale NP, Grand Portage, MN
  21. 2 – 3                             Ironwood, MI – Layover Point
  22. 3 – 4                             Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI
  23. 4 – 5                             Saginaw, MI – Layover Point
  24. 5 – 6                             Parma Heights, OH – Layover
  25. 6 – 7                             Cuyahoga Valley NP, Brecksville, OH
  26. 7 – 12                           Elizabethtown, KY – Layover
  27. 12 – 14                         Great Smoky Mountain NP, Gatlinburg, TN
  28. 14 – 16                         Triad, NC – Layover
  29. 16 – 17                         UVA, Charlottesville, VA
  30. 17 Aug                         Arrive Reston, VA

The trip covers a little over 6,000 miles and will consume about 115 driving hours. I’m won’t get to spend as much time in each of the parks as I’d like but I know I’ll get back to many of them over the next several years.

I’m looking forward to visiting my longtime friends and maybe to making a few new ones along the way. More about the wedding later. For now I’ll just say I’m probably looking forward to it as much as any father does when it comes to his one and only (and favorite) daughter. But I’ve known my future son-in-law now for half a dozen years or more and he’s a wonderful young man. I’m sure AnnaSummer will mold him into something workable. 🙂

And next winter?  Baja, of course.


PineRidge: Sunrise to Sunset


Mo asked me the other day how I go about selecting the photographs I post. Now I’d like to say that I diligently process the images as a I go along and attempt to post each one in chronological order replete with backstory. Obviously that’s not the case although I do occasionally give it some thought.

Recently I’ve been randomly culling through my archive and post-processing files that have languished all too long. And as I do that and see a few things I like I pull them out for the blog and beyond. You’ll notice too – I hope – that these are now click-through links to the SmugMug galleries I’m beginning to (finally) populate. If you don’t know what a click-through link is just put your cursor on the face of the picture and click. 🙂 And not to worry; your machine will not explode. This image comes from the PineRidge Indian Reservation that surrounds Badlands National Park in South Dakota. It was taken when I passed through there in August 2011. It was the first area I tent camped in on that particular trip. That was a big deal for me at the time. That was many tent-poles ago.

There are lots of ridges in this area of the country but I do not recall seeing any pines.


Night Shooting – National Mall


I was on The Mall to attend a friend’s Solstice celebration near the Washington Memorial and so decided to collect  few shots of the surrounding area.