Fire in the Sky

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Fire!!! Well that’s what it looked like from my balcony.  This was one of those wonderful afternoon skies where it went from meh, to oh yeh!!!  It didn’t last too long maybe fifteen minutes.  That’s the amazing thing about sunsets and the reason why so many people don’t see them. We are all so busy with life and hopefully if you’re driving you’re paying attention to the road. Plus most roads have trees or buildings all around and you don’t see the horizon so you miss seeing the fire.  So the next time you’re out near sundown, try slowing down and watching the sky.  Enjoy!

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Finally Back!

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything so a big thanks to all the folks who have come here faithfully checking out my pictures.  I haven’t really shot too much in the last two years but I do have a few good images to post along with my whimsical writings.

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I saw this image outside my balcony a little while back and couldn’t believe my eyes.  I don’t usually take pictures of clouds because they look like a bunny rabbit or a tiger.  But holy cow this looked like a bird. And you might think I took a picture of the sunrise with a slow shutter speed and a bird flew by closely.  Since I was focused at infinity if there was a bird about 50 feet in front of me and my shutter speed was about a 30th of a second it would work out. But this was an actual cloud formation. I grabbed my camera and shot two frames before it faded away.  This was the better of the two.

I hope you enjoy this image and check out all my other pictures. I’ll post more soon.  See ya for now.  Mike

Posted in Clouds, Sunrise | 1 Comment

First Day of Winter

Well winter is officially here and the first day was exceptionally warm. It was almost 70 degrees here in Northern Virginia so I decided to take a drive up to Great Falls National Park. It is a nice small park that is easily accessible.


These shots were taken from one of the lookouts that are easy to walk to.  The water was flowing at a nice rate. After a big storm it is nothing but a big muddy rush of water.  During the summer when it’s been dry for a while there isn’t much flow and you can see a lot more rocks.



Although there are the big falls, there are also some other smaller creeks and side trails that are fun to walk down. Lot’s of families with small children and everyone has their dog out here for a walk. It is very flat so jogging is another popular activity.



And this is what the river looks like above the falls. It looks nice and peaceful doesn’t it?


Well I hope everyone is having a nice holiday season. I plan to shoot a lot more in the new year and post more frequently.

See ya next time.

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Fall Color: Part Deux

   Well just when I thought the fall colors around here where fading I found a lot more. I was driving around last weekend through some neighborhoods when I spotted a few of these scenes. I think it is so amazing how you don’t need to go off to any exotic places to find true beauty in nature. Just like a lot of my cloud shots are taken from my back yard, these pictures were from right here in Northern Virginia.  Home of the Beltway and endless traffic.



   I like it when the trees are all different colors right next to each other.  Of course you need a nice fir tree too to offset the yellows reds and oranges. This was just at the end of a street. I had to zoom in and make a tight crop due to power lines but you wouldn’t know that unless I told you.  Dang! I just gave away one of my secrets 😉



   Here is a maple tree that was just ablaze with color.  Well really just one color, RED!!! It really was this saturated also. I came around a corner and it caught my eye so I had to stop my car and shoot right out the window. The sun had just the right angle on it and the sky was a nice clean blue. Perfect color contrast. Well there goes another one of my secrets. I just stopped my car and shot out the window. I didn’t even put the car into park. Like they always say, the best camera is the one you have with you.  So if you are driving around and have a camera ready you can shoot very easily.  Now I want to warn everyone to be very careful when stopping to take a picture. This was in a neighborhood and there was no traffic. I wouldn’t recommend stopping on the Beltway to shoot out the window.



   Here is another one of my favorite fall shots.  Clear blue sky with nice bright yellow trees. These trees were so tall, over 100 feet. The sun was going down so they were illuminated very well with that nice golden sunlight. The blue sky is the perfect back drop and since yellow and blue are opposite colors they contrast perfectly. 

   Well the fall colors are definitely fading here now so I won’t post anymore fall colors.  What’s next??? Well beautiful winter colors of course. Lovely sunsets and the possibility of snow. Speaking of which, the forecast is calling for snow on tuesday. We can only hope for a couple inches to make everything pretty. Well I hope you have enjoyed these pictures. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.  See ya!

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Fall Color

Hey everybody, Happy Fall.

Ok, well Fall did start a few weeks ago but I finally got out this weekend to look for some pretty colors. The colors here in Northern Virginia are really coming out bright right now. As I drove around some back roads I saw some nice big trees that were just beautiful. As well as loving pretty skies I also love a nice big old tree.



I’m not sure how tall this tree was but I’d say at least 100 feet.  Can you imagine what kind of history it has been a witness too?



Here’s another very tall tree with the sun coming through the top of the canopy. I really like to shoot in the afternoon since that’s when the light is best to illuminate the fall colors of yellow, orange and reds.



I just love the way the light was shining down this path.  It was so inviting, yet with Halloween approaching it was a little scary too.



Finally there was this big old tree that had already lost most of it’s leaves.  It’s hard to tell from this photo but the base of the tree was about five feet across. Easily over 100 years old. Man, that’s even older than me!

I hope you are seeing lots of pretty fall colors where you are.  Unless of course you live in the Souther Hemisphere, and then of course, Happy Spring.

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Hey everyone, how’s it going?  Well for me it’s up early in the darkness. But the other morning I was rewarded with a very pretty sunrise as I looked out the window just before I left for work.  So I grabbed my camera and took these two shots.  The thing you have to remember about a sunrise or sunset is that they move fast!  The amazing color of this particular morning only lasted about five minutes.  So if you are lucky enough to see something like this make sure you grab your camera and start shooting immediately.


But the great thing about a nice sunrise or sunset is that it happens every single day of the year. Color like this always exists unless it is completely overcast with heavy clouds. The reason why most people don’t see these beautiful scenes is because we are all so busy first thing in the morning getting ready for the day and there are many things in the way of the view. Houses, trees, hills, big buildings all block the horizon. Many times this color only shows up low on the horizon.  So if you can get up high to look down on the horizon you will see this.  The best place is at the beach in a high rise hotel or up on a mountain top.  I am constantly on the outlook for new spots to catch a nice sunrise or sunset.


So keep your eyes peeled to the sky and happy hunting.

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National Monuments…

Hi everyone,  Here is a quick repost of some images I took a few years ago in Washington DC of a few of the monuments there.  Just in case you wanted to look at them but weren’t able to since they are officially closed, I thought I could post a few images to help you get by until the monuments reopen.  Lets hope it’s a lot sooner than later.



Here are a few from the Korean War Memorial.



The Martin Luther King Memorial is very inspiring and an amazing sculpture.



And finally I’ll close out with two from the WWII memorial since that has been in the news a lot lately.



I hope you enjoy these pictures but make sure you see these beautiful monuments in person too.

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Harpers Ferry

Here are a few shots from the World Wide Photo Walk in Harpers Ferry, WV. The weather was great and the folks were nice.  Enjoy the photos.

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Posted in Architecture, Fall Color, Landscape, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Rehoboth Beach Pano

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   A few days after Hurricane Sandy pounded the east coast I headed up to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for a few days with my wife and the kids.  This is a panorama I shot from our hotel room balcony.  Fortunately Rehoboth didn’t get hit too hard so our hotel was still open.  This was late in the afternoon which is one of my favorite times of day at the beach.  It was really chilly since it was November but it was nice.

   I know I haven’t posted anything in a long time but I haven’t really been shooting much.  I’ll try to post more often in the future.  Meanwhile enjoy this shot!


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Image Back Up…

Hello again. 

     Here’s another no image post, but a post about thousands of images.  And here is a question for you all.  How do you back up your images?  Well I  have a very reliable if a little difficult way that I back up all my photographic images.  I don’t worry about my documents or programs because I just don’t have that many to worry about.

     There are many ways that you can back up.  Burn images to a cd, dvd or blu-ray disc.  Have an external hard drive that carries a copy of everything on your internal hard drive. Or you can upload everything to The Cloud.  Which frankly scares me a lot.  What happens if it’s a clear sunny day and you want to retrieve some of your images.  Where are they?  Seriously, where do they go?  I have no idea how any of that works. The one thing I do know is that is your Cloud Company goes belly up, you may have a hard time getting your picture back.

     Well here is my totally convoluted yet completely secure system, and I will share all my secrets with you.   First I drag images off my camera’s card to an external hard drive. My file system is very simple.  A folder with the year 2012,  and four sub-folders with the quarters such as January to March. I’m pretty good at remembering when something took place but if you need help then a program like Adobe Lightroom is very helpful if you take the time to do your keywording properly (I am not!).  After I have dragged every file to it’s proper folder on the hard drive I do it again to an identical hard drive. I  have two in case one fails. Seems like a good and simple plan Mike.  That’s just the beginning.

     Next I burn a disc like a DVD or now a Blu-Ray disc of all the images.  I used to be able to get a whole year on a DVD and now I need a Blu-Ray disc per quarter.  I do throw out a lot of images and I’m not a rapid fire crazy sports shooter.  After I have the one disc completed I burn another identical disc.

   So now I have my images in four places.  Two hard drives and two discs.  Well that’s just great Mike but what’s so secret or spectacular about that?  Well even though I have four copies of my images I really only have them in TWO DIFFERENT PLACES!!! Two hard drives and one disc are in my house.  The fourth copy is at my office building.  You can back up till your blue in the face like I do, but what if your house catches fire and burns to the ground. That’s why my one copy is at work.  I figure that the odds of both buildings catching fire and destroying everything is about 80 Bazillion to one. And if the whole world is on fire, well then we have bigger things to worry about. 

   The cost of my back up is really small.  The hard drives were $100 a piece and the Blu-Ray discs are about $1.00 a piece.  I figure that’s a lot cheaper that an online service.  So there you go, there’s my secret back up plan.  Hope this is helpful to you and keep on shooting… pictures that is.

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