New England Fall Foilage

Greetings everyone, wow, its been awhile since I’ve posted a blog.  Life has certainly been…well life!  Since my wife and I took the time to enjoy each other on a well deserved vacation to New England; I thought I’d take the time to share with you the amazing scenery New Hampshire and Vermont has to offer.

Neither my New_England_Vacation_2015-102wife nor I had been to either of these states but we’d heard the fall foliage was spectacular.  Our goal was to make a road trip out of it and the plan simple – fly into Boston, rent a car, drive, sleep, and drive some more.  Where, we didn’t know, but that’s the way we wanted it!  You see, every road trip we’ve ever taken has had a timeline attached to it (A to B by this time, which mean X amount of hours per day, you get the idea).  As the scheduled departure approached we quickly realized we were planning our trip over a 3 day holiday weekend.  We did a quick search for lodging…sure enough every hotel was completely sold out.  Sleep in the car we thought…lets get the ultimate road trip experience.  Great idea, yet completely dependent upon the car the rental car agency decided to give us.  Insert plan C, bed and breakfasts.  After a fair amount of screen time we found one B&B that had an opening (due to a last minute cancellation mind you).

 

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Farm life

Windy Hill Bed and Breakfast, a working farm outside Jackson, NH.  A diamond in the rough, pun intended! There was a two night minimum, we had no choice but to call this “Home Base” and go from there.  Our wish list:  Mount Washington, waterfalls, Castle in the Clouds, covered bridges, the Kancamagus Scenic byway and of course, a place to watch the Packers on Sunday (thank you honey).  Accomplishing all things on the wish list…to be determined!

Off we went.  Landed in Boston, got the rental car (turn out they gave us a Jeep Grand Cherokee, we could have slept in the car, oh well) and immediately hit our first hurdle…the airport exit.  After a few trips around the airport property, mission accomplished!  Nothing could stop us now.  We drove up the coast, avoiding freeways if at all possible (our goal the entire trip) to Portsmouth, NH.  I could go through our entire route/vacation (shot me an email if you wish, I’d be happy to go through it) but I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  (Click on the image for a slideshow of images from the trip)  These two tiny states pack a powerful punch of topography, scenery, nature, history and of course Fall Foliage.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Click on the image for a slideshow.

Click on the image for a slideshow.

 

New York New York…

Wow…its been awhile since I’ve updated my blog and for that I sincerely apologize. I must admit though, this whole wedding planning thing is time consuming and never ending, however the end is in sight – the wedding is next weekend!  Amid all the planning I did have the opportunity to get out and take some pictures.

September 11th, 2001 was a day that we will always remember for a multitude of reasons.  This past September I had the humbling experience of being in the heart of downtown New York where it all took place.  Excited as I was I found out the Ground Zero Memorial was closed off to only  family members, but I quickly realized I was being selfish and came to respect those who perished, their loved ones/families and gave them the space they deserve.  It was a somber scene, yet the further I walked the more I began to realize that time does heal and people are eager to move forward.  This eagerness to move forward is hard to miss…One World Trade Center is getting higher as each day passes and the New York skyline is beginning to take shape.  When finished One World Trade Center will stand 1,776 feet high, matching the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.  Seven towers, memorials and museums are all planned.  For more information about the construction of WTC click here.

While the skyline is slowly rising the festivities below were in full swing and this is were I focused my attention and camera.  I found it unique that while standing in the same spot I could capture the hustle and bustle we all know as New York, then turn around a see the resulting side affect.  The Statue of Liberty stood tall with bright blue skies and wispy clouds which made for some stunning black and white images.  Local artists had their own human rendition of the famed Lady Liberty.  Monuments clearly displayed the pain and suffering that once was while signaling the hope for the future.  From the depths of the subway to the tops Freedom tower it was an amazing experience.

Click on the image below to see a slideshow of the images from my NYC outing.

 

Thanks for reading.  As always your comments welcomed!  Look my up on Facebook and Twitter for more images and insights.

Como Zoo


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It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Saturday morning free and decided visiting the local zoo would be a great way to spend it.  What could be better? Well, for starters…I could have decided to visit the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota on a nice sunny afternoon, but this Saturday had been on my schedule for quite some time.  Two months prior I had signed up for a Composition in the Field workshop through the Digital Photo Academy.  Thus, even with the clouds, I quickly became excited for the soft and even light conditions that overcast days typically produce.  I packed up my gear and headed out.  It wasn’t until I reached downtown Minneapolis that I realized I probably should have looked at the radar before I left.  The light was nice and even – this is true – however, the clouds had an ominous grey look about them.  I glanced at my smartphone, and moments later I’m wishing I had brought an umbrella and some rain gear!  Thankfully, my camera bag has a nice little pocket with its own rain cover.  I decided to press on and hope for the best.  Unfortunately, the day continued to present some other surprises.

I pulled up to the Como Zoo parking lot and was quite pleased to see a plethora of parking spots available – maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all!  I unpack my camera, attach it to my shoulder strap and walk the short distance to the entrance gate to meet the rest of the group and the instructor.  Lo and behold – the gate is locked!  That’s odd, I thought to myself until I saw the sign on the door. It’s not open for another hour!  I re-check the scheduled start time for the workshop, but I’m right on time.  On cue, fat raindrops started pounding the pavement.  None of us class participants, expecting to see animals in an open zoo and with no options for getting out of the rain, are happy campers.  Still, the group decided to make the best out of our given situation.  After 30 minutes of shooting random flowers and trying to capture rain drops in puddles, a friendly staff member let us into the entry area and out of the rain.  This presented a unique point of view as we were able to capture the feelings (wet and stuck in the rain) we had moments ago on the faces of those still waiting to get inside.

The zoo eventually opened and the group made a decision to stay indoors and photograph the Tropical Encounters exhibit.  This was fun, and I enjoyed getting some great shots, but it still didn’t capture the feeling and images I had been hoping for earlier in the morning.  I wanted to photograph those animals!  Our three hour class had already been shortened by an hour, and after 45 minutes of the Tropical Encounters, I was ready to brave the rain to get some animal portraits.  I advised the instructor of my plan (who thankfully then offered up his umbrella), and away I went for the next hour and 15 minutes.

The day definitely could have gone better, but I did enjoy playing with various camera settings and adapting to the various lighting conditions (indoor and outdoor).  Below are some of the images from my rainy day zoo adventure.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to share your comments!


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Click the “FS” button to view in full screen mode.

Day Two…

The objective for the day…add a gallery to my website.  When contemplating the idea of displaying multiple images on the internet, I thought it might be a good idea to look into protecting my images.  Heaven forbid, someone try to contact me if they wanted to use an image.  Suffice to say it has been interesting, and eye opening learning all the techniques and processes to protect images from the “bad guys”.  It appears, to me anyway, the toughest part is putting these protective touches into my work-flow and making it streamline.

After a long day of work I forced myself to get out of the hotel in Louisville, KY and enjoy some evening sun and the pending sunset.  My intent was to go downtown and capture the nightlife of Louisville.  The public transportation schedule had a different plan for me apparently.  Luckily the Kentucky Exposition Center was across the street.  As I approached the entrance I was informed the Miniature Rabbit Breeders Conference was in town for the Easter weekend.  Sorry no pictures of rabbits, yet anyway.  Instead, I noticed a rose garden memorial, which allowed me to practice some flower/macro photography, an empty amusement park and some nice architectural building to practice on.  After about 30 minutes of watching, the security guard finally got the courage to approach me.  A few good stories and a couple of questions later they were convinced I was not a threat to Kentucky’s security and I continued shooting.  On that note…enjoy my rendition of the Kentucky Miniature Rabbit Breeders Conference.