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The Story Behind The Photograph


Click your mouse on the titles below to read the story behind the photograph.

“Great Blue Heron on a Misty James River, Richmond, VA”
Early one morning well before sunrise two friends and I went to the Pony Pasture area of the James River in Richmond, which was near where I lived at the time. When it was still too dark to see much of anything without flashlights, two of us went to the edge of the river and set up our cameras on our tripods and waited for the sun to come up. We didn’t choose that spot for any significant reason other than it gave us a clear view of the coming sunrise. It was a fall morning and, as so often happens at that time of the year, we could see that there was a mist on the river. As the light came up, we saw for the first time a great blue heron walking back and forth on a ledge of the river, apparently fishing for breakfast. We watched and waited for the light to increase enough to shoot photographs, hoping that the beautiful creature wouldn’t leave. After approximately 10-15 minutes, I started shooting, hoping that the slow shutter speed I was having to use in the dim light wouldn’t result in the great blue heron being so fuzzy that he would be unrecognizable. I was using a roll of medium format film that allowed me twenty photographs. I shot all twenty pictures trying to time them when there was the least movement. Thinking back on the beautiful and dramatic vision I was trying to capture on film, I don’t have any idea why I didn’t reload and shoot even more images, but I didn’t. I then moved on to photograph elsewhere on the river, not knowing whether I had been successful or not. I delivered the film I shot that morning to my pro lab the next day and waited until I picked up the processed film the following day. I looked anxiously at the first twenty images and my disappointment grew as image after image showed the great blue heron fuzzy and sometimes almost unrecognizable. Then I got the last photograph and my heart leaped as I realized that the last shot I took was the one! The great blue heron was sharp with only a little fuzziness in its tail and one leg, which I thought even enhanced the picture further. As expected, the river was misty and blue, having been shot well before the sun reached the horizon. The image was breathtaking and I was ecstatic.  click for larger image
“Ashlawn Highlands Road in Fall, Albemarle County, VA”
One of the most beautiful roads I have ever photographed is the road leading into the property of Ashlawn Higlands, the home of President James Monroe. I have been there many times in different conditions at many different times of the year. Of all those times, my favorite image of the road was captured late one fall afternoon. I went to check out the road, not knowing if the color would be particularly good, since it is located at a higher elevation and more difficult to predict. When I arrived, I realized that the timing for the color was perfect. Unfortunately, the light wasn’t particularly good. There was a cloud cover which didn’t enhance the quality of the fall color at all. I decided to wait and see if the light would change. After almost an hour of standing in the same spot with my camera set on the tripod and the image framed just right, the sun broke under the cloud cover close to the horizon. With the sun that low creating a strong directional light that had a late afternoon warm color, the image popped with dramatic color that surprised me in its intensity. My patience had paid off. click for larger image
“Chincoteague Bay Sunset, VA”
I was staying at a bed and breakfast in Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Of course, I had all my camera equipment with me in hope that I would find a dramatic photo opportunity. As sunset approached I went outside on the back deck attached to my second floor room. I immediately encountered one of the most breathtaking vistas I had ever encountered. The sunset was a dramatic red, so red that people have asked me repeatedly if I photographed the sunset with a red filter on my camera. The brilliant red sky was reflected in the water of the Chincoteague Bay. And to make the image even more wonderful, below me were there perfectly placed docks at angles in the vista that could not have been better placed. I captured the image quickly, knowing that it could disappear at any time. When it did not, I then shot until the color disappeared, just in case. My results were even better than I had hoped. Before sunrise the next morning I went out to the deck once again and photographed the same scene. This time it was very blue. It was definitely not the same and suffered by comparison to the scene I had photographed the evening before. click for larger image
“Misty Sunrise in Rockfish Valley, Nelson County, VA”
My son was living in Stuart’s Draft and working east of Charlottesville. As a result, he had to travel to work early each morning by crossing Afton Mountain on Interstate 64 around sunrise. As so often happens in the fall, especially after some period of rain, he often saw some dramatic sunrises with misty valleys. He told me about it and within a couple of days I woke up well before sunrise and headed toward Afton Mountain. Once again the sunrise was beautiful that morning with the Blue Ridge Mountains looking even bluer than normal before the sun came up over the horizon. When I arrived I had to search several locations for one that gave me the view I had imagined. Finally, I found the spot and captured this image, one that I see as the quintessential Blue Ridge Mountains, that which gave them their name. click for larger image
“Sunrise from Wayah Bald, NC”
In the early 1990s I came across a photograph in a book that impressed me. It was an image of mountain ridges in southwest North Carolina and I somehow remembered that it was shot from a mountain top called Wayah Bald. I filed that information in my memory for approximately ten years when I happened to come across that same name on a map I was studying. My son had moved from Charlottesville to Atlanta and I was preparing for one of my regular driving trips to visit him and his family. I planned to look for possible photographs on the way down and back, so I drove through Franklin, North Carolina, located just few miles east of the mountain. I drove up the road to the mountain and was pleasantly surprised to find that the gravel road allowed me to go all the way to the top. I got out of my car and explored the small tower that allowed one a clear view in certain directions. I was struck by the beauty of the view. With my compass I identified the direction that the sun would rise and I was pleased to find out that there was clear view in that direction. Unfortunately, the trees had grown too tall to yield a view toward where the sun sets. I made a mental note to return at sunrise whenever I could. Later that year I stayed overnight near Franklin on four occasions. Each time I woke at 3:30 a.m. so I could travel to the mountain top before the sun rose. The first three times were huge disappointments as each time I found that the mountain top was in a cloud and there was no visibility whatsoever. I tried not to be too discouraged but it was difficult not to be. Then, in October I tried once again. I was encouraged by the fact that a high pressure system had moved through the area, clearing the atmosphere. Better still, it had happened after a couple of days of rain, so I had high hopes that there would be moisture in the valleys that would yield even more dramatic effects. I arrived at the mountain top and walked toward the tower with great anticipation. I then discovered that I had come across one of the most striking images I had ever seen. The sky was a bright yellow with orange streaks. The valleys were full of mist and fog that moved slowly between the ridges. The sun had not come up yet but I knew it would be soon. I quickly set up my cameras and two tripods and began shooting. I photographed the beautiful sunrise in numerous ways, wanting to capture it as it changed over the course of 30-45 minutes. When I finished, I was exhausted but I knew that I had something very special on film. When my film was processed, what I knew was confirmed and I had images that most people had a difficult time even believing had looked like my photographs. But I knew it was exactly what I had seen. click for larger image
“Birch Trees, Acadia National Park, Maine”
With great anticipation I went to the mid-coast region of Maine. I had the good fortune to spend an entire week in the area of Acadia National Park, where I was blown away by the beauty I found almost everywhere. One of my great hopes was to find a grove of birch trees that would capture my fancy. I traveled on the main loop in the park several times looking. Finally, one day I spotted a possible grove of trees in the distance. I parked the car in the right lane as permitted and hiked into the forest with my equipment. Before too long, I came across the grove of trees I had spotted and it was even better than I had imagined. I found the composition I was looking for and I captured it on film. Many times I have been asked about this image by people who had gone to Acadia and told me they had never seen a grove of trees like this one. I usually tell them that the first thing they need to do is to get out of their car and hike into the woods. Too many people don’t seem to be willing to do what it takes to find such images. click for larger image
“The Roaring Fork, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, TN”
On my second trip to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, I took off one morning from the Gatlinburg area looking for possible images to capture on film. It was raining with a light mist, which worried me and made me think more than once that I maybe I should have stayed in bed instead of waking up at 4:00 a.m. I kept going in hope that the weather might change, and also recognizing that sometimes such conditions can work to my advantage. I traveled for a long time looking for something that would interest me. After traveling for approximately 45 minutes, I went around a curve and saw a small parking space just off the road, just big enough for one car. I decided to give it a try. I parked the car and grabbed all of my equipment. I then climbed a little hill and within 50 yards of my car I found one of the most beautiful rivers I had ever seen. Finding such a beautiful river almost by accident helped me remember how much better a photographer I become the harder I work. I immediately started shooting (the misty rain had subsided by that point) in almost perfect light and captures several images that continue to be among my very favorites. But my favorite photograph from that day was this panoramic image, in fact the first panoramic that I had ever photographed with the new panoramic camera I had purchased recently. I set up my tripod and captured this image of the Roaring Fork moving through the long image, an unusual but obviously extremely successful way of photographing a beautiful stream in early Springtime. Another photographer that I met there and who seemed to know what he was doing told me that he would never have thought of taking a panoramic image in that manner. I considered that statement a badge of honor. click for larger image
“Clouds Moving in on the Blue Ridge Parkway, VA”
One fall afternoon I headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway via Interstate 64 and Afton Mountain. When I arrived I found some areas had clear brilliant skies while others were in fog as clouds were moving up and down the mountains and across the parkway. The movement of the clouds was fascinating to watch and I drove back and forth looking for a spot to capture it in photograph. Despite the fact that it was the middle of the afternoon, not usually one of my favorite times to get a strong photograph, I had little choice but to try. Finally, I saw a view that interested me and there was a parking place nearby. I parked the car and grabbed one of my cameras with a lens that I thought would work for the right composition. I walked up and down the Parkway looking for just the right spot. Before long, I realized that the perfect spot was in the middle of the Parkway, and this was on a beautiful fall day with a lot of sightseeing traffic. I had little choice but to stand in the middle of the Parkway hand-holding my camera (unable to have enough time to set up my tripod with all the traffic) and shooting quickly in order not to be run over by one of the many cars. Fortunately I got the shot without being run over. click for larger image
“Setting Sun, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA”
Late one afternoon I hiked up to the tallest peak in Shenandoah National Park, In the late afternoon sun I took some pictures that I enjoyed but I knew I hadn’t found the kind of dramatic image I was looking for. So, I decided to hike down the trail. On the way down, I saw the sun in the distance through the trees and I noticed its nice golden color and the fact that it was clearly visible. I realized that it might be a great opportunity to capture a dramatic sunset, if I could find the right spot. I hurried down the trail, put my equipment in the back of the car and headed down Skyline Drive in the direction of the sun. I had no idea if I could find a spot that would work but I was determined to try. After traveling a couple of miles I rounded a curve and saw the sun setting before me. By that time the sun had lost its golden color and turned a wondrous shade of pink. Not only that, it was setting over a series of mountain ridges that were blue behind two huge leafless trees. I immediately realized that I only had a minute or two before the sun would be going below the horizon. I parked the care immediately in the nearby overlook and grabbed my cameras as quickly as I could. I was disappointed to find out that I only had enough film in one of the cameras for ten pictures. I also had not time to reload or to set up my tripod, as I almost always did to capture the sharpest photographs possible. I wouldn’t even have time to change lenses and shoot photographs in different ways. Without delay, I took the camera with a single fixed normal lens and ran approximately 20 yards to the spot where I could capture the strongest image with the setting sun, the two trees and the mountain ridges. Using a special technique I had developed just for such circumstances, I shot the ten photographs using a single exposure setting at a slow shutter speed that worried me that the image would turn out to be fuzzy from camera movement, but I had no choice. By the time I had shot the ten photographs in rapid fire succession, the sun had started to go behind the ridges and disappear. I anxiously delivered the film to my pro lab the next morning hoping that I succeeded in getting the image I had worked so hard to capture. The next day when I picked up the film, I found that I had succeeded. click for larger image
“Sunrise Through Pavilion IV, UVA”
I had a meeting late one fall afternoon in Charlottesville and I realized that the color that year on the Lawn was particularly beautiful. I decided to spend the night in a local motel so I could wake up before sunrise and photograph the lawn while the color was so strong. I woke up at five o’clock the next morning and headed to the Rotunda. I shot some early pictures of the Rotunda before the sun came up over the horizon. I then walked onto the law to look for more photographs. I found some striking images that pleased me as I walked around. Then I turned toward the east and saw something I had never seen before in all the years I had been photographing. I saw a sunburst through one of the windows of Pavilion IV. It was beautiful and even more so with the warmth of the early sun and the color of fall on the ground and in the trees. Knowing that it might only last seconds, I quickly set up my camera and captured a photograph that will always be one of my favorites. While many people who saw the image were taken by it, few could figure out what it was that they were seeing, Most think it is a reflection of the sun in the window. Interestingly enough, I have returned to that spot (or the spot I think it is) on other occasions in the fall but I haven’t had the good fortune of seeing the effect again. Of course, for it to happen it would require the sun to come up in the perfect spot on a morning when the windows in the front and back of Pavilion IV were uncovered. Then there is the problem of finding the correct spot to see it happen one more time, no small challenge indeed  click for larger image
“Approaching Sunset, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA”
Late one afternoon I hiked up to the tallest peak in Shenandoah National Park, In the late afternoon sun I took some pictures that I enjoyed but I knew I hadn’t found the kind of dramatic image I was looking for. So, I decided to hike down the trail. On the way down, I saw the sun in the distance through the trees and I noticed its nice golden color and the fact that it was clearly visible. I realized that it might be a great opportunity to capture a dramatic sunset, if I could find the right spot. I hurried down the trail, put my equipment in the back of the car and headed down Skyline Drive in the direction of the sun. I had no idea if I could find a spot that would work but I was determined to try. After traveling a couple of miles I rounded a curve and saw the sun setting before me. By that time the sun had lost its golden color and turned a wondrous shade of pink. Not only that, it was setting over a series of mountain ridges that were blue behind two huge leafless trees. I immediately realized that I only had a minute or two before the sun would be going below the horizon. I parked the care immediately in the nearby overlook and grabbed my cameras as quickly as I could. I was disappointed to find out that I only had enough film in one of the cameras for ten pictures. I also had not time to reload or to set up my tripod, as I almost always did to capture the sharpest photographs possible. I wouldn’t even have time to change lenses and shoot photographs in different ways. Without delay, I took the camera with a single fixed normal lens and ran approximately 20 yards to the spot where I could capture the strongest image with the setting sun, the two trees and the mountain ridges. Using a special technique I had developed just for such circumstances, I shot the ten photographs using a single exposure setting at a slow shutter speed that worried me that the image would turn out to be fuzzy from camera movement, but I had no choice. By the time I had shot the ten photographs in rapid fire succession, the sun had started to go behind the ridges and disappear. I anxiously delivered the film to my pro lab the next morning hoping that I succeeded in getting the image I had worked so hard to capture. In great fear that the images had not turned out the way I had hoped, I went back to the same spot the next day to see if I could recapture that magical moment. As so often happens, everything was different that day, not looking anything like the previous day, But as it often happens, it had its own beauty which was just as valid and created a different kind of wonderful image. (It just so happens that the film shot on the first visit to the same spot had succeeded in being everything I had hoped.) click for larger image
“Albemarle County Driveway, VA”
I had a meeting one afternoon near the Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport. On my way back, found a beautiful tree with the peak of fall color with orange leaves all over the ground under the tree on bright green grass. Pleased with this image, I proceeded to keep my eyes open for other potential fall photographs returning home. As I drove I happened to look left to see a beautiful long driveway lined with trees full of colorful leaves and framed along its full length with a white picket fence. I drove to the first spot I could turn around in and returned to the driveway, where I stopped and shot the image you see here. click for larger image
“Pine at Raven’s Roost, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA”
Eleven miles south of the northernmost point of the Blue Ridge Parkway is an overlook known as Raven’s Roost. Besides have a striking view of the Shenandoah Valley to the Northwest and impressive mountain ridges to the Southwest, the overlook also has a single pine that appears to almost grow out of the rocks that form this mountain ledge. Not only does the tree have an unusual shape, it also has at its top a portion of its trunk that appears to be shaped like a bird. Whether this is how the overlook got its name I am not sure, but I have found that tree to attract me and my camera on numerous occasions. One day I arrived in the mid afternoon and I found myself looking at the tree with the sun behind it. I immediately realized that the tree looked even more impressive backlit with its shadows in the foreground and the mountain ridges behind the tree in the background. The problem was that the sun kept creating severe problems for me (with lens flare) as I shot it its direction. I had to find a spot in which I could shoot the image while having the camera lens in the shade. After searching for such a spot and determining the perfect lens that could give me the composition I was looking for, I was able to take the photograph pictured here. While I have photographed this tree many times, this is the one image that captures the strength of this incredible tree surprisingly growing in that hostile location. click for larger image
“Pheiffer Beach at Pheiffer State Park, CA”
I had the pleasure of traveling around California for almost a week photographing the incomparable landscapes one can find there. One of the areas I explored was, of course, Big Sur. I was surprised to find several state parks in the area along the coastline. When I visited Pheiffer State Park, I talked to one of the rangers for a while. Rangers are almost always an excellent source of information about their parks. She informed me about Pheiffer Beach, an isolated beach that one could only get to by traveling for two miles down a one-lane dirt road. The next morning I set out for the beach. At the end of the road was a small parking lot. Approximately one hundred yards further was the aforementioned beach, which was everything I had been told and more. It was almost completely isolated and pristine with just a few people around. I was immediately impressed with the rock formations, the pounding surf and the incredibly clear sky that one finds so often in California where the humidity is much lower. Also of interest were the holes in the rocks through which one could see the ocean beyond. I immediately knew that I wanted to take a panoramic photograph. I set the camera up with the tripod while all the while trying to prevent the sand from blowing into the camera by using a plastic bag over it until I was ready. The results were worth the effort with the wave crashing into the large rock in the middle of the surf and spraying up high. click for larger image
“Falls of the Big Sioux River, Sioux Falls, SD”
I have visited Sioux Falls, South Dakota with my wife to see her family on two occasions. She told me about the beautiful falls of the Big Sioux River that are found in a park in the heart of the city. I visited the falls at least twice at sunrise and took many photographs of the beautiful flowing river over the unusual and colorful rock formations. While I was very pleased with my results I didn’t feel like I had that one signature image I was searching for. One day we all visited the falls late in the morning. While I almost never take serious photographs in the middle of the day, that day for some reason I brought one of my cameras with my widest lens. We walked along the trail beside the falls until we found ourselves overlooking the widest portion of the falls. The flow of water was low, which created a wonderfully interesting variation in how the water flowed over the rocky ledges. It was much more beautiful that way in comparison to a large flow of water that yields no such variations. I immediately knew I had something special when mother nature even cooperated with a slight cloud cover which reduced the harsh sunlight that almost always ruins photographs of falls with overwhelming contrasty light. click for larger image
“Fall Panorama on the Lawn, UVA”
Having graduated from the University in 1969 and also having attending graduate school a few years later, I have always enjoyed the beauty of the lawn with its majestic and inspiring architecture by Mr. Jefferson. Later both of my sons also graduated from UVA, giving me many more opportunities to visit and enjoy its visual pleasures. I started visiting often and taking photographs at all times of the year and during every imaginable weather condition, including show and fog. My favorite time of the year, however, was always during the fall. I visited and photographed the lawn often during Autumn, especially after I moved to Charlottesville in June 2002. That year was a time of severe drought forcing all the residents of the area to conserve water. What I also found was possibly the best fall color I have ever seen in the area. Droughts can help bring about such color when coupled with the right temperature conditions. One morning I visited the lawn early and stayed for quite awhile repeatedly finding new and colorful images to photograph. As I walked up the lawn toward the Rotunda, I suddenly came across a particularly colorful area that included the Rotunda at the extreme side of the potential image. While this would not be the way I would ordinarily approach this subject matter, I soon realized how creative this approach would be and I went ahead and photographed it that way. I knew I had something special and my results confirmed it. click for larger image
“Del’s Mountain Top Basin at Sunrise, San Juan Mountains, CO”
While visiting Colorado my friend Dana made arrangements with a local guide to take us one morning to places we might otherwise never know about much less find. We set out while it was still very dark with Del driving us in his vehicle. Before long he was leading us up one mountain after another along a dirt “road” that was rarely wider than a single car. The trip was exciting and frightening and at times seemed death-defying. I knew that Del knew what he was doing and I trusted him but it wasn’t easy. After a long and mind-blowing trip, we found ourselves on top of a 14,000 foot mountain where there were pools of water, wildflowers and remnants of the long-past winter snowfall. As we photographed the sun coming over the next mountain, I turned around and saw how the rising sun was warmly lighting the cliffs in the distance behind the small pool of water that was bordered by beautiful wildflowers. While the wind was blowing hard enough to create movement problems with the wildflowers, I was not deterred and I followed though in photographing this unusual scene. I couldn’t wait to get my processed film back to see what my results were. Later in the day we went with Del to his storefront where he tried to find the mountain top on the map. After a lengthy search, we decided that Del couldn’t identify the mountain, which is why I have named this image in the manner in which I did. click for larger image
“Pacific Grove Surf at Dusk, CA”
While visiting California in 2005, I spent much of my time along the infamous seashore with its dramatic rocky formations. Driving around Pacific Grove one afternoon, I found one of my favorite places anywhere on a point. From that place one could watch the sun set over the ocean and the rocky shore with pelicans flying up and down the coast. I photographed for the rest of the afternoon through sunset and succeeded in capturing some excellent images. I was so impressed with the location that after exploring Big Sur for a couple of days I returned. Once again I photographed late in the afternoon until sunset. The sunset wasn’t very dramatic once again and I was disappointed. As the light began to fail, I noticed how the surf was moving through the rocks to the shore. Realizing that the dim light would require an exposure of almost a minute, I thought that an image of that duration could be very interesting with the moving water. I set up the camera and took my last photograph of the day. It did take almost a minute and by the time it was shot, the light was too low to try again. Unable to shoot any additional exposures, I had to be content with what I shot and I hoped that I would be successful. Only when the processed film was in my hands did I realized that I had succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.  click for larger image
“Gristmill on Glade Creek, Babcock State Park, WVA”
For a number of years I had heard about the beauty of West Virginia in general and the gristmill at Babcock State Park in particular. After I had had the pleasure of photographing in a couple of areas in West Virginia over several years, I realized that I hadn’t explored the Southern portion of the state where Babcock State Park was located. In the fall of 2005 I started watching weather reports of the fall color in West Virginia. As the peak seemed to be approaching, I contacted the state park and asked about the color. I was told that it was at its peak. I knew I couldn’t wait for another year so the next morning I headed out at 3:00 a.m. and drove straight through to the location. As soon as I arrived I was impressed by everything, including how a couple of photographers had even beaten me there. I started photographing the gristmill in many different ways close to the river and below the gristmill. I then moved down river on the same side and found some other interesting locations from which to shoot. Once I had exhausted that side of the river, I decided to check out the other side. I crossed over behind the gristmill and started down a road overlooking everything. I didn’t have to go far before I found a location that had it all with excellent light bringing out the fall color, especially in its reflection in the river and with falls below the gristmill well-exposed. Everything and every reason why I drove to Babcock that fall morning came together in that image to be everything I hoped for and wanted. click for larger image
“Fall Panorama at Ashlawn Highlands, Albemarle County, VA
One of the most beautiful roads I have ever photographed is the road leading into the property of Ashlawn Higlands, the home of President James Monroe. I have been there many times in different conditions at many different times of the year. Of all those times, my favorite image of the road was captured late one fall afternoon. I went to check out the road, not knowing if the color would be particularly good, since it is located at a higher elevation and more difficult to predict. When I arrived, I realized that the timing for the color was perfect as was the late afternoon sidelight from the sun. Rather than drive all the way into the property as I usually did, this time I stopped at a curve of the road and set up my panoramic camera in such a way that it would take the entire scene in. Making the image even more unusual were the tree trunks in the far left side of the image. While these trunks seemed to break the rules of taking panoramic photographs, I loved the dramatic way they set off the rest of the image. I began photographing and the results were exactly as I had hoped. click for larger image
“Fall Reflections with Leaf on the Rivanna River, Charlottesville, VA”
I love photographing rocky rivers and I have done so more times than I can count across the country. It was exciting to find a portion of the Rivanna River right in the middle of my hometown of Charlottesville that was accessible and had wonderful rock formations that created interesting rapids. A friend told me about the access to this portion of the river and I arrived one afternoon exploring the shoreline not knowing exactly what I would find. After some effort hiking through the woods and down the bank to a spot along the river, I found an image that was almost too good to be true. There were wonderful rocks, a great flow of water in the fall (which is not all that common after drought-filled summers) and in the background beautiful fall color lit by the late afternoon sun and reflecting in the water. I could hardly ask for anything more but I was rewarded further when I saw the orange leaf wedged in a perfect spot between two rocks and standing up out of the water lit from behind. I often like to say that the harder I work the luckier I get. My hard work certainly paid off that wonderful fall day with an image that is special. click for larger image
“After the Spring Rains, the Cascades and Little Stoney Creek, VA”
Pembroke is a small town in Southwest Virginia approximately thirty minutes west of Blacksburg. In the heart of Pembroke is a road that provides access to a portion of Jefferson National Forest that has become one of my favorite places in Virginia to explore. It is known to many as the site of the Cascades, a beautiful waterfall that leads to the Little Stoney, a truly scenic small river that winds through the national forest to create a seemingly never-ending series of rapids. I have visited the area numerous times during different times of the year but it was never more beautiful than one spring after recent rainfall. With several hours of driving I arrived there around sunrise. I found much more water in the river than normal and the spring green color was special. I hiked the trail two miles to a point just short of the Cascades where I saw something I had never seen before. There was so much water coming over the waterfall that it was hidden in the mist. Rather than focus my camera closely on the falls, I found a spot short of the falls along the Little Stoney and captured a more expansive image of the entire scene with the river in the foreground and the falls in the distant mist. I was fortunate to capture several images that day that I treasure. click for larger image
“Magical Light in Upper Antelope Canyon, AZ”
In Northern Arizona near the town of Page there are two locations known as Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon that photographers from around the world come to visit. Often known as slot canyons, these locations are composed of sandstone carved by the flow of water. The tops of the canyons are often open to the sky, creating opportunities for sunlight during the middle portion of the day to create dramatic streams of light from above. I had a day in the two canyons photographing the marvelously colored sandstone in both soft and direct light that showed off the carved sculptured walls. While I have captured many images of which I am proud that day, this image was particularly special to me as it incorporated the shaft of late morning light hitting and bouncing off the sandstone wall, creating an effect that remains magical to me to this day. click for larger image
“Lawn through the Rotunda Columns, UVA”
Since I graduated the University of Virginia so many years ago, some of my happiest times have been spent photographing the famous Lawn and its equally famous architecture during every imaginable time of the year and in every possible weather condition. I never get tired of exploring the Lawn and its surroundings and I never fail to find images that capture my imagination. After I purchased an ultra wide-angle zoom lens, I found that my vision expanded even further and I was able to see and capture views that had previously been unknown to me. This image was one of those views, as I was able to photograph a scene that I was unable to do so previously on a beautiful fall morning. Shooting through the columns not only framed the lawn in its classical architecture, it also allowed me to add the third dimension of depth that is so hard to achieve in a two-dimensional photograph. The shadows cast by the early sun on the Rotunda columns provided additional visual interest in the foreground as did the interesting cloud formations in the sky. click for larger image
“Sunrise Through Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, UT”
While I prefer finding and photographing images that are truly original and creative, there is something about the famously iconic landscape images in America that draw one to them as well. Having committed myself to photograph throughout the United States, I have spent my life learning about the natural beauty in our country and the opportunity to capture that natural beauty in my photographs. When I went to Utah, I could not avoid being pulled to the famous national parks there and the vistas seemingly burned into my brain. One of those images is sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park near Moab. Well known to other photographers as well, I arrived one morning an hour before sunrise in an effort to find the location and set up to capture a dramatic image. It was a good thing I arrived so early as others had the same idea that morning. I found a good spot, very carefully set up my camera and tripod, made the important decisions regarding composition and the like, and waited. At the appointed hour the magic of the sun rising above the horizon and through Mesa Arch happened with all its glory, bouncing the beautiful red light created on the rocks on the other side of the arch up to the underside of the arch, resulting in a colorful effect that rivals anything I have seen in forty years of landscape photography. click for larger image
“Early Fall Morning Panorama from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Nelson County, VA”
  It is not unusual for me to find places from which I like to photograph and to go back to those places time after time in order to capture special and unique photographic images. When those places are not far from home, they become even more special and inviting. One of those places is the third overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway as one goes south from its Northern beginning on Afton Mountain. This overlook takes in a dramatic and scenic view of Nelson County just east of the parkway. It is particularly impressive early in the morning when the sun skims over the landscape, creating patterns of light and shadow that add texture and form. One particular fall morning I arrived before the sun reached the horizon and I watched as the light did its thing in a particularly special way, illuminating th fall color beautifully. I captured it in both standard and panoramic images. I love both but the panorama has a particularly strong pull for me. click for larger image
“Richmond Skyline at Dusk, VA”
j Having been a resident of Richmond most of my life and having lived close to the James River for a few of those years, I have always had a strong pull to the river and its relationship to the city. The James River’s beauty rivals any river I have ever seen and never fails to attract me. Photographing a city skyline at dusk can be a very special opportunity and when it is combined with reflections in a beautiful rocky river like the James River, it is even more special. That was my goal when I joined a friend on the floodwall on the south side of the James River late one afternoon and we waited for dusk and a darkening sky combined with the lights of buildings and streets that would reflect in the river. While it was a little cloudy that day, the clouds did not interfere with blending of the dramatic colors and lights as dusk took over. After finding a perfect spot to shoot the skyline from the floodwall, I shot a series of vertical images at just the perfect time for what I had envisioned. Then, when I combined the images together as is so often done these days with digital photography, the panoramic image was everything I had hoped it would be. The composition and color particularly excited me. I was also extremely pleased with the ducks in the river who posed in just the right places to show up in the reflecting bright colors of the lights. click for larger image
“Sunrise at the Mittens, Monument Valley, AZ”
After traveling across the country to Arizona and arriving at Monument Valley late in the evening, I couldn’t wait until the next morning when I would have an opportunity to photograph the famous iconic location. Well before sunrise I awoke and traveled to the entrance, arriving with great anticipation of seeing one of the best known landscapes in the world. Instinctively I set up my camera on my tripod, aimed it toward where I thought the sun would be rising, chose a lens that would capture the subjects in just the right composition and waited. It was during that time that someone came up to me and told me that there was a better location from which to photograph down the way. They thought I would have a better view of the sunrise. Wanting to do my own thing and having some confidence that I had chosen a good point of view, one that wasn’t chosen casually, I decided to thank the person but stay right where I was. I wanted my first photograph of Monument Valley to be very special and it wouldn’t be very special if I just did what someone else thought I should do. It didn’t take very long before the famous Mitten became surrounded by the golden glow of a sunrise that warmed me inside and out. While the light challenged my skills as a landscape photographer, the view gave me a sense of appreciation of Monument Valley that only being there at such a time can possibly provide, with a sense of incredible anticipation of what the next two days of shooting at Monument Valley would yield. And a memorable and exciting two days it was. click for larger image
“Mountain Range Panorama in Spring, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO”
My wife and I had several days to explore Denver and its surroundings in mid-May one year and I remembered how much I enjoyed the two days I spent in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1999, two days that I had wished would be so much longer. So, early one morning we headed north to the park, arriving in time for an afternoon of exploring and photographing. While I would never suggest that one should expect to get great images with so little planning, preparation and commitment, sometimes the gods line up and you find yourself in the right place at the right time. That happened to me as we drove through the park, taking in all the scenic beauty. On one of the main roads in mid-afternoon, I came across a view that I frankly couldn’t quite believe. There ahead of me was a hillside full of evergreens backed up by beautiful snow capped Rocky Mountain peaks across the horizon topped off by a series of puffy clouds across the entire view. It was magnificent and I felt so fortunate to be there at that moment to have the opportunity to both photograph it and appreciate its incredible beauty. Sometimes I consider myself to be an unbelievably fortunate individual and this was definitely one of those times. click for larger image
“Aspens and Evergreens Panorama, Manti LaSal National Forest, UT”
I had just spent a very special several days in Arizona photographing Monument Valley, the slot canyons, Saguaro National Park and Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River. I then headed North into southeastern Utah toward Moab and the famous national parks in that area. I was very excited by the prospect of photographing Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and much, much more. That said, I also hoped that I would also discover some beautiful locations to photograph on the way to Moab as well. As I drove north I came across a small town called Monticello. Living in Charlottesville, having attending Mr. Jefferson’s university and having been fascinated with our third president and his incredible home on top of “little mountain” for many years, I had to stop and go in when I saw a visitors’ center. Despite all my efforts to research the locations in Utah and Arizona I planned to visit on this trip, I knew almost nothing about this area of Utah. I decided to ask inside if they knew of a location where I could photograph Aspen trees that still had their fall color. The gentleman told me to take a left turn out of their parking lot and drive a mile or two. I couldn’t believe that I was going to be so lucky, but I followed his directions. As I drove down the road I came to the Manti LaSal National Forest where the hillsides were covered with aspen trees holding on to their last fall color intermixed with those that had lost all their leaves and rows of dark green evergreens. Not only was the combination striking in contrast and dramatic color, the strong sidelighting of the late afternoon sun created a virtual glow. I quickly found a spot on the hillside that gave me an unencumbered view and I took a series of images that created this striking panoramic landscape. click for larger image
“Almost Sunrise, Stanardsville Pond, VA”
After a morning of shooting in Shenandoah National Park, I drove east on Route 33 toward home. As I approached the turnoff to the town of Stanardsville, I realized that I had never driven through the town. So, I took the turnoff and went exploring. As I drove through town I came across an unusual scene. There was a pond with a dock jutting into it sitting high on a hill with farmland beyond that provided little interference with the view of the sky that reflected in the pond. I became very excited when I checked the compass on my iPhone and found out that the view past the pond faced east, perfect for a sunrise image that would reflect in the lake. Over the next several months I frequented the pond at sunrise on several occasions, hoping to capture a dramatic sunrise. One morning, as it often does, the sky turned beautiful shades of color before the sun reached the horizon. That color reflected in the pond and the early morning stillness created a quiet beauty that I found unusually peaceful. click for larger image
“Sherando Lake in Fall, Augusta County, VA”
I was out early one fall morning hoping to capture some striking images featuring fall color. I headed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Afton Mountain and when I got to Reed’s Gap, I decided to head west on Route 664 to see what I would find along the hillsides. On the way I decided to check out Sherando Lake, a location I had explored before but had never captured any dramatic photographs previously. I arrived later than I had intended, as my best photographs are frequently taken in very early light. When I arrived at the lake, I found out that coming later was a nice accident. It happened that the sun needed to clear the mountain range before it would be able to light up the fall color, which to my good fortune was also at its peak around the lake. Once again, I found that great images are the result of both hard work, skills and, quite frequently, good luck. All the elements I needed for a stunning photograph were there and I simply had to find the perfect location from which to capture it. After a short walk along the shoreline, I found that spot and went to work. It didn’t take long once all the elements had fallen into place the way they did. click for larger image
“Rhododendron at Grayson Highlands State Park, VA”
I had heard of Grayson Highlands State Park in Southwest Virginia for many years. Once when I was in the area, I visited it and was impressed by its photographic possibilities. Unfortunately, I had no time to explore at the time. Several years later on my way to visit my granddaughters in Georgia, I drove through the area and spent the night in nearby Marion. I awoke at 3:30 a.m. the next morning in an effort to arrive at the park before sunrise. With the forty-five minute drive, I got there at just the right time; however, I found the park quite foggy. This was a great opportunity as fog created interesting conditions to photograph, conditions that sometimes will last for hours. I set out on a pre-determined trail in hopes of finding the Rhododendron Trail, as I had attempted to time my visit when the rhododendron would be in full bloom. After a long hike through some rough terrain, especially as a result of a great deal of recent rain, I finally found the location I was looking for. There were rhododendron everywhere with some lingering fog. Unfortunately, I noticed quickly that a lot of the blooms were past peak, a condition that was a bit discouraging. A lot of the petals had already fallen on the ground. As I looked around the area, I began to realize that the conditions of the rhododendron might work out to my advantage. This definitely became true when I walked through a tunnel of huge rhododendron plants with striking blooms on the plants combined with a carpet of beautiful petals on the ground. The resulting photograph is one that I love on many levels. click for larger image
“Foggy Morning on a Pantops Mountain Pond, Albemarle County, VA”
One fall morning I was pleased to wake up early and find heavy fog outside. As a lover of fog and photographing foggy conditions in many environments, I immediately decided that I needed to go out for an impromptu shooting session. I grabbed my equipment and headed out around sunrise with great hopes. I decided to see what I could find along the RIvanna River. My first stop yielded no promising views so I headed on and decided to explore the Pantops Mountain area. This is an area that I had never attempted to photograph due to its new commercial development. As a result, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I ended up parking my car at the end of road and I set out with my equipment. Many things caught my eye with the foggy conditions and I was having a great time exploring. Not long after I had arrived, I headed down a hill where I found a small pond that I didn’t even know was there. In the fog the pond and the trees lining its edge created a beautiful monochromatic effect with the sun itself being seen as it was attempting to burn through the fog. I immediately knew I has something very special. The resulting photograph had exactly the ethereal effect of the foggy conditions that I had hoped to capture. click for larger image
“Garden of the Gods in Morning Light, Colorado Springs, CO”
When I visited Colorado in 2003 my research had identified many locations that I was greatly looking forward to photographing. One that was near the top of my list was a place west of Colorado Springs called Garden of the Gods. This park has some of the most incredible rock formations anywhere. Unfortunately, I never made it to Garden of the Gods on the last day of my trip, because that day it rained hard the entire time. I couldn’t even try. In May of 2009 when I found myself in Denver for five days, I was determined to try to finally make it to the Garden of the Gods. I awoke very early one morning to drive south to Colorado Springs. I arrived well before sunrise, which gave me an opportunity to photograph the earliest light on the unusual rock formations, including a panoramic shot with Pike’s Peak in the back ground. After some very productive shooting early, I got in my car to drive the loop road that went around and through the park. As I came around a curve, I was struck almost speechless by the view. I saw a landscape of the most unusual tall rock formations, side and rim lit by early morning light. It absolutely looked otherworldly. I thought it was one of the most visually interesting images I had ever seen. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to capture it for my portfolio and the resulting image was everything I had hoped it would be.
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“Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA”
Like so many other people, I love visiting New Orleans, which I have had the pleasure of doing numerous times compliments of my cousin who has been living there for almost forty years. Family life cycle events have given me a great excuse to visit New Orleans and I have always loved doing so. While I have taken photographs there from time to time and I have enjoyed doing so, I had yet to capture an image that shouted “New Orleans” as I know and enjoy it. On my last trip to New Orleans in 2008, one afternoon I had the pleasure of exploring some of my favorite areas with my camera. One of those areas was Jackson Square, which had always seemed to symbolize for me so much of what makes New Orleans special. I found myself on a high vantage point across the street from Jackson Square and all of a sudden it all came together for me. So many of the things I enjoy in and about New Orleans were in the landscape before me. I finally had the image I had been seeking.
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“Portland Head Light in Fog, Maine”
For months a friend and I planned a twelve day trip to photograph fall color in New Hampshire and Vermont. We did everything we could to time things perfectly and, as it often happens, our plans went for naught. After spending several days in a futile effort to find dramatic fall color during a period of surprising heat and dry conditions, we decided to head over to the southern coast of Maine for a couple of days. Being a lover of the rocky Maine coastline and having spent some of my favorite days photographing the mid-coast region, I was looking forward to visiting Portland Head Light at sunrise and capturing it on film. We stayed overnight in Portland and woke up early the next morning so we could arrive in time. As we drove near this beautiful lighthouse, we found ourselves in some of the densest fog conditions I had ever experienced. I couldn’t have been happier or more excited. What could be better than photographing a lighthouse in the fog, the very condition for which it even exists. I hurried to a special vantage point from which I had a clear view of the lighthouse, the rocky coast line and the nearby beach. I shot a lot of different images through the fog, and the image here was my favorite, as it captured all the elements I felt were important in a dramatic way, especially the light coming from the Fresnel lens through the fog. click for larger image
“Headwaters of the Mississippi River, Itasca State Park, MN”
My wife and I traveled to Sioux Falls, SD for a family wedding and we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to vacation for a week in location that was very special to her as a result of her family vacations when she was young. The location was Itasca State Park in north central Minnesota. This park is famous for being the location of the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Early in our stay there we visited the spot and I found it to be special on many levels, including the prospect of getting a meaningful photograph of the spot. One of the things that was particularly interesting was the formation of rocks that crossed the spot where the headwaters formed, rocks that allowed one to walk across the spot and declare that they had walked across the Mississippi River. I knew I had to feature that in the photograph and, to prevent problems created by the many people who liked to visit that spot, I realized that I would have to explore photographing it at sunrise. A couple of days later I did so, capturing the exact image I had envisioned.
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“Roan Mountain in Spring, NC”
Along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee is a place of unique scenic beauty. Roan Mountain is a popular location for people in the area, especially in the Spring when rhododendron and flame azaleas are in bloom. It also attracts because the Appalachian Trail crosses over the mountain on its north and south route. The location can be busy at this time of the year but the most difficult part is timing one’s visit with the full emergence of spring color. I have visited Roan Mountain in spring on three occasions and each time was a pleasant experience. On one occasion I hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail to see what I could find. After a couple of miles, I found the scene that was captured in this image. I was attracted to it because of its combination of flame azaleas in bloom, evergreens and mountain ridges in the distance. The image had it all and seemed to best capture all the feelings I have toward photographing springtime in the Appalachian Mountain range. click for larger image
“Fall Reflections on the Beaver Pond, NH”
My New England fall photography trip with a friend was not going well. The fall color was elusive to say the least, so much so that the trip was diverted to the southern coast of Maine for two days. When we returned to New Hampshire, the Kancamagus Highway was high on the list to photograph based on many things we researched, but it too was found lacking in fall color. Late one afternoon after leaving the Kancamagus Highway, we went searching elsewhere and came across a very scenic Beaver Pond. The light was particularly poor that afternoon so we decided to come back at sunrise the next morning. When we did, the light was much better and we had finally found a location in New Hampshire that lived up to its billing for fall scenic beauty. We shot there almost all morning and it was by far one of the highlights of the entire trip. And we even had a chance to see the beaver at work.
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“Almost Sunrise at the Totem Pole & Five Fingers, Monument Valley, AZ”
At Monument Valley there are areas where the public can have free access. Then, there are areas that the public cannot access on their own. It is necessary to hire one of the Navajo guides, who have vehicles to take you to areas that are very special. One of those places is known to many as the Totem Pole and Five Fingers. We met the guide well before sunrise. In fact, it was so early that it was still pitch dark when we arrived at our destination. We could make out the formations against the still dark sky while we set up our cameras and tripods. After a while, the horizon began to take on a beautiful orange color and the Totem Pole and Five Fingers stood out against the orange and the deep blue sky. It had the simple beauty that I admire so much in nature, one to which I aspire in all of my work. And a day of wonderful opportunities to photograph was just beginning. click for larger image
“Hoodoos in Golden Light, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT”
One of the iconic national parks in the nation is clearly Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah. With its unmistakable rock formations known as hoodoos, it attracts visitors from around the world. I had seen so many photographs taken there that it almost felt like I had been there before my first visit. When I arrived, I remembered a quote from John Shaw, one of my favorite nature photographers, and from whom I personally purchased a photograph he had taken at Bryce Canyon National Park during a workshop. John said that he had never seen a great photograph taken at the park. While I am not sure that I can make the same statement, I was determined to capture something special. I felt like I did that many times in the afternoon and the following morning when I had the pleasure of being there. There was one particular photograph, however, that I was particularly pleased with, the image here. It was late in the afternoon and the sun was ready to go behind the mountainside. Before it did so it shone bright on these particular formations with its golden light bouncing around and creating an almost transluscent effect with the golden rock formations. Once I recognized the possibilities and found the composition I wanted, I only had to make sure I didn’t blow it with my focus and exposure. I think I definitely succeeded. I hope you for larger image
“Zigzagging Cottonwood Trees in Fall, UT”
  Utah is famous for its national parks, a fame that is well-deserved; however, one can find incredible landscape photographs in other locations, if one keeps his or her eyes open. After leaving the Moab area, I drove across southern Utah on a two lane road that went through remote and virtually unoccupied areas. At one point, I rode to the top of a mountain at which there was a little space on both sides for cars to park. On a whim, I decided to stop and look over the edge to see what I could see. I first looked to the right and saw some interesting terrain that I decided was worth a few photographs, but it was nothing special. I then walked across the road to see what the landscape below looked like. As I got to the edge of the mountaintop and looked down, I almost couldn’t believe what I saw. In the valley below there was what looked like a dry riverbed that was lined by cottonwood trees. The trees followed the zigzag pattern of the riverbed that disappeared into the distance. Not only that, the leaves of all the trees were at the peak of their fall brilliant yellow color, made even more so by the backlighting of a bright sun on a cloudless day. I had never seen anything like it and I knew I had to get a perfect photograph, which was more of a challenge than I anticipated. I had great difficulty finding a spot on the mountain edge that gave me a clear view of the valley and from which I could place my camera-topped tripod securely. I remember the moment like it was yesterday and it is clearly one I will never forget.
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“The Maury River Through Goshen Pass in Fall, VA”
  The Maury River is one of Virginia’s beautiful rivers as it winds through western Virginia. In no place is it more beautiful than its travels through Goshen Pass in Rockbridge County approximately ten miles north of Lexington. It is at this area that the river has created a 3.7 mile gorge of which there are beautiful scenic views from Route 39 that cross high above the river. Whenever I find myself in western Virginia, I try to return through this route so I can have an opportunity to photograph the river below. I have done so in many conditions and many ways, including black and white photographs of kayakers going through the rapids. While I have tried many times, I never succeeded in capturing images of the Maury River in fall color to my satisfaction until October 2009. I photographed the river and its surrounding hillsides in numerous ways but this image was my favorite from that session. I look forward to returning to the river to photograph it many more times in the for larger image
"Late Light from Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, CA"
I was so excited to finally having the opportunity to visit Yosemite National Park, a lifelong dream of mine. After I had the opportunity to visit Mariposa Grove and its infamous Giant Sequoia trees, a visit which was memorable enough on its own, I headed toward the main portion of the park. To get there, I had to go through a tunnel, the other side of which came out at a parking lot high up that overlooked some of the most famous sights in the park, including Bridal Veil Falls. This view was so well-known that it was referred to as Tunnel View. When I arrived it was early in the afternoon, not exactly a good time for capturing dramatic photographs. Even so, I parked my car, grabbed my photography equipment and went to find the perfect spot from which I could capture that a beautiful image of the park. Unfortunately, the light was not cooperating, not at all. So, I made the decision to wait, and wait I did. In fact, I stood there for almost six hours before the light created something interesting. The very late sun finally provided some dramatic light in the distance that made the difference between a snapshot and the quality photograph for which I was searching. click for larger image
"Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Acadia National Park, Maine"
  I love to photograph lighthouses. After all, what’s not to like? They are impressive structures almost always located at beautiful and dramatic locations bordering rocky shores or cliffs along the ocean (except along the great lakes). I have always found them to be particularly striking at sunrise or sunset, when their lights are serving their purpose of protecting those in boats offshore. When I visited Acadia National Park, I looked forward to seeing the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, one of over seventy lighthouses along the coast of Maine. When I arrived late one afternoon, I immediately experienced something special as I looked up and saw a bald eagle flying overhead. I then went to explore the area around the lighthouse and find the perfect spot where I could set up my tripod and camera for that special image at dusk. After climbing over a hillside of very large boulders, I found the perfect spot. With some difficulty, I set things up and prepared to wait at least two hours until the light would give me, hopefully, that special image. What I didn’t anticipate was the difficulty I would have in keeping a clear view of the lighthouse as several people moved in front of my camera to get their own shots. Fortunately, they weren’t looking to stay like I was. They got their daylight photographs and moved on. Finally, when the sun started to go down on the horizon, I was ready and in just the place where I could capture that wonderful combination of lighthouse and sky, when the two blended together in true harmony. click for larger image
"Spearfish Canyon Falls in Spring, Black Hills, SD"
I have had the pleasure of visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota twice and I have marveled at the beauty of the area and the diversity of the views. While I have found many locations and areas to be special there from a photographic perspective, I think my favorite area is known as Spearfish Canyon. This beautiful area is well-known for the river that carved it and the beautiful cliffs that surround it. In fact, at least one scene from Dancing With Wolves was filmed there. Early one morning I headed that way to explore the photographic possibilities. As is my custom, I set out when it was still dark and my hard work paid off with several very strong and dramatic images. One of my favorites that day was of the well-known falls up the canyon from the main road. The hike was cool and not too far, but I didn’t know for sure what I would find. After about a mile, I came across a wooden deck that ran the length of the area approaching the falls, which were quite beautiful. There were ledges in the lower falls that created a wonderful flow over the ridges, with a higher falls in the background. While that view was beautiful enough, what made the photograph for me was the opportunity to capture in the foreground the beautiful area below the falls where the early spring grasses were an incredibly bright green and located in different spots among the flowing water. The combination practically took my breath away and I had an exciting time capturing this image and many more. I felt very fulfilled on my hike back to my car.
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"Indian Paintbrush in Grass, Hill Country, TX"
I spend a lot of time researching the areas I plan to visit in order to maximize my photographic opportunities while I am there. Being there at just the right time of the year and being able to find special locations that yield dramatic imagery is very important to me. During the winter of 2010 I began reading that it could be a spectacular year for wildflowers in the Hill Country of Texas, near Austin. This was due to the combination of fall and winter rain and temperatures. So, I began to make my plans to visit for several days in the first week of April, when the experts and others knowledgeable about the area suggested would be an excellent time to find wildflowers. I headed that way with my fingers crossed, never knowing for sure what I would find. When I arrived in the area, I began to understand the fame this area had for its wildflowers. One couldn’t drive far without seeing promising locations. I spent three days in the area photographing from sunrise to sundown and I came home with many dramatic images, a number of them from well-known areas such as the Willow City Loop, where cars were lined up on pretty days. Yet, I found that some of the most exciting images and the greatest joy I had photographing were with the simple locations, often alongside the road. This image is one of those. I had stopped to photograph a field on the other side of the road. After photographing that field, I walked back toward my car and noticed a beautiful combination of spring grasses that were bright green from the backlighting created by the sun. And in the middle of the beautiful grass was a patch of Indian Paintbrush, a red wildflower that always got my attention during my travels. The combination of green and red with the perfect light and darker shadows in the distance was incredibly simple and dramatic, an exciting find during an exciting trip. Sometimes the simplest image is the best image.
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Ben Greenberg Photography • Charlottesville, VA. 22902 • • cell - 804.467.8212 •  
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