Late Night in the Mountains


After two early mornings and one late night shooting the stars in the Shenandoah Mountains I’ve captured some shots that are among my favorites. My longest shutter speed exceeded 20 minutes of exposure time (the above shot is just over 18 minutes) and the best images were captured after 1:30am on a Sunday night. This kind of shooting requires serious camera technique since I’m sharing the shots pretty much out-of-camera (meaning they’re not getting much attention in Photoshop).

The Sunday night I ventured into the Shenandoah Mountains was the third trip I took and I was there only to shoot the stars. I wasn’t worried about the sun coming up before I was done and I wanted to see if any differences existed between shooting in the the early morning (starting at 4:30am) and shooting in the late night (starting at about 10:30pm). It turns out there are huge differences between the two times and those differences will be the subject of the blog entry. Along the way I’ll also talk a bit about the settings I used to get my favorite star trail shot to date.

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Return to the Mountains


Unintended consequences (also called unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences) can be defined as an outcome that is not the one intended by a purposeful action. Unintended consequences, for my photography, is when I am exploring one idea and I discover a whole new idea.

During my first early morning trip into the Shenandoah Mountains I wanted to photograph the sunrise and some fall colors. When I planned my arrival I thought I’d be sitting in my car for an hour waiting for the sun to come up. I arrived that morning and I saw the stars above me for the first time and I didn’t spend a single second in my car waiting for sunrise. I Jumped out of my car and began photographing the stars and learning a whole new form of photography (for me).

I’ve never tried to shoot the stars before from a location like this and once I started I knew I was going to run out of darkness (which was happening fast with sunrise quickly approaching) and that meant that I couldn’t do everything I wanted in just one trip. I proceeded to learn as much as possible on that first trip and I started thinking about a follow up trip. For this blog entry I’ll talk about my second early morning adventure into the Shenandoah Mountains and how I captured some of my favorite shots to date.

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My Morning in the Mountains


There are some things I love to photograph. But because I can get pretty busy my work it sometimes keeps me from going out to photograph the things I love to shoot. For example, I love shooting long exposure shots late at night and early in the morning. I also love to shoot sunrises and sunsets, especially in really cool scenic locations. I’m a pretty lucky person because where I live in Northern Virginia offers me some incredible opportunities to see and photograph everything from the capital city to some incredible National Parks.

After long months of working exclusively on client projects I found myself caught up and I had a little time for myself. I thought very seriously about taking a break from my camera and laptop computer. And then I remembered something my friend, Gene, recently told me. He said that I needed to start getting away from all of the flash shots and spending so much time in Photoshop. He said that I needed to go out with a camera and get back to basics. In other words, get back to what brought me into the world of photography in the first place.

This blog entry will talk about how I took Gene’s advice and I did something I haven’t done in a very long time.

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Photographing a Wine Bottle


Part of my recent engagement photo shoot with Tom and Julie involved some very special wine bottles. You see, Tom used two bottles of wine he had made with custom labels including one that was his marriage proposal.

While planning the shoot we talked about using the bottles in a few shots but I also knew that these bottles had plenty of potential for other uses (like save the date mailers). So when the shoot ended Tom and Julie agreed to leave their special wine bottles in my care so that I could give them a proper photo shoot. But like all product photography, getting a killer shot of a wine bottle is a lot trickier than it sounds. For this blog entry I’ll talk a bit about the challenges I faced, my solutions to common problems, and I’ll share my thoughts on this unique form of photography along with some behind the scenes looks into my product photography area.

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Disney World Memories (part 2)


This is the second of two blog posts where I’m sharing pictures from my 2011 trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL. In Part 1 I shared a few pictures from Epcot and from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you missed Part 1 you can check it out here. For this entry I’ll be sharing some images from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and from the Magic Kingdom.

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Disney World Memories (part 1)


My 2012 Disney World vacation is just a few days away now. By this time Saturday I’ll be on a plane with my wonderful girlfriend, Deb, and Orlando will be our destination. For seven days I’ll be seeing as much as possible and doing my best to relax at the happiest place on Earth.

This will be my fourth year visiting Disney World and it never seems to get old for me. Every year I bring home pictures and after years of photographing the big iconic touristy stuff I’m planning to capture more of the smaller details this year. But before I leave I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some pictures from last years trip. Looking at these pictures always brings a smile to my face.

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Photographing a Gazebo at Night


One of my recent assignments was a property shoot for a horse farm owner in Northern VIrginia. I was asked to show more of the beauty of the farm and to de-emphasize the working environment. This is a farm I know very well and I instantly had some shots in mind. With over 100 acres to cover I made sure the farm owner understood that I’d need to return for sunrises and sunsets to get the best shots and that the weather would play a big part in how long this assignment would take to complete.

In the weeks after getting the assignment I took plenty of killer sunrise and sunset pictures but I didn’t just want sunrises and sunsets. I needed some daytime shots, detail shots and even a night time shot. I also needed to get some people into some shots. Here’s a thought, how about a night shot with some people in it?

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