Category Archives: Uncategorized

Really Nice Rule #1

“As a general rule, if you disparage something someone else thinks is important, you are marking yourself as a rude, narrow-minded snob. It’s simply not credible to generalize from your own preferences and experience to include everyone or exclude anyone. What one person thinks is important may not be important to everyone, but they have a right to their experiences and opinions. You should be able to express your opinion without belittling someone else’s. I’d say that’s simple Netiquet, but such niceties are honored mostly in the breach these days. Nevertheless, your own credibility can be measured by the respect – or lack thereof – you show to others. If you want to be taken seriously, be serious, not nasty.”

B. Jefferson Le Blanc

Very well said!

Pictures from our Photo Road Trip

Here are a couple more from our road trip:

Nice night for a drive

This one is mine.


Strange Sitings [EXPLORED]


One from Alana, that’s me spinning the orb and Dave driving.  Awesome picture, it got explored on flickr!Zoom zoom

Jaime got a nice one too.20130218-_MG_9678


Jaime’s dad Jim nailed this one.

Dave had a bunch of great pictures on his camera before it decided to take a swim… Dave’s NEW camera will be here soon.

Really Nice Updates to my website

Well, I finally got around to accomplishing some of the goals I had when I started my website. I just finished adding a shopping cart for selling prints, (via smugmug integrated into my own site), and my Amazon store is now online and functional as well. While I was at it, I added a page for the Photography Instruction venture I have going with my friend Jon Beard.

If you are a regular shopper on Amazon, please check out the Really Nice Gear page.  Any orders on Amazon through this link will earn a small commission, which I would appreciate very much.

Test Post

When I post to my blog, it should show up on my facebook page. If everything works.

Streamlining my social networking

I admit that I am pretty lazy about keeping up with my blog and facebook page. The truth is, the way it is now, it’s kind of a pain and I would rather be out shooting, than playing on the computer. I found a few new tools that might make things easier, so I’m going to be trying those out her in the next few days. Wish me luck!

Fun With Long Exposures – Traffic Trails

Here is another example of the fun you can have with long exposures: Traffic Trails!

These are pretty easy to set up, and you can get a decent trail with a 15-30 second exposure.

Fun With Long Exposures - Traffic Trails

Long Exposure Traffic Trail on the Hwy. 42 overlook above New Castle, VA

How to set up a long exposure:

How to set up a long exposure:

How to set up a long exposure

Milky Way over the Falls of Dismal

This is a set-up shot for the long exposure star trails, and is a great example of why you would want to know how to calculate equivalent exposures in your head. When you are making a commitment to an exposure of any significant duration, how do you know what settings to use without wasting a lot of time? Well, if you know how to calculate equivalent exposures, it’s easy, and takes no more than 30 seconds (or 1 minute if you are using Dark Frame noise reduction).

In this shot, my settings were ISO 6400, f/2.8, 30 seconds. I found with these settings, the sky was nicely exposed, and our campfire was providing just enough light for the waterfall and trees in the foreground. Since I knew I wanted to shoot at ISO 800 or less, my equivalent calculations started there. I started counting stops from ISO 6400 to 3200 (1), 3200 to 1600 (2), 1600 to 800 (3). Next, I knew for the best star trails I wanted to make the exposure as long as possible, so I chose to adjust my shutter speed to balance my exposure. I went from 30 seconds to 1 minute (1), 1 minute to 2 minutes (2), and from 2 minutes to 4 minutes (3). At this point, my aperture setting of f/2.8 was not going to give me the depth of field I was looking for ( A daytime landscape might call for an aperture of f/8 or higher for maximum depth of field, but on a very dark night such as this, f/5.6 is usually sufficient). I dialed in f/5.6 and adjusted my shutter speed 8 minutes. For good measure, I added one more stop to my shutter speed making it 16 minutes to make sure I was filling in the shadows in the foreground. (1 stop over exposure is well within the corrective capabilities of Lightroom, so by exposing to the right, I was making sure I wasn’t going to end up with blocked up shadows). As it turned out, I let it cook for and additional 2 minutes beyond my calculated time while I finished my cup of hot tea. 2 minutes makes very little difference in the overall exposure as the next full stop of light would come at 32 minutes.
So, in a minute or less, I knew what my settings should be for an exposure of 16 minutes. I could have easily made it 32 minutes by changing my aperture to f/8, 64 minutes at f/11, or 128 minutes at f/16. All would have had the same basic exposure, but by setting up my initial test shot, I  didn’t have to waste any time to find the right combination.

45 Minute Star Trails at Dismal Falls

This is the result of a 45 minute exposure calculated using the steps above

Old School Film Shooter with a Pentax K1000

Old School Film Shooter with Pentax K1000

Old School Film Shooter with Pentax K1000

I met an old school film shooter the other day. This is Basil and his Pentax K1000 that he has been shooting with since forever. He had the most awesome DIY camera case made from an old boot and a clam chowder can. Thanks for letting me take your picture Basil.

How to make a star burst sun flare


How to make a starburst sun flare
Starburst Sun Flare at the Hotel Roanoke

In order to make the starburst sun flare, I used a very narrow aperture of f/22 and positioned the sun right on the very edge of the canvas awning. I actually split it right down the center and that’s what caused this awesome star burst. I had to use as slow ofa shutter speed as I could to expose the trees and courtyard, and handheld, the best I could get was 1/20th with my 16-35mm.I think the courtyard is underexposed a little, but anymore and I would have blown out the sky completely. Looking back, I should have set this up on a tripod and made an HDR. As it is, this is a shot that makes full use of the dynamic range of the camera.  

From a previous adventure…

Jon Beard just immortalized my shot of the Falls at Fenwick Mines by including it on the cover of the first ever newsletter. This newsletter covers all the happenings of interest to Roanoke area photographers. Check it out!

Fenwick Mines waterfall.jpg