I have received a number of compliments on the photo from my last post and for the same photo that is on this month’s print calendar. This truly is a wonderful photograph, one of my all-time favorites. This is a location I have visited a number of times, at different times of the year and in varying conditions. The particular evening that I made the photograph that became this month’s calendar, I had exceptionally nice light. It only lasted for a few moments, but that light, combined with very still water, made for just the right conditions.
I remembered a similar photograph that I had taken at this same location several years earlier, and went back and pulled it up. While nice in it’s own way, it was a more cloudy afternoon and the light is much more subdued. The lighting was much more subdued, which is what I would typically favor for a lot of the photography I do. It is still a very nice photograph, but not on the same level as the later one.
It is a good example of why we return often to a familiar location. Because you just don’t know what conditions you might encounter.
OK, so I’m a little late this month – SORRY! Actually I sort of forgot. But at least ONE person contacted me to tell me that they missed my update. Sorry, Kevin W, that you had to go almost a whole day without the latest calendar! 🙂
Lots happening in the House of Dills this month. Hopefully I’ll be broadcasting from my new “studio” for the December update. We’ll see. I’ve got some posts in the works, though. Words for some, photos for others. I just have to put them together.
For those of you who also have my print calendar, this is one of the few times that I’ve duplicated my print calendar with my desktop calendar. But when I turned the page on my printed calendar this morning, I liked the photo so much I decided to put it on my computer screen, too! I hope you enjoy it.
I was originally going to title this post “Take the Money and Run,” but when I thought about what I really wanted to say, I realized I was wanting to talk more about the present and the future than revisiting the past. I mentioned in an earlier post about the fact that we had sold our house, were sweating out the due diligence process and had been waiting – somewhat impatiently – to get the green light to move, and eventually to actually close the sale. Well, that’s all done now. We sent about half of our stuff to storage on May 22, moved the important stuff – cameras, computers, the bed and a little bit of furniture 🙂 – into an apartment on May 23, spent the 23rd and 24th unpacking most of what we brought, then immediately headed off to Belhaven, our favorite little town on the coast, for Memorial Day weekend. We then spent evenings this past week and this just-past weekend getting the rest of the odds and ends squared away. I got my printer hooked up and working this morning – it fortunately seems to have survived the move with no ill effects. I have some pictures to hang, but that will be about it.
We closed the sale on the 30th, so now we are houseless, but not homeless. We had lived in our house for 17 years. That’s an eternity for some people, and is the longest we have ever lived in one place. And we haven’t lived in an apartment since 1984. I think one of the lessons learned from the selling and moving process is that that is way too long to stay in one place. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but you tend to accumulate a lot of stuff, and the older a house gets the more money it takes to keep it up. And that’s money that I would rather spend on things other than house maintenance.
Our current plan is to move into a new condo early this fall. It is currently in the very early construction stages – as in there isn’t even a road to it yet. But we visited the site this morning, and there are curbs now where there was just a hint of road only a week ago. The lot is graded and staked out, so we’re thinking that as soon as the road is paved we’ll start seeing forms go up for the footers. That’s pretty exciting – building our own place from the ground up. We’re not physically building it of course, but we picked the floor plan, chose the options and got to put our “signature” on it. All very exciting.
In the mean time, what to do? We think we’re going to like this little break quite a bit. A few months where the only things we need to think about are the necessities. Sure, we need to get up and go to work every day. We need to plan meals and get our exercise. But other than that? No boxes, no inspections and no appraisals. Almost worry free! Most everyone we know tells us that we’ll get tired of apartment living very quickly, and that we won’t be able to wait to get into our condo. But I don’t know. Part of us thinks we could get used to the “footloose and fancy free” lifestyle for a few years, maybe longer. Who says we need to own a house? Only the people who have a vested interest in selling us one! Throwing my money away on rent? How about throwing it away on interest instead? Take your pick and pay The Man. Conventional wisdom isn’t necessarily conventional or wise, I say.
We have every intention of going through with the condo purchase as planned. But we’re going to use this little bit of free time to consider all of our options. And that includes deciding whether or not we want to be tied to owning a house that we have to sell again, or if we just like the idea of giving 60 days notice, loading up the truck and moving somewhere else. There’s a certain appeal to that idea that tells me that I shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. So we’ll see.
So what does all of this have to do with photography? Probably not a whole lot, except that for the next few months I expect to have a lot more time to spend wandering around with my camera. And I plan to have plenty of time to start writing for my blog again. And we’ll probably travel a little bit, maybe a lot. And that sounds like something that I can really look forward to.
Kathy & I are visiting Belhaven, North Carolina this weekend. One of our many favorite weekend destinations, Belhaven is ideally situated near a lot of places that I love to photograph. And this weekend has proven – once again – the advantage of returning time after time to some of the same places.
The weather has been perfect “Chamber of Commerce” weather. Clear, blue sky with no clouds to be found anywhere. Well, there were a few around late this afternoon, but not enough to make a meaningful difference in the weather forecast. A little tough for photography, but not if you know where to look. And I had a pretty good idea where to look!
I love shooting the boats around Swan Quarter and Englehard. I never get tired of going there, and these are especially good places in the late afternoon on these clear days when I know there will be golden light if I am patient enough.
Once the sun was low enough that the boats were cast in shadow we headed back down the road to Lake Mattamuskeet to see what like of post-sunset color we might find. We found a little, and it was quite nice.
One of the advantages of an early sunset is a little more time to spend processing photos, so I have broken from my usual routine to process a few photos from this afternoon and get them online the same day. I’ll have a few more once we get home and I get them processed on my regular computer.
The B&B we stay at in Belhaven is on Water Street, right across the street from the Pantego Creek, and I often walk over to the waterfront around sunset time to see what kind of interesting sunset there might be. It’s easy to get to, has a good year-around view of the western horizon, and has some interesting trees and grasses for foreground interest. One of the things that calls me back time and time again are these three old posts, remnants of a long-gone dock or pier, that stick up out of the water just off the shoreline.
There’s nothing really special about these posts, but there’s something about them that keeps me photographing them over and over. I think mostly it’s just a great way to practice composition, placement and shutter speed, but it gets me out the door, and most of the time that’s the battle. I can sit in the living room and watch the sky, and if something interesting happens I can grab my gear and be set up in two minutes. But actually getting up and going there compels me to get the camera out and do something with it.
Sometimes I get an interesting shot, sometimes I just play around, but I always enjoy myself. Sometimes I have to remember to actually look at the sunset, I get so caught up with these posts! Sometimes the sky just fizzles out at sunset, but these posts are always there, and I’m always able to figure out something to do with them. Most of the photos never make it to paper but some of them do.
I and several of my blogging buddies have been having a discussion about motivation, and often we find that it takes a project, a convenient subject, or sometimes just a few old posts to get us out of our chairs and make us head out the door to make some photographs. Whatever gets you going, take advantage of it and get out there and shoot. All this fancy equipment doesn’t make photographs by itself!
Kathy & I are spending the long President’s Day weekend (President’s Day for most banking-related employers except mine. Oh, well….) in Belhaven, NC, one of our favorite getaway spots. We enjoy coming to Belhaven because we can do or not do, as much or as little as we choose. It’s a nice little town on the Intracoastal Waterway, a little sleepy but there’s enough to do if you want something to do. We’ve got some good friends that run a B&B here, and it is nice to visit several times a year to catch up. After the hustle & bustle of The Big City it is a welcome change.
Saturday we visited Washington, NC, just down the road between Belhaven and Greenville. There’s a great wine shop there we like to visit called Wine & Words (‘Words’ because it is also a used book store). We go for the wine but I’ve also bought books there, once picking up a copy of Peter Turnley’s The Parisians for an amazingly good price.
I’ve been begging Kathy to let me try out her little Olympus E-PL2 for quite some time, and she decided that she wasn’t planning to do any shooting this weekend, so as long as I used my own memory card (so I wouldn’t corrupt hers!) I could shoot to my heart’s content. I didn’t shoot a lot with it, but I did get a chance to make some walking-around-town photos in Washington and worked a little bit around the Sunset Hour, although colorwise there wasn’t much to work with.
Today has been wet and cold and rainy, so while I ordinarily wouldn’t spend time processing and posting photographs, it seemed like a perfect day to play around with Lightroom 4. I’m teaching a Lightroom class this coming Saturday and thought I probably should at least be able to discuss the upcoming update. I decided to just jump in without reading any tutorials, so now that I’ve spent some time with it I can look at some tutorials and figure out what I should have known before I started. Sort of like reading the manual after assembling the swing set, but I figure I can’t hurt anything. So far, so good.
A lot of the new version looks pretty much like the old one, although I’m obviously going to need to spend some time learning about the new Map and Book modules. There are some interesting new slider functions in the Develop Module, and that’s where I spent most of my time. It will be interesting to read about the changes and find out what I should have known before I started!
So anyway, these are a few images shot on an unfamiliar camera and processed with a partially unfamiliar program. I think they’re kind of fun, I had fun making them and fun working with Lightroom 4.
This has been a strange winter so far. And not just here in North Carolina, but people I talk to all over the country are wondering what’s going on. Well, it’s February, so we’re not out of the woods yet, winter-wise. But at least here in the South we can look forward to spring being right around the corner.