Tag Archives: photography

Nothing IS Something

Roy Taylor Forest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Out of Focus

Kathy & I spent a nice quiet weekend in the Waynesville, NC area last week. It was sort of a birthday celebration but was primarily an excuse to escape the Charlotte heat and get away to the quiet and cool of the mountains. We ate at a few of our favorite restaurants and explored a bit of the area, but mostly we “chilled.”

Remains of a former CCC camp along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Remains of a former CCC camp along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

We had a nice hike in the Smokies along a quiet mountain stream, had a picnic lunch and spent some time at a few overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but nothing especially noteworthy.

Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

At one point while sitting at a picnic table having lunch, one of us remarked at the number of people who come roaring into the parking area, race to the bathroom and barely have time for the car to cool down before they fire it up and race on to the next destination. Once in a while someone would “picnic,” which basically involved carrying their fast food container and half emptied “Big Gulp” over to a table, gobbling down some unrecognizable carbohydrate, then do the same hop back into the car and roar off thing.

Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Along the Kephart Prong Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Turks Cap Lillies along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook
Turks Cap Lillies along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook

We see the same thing happen at an overlook on the Parkway. We’ll be sitting in the car enjoying the quiet and the view, and car after car will drive in, stop without even putting the car in Park, stick an arm or a camera/phone out the window then drive off. Drive-by sightseeing!

Purple bee balm along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook
Purple bee balm along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Rabb Knob overlook
Yellow Coneflowers at Roy Taylor Forest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Yellow Coneflowers at Roy Taylor Forest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of us mentioned that – if they ever even took the time to notice anyone was there – these people would think we were crazy for just sitting around doing “nothing.” But what they fail to realize that “nothing” is actually “something,” but that too many people don’t bother to think about the benefits of just sitting and enjoying the view!

Road Trippin’

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina

Kathy & I like to get out of town on weekends, especially taking advantage of some long holiday weekends to stretch our meager PTO (Paid Time Off) allotment.  We did just that over July 4th, visiting (most of) our friends in Belhaven and Washington, NC.  The towns were dressed up in their patriotic best, and we even managed to take in a parade.  I’m saving the parade photos for another post and possibly even my SoFoBoMo project, but here are a few random photos from the weekend.

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina

With temperatures in the mid to upper 90s here in Charlotte we’ll be taking off again this weekend.  The mountains are calling, as they say…. 🙂

Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Along Water Street in Belhaven North Carolina
Along Water Street in Belhaven North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
River Forest Manor in Belhaven, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Bath, North Carolina
Fourth of July in Bath, North Carolina

Wallpaper Two-Fer!

Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I was getting tired of my desktop wallpaper and decided it was time for something new.  But then I had two photos I really liked and couldn’t decide.  So guess what?  Two for the price of one! 🙂

Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Island Time

Ela's Blue Water Grill, Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Ela’s Blue Water Grill, Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Kathy & I recently spent a week at the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Since we got back I’ve had so much going on that I haven’t had a chance to process and post any photos.  I didn’t take many photos on the beach proper, but did take my camera with me to dinner and other outings.  Here are a few picks from my first pass through the folder.

Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

DIY Photo Walk

Window and shadows in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Window and shadows in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina

My photo buddy Paul Lester and I got together earlier this month for an impromptu photo walk.  We don’t do this often enough, but when we do it’s a real blast.  There’s nothing like wandering around with a camera to exercise the creative muscles a bit.

Glass sculpture at a park in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Glass sculpture at a park in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Mirrored mosaic in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Mirrored mosaic in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina

While there are meetup groups and photowalks staged and sponsored by “celebrity” photographers, those are often large group activities.  Paul & I are alike in that too many people makes it more of a cat herding competition than a photography activity.  I’d say that 4-5 people would be the max for me.

Cemetery at Fourth Ward Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
Cemetery at Fourth Ward Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
Shadow photos in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Shadow photos in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina

Paul lives on the south end of the county and I am at the north end. We met for breakfast down his way then drove to the light rail station for a ride into town.  We ended up disembarking in South End, which is a neighborhood 1-2 miles south of “Uptown” then walked the rest of the way.  After a few hours of wandering we boarded the train for the ride back to our respective cars.

Sculpture made of old tires in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Sculpture made of old tires in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
Aboard the CATS Blue Line light rail in Charlotte, North Carolinia
Aboard the CATS Blue Line light rail in Charlotte, North Carolinia

Paul has already posted an article about our walk on his own blog, and it’s always interesting to see what he saw and compare it to what I saw.  I’m purposely leaving out photos that are from the same places as Paul’s, although I certainly have a few that look at lot like his!  Instead I’m showing some photos that are things that he may have seen but that he hasn’t posted (yet!).

Colorful painting in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina
Colorful painting in the South End area of Charlotte, North Carolina

Miscellaneous Randomness

Wisteria Hysteria Waynesville, North Carolina
Wisteria Hysteria
Waynesville, North Carolina

Trying to get better at just posting pictures when I don’t have a lot of words.  Whew….!

Some random photos from around Western NC a few weekends ago.

Locked Up Frog Level North Carolina
Locked Up
Frog Level North Carolina
63 Asheville, North Carolina
63
Asheville, North Carolina
Craft Creates...Shadows? Grove Arcade, Asheville, North Carolina
Craft Creates…Shadows? Grove Arcade, Asheville, North Carolina
Wall Street but not That Wall Street Asheville, North Carolina
Wall Street but not That Wall Street
Asheville, North Carolina

Time Flies

Reflection at LaBella Pizza, Washington, North Carolina
Reflection at LaBella Pizza, Washington, North Carolina

Kathy & I took a quick jaunt over Easter to visit some of our friends in Belhaven and Washington, NC.  It was a quick trip and we didn’t see everyone, but we did manage to buy some wine from our favorite Wine Guy, and I was able to take a few photos.  We’re planning a return in July and will be sure to look up the rest (SN).

Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina

A couple of weeks ago I was able to take advantage of a “clearance” sale on the Fuji E-X2 and picked one up as a backup to my X-T1.  I don’t do a lot of events, but when I do I know it is prudent to have a spare camera, just in case.  Adorama had the E-X2 body and the wonderful 18-55 zoom lens on sale for what amounted to $200 for the body.  As much as I would love to have an X-Pro 2, and as aware as I am that the X-T2 is right around the corner, I have placed a self-imposed moratorium on the upgrade cycle and am planning to stand firm for a while.  But I still don’t have all the lenses, so…. 😉

Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina

So here is a little sampler of photos taken with my “backup” kit.  No slouch for sure, especially with a nice lens.  Looking forward to using it some more.

Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Bath, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina
Springtime in Belhaven, North Carolina

Storage & Clutter

Classic Boats at the Lake Norman Classic Boat Show, Queens Landing, Mooresville, NC
Classic Boats at the Lake Norman Classic Boat Show, Queens Landing, Mooresville, NC

Few things get on my nerves more than clutter. A messy desk, a disorganized garage, an overloaded closet – those are things that just drive me crazy. Now I’m not the most organized person in the world – Kathy would probably suggest that my head is probably the least organized thing on the planet, but that’s another post! But I can’t stand to make room for stuff I don’t use. Or worse, have to have extra storage for stuff because I’ve run out of room for all that stuff I don’t need.

Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Green Mountain Overlook near Boone, NC
Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Green Mountain Overlook near Boone, NC

When I started in digital photography, I applied this desire for order to my workflow. I have a very structured, well-organized and repeatable method for keeping track of my files and backing them up. That way I always know where I stand on my organization, editing and processing. Part of that workflow has been that I never delete files. I remove unused files from my Lightroom catalog but leave them on my hard drive, with the idea that storage is cheap and that it was better to have them than to delete them.

Liberty Bell and independence Hall, Independence Square, Philadelphia, PA
Liberty Bell and independence Hall, Independence Square, Philadelphia, PA
May 2005 Photo Class with Emilie Knight in Uptown Charlotte
May 2005 Photo Class with Emilie Knight in Uptown Charlotte

I currently store all my photos on a 2TB hard drive in my computer. That is not much by many peoples’ standards, but because I don’t create huge files in Photoshop and don’t have a 50 megapixel camera, I figured that 2TB would last me a long time.  Lately I’ve approached the limit on those drives, and knew that it was probably time to do something about it. I started looking at upgrading to larger drives, but while storage is relatively inexpensive, I have a total of 4 drives, two internal drives (main+backup) plus two external drives (onsite+offsite). I haven’t yet sprung for cloud storage. I don’t completely trust it and would never use it as my only backup, so as long as I need to have physical backups anyway, I didn’t think there was much point in also having cloud backup. Plus, there are lenses…. 😉

Sunset at Hatteras Harbor Marina, Hatteras Village, NC
Sunset at Hatteras Harbor Marina, Hatteras Village, NC
Sunset from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Sunset from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Sunset, Woolyback Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Sunset, Woolyback Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

One of the things I started thinking about was that there are a bunch of files on those hard drives that are no longer in my Lightroom catalog, files that I’ve already decided aren’t worth keeping and that I could get rid of. I have no idea how many, because by looking at the files in Finder there isn’t any really good way of telling which files are in the Lightroom catalog and which ones are not. I originally toyed with the idea of just exporting the existing catalog to a new drive, or erasing one of the existing drives for the purpose. But part of me wanted to look at those old files “one last time” to make sure I wasn’t getting rid of any hidden treasures. So as long as I wanted to be able to do that I came up with what I think is a workable solution.

Fog Rising from the Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Fog Rising from the Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
White Pass & Yukon Scenic Railway, Skagway, Alaska
White Pass & Yukon Scenic Railway, Skagway, Alaska

What I have done is to use Lightroom’s Import function to “re-import” all those files into the Lightroom catalog. They are already in folders – the same folders that all of the “keepers” are in, so all I have to do is import them in their current position. I started about a week ago and have been importing them a year at a time. By going year-by-year, and folder-by-folder within each year, I’m keeping it at a manageable amount and am not moving or deleting files until I’ve looked at them. In the event that I come across files I want to keep – and I’ve found a few – it is very easy to put them aside so they don’t get lost.

Old Barn near Lake Junaluska, NC
Old Barn near Lake Junaluska, NC

I’ve gotten through 2004-2008 so far – admittedly not heavy years filewise since I had just started in digital and was still shooting some film. I forgot to track the number of files and amount of storage for the first two years, but am keeping track now and should be able to have a pretty good estimate when I’m done. Right now between 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008 it looks like I’m at about 23,000 files deleted and about 236GB freed up. The folders seem to be getting bigger the farther I go, so it will be interesting to see how those numbers increase as I continue.

February 2005 trip to Amelia Island, Florida
February 2005 trip to Amelia Island, Florida

This is pretty geeky stuff and I can’t imagine anyone reading this post will care about more detail, but if anyone wants additional detail I’ll be happy to answer questions or emails. But it won’t bother me if no one asks! In the meantime I’ve thrown in some photos from 2005 for your viewing pleasure. It seems I photographed a lot of sunrises and sunsets back then!

The Bucket List Thing

"These Three Ships" Bridgetown, Barbados. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
“These Three Ships” Bridgetown, Barbados. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

Kathy & I recently attended a travel show in Charlotte, hoping to get some ideas for places we’d like to go. As is inevitable at these events, someone along the line asked the question, “so what’s on your Bucket List? It’s a common question, and has gotten to be a bit cliché, but for the most part is simply used as a conversation starter. I don’t take offense at the question, but do tend to bristle a bit whenever I hear it. Let me explain.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
Street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned from my photography is that we can’t go everywhere or do everything – we can only do so much. We’re never going to see everything there is to see. There is always a “better” sunrise or sunset happening somewhere else. And traveling to exotic destinations does not guaranty good photographs. Not that there aren’t a lot of good reasons to travel to beautiful locations. My approach has become to travel to places I am interested in, take my camera and make photographs wherever I happen to be. Traveling to a place specifically to take photographs, more often than not, results in looking for preconceived or iconic photos, at the expense of seeing things through my unique eyes and vision.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

One of my favorite ways to travel is to rough out a route, then look to see what else there is to do along the way. When I get to a T in the road, it is not unusual for me to go left when my directions tell me to go right. I’ve found a lot of interesting things – and interesting photographs – by going the “wrong” way. It’s nothing for us to be driving down a country road, see a sign for something or other and say, “let’s check it out.” We do and it is often a worthwhile diversion.

View of Nelsons Dockyard and English Harbor, Antigua
View of Nelsons Dockyard and English Harbor, Antigua
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

I try to avoid falling into what I have heard referred to as “get-there-itis.” That’s what happens when we are so focused on the route or the destination that we don’t take time to enjoy the journey. If we never stray from the highway, we never see that fish processing plant at the end of the dead-end road or stop at a waterfall that isn’t on the map. And that’s why I don’t like the idea of a Bucket List in the way I suspect a lot of people look at it. The problem becomes when we look too far ahead or focus too much on the list itself to the exclusion of other choices. We also run the danger of over-planning, and don’t leave time for serendipity.

Weekend in Charleston, October 2004
Weekend in Charleston, October 2004
Weekend in Charleston, October 2004
Weekend in Charleston, October 2004

There are obviously unlimited ways to consider a bucket list, and that obviously makes a difference when it comes to what it means. If we think of it as a list of places we’d like to consider going, but use it more as a guide in case we lose our memory before the money runs out, then yeah, that is probably OK. But taken to the extreme, if it becomes an “ohmygawdIjusthavetodoallthesethingsbeforeIdieormylifewillbeafailure” list, then it becomes – in my opinion – little more than a list of potential disappointments, for those things we don’t get to do, or because of things we pass by because we are too determined to cross off one more thing.

Weekend in Charleston, October 2004
Weekend in Charleston, October 2004
Weekend in Charleston, October 2004
Weekend in Charleston, October 2004

There are obviously a lot of places I would like to go and things that I would like to do. I even have a list! But there really isn’t anyplace I feel like I need to get to in order to be satisfied. I’ve wanted to go to Colorado since I was a kid, and finally got there last year. I’d probably love Hawaii, but as Kathy & I were reminiscing about our recent visit to Nevis – admittedly a “Bucket List-worthy” destination in its own right – we wondered just how much “better” Hawaii might be? Different, certainly. It’s hard to say, and we might get to find out someday. I’d like to go to several places in Europe, but if I don’t get there that will be OK.

November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

Our son Kevin leaves today for a week in Peru, and I am quite envious. Is Peru on my “Bucket List?” No, but when he talks about the things he is going to do there, it sounds like a place I’d like to go. Somehow I had just never considered it. Will I add it to my list? Quite possibly. But more likely I will channel my thoughts to answer the question of “so, what is MY Peru?” What place would I love to go that I haven’t thought of? I’m not sure, and when I find it I hope there is a flight or a ship to take me there!

November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

I find that I can be perfectly happy making the best of anywhere I am. Whether that is Waynesville or Belhaven, North Carolina, Key West or Fort Collins, those places are special to me also. Many of my best memories and favorite photographs are from places that wouldn’t be on too many Bucket Lists. But I get the most satisfaction from experiences and not from places. And I think my photographs reflect that, too.

October 2004 Trip to GSMNP
October 2004 Trip to GSMNP

From The Archives – 2004

Unfortunate Background, Charleston, South Carolina This is one of my favorite "candid" shots of all time, just because I love the ironic juxtaposition of the stop sign behind the just-married couple. I might have also called this "Too Late."
Unfortunate Background, Charleston, South Carolina. This is one of my favorite “candid” shots of all time, just because I love the ironic juxtaposition of the stop sign behind the just-married couple. I might have also called this “Too Late.”

I recently had reason to go back through my files for a project I am working on to free up some storage space on my hard drives.  A (very) few may find that subject interesting, so I’ll try to include that in a future post, once the idea is more thoroughly developed.  In the meantime, I excavated some long-forgotten photos in my Lightroom catalog, dating back to my very first digitally-originated photos from my Canon G5, which I acquired in late 2004.

The G5 was the camera that convinced me to make the move from film to digital.  Even though it was a measly 5 megapixel point & shoot, the fact that I could get some pretty darned nice photos from it without having to scan film was the clincher.  I was shooting medium format film at the time, and while I loved the images and the overall aesthetic of MF, being able to skip the scanning step was incredibly freeing.  Of course we now spend that time in Lightroom or Photoshop, but we didn’t realize that at the time!

I’ll try to post photos from subsequent years as I go, but for now this is a blast from my (photo) past.  Nothing extraordinary, but a whole lot of fun!

Career in Sanitation, Anyone? Charleston, South Carolina
Career in Sanitation, Anyone? Charleston, South Carolina
View from our Verandah, Charleston, South Carolina
View from our Verandah, Charleston, South Carolina
Paint Samples, Charleston, South Carolina
Paint Samples, Charleston, South Carolina
Blue Door and Yellow Building in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Blue Door and Yellow Building in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Beer Shop in Antigua
Beer Shop in Antigua
Palm Trees at Andromeda Gardens, Barbados
Palm Trees at Andromeda Gardens, Barbados
Rainbow over the harbor in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Rainbow over the harbor in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
October 2004 Trip to GSMNP
October 2004 Trip to GSMNP
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Catedrál de San Juan Bautista, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Catedrál de San Juan Bautista, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ben & Jerry's, San Juan Puerto Rico
Ben & Jerry’s, San Juan Puerto Rico
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas