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Monday, December 5, 2011


Recently several of us local photographers went out on and exercise in perspective.  There are three kinds of perspective.  The photographers, the camera, and forced.   This proved harder than expected.  It was great  seeing what other people found.  We had to work together and made lots of new friends and had lodes of fun.  Get out on your own and give it a try.

Photographers perspective- How the photographers sees things.

Camera perspective.  natural distortion or view of the camera. Notice that the statue of the woman is appears to be as large as the monument column.  That's due to the angle of the camera to the subject.  She is really not that big. 

Forced Perspective -  Making things a little out of sorts on purpose.  Notice how the light post appears to be on top of the building. It also appears large as it is much closer to the camera than the building.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Waynesville Watershed.

Don Hendershot led a small group into the Waynesville Watershed.  We observed a variety of wildflowers, a frog, and looked for salamanders along one of the beautiful creeks. We listened for birds and Don educated us on several animal behaviors.  While it was cold and snow flurried early in the morning we ended the day with sunshine and warmth.

Mountain Gentian

The town offers this hike twice a year and is well worth the hike.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Rob Sheppard- editor of Outdoor Photography is currently doing research on writing E books.  Check out his articles about this.

Rob on ebooks

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gallery 86

Gallery 86 in downtown Waynesville NC will be hosting a show of artist. This event hosted by the Haywood County Arts Council will be about small works.  All items must be less than 12 inches.

Come on down and support our local artist and be sure to take a look at my latest works.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bear Shadow

Each year for a few short weeks the shadow of a bear comes into view.  This is seen in the fall in in the spring.  People come from all over to watch the bear appear.  As the sun moves from week to week his shape changes and his legs become longer.  He is between Cashiers and Highlands in North Carolina.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More Fall Color

The leaves are changing quick.  There is a lot more color around 3000 feet and drawing near to full color.  Now is the time to hit the BRP for some glorious rides.   Early morning light will give that warm glow and evening sun will pop our colors. 

Don' for get to use your polarizer!  This will keep the glare off when needed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nova Scotia

I recently traveled to Nova Scotia.  I can't find anything bad to say about the area.  Its beautiful, clean and everyone I met was so very nice.  I was surprised to learn that the Titanic victims are buried there.   I was able to visit the grave of Joseph Dawson whom the movie was made.  I put several short clips from our guide about them on my website.  It was so very interesting.

Food there is wonderful.  I had some of the best meals of my life and some of the best small towns.  I can hardly wait to return one day.  If you ask for tea with dinner be sure to specify if you want Iced Tea or Tea.  If you just say tea you will get a cup of hot tea.   And yes for yall southern folks there is sugar in it.  I found the tea to be very refreshing.

We also stopped at the preserve company and they will ship home.  Some of the best stuff I have tasted.  I never had Curd before but it's really good on some foods.  I like the ginger lemon on asparagus. The Prince Edward Island Preserve Company will also ship to the states.
I also learned that you don't refer to the island as Prince Edward.  You say PEI.

Prices are higher there.  A Big Mac from McDonalds cost quite a bit more than what I am used to.  Some hotels there will do the money exchange for you if you don't get it at the bank before you go.

Cabot Trail- This was the best area to me.  I stayed at Beddeck at the Lynnwood Inn.  You can go to the waterfront and take a pirate ship for a ride and the sun rise is beautiful there.   Cabot trail has so much diversity.

Whale watching-  Well I was a bit disappointed with this.  The whales are small and looked more like dolphins to me.  We had an oceanographer on our trip and he gave good talk to our dinner table. 

I also liked Halifax. Its a bigger city and lots to do.  I would like to have stayed another day there or had more free time to visit.

Since there was so much to see and do you better just check out the website for photos. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Professional Portrait Retouching

I recently got Scott Kelby book on Professional Portrait Retouching.  It's a great book and does some amazing things with photographs.  I was surprised at how simple some of the techniques are.

I should have thought of that.

  He also does a great job with the downloads of photos to practice on.  What a great way to learn.  There a lot of pictures and even a bonus on brushes.  

I would suggest this book to anyone that shoots people.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Camera Clinic

Grandfather Mountain NC has been having this clinic since 1952.   Each year there is a speaker and a chance to meet other photographers and exchange ideas.  This is a great event.  This year was rather exciting because I got to see people I have not seen in 18 years.  I cant believe its been that long.  These are some of the ones from the Hickory Camera Club from years ago.  Hey guys it was great to see you.

I also got to meet some new friends, share location spots and talk camera's and lenses.  Learned from writers their secrets.  And if I told you it wouldn't be a secret.  

I am looking forward for that really nice guy with the great sunrise shot that I didn't get to take me across that scary swinging bridge and help me get it next year.  He promised to hold my hand since I am afraid of heights.  I am already marking my calendar.

This event is always the third weekend in August.  You are allowed to camp on the mountain during the event.  Please don't leave food out or take any into your tents.  Again there was a bear in camp every night.  You could hear him banging around in peoples stuff and trying to get into the garbage cans.  So be prepared for an adventure.   This year there were twin fawns.  While there is a mini zoo up on the mountain be aware that there are plenty of wild animals there as well. 

To get there find Linville NC on a map and plan your starting point.  Usually from somewhere on I 40.  Grandfather Mountain is of Hwy 221 also called the Blowing Rock Hwy.   There is little to no cell service so just leave that at home or turn it off.  There is a restaurant on the mountain so bringing food is not necessary.°N, 81.8319°W 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Morton Overlook

This time of year the sun sets right in the valley giving the layers of hills a glow all their own.  This only happens for a few weeks so don't miss out.    There is construction going on on the TN side so plan your travel time.  The over look itself is full of construction equipment so travel to the next one up the mountain or from the NC side its the first one down.  The view is not as good from here however there is still a view and plenty of parking.

I am however disappointed at the ever growing number of dying trees.  The wooly is taking its' toll on these mountains.  It has changed so much in the last 10 years.  I hope that we can recover.  I know that some areas of the GSMNP have been treated. 

To get there take hwy 441 to the NC TN line.  Its just a short distance on the TN side.  There are restroom at the top of the mountain and also at Clingmans dome.  Elevation is about 4800 feet.

35.6148°N, 83.4253°W

Fall Color Coming soon

Time is flying by and fall will be with us soon.  Looks like it might be a late season this year.  Spring got off on a slow start and we jumped right into a hot summer.  Nights are starting to cool off a bit which is great for the trees.  We have had some good rain this year so I expect we will have a fantastic fall.

  Things start at the top and work their way down.  I expect mountain tops will begin to change around the second week of Oct. This would be our higher peaks, Grandfather, Mt Pisgah, ect.    Then we can look for things at around 4000 feet around the third week and the 4th week lets check out Asheville, Brevard, Highlands.  Moving on down the mountains we can figure the valley's around Cades will be the end of the month to the first week of Nov.   Things were similar to this last year.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why don't people follow the rules?

As is with most all parks there are rules.  These rules are meant for the safety of everyone.  On the camp brochure it almost always says:

" Store all food, coolers, utensils, or anything that may smell like food in locked vehicle or a camping unit made of solid, non-pliable material." 

People get excited about seeing a bear.  H E L L O people,  these are dangerous animals.  While camping this week someone did not follow directions and a bear came into his camp and got into his coolers.  All campers in that immediate area had to be moved and a trap was set.   Rangers came in and brought the cage and baited it right in camp.  

Around 11 PM we heard the steel door slam shut.  A signal light similar to a light house goes off.  You could hear the bear banging around inside the cage.  He would hiss which sounded like 20 snakes at the same time and charged the door.   That is a sound I never want to hear again.

 People had to be moved.  The bear has to be moved from his home and all of this was very necessary.  Bears try to bite their way out of the cage and often break teeth and injure themselves trying to get out. This one person who chose not to follow the rules affected so many lives and put others in danger.

This is sad on so many levels.  

Bear trap.

Frying Pan Mountain

This area is great for wildflowers.  There are a number of Daisy's, Fire Pink, Solomon's Seal, Turk's Cap Lily.  This is a gravel road that rises slowly up hill to the nearby fire tower.   The hike can take 1-3 hours depending on what you like to do.  For me I walk really slow and take my time looking at everything around me.  This 3/4 mile hike is wonderful.  The walk is not difficult until the last little stretch up to the base of the fire tower.  This tower is on the  historic register and was used in the 1940's.   It's located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at about mile marker 410.

Be sure not to block the gate when you park.   Take a Macro and wide angle lens and of course you tripod.

My favorite being the pink moth on the yellow Sundrop

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Civil War

The NC 25th is close to me.  My great great grandfather Leander Miller survived it all.  Glad he did or I would not be here.  I have so much respect for those who fight like that.  Today technology makes is somewhat safer.  You just don't hear about thousands dying in a battle.  It's important that we learn about what the past has to offer and I appreciate those that can bring it to us.

Nothing like learning it up close and personal.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lightroom VS Bridge

While I have heard that LR is the way to go these days some often say that Bridge does the same things.  Well that is true.  While it does the same things.  LR does so much more and so much better.  I recommend that you go to Julieanne Kost web page and view her tutorials.  It will surely give you a speed lesson in LR.  The work flow is by far much better.

 So if you are holding out ...take the plunge and download your free trial and work along with Julieanne and see for yourself.  I'm sold!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Glacier National Park

This is one of my favorite places to visit.  Kalispell Mt is where you can fly into.  There are a number of little motels to stay and you can rent a car from the airport.  I found that my standard camera bag did not fit on the tiny plane that I flew in on and one of my polarizer cases got broken from it being shoved in a compartment. So be sure to travel light or have a hard case for under the plane.  Keep your car gassed up.  Its a really long long drive between gas stations in this area.

Glacier is not far away and  you could easily spend days here.  Also there is the National buffalo ranch just south of Kalispell as well which makes for a great day trip.  Its on about any map.  Also 9 pipe is great for birding.  I could have easily spent a couple weeks in this area.    The helicopter ride in Glacier is a great way to see the landscape.

One thing that no one told me is that Montana is kinda like Alaska.  It stays daylight there a very long time.  Being from the east coast I was used to it being dark around 6 or 7 pm.  NOT going to happen there.  It did not get dark until around 10 or 11 pm.   I had to get one of those sleep mask.   Anyway the extra daylight did not go to wast.  It gave me time to push myself and get in a few extra shots since my trip was only a week.

Also if you get the chance go to the Tripple D game farm and sign up for a few classes.  You can stay on the property for a reasonable price and work as your home base.   This is a little expensive but well worth every penny.

Wolf Pups at Play
Mountain goat blocked my path.

Lake McDonald

Logan Pass

For lens take your wide angle, and zoom.   Good hiking boots and a variety of clothing.  Layers.  I went in July and hiked through snow capped mountain tops. 

48.2005°N, 114.3151°W

Lazy 5 Ranch

Here is a good one for the kids to come along.  A pick up truck is a good way to go if you have one.  There are a lot of animals and some of them will follow you around and even try to get in your vehicle.  There is a variety of things to see,  zebra, long horn cows, buffalo,elk, ostrige, antelope, birds and much more.  If you don't want to drive through then take the hay wagon ride. 

This could be an all day event.  I would suggest a wide angle for most everything.  You will be close up to most animals.  A large part of this is wooded so flash is a must.

The cost is about 9.00 and under. There are group rates available.

From I 40 at Statesville NC take I 77 south to hwy 150.  follow 150 east about 10 miles and you will see it on the left.   15100 Hwy 150 E.  Moresville NC 28115 704-663-5100

35.6190°N, 80.7298°W

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cornelia Bryant Gardens

This one is well kept secret.  There are numerous native species.  Be sure to take a tripod and reflectors to highlight your shots.   This little spot has fern curls, lady slippers, oconee bell, Virginia bluebells and many more plants native to the NC mountains.   Its an easy walk located by Lake Junaluska.  There is a wide variety of plants that bloom various times during the year so going back often always brings a new adventure.   It can be a little dark in here so flash could help.  There are also a number of birds here as well.

You can also take a nice walk around the lake. I like early morning for this area.

From 40 in western NC .  take exit 27 (hwy 19-23-74)  from this follow the signs to Maggie Valley exit  hwy 19.  A short distance you will see the lake to your right.  Turn right on North Lakeshore Dr.  Follow this around to Stuart Circle. Turn up Stuart Cir.  Park at the end of the Circle.

Granny's Chicken Palace is on the corner of N Lakeshore and Hwy19.  Its a great place to eat and they keep the fixin's coming for no additional charge. 

35.5274°N, 82.9767°W

Lake Mattamuskeet

Lake Mattamuskeet is in Eastern NC.  It's a great place to shoot birds.  This shallow lake provides lots of opportunities as it lies in one of the fly ways of our winged friends.

From I95 in NC take hwy 264 to Engelhard NC.  Here you will find several places to stay. 

If you have time be sure to visit the historic town of Bath or New Burn. 

35.4945°N, 76.2139°W

Jump off Rock

This little spot is known to many local photographers.  Its easy to get to and the views are fabulous.  Its a rock that over looks the valley and has wonderful views for sunset.  Indian lore states that a young maiden jumped from this rock after hearing that her lover had been killed in battle.

Take I 26 to Hendersonville.   Turn onto Hwy 64 toward town.  This is also four Seasons blvd.  Turn left on North Chruch St.  Turn Right on 5th Ave W.   This road becomes Laurel Park.  follow this to the end where you will see Jump off Rock.

35.3135°N, 82.5263°W

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chincoteague & Assateague Island

One of my favorite places is Chincoteague & Assateague Island.  There are wild ponies, ponds of birds, walking trails, biking trails and beaches.  For those photographers who's spouse is just not into taking pictures there is something for everyone.  The quite village has shopping, good food, crafts, and much more. 

This is located off the coast of Virginia.  The prices are reasonable and the hotels are wonderful.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn.  This hotel has balcony that over looks the river and has beautiful views.

The famous book Misty originated from this area.

Also to look for is the elusive Sika deer.  The first one I saw was a shocker.  It looked like a cross between a rottweiler and a deer.  They make sounds like elk.

A good time to go to photography the snow geese is around veterans day.  They do not charge during the weekends and holidays.   I would suggest to stay at least a week.  I plan to return to this area.

Ponies are more used to people in the Maryland side of the island. This side promises more beach pony shots.  On the VA side they are fenced in and you can see them a little less frequently however they are around in the woods and can be found up close.
There is a bridge that you go under water and over the water.  There are pull off spots on the bridge which proved some aerial shots of birds.  There is a secluded platform on the far side of the lake that provides great bird shots.

To get there take I 95 to Hwy 58 E.  Follow this to Norfolk and pick up Hwy 13.  You can then follow the signs.  

37.8644°N, 75.3870°W

Sanibel Island

Sanibel has changed over the last several years.  It has become a tourist mecca.  There is boat rental and bike rentals available.  You can even rent a segway.  I suggest you arrive early to avoid traffic.  There is a lot to do on this island.

On one end you have a light house and Osprey nest.  There are a lot of opportunity for shots of Osprey.  There is a fishing pier and beach access here.

J.N. Ding Darling rest on the shores of Sanibel.  There are a lot of birds in the area and January or Febuary offers the best times to go.   What few tell you is that you have to pay $6.00 per car to get to the Island and then you pay $2.00 per hour to park at the beaches or another $5.00 to enter Ding Darling.   It's easy to spend a whole day here. 

It's expensive to stay on the island however there is a LaQuinta (Summerlin Rd) just before the bridge to the island that is around $54.00 per night.

26.4489°N, 82.0223°W

7 Point System

One of the best kept secrets is Scott Kelby 7 Point System for photoshop.
 It's a must to read or get the CD.
The cd is better and explains the system in easy to understand steps.