Archive for the ‘NC’ Tag

It Should Be Springtime Here   Leave a comment


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Blasted cold!

I woke up this morning to single digit temperatures. The wind chill was below 0F.

Now, I know that doesn’t mean much to those from farther up north, but around here in North Carolina, this is rather unusual for this time of year. And it has been relentless.

Although I’m quite done with winter for now, I realize it’s only a matter of a few months before I’m slogging through the heat and humidity of a Carolina summer. Perhaps I’ll try to remember this popsicle in late August, finding some refreshment in the memory.

Daniel Ridge Falls, Pisgah National Forest, NC   7 comments


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After returning from New England after our autumn vacation, we decided that we simply hadn’t had enough, so we set out for western North Carolina to catch a few waterfalls.

Okay, so we went for the apples. Farm fresh apples in autumn are not to be considered lightly. We loaded up on several bags of them in between side trips.

One such side trip took us along a narrow forest road, then hiking up a trail for about half a mile to get to the Daniel Ridge Falls. The autumn season had been relatively dry, but there was enough water to provide some interest to the scene.

Three frames at f/11, merged with Photoshop Merge to HDR Pro, toned in ACR, finished in Photoshop with Nik Color Efex Pro.

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He’s So Shy   6 comments


He's So Shy

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With apologies to The Pointer Sisters.

“When I first saw him standin’ there
I wanted to speak but did not dare
Something inside whispered to me
You’d better move in carefully.

By the end of the summer, we get to know our Carolina Anoles pretty well. There are those that like to hang out on the string beans; those who frequent the vines covering our garden gate; or in this case, our guardian of the back deck. This one can often be seen scouting for delicious bugs, and is the same one featured in my previous image, “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues.”

This night, after a(notherdamn) rainfall, our buddy was seen slinking his way across wet blades of lemongrass. He had been looking right at the camera, and at the last second… well, he’s shy.

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Sony NEX-7 with 55-210 lens, f/8, 180s, ISO 1600. Initial toning using Photoshop CC’s “Color Lookup” filter. Further mods with Nik Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro

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I Gotta Right to Sing the Greens   7 comments


I Gotta Right to Sing the Greens

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During the dog days of summer here in the South, backyard critters will still find a way to keep cool, and to be cool.

This Carolina Anole seemed to be singing his heart out toward the end of a long day of catching bugs. We noticed him through the glass doors leading to the back deck, so I grabbed the new Sony NEX 7 with the an 18-55 lens and got right up against the glass.

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School’s Out, Bigthes!   6 comments


School's Out, Bigthes!

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I suppose whoever painted the end wall might have been served by staying in school a bit longer.

Where I live, we don’t get a chance to shoot “Urbex” very often, as Rural best defines this area. I’ll admit to a bit of professional jealousy when I see photos from my friends shooting in cities, abandoned warehouse and mills, and other places that demand a backpack full of Purell hand sanitizer.

Well, I found one. Even here.

I was returning from a shoot recently when I noticed a dilapidated complex of buildings just off the road, but mostly hidden behind overgrown foliage. I went back to investigate. It was an old elementary school with a perfect setup: All doors were off their hinges; there wasn’t a single No Trespassing sign to be found; and I had my good, heavy boots on.

Mad respect for my Urbex friends. This stuff isn’t easy. Inside, there were many hazards to avoid. In places it was pitch-dark. And I was alone. When you go through a place like this, it’s about more than finding interesting angles and vignettes – it’s a mood, a creepy feeling of the lives and experiences that were once here. Every little sound causes a bit of a shiver up the spine. Then you start thinking… Is there something here I don’t want to see? What if a rat nibbles on me? What compelled vandals to trash this place?, the fun of breaking stuff, or an utter hatred for their school-prison?

I left the building and was bathed with bright sunshine and fresh air. Enough creep in one day for an Urbex rookie.

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They Leave the Nest So Early…   7 comments


They Leave the Nest So Early...

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My friend, Jeff Garvey, invited me out to an abandoned schoolhouse near Arapahoe, N.C. Jeff reclaims old buildings slated for demolition, and repurposes the wood and materials to make absolutely delightful birdhouses that reflect the character of old N.C.

After taking this frame from the second story, I went downstairs to look for more trouble.

I could hear a lot of chirping on the first floor. It seemed that multiple birds were inside. A mother wren was making quite a racket, frenetically flying back and forth among the rafters of the schoolhouse. Following the source of all the chirping, I found a dilapidated nest on the floor near a pile of lumber, and two very young baby birds nearby… the source of the commotion.

Jeff knew what to do, so I called him in for a look. He put the nest back where it belonged, tucked it into the rafters, and then picked up the kids and carefully placed them back in the nest. “Mom” was pleased, although she still put up a fuss as we backed out of the room.

(Please don’t worry about handling baby birds in a situation like this. The parents will NOT abandon them. Birds have a limited sense of smell and cannot detect human scent. That old advice we learned as kids turns out to be a myth.)

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Above is Nikon D600, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, f/8 at 24mm, nine frames with Promote Control, merged to 32-bit in Photomatix Pro, adjusted in Adobe Camera Raw, then Photoshop for luminosity masking and other adjustments.

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Lower Falls of Upper Cascades, Hanging Rock State Park, NC   5 comments


Lower Falls of Upper Cascades, Hanging Rock

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At least I think I have that right. Or, is it the middle of the Upper Lower Falls?

At any rate, we took a few days to check out Hanging Rock State Park in northern central North Carolina… (Ugh! Here we go again.) Traveling mid-week was a blessing, as we encountered very few people in this very popular park. In addition to hiking a number of trails, we made sure to visit most of the waterfalls in the area.

This looks like a perfect spot to hide out on a hot summer day.

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HDR from three exposures. Merged Photomatix Pro to 32-bit TIFF. Adjustments in ACR and PS CS6.

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A Mother’s Kiss   8 comments


A Mother's Kiss

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Love, for some, is another mouthful of juicy bugs.

We’ve set up a couple of birdhouses out in the garden. This one was made by Jeff Garvey, who creates beautiful birdhouses made entirely from reclaimed pieces of abandoned barns and houses. (Be sure to check out his Facebook page Recycling is for the Birds.)

Mom and Dad have been working tirelessly to bring the young ones all the food they need. One day, as Mom stopped at the birdbath nearby, she looked up as though to say, “I’m just so tired,” and then flew off in search of more food.

The day after this image was taken, the little ones left the nest. They’re still hanging around the homestead, getting the lay of the land and more bug chow from the parents.

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One More for the Rhode Island Red   5 comments


One More for the Rhode Island Red

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C’mon, face it… Sometimes you just gotta scratch.

This is the final chicken image for a while, after All Natural Chicken and Jailbreak!. These little birds are challenging to photograph, so many of the shots from that day didn’t turn out well. The girls rarely stand still, and when they peck and scratch for food, they move incredibly fast, making a sharp capture almost impossible. And it started raining heavily… Some shoots just don’t go as planned.

I’ll look forward to getting out for more landscape images, soon. It’ll seem easy after chasing these kids around the lawn.

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Jailbreak!   6 comments


Jailbreak!

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Just prior to shooting the previous image, All Natural Chicken, an alarm sounded as several hens conspired to break out of jail. Hey, the scratch feed inside the coop wasn’t all that bad, but nobody can resist fresh lawn bugs for an afternoon snack.

The white bird, Little Miss Delaware, is such a goodie two-shoes. Evidently, she decided not to risk the escape. Or… was she the lookout?

Analysis of the surveillance camera footage have identified the culprits as (from L to R):

“Barbie” – an American Dominique.

“Little Miss Delaware” – a Delaware (She probably snitched on the others.)

“Red Girl” – Rhode Island Red

“EE” – An Easter Egger who lays colorful eggs.

If you see these hens on the loose, follow carefully at a distance and wait. I like mine over-easy.

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