Archive for the ‘North Carolina’ Tag

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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When You Smile for the Camera, I Know They’re Gonna Love It   6 comments


When You Smile for the Camera, I Know They're Gonna Love It

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A smiling dragonfly takes time for a photo opportunity on a corn tassel. I’m not sure if she’s resting, or just loves hamming it up for the camera.

It’s a happy coincidence that the color in the dragonfly almost perfectly matched the coloration in the corn silk. She seems to have an uncanny ability to accessorize.

(The title is a lyric from Peg by Steely Dan.)

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I’ll soon be posting a short video on YouTube showing how this image was created. You can access my channel by clicking HERE.

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Circus Life   7 comments


Circus Life

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I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything of my own. Life has been a circus around here.

We’ve been keeping close to home most days, working on the expanded gardens. No matter how many hours we’re out there, at the end of the day we always have something more to do. (Totally worth it for the organic veggies.)

I hope to get back into the swing of things photographic, and to catch up with everyone as soon as possible. In the meantime, please enjoy this scene taken at a local ‘museum’, of sorts.

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Deere Prudence   10 comments


Deere Prudence

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It’s prudent to be mindful of your surroundings when you’re out exploring.

Always on the lookout for good locations, we passed by this scene and I couldn’t help but note the John Deere tractor parked next to an old shed. The placement looked idyllic – a perfect setup.

We turned around in a driveway down the street and came back for the shot. The tractor and sheds were set back from the road quite a ways, and I wanted to get closer. But, a small, abandoned house was just to the right, and there was a prominent, hand-painted sign hung on an old tree that conveyed a clear message: “No Trespassing.” The driveway where we had just turned around was for a newer house, and as is often the case, the newer digs are built off to the side while these old beauties dissolve into the landscape.

The whole setup was just creepy enough that I didn’t choose to find the owner for permission, and I sure didn’t think it was a good idea to go any further onto the property. People can get ornery around here when you mess with their stuff.

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Processed as an HDR image with texture overlay and sepia toning via Silver Efex Pro. I wanted to create deep, mysterious shadows on the edges while maintaining a lighted path for the eye to travel to the tractor. Hopefully, the overall effect gives the viewer the same trepidatious feeling I had when taking the shot.

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Carolina Dreamin’   9 comments


Carolina Dreamin'

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This image is decidedly not in the ‘rurex’ category. Interesting how we can go from “Elbow Grease” to this.

This was from a Real Estate shoot I did for an associate a while ago. It’s always nice to wander freely around a place like this… not nearly as many weeds and bugs as some locations I’ve been to. Actually, it was so nice that I decided to have a bit of lunch on the dock while the camera was firing off the brackets.

Life is good in a place like this.

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Elbow Grease   13 comments


Elbow Grease

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Sometimes, you just get lucky.

We were driving through a rural area and passed by an interesting place, so we wanted to turn around to check it out. Just before our turn out, we saw a man and woman approaching an old, abandoned house through a yard full of weeds and grasses. As we passed the house again, we noticed the woman standing on the porch.

The place we wanted to see was closed, so we turned back to our original route. As we approached the abandoned house once again, we saw the couple waving us down. Perhaps there was some sort of trouble.

The couple had seen us passing by for the third time and thought that we were ‘locals’ who were checking them out. As they told us later, “Everyone around here is related, so we thought it would be a good idea to let you know that this house belongs to our family.” Good information to have on both counts, I thought.

We heard their interesting story about how the man and his sister had been adopted by different families, and had only found each other recently after a 17 year search. The old house had belonged to the sister’s father, who passed away some time ago, leaving the house unoccupied.

Being the curious sort – and, of course, armed with a camera and tripod – I asked if I could poke around a bit. What had once been a beautiful old farm house was now collapsing in on itself. Along the front and sides, all of the doors and windows were blocked with plywood. Rats! (Um, not real rats. I just couldn’t see inside.) Around back, though, there was an old mud room door with no glass in the windows, just some loose cardboard that had seen better days.

“Would you mind if I just stuck my camera through this window?”, I asked. I find it never hurts to ask. “No problem.”

It was so dimly lit inside that I didn’t even know what was in there, and given the musty, moldy smell coming through, I wasn’t about to go inside. Apparently, it had been quite some time since the detergents and mops were used there.

The “skylight” is courtesy of last year’s Hurricane Irene, which had peeled back a significant portion of the tin roof. It’s a look.

It’s just a simple Rurex (Rural Exploration) composition – one not particularly noteworthy, at that – but it gave us the chance to stop along our route, do a little exploration, meet some interesting people, and then check for ticks.

Pete and Kelly, if you see this on the blog, please drop me a line at my email address. Thanks for letting us peek into the old place. It was a pleasure to meet you.

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