Archive for the ‘portrait’ Tag

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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Kirche Sankt-Georg   4 comments


St George wm

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Nothing straight, here…

The St. Georg Protestant Church is located in the historic city center of Hattingen, Germany. Of all buildings in Hattingen, it is surely the one most noticed from afar.

The church was built in 1200 from local Ruhr sandstone. Remains of a Roman pillar base and two column bases from the period after 820 were discovered in 1972 during excavations inside the church.

Since the building anchors the town center, there are many good approaches for a photo, but I think this angle shows it best. The rough cobblestone street and the crooked medieval buildings give a sense of disarray to the scene, so although I straightened up a few lines here and there, it is difficult to find a good point of reference for vertical and horizontal lines. I thought it was better to have a sense of crazy angles in the scene.

Lest you think I went too far with Photoshop’s puppet warp feature, the church’s steeple is truly tilted to one side. Evidently this is one of about 90 listed (and listing) church steeples with this attribute. Some theories suggest that it was built this way deliberately, so that if a storm took down the steeple, it wouldn’t fall on the nave. Others suggest that it’s due to the revenge of an underpaid carpenter. The way I see it, if you put all that slate on a skinny little structure, it’s going to start leaning at some point.

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She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle   6 comments


She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle
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The other day, we were strolling around our historical town in North Carolina. One building had a plaque proclaiming that it was built in 1828, or thereabouts. We call that ‘history’ here in the States, and while interesting to some, it just doesn’t seem very old when you compare it to a place like Burg Blankenstein.

Climbing up the steps and through the stone passageways of this medieval castle in Hattingen, Germany, I ran my hand along the rough wall, feeling the natural textures, the divots, and the roughness brought on by centuries of wear and use. I had to wonder how many people passed this way over the ages, how they dressed, what their lives must have been like.

From the top of the tower, there is a commanding view over the valley of the Ruhr River to the hills and fields beyond. It must have been a great place to watch for interlopers. We spent some time at the top, watching a shepherd in the field far below, moving his flock along the greenway aided by some hyperkinetic, overachieving border collies. I could imagine Lords and Nobles standing atop the tower in the morning mist, enjoying a cappuccino and playing “Master of All I Survey.”

Construction of Burg Blankenstein began in 1227. The castle was ready in 1243, but was finished over the course of 200 years by the Counts of the Mark. In 1425, Blankenstein was one of the most important castles in the county. In 1614, shortly before the Thirty Years’ War, it was occupied by Spanish troops. Over the years since then, the castle fell into disrepair, was ordered to be demolished, became a factory, and now houses a restaurant and reception hall.

You run your hands along the stone walls. You can feel century upon century under your fingertips. Ancient history.

Yeah, we could live there. Beautiful place.

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Sony NEX 7, handheld at 18mm, three exposures +/-2 EV processed in PS CC, OnOne, and Nik Collection.

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Where Food Comes From (3)   3 comments


Where Food Comes From (3)
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Continuing on the theme of Where Food Comes From, we have a new subject for you to identify. Can you guess what this is? (* Answer below.)

We had been concerned about this plant over the winter, as it looked a bit gangly. But as this year’s new growth flushed in, the plant became much larger and fluffier just before sending out these beautiful flowers laced with various purple tones.

We don’t harvest the leaves of this plant while it’s blooming, but otherwise, we clip off the leaves, rinse and dry them, and then sauté or pan-fry them in butter and olive oil. (Okay, more butter than oil for this treat!) Don’t make them too dark, or they’ll get bitter.

After about five minutes, you take the leaves out of the butter and cool them on a paper towel. IF there are any remaining after we snitch them, we put the leaves on pasta, on salads, or any other dish that could use a come-up. It always surprises us when the toasted leaves make it to the plate.

* Somewhere on the ‘net, a woman asked what to do with all the excess sage she had growing in her garden. Someone else responded with the above idea, and voila… no more excess sage.

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This is another macro-focus-stack image, derived from five separate images taken at various focus points along the plane. Using Auto-Align Layers and then Auto-Stack Layers commands in Photoshop CS6 produces a good result with few artifacts.

Weathered Barn Door   9 comments


Weathered Barn Door

It was a beautiful autumn day in New Hampshire. After finishing a hike with Susan and my ol’ college friend, Tom, we were hanging around the truck having some lunch. No need to go anywhere else, as we warmed the bones in the sun.

A woman came down the road walking her dog, and as often happens in New England, we wound up having a nice conversation with her. I had my eye on an old, weathered barn across the street. The woman knew the owner of the barn, and suggested that the owner would have no problem if I moved in close for some pictures.

I loved how, in addition to the weathered wood, shadows from a nearby tree were playing across the doorway. This is the kind of rustic scene that, sadly, we don’t see too much of these days.

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Moonrise Over Flagstaff Lake, Maine   3 comments


Moonrise Over Flagstaff Lake, Maine

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“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov

This particular location just keeps cranking out the beauty. Taken from our campsite late on a September evening, 2012.

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Mom Told Me to Freeze   11 comments


Mom Told Me to Freeze

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Each spring, we become aware of at least one momma rabbit who sets up her den somewhere in the yard. It’s predictable that at some point, we’ll see one if not several young bunnies exploring the new, glorious, nutrient-rich environment that we call “garden.”

This year has been better than previous years. We know of only one young’n – this one – and he seems perfectly content to munch on what’s left of our field of crimson clover. So far, he has bypassed all the good, human stuff.

Like the Carolina anoles, under the right circumstances a bunny can present a great photo op, as they freeze perfectly still when confronted with danger. In this case the danger was in the form of some big, two-legged galoot with a 300mm lens. While shooting, I told him that we have to learn to coexist for our mutual benefit.

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