Seeing the world differently…

A little more than two years ago, I decided it was time quit working for others and pursue photography on a full time basis.  I started this blog to document my journey and share what I’ve been learning.  While I’ve learned much about controlling light through digital media, I’ve learned two things that I think are more important.  First – the more I learn, the more I’m surprised at how much I don’t know about photography.  This realization keeps me motivated to continue the journey and helps to make it fun!  Second – I’ve realized that I’m looking at the world much differently than I used to.

During my trip through Oregon in July, I watched the scenery go by with a different eye – evaluating the light and view to see if it was worth stopping and consuming a few pixels.  I just returned from a 2,600 mile trip through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.  My father turned 85 last week, and we also celebrated Mom and Dad’s 65th wedding anniversary, which actually happens in November.  The whole family came for the party!  We had a great reunion – the great grandkids put on quite a show and it was good to see my brother, sister, and all the nieces and nephews.

While on the road, I found some great pictures.  A couple times, I saw something fun and had to turn around to make the image.  Here’s my view from the road.



This rock formation is on I-80 in eastern Utah, near the Wyoming state line. The best camera is the one in your hand, and I took this picture with my mobile phone.


I got out the big boy camera, too, and shot this panorama handheld from the same spot, but looking a little left.



West of my home town of Cheyenne, Wyoming, is the Vedawoo Recreation Area. The rock formations are phenomenal. This is an HDR of this formation.


This is a common scene along Happy Jack Road, Wyoming Highway 210, between Cheyenne and Laramie. When I was a Boy Scout, we frequently camped in this area. I chose a monochrome theme for this panorama.


As we got closer to Cheyenne, the rock formations changed in color and shape. A storm was coming from the north (left side of the picture).



My lovely bride had to return home early, so I drove her to Denver International Airport. I returned to Cheyenne on US Highway 85, the Can Am Highway, instead of the interstate highway. Traveling on US 85 is old school – primarily 2 lane road and slow downs through the many communities. I drove by this scene, but turned around to make this panorama. The two bridges in the foreground were part of the original highway alignment. They were not razed when the new road was constructed, and they were the impetus for this image.

I drove home through Rocky Mountain National Park, but that’s a blog all by itself!


The Big Thompson River flows through the Big Thompson Canyon in Colorado. US 34 between Loveland and Estes Park shares the canyon. This waterfall is located near Estes Park.


I found this scene along US 40 in northwest Colorado, west of Craig.


Also along US 40.



This is Bridal Veil Falls, along US 189 in Utah’s Provo Canyon (between Provo and Heber City). I was please that there was enough water to flow this late in the year.



Nevada markets US 50 as “The Loneliest Road in America,” but the stretch of US 6/50 between Delta, Utah, and the Nevada state line was a little more lonely. In Nevada, I saw Pronghorn Antelope and Deer.  I also got all the stamps in my ‘US 50 Survivor’s Guide.’  I mailed in the card and am waiting for my reward!


After a smoky stop at Great Basin National Park, just south of US 6/50 on the Nevada/Utah line, I found this scene in Nevada’s Spring Valley. Behind me, wind turbines spun slowly to generate electricity.


Also in the Spring Valley. I was channeling my inner Ansel Adams while I processed this image.


I couldn’t stop at just one monochrome shot.


If you go to Cave Lake State Park south of Ely, Nevada, , you’re greeted by this view on Nevada Highway 486.


This is the view from Stokes Castle, near Austin, Nevada, looking west.

As you can see, I had a wonderful trip.  The Expedition ran great, got excellent fuel mileage, and I saw some pretty country!  Watch for more blogs from this trip.


…and even closer…

In my last blog,, I discussed my continuing exploration into macro and close up photography with specific emphasis on using a flash to help with sharpness.  Since that post, I procured a set of close up filters.  These filters screw on the end of the lens, and come in values of +1, +2, and +4.  Like many filters, they can be stacked.  These filters allow a photographer to get closer than the normal minimum focusing distance, but they impact light coming into the lens less than other tools (such as extension tubes) and are less expensive, too.  In effect, I can set the camera closer to a subject for greater detail.

I’ve been working with the close up filters but, like any new technique, it requires experience with the technique to truly master it.  One of the actions I’ve tried has been focusing at the minimum distance and then moving the camera towards or away from the subject.  With a zoom lens, I can simply change the focal length to achieve best focus.  Things get a little more complicated with a prime lens, especially when I set the tripod on uneven surfaces (such as the river rock in my backyard).  It’s a fun part of the journey, however, and you’ll hear more about it in future blogs.

On to this week’s images!


This image was made before I got the close up filters, so it provides a basis for comparison.


I found this guy on a Candy Tuft in my back yard. I need to work on the chromatic aberration in this image (the blue edges of the petals).


Same Wasp as the above image, but he sat still long enough for me to use the in-camera HDR to create this image.


I got photobombed by this little guy hiding in the rose petals. After I noticed him, I tried to make him part of the composition.


This little guy (literally, he’s maybe 3/16″ in size) really photobombed me. I didn’t notice him until I downloaded the images on my computer.


But, he looks good even when cropped closer.


This guy was too busy to give me a full face closeup.


My lovely bride’s Blackberry bush is looking good this year.


We were going to pick the black one, but the bunnies got it first…


I played with the flash on this one. I like the result!


Susan’s Crab Apple tree is also full of fruit…


…as is the Peach tree, although we are finding a lot of pits on the ground around the tree…


…and the Pear tree is very heavy with fruit. We didn’t get much fruit last year, since we had smoke in the air during the prime pollenation season.


I found this Anderson Thistle on the west side of Lake Tahoe.


Walking in my back yard one evening and I saw this lonely Day Lily bloom. The surrounding plants had old, shriveled blooms, but this guy waited to be recorded for posterity.


This bloom from the front yard, also a Day Lily!


This is the first bloom of the year on our Hibiscus plant. When fully open, the petals measure 6-8″ across. I have to be quick with this plant, as the flowers only last a day or so.


Our Black Eyed Susans aren’t blooming in great numbers this year, but this one is very pretty.


This Rose bloom seemed luminous when I shot it. This is an attempt at an HDR to bring out the full color of the flower.


Another Rose from our back yard.


Finally, my photo world wasn’t all bugs and flowers, I took a drive to Glen Alpine Falls to see how they were running. The Falls has changed much since my shoot last April.

Well, as many have accused me, I’m having wayyy too much fun – and I’m enjoying every minute of it!  Thanks for following me.