Weekly Photo Challenge – Experimental

The theme for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Experimental.  This theme is really a blank slate, it can be interpreted in so many ways.  When I was trying to decide what direction to take this challenge in.  I thought I wanted to experiment with lens flares.  Shooting directly into the sun is something I never intentionally do.  So trying to photograph a subject that is back-lit by the sun is something completely new to me.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, so for me, this is certainly experimental.

Below are a few photos that I took for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge “Experimental”

Click on any of the photos below to see a higher resolution version.

Experimental (1 of 3)

Experimental (2 of 3)

Experimental (3 of 3)

Weekly Photo Challenge – Temporary

For someone who maintains a blog dedicated to drawings and photography one would think I would’ve participated in a Weekly Photo Challenge before now.  Oh well, one only has so much time…

Below are a few photos that I took for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge “Temporary”

Click on any of the photos below to see a higher resolution version.

Temporary (1 of 7)Temporary (2 of 7)Temporary (3 of 7)Temporary (4 of 7)Temporary (5 of 7)Temporary (6 of 7)Temporary (7 of 7)

Hot-Air Balloon Launch

For the past several years the company that I work for has participated as a hot-air balloon launch site for the Carolina BalloonFest.  This year I arrived early so I could photograph the event.  Spectators are allowed to be on the field as the balloon crews are setting up the balloons.  It is interesting to watch this occur.  As each crew member seems to have a specific role in the unloading, inflation, and launch of the balloon.  Each balloon is unique in shape and color.  Also, the balloons are launched just after sunrise when the air is still cool and the winds are light.  This made for some decent photo opportunities with the bright flames of the burners against the new light of the day.

Click on any of the photos below to see a larger version.

Flames from a burner shoot into the balloon
Flames shoot from the burner as a balloon is being inflated and prepared for launch.
Flames shoot from the burner as a hot-air balloon ascends
More flames as the balloon pilot is lifting away
Balloons being inflated
Balloons being inflated.  The dog shaped balloon in the background was a big hit with the younger children.
A hot-air balloon body against the blue sky
I just liked this composition with just a portion of the balloon in frame.
Hot-air balloon ascending
Pilot and passengers start their journey.  They are steered by the winds and as chase crew monitors their location from the ground.  Once the balloon lands the chase crew will meet them to pick up passengers and balloon.
Several hot-air balloons in the sky
Four balloons launch in quick succession.
Heart shaped hot-air balloon ready to launch
Once again, I really like this composition.

Travel Photography – House Creek at Cherry Grove Beach, SC

House-Creek-View
This is a view of the House Creek marsh from our Balcony.

This is the first visit to Cherry Grove Beach for me and my family.  We are here for vacation and have enjoyed getting away and slowing down the pace of life for a few days.  Our hotel fronts on the Atlantic Ocean but has a wonderful view of a tidal marsh area behind the hotel.  This tidal waterway is named House Creek.  It plays host to water fowl and a variety of other wild life.  The creek is never the same twice since it’s water level is constantly changing with the flow of the tides.

Crane-low-tide
A crane stands on the exposed land at low tide.

I went to the marsh just after sunrise hoping to get some photos in the early morning light.  I did manage to find some wild life to photograph but I did not find the early morning landscape photo I was hoping for.  Still this was a successful outing simply because I was able to experience a new place and had photography opportunities that I do not have at home.

House-Creek-Water-Fowl
Water fowl taking flight at House Creek

That evening we had a few thunderstorms passing to our north.  The photograph below shows one of those storms building in the distance.

Distant-Thunderstorm
Thunderstorms build in the distance. Photo taken from our hotel balcony.

Nature Photography – Blue Ridge Parkway

Below are more images from my drive along a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  These photos were taken in and around the Doughton Park area.  We also stopped and photographed a small pond just north of the park but I do not remember the name of the pond.

Open field Doughton Park
A photo of an open field at Doughton Park.
Doughton Park Rock Outcropping Landscape
Same field, just a different perspective with the rock outcropping in the foreground.
Landsacpe Photo Doughton Park
This photo was also taken at Doughton Park. You can see one of the balds in the distance.
Blue Ridge Parkway Mountain View
Layer of mountains fade into the distance. This photo was taken at Doughton Park at one of the many overlooks within the park and along the parkway.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Pond
Small pond just off the parkway.
Blue Ridge Parkway Pond
Same pond from a different vantage point. The water was really calm and still.
Blue Ridge Parkway Pond
Portrait view so I could include a bit of the sky. By this time is was getting later in the evening.

Nature Photography – Wild Flowers

Over the weekend me and a fellow photographer visited the Blue Ridge Parkway with camera’s in hand to capture anything of interest.  Our first stop was Doughton Park.  While there we photographed wild flowers growing on the natural balds within the park.  For those who may be unfamiliar with the term bald.  It is simply naturally occurring grass lands within the mountain terrain.  These are somewhat large areas, that for the most part, are devoid of trees.  Below are a few photos from our visit.  I plan to post more images in a day or two, so please check back.

Click on any of the images below to open a larger view.

Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-1
Yellow wild flowers growing in Doughton Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-2
A closer view of a violet colored wild flower.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-3
There where lost of these delicate flowers growing in the grassy fields of Doughton Park.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-5
Another shot of these delicate little flowers. This time with a bit more of it’s surroundings.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-6
It was not my intention to photograph this little guy. I tried to encourage him to move along but he seemed to really like this flower so I just let him be.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-8
These where quite numerous as well.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-9
These guys where growing down into the grass & close to the ground.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-10
Another purple and white blossom.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-11
I had good sunlight for this photo. I do not know what type of flower this is. But, it was very delicate and it caught my eye. I only saw this one.
Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Wild-Flowers-12
Tight crop of a Dandelion.

Downtown Photo Exploration

A few nights ago I met up with a good friend and fellow photographer to do a bit of urban exploration in our small downtown environment.  We are limited to just a few blocks of buildings and alleys.  I considered the night to be a successful outing.  I think we will only get better with time as we learn to recognize opportunities.   This was more of a test run than anything else.  In the past couple of weeks I have ventured out with my wife a time of two to shoot predetermined areas.  This was the first time to meet up with a fellow photographer to just wander around and see what we could find.  I came away with some decent shots and some that are less than impressive.  But, all in all, it was a good learning experience.  I look forward to more outings, more exploration, and hopefully more “post worthy” photos.

Ghost walker in a downtown alley
Can you see the ghost walker?
Fire-Escape-Full
Rear view of a downtown building with elevated iron walkway
Electrical Meters Cluster
A cluster of electrical meters in a downtown alley.
Graffiti Door
Graffiti next to the entrance to an abandoned downtown building
Dark and narrow downtown alley
Shot of a dark and narrow downtown alley.
Moon with alley walls
Shot of the moon framed with the walls of a downtown alley.

Night Photography – An Illuminating Presence

The photos below are of a custom “Hot Rod” shop in my hometown.  At one time this building was actually the local Dodge Dealership.  The Dodge dealer moved to a modern facility many years ago.  Now, this is the home of Miller Brothers Hot Rod Barn.  They are a custom automotive shop and always have something interesting sitting in the showroom.

I drove past their garage recently and couldn’t help but take notice of the building.  It was late at night and the interior of the building was completely illuminated.  This set it apart from the other buildings in this small downtown environment.  I didn’t have my camera with me so I drove home and then returned with camera gear in hand.

The brightly illuminated showroom and shop space were in sharp contrast with the building exterior which I thought would give the photos an interesting look.  The exposure on these could be better, but, I am still learning.  I was lucky enough to have a small amount of traffic to add interest to the photos by leaving light trails across the long exposure images.

Click on any of the images below for a larger version

Night Photography Light Trails Automotive Garage
A photo of the showroom at night with light trails in the foreground.
Night photography auto garage with light trails
I like the light trails in the foreground and the large illuminated windows of the garage in the background.  If you look closely you will notice the classic car to the right of the showroom.
Night photography auto garage
Black and white photo of a custom automotive shop

Night Photography – A Deserted Downtown Alley

This image was captured on the same night as my Main at Dusk photo.  It is another long exposure photo.  This time the subject is an alley downtown.  I like the strong contrast of this image and the texture created by the brick walls.

Downtown Alley At Night. Black and White Long Exposure Photo
Black and white photo of a downtown alley. This is a long exposure photo taken at night.

Night Photography – A Long Exposure Photo of Main Street at Dusk

This is a shot of Main Street in my hometown located in the foothills of NC.  I have been wanting to try long exposure photography and this is one of my first attempts.  I am pleased with how this image turned out from the strong contrast in the sky to the illuminated buildings in the foreground.

Main Street long exposure night photography
A long exposure photo of Main Street in my hometown.