Friday, March 28, 2008

Shenandoah in March

This post is not about photoshop actually it's not even about computers or their use. This is about getting away from the computer and getting out there for a breath of fresh air.

Notice there may be quite a few photos in this post and well remember you can get a big view of the photo by clicking on it.

Up to the weekend the weather forecast didn't sound too good. Rain starting Friday and continuing over the weekend.
But to my luck it cleared up overnight from Friday and left Saturday full of sun and not a drop of rain in sight (well until evening anyway).

Soo I fired up the truck and headed west (sounds dramatic doesn't it). Anyway I went back to the mountains and Shenandoah national park (

Usually I head for waterfalls of one kind or the other (got 2 out of 9 so far. Dark hollow falls and White oak). This time due to the time of year and recommendation from the park ranger I was looking for something with higher elevation.

I ended up choosing Stony man mountain where I have seen people standing but never been there. So I got to the parking lot and here is the trail map with info.

It's a walk alright. May not sound like much but it's all uphill and well it's a nature trail so the rolling sidewalks and conveniences like that isn't present.

Going up the trail I was on the Appalachian trail for a bit and got to the highest point where it intersects with another trail 3837ft but that's not high enough so up we go :-)

It seemed like the higher the elevation the more animals were around. Plenty of squirrels and white tale deers which I got some photos of. I did see a falcon zooming through the trees but those ones are fast and hard to get a photo of. So squirrels and white tales it is :-)

Getting to the first stop I found that there was quite a drop off the cliff. This first stop is Little Stony Man Cliffs which has a great view and well I found that I am not all that comfortable around heights and there seemed to be a long way down.
Notice how even in this terrain there is plants growing to the edge in nothing but solid rock (well kind of seems like it).

Now sort of getting over the awe of the height from Little Stony Man Cliffs I ventured on to the next spot. Not thinking that I was only about half way there and there would be some more uphill ahead but going through the woods and it's just ooh so quite (not counting all the animal noise) it's actually pretty cool and best of all relaxing.

Fast forwarding through the woods (got some more from going downhill) I got to Stony Man mountain. Now this is at 4010ft so yeah it was uphill but all worth it. If I had thought Little Stony Man Cliffs was high getting here kind of blew me away...

These truly are the blue mountains and usually there is always a haze in the distance. But then again the distance is quite a bit further away than usually. I am not sure the photos here can give you the full feel for the distance but it feels amazing standing up there looking out.

The next couple of photos are interesting in more than one way. Since Stony Man mountain is that high you have a pretty good look down at skyline drive which in itself is pretty cool. But I didn't realize that these photos are take from the same location and pointing in the same direction as the photo on the cover of the official map until I got home.
Sure the one on the official map has green leaves and all that... but still pretty cool huh?

Here is two zoom levels of Little Stony Man Cliffs seen from Stony Man mountain. This by the way is where I stopped first time and notice there is people standing down there (the location I thought was sooo high at first).

After sitting down drinking about a full bottle of water and just taking it in for a few I started back down the trail (trying to remember where to turn and all that). Turns out I did remember the way to go and well yeah I did take the long trail to get there but that's ok. These are the ones I ran into taking the longer less traveled trail. And btw. the white tails where close to the trail and not as jumpy as they get later in the season.

And no you are right I can't really leave you hanging without the squirrel ;-)

After getting an extra snack trail gating a little by myself I started back down sky line drive and stopped at one overlook to get a view of the "flat-lands".

Even though it isn't summer and it's not too warm yet it's a perfect time to go to the mountains and just take a walk. Shenandoah national park is great since there is a great variety in the length and difficulty of the walks you can take.

Most of them however offers great rewards with regards to views and animals. Later on there will be some great plant life to observe as well. I would guess early May sometime, most likely May 10th would be the weekend to start seeing things starting to bloom or start shooting.

Hope you enjoyed the photos. I know I sure enjoyed getting them :-)

Studio lights

Found this one on setting up studio lights...
Pretty cool I would say. Now I just need the same space as in the test environment.

But check it out. Makes it look soooo easy ;-)

Interested in buying prints for hanging?

For once it didn't take place at 2am and despite the weather forecast there was no clouds what so ever.
On the other hand it was pretty darn cold but I did manage to get a few photos of the moon.
Of course I didn't use a tripod so some maybe a little shaken...
but I got a few :-) and here they are.

Nature photo prints

Interested in buying prints for hanging?
Nature photography is the subject. This includes water, flowers, mountains and so on.
I am trying to get a store front started and have uploaded the first two photos and created a couple of packages.
It's automating the process a bit which is very nice (ie. the best way to get the job done... have someone else do it).

Anyway, my storefront will be at and you are more than welcome to stop by.
I still need to iron out some details with shipping packaging and options but it's a start :-)

Photo cards by e-mail

A new feature is available on my storefront. When viewing an image you can choose to send the photo as a photocard to anyone with an email address.
Add a greeting to the card and off it goes ;-)
of course this is free so send as many as you would like

Questions and comments are welcome



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Christmas portraits

Soo It's getting to be that time again. Christmas is getting closer and cards are waiting to be send out. But what are your preferences and experience with getting christmas cards?

I did the first test shot and trying to get ideas for a christmas card picture. This is just one example but you are more than welcome to drop a comment with your oppinion and/or suggestions :-)

As some may know I like doing photos in the studio and well it's fun stuff ;-) but what are your preferences for getting the special photo for a christmas card? Take the poll and see what others think.

Vovici Online Survey Software
Thank you for stopping by

Hey all

Here's the first test with a new light setup.

It is very nice having the chance to play with equipment that will get the job done right ;-)

Now I look forward to getting the Christmas pictures done and sending out cards to family and friends.

The setup consists of a white backdrop (botero) lighted by a Nikon SB-800 flash @1/2 power. front camera right I have a Alien Bee AB800 with a shoot through umbrella and everything is captured with my Nikon D70s teethered to a computer capturing the photos with Nikon Camera control and sending them directly to lightroom for a good preview.
Just in case you wanted the technical details ;-)