Friday, January 28, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, 3 Exposure HDR @ f/9
  While examining the Alamo Tuesday trying to find a shot that worked I had two things working very much against me. One was all of the people walking around looking. Unless I am absolutely taking pictures of a person or group of people, I really don't want people in my photos. So finding a perspective on the Alamo grounds without someone sneaking into the shot was almost impossible.
  Second was that it was just before noon and the harsh light and dark shadows at noon are always a hurdle that is difficult to get over.
  As I made my way around behind the Alamo I came upon a garden. In the very center was an old well that looked just as old as the Alamo itself so I am assuming it was the mission's primary water source. Creating a canopy over the well was a huge tree that bent all over the garden providing shade that shielded the scene from the harsh sunlight.
  The branches of the tree gave me a great framing tool for the scene as well and unlike East Tennessee right now, the bushes and trees still had some color left to add a little kick to the shot.
  The shot screamed HDR with the darkness in the shade and the thick blue mid-day sky so I bracketed several shots and settled in on the f/9 series of brackets for their depth of field and the fact that there weren't any people in the shot.
  Would love to find this scene in evening when the sun was low on the horizon. You never know, someday I might get back there and get that opportunity.


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL T1i, Canon 18-55 IS lens @29mm, ISO 100, f/4.5, 40 sec. (by Tim Owens)
  I have been on twitter for a few months now.  Every Friday we do what is called Follow Friday. This involves telling all of your followers to follow all of the great photographers you know.  I have gotten to know a lot of them on twitter and they are equally as good of friends as they are photographers.
  This Friday I decided to even go a little further with that idea on my blog.
  I work at Tennessee Watercraft, Inc.  We design, manufacture and build Yamaha Sport Boats. Check out our product HERE.  In the last year no less than 4 of us, me and my co-workers, have purchased new DSLR cameras and taken up photography.  There are a few others that were already deep into the craft that work here.  I am contemplating very seriously creating a photo club here at the facility and once a month or so going on photo excursions. It's very exciting.
  Two of my friends in particular have really hit the ground running.
  The photo above was taken my my good friend Tim Owens. He and I have worked together for several years.  We have played a lot of golf together.  Back in the late fall, he and I went on a little excursion up to Hooper Bald in the Cherokee National Forest and he started feeding me questions about my camera, shooting pictures, hiking, you name it.  He has since purchased a DSLR and shoots all the time.  Like the rest of us, he has progressively gotten better the more he shoots. 

Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL T2i, Canon 18-55 IS lens @ 18mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1/30 sec. (by David Glover)
The above photo was shot by David Glover.  He is also another good friend whom I work and play golf with.  About a month ago Dave came up to me and started asking me about cameras and lenses to shoot high school wrestling as well as nature and landscape photos. Beings that I love it when someone thinks that I have a grasp on a subject talked his ear off.
  A few days later, Dave came and told me he purchased his new DSLR. The questions didn't end there. He has been inquisitive about lenses, settings for certain shots, everything.
  This past Thursday I returned to work from traveling to San Antonio for a conference and I had a few emails from Dave and one from Tim with photos you see in this blog attached.  Needless to say they were great.  I knew that I had to share these shots with other people.
  We are already discussing making photo treks to downtown Knoxville and with springtime coming up, there's no telling where I might drag these guys.
  I won't be doing this every Friday, just wanted to share some of my friends' work. Back to normal for the next blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, Polarizer Filter, ISO 100, f/11, 1/50 sec.
  When someone thinks of San Antonio, they automatically think of the Alamo. The old mission is the focal point of every tourist advertisement that there is here in San Antonio. Understandably so, but because of this, it is in very high demand on everyone's visitation list. You can't hardly walk by it without there being a mob of people surrounding it.
  To my luck, the Menger Hotel sits right across the street from the Alamo.  I had a break in my conference sessions until 2:45 this afternoon so I took the opportunity to go over and take some photos.
  When I started I was trying to shoot the outer confines but there was no way to get any shots without having tourists in them.  I was about to get frustrated when I walked up to the front wall trying to get close and find something different that I could shoot without tourists in the shot.
  It was just after 11:00am and the mid-day sun was creeping over and caught my eye.  Then I thought to myself, what do you recognize most about the Alamo?  The shape of the roof with the arch in the center. I shifted my position so that the sun was just behind the top arch of the roof and angled the roof through the frame so that there could not be a single person caught in the shot. I added a polarizer filter to keep the blue in the sky from washing out. 
  I was aiming for a sunburst over the arch.  Didn't get that effect but the sun did form what looks like a halo over the arch.
  I was so excited about this.  I have never considered myself very good at finding that unique angle.  This angle may have been shot before, but I haven't seen it this way.  Either way, I was very happy with the outcome.


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 200, f/3.5, 5 sec.
   My last post was showing a ghostly figure walking through the lobby at The Menger Hotel here in San Antonio.  As also stated in that post, this hotel not only is the oldest working hotel west of the Mississippi River but is also rumored to be very haunted.
  One of the most notable spirits said to be roaming the Menger is former President Teddy Roosevelt.  The President used the Menger Bar as his central location for recruiting his famous Rough Riders. Teddy would sit at the bar stool at the end of the bar that you see in the photo above and meet cowboys as they came in off the Chisholm Trail.  They say that he still hangs out in the bar and sometimes still occupies that particular stool.  The bartender that I talked to said he has seen occurrences where a glass would slide down the bar a short way without being touched.  Spooky, huh?
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 200, f/8, 5 sec.
  The bar itself is an amazing place. The last time in was renovated was the day it was built in 1887.  The walls and railings are all made out of Mahogany while the ceiling is covered with Cherry wood.  It is really quite beautifully constructed with a balcony level and the posts that support that level running through the lower level seating.  There are pictures lining the walls with old black and white photos both of the hotel and of the city of San Antonio. 
  It really has a feel like the old west. There are bullet holes in one of the hutches by the bar. There is a gash in the top of the bar where an angry man took an axe to it because they couldn't serve him a drink during prohibition.
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 200, f/8 , 10 sec.
  I didn't mean to add another ghostly image but this was my favorite shot from this angle looking back at the hotel entrance with the balcony level stairs in the view.  There was no one in the bar when I started shooting, but people gradually came in and walked through my shots.  In some ways it is appropriate. The hotel is haunted. 
  Me and my colleagues are going to continue to see if we can find Teddy or any ghost here at the Menger. Unfortunately, we only have one night left.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @28mm, ISO 100, f/14/0.8 sec.
   I tried to warn the people at the end of the lobby hallway trying to get on the elevator about the ghost walking towards them.  My warnings fell on def ears and the ghost picked them up and swept them away.
  Just kidding. The ghostly image is a man that happened to walk through my shot of the lobby while using a 0.8 second shutter speed.
  While in San Antonio, I am staying at the Historic Menger Hotel.  My brother, Jim, stayed here a few months ago as well and he informed me that the hotel was rumored to be haunted. Here is a web page giving the historical background and spiritual information.
  My wife and daughter watch a lot of shows on hauntings and are very much "into" it.  When my little girl heard that this hotel was haunted she told me to make sure my sensor in my camera was clean so that if there are any dust particles wouldn't be mistaken for orbs in the shot. Love it!
  The most famous ghostly inhabitant is former President Teddy Roosevelt.  He used the hotel to recruit his Rough Riders and most people have seen him having a drink at the last stool at the bar just off the hotel lobby.  Tomorrow I plan on getting some shots in the bar and it is awesome (not for the alcohol but for the architecture).  We have investigated each of the last two nights and have yet to run into Teddy.  We did see a suspicious guy by himself sitting in a corner, but he just turned out to be a boring patron.
  I have two more nights here at The Menger and will continue to hunt for Teddy and any other ghosts that might inhabit the hotel.  I will keep everyone posted.


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @28mm, ISO 100, f/22, 90sec.
  When I saw that I was going to be traveling San Antonio, TX for a conference I immediately started thinking of what photos I could take when arriving.  The Riverwalk, The Alamo, the other Spanish Missions.  There was a lot to choose from.
  One of the things I noticed was the Tower of The Americas. This is a 750 ft tower in Hemisfair Park that has a restaurant and observation deck. Since I bought my DSLR I have yet to be able to take a cityscape so this was definitely a must.
  I wouldn't say that I am scared of heights, but any elevator that goes that high and and has a glass front so you can see out really gives me the willies.  Don't know why, they just do.  Once I got to the observation deck though, calm was restored.
  I snapped off several shots but noticed that the Plexiglas that was in front of me was creating a very noticeable reflection of my tripod in the shot. There were some strong winds that provided another obstacle for shooting longer exposures.
  Towing my backpack to the center of the tripod and the sun going down after about an hour allowed me to achieve the shot you see posted.  Would have loved to have had more traffic running through the shot but you can't have everything.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/2 sec.
  I have a lot of friends who listen to music while they post process their images. Some of them use whatever music title that gets them in the mood to title their image when they post it on their blog. I really like this.
  I am going to use a different approach to today's image.  While I was fiddling around with this image I was watching/listening to the Detroit Red Wings vs St. Louis Blues hockey game on the Internet.  I am a huge Detroit Red Wings fan and due to the fact that I live in the southeastern US, Charter doesn't see the need to let me subscribe to NHL Center Ice. So I have to watch on the Internet.
  The game went into Overtime, hence the title of the post, tied at 3 and shortly into it the Wings' Darren Helm scored the winner.  This put me in a great mood and really helped me bring this image where I wanted it.
  The image itself was taken on Thursday morning. I could tell when I loaded up my kids in the truck that the sky was going to give us something special.  The layered puffy clouds combined with a touch of pink let me know that when the sun started coming up, it was going to be very impressive.
  As I was dropping my daughter off at school the sun started lighting up the clouds and I rushed to a spot in Vonore across from a resort home community called Kahiti with their boat dock directly in front of me. I wanted to catch the reflection of both the amazing sky and the docked boats in the same image.
  I bracketed the shots anticipating an HDR process may be needed to bring what I wanted out of the scene.
  After the hockey game ended, at app. 10:30 pm, I continued working on the one of the images and found that if I adjusted the contrast and brightness and straightened it a little it worked out much better than my HDR tries had.  I was elated with what I ended up with.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, 3 Exposure HDR @ f/14
  In my second installment of my Sunday morning jaunt on the Cherohala Skyway I found what might be my favorite pic that I have ever taken.
  I was photographing the Telliquah covered bridge at the beginning of the skyway. I was under the bridge shooting when I noticed that the dry air had given me a tremendous nose bleed.  I took what I needed to under the bridge and was trying to get back to my truck to clean myself up when I found this scene up by the road.
  The sun was just starting to show against the foothills in the background accenting a beautiful blue sky with the old wooden fence and the curving mountain top leading me from the foreground to the background. The hey grass adds the dot to the i in the foreground. 
  I immediately started bracketing shots because of the extreme light to dark contrast in the shot.
  When I got home and started doing the HDR process, I was getting everything I wanted in the shot with the exception of the trees on the left and the sky. QTPFSGUI has a horrible time with bright light and skies. I just couldn't get it to work out.
  I text'd brother Jim and asked him if he could take a look at it in Photomatix and he agreed.  For most HDR processing, QTPFSGUI does a very good job and I can get nice images from it, but the future will see me purchasing Photomatix.  I used the trial version and it is like night and day.  With brother Jim at the helm it is like magic.  He sent me a message this morning that he completed it.
  When I got the images from him I was blown away!  The color and detail were exactly what I wanted and it is exactly what I saw on Sunday morning.
  Once again thanks go out to Jim for completing my vision of the shot that is my new favorite. Hopefully I won't have to call on you much longer.


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/13/ 10 sec.
  Most of my spring through fall months were spent on River Road in the Cherokee National Forest.  This road splits off of the Cherohala Skyway and winds along with the Tellico River for several miles. Most of my time on the road was spent photographing Bald River Falls, Baby Falls, and endless cascades on this very fast moving river.
  In November, I wanted a change of pace.  I was in search of  a smaller stream that I could maneuver around to photograph the fall foliage.
  One of my cohorts at work and a fellow photographer pointed me in the direction of North River Road.  This road splits off of River Road about 3 miles past Bald River Falls and winds back over to the Skyway by Stratton Meadows. My cohort said the stream it follows is not as large and my suit my needs.
  Well, I decided to give it a look-see and about a 1/4 mile down this road I passed an incredible sight. 
  There was a massive rock wall that stood 8-10 feet above the water level.  The river ran around the side of the rock wall opposite the road and rejoined the water flow.  In the center of the wall it formed a V shape with a single stream of water pouring through like a water faucet. It was gorgeous!

Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28 mm, ISO 100, f/9.0, 2 sec.

  I immediately found a stopping point and worked my way down to the water's edge and started shooting (wishing I had a pair of waders to venture into the water). I took photos from several different angles and really couldn't find a bad one.

Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 41mm, ISO 100, f/16, 2.5sec.
  When I looked on the other side of the wall, I noticed a beautiful set of little stepladder cascades that lead up to the wall.  This place was a hidden treasure. Unfortunately, I was about 2 weeks late of the colorful foliage in this area. This just means that I will make it a point to re-visit this spot in the spring and when the colors are right next fall.
  On a side note to this hidden treasure: I posted these shots on Facebook back in November.  When my brother Jim commented on them, he was joined by his son, Sam. Sam looked at the shot at the beginning of the post and commented, "the picture is nice, but is that a shark or a whale under that grass?" He was obviously referring to the fin-shaped rock in the picture. It was priceless. I will never be able to look at this pic and not remember that question.
  It was a whale, BTW.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, ISO 100, f/2.0, 1/4000 sec.
  Something that is great about shooting in the snow is that it contrasts dark colors so much.
  When my family and I were out in the back yard building a snowman on Tuesday I grabbed the camera to grab some pics of it all.  After getting some shots of the snowman I turned to head back to the house and this knot in one of the vertical planks of our back porch stared me square in the face.  It begged me to photograph it.
  I really liked the way exposing for the dark wood and using a very small depth of field washes out the snow completely helping to draw even more attention to the knot on the wood.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 41mm, ISO 100, f/14, 1.6 sec.
  Sunday morning was incredible!
  For the first time in a few weeks I decided to head out on a photo excursion. I've been refereeing basketball on Saturdays and it is absolutely wearing me out and just haven't been able to push myself out of bed early enough to go.
  My wife had to get up early and go to work so I finally motivated myself that when her alarm went off, I would get up and go out.  It was so worth it!
  The snow from last Monday and Tuesday is still hanging around and I chose to go back to the Cherohala Skyway and get some shots.  To my liking, the snow and ice were even more prevalent in the foothills of the Smokies. I tried to make my way to Bald River Falls but River Road was covered with ice and I didn't want to chance running my truck off that road.
  The Tellico River winds along next to the Cherohala and when River Road splits off  2 or 3 miles along the river follows it.  At the start, near Tellico Plains, TN, there is a small drive-in burger place and a covered bridge that are about 1/2 a mile apart (I will have a shot of the covered bridge in a later post). Almost dead in between them I spotted this beautiful cascade on the river. I parked at the burger place and hiked back to the cascade.
  The trip down the hill off of the road was covered in 7 or 8 inches of snow/ice and straight down for about 15 feet. Had to slide down on my backside. When I arrived at the bottom the view was awesome! Part of the river and rocks were covered in snow and ice and the river was partially frozen over.
  I couldn't see under the ice so I couldn't wade out into the heavy current.  I set up on the side and actually had my camera and tripod sitting on ice.  The sun was starting to peak out over the top of the mountains to the east so I had to deploy the ND8 neutral density filter along with the polarizer to cut down on glare.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @76mm, ISO 100, f/16, 6 sec.
  After Thursday's post, PASSING THE TEST, I did a little thinking about FOCUS.  In photography, the standard meaning for focus usually points to getting your images crystal clear. Which it does and this is incredibly important to this post and I will expand on this later on in it.
  The focus I started thinking about on Thursday is concentrating on what I really like to make photos of.  When I jumped in the stream Thursday evening to take those running water photos I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited.  It dawned on me how much I love not only photographing running water, but how calming and peaceful it was to just be there and listen to in roaring by.  I was in my comfort zone.
  Over the last 2 or 3 months, after the fall leaves had disappeared from the trees, I have gotten away from photographing the water for valid reasons like it is COLD and there is no color around it.  The snowfall last week drew me back to the water for both of my last two blog posts and jump started my FOCUS.
  Don't get me wrong, I still love shooting other landscapes, abandoned houses, wildlife, etc., and will continue to do so.  But, it is always comforting and exciting to get back to the water.
  This brings me to today's post and how it meshes both types of FOCUS I have talked about.  The photo you see was taken on River Road in The Cherokee National Forest back in October.  As you can see, water was involved and that is the main topic of FOCUS in the blog.
  This shot was taken a day after reading Ian Plant's tip Pro Secrets: Using Live View For Nature Photography. I had never used Live View in my camera before.  Just didn't know about it or how to use it. Ian explained how to get much sharper FOCUS by using Live View and manually focusing.  The shot you see above is my first time out after learning this technique. What an eye opener.  My images have been much clearer and sharper ever since and I won't shoot a landscape any other way.
  Another tip that I picked up from Ian Plant that I applied in this shot was from Fall Foliage Tips for Mountain Trail Photo where he suggests when doing fall foliage reflections, wait for the foliage to have the sun shining on it but not on the water. This creates a very colorful reflection on the water of the foliage.  It also allows for the rocks to have a blue tint from reflecting the blue sky above.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 400, f/16, 5 sec.
  In my last post, PINEY SNOW REFLECTION, I explained how the first test that the hip waders my wife got me for Christmas was to trudge through 7" of snow and keep my digits warm and dry and that they passed with flying colors.
  Well, this evening, I put them through the REAL test.
  The snow that fell on us on Monday has been hanging around all week. As a matter of fact, the sun peeked out today but because the high was only in the mid 20's, very little of the snow has melted away.  This is a good thing as far as I am concerned.  The entire week I have been absolutely going crazy wanting to find a small stream with snow on the banks to photograph but with the roads being awful, my wife was very leery of me driving to my normal river spots.  Yesterday I went back to work and had to get home right after because the family wanted to go out for dinner.
  So today I was determined to go after work and get my shots. I get off of work at 5 so I only had about an hour to work with. I had talked with a couple of cohorts at work that cued me to a place very close to work. I left just after 5 and when I arrived at their suggested location, I was very happy. The stream was full and the snow still covered the banks.
  Here is the test for my waders. I slipped them on and waded out into the stream under a bridge the road ran over. The middle of the stream was roughly halfway up to my knees and rolling pretty along pretty good.  I found a rock conveniently located dead center of the stream and sat down with my feet dangling in the water while I snapped shots.
  Lets just say, my back side got more cold on a dry rock than my toes did in the water. The waders were outstanding.
  I know it seems like I'm making a big deal out something working like it's supposed to.  I guess I am just incredibly excited about what I can accomplish with my photography by being able to get in the center of these streams and up close to waterfalls in the springtime when the water is chilly but the scenery is beautiful.
  Anyway here is my favorite of the shots I took this evening. Hope you like it.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Just posting some additional snow shots from this morning:
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Canon 50mm f/1.8II lens, ISO 800, f/3.5, 1/1250 sec

Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Canon 50mm f/1.8II lens, ISO 100, 3 Exposure HDR at f/2.0

Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 33mm, ISO 100, 3 Exposure HDR at f/11.0


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/14, 1/80 sec
  When I went to bed last night at roughly 11:00pm, not a flake of snow had fallen in Madisonville, TN.  The National Weather Service was issuing Winter Weather Warnings all day and showed a 100% chance of snow clear through until 4:00pm today.  I was starting to believe the NWS was nuts.
  I woke up this morning at 5:45am to get up and go to work only to find in the time between going to bed and waking up 6" of snow had fallen. WOW!  I grew up in Taylor, MI and in my childhood was used to seeing snowfalls like this every year.  I have been living in Tennessee since 1980 and have never seen a snowfall this deep.  And it was still coming down.
  After cleaning off my 1995 Ford Explorer and 4-wheel driving it to work 8 miles away, one of the guards at the guard shack at work stopped me and told me that work was called off. Another WOW! I didn't ask any questions, just turned around and made my back home with the giddy anticipation of taking some snowy landscape pics.
  My wife got me a pair of hip waders for Christmas that were supposed to be used for wading into streams and pools below waterfalls.  Their first test, however, was trudging through 7" of snow to a pond that was in a small field adjacent to our sub division.  I am happy to say they passed with flying colors. I knew I had to incorporate water into my snow image.  Moved around very well in them and my toes didn't even get cold.
  This pond was the closest body of water and it is surrounded by Pine trees that provide a barrier between it and our subdivision.  Those Pines were covered in snow just like a post card.
  I had taken photos from the front side of the pond in the spring looking back at the sunset.  I was determined to find a different perspective for these shots.  With the pond 80% frozen, I wanted to find an angle that allowed me a reflection.  There is a small dock built on the pond that sits dead center and just before I reached it I looked back and there was my shot.
  I really liked the separation the ice and snow created between the row of Pines and the reflection of them on the pond.
  Had to go back and retake this shot due to the ISO being set at 800 to take pics of my daughter playing in the snow. Glad I did.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Canon 50mm f/1.8II, ISO 100, 3 Exposure HDR at f/2.8
  I have been very unhappy with the fact that the National Weather Service has been saying we are going to get 4-5" of snow this weekend and we haven't seen anything but some flurries.  Really been itching to take some snowy landscape pics, just haven't been anywhere near snow to get them.
  I've also been frustrated with the fact that I just haven't been able to get a photo that I have been happy with in a week or so. That's why my previous post, CASEY IN THE CLOUDS, was a shot from last May.
  On my way home from taking my son to basketball practice today, I drove by an abandoned house that I have noticed before, but haven't really been attracted to it to photograph.  Today was different in that I noticed an old recliner and couch sitting next to each other in the yard. In an earlier post just after Christmas, HAVE A SEAT, I posted a similar scene only it was in the living room of an abandoned house.  This furniture was out in the yard!
  You can see that there is other garbage out in the yard like a vacuum and a lamp.  They were closer to the house entry than the furniture.  It almost looks like whoever did this was dragging the furniture out and just left a wake of other garbage behind it as they went along.
  Whatever the reason, I think it created an interesting scene.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 54mm, ISO 200, f/14, 1 sec.
  I was having trouble finding anything that I have taken lately as post worthy so I did what several of my photog friends have been doing, looked back in my archive.  Low and behold, I found what I probably thought as one of my favorite images.
  This image was taken back in May shortly after the purchase of my new DSLR. The family made a jaunt to Bald River Falls and played around in the water on a steamy Friday evening.
  When the light was getting scarce, my wife wanted me to take some pictures in black and white with the kids standing on this rock out in the stream underneath the falls and the bridge.  I have stated before, my wife is a huge deal to my photography and she hit the nail on the head with these.    With there being so little light underneath the bridge I had to have the kids stay perfectly still for these shots in order to have a long shutter speed to get enough light.  They were real troopers and did a great job.  The long shutter really had a great effect on the water as well giving it a cloud-like shape. 
  The black and white pulled neat details out of the water even though it was blurred by the long shutter.
  This is my son Casey in the photo and his pose is very similar to his normal attitude, which is what I love about this shot compared to the other kids' poses.  He kind of exudes an "I don't really care" pose which is so Casey.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, ISO 100, 3 exposure HDR at f/8.0
  About a mile down the road from my house is Hiwassee College. This small community college is one of the oldest colleges in the state, if not THE oldest.
  Over the past few years the school has been struggling to keep it's accreditation's.  The last couple of years, though, has seen them gain back their accreditation's as well as offer 4 year programs and degrees. Maybe this will aid in bringing money to the school so it can be spent on the infrastructure.
  Hiwassee was established in 1849 and when you walk around the campus, you would swear that with the exception of the chapel, the buildings that are there have been standing it's entire existence. Most older college campuses have a true old, nostalgic feel to their campuses but Hiwassee takes it to the extreme.
  Monday morning after I shot the windmill from my previous post WINDMILL MORNING my travels landed me at Hiwasse to explore the college.
  The first parking lot that you come to is across from the the Rudy Youell Recreation Center and adjacent to Brunner Hall. Brunner Hall was erected in 19156 and at one time was a dorm. One of the oldest buildings on campus it was probably the first dorm built at Hiwassee.  It was renovated back in 1957 and again in 1978 and could house 84 students. I wasn't able to get inside the building because it is boarded up and chain locked from being condemned only 33 years after it's last renovation.
  I really thought it was neat how the ivy crawled up the side of the front wall and has totally mangled the building's name plate.
  Hopefully, the future will see me pull some strings and try to get inside the building for some urbex photography.  Until then I will just have to be satisfied with the dilapidated outside of the building and wonder what time has done to the inside.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80mm lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/125 sec. 
 The only bad thing about vacations is that they eventually end. It was only a 4 day weekend but for the first time ever it felt like an entire week. Very relaxing!
  But Tuesday brought an end to both mine and my kids' time off and I was back to work and they were back to school.
  There is one great thing about going back to work. My place of business is on Tellico Lake and the sun rises on the opposite side of the lake from us.  In between is the Smoky Mountains so we have some picturesque sunrises.  This morning was no exception.
  This morning I tootled into the parking lot at roughly 7:30am and the cloud formations were nothing short of incredible.  I had to unpack very quickly before the light dissipated so no filters, no remote switch. Just enough time to mount to the tripod and go.
  Mid way through taking shots I did have enough time to exchange the 50mm lens for the 28-80mm. It was well worth it to get more of the sky into the shot. Would have loved to set the ND8 neutral density filter and polarizer on it to pull some more blue out of the clouds and possibly blur the clouds a little. Considering the pressing circumstances, I think this shot turned out well.
  I think I just squeaked into the building at 8:00. But the results were worth it.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/8.0 1/4 sec. 
  Usual Monday mornings are spent getting kids ready for school and getting myself off to work. With New Year's Day being on a Saturday this year, I got this morning off. So I used the available time to try and find some places to shoot. Turns out, I only had to go around the corner.
  The windmill in the picture is another one of those landmarks that I pass by every day. And every day I say, I am going to take some photos of that windmill, but never do. Well, this morning I stayed true to my word.
  This reminds me of the American Plains like that of Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. Really something you don't see much of anymore, but still a great American symbol.
  Would've liked to have had some clouds behind it, but there wasn't a one of them in site.  The large tree on the left, the windmill, and the branch that creeps in from the right all seem to form a bracket around a lone star that was still hanging around just before sunrise.
  Tried to do some HDR processing on the photo but everything that I liked turned out with a halo around the trees and windmill.  When I looked back at the raw images, the silhouette against the purple/blue sky stood out more so I went with the original image.
  If you look real close in the bottom right corner you can see the Veteran's Memorial American Flag flying that is in downtown Madisonville.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


  Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, 3 exposure HDR @ f/11
  Don't know how this one will go over technically, but standing in the road in the rain presented enough degree of difficulty made this photo worth posting for me.
  After spending a frustrating 2 hours cleaning the sensor of my camera, I felt I deserved the opportunity to go out take some pictures. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did all she could to keep me from it. It had rained all night here in East Tennessee and continued through most of the day. I had to go to Wal-Mart to get some groceries and on my back home I passed by this old brick building for about the millionth time in 3 years. This is first time it jumped out at me and said "Take my picture!"
  The building being built on a hill just lends itself to being photographed. The long lines created by the sidewalk take you from the foreground to the background and the windows starting just above the pavement on the foreground end absolutely disappear as you get to the far end of the block.
  Even though the rain was a nuisance, it actually was the reason I was out. I wanted to get that reflection off the rain soaked pavement. It also kind of gave the red brick a shine that it wouldn't have had any other time.
  The only thing I don't like about the shot is the power pole on the corner. I tried my best to work around it, but there was no way of eliminating it from the shot.
  First post of 2011 has to had to have water in it, somehow.


  On the first day of 2011, I am really looking forward to what photography will bring for me in the new year. I can't really look ahead without visiting what has happened in the past 12 months to set the foundation for next 12.
  As far back as my teenage years I have always been into photography. The coincidence of my old Canon T50 getting damaged and the introduction of digital photography kind of put a damper on that interest. I still loved it, just didn't have the money to invest in new equipment so the interest kind of subsided. Over the past 9-10 years I have been keeping up with the progress of DSLR's and just longing to buy one but not able to afford one.
 January of 2010 brought my the change to re-ignite my photography obsession. My wife, Melissa, had normally been laid off in the summer months because she drove a school bus for living. This year, however, after a year of schooling she got hired full time as at EMT and would not be laid off summers any more. This meant that the money I made umpiring high school softball could be used as extra and not as bill money.
  When April came around I purchased my DSLR, a Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS.
  The obsession was reborn!
  My lunch hours at my job were spent checking out photography web sites trying to pick up any tips and instruction I could find. Every available free moment was used to either take pictures or learn how to do it better. I spend a lot of my time on Outdoor Photographer Magazine and following incredible photographers like Ian Plant, Jay Goodrich and many others and learning from them sharing their insight to their craft.
  My obsession hit in the spring and due to this I learned that my favorite thing to point my camera at was moving water and waterfalls in particular. The area of the county I live in lent to this love of water. East Tennessee and Western North Carolina have hundreds of waterfalls and streams to photograph.  The photo in this post is of Bald River Falls in the Cherokee National Forest that I have visited no less than 5 times since the purchase of my camera and will continue to visit more and more as I get better at the craft.
  One of the additional fuels to the fire was my brother Jim's paralleled obsession. Check out his work HERE.  He has become an incredible photographer with an expertise in HDR.  I bounced ideas and asked him for opinions on everything from the purchase of my camera, to composition, and even still bother him with the occasional HDR processing.  Sharing this interest has made communicating with him much more frequent than we had before. Being able to share photography with him has made it that much more enjoyable.
  The last couple of months of the year have really brought a huge change to my photography. Jim introduced me to Oscar Navarro from Venezuela on Facebook. Another talented photographer and terribly great guy. The both of them talked me into joining Twitter because of the photography contacts and resources on it. OH MY GOSH! There are so may incredible photographers tweeting. I have met so many great people on twitter that there is no way of naming them all and every one of them fantastic photog's.  I find myself talking on twitter more than Facebook nowadays.
  Through Twitter, the new year will see me collaborate on some grunge photography with Chris Nitz, Rob Hanson, Jesse Pafundi, and Jim.  I am very excited about this collaboration with these guys. They are all great photographers and I am humbled to be included with them.
  Some of the things ahead for Denham Photography in 2011.
  My photos are on sale at All Artists Home. This is exciting even though I have yet to make my first sale. Hopefully, this will blossom in the new year.
  January sees me travel to San Antonio, TX for my real job, Design Engineer for Yamaha Sport Boats. I'm excited about shooting the Riverwalk, the Missions, and downtown San Antonio in the 5 days I will be there.
  Springtime presents the opportunity to take what I have learned from the latter part of the year and apply it to the streams and waterfalls of the area. Can't wait for green foliage and full streams.
  The spring also starts softball umpiring for me. I can take the money I earn and apply it to building my photography resources. New lenses, software, and gadgets are on the wish list.
  My son is a sophomore in high school and I have spent a ton of time shooting his basketball team. Love sports photography and the new equipment I have on the wish list will hopefully add to the quality of those basketball shots when he becomes a junior and gets more playing time.  My daughter's cheerleading is another avenue of sports photography that I look forward to every year.
  Can't wait to see what happens this year!
  Can't go without thanking and acknowledging my wife and kids. They tolerate me without complaining too much. They can't possibly fathom what they mean to me. I give a lot of credit in photography to my wife. She prods me to take certain shots and styles. Tells me her honest opinion of the shots I take. All this in addition to being an incredible wife and mother. I don't know what I would do without her.
  I met a lot of great people in 2010 in addition to the already great people I already know and love. To all of you I say thank you for your support, opinions, tips, and friendship. I hope 2011 will be safe and prosperous for all of you.
  Sorry I got a bit wordy. HAPPY NEW YEAR!