November 17, 2010
April 12, 2010
Today’s post can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog on the business and craft of writing fantasy that I maintain with fellow authors Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley, and Stuart Jaffe, among others. The post is called “Tunnel Vision” and it’s about overcoming preconceived notions in your writing. It even includes a couple of my photographs. I hope you enjoy it.
April 1, 2010
Spring has come at last to the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The past two mornings I’ve taken my camera and hiked down into what’s known as Shakerag Hollow where wildflowers are already blooming. Bloodroot, Hepatica, Spring Beauty, Dutchman’s Britches, Rue Anemone, Celandine Poppy, Trout Lily, and several kinds of trillium (although most of the trillium are still a week or two away from being in full bloom. The streams in the hollow are running high with water from the rains we’ve had the last month, and a few spring migrants have started to filter in: Black and white warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-throated green warbler, Blue-headed vireo.
Here are a few images. The top one is Bloodroot, the second is Celandine Poppy, and the third is Hepatica:
February 12, 2010
I received my copy of Outdoor Photographer today, and on the cover, along with the other article teasers (“Choose an Ultimate Nature DSLR”, “Are Sensors Better Than Film?”) was this one:
“Shoot Digital Like Ansel Adams” (They bolded his name.)
“Use a Word Processor Like Charles Dickens“
“Record Your Own CDs Like Ludwig van Beethoven“
“Film Your Own Dramas Like William Shakespeare“
April 17, 2009
First lawn-cutting of the year this afternoon. It sucked just as much as the last one of 2008. Some things never change…. Tomorrow is kind of a big day for me. We have a local spring festival at my daughter’s school every year. It’s called Trails and Trilliums, and there are hikes, talks, art, games and fun for kids, etc. It’s a fun weekend. And this year I’m the featured artist. My photos are on the publicity posters and I’ll be giving a talk on macro photography tomorrow afternoon. I also hope to be selling my photos. Should be lots of fun. For the locals among you, if you’re in the area, stop by and say hello.
March 25, 2009
So, here are a couple of the photos I’ve taken in the past few days. There’s a small hollow near where we live — it’s actually called Shakerag Hollow, because once upon a time you could go down there in the evening, wave a small white cloth, and thus signal to local moonshiners that you were in the market for their wares. Alas, this is no longer an option….
Shakerag Hollow is filled with wildflowers every spring, and spring is creeping into the hills of Tennessee even as we speak. I use a Canon 40D digital SLR camera with a 24-105mm lens mounted with both extension tubes and a Canon 500D close-up filter. These attachments allow me to get extreme close-ups without sacrificing clarity. I mount the whole set-up on a Bogen 3001 tripod with a Kirk BH-3 ball head.
The first photo is of a Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) growing out of the skeleton of an old downed tree branch. Everything was covered with dew that morning, so you can see water droplets on the flower and leaves.
This second picture was taken that same morning. These are simply dew drops on the leaves of Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), but somehow the angle of the early morning sun has refracted the light, giving the water that incredible color. It looks like I spilled juice on these leaves, but I swear, it’s just water. And in fact, I didn’t realize what I had until I got home and looked at the pictures. But I love the effect.
March 11, 2009
First day of my post book vacation. My older daughter is on break from school and Nancy started her break today, too. Daughter number two is the only one of us not on vacation yet. Poor kid.
Anyway, spent some time working on photos today (after doing my first shoot of the spring yesterday — mostly macro work. The Hepatica and Bloodroot are in bloom….). Processing, cropping, etc. I’m to be the featured artist for a spring festival at a local school next month, so it’s time for me to get some work printed, matted, and (some of it) framed. Should be a fun couple of weeks actually. Guilt-free focus on my passion rather than my job.
January 14, 2009
Following up on my promise to myself to get out and do more birdwatching this year, I went to a place called Woods Reservoir today. It’s a large reservoir about twenty miles from here that is maintained jointly by the U.S. Air Force (Arnold Air Force Base abuts part of the reserve) and the Tennessee Wildlife Management Agency. It has a good sized nesting population of Bald Eagles and is a wintering ground for a wide variety of duck species. And so it shouldn’t be tto surprising that in addition to seeing an eagle, I also saw Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Northern Shoveler, and many pairs of Hooded Merganser, which may be the most beautiful duck in North America. Here, check out a picture. Of course, Pintails are beautiful, too.
Anyway, it was a great morning. I came back energized and wrote seven pages this afternoon. So often I don’t do something for myself because “I can’t take the time out from my work.” But I almost always find that after taking the time out to look at birds or take pictures or just go for a walk, I work better, faster, more efficiently. There’s a lesson there, if only I’m smart enough to take it to heart.
December 6, 2008
No BOW Award today. I really didn’t pay much attention to the news this week, and frankly I need a BOW break.
But I did have a funny experience this afternoon: I was wearing my “photography-guy” hat today instead of my “author-guy” hat. This weekend is the arts and crafts studio tour here in town, and I did a shift handling sales at the gallery where I display my photography. The gallery includes not only my photos, but heaps of other art and craftwork by a large number of local artists: oil paintings and bronze castings and sculptures, textile work and hand-done bookbinding, lots of ceramics — vases, bowls, plates, etc. — as well as a host of other artistic creations. The gallery offers a remarkable variety of items, representing the work of at least a dozen different people.
Well, one gentleman came in accompanied by his wife, and after looking around at all this stuff, turned to me and asked if I was the artist who had done all this fine work….