Monday, August 29, 2011


The Huck'n Buck
  My first official photo shoot took place on Saturday and I had a fantastic time photographing 4 football players, a volleyball player, and a baby. One of the best things about the shoot was the willingness of the boys to do old time "Heisman" like poses. They really seemed to get into it and that made it even more fun.
   I found an Old Paper effect in Photoshop Elements that took me back to the days of "Winning One For the Gipper" and "3 Yards and a Cloud of Dust". The first shot in the blog today was the first shot I did like this and I had to do each of the football players in that effect.
Tiptoeing the Sideline
  With the college football season getting underway this weekend it was totally obvious to me that I had to do this post with these shots.  I added a little additional contrast after I applied the effect to try and give it an older feel and even though the uniforms, cleats, and helmets are very modernized, the shots look like they need to be wearing leather helmets.
The Galloping Ghost
  These kids were outstanding and I can't wait to take more shots like this. Hopefully, the word of mouth will spread and I can do more.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/14, 0.6 sec., 4 image panorama
  My daughter, Jocy, and I ventured once again down River Rd on Friday evening. I bargained an hour of swimming for her for some time behind  the camera on the river.
  I came back to a spot that I had visited back late last fall (ROCKING THE RIVER) when the water levels were at least twice what they are right now. I don't think the river will dry up, but unless there is some rain in our forecast, it will get very close to it.
  My intention was to get down in the river in front of the long, thin rock that the water is pouring over in Rocking The River and get a low perspective of that fabulous rock. Unfortunately, even though the water level was low, the rate of flow right in front of this rock was great enough to shake the legs of my tripod.
  So after nixing my original intention, I decided to climb around behind those rocks and catch the water flow down stream.  I really liked this angle and had to shoot 4 sets of shots and stitch them in a panorama. To my happy surprise, at the end of the river in the pano shot, the sunlight was creating a warm glow over the trees and water. The large rocks to the right of the shot were reflecting the blue sky from above and added a little flare to the image.
  Something that Jocy and I were very confused about was the large metal box that was wedged underneath the rocks in the upper center of the image. It almost looked like a safe but was so rusty and dilapidated it was hard to tell.
  Very little processing done to the photo. Just a little added contrast to it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/16, 0.6 sec
  Monday evening was outstanding.
  A fellow photographer friend, John Deas, had messaged through Facebook me on Saturday and stated he would be traveling through my area on his way to Nashville and wanted to know if I wanted to show him my "secret" spots to photograph.
  Well, there are no secret spots, but he didn't have to try hard to get me and my buddy Tim Owens to take him into the Cherokee National Forest on a photog excursion.  We went to Bald River Falls with the intention of hiking back through the Bald River Gorge to Suislides but got sidetracked when Tim showed us a trail that back tracked against the gorge trail and led down to step ladder cascades between Bald River Falls and Kahuna Falls.
  This spot was new to me and an absolutely beautiful place.  There were two sets of cascades with a nice pool of swirling water just below Kahuna Falls. If we had gotten there in the morning, we could have shot for 3 or 4 hours. Unfortunately, we got there late in the evening and the light was fading fast. We did get a few good shots in though.
  The shot above is the last shelf before the top of Bald River Falls and John found this while I was up top in the pool just below Kahuna Falls. When I was done shooting from there I turned around and captured John photographing from this spot (below) and the view from my vantage point was incredible. With the forest and bridge in front of Bald River Falls in the background, the angle I was at made it look like one false step and I was a goner. This was not the case though. I was perfectly safe.
ON THE EDGE - John Deas setting up a shot on the last tier above Bald River Falls

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 38mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1.3 sec.
  While going back through the ol' archives I was going through some of the shots I took in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I ran across this shot of the Little River along Little River Rd. This road runs from Townsend, TN to just south of Gatlinburg, TN through the park. It is about 18 miles long and winds along with the river the entire way. There are dozens of spots to pull off and take photos and would love to spend another morning on the road shooting because I have learned so much in the time span since I took this photo.
  I did love this huge rock right in the center of the river as well as the misty fog rising off of the water. Now a days I would try my best to climb down into the river and capture it here instead of standing on the road side.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 27mm, ISO 100, f/14, 0.5 seconds
  Sunday was a successful jaunt down River Rd because I redeemed myself from the 40 or so images I took the week before that weren't in focus. I re-visited the same location and came out of there with a couple of satisfying shots.
  This particular image is a merging of two images so that I could get the large rocks on the right side of the frame in the shot. I had not realized that I had visited this spot last fall until I was looking at archived images and recognized the rock formations. The water levels last fall were not nearly as high as they are right now so the water flow was much better this time around.
  Even though the river was about twice as wide as you see in the shot, most of the water was crashing against the rocks on the opposite side of the river creating wonderful cascading action over those rocks. Wanted to get a closer vantage point to those rocks but the water flow was so great it would have been a dangerous walk across. Especially with my camera in tow.


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/50 sec.
  Last October I got up early one morning with the intention of photographing the early morning fog on the Cherohala Skyway. My destination was Big Junction Overlook. This overlook is on the North Carolina side of the Skyway and is measured at 5235ft above sea level.
  I was trying for long exposures to try and get a almost water-like effect of the fast moving fog. I arrived well before light and spent a lot of time waiting for the sun to rise. Saw a couple of shooting stars as well. When I finally got some light, there was plenty of fog to the southwest and I spent a long time shooting down in the valley in that direction.
  My battery was getting low so I decided to pack it in with the thought I would not get the particular effect I wanted. I started back toward my car when I noticed one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. I happened to look back to the northwest and the fog was literally crawling over the mountains like it was being poured over them. I immediately pulled everything back out and started snapping pictures from the opposite side of the road.

Shot from my car across the road of the fog crawling across the mountains
  I wasn't very happy with my vantage point so I got in the car and started driving with the hope I would find a better spot.  Unfortunately, I could not until I returned to Big Junction and walked down about and eighth of a mile back down the road and the valley opened up to me. By that time, however, the sun was peaking and a long exposure was impossible.
  I did get the first shot above that shows the water-like fog covering the mountains in the background to the left and still crawling through the valley in front of me. It's funny, had I been looking in the opposite direction of where I was shooting when I got there I would have gotten the image I wanted. Well there is always this fall.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/14, 0.5 sec.
  This afternoon was the first time in a long time that I have been able to get out and adventure down River Rd. The last time I was down this way, the photos I took were all out of focus so I returned to the scene of the crime to correct my errors.
  I determined that the last effort's issues were with my tripod not being anchored very well combined with a strong current. I made sure that today everything was stable and not moving.
  One of the main reasons I was drawn back to this spot were these brightly colored rocks that were in this part of the river. They were red and orange and very cool. Just emphasizes my love for the rocks along this river and how they are defined by the water and each one is unique whether it is as large as a two story building or as small as a football.
  The first set of shots I took I really focused on these awesome rocks. Even in the wide panorama's I did, the rocks were what I emphasized.  This shot, however, was my favorite because of the formation these rocks made together with the water either flowing over or around them. I zoomed up on them as to not be distracted by the rest of the large scale scenery.
  Nothing special about the processing. Just a crop to take out unnecessary elements.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/22, 10 sec.
  I am always fascinated by long shutter speeds and what it does to water in a photo. Back in April, I posted to the blog a shot from River Rd (VIOLENT WATER) where I used a slightly higher ISO of 400 with an f/8 aperture to somewhat freeze the action and capture the "rage" of the Tellico River with a 0.3 second shutter speed.
  A few minutes before that shot, with my ND3 neutral density filter on the lens, setting the ISO at 100, and a much smaller aperture of f/22 the exposure was pushed to 10 seconds calming the rage by smoothing over the water to look like clouds.
  The original shot had a blueish tint to it so I converted it to black and white. This accented the texture of the water as well as the detail in the rocks.  I really liked the way the small rocks on the upper left stand out with the cloudy water pouring over them.


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/22, 1/40 sec., single image HDR
 Last July Vonore Youth Sports conducted a clinic for it's coaches by a trainer named Barr (couldn't remember his first name). Barr was extremely cool with the dozen or so kids that were there and taught them and the attending coaches about training techniques especially targeting football.
 While I was there, I grabbed the camera and fired off several shots of Barr and the kids going through the training. Well, as the sun was going down I noticed this very nice sun/cloud display going on behind the football field press box and just could not resist running and grabbing the tripod and capturing it.
  Processed a single-image HDR on this shot and gave it a painterly look to give off a more nostalgic feel to it. It also brought out the detail and textures in the clouds that were normally washed out on the original frame.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/14, 0.3 sec.
  While at Bald River Falls with my mother and my daughter a little over a week ago, I noticed this clever little fern hanging on to this wonderfully shaped rock.
  I originally tried to use the ridged edges of the rock as leading lines to the small cascade above it but it just never worked out for me. The dried piece of drift wood laying next to it was very cool though and the fern just kept sticking out and yelling at me. So I adjusted my composition slightly to allow the wood and ridges in the rock to lead down from the top of the frame to the fern in the lower left.
  Really love the colors in these rocks in and around the river.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Coach Bruce Pearl speaks to the campers at Sequoyah. My son, Casey, is sitting in the back in the white t-shirt.
  This past Thursday thru Saturday, former University of Tennessee Asst. Head Coach Tony Jones held a basketball camp at Sequoyah High School. The advertised basketball personalities that were supposed to be there consisted of Jalen Rose, Howard Eisley, CJ Watson, Tobias Harris, and Scottie Hopson.
  I got to watch all of the camp on Saturday and thought it was very upbeat, energetic, and overall great for those that attended. Unfortunately, the likes of Jalen Rose, CJ Watson, and Scottie Hopson were no-shows. Fortunately, in my opinion anyway, the best personality to show up was a surprise in former UT Head Coach Bruce Pearl. He gave a speech to end the camp and hung around for autographs and photos with kids and parents.
  Now I am not a UT fan by any means, but I am truly a fan of Coach Pearl. I know, I know, he lied and tried to cover up a violation to the NCAA and yes, that is a terribly bad example to set. The whole incident has tarnished his name and almost completely reversed all the tremendous work he did at UT.
  Pearl does, however, own up and take complete responsibility for those mistakes and doesn't hold a grudge against UT for firing him.  In addition, he projects an extremely positive message and is still a tremendous influence in the community that he completely engulfed himself in the minute he arrived in Knoxville. I just can't force myself to do anything but like and route for him. Shoot, how many other college head coaches have taken their shirt off, painted a big orange T on their chest, and plant himself right in the middle of the student section, and lead cheers at a Lady Vols basketball game? You gotta love 'em.
  Pearl's message to the kids in his speech at camp was tremendous and hit on a few important subjects and each of them carries over into the world outside of a gym.
  The first was complimenting all of these kids for being there. Their commitment to being at the camp and working hard to get better while their competition is at home drives home a fantastic point. Their test of their true metal is what happens from here forward. Do they continue to work hard and build on the skills learned at this camp or do they stay content with what they have? Sounds like a true life lesson to me. Are you going to work hard to be the best at what you do, or are you going to stand pat on the talents you have? A lot of businesses have gone out of business by standing pat.
  Building on top of that, he asked each one of these campers what their expectations were for themselves.  Not just on the court but as a student, friend, son or daughter? He challenged each one of them to raise to set expectations for themselves and don't settle for not reaching those expectations. If you set a goal of achieving A's & B's in school and you are at a C level,  do the extra work necessary to make that C at least a B. If you set a goal to be a better son or daughter, go home and do something extra that your parents don't expect. Like doing the dishes, or cleaning your room without being told. Raise the bar.
  One of the best things he mentioned was to build on your strengths.  Work hard to improve your short comings, but work even harder to build on your strengths. He used his former player, Chris Lofton, as an example. Pearl said that Lofton was a good shooter of the basketball when he arrived at UT, but that he absolutely lived in the gym shooting shot after shot until he became a phenomenal shooter. He did improve in his lesser areas of defense and ball handling, but his extra work as a shooter lifted him up to one of the best in the NCAA.
  Each one of these suggestions by Coach Pearl can be applied to everything we do in our lives.  If you ever get the opportunity to see him, he is a wonderful motivator and speaker. He is very animated and really uses his hands a lot making him neat to photograph while he is speaking as well.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/11, 0.6sec.
  This evening my kids and I went to the river for some swimming and a bit of photog'ing.  Took a few shots at a beautiful new place that I found only to come back and find out that nothing was in focus. What a disappointment.
  So I reached back a couple of weeks to when Tim Owens and myself were out on N River Rd shooting.  I have since found out that this particular spot is called The Boils.  Something I had been wanting to do is to wade in deep and try to get a shot from directly under the falls.  So that morning I was bound and determined to get that shot. I waded in to chest deep water and was probably out of my mind for doing so, but it was definitely a new and awesome perspective compared to how I had photographed these falls in the past.
  The resulting shot was exactly what I was after. The splash of the falls hitting the water was much better from this angle and the forest looming over the falls added some great depth.
  Someday I will go back to the spot I couldn't keep in focus tonight and get some in-focus shots but it's always nice to have something like this as a fall back.


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @19mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/4 sec
   This is the second morning in a row I got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise.  Almost missed this one though. Wasn't planning on taking any pics until I saw the streaking clouds and when I arrived at this vantage point in Vonore, TN, the sun was already above the horizon.  Thank goodness that the clouds were diffusing the sun's glare.
 Nothing special with the processing of this image other than taking out some sensor dust. This shot alerted me to how dirty my sensor was so some cleaning took place last night.
  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/20, 0.6 sec.
  After 3 weeks of going into work at 6:30 a.m. in order to meet some deadlines, it sure was a welcome relief to be able to photograph a sunrise this morning.
  I have been to this spot and actually posted another sunrise reflection from here back in April.  The sun rose considerably further to the right hand side of the frame back then and there wasn't nearly as much foliage on the ground or trees either.
  There was a hazy little mist rising on the water and right where the sunburst shows through the trees you can see the suns rays spreading out on it.
  Stitched 3 images in Photoshop Elements Photomerge Panorama to get all the elements I wanted from right to left.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, 3 Exposure HDR @ f/16
  While hanging around in Vonore waiting for my daughter to get done with cheerleading practice, I found this neat tree that looked like it was reaching for the sky.  I set the camera up directly under it and pointed the lens straight up.
  Lots of great things happening here from the texture of the bark on the tree, to the bright green of the leaves, to the bright blue sky. My favorite part is the warm golden glow of the sun striking the trees from the right. I just really fell in love with everything going on here.
  This is the first HDR image I have processed in Picturenaut. It is a free down loadable HDR software at  I found it very easy to use compared to other free HDR software but, as usual, not as versatile as the big boy programs. I actually really liked it and it turned out a very nice image.