Monday, July 16, 2012

Down By The River

I had to take a drive down south in Ohio this week for work, so I decided to take advantage of being down on the Ohio River and take a few pictures while I was there.  On the border of West Virginia, along the Ohio River, is the city of Marietta.  I passed through this city a lot as a teen, traveling between my home in Northeast Ohio and our new home in Charlotte, NC....but even though I was familiar with the city as a favorite stopping point in the 8 hour car ride for lunch and a restroom break....I never knew how beautiful the town was or how much history was here!  Marietta was the first American settlement in the Northwest Territory.  George Washington explored the area as a young surveyor in 1770, and wrote of it's beauty and potential settlement.  In 1788, Washington said, "No colony in America was ever settled under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced at the Muskingum...If I was a young man, just preparing to begin the world, or if advanced in life and had a family to make provision for, I know of no country where I should rather fix my habitation..."    In 1787, Benjamin Franklin said, "I have never seen a grander river in all my life."

The city was holding a couple events and the threat of rain diminished, giving way to a cool evening along the river with many friendly townsfolk strolling around.  Street performers playing music, craftsman and artists showcasing their was a great night to see the old buildings, the river, and stop and smell the roses in a part of my home state I had only every seen from interstate 77.

 It was awesome to stand and see the Harmar Bridge, once a covered bridge, converted for the B&O railroad, now a walking bridge, glowing in the summer night across the lazy Ohio.  I love the mix of historic architecture and nature....seeing and feeling how people came to live around and tame the grandeur of creation in period of time with far fewer conveniences and technological was pretty cool! 

 Marietta and Washington County are known for covered bridges, old barns, and rolling farmlands.  Despite more threats of summer rain, it was worth the venture out into the hills, with no GPS or cell phone reception, just to see a few of the sites before jumping on the interstate and heading home.

One of the exciting and unplanned subjects was this baby fawn bolting across a hayfield as I stood getting ready to photograph a covered bridge.  An old pickup honked as it dashed across the road, and I looked up in time to grab a series of shots....perhaps not the best but the excitement was enough to demand that I share the thrill I caught on "film".

 This is the bridge I was intending to photograph when the little fawn stole the show.   I think it would be better to capture in spring, fall, or even winter, as the summer growth covers the creek and part of the bridge.  But it was still fun to photograph and take a drive through the countryside.

Also saw a piece of American art too!
One of the iconic Mail Pouch painted barns! I live near one that is in worse shape and in a worse setting so it was fun to see this nice one and get to snag a couple shots.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lightening Strikes!

Firework vs. Lightening
I had my first successful photo session with lightening last night!!  Needless to say the night sky display that the Lord put on beat any 4th of July fireworks they would have put off had the storms not rolled in right at 10pm!  After a short 5 minute display the city fireworks suddenly stopped, and instead we started watching a different light show.  That new ND filter came in handy and allowed me to click my shutter like crazy, while exclaiming alternating shouts of triumph and disappointment as I either captured the bolts of lightening or missed them.

Frustration mounted as I seemed to always point my camera in the wrong direction of where lightening appeared, and as soon as I moved it, a great display of bolts would strike where I had just been aiming!!  Now if only I had a wider angle lens to capture more sky at once! 

I have a feeling I will get better with practice.  I have a great location for watching lightening....our second story front porch!  It provides some cover, unless the wind picks up with the rain, and then I am driven indoors to protect the camera equipment.

It was great fun!  So please enjoy these pics, and be sure to keep scrolling as some really interesting ones are last.  I didn't do the cloud to cloud stuff justice due to the porch roof and the lack of a super wide angle lens, but you can get the idea of the whole sky lighting up. It was breathtaking!

A double exposure - two shots overlaid!

As the storm came over the house bringing rain

 I normally don't adjust my photos, but on a few of these (which I will mark) I played with some settings to let you see what the camera lens detected and in a split second our minds might not register.  (I am convinced our eyes see this because the lens of our eyes is the most sophisticated on earth!)  I bumped up the color saturation in the above photo so you could see the color of the lightening, pink and blue!  In a flash it seems white, but it is actually colorful!

 The contrast on this was bumped up a bit to show the intensity of the lightening as it really appeared.

Cropped the porch roof out of this one to really show the tentacles off that bolt of lightening.

I like this one above because it almost is an optical illusion with the lightening fingers looking like layers of clouds.

Imagine this shot but across the whole sky....I just captured a little piece of that as it moved 360 around the porch!

 The wind chimes blowing in the foreground.  They were swaying softly with the left over breeze from the storm after it was past our house, and this 30 second exposure shows that little bit of motion blur.

All in all it was a fantastic 4th of July night, and while many may have been bummed out by the storms that rolled in, they were the icing on the cake to my Independence Day!!

I hope to be able to share more lightening shots soon, but remember what the weather service says....if you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightening.  ;-)