2017 rewind…

Blog, Photography

Here it is… the last day of 2017.  Brutally cold outside but perfect for being here, blogging, staying nice and warm.

It was a quiet picture taking year.  Only a couple outings with the DSLR.  I have put it to use on a couple projects that are still in the works that I hope will finally come together in 2018.  Turns out, it was my camera phone that captured most of the year.  You know the saying… “The best camera is the one you have with you.”  So very true.

The most cooperative subjects, of course, are still the boys.  You should know them well by now, but if not it’s these two goofball goldens.



Lots of sky and cloud shots.  I don’t know what it is about clouds, but it never gets boring… from high above or down below.

Of course, the occasional selfie. 

and lots and lots of family photos     and vacation photos.

Almost all of this year’s vacation photos were taken with my camera phone, a Samsung Note 5,  1) because I don’t want to risk taking my DSLR near sand or water, 2) it’s has a ginormous screen, and 3) some fun features… like the panorama.

And with apps like Snapseed (a fave), and some recently added ones like PicFx and Texture PhotoJus, I can now even combine photos

 …and put my love for textures spin on them  

And even though the overall quality is not that of the DLSR, with a little post-processing know-how and creativity,

it’s not hard to get them pretty darn close… even good enough to print. 

How about you… are you dedicated to your DLSR or mirrorless or happy with whatever you have with you?

What’s coming in 2018… I’m not really sure, but I know I’ll always been on the look out for that photo op regardless what gear I’m packing.

Happy Shooting and Happy New Year,

Why stop at just one…


Things are changing… and I don’t mean the weather.   Seriously, November weather is taking it’s sweet time on getting to these parts of Pennsylvania…  At this rate, we’ll be still be raking & blowing leaves come Christmas.

An obvious change is right here on the blog with a new theme & title that (I think) better fits the exciting new direction my photography and photographic art has taken is taking!  While I have learned to use the tools to add a mood, a feeling, or set the scene.  The images were safe…  Being a rather private person by nature, I only shared bits and pieces in any given image.  Holding back, only letting the imagination… the story go so far.  Well, that’s about to change!  The images, Alight and Found, contain much more of a story than I have ever put out there before.  And now that I’ve opened that door a little bit, it’s time to push it all the way and really see what is on the other side.   And I’m doing just that.  I’ve started a series… a story with a beginning, middle and end present.  It’s been addictive really; I’m thinking about it all the time, photographing the parts, reworking them into the story, coming up with one idea after the other.

 “You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.”

~ C.S. Lewis

Sneak Peak

Heck, after 20+ years,  even the day job is changing.  All really, really good… and exciting.  Gee, how many changes is that now?

One Personal Item – A DIY

Blog, Photography

I’m really excited about today’s post!  What I thought would be a pretty easy DIY, turned out to take a little more time and thought than I ever anticipated, but I am so happy with the end result.  For you fellas out there, this post may seem geared a little more towards the ladies, but I assure you the same could be applied to anyone who wants to protect their gear but not break the bank… 

This all came about because of an upcoming trip and those stiffer airline restrictions, but also something I have been wanting to do for a very long time.  I confess, when I first started out in photography, I purchased one of those pricey “women’s” camera bags.  The problem: All it held was the camera and a couple of lenses (which I quickly outgrew), little to no room for anything else… even a wallet… and, oh yeah, ridiculously expensive!  I’ll also admit to one more thing, I tend to over pack, whether for a week-long vacation, a weekend get-a-way, or just a local outing… what can I say, I like to be prepared.  So I’m not anticipating this upcoming trip will be any different and I have to get everything to fit in my carry-on and that ONE personal item which is the catalyst for today’s DIY.

One Personal Item

I started with the size restrictions and went from there.

Love that it comes in purple, but it also comes in black and camo.

Now knowing what I had to work with I made a list of what I wanted/needed: First and foremost to securely/safely hold my gear.  After scouring the web and reading countless reviews, etc… I chose the TENBA 10 (As a side note: When getting the link, I noticed it’s already gone up $10 since I purchased mine, so be sure to shop around.)

The 50 mm fits perfectly under the flash.  That’s right I even got my flash in there 🙂

It comes with lots of dividers so you can personalize to all your needs.  I actually removed a couple.  This TENBA is deep enough to hold my camera with a 24-70 attached, a 70-300 lens on one side and a 50 mm and SB800 flash on the other.  A wee-bit snug, but remember I tend to over pack.  For traveling/airline purposes… perfect.

The Bag

Next, finding the bag and an impossible checklist:  Must meet personal item size restrictions but big enough to hold the TENBA and then some (clutch/wallet, personal items, water bottle…  have carry handles AND a cross strap (preferably adjustable)  have a secure closure (surprisingly most women’s tote-size bags do not have a zipper) be durable (ideally waxed canvas or leather)  be practical and, yes, fashionable enough to use solely has a handbag  and fit the budget $$$.  The search was on….

The TENBA and I went shopping.  In order to increase the chances of success, our first stop was Philadelphia Premium Outlets.  And just like Goldilocks, I had to try out a lot of bags… too big, too small, too hard, too soft, before coming up with one that was just right.  Just about to run out of stores, I finally found it:  Size ♥  roomy and with lots of pockets to spare ♥, handles & strap ♥♥, secure with zipper ♥, durable ♥, practical & fashionable ♥♥, and budget friendly !♥!  Whoo-hoo… a home run!
fully loaded, zipped and ready to go!

Now I have TWO bags for the price of one, coming in at…wait for it… less than $80!

And now the real test… can I carry it?   Weighing in at 12.5 lbs, I realized an extra plus of those carry handles, I can now attach it to the rolling carrying on handle and breeze through the airport.

I can’t wait for this trip!  A long overdue visit to see a very dear friend ~ Val, if your reading this, can’t wait to see you!  While putting together this DIY, I did ask myself why not just travel light and leave the camera gear at home?  Heck, all the photos you see in this DIY were taken with my Samsung Note 5.  Answer:  Because, the photographer in me would regret it the minute I stepped out the door and headed to the airport… Like I said, I like to be prepared and even more so…  I love having options!

Happy travels & until next time,

High Noon

Blog, Photography

Not only is it when the heat of the day really starts to rise, it is said to be one of the most undesirable times of day to take photographs ~ High Noon.  If you photograph people, you get unattractive shadows under the eyes and nose.  If you photograph animals… well, they just know better than to even be out, and you’ll have a long wait.  But what do you do when that seems to be the only time of the day you ever have (I have) to get out with your camera?

For me, I’m working with what I have, in the time I have, and I’m loving it!  Maybe someday when the day job is not so demanding, I’ll have a little more flexibility to catch those “golden hours” more often, but since they are so fleeting and since I never be seem to be in that right place at just that right time, I make it work… for me.


A recent road trip to central PA. A bright sunny day, but I was not going to get another chance to photograph this barn anytime soon. With a little help from Lightroom and Topaz Impressions, I’m able to use all that sunny goodness to my advantage.


Ok, so maybe not an original idea on how to capture such a photo (saw my daughter using her iPhone), but when I saw her results, out came my Note 5. Although, it turns out I have an app on my phone that does something very similar, this is so much better… my lens and a real kaleidoscope.



The kaleidoscope garden at the PSU Arboretum .

The kaleidoscope garden at the PSU Arboretum .










Finding a little patch of shade in a very sunny arboretum was perfect spot to catch this family portrait. Thank you Nate & Greg for being our personal tour guides!


Still sunny & getting hotter, but there was so much color everywhere! Love these banners lining the street of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on the campus Penn State Univ.


Late afternoon sun is still pretty strong… it is summer after all. Another shot with my Samsung Note 5 and a little help from Topaz Glow.

I see and hear the saying The best camera… is the one you have with you all the time, and it is so very true no matter what time of day it is.

Til next time,

Snow Day

Blog, Photography

What a great day yesterday was to catch up, tidy up, and just mess around.   In reality, it was just a Saturday…  with normal Saturday chores still needing to done.  But mentally, it was a snow day.  A day to just hang out, meander around the house peaking out the windows watching the snow fall and pile up, the birds empty out the bird feeders, and finally get around to my 52 week challege/week 3 RED.

I had the big red truck that sits across the street in mind for quite some time, but it had been decked out for the holidays ~ not what I was going for ~ and when I finally got around asking my neighbor when they would be taking the decorations down, this happened and the best feature (other than it being red and old) was the perfectly cracked windshield that is now covered by fresh powder. 

Plan B: The berries in the fridge.  A good day to set up a still life.  There is so much I do like about this.. the perfectly imperfect marble slab I borrowed from our in-house baker and the berries red-berrieslook like you can just grab one and eat it (which I did when all done ~ retakes not an option).  But no matter how hard I tried, I didn’t know where to take this, I just knew I wanted it to be something more… more than just a bowl of berries that you could find in any food magazine.  So I have put it aside and will save it for if/when it finally comes to me.

So what did I finally submit for RED, a little red cardinal.  The birds could have cared less that we were all out playing in the snow, they just waited and watched.  Just like I had been watching them from the window throughout the day.  24580699745_310df8103a_o

Okay sun is shining, things need shoveling, and Saturday’s chores are still waiting, so it’s time to get to going… but it really was a great snow day.

Til next time,