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Nothing new to show right now except the new design.  The old design seemed like a good idea at first.  Take photos, upload them to WordPress, and let them stand alone in a neat abstract fashion.

But I found out that some people weren’t clicking INTO the posts, and other people were really enjoying the narratives that usually accompanied my photographic posts.  And then, over the past two days, I started thinking differently about my photography blog.  I started to realize that I was making connections with this portfolio.  I suddenly became very dissatisfied with the old look.

So this is the look I’ll be using, for now, to display my photographs and the narratives that usually accompany them.  This layout I like because it seems to give equal emphasis to my text and my photographs.  It’s not a perfect solution, but I believe it works.

Please let me know if this new look doesn’t work.


Army Photography Contest Results: Placed!

Today, I discovered that one of my original 19 photos submitted to the 2012 Army Photo Contest was awarded third place!

I submitted last year and walked away with nothing.  Thanks to my girl–Soulmate–who reminded me about the impending deadline.  I scrambled to assemble and submit 19 to the Fort Lee, VA staff.  They then sent 11 up the “all Army” level; of my 11, a photo that I thought had the least chance actually picked up third place in the “Nature and Landscapes” category.  Here’s the photo (“Lusk Fog”) and the collage showing the progression.  I’ve shaded photos that did not make it to the Army level.  The remaining photos were judged at the “all Army” level, and the photo with the green border is also shown below full size.

It was a wonderful day and I am so pleased to have picked up something this year!

Be sure to click on the photos to view on black.

Moon @ 1200

More than a week of clouds and five straight days of rain in Virginia.  Then a weekend up at West Point under clear skies.  Either she or I were out of position for a dance.  It seemed she was only teasing me.

But tonight, the right conditions combined beautifully with some time and the right equipment.  She remained still enough for me to capture these images.

I’m still struggling to get the sharpness with the 1200.  But, hey–it ain’t always about the sharpness!


Buried, part 2

It was a typical hot day at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.  I was carrying my camera around the airfield when I happened to pass by a “local national” work crew.  He seemed to be the most junior man on the squad–following the younger men around, he carried only a mop.  This mop man was unusual, though; his black turban suggested he was Taliban or a Taliban sympathizer.  He looked old, too.  His old wasn’t the type of old that we (in the Western world) know; this was rock-old.  Dirt-old.  I knew I needed a photo.  But it was the black turban that had caught my eye and it was the black turban I needed proof of.

I approached the Afghans and pointed very tentatively at the old man, and then I pointed to my camera.  They shouted something to him in either Pashto or Dari, and he turned and leaned the mop up against the wall of the mil-van latrine.  He then walked out into the sun.  The young men pointed at me; I smiled and pointed at the camera, and then tried to ask him if he wouldn’t mind me taking his photo.

He seemed almost too polite and too passive.  I asked him to come over to the wall of the building.  I believe I took but one photo.  Here it is.

When I looked at the photo for the first time full-screen on the computer, I knew that I was hooked on street photography and portrait photography.  What I didn’t know is that I had captured one of my best images yet.

During two tours in Afghanistan, I have not seen an older native.  Afghanistan is a rough and tough country.  This man, however, had endured.  He is a survivor.  How many Russian Hinds had he downed?  How many occupiers of his country has he seen?  On which side (if there are indeed sides in war and especially in Afghanistan) does he do his fighting these days?  Or does he only wield a mop?  I took this photo in 2006; where are you now, mop man?

I wish I had asked his name. . .


New Year, New Lens!

Thank you, Mom & Dad!

During Christmas, they picked up a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 lens for me.  I’ve been dreaming of wide-angle and fast/bright glass for quite awhile now.  And now, I have this amazing glass!

Here’s an early couple of shots through the 20.  New style for me wide and prime.

This dog is my vote into heaven.  She’s an angel who’s kept my family company through everything.  I hope I’ve been good to her–she’s certainly been good to me and my family.  She turns 13 this year and remains a happy and comforting soul.

The red diner has been in Highland Falls, NY for a long time.  It has always been.  Like the Overlook Hotel, it will always be.  A great place for a weekend breakfast or brunch, at night, a different personality appears.

Right now, the 20 has a permanent home on my D300.  It’s teaching me more about composition and learning where to stand (thanks, Ansel).  I am finding inspiration and perspective from it–and it opens up a world of possibilities.  Thanks, Mom & Dad!