April Storm and a Curious Robin

Thrilling storms rolled across Kansas yesterday.  I’m sad to know that those storms built in intensity and eventually brought death and destruction further East.

Nevertheless, when the worst had passed (in Kansas), the sunset broke through.  I check to see if there was in fact a rainbow, and when I saw the full-sky rainbow, I grabbed my D300 and put the circular polarizing filter on it.  This is the first time I’ve shot a rainbow with the filter.  You might agree that this technique works well for rainbows!

A little later, I mounted the 300mm (450mm effective) and perched on my front porch.  In a little while, this robin perched on our tree about ten feet from my lens.  On about the 10th photo, he heard the shutter, and kept looking at me like he was trying to figure out exactly what I was.





Spinning spinning spinning. This is a motion we don’t see during the winter months, and the sudden motion out of the corner of the eye and the bright splash of color suggests we are in another part of the year all together.  The whimsical fancy of a pinwheel can not be matched by any other summer device.


Pouring, Dashing Hopes of Capturing the Budding Supermoon

That’s a long title for this post!

It’s raining in Virginia.  In fact, it’s been pouring at times so hard that it makes it tough to see across the street.  Now that the sun’s gone down, I’d hoped for a break in the clouds that might make it possible to see the budding Supermoon.  Alas, no such luck.  It’s still raining.

Nevertheless, I took out the camera and tried to capture something different.  Something new.



Suspicious of Fads

Another period of absence.  I’m still kickin’ and I’m still shooting photographs–nearly daily.  In my defense, I’m trying to protect YOU.  Much of what I’ve shot lately wouldn’t interest you.

But these might.

I have an iPod Touch.  It’s a neat little gadget that almost convinces me I want an iPhone.  But if I did have an iPhone, I’d never use it as a phone because it would not have the battery life in it to do so after playing Angry Birds and taking photographs.

The only downfall of the iPod Touch is that the camera on it is crap compared to the 5MP camera on the iPhone.

Here are 10 photos that I took tonight at a hockey rink in Southern NY.  “Suspicious of Fads” because I’m still not sure whether Hipstamatic qualifies as art–or as faddish photography.  Nevertheless, I like messing around with it from time to time.  Here are some different styles and settings with features I found around the rink.

Driving and driving

I’ve been driving, and lately I’ve been driven.  Most recently, I’ve been blessed and lucky to be driven to.  Over the past two weeks, miles and miles have taken us apart and rejoined us.  Reconnected us.  It’s shots like this that remind me of the gulf between.


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. . .



This place is different.  Although I’ve been here twice before, this is the first time I’ve been here as a photographer.  I am lost.  These roads are familiar, but the sights are new.  Gone is the Hudson Valley and the buildings and people who fill it with life.  Gone are the ships and boats.  Where am I?

This place is much larger than West Point–but it lacks the luster.  It lacks the refined, sharp edges.  Treasures are hidden–and if I want to find them, I need to get out and about.  I need to drive and walk–and even then, I’m not sure I have the eye for this area.  Here’s a sample from the past 48 hours.