Thursday, August 27, 2015

Current Work

I have been steadily plugging away at creating new work and updating my website again. It has been a pretty slow summer in terms of landscape photography, but I have been able to take a few photos of some birds in the area.

Just wanted to give everyone an update! I am now officially working for myself, and have been having some small successes that I am working on turning into bigger opportunities.  In the meantime, is once again up and running, and this time with a shopping cart!!! I'm very excited about this next phase of Portraits of the Planet.

For now, I'll leave you with an image of a Mississippi Kite that has been hanging around my house this summer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Outer Banks: February Pelagic Tour

I've been pretty absent from my blog for the last several months, but I have been working on images and am just now getting around to sharing some of them. I'm delving into more alternative processes, but I am working on scanning my favorite prints to share with the world. For now, I'll leave you with some images from February, Valentine's Day Weekend.

I became obsessed with finding razorbills. They are a strange little black and white bird related to puffins. They sort of look like flying penguins. Anyway, the migration of these guys is usually at its peak on the Outer Banks around Valentine's Day, so I booked a pelagic tour that took off from Hatteras Village.

The boat ended up going about 15 miles offshore. It was bitterly cold, but I was able to take pictures of Brown Pelicans and Northern Gannets almost immediately. The gannets along with a myriad of gulls followed the boat for the entire trip.

About two hours in, I spotted my first razorbill.  The first picture I took was awful; they beat the air very frantically in an attempt to take off and my first attempted image was very blurry. Thankfully, we saw over a hundred of them, so I got plenty of practice in photographing them.

Along with razorbills, we spotted dovekies, another alcid related to puffins. They look pretty much the same as razorbills but they are TINY. They are usually roughly half the size of puffins, with their wingspans generally not reaching larger than 15 inches. They are difficult to photograph because of the size, but also because they startle incredibly easy.

A first for the boat I was on was a Harlequin Duck and a Great Skua, which is apparently a very rare bird. I didn't get great pictures of either, but the experience was pretty neat. The crowning moment of the trip however, was in the late afternoon as we were preparing to head back inland. We came across quite a large group of Northern Gannets, probably more than 200.  And they all started to dive. It was spectacular. Gannets climb in the air 50-100 feet looking for fish.  When they find the fish, they dive down and nab them in their beaks. Their faces are specially designed to withstand hitting the water at such high speeds, and their wings when diving are reminiscent of a bird of prey diving. It was amazing to watch these birds hit the water in droves with sea smoke coming off the water.

I was also able to venture around Cape Hatteras a bit and scope out the other birds that winter in the area. There were so many egrets and snow geese! I followed a flock of Redhead Ducks around for a few hours and was lucky enough to spot a Ringneck Duck and a Hooded Merganser in the area as well.  The terns were out in full force and I was treated to a show at a secluded pond where they were diving to catch small fish less than 10 feet from where I was standing. It was a pretty spectacular weekend in the bird watching department, and I had a great time regardless of the humid cold.



Hooded Merganser


In case you may have noticed from this blog post, I have gone a bit bird centric over the last few months. I'm very excited to show work from my latest gum bichromate project which I will probably be posting at the end of this week or beginning of next. I have been working very hard on this series and I'm finally ready to share the beginning of it with the internet world.

Friday, January 9, 2015

North Carolina: The North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo boasts an impressive five miles of trails and hundreds of species of animals. I could've spent all day in their aviary alone, and that is honestly where I spent most of my time (when I was oogling the polar bear). I also spent time watching four lion cubs terrorize their parents. The zoo is seriously impressive, and the habitats are HUGE which made me feel better.  

I've really gotten into photographing birds, but I'm not really very good at it yet. What better place to photograph birds than a zoo where they can't get too far away from me? In theory, it's a good idea. In practice, it's a bit more difficult than I had thought.  These birds might be a bit more acclimatized to humans than those in the wild, but they are still skittish enough to move away from you when you think you have a great image.  Also, the light in the glass building wasn't the best mostly due to a very overcast day, so my shutter speed couldn't be as fast as I wanted it to be. 

A couple of these pictures are going into a newer, larger project of birds that I'm going to be printing out using an early photographic process.  This project won't be ready for awhile; it is time consuming and right now I don't have the full time to dedicate to the whole process. I am slowly working on getting together my favorite images and creating digital negatives. I'll post more about my progress as it continues. 

Black Bear

Eclectus Parrot

Green Woodhoopoes

Grizzly Bear!

Scarlet Ibis Wing

Marbled Teal 

Masked Lapwing

Mourning Dove

Nicobar Pigeon

Ringed Teal

Scarlet Ibis


Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Saturday, January 3, 2015

South Carolina: Charleston

I really wanted to do something special for Christmas this year. I couldn't go home to visit family, so I decided to head down the coast to Charleston. What a beautiful city! I spent four amazing days there and it wasn't enough time to see everything I wanted to. The food is incredible, the people are awesome, and the weather was a balmy 70 degrees for the majority of the time I was there.  The first day I spent wandering around downtown Charleston and ventured into the Slave Mart Museum. It was super informative and very well put together.  That night I had dinner at an oyster bar called The Ordinary that was extraordinary.

Day two involved a harbor trip to Fort Sumter.  Earlier this year I travelled to Appomattox to see where the Civil War ended. Well, this trip, I got to see where the Civil War started. The trip to the Fort included some pretty awesome views of Charleston and the Arthur Ravenel Bridge along with Castle Pinckney.  The Castle was a harbor fortification much like Fort Sumter. They were both built with the idea that they would protect the harbor from any possible invasions. Also spotted on the ride to the Fort were several seabirds, and one that I was super excited to see, a Northern Gannett. These birds are HUGE with 70-75 inch wingspans, and they are really beautiful. I didn't get a really great close picture of them, but I was able to capture some far away images.

Inside Ft. Sumter

Officer's Quarters

The view of Ft Sumter from the boat

Northern Gannett

Northern Gannett

Northern Gannett

Charleston Harbor

Christmas Day found me wandering the coast trying to get pictures of birds.  I went out on Patriot's Point, but didn't find much there birdwise, so I drove around to Fort Moultrie and spent the morning walking around the Revolutionary War Fort and the nearby beach.  On the way back to where I was staying, I stopped at a lookout called Shem Creek where I spotted the coolest pelican I had seen. I have become a bit obsessed with pelicans, and this guy posed for me for a good 10 minutes.


Double Crested Cormorant

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Before I headed out of town, I went back to Patriot's Point to check out the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier that was in commission towards the end of WWII. It was also used to pick up the Apollo 11 crew after their flight around the moon. On the way home, I stopped at the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, SC. This place is fantastic. They have raptors from all over the world, and they rehabilitate birds of prey from the Carolinas.  The people who run the Center are full of knowledge, and have some great information.  They gave us a flying demonstration of an Eurasian Eagle Owl, a Lanner Falcon, a Kite, and a Red Shouldered Hawk.  The Center is doing great things for raptors in the area. I was really pleased that I had stopped to check it out on my way home.

View from the Captain's Chair
On the Flight Deck


Kite in flight