2017 Has Come and Gone

My Year in Review

We’ve reached the end, or maybe it is the start of a new beginning. I suppose your interpretation for this time of year depends on if you are a the glass is half empty, or half full type of person. I try to be a half full person but it isn’t always easy. As I sit here at my desk, composing this post for the start of a new year, it is definitely half full.

How could it not be half full? Sure, there have been a few ups and downs throughout the year, but if the ride wasn’t a little like a roller coaster would it even be worth riding? I think not! I’m healthy. My job is interesting and keeps me challenged. I travel, for work, and personally. I’m having fun with my photography. And basically, I’m enjoying everything!

Although I’m tempted to make some bold statements about what the coming year will be like I have learned they do me no good. Every time I read my previous year’s post, I am reminded of the things I stated I was going to do and then feel bad about how I did not accomplish them all. I might do things differently, I might try to explore more, read more, photograph more, but right now all I will commit to is I will live more in the moment. I will enjoy each experience as it happens.

Let’s see what I liked about each month in 2017…

  

January – This was a month of exploring winter. The weather was very cooperative allowing me to get outside often and walk the trails. After I purchased some snowshoes my opportunities for seeing new areas expanded. There are numerous x-country skiing trails near me which allow snowshoe hiking as long as you preserve the ski trails. I’ll be looking forward to more hiking this year. My favorite image though is from the beginning of the month. I captured this pre-dawn image along Oriskany Creek where it empties into the Mohawk River. Original Post: Morning Rivers

   

MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; The Turn

The Turn

   

February – This month was one of those roller coaster rides for me. My favorite image was born during a lose, but it was not a sad time, it was a celebration of life. Original Post: The Ferry

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; The Ferry and Bemus Point

The Ferry and Bemus Point

  

March – A couple trips for work and melting snow gave me a few good opportunities for images. At home I spent most days at Delta Lake State Park. During a work trip to a supplier North of Detroit I had a chance to visit Port Huron. Before dinner I photographed the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse but after dinner I searched out the US Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock. It was a bit of a balancing act on the rocks near the water but I was able to get the image and include the Blue Water bridge to Canada in the background. Original Post: Hollyhock

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Hollyhock

Hollyhock

  

April – The snow melt hit its peak in April providing great rushing water in the local creeks. This allowed me to get my long exposure/flowing water itch scratched. I love water in my images. I especially enjoy finding those little sections in the turbulence where my long exposures create a moving, abstract snap shot. Best I can come up with to describe it… Original Post: Steady

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Steady

Steady

  

May – April showers bring May flowers. At least that is what I remember from childhood. Not a bad reference to what I mostly photographed in May… flowers. Of course, that is not the image I chose for this month. This image is about seizing an opportunity. Or more appropriately, finally, after a year, seizing the opportunity. I had been driving past this scene on my way to work for a year. On this particular morning I stopped (along the Thruway) to grab this view. Not the absolute best image, but the memory and reason for it make it my favorite in May. Original post: I Stand Alone

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; I Stand Alone

I Stand Alone

  

June – This was another month equal parts flowers and water. If I wasn’t grabbing an image of a flower it was an image somewhere in the canal system. After one of those canal excursions I passed this scene on my way home. I immediately turned around, found a place to park and setup the camera. I loved the reflection. I loved the industrial feel. Of course, me being me, it had to be in B&W… Original Post: AMS & S

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; AMS & S

AMS & S

  

July – State Park month! I visited many of New York’s state parks. My goal was to visit more but some things don’t always work out as they should. It was also a month of a first for me but you can read more about that one further done in this post. State Parks. I made a trek down to Ithaca, NY to walk the trails of a couple of my favorite parks, Taughannock Falls and Buttermilk Falls. As always, I came away with great images. On my way home I stopped at Chittenango Falls and the heavy rains created a rare opportunity, the alcove area downstream from the falls had water! Original Post: Born of the Rains

  

MLCreations Photography: Chittenango Falls &emdash; Born of the Rains

Born of the Rains

  

August – Daisy what a hold you have over me. My favorite this month is special for a few of reasons. One, it is an image of daisies, which have to be my favorite floral subject. Two, I took the processing to a different level. Something I would not normally try, and it really worked for me. Three, people seem to like this one. I have made about half a dozen pictures with this image, some I have given to friends, some to charities and a few that people asked to buy (Daisies). Original Post: Daisy’s Last

  

MLCreations Photography: Floral &emdash; Daisy's Last

Daisy’s Last

  

September – Another month of me trying something different. One of the photographers I follow posted a video of how she converts her images to look like watercolor paintings. I was mesmerized. The effort seemed too easy (it is not!). The results are beautiful. If you are interested you can read more about it at Pat Saizan Photography. Original Post: Pixley Falls

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; PixleyFallsWatercolor

Pixley Falls Watercolor

  

October – Not a lot of photography local to my house this month. Between trips for work and my fall pilgrimage to Walt Disney World I only managed a handful of excursions. I spent time at Delta Lake exploring sunsets (there were a lot of beauties). I also chose a more abstract image in the square format as my favorite. I had not worked with the square format that much this year and the minimalist style was also one I ignored. I played with both this month. Original Post: Setting

  

MLCreations Photography: Squared &emdash; Setting

Setting

  

November – Another trip to Florida, this time to drive my Mom back North. Of course, I didn’t let this opportunity escape me. I spent a few days down on the coast near Juno Beach and a few days at Disney. Even though the weather was not cooperating during my time on the coast I managed to come home with a few great images of the Juno Beach Pier. I checked out some additional locations from the dry inside of the car so when I make it back down to Florida I’ll have more places to explore. Original Post: Juno Beach Pier

  

MLCreations Photography: Florida &emdash; Juno Beach Pier

Juno Beach Pier

  

December – As the thought of winter approached I decided I needed an indoor project for my photography. The seeds were planted in October but they really started to bloom in December. My original, and still on the list, plan was to expand my Game Pieces Project. While exploring a few of the consignment shops around me for old games, I was handed an idea for a different project… Oil Cans. It has exploded for me. I think half the fun is searching the shops for unique cans to photograph. I am starting to run out of space on my book shelf but I suppose that is a good thing. This image is the latest in my series as I believe it represents the best I have created so far. Original Post: Oil Can Project

  

MLCreations Photography: Oil Can Project &emdash; Empire

Empire

  

Walt Disney World

I know I’m spoiled. Especially when Disney is involved. I go quite often. This year was no exception with a trip in the Spring for the International Flower & Garden Festival and another in the Fall for the International Food & Wine Festival. I see a pattern… LOL. I even managed a couple of days in November while the parks were decorated for Christmas. Once again I could not settle on one image.

The first image is a composite of the Generation Gap bridge between the Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts. This image was an accident. I had spent the morning photographing the Cars area of the Art of Animation resort. On my way back to my room at Pop Century I stopped to grab an image of the sunrise over the bridge. As I balanced my camera against the fence to capture the left image I realized I had an opportunity for a symmetric image on the right side of the bridge. I managed to capture two fairly consistent views and after a little Photoshop work I was able to create the image in my head.

  

MLCreations Photography: Around WDW &emdash; Generation Gap Bridge

Generation Gap Bridge

  

The second image is from my trip in the Fall. I had debated about attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom but in the end I had to go one more time. I still think it is a little over-priced and the crowds seem to be greater every year, but it did allow me to finally capture an image I had been attempting to capture for a few years. During the party there are numerous opportunities for unique images. The one I wanted was of the characters in front of the Haunted Mansion. As I exited the attraction I noticed the crowds in the viewing area were very low. I made my way in and worked my way to the front. It was totally worth the effort. Not only did I get the image I wanted, the show the cast member put on is fantastic. Part scripted, part improv and totally enjoyable.

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Lady Carlotta

Lady Carlotta

  

Disneyland

At the end of May I was in California for work, Los Angeles actually, and I did not let this opportunity slip away. One night after work I went to Disneyland. It was my first trip, it was the worst possible night to go (Grad Night!) but it was awesome! I didn’t get a chance to ride any attractions but I explored the park for five hours. I was able to capture quite a few images and it ended up stoking that fire for a true vacation trip to the original! My favorite take-away of the night is this view of it’s a small world.

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; it's a small world

it’s a small world

  

The ending of my 2016 post could not sum it up any better so who better to plagiarize from than myself…

I would like to thank everyone for their continued support. Your comments and encouragement are always welcomed and appreciated. I also value the friendships I have developed with a lot of my regulars. Although we have not met in person, your presence in my life has meant a lot to me. Thanks!

Happy New Year and best wishes for a fun and entertaining 2018!

2016 – One Month at a Time

My Year in Review

Wow! Another year has been put to bed. I cannot believe how fast the days slip past. I remember as a kid thinking how long it was until my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Each day of school seemed to last forever and those big events never arrived quick enough. I never seem to have enough time in a day to get all the work done. Now, I find myself wishing everything would slow down so I can enjoy it better.

This past year has been another year of great exploration and travel. I was fortunate enough to make quite a few trips to Florida and those trips allowed me to explore a good chuck of the east coast. There is a lot still to see and you can bet I have more trips planned. Florida has become more than Walt Disney World for me. It has become the place I enjoy photographing and exploring.

I also made a few trips (although not as many as I would have liked) to the state parks near me. I definitely want to increase my trips to see more of what my home state has to offer. I know I have made this promise to myself in years past, hopefully this coming year will be the one in which I keep the promise. All I know is that every park I visit has unique vistas for me to explore and finding the images I want to capture brings me joy.

I’m not sure if I have grown as a photographer this year. I do know I have captured fewer images but the ones I do bring home have more meaning to me. I have moved beyond the spray and pray methodology, and have put more thought into the process. It doesn’t always work out for me, maybe I over think it some times, but it does create a better experience for me overall.

Well, I don’t think everyone is up to too much soul searching in this post so I should move on to the images. As I have been fond of doing in the past, I selected my favorite image from each month.  Some months that was way more difficult than in others.

 

January – Once again the first month of the year started out very sparse photographically. The majority of my images were from a trip to the Rosemond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. Every year the zoo has a photo contest which allows free entry into the zoo with a camera.  Although I managed to find a lot more images in 2016, my favorite image was not from that trip.  This image was captured on January 2nd. I was out for a walk on a beautiful morning and spotted this deer path through the field. I really like how the path leads the eye to the tree and colorful sunrise sky.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Lonely Path

Lonely Path
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/160s, 27mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

February – Last winter was very mild (I’ll bet we have almost had more snow this winter then all of last year) and I was able to venture out with the camera more than usual. This image was captured at the Utica train station at the start of a very busy Saturday. Reading the post associated with this image I am amazed how I was able to accomplish so much yet still make a couple of trips out for pictures. This image is classic leading line material. No subtlety involved here. But hey, it works!

 

MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; Waiting on the Arrival

Waiting on the Arrival
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1s, 12mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

March – The first month involving one of those numerous trips to Florida I mentioned. This trip was to drive my Mom and Grandpa down to my Mom’s place in Lake Alfred. I spent a few days with Mom helping get her place opened up and then ventured over to the East Coast to visit my Mother-in-law. It was during this stay that I captured this beautiful sunset with the Melbourne Beach Pier. It was a cloudy day and most people had given up on the sunset but I waited until the end and was rewarded with this view.

 

MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; Melbourne Beach Pier Sunset

Melbourne Beach Pier Sunset
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1.3s, 12mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

April – I return to my Grass Poker days for my favorite image this month. I refer to my early photography when I was participating in the various photo themes on Google Plus. I started exploring around the house more, looking for those unique images which can be found all around us. Of course, long time readers also know I have a thing for the dandelions as well. The processing on this image was a departure for me but the results created an image I have hanging on my wall.

 

MLCreations Photography: Grass &emdash; Dandie

Dandie
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro, 1/320s, f/2.8, ISO 200

 

May – The start of the state park trips! I had promised myself I would explore more of the NY State parks this past year (alas, I did not fulfill that promise very well). I started with a Spring trip to Chittenango Falls. I have learned quite a lot about photography and post-processing since my first visit and I used all my knowledge to capture another portrait view of this wonderful waterfall. When the water flow is right the cascades create a very classic waterfall look.

 

MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1s, 30mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

June – Part of my continual issue with myself is dragging my butt out of the house. I let myself be very lazy. On the day I captured this image though I planned the night before to get out to Hinckley Reservoir for the sunrise. Luck played an important part in that the clouds were moving fairly fast across the sky. This allowed me to use my neutral density filters to utilize a longer exposure and capture the movement in an otherwise static image. I played with various compositions until I settled on some natural framing with the grass.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Hinckley on the Move

Hinckley on the Move
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 60s, 12mm, f/13, ISO 200

 

July – Another image as a result of wandering around the yard looking for the over-looked details. I used this day as an opportunity to focus on the tiny and intimate. I fitted the camera with my macro lens and poked it into every little space I could find. This little flower was nestled within one of the lilac bushes that ring the property. I was fascinated with the contrast between the detailed stamen and the soft petals. I didn’t complain about the nice contrasting colors either… 🙂

 

MLCreations Photography: Floral &emdash; Tangled

Tangled
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro, 1/200s, f/2.8, ISO 200

 

August – There was much internal debate over my favorite this month. The other image contending for the title (Sunset Ring) was unique due to how I happened upon it but in the end the colors of this image won out.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Lock 20 Rising

Lock 20 Rising
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 6s, 25mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

September – I have an app on my phone called The Photographer’s Ephemeris which allows me to see the location of the sun & moon rising and setting. I can pick a location and date to plan where I want to be to capture that perfect image. For this image I consulted the app to find the moon would rise inline with the barge canal during the full phase. The best location close to me was Bellamy Harbor Park in Rome. The full moon is difficult to capture with surrounding landscape due to the overpowering brightness but your best bet is when it is closest to the horizon.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; MoonRise

Moon Rise
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R, 3.2s, 108mm, f/16, ISO 400

 

October – When I started a new job in April I discovered the Old Erie Canal Park a few minutes away. It has become my escape during those hectic days at work. I leave a pair of hiking boots and the tripod in the car so I will be ready when the mood strikes me. I have capture various images at the aqueduct over Butternut Creek but this one is my favorite so far. I love that I was able to capture the swirl of the water. The processing was also a departure for me and I am happy I strayed outside of my comfort zone.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Round 'n Round

Round ‘n Round
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 5s, 12mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

November – Ah, the super moon. That is all everyone was talking about in November. I got caught up in the excitement as well. Turning to my app again I realized the day of the great rising that I could catch the moon over the B-52 memorial on the old airbase in Rome. It was definitely more difficult than I anticipated. I tried to get multiple exposures so I would have more detail in the moon but this low on the horizon it is moving surprisingly fast through the sky. After struggling to combine two images I settled on this one with the great detail in the plane.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; B-52 Rising

B-52 Rising
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R, 4s, 92mm, f/8, ISO 200

 

December – This year’s Christmas trip to Florida once again produced a great many images from which to choose a favorite. The heron watching the sunrise won due to being “out of my normal” type of image. Viewing this image brings me back to that morning and how impressed I was at being able to get as close as I did for this view. I find I am liking more of my images that have another element beside the landscape, be that people or animals. Something to look forward to in 2017.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Enjoying the Sunrise too

Enjoying the Sunrise too
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 8s, 40mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

Disney – It wouldn’t be a year in review post if I didn’t include a Disney image. I did not have my usual two Disney trips this year but I did manage to visit almost every time I made it to Florida. I feel like a local, popping in for a quick visit, see a few shows, ride a few attractions and grab my images. It works for me!

I could not settle on one image this year. There were two that stand out for me. Both are from my trip in October. The first is a night image of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. A few years ago I was able to stay in the park after sundown and I have been waiting for another opportunity. It didn’t disappoint. The second is a happy coincident as extra magic hours in the morning at the Magic Kingdom were about an hour before sunrise. Fog and limited access spoiled the image I had planned but the Cinderella Castle image with a hazy sky is no consolation prize. It is definitely my favorite castle image so far.

 

MLCreations Photography: Animal Kingdom &emdash; Everest of Light

Everest of Light
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 20s, 23mm, f/5.6, ISO 400

 

MLCreations Photography: Magic Kingdom &emdash; Pre-Dawn Cindy

Pre-Dawn Cindy
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 6s, 12mm, f/8, ISO 200

 

I would like to thank everyone for their continued support. Your comments and encouragement are always welcomed and appreciated. I also value the friendships I have developed with a lot of my regulars. Although we have not met in person, your presence in my life has meant a lot to me. Thanks!

Happy New Year and best wishes for a fun and entertaining 2017!

2015 Through the Months

My Year in Review Post

I will admit that I have been wanting to work on this post for quite a few days now.  Taking a vacation the week of Christmas did throw some havoc into the end of the year but oh was it worth it.  Finishing up the year at work so I can enjoy a nice long weekend gave me plenty of reasons to keep putting this post on the back burner.  As I sat down at the computer around 4:30pm to start reviewing my images I already had it in the back of my head that this will probably be posted on January 1st but truly thinking it over it might not be a bad way to start the new year…  with a look back at the past one.

I read last year’s post and realized I never did follow through on my resolutions.  I believe I did continue to create better quality images but the quantity has settled down from the volumes I was capturing at the start of my photographic journey.  The easy excuse would be to blame a hectic life or being busy at work.  I think those reasons do play into the why, but the real reason when I am being truthful with myself is I think I do not have any inspiration left around here.  I hear myself claim, “You’ve taken that one before,” “You’ve been there too many times already.”  I let those thoughts keep my arse on the couch.

After feeling the joy of visiting the same few places while I was in Florida, I know there are images all around me.  I’m just not seeing them any more.  This will need to be my number one resolution for 2016…  get out and see!

I did have a few more important events happen in 2015.  The first was a total change to my camera setup.  In June I went a step further in my commitment to the Micro Four Thirds platform when I purchased the Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera and a 25mm f/1.8 lens.  This camera would be the next step up from the Pen E-P3 I purchased last year.  I was using this camera a lot more and by October when I went to Disney I used it for 75% of my pictures.

I knew when I came back I would be going full on with the Olympus cameras and by the end of October I sold all my Nikon gear and invested in the OM-D E-M1 camera along with a few more lenses.  It was the right decision for me and I am enjoying taking pictures with this new system.  Smaller, lighter and less to carry (everything fits in a small messenger bag), I am taking this camera everywhere.

The other big event for me just happened a few weeks ago.  I purchased my own domain name for my portfolio (mlcreationsphotography.com).  I was also able to change this wordpress site to blog.mlcreationsphotography.com and changed over my tumblr site as well.  I spent a good week redesigning all my sites to have a more consistent look and feel.  I have to admit, the IT/computer geek in me definitely had a good time setting all that up!  🙂

Well, if you haven’t quit reading yet I suppose I should get on to the pictures…

January – The first month of the year was very quiet for my photography.  There are only 68 pictures in the directory.  I tried starting a few different projects but nothing progressed beyond the first image or two.  There were only a few good days where I was out exploring around the house.  I really liked this image of the grass through the snow.  The light was great and the shadows add the depth sometimes missing from winter images.

Frozen Field

Frozen Field
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/320s, 35mm, f/5.6, ISO 200

 

February – Last year this was a month of exploring still life inside.  With both kids back home I lost my photography studio (oldest’s bedroom).  I started exploring the shop I work in during my lunch hour and that provided quite a few interesting images for me.  My favorite image though was another winter scene captured around the house.  I also realized, as you will see, I have become very fond of monochrome images.

Standing Alone

Standing Alone
Nikon D7100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/500s, 85mm, f/8, ISO 200

 

March – This is my favorite image from my In the Shop series.  At times I would pick a topic, i.e., circles, instruments, etc., and venture out on the hunt.  This image found me.  I was on my way back to my office and spied these tools on a bench.  The operator uses the pliers to hold the metal stamp.  He hits the stamp against the part to indicate a heat treatment has been completed.  I just loved how the tools were laying on the table.  I used a slight split tone effect to enhance the industrial look of the image.

Letter 'A'

Letter ‘A’
Nikon D7100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/50s, 68mm, f/4.5, ISO 800

 

April – I started the month with a trip to Springfield, MA for a training class.  You can view a few of my posts from the trip here.  The remainder of the month was spent exploring the parks around me as the snow melted and I waited for the first blossoms of Spring.  At the end of the month I was at Delta Lake State Park (my usual stomping grounds) and captured this cloudy, reflective sunset.  Views like this should prove to me there are always images to capture, even at a place I visit so often.

Cloudy Sunset

Cloudy Sunset
Nikon D7100, Tokia 12-28mm f/4, 1/8s, 15mm, f/16, ISO 100

 

May – Spring finally arrived.  Luckily for me my neighbor always has a plethora of flowers.  Usually after dinner I sneak over and grab as many images as I can as the sun is setting.  This was another tough month to choose an image.  I do love me some floral images.  I also started a new trend I hope to continue and that is including myself in my images.  Here you can see my first self portrait.

Neighbor's Flowers

Neighbor’s Flowers
Nikon D7100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/160s, 17mm, f/8, ISO 400

 

June – This was the start of more trips to the state parks.  I didn’t go to many in 2014 and vowed to myself to do it this year.  It was a success as I visited some old favorites, tried out a few others and gathered some great images.  Next year I will need to venture beyond the parks I have already been to and see more of New York.  This image is from Buttermilk Falls State Park.  Again, I have been rockin’ the monochrome images.

The Narrows

The Narrows
Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-28mm f/4, 0.5s, 25mm, f/20, ISO 100

 

July – Another month of state park explorations and generally a very big month for images.  If you go to the calendar for July you will see a very full month of posts and that made it very difficult to select an image.  This image represents a change I have been trying to do for a few years.  Images of opportunity.  I always say I should stop and get that image but I always hesitate, continue on and wish I had stopped.  On this morning after an adventure along the barge canal I turned around and went back for this image rather than continue on home.  After this I started to stop more often…

Shrouded Sunrise

Shrouded Sunrise
Nikon D7100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/25s, 46mm, f/20, ISO 100

 

August – Another big month for images but more importantly a photo challenge recommended by my friend Karma.  Although I fell flat after a pretty good start on the month long challenge it did give me my favorite self portrait.  The daily challenge was relax, which I did on the beach at Delta Lake during a beautiful sunset.

iheartchallenge-relax

iheartchallenge-relax
Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-28mm f/4, {1/13, 1/25 & 1/50s bracket}, 15mm, f/16, ISO 100

 

September – The last of my state park visiting months brought lots of other great exploring as well.  This was my biggest month all year for images (other than Disney pics).  I thought I would be choosing one of the waterfall images but I kept coming back to this image of the area leading up to Inspiration Point at Letchworth State Park.  When I was just starting my photography this is an image I would not have captured.  I would have rushed to the grand scenic view of the gorge with Middle and Upper falls in the distance.  Now I explore more.  I see more image opportunities.  I think this view rivals the images I captured of the falls.

The Approach

The Approach
Nikon D7100, Tokina 12-28mm f/4, 1/6s, 12mm, f/16, ISO 100

 

October – The month of the first big change.  I had a Disney trip this month and by the end of the month I had a new camera system. This image was captured with my OM-D E-M10.  The color image was nice but the colors detracted from the composition.  I love the rope leading into the image.  The reflections and the amount of detail make this one my favorite.

Erie Barge

Erie Barge
Olympus OM-D E-M10, M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R, 1/80s, 14mm, f/7.1, ISO 200

 

November – Another image of opportunity.  I knew this morning was going to produce a beautiful sunrise.  My plan was to head to Hinckley Reservoir for the early morning show but on the way there I passed this view.  A quick three point turn, a short walk into a pasture and bam! a beautiful sunrise view.  I still continued to the reservoir…  🙂

Isolation

Isolation
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1.3s, 40mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

December – Everyone might be tired of my Christmas vacation images but that trip produced a lot of great images.  This full moon on Christmas Eve is my favorite of the bunch.  It is a great image with which to end the year.

MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; Full Risen

Full Risen
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 25s, 12mm, f/13, ISO 400

 

As I have with all my previous Year in Review posts I’ll end with my favorite Disney image.  This image is more about persistence than anything else.  When I found these rocking chairs on Tom Sawyer Island earlier in the year I tried to capture this image that I had in my head.  I couldn’t get it in May and it was at least two attempts in October before I was successful.  It might not be the greatest composition or technically great image but it represents another change in my approach to photography…  don’t settle on an image, pursue the image you want to create.  Keep trying until you are successful…

Rocking Big Thunder

Rocking Big Thunder Nikon D7100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/2000s, 17mm, f/8, ISO 400

 

I would like to thank everyone who has stayed with me on my photographic journey and welcome any new visitors.  This creative outlet I discovered has been a great addition to my life and there have been some great friends discovered here online along the way.  I look forward to what the next twelve months will bring…

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for an amazing 2016!

2014 in 12 Images

The Year in Review – 2014

To my credit, this year I did start thinking about my year in review post before the actual end of the year. I just procrastinated enough to have the post actually get finished on the last day of the year. Looking back over the past twelve months, the best way for me to describe my year would be to call it a roller coaster ride. There were ups and downs with a few curves thrown in for good measure.

I can say the year started off on an upswing, I guess I was still riding the momentum from 2013. I was getting out with the camera and doing quite a bit of exploring. To my credit, once winter settled in I found a new outlet for this interesting creativity inside me by exploring still photography in my house. I setup a little area in an extra room and played with quite a few different concepts. The one I am most happy about is my Game Pieces Project. I searched all the stores in my area for different game related objects to photograph.

Another reason for the continuous output of images was the 52 week project I was doing with some great friends I met in Disney during my October 2013 trip. I have to say if I tried to do something like that on my own I would never have succeeded as well as I did with them by my side. We encouraged and pushed each other to explore more and try new techniques and formats. I don’t think I tagged every project post properly but you can get a good flavor for the whole experience here Club 52.

As the summer faded into fall my output began to drop. I think the quality of my images was improving but the quantity was trickling off. There were a lot of reasons for this trend and I’m not looking to make excuses so the take-away for me is to work harder this year on the quality side of the equation. I’ll still be out with my camera but what I post will be more meaningful, for me at least, than just a bunch of images clicked off for the sake of creating an image.

On to the images… One image for each month. Not necessarily the most popular image I posted in each month but more the one with the most meaning for me. (Please click on each individual image to view it full size.)

January – The first of the year saw lots of snow and many opportunities for me to go exploring. I stayed with quite a few of my normal haunts; i.e., Delta Lake, Mohawk River and around the neighborhood. Towards the end of the month I began experimenting with the still photography in the extra room. The image I chose for January was one I planned on taking, one I thought of before the winter even started. I have this same scene in a few different seasons and this one completed the series for me. It represents the new phase of my photography, the thinking phase.

Winter Arrives Nikon D5100, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, 1/2000s, f/5.6, ISO 200

Winter Arrives
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, 1/2000s, f/5.6, ISO 200

February – This month was about exploring the indoor still photography and the weekly challenges. I believe there was also a strong word challenge by my friend Karma at Karma’s When I Feel Like It Blog. (If you missed the post check it out here.) An obvious choice for this month’s image is my favorite from my Game Pieces Project. This project also started a picture obsession for me in my house. I went crazy getting my favorites printed and framed. I’m running out of wall space… lol.

Jacks Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/200s, 48mm, f/8, ISO 200, flash

Jacks
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/200s, 48mm, f/8, ISO 200, flash

March – There were actually a few contenders for this month. There was a series I did from the Utica train station and a couple of good weekly challenge images but I had to come back to my Trees in the Snow image. I have had this picture of conifers covered in snow in my head for a long time and every winter I try to capture the image with my camera. This one comes close but I will still be on the lookout this winter. I’m also falling more in love with a good monochrome image and this one just works for me.

Trees in the Snow Nikon D5100, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6, 1/400s, 55mm, f/11, ISO 200

Trees in the Snow
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6, 1/400s, 55mm, f/11, ISO 200

April – This is another of those concept images I get way to infrequently. I seem to recall reading an article about capturing 24 images of a single subject. Exhausting every possible point of view and learning about composition from the exercise. I had an image of my mailbox from a year ago that I liked and was going to try this exercise with the mailbox. It was in this thought process that this images concept came to be. To really set the scene though I must explain that all this happens inside my head, usually on the car ride home from work. There are days I wonder how I am able to navigate to the house. (FYI – here is the original image that set off this synapse explosion in my head.)

A Mail Point of View Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/400s, 17mm, f/11, ISO 400

A Mail Point of View
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/400s, 17mm, f/11, ISO 400

May – Another month in which I discovered a new project to undertake. It was a happy accident as a result of one of the weekly photo challenges. My regret is that I did not explore this technique as much as I should have. Seems my intentions are strong but I need to work on the follow through. This is the post that kicked off my Reflection Series. With this short lived project, the Water on the Rocks image is by far my favorite.

Water on the Rocks Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/125s, 70m, f/5.6, ISO 100

Water on the Rocks
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/125s, 70m, f/5.6, ISO 100

June – The start of Summer! This was to be the summer of the state parks. I had explored quite a few last year but I was set on exploring even more this year. What happened? I wish I could explain where it all went wrong. At least June had me visiting a few of the parks. This image is from Robert H. Treman State Park just south of Ithaca, NY. I guess I know what one of my new year resolutions will be… 😉 June is also the month I started experimenting with a few new/different techniques to process my images. I would say this was the beginning of a new look for me…

Small Cascade Nikon D5100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 0.5s, 24mm, f/18, ISO 100

Small Cascade
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 0.5s, 24mm, f/18, ISO 100

July – There was a lot of activity in July. A few visits to nearby state parks, a county fair and what would become the winding down of the Club 52 project. But this image represents a conscious effort on my part to do more than sit on my butt during lunch at work. I was bringing my Olympus E-P3 camera to work and digging around the old piles of stuff behind the plant. Ssshhh! Don’t tell anyone. My goal was to train myself to “see” better by finding images in ordinary things. This one is my favorite from that effort.

Textured Layers Olympus PEN E-P3, M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/100s, 42mm, f/5.6, ISO 200

Textured Layers
Olympus PEN E-P3, M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/100s, 42mm, f/5.6, ISO 200

August – Ah, the beginning of the fall college semester. My daughter transferred to the local SUNY college which required some transportation juggling after work. At first I thought it would be the end of my photo excursions but I quickly learned that a college campus can be a treasure trove for me. With some late night classes I was even afforded the opportunity to practice my night, long exposure and HDR photography in preparation for the next Disney trip. My favorite happened on my first night of running around the campus. You can see a whole set of my SUNYIT images here.

Wildcat Field House Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, {1.6, 6 & 25s bracket}, 21mm, f/11, ISO 100

Wildcat Field House
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, {1.6, 6 & 25s bracket}, 21mm, f/11, ISO 100

September – Another example of finding an image in your own back yard, or front yard at work. This is from another lunch walk with my Olympus E-P3 camera. It also highlights another concept I learned from one of the Disney podcasters I listen to… ‘Always look up’! I walk under this tree whenever I venture out into the side yard at work. Looking up is the only way to get this view.

Arms Wide Open Olympus Pen E-P3, M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/200s, 14mm, f/8, ISO 200

Arms Wide Open
Olympus Pen E-P3, M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/200s, 14mm, f/8, ISO 200

October – Autumn colors! It seems I look forward to this season all year long and then have the hardest time capturing the quintessential autumn image. As luck would have it I found this one right up the road from work. My adventures during lunch continued into the fall and the trees did not disappoint me. I still need to get off my butt and head into the Adirondacks next fall.

Give Me Shelter Nikon D5100, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, 1/640s, f/8, ISO 400

Give Me Shelter
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, 1/640s, f/8, ISO 400

November – With this month came some drastic changes in the weather. From wonderful fall days with leaves and running creeks to our first good snow. It was with this snow that I was slightly rejuvenated into getting up early and getting those sunrise images I have been missing. This image is from the field just past the end of the airbase runway and although it is at sunrise this view is looking west. The colors are from the cloud reflections of the morning colors in the east.

Winter Path Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/80s, 17mm, f/8, ISO 400

Winter Path
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/80s, 17mm, f/8, ISO 400

December – We come full circle. Where the year began it finishes, Delta Lake State Park. I had quite a few more ideas running through my head at the end of the year but sadly, time was not on my side. I need to find a way to keep work to an 8 hour day and still allow me time to get out to enjoy this passion of mine. It is only up to me to make it happen. Once I get out with my camera in hand I have such a good time and the cares of the day just fall away. Sounds like another resolution.

New Rock Beach Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/320s, 17mm, f/11, ISO 200

New Rock Beach
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/320s, 17mm, f/11, ISO 200

Last year I ended with my favorite Disney image of 2013. I was considering that again this year but I thought of one other technique/project I started this year that I want to mention. My Painted series of images. I discovered this technique while watching a webinar by Ron Martinsen. I was hooked. I even created a new page on this blog to showcase the images, Painted. I started with some of my Disney images and eventually tried out the technique on a few landscapes. Reviewing the page I realize I have not pursued this as much as I would like (another resolution!) and will work on improving the process next year.

Painted England Twining Tea Cottage

Painted England

Twining Tea Cottage

I would like to thank everyone that is following my ramblings here on Picture Day for another great year. I am going to push myself to be more expressive and maybe even try some instructional posts next year. Your encouragement and friendship have made this online experience absolutely wonderful. You have helped bring this introvert out from the shadows and into the light (which of course is the best place for me to capture my images!). Here is to a fantastic 2015!

The Year in Review

I guess I’m cutting it really close with this year in review post. It definitely has been a busy few weeks and this morning is my first chance to sit down and put some thoughts together about my photography. What a great year! There, done.

Well I suppose a few more words are in order. It has been a fantastic year with my camera. I have had so much fun exploring, learning, experimenting, and just getting out of the house that trying to summarize the whole year in a few words will be difficult. I thought I would return to the style I used for last year’s round-up, one image for each month. I knew this would be difficult but evaluating your images is a big part of learning so here it goes. (Please click on each individual image to view it full size.)

January – I started the first of the year with a bang. We had a fairly interesting start to winter and I was able to venture out with the camera more than usual. There was even a trip down state to Pace University for my daughter which allowed me to explore the Rockefeller Preserve and the town of Sleepy Hollow. But this image is my favorite for a different reason, it was the start of me thinking more about my images. I noticed this scene earlier in the day when driving through town and went back at night to get this one.

Solitude Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 30s, 28mm, f/20, ISO 100

Solitude
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 30s, 28mm, f/20, ISO 100

February – This image won just because I felt I was channeling my inner Ansel Adams. I had just finished a few books of his photographs and when I went to my go to spot at Delta Lake, this is what I saw walking to the beach. I should have just went home after capturing this one because the rest of the day’s images didn’t compare.

Sunset Light Nikon D5100, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6, 1/500s, 55mm, f/8, ISO 200

Sunset Light
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6, 1/500s, 55mm, f/8, ISO 200

March – Delta Lake seems to be a favorite location. I guess being 10 minutes from the house gives it an advantage. This image is a favorite because of the amount of thought I put into the creation. I kept moving until I had the curve of the water’s edge just right, backing up until the reflection was what I wanted and waiting until the sun and clouds reached the best position. I finally learned to slow down while capturing images.

Sunset at the Beach Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/160s, 42mm, f/11, ISO 200

Sunset at the Beach
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/160s, 42mm, f/11, ISO 200

April – This image represents a start of me creating an image for a vision in my head versus taking a picture. I went for a walk along the barge canal and stopped at a small dam to capture the flow. The sun was low and the evening blue hour was beginning but I pushed the white balance on this image to accentuate the color. It is also an image where I focused more on smaller details rather than take a bigger, landscape style image.

Blue Nikon D5100, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6, 1s, 98mm, f/20, ISO 100

Blue
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6, 1s, 98mm, f/20, ISO 100

May – This image was the result of me reading a book. I thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Gibson’s ebook ‘Slow’. One of the concepts he talked about in the book was intentional camera movement. Exploring another of my favorite spots along the Oriskany Creek one morning the light was absolutely incredible. I decided to play with this ICM technique and this is what I created.

Digital Impressionism Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/5s, 38mm, f/20, ISO 100

Digital Impressionism
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/5s, 38mm, f/20, ISO 100

June – You can’t beat great light! This image was taken at my Dad’s house just before the storm rolled through. I love the way the copper wind chime straddles the color split, the strong green grass and the dark blue sky.

Copper Reflected Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/125s, 38mm, f/16, ISO 200

Copper Reflected
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/125s, 38mm, f/16, ISO 200

July – This was a tough month! It was the start of my summer exploration. I made it a point this year to explore the plethora of state parks in New York. Rather than focus on all the great landscape images I collected I really like this image of my clothesline hooks. This was another result of my reading an Andrew Gibson ebook, ‘Square’.

Hooked on You Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/320s, 70mm, f/5.6, ISO 400

Hooked on You
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/320s, 70mm, f/5.6, ISO 400

August – Another month of state park exploration but this image is from one of my firsts and favorites, Chittenango Falls. This image is a favorite because I stopped at the park on my way home from Syracuse and the camera store. I had just purchased a variable ND filter and wanted to play it. Rather than go for the water fall I went up stream and found this area of the river.

Smooth Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 4s, 17mm, f/16, ISO 100

Smooth
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 4s, 17mm, f/16, ISO 100

September – Yes, another state park month and this image is from Watkins Glen. I captured all of the classic views within the park but this detail image of a small section of the creek is definitely my favorite. From the composition to the monochrome processing.

Water Carving Watkins Glen State Park Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 13s, 38mm, f/18, ISO 100

Water Carving
Watkins Glen State Park
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 13s, 38mm, f/18, ISO 100

October – Autumn! I was determined to capture the autumn colors this year. I didn’t succeed as well as I had hoped. My trip up Bald Mountain was a bust due to fog but this opportunity image at a rest stop along Route 81 is my favorite. I always carry my camera with me and as I was traveling to Binghamton to visit my daughter at college I was able to find the autumn image I wanted.

Autumn Rest Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/100s, 24mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

Autumn Rest
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/100s, 24mm, f/5.6, ISO 100

November – During my trip to Disney in October I met some wonderful fellow Disney photographers. With one couple in particular, we just seemed to click. Our time exploring Disney was not as long as we would have liked but we have kept close via the internet and are working on a 52 week photography theme project together. This image is a result of one of the weekly themes, graffiti.

Peeking Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/400s, 24mm, f/4, ISO 400

Peeking
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/400s, 24mm, f/4, ISO 400

December – Another image I had to work for. Looking for churches, a friend at work suggested this rural church north of Utica. The adventure of finding the church and then getting the image I wanted in spite of construction makes this a favorite.

Russia Union Church Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, {2.5, 6, 15s bracket}, 17mm, f/16, ISO 100

Russia Union Church
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, {2.5, 6, 15s bracket}, 17mm, f/16, ISO 100

I couldn’t end the year without an image from my favorite destination, Walt Disney World. This image is one of my all time favorites (so far) mostly because of the thought I put into it and the execution of the processing. I think it shows off how much I have improved in 2013.

...as the World Spins Out of Control Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1.6s, 17mm, f/6.3, ISO 200

…as the World Spins Out of Control
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1.6s, 17mm, f/6.3, ISO 200

2014 should be another year of growth and learning. As much as I love photography and enjoy capturing images, a large part of the fun is learning and pushing myself. I wish all my online friends a happy new year!