You wouldn’t know it to look at it, but there were a bunch of people all over the place while I was setting up to take photos of this pier on lake pontchartrain which is very close to the Treasure Chest Casio. In fact, the casino and boat launch are just across the street.
I snapped several photos as the sun was setting but none of those matched my vision for this shot. I knew I wanted the orange glow of the setting sun to appear just below the walkway of the pier. I also wanted to wait until the automatic lights came on so I could have their reflection in the water. Also, as the light fades, the exposure times get longer and longer. This creates the effect of smoothing out the waves as they crashed against the pier and the rocks right at my feet.
I knew I wanted the rocks in the foreground of the shot, especially when I noticed the green ones near the edge of the water, so I made my way down, closer and closer to the edge of the water. The rocks were very slippery and I was splashed by more than one wave as I waited for the perfect moment. Photography is all about waiting, watching, planning and more than a little luck. I was fortunate that the sky had just the right amount of clouds and the glow of the sun was still visible. I was also fortunate that, at the exact moment that I wanted to make this photograph, there was no one on the pier, not a soul. You have no idea how rare an event that was on this day.
My goal with most of my landscape photographs is to capture the scene without people. The reason, for me at least, is that I want the viewer of the image to imagine themselves standing where I was and seeing what I saw. I think that the distraction of strangers in the frame would take away the ability for people to do that. It takes more effort and it isn’t always even possible, but that’s what I strive for.
Behind the scenes of one of my favorite and most popular images. At this distance, the normally crowed, active city melts into the skyline. The only sounds are those of the rushing Mississippi River and the traffic crossing over the bridges above. While I was standing along the rivers edge waiting for the right moment to make this photograph, An ambulance passed from the east to west bank. I remember thinking how the sound of the sirens seemed so out of place in the calm area that I found along the river side of the levee.
The quiet, calm solitude is one of my personal own reasons that make being a photographer so enjoyable. Sometimes when you look at a scene, you plan in your mind how you hope the image will turn out. The final result doesn’t always match your vision. This is one of those times when, thankfully, it did.
This image is available in several different sized prints.
There’s an old adage that states that one should use the right tool for the job at hand. When it comes to photography, however, we’re told that “the camera doesn’t matter.”
The point of that last quote is to illustrate that a good photograph can be made with any camera. That’s true to a certain degree. It also points out that it’s not the equipment but the skill and the ‘eye’ of the person behind the camera that matters most. I do agree with all of that, but I’m here to tell ya……. the camera does matter.
Would a bride accept a wedding photographer who was only planning to use the camera in his phone?! The cameras in cell phones are getting better all the time and, the day may come when that’s a possibility, but I think that most couples would prefer more professional equipment to capture their important day.
I share the above image not to ‘show off’ or anything like that – not at all!
I want people to know that I understand using the proper tool for the job at hand and that I’ve made the necessary investment to be able to have the proper tool, regardless of the task. In the photo are several film cameras (including a pinhole camera), underwater cameras, point & shoot cameras, a ‘run and gun’ camcorder when I need to get a shot quickly, and a few DSLRs two of which capture full HD video as well as still images of course. There’s also a stabilizer for a cell phone so I can use the video from that device on platforms like Youtube and the like. I can’t forget about the UAVs, there’s a few of them. The smaller one good for events that would require an aircraft that isn’t as loud as the bigger ones. Again, I successfully completed the FAA part 107 test allowing me to operate a UAV for commercial purposes (that’s an important detail and I don’t want any misunderstanding regarding that).
Images created for this site are likely to have been created on any of these cameras – depending on the reason for the finished product.
As always, thank you for visiting my new website. I really appreciate the support!
Of course, this is my photography page, so the main focus (no pun intended) will be on my still photography. However, it deserves to be mentioned that still photography isn’t my only interest.
When I say; “Still Photography” most people will think of digital photography, and who could blame them. That is just one aspect of photography that I have my hand in. For example, I’ll still shoot film in formats from 35mm to 120 medium format and even 4X5 inch (in my pinhole camera! Of course, digital stills as I’ve mentioned as well as both aerial and underwater photography AND video. That’s right, I’m also involved in shooting video and don’t be surprised if you’re met with some video the next time you visit.
One of the most important thing in photography – for me – is to change up the angle. Shooting from a regular standing position is what most people do, and that’s fine, but I want to present a different perspective. I was so interested in getting a higher angle that I toyed with the idea of buying one of those used bucket trucks like the utility companies use! That idea died quickly – thank goodness. However, I still didn’t give up on getting that perspective, I just used a different tool.
That’s where my interest in UAV (drone) photography and videography were born. As I mentioned, I’m not a dabbler – I jump in…. fully. Where it comes to the drones, I took a course and successfully completed the FAA part 107 certificate test so that I can fly commercially. This would allow me to do different (paid) assignments and even to sell photographs that were taken with the drone. I’ve even created a separate website for the drone stuff. If you’re interested, that site can be found here; flying wolf nola.
I’ve got a few different cameras that can shoot underwater as well as just regular HD digital cameras. So, you never know what may turn up on this site.
As always, thanks for visiting, next time we’ll start to dig into some different photographs and the stories behind them.
During High School, I got interested in music. I got a guitar and even took some lessons, for a short time. When I realized that my guitar instructor was actually sleeping during my lessons, I decided to go it alone. I was part of a garage band (our neighbors really loved that!). After high school, my interest in music continued. I was pretty sure I was going to be a rock star.
I still can’t believe that I’m not! Several bands all going through the same progression; form, practice, perform, break up. That really just seemed to be the way it went for every group I was in. I’m not blaming anyone, as far as I know, some of the break-ups were my fault (?) Who knows?
It was a great time in my life regardless of the eventual failure that it became. It taught me a lot and, looking back on it, it really helped to shape me.
Once the realization that I wasn’t going to be a rock star set in, I knew that I had to decide on something else to do. My father suggested going into the military and I probably should have. Although I really don’t like being told what to do and I hated it even more in my youth, so that may not have ended well either.
Anyway, I decided to go into electronics and started classes at a local Junior College (not ivy league by a very long shot, but better than nothing). In college, the experience was much different than my time in high school.
In college I did what I was always told was necessary to succeed; “apply yourself.”
It worked, I excelled, graduating with an Associates Degree in electronic technologies (whatever that really means) and with a GPA of 3.85. Way better than my grade point average in high school (I won’t even go into that!) Another lesson learned.
I was actually contacted by a local communications company and asked to come in for an interview – that was a first for me! Now, about 28 years later (as I write this) I’m still with the same company and I’m really grateful for the opportunity. The people I work with are as much family as my real family. Many other people have been employed there as long, or longer, than I have! It’s a pretty good company.
As good as it is and as much as I appreciate it, let’s be honest; electronics isn’t exactly a ‘creative’ type of endeavor. That hard fact has kept me searching for other things that were more creative.
When my daughter was young, I wanted her to have similar memories of her childhood as I did so I purchased a model train set to go around the Christmas tree. This lead into a model railroad hobby. As you’ll see, I don’t “dabble” in anything. I’m either ALL IN or I’m not in at all. The model train hobby takes up a lot of room and I realized that I enjoyed building the structures along the railroad more than anything else. That led me into a another hobby; Plastic models.
I had built models as a child, but hadn’t touched one in years. Again, I was all in, airbrush, spray booth all the tools…. the whole nine yards!
This hobby led me to even open an online hobby shop. It did pretty well for a few years, but eventually, it also was shut down. Interestingly, the model building hobby created the need to take close up photographs of the models that I built for yet another website that I created. Can you see where this is going?
One father’s day, my wife, Mendy, asked me what I wanted. Well, I had always wanted a ‘real’ 35mm SLR camera – so, she got me a 35mm film Canon Rebel! Just what I wanted!
All the other cameras in my life were always used in whatever automatic mode was available. I quickly decided that I wanted to learn what all those buttons and dials were for, so I enrolled in a continuing education class at yet another local community college, this time one called Delgado. I took three semesters and learned quite a lot. This knowledge led me to give professional photography a go. Mendy and I started a portrait and wedding photography business and it went very well for several years.
Finally, the toll of both of us working 40 hour (at least) per week jobs plus the stress of a full time photography business were just too much and we discontinued that venture about 2015 (give or take). We’ll still take the occasional wedding or portrait client if they are referred by a past client or family member, but we no longer actively advertise for an ongoing stream of clients.
Finally we’re getting to the point of this post. I want to thank you if you’ve stuck with me for this whole thing.
After the wedding business, I finally had the time to create photographs for myself and of subjects that appealed to me, without the need to do so for a waiting client.
Thus this fine art photography business was started. In our next installment we’ll get into other aspects of photography and videography that I’m also currently interested in. Stay tuned!
…. And by ‘early years’, I’m not talking about my early work as a photographer, I’m talking about my actual ‘early years’.
As I mentioned, my father was in the military (the U.S. Navy to be exact). This meant that we moved often in those years. Two of my siblings and I were born in Pennsylvania (my parents home state) with my youngest brother being born in Florida. In all, we lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, back to Pennsylvania while we waited to see if we were going to go to Minnesota – we didn’t, then finally; Louisiana. That was all before I entered the 7th grade!
My father retired from the Navy during my senior year of high school, rather than take the next transfer (which would have been to California). Interestingly, my entire family still lives in Louisiana (except my brother who moved to Texas
with his family and my daughter who relocated to New York just over a year ago (as I write this).
As I mentioned there were always cameras and photographs all around me. Polaroid cameras, 110 film cameras (remember those?!), disk cameras. There was even a 120 film (medium format) camera that one of my aunts sent to me. This was back in the day when you would bring your film into almost any drug store and get it processed and ready for pick-up – usually in a few days. So, you would take photos and not know what you had for nearly a week! Quite a difference from the digital process of today. That’s just the way it was and no one knew any different.
In my youth I had no idea about true photography or even how a camera worked. All images were taken in whatever automatic mode was available and I just hoped for the best. This method led to a lot of disappointment, but that’s just the way it was.
The early adult years and all the “excitement” that comes with that story in my next
The title of this post may seem…. overboard, but this is a new website and it occurred to me that I hadn’t taken the time to tell the story of my work, how I got started and why I do it in the first place.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that there was a point where I ‘discovered’ photography. Camera’s and photographs were always part of my life. The first person I can recall with a camera around their neck was my grandfather ‘Mac McCuen’. He carried a twin lens reflex waist level camera and had it most times that I saw him. Of course, he also owned a newspaper so, this shouldn’t be surprising I suppose.
This is a photo of me with my grandfather and grandmother – I’m the young one in the photo!
These are my mother’s parents and they’ve both since passed. As we lived in different states most of my childhood (my father was in the military and we moved a lot), we didn’t get to see our grandparents very often. Still, my memories of them are strong and fond.
Photography was always an important aspect of my mother’s family, below are a couple of samples of group shots at my grandparent’s home, and some of my aunts were involved in photography as well. One of my aunts (Aunt Kathy, is a very talented photographer in her own right).
So cameras and photography wer just something that were just ‘there’, much like smart phones and tablets are to the youth of today. They were just born into it, for them, it was always there. That’s how cameras and photographs were to me.
That in no way means that I knew anything about either the equipment or the process, that’s a topic that we’ll continue to explore as we move forward.