Friday, August 26, 2016

Just Enjoy!

I was driving down a little used country road, just wandering, and I noticed the red lily pads in a swamp I was passing.
I stopped to see what I could find and what I could create and came up with this scene.  (click to enlarge)
Nikon D700, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 210mm; 1/400th sec. @ f/7.1; ISO 800
I really don't have anything for today.  I would hope you would just get out, look around, let the environment envelop you and just enjoy your day.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Variations On A Theme

(click to enlarge)
Recently I wrote about going back to favorite places and photographing again and again as what you find almost always changes.  I wanted expand upon and illustrate that concept with an additional example.  You can read my first post here.

The photos included in this post were all made at the very same place, most in different years.  The earliest mas made in 2011 and the latest last week.  A couple are different compositions or black and white versus color of a single image.  The rest were made, as I said, in different years.  

This is a place past which I drive on my way to one of my favorite photographic spots. This is one of those subjects that if you are not looking to your side as you drive by, you will miss it.  Years ago, I probably drove by this a half dozen times without even knowing it is there.  When I finally noticed it, each time I now drive by I glance at it and see how it has changed.  Sometimes I stop if it looks interesting and sometimes I look and keep driving. It has to do with my perceived visual interest in this subject.

I find it interesting how one simple subject, and not necessarily something of great visual interest to anyone but me, can be photographed in a number of different ways.  In these images the variations come from time of year, time of day, tide level, weather, which boat is moored at the little dock, color or black and white treatment and composition.  The point is that each of these images is very much different, yet are the same, as the others.  

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Going back is important to really "see" and appreciate a subject and to understand all of its nuances, textures, changes, etc.  Sometimes you find something unexpected and sometimes not.  But, to me, it is a worthwhile endeavor.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Looking Up


Landing gear down, an F22 Raptor makes its turn for its final approach at Langley AFB in Hampton, VA (click to enlarge)
Fuji X-T1, 16-55mm f/2.8 lens @ 55mm; 1/4000th sec. @ f/2.8; ISO 200
Over many years I have learned to look up.  Most people look only straight ahead to see where they are going.  That is probably a good thing.  Some should look where they are going more than they now do!  Photographers learn to look all around them—front, sides as well as turn around on occasion to look at where they have been.  Things look very different looking back at them than when approaching.  I also have learned to look up. Looking up can bring additional surprises for your photography or just in general.

More than one time in the recent past I have looked up to see a Bald Eagle circling above me.  I've seen interesting cloud patterns, jet aircraft with contrails intersecting clouds, etc.  Visually interesting things.


(click to enlarge)
I was out photographing the other day when I heard two F22 Raptor fighter jets approaching the area.  I was near their base of operations and knew from previous visits that they would be making their turn at a relatively low altitude to line up with the runway on final approach.  As I walked along, I had the Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8 lens on my X-T1 but didn't have my camera bag with a longer lens with me.  It was in the car.  Lesson learned—again!  Memo to myself—take your bag!  As the jets approached and made their turn, the X-T1 easily locked on focus on the jets and I made several exposures as the jets neared and crossed over clouds in the background.  Here are just three in the sequence, cropped at about 50% of the full frame.


(click to enlarge)
I like how the soft, wispy clouds provide interesting contrast to the hard lines and metal of the aircraft.  Can you tell it was humid day?

Two lessons: look up often and be surprised on occasion and take your bag with you when you get out of your vehicle. 

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Isn't It Just Grand?

Great Grandma and Great Granddaughter (click to enlarge)
Fujifilm X-T1, 23mm f/1.4 lens @ 1/60th sec. @ f/4; ISO 6400
I normally don't post personal items, but this past Wednesday we celebrated my mother-in-law's 92nd birthday.  I am one of those lucky sons-in-law who has an absolutely wonderful mother-in-law. One who has treated me as one of her own for the duration of my wife's and my 41+ year marriage.  There isn't much I wouldn't do for her.

I think my mother-in-law may wear reading glasses on occasion.  I've never actually seen her wear glasses, however.  But I heard she may have a pair somewhere.  I've only known her to be sick once in the late 1970s.  Shingles!  Horribly painful.  But no common sicknesses the rest of us contract.  She goes out three nights a week with her "younger" 80s-something friends to dance!  I'm told she has graceful moves.  She has all her faculties about her and she drives (I told her daylight only) and gets around just fine.  I joke that one of the reasons I married my wife was because of her mother's cooking.  Maybe really not so much of a joke as anytime she invites us to come over to eat, I don't pass it up.  I could only hope I'm in this good shape when I reach my 70s let alone 90s!

I caught this image of my mother-in-law with my youngest (of three) granddaughters.  As I looked at it I saw a span of four generations.  From 92 year to 9 months.  Amazing and wonderful that good genes, advances in medicine and science has allowed me to make this image.  Precious.

Oh heck.  I have to say a few words about my granddaughter.  She is adorable.  I just can't get enough of her.  I see an innocent child with her entire life ahead of her and unlimited possibilities for love, fulfillment, success and joy.  I wander what her future holds for her in a world that seems in constant turmoil.  Two wonderful women in this image.  One toward the end of her life and one at just the beginning.  I truly love them both.

I made this image using my Fuji X-T1 with the 23mm f/1.4 lens.  The image was made at ISO 6400, 1/60th sec. @ f/4.  Again, amazing that I could even make an image in this low light.  The X-T1 focused easily and quickly.  No problems locking on my subjects.  I made many images of our gathering and all are sharp.  No complaints about the gear, that is for sure.

Just thought I would share our joy!

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Never Thought I Would Say This; I'm Now Mirrorless Only

This is the kind of image at which the D810 excelled.  It would lock on to my subject and hold focus (click to enlarge)
I found myself using the Fuji system for everything but moving wildlife.  Now, with the advances Fuji has made,
I think my Fuji gear will fit my wildlife needs as well.
Nikon D810, 70-200 f/4 VR lens @ 200mm; 1/2000th sec. @ f/10; ISO 1000; 50% image crop
I never thought I would say this, but I now own only mirrorless digital photography gear. "We've come a long way, baby," so to speak, in digital photography terms.

Recently, if became apparent to me that my use of my full frame Nikon gear was minimal at best and seemingly each time I picked up a camera to go out and photograph, I almost never picked up the Nikon gear.  I've only used the Nikon gear on 6 occasions in the past 9 months and, in all but one of those uses, I could have used a mirrorless camera.  So, I sold off my D810, 6 lenses and associated accessories this week. 

Wow!  This is major for me! Its kind of traumatic to a guy who was only a Nikon digital photographer for many years and Nikon film camera user since 1974.  Now, I still have a Nikon film camera and a few old primes but all the digital gear is gone.

A few months ago, I sold all of my M4/3 gear and, although I felt I missed it (for a while), that decision was a good one (not to say I will never buy another M4/3 camera as I love what Olympus and Panasonic have created).  So, I thought that using the same process and criteria I used for that decision, I would use for this current one.  The result you now know.

The biggest reason the Nikon gear has been sold is that my Fuji gear is fully satisfying my photographic needs.  The Fuji gear not only satisfies the image quality I need for stock and personal photography, but I love what Fuji did with the engineering of the camera bodies.  As I have written in the past, how a camera feels in one's hands, how it works and it integrates with how you think and work are more important to me than strictly what kind of images it is capable of producing.  Add to that,  a line of excellent lenses that is just as satisfying and my decision became apparent.

Referring back to the first paragraph, digital photography technology, both cameras and lenses, has advanced so far in the past 15 years that I feel most of us no longer need a 35mm-sized sensor camera.  APS-C certainly fills the bill for me.  I couldn't say that just a few years ago.  And...it will only get better in the next few years.  Also, as you long time readers know, for the past three years I've been on a quest to go smaller, lighter, less expensive but at the same time keep excellent image quality.  I am now there.

I'll let you know if I have any regrets, but I really don't think I will.  I think the Fuji system has evolved into the perfect system for me and what I do photographically.  It may not fit as well for you, but that is the beauty of all of these many photographic gear manufacturers and all the different types of gear they produce.  They provide choices—enough choices—that each of us can find exactly for what we are looking to meet our individual needs.

I am looking forward to the future and plan on enjoying my current gear for a long time.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Quick Tip; What To Do First When Converting From Color To Black And White

Black and white conversion from a color RAW file (click to enlarge)
Fuji X-T1, 10-24mm f/4 lens @ 15.9mm; 1/1000th sec. @ f/8; ISO 640
Are you a digital photographer?

Do you primarily shoot color?

Do you sometimes like to convert one or more of your images to black and white?

Do you use Lightroom, Camera Raw or another editor to convert color digital RAW files to black and white using the software's conversion option?

Do you sometimes find converting doesn't give you the results that you want or you just can't get the tonalities you want?

If so, here is the first thing I suggest you do before you convert:  White balance your image in color before converting.  

Believe it or not, your image's white balance can make the difference between an easy conversion, with very little work on your part to suit your vision or a difficult conversion requiring lots of adjustments of individual colors before getting the image the way you want it.

The blue/yellow white balance slider as well as the green/magenta slider both will act very similar to filters placed over the camera lens on black and white film.  The white balance will also affect luminance (overall image brightness) and contrast.  Typically, as you move a slider more toward the yellow end of the spectrum, your image will get brighter.  When I printed color negative film for many years, the first thing I did was get the white balance correct before trying to set the luminance of the image.  If you first got your print to the correct brightness, then color corrected, the brightness of the image would change.

I suggest you experiment for yourself.  Take several of your color RAW images and convert them with a white balance way out of whack.  Then white balance the same image and see if the difference in gray tones may be more pleasing to you.  You may find it that is all you need to do to have a pleasing conversion without having to go into the individual color sliders to manipulate individual tones.  In some images the difference is greater and in others not so much.  But a correct white balance will get you started on the right track.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Photography Has Brought So Much To My Life

Porch in Spring;  This is an example of the kinds of images I would make that would help offset the stress of work  This was
a porch on one of the city streets that I noticed while working so I stopped for a moment and recorded its fleeting beauty.
(click to enlarge)
Words alone cannot adequately express what photography has meant to me over the past 45 plus years that I've been seriously practicing it.  Photography has brought so many positive things to my life.  Photography has allowed me to exercise my creative juices, provided a means to keep life in perspective and has allowed me to meet and become friends with some of the finest people I've ever known.  There are many, many benefits photography has brought to my life but I want to highlight just three that have been most impactful on my life.

Hot, humid summer sunset over a small
inlet (click to enlarge)
Normally, no one would have noticed this
but it caught my eye one hot summer
evening when working.

First, photography has brought me peace of mind. Let me explain.  I was a police officer, detective and police chief for over 30 years.  Not in some rural setting, but in good size cities with high violence and crime rates.  Additionally for another 12 years, I have worked in other aspects of law enforcement after my retirement as a police chief. Almost everyday of that time, I dealt with everything that is ugly about life, how badly human beings have treated each other, death, destruction and human misery.  Yes, there were times when the best of people were realized, but mostly law enforcement officers daily deal with the bad. Photography was my escape.

A Quiet Afternoon (click to enlarge)
I made this during a lunch break at a business conference.  I was carrying a
small 35mm Leica Minilux point and shoot camera with me.

Photography allowed me to have a distraction from the bad that surrounded me for all of those years. Photography provided a avenue for being creative. Photography gave me a way to create images of beauty, joy, wonder, and fed my interest in history in allowing me to create images of historical 
significance.  Photography was my escape, my refuge, my avenue of retreat and represented all things good.  During my early career, I investigated over 100 deaths in all manner, hundreds of rapes, robberies, burglaries, etc.  I tried very hard never to bring what I did at work home to burden my wife and children with the results of the senseless acts of violence I witnessed almost every day. But I take joy in creating photographs of nature, wildlife, my family and family events.  I did show and share those images at home, with other family as well as friends and now electronically.  There was and is great joy for me in creating something beautiful or meaningful or interesting and sharing that with family, friends and all of you.

Another example of an image I made at lunch one day. (click to enlarge)
I was always on the lookout for subjects that reflected beauty in
my community.

Photography was and is a wonderful psychological tool for me to keep proper perspective on my life and the world around me. Photography provided a means for balance in my life for so many years. In fact, I carried a camera with me almost every day as a police officer.  As a street officer, I carried a camera and tripod in the trunk of my patrol unit.  When I worked from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I would try to make images at dawn or nighttime city street shots.  Of course, I could only do this if things were quiet and no calls for service were waiting and my work was largely done.  (that used to happen in the 1970s but no longer; the streets rock and roll all night long now) Later in my law enforcement career, I was a forensic photographer, was in charge of the police department's darkroom and had the benefit of officially photographing as part of my job responsibilities.  Also, because of my interest and talent, the city engaged me as the "official city photographer" as additional duties.  I loved it!  I got to photograph at work everyday! 

As a chief of police, I carried a Leica with a 35mm f/2 Summicron lens in my briefcase every day.  If I didn't have a lunch meeting or other lunchtime engagement to attend, I would skip lunch, drive the streets and look for images in the city.  A nice, occasional small break from the stress of the job and all of the things of which I had to deal on a daily basis.  Carrying a camera gave me another reason (beside situational awareness and safety as a police officer) to keep a keen eye on my environment and look for things others may not even notice.

On the way to work one morning (click to enlarge)

The second aspect of photography that still brings me joy is that I am left handed—right-brained—which is the artistic and creative side of my brain.  Yet, I find myself extremely interested in all things technology related, mechanical, etc.—left-brain, so to speak. Photography is the passion that allows me to quench the thirst of both sides of my brain. I love the technical aspects of photography, especially back in the day learning the Zone System, darkroom work, etc., as well as the gear itself with all of its associated technology.  I love fiddling with things, not just photo gear, but all sorts of objects, dissect them to understand how they work and get the most use from them.  On the other hand, photography allows me to be creative and scratch that right brain itch. Photography, again, provides me with some inherent balance of technology and creativity. Wonderful!

As a chief of police often times I was in a parade. (click to enlarge)
This is what it looks like when you are "in" a parade and looking back
at the crowd watching you.  This was made with Kodak Tri-X ISO 400
black and white film in the mid-1990s.

Third, photography has allowed me to meet and become friends with some of the finest people I've every had the pleasure to know. These men and women, whether met locally, in places I've traveled to photograph or over the internet through this blog or my website, are knowledgeable, helpful, generous, caring and will go out of their way to share any and all knowledge they have acquired so others can enjoy creating images as much as they do.  Wonderful, wonderful friendships have developed for me due to my practice of photography.

Recently, while thinking about what photography has meant for me, I discovered an internet article by Lauren Lim, entitled, "54 Reasons Why YOU Should Be A Photographer." I found some of what she wrote resonated with me and may with you as well.  If you are interested in her entire article, you can find the entire article here.

As for me, here are some of the other reasons I love photography.

Make memories
Travel/discover/explore/approach and talk to people wherever I go
Gives me a purpose
Discover things others don't see;  Forces me to really see my environment
Create something that evokes an emotion in oneself and others
Record posterity—those things in our culture that are going away and will never be seen again
A reason to continue to learn on life's journey; Photographic discovery is never ending
Takes me to new places through wanting to discover and photograph
New ways of seeing the world
Gain an appreciation of others and their talents
Just makes me feel good
Gives me a way to give to others; To share
Makes me think
Presents challenges


Trying to traffic to stop! (click to enlarge)
Sometimes I would photograph officers just doing their jobs.
As I age, I find I become more introspective in most aspects of my life.  I try to think about the things that made me who I am today, what really is important in my life and why as well as 

Additionally, and I think this is something about me that is important, I have been and remain the eternal optimist.  I always try to look for the good things about every situation, about all people and, as they say, "make lemonade out of lemons."  That optimism keeps me smiling, youthful in attitude and always hopeful.  Try being optimist about all things in your life.  It can be contagious.

I have been blessed in more ways than I have deserved and I know that.  I live a grateful and thankful life.  Everyday is a gift.  Photography has been one of those major gifts that have come my way and I am surely very thankful.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

GAS: A Few Thoughts

U-Drop Inn and Chevrolet Tow Truck, Shamrock Texas (click to enlarge)
Lots of playing in Lightroom and NIK Color Efex Pro with this image, just for fun!
Nikon D810, Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens @ 24mm; 1/320th sec. @ f/10; ISO 100
If you aren't familiar with Gear Acquisition Syndrome, AKA GAS, you must either be a new photographer or don't read much about photography.  GAS is a common topic discussed regularly on most websites, blogs and talked about on You Tube.  Briefly, it is an almost irresistible desire for the newest, latest, greatest and best photo gear of all kinds.

As is sometimes the case, I have way too much time on my hands and my mind tends to wander and think about things that either are ridiculous, inane or just plain funny.  But that is just me.  The other day I was thinking about GAS.

We all know that many photographers, including myself in the past (I admit a severe case of GAS over most of the past 46 photographic years), suffer from the desire to acquire new, better, more, different and other gear.  Nothing wrong with that.  It stimulates sales for the camera companies as well as allows us to buy used gear from others who suffer the same fate.  Additionally, it allows us photographers to expand our photographic skills, try new types of photography and, most importantly, scratch an itch which makes us feel better.  But I wondered if others, who pursue other endeavors, suffer from the same?

I wonder if a carpenter would ever be heard saying, "Man, I wish I had that new super "wham-bam" copper clad hammer. I could really drive some nails much better than with this old one."  I wonder if Shakespeare ever got upset that he didn't have the latest swan quill pen and felt he could write better plays if only he had the newest, latest and greatest one. Or a painter lamenting, "I could paint twice as fast and have fewer brush strokes if only..."  How about sports?  I could hear a javelin or discus thrower telling his or her buddy, "I've got to get one of those new magnesium and titanium black anodized discus when they are introduced next week. I'm going to pre-order one from T and F out of New York."

What about hikers, campers, football players, mechanics, etc.  I wonder if they suffer from the same desires and wants as us photographers when it comes to wanting and buying new gear?

I suspect some do.  I suspect some in every endeavor (or endeavour for my friends across the Atlantic) think that the newest, latest and greatest will give them the ability to do better in their chosen profession or hobby.

Often times, the question is posed, "What is more important, the photographer or the gear?"  I think the answer is both.  A good photographer can make a good photograph with just about any gear, no matter how simple of complex.  A poor photographer is hopeless with any gear, unless there may be some luck involved.  The gear is not going to provide the skills necessary to make consistently excellent photographs.  But I think there is a middle ground that may be more accurate.  Any photographer can improve his or her skills with the "right" gear.  The right gear can enable a photographer to do things and make images that he or she would be unable to make with inadequate gear.

For example, an accomplished sports photographer is not going to be able to great images of the runners at the finish line of the 100m Olympic race with an old point-and -shoot camera.  Too slow and the lens does not have enough reach.  I don't care how good you are, you won't be able to capture Sports Illustrated-type images.  You have to have a camera that has almost no shutter lag when you press the shutter.  Also, you have to have a camera with a long lens to isolate the runners (and potentially blur the background to highlight only the runners and not the clutter of the background of a track meet).

So, if you suffer from GAS I suggest you celebrate.  GAS shows passion for photography.  It shows you want to get better at being a photographer or it shows you love photo gear. GAS generates excitement.  GAS stimulates the economy. GAS gives you something to talk about.  GAS can also give you something to lament about.  Buy what you want, if you can afford it and be happy.  Then use that new gear to go out, take photographs, practice, gain new skills, get better then start the cycle all over again!

UPDATE:  I warned you I had too much time on my hands!

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Going Back

The "Miss Barbara L" found on an impromptu visit to Tyler's Beach in Isle of Wight County in SE Virginia (click to enlarge)
Nikon D810, Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR lens @ 24mm; !/160th sec. @ f/16; ISO 200
Several times in the past I have written about the benefit of immediately stopping to photograph when you happen upon a scene that evokes an emotion in you.  My recommendation, based upon my experience and many regrets for not following my own advice over the years, is that if you don't stop and photograph the scene now but plan to come back in the near future, something almost always will have changed.  The opportunity may be lost. It just won't be the same.  That something may be the light and position of the sun, time of day, objects in the scene may have moved or been moved, the weather may have changed as well as innumerable other aspects of what caught your attention.  Stop, examine what caught your eye and photograph if it still does.  If you don't, like me, you may have regrets that are unnecessary.

That being said, this post is about something somewhat different.  I want you to go back. Go back?  You just said stop now because you can't go back.  This is a slightly different case study.

When you find a place that catches your photographic eye or you feel it just connects with you, you will probably photograph it to the extent that you feel you have completely covered the subject.  If you photograph that place, thing, etc., only on a one-time basis, I think you are making a mistake.  It has been my long experience that if I find a place that is of visual interest to me, I go back over and over if possible. Each time I go back, it is different.  


Walkway to the Water, Tyler's Beach, Isle of Wight County, VA (click to enlarge)
Nikon D810, Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR lens @ 19mm; 1/250th sec. @ f/16; ISO 200
Each time I visit a place where I have photographed before, I see it differently.  The light is different.  Something has changed, moved, been added or removed.  It is a different time of day or season of the year.  Maybe a storm has passed and changed things.  People change.  Maybe you photographed a person when he or she was having a bad day.  Today is a different day, different mood, different light, different temperature, etc.  When you go back, much may be the same, but I bet much is also different.


High and Dry After Storm, Poquoson, VA 2011 (click to enlarge)
Nikon D700, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 200mm; 1/200th sec. @ f/16; ISO 200
As a personal example, one of my favorite local places to photograph is Messick Point in the small town of Poquoson, Virginia also known as Bull Island.  It is an innocuous little place but, to me, has a wealth of interesting subject matter from the old school deadrise work boats of the Chesapeake Bay waterman, to a small area where crab pots are handmade, to a tiny inlet where the waterman moor their workboats, to shore birds, derelict boats washed up into the marsh and wetlands after big storms, to waterman working on the boats, etc.  I went into my Lightroom catalog and looked at how many times I have photographed there.  I've driven over there 24 times over the past 8 years to photograph and every time it is different. I've made hundreds of images.  I'm glad I have done so because the geniuses who run the town have decided to remove all of the charm and character out of the area by "improving" it with a new and expanded parking lot, new docks, planting grass, etc.  They even cleaned up the old derelict boats from the area.  It is just not the same.  If I hadn't been going back over the years, I would never have been able to record all that I did.  You can search on the word "Poquoson" in the search bar of this blog and see some of the posts I have made with some of the images.


Snowy Egrets in wetlands in Poquoson (click to enlarge)
Nikon D700, Nikon 70-200mm lens @ 175mm; 1/2000th sec. @ f/8; ISO 800
Poquoson is just a single example of places to which I have returned over and over. Another is a place about which I recently written called Tyler's Beach.  I didn't know it existed and found it using Google Earth in March of this year. When first arriving, one would think there is nothing there to photograph.  However, I've now been three times since March and each time I find something new or not before seen as well as changes that make the area different from previous visits.  Some of the images on this post are from an impromptu visit early last Friday morning as I was on the way home from photographing something completely different.  I'm glad i stopped and I will return.  You can find my previous post of Tyler's beach with several more of the images here.

Crab Pots and Old Fish House, Poquoson, VA (click to enlarge)
Nikon D700, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 125mm; ISO 800
I could go on with example after example but you get the point.  Go back.  Go back over and over to discover and rediscover what you though you knew.  You'll find out that you really didn't know the area or subject and will be pleased with your new images.


The "Miss Ne Ne, Barbara J and Brenda J" moored at Tyler's Beach on a summer day (click to enlarge)
Nikon D810, Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR lens @ 35mm; 1/640th sec. @ f/8; ISO 200
Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Story Behind The Image(s); Avenue Of The Giants

Typical scene driving the Avenue of the Giants (click to enlarge)
Olympus E-M5, Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 lens @ 20mm; 1/3 sec. @ f/8; ISO 200; tripod mounted
A few years ago, while on a road trip through Oregon and northern California, my wife and I happened upon Humboldt State Park and the thirty-one mile "Avenue of the Giants" in northern California.  Without hesitation I have to say this was the absolute quietest and most peaceful place I have ever had the pleasure to visit in my lifetime.  

This forest was stunningly quiet. Except for the occasional automobile every ten minutes or so, I mean no sound whatsoever.  I've never experienced that before nor since.  It was so quiet it was a bit scary.  No sounds of nature, no wind, no man-made sounds, nothing. Just absolute silence.  Very different.

The "Avenue of the Giants" is a small paved roadway right that skirts the eastern edge of Humboldt Redwoods State Park and parallels California Route 101 to the east and the South Fork of the Eel River to its west.  If you are in this area of northern California, you MUST NOT miss this drive.


Olympus E-M5, Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 lens @ 17mm; 1.3 sec. @ f/8; ISO 200; tripod mounted
Olympus E-M5, Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 lens @ 26mm; 0.6 sec. @ f/8; ISO 200; tripod mounted


Olympus E-M5, Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 lens @ 14mm; 1/3 sec. @ f/8; ISO 200; tripod mounted
Not only is the drive spectacular as one is surrounded by a forest of giant redwood trees, but there was hardly anyone else on the road.  I believe we saw more long distance bicyclists than cars.  I was able to stop my automobile at will and photograph without worrying about the danger of others traveling along the same road. 

It was so quiet, one time while stopped to photograph a nearby scene, I asked my wife to be perfectly quiet and still.  There was absolutely no sound whatsoever. As we stood there silently, after about a minute, we both could hear a bird take off somewhere in the distance. We both could hear the noise the birds wings made as it disturbed the air upon leaving its perch where ever it was.  And it was far enough away that we couldn't see it anywhere around us.  It wasn't close.  Quiet.  Very quiet.  I could probably say the feeling and connection I had to this natural habitat was somewhat spiritual.

I can't adequately describe the feeling I had while traversing through this natural area. The trees are nothing short of majestic, stately and of a height that is profound.  Ageless. The trees come right to the edge of the paved roadway as you can see in these images. Except for the road on which we traveled, California Route 254, as well as a few trails, for most of the thirty-some miles we drove through the forest was primal, untouched and as it has been since the formation of the land itself.

Since this was northern California, the only thing that I wondered was if a Sasquatch was lurking nearby watching us!  After all, this was Sasquatch country!  ;-)

Thanks for looking. Enjoy! 

Dennis A. Mook 

All content on this blog is © 2013-2016 Dennis A. Mook. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to point to this blog from your website with full attribution. Permission may be granted for commercial use. Please contact Mr. Mook to discuss permission to reproduce the blog posts and/or images.