Category Archives: Travel

It’s Time

Time…….the word has so many different meanings and uses. The one commonality we all share is that we never have enough.

A lot of people have asked why I stopped blogging so suddenly. The short answer is I ran out of Time. For the last few years I have been dealing with a personal tragedy and I realized I needed Time to heal. In typical Vinnie fashion I took 100% of the excess energy and Time I had after being daddy and a great Sheppard of my investors money and put it toward finding myself. As the healing process moved forward I realized a part of me suffered and that part was my love of photography. I missed it and I needed it. I use photography to exercise the right side of my brain. I also love the serenity of being in remote locations at sunrise or sunset, a place usually devoid of others at that time. Sunrise to me is as if God is renewing everyone’s spirit and soul, at least that’s how I feel after each and everyone. It’s a symphony of life that knows no boundaries or limitations.

North America, United States, Ohio, Oak Harbor, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Birds, Songbirds, Warblers, American Redstart
American Redstart singing : Prints Available

While I wasn’t sure if this day would ever come….blogging again or even updating My Website….I realized I missed getting behind the camera and sharing visual stories. There is something special about an image. Its a slice in time, something specific to think or meditate about. In part the Time required to capture that story was also Time I needed to find myself. One helped the other. Like so many things in life the two had a symbiotic relationship. So I dusted off my bucket list and with the excitement and apprehension of a child headed for the first day of kindergarten I took my camera out and made many clicks. The place I chose to start my new journey? Magee Marsh in Ohio. I couldn’t think of a better subject, “migration” given my personal situation was a migration of sorts.

North America, United States, Ohio, Oak Harbor, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Birds, Songbirds, Warblers, Magnolia Warbler
Magnolia Warbler in the rain : Prints Available
North America, United States, Ohio, Oak Harbor, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Birds, Songbirds, Flycatchers, Eastern Wood Pewee
Eastern Wood Pewee in the rain : Prints Available

So now I’m bringing my camera with me everywhere again. I just returned from Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks which I will share with you all soon. And I have a trip to Yellowstone planned for January (I never had the fortune to visit Yellowstone and now I’ll be there twice in six months)!

Birds, Songbirds, Warblers, Northern Parula, North America, United States, Ohio, Oak Harbor, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area
Northern Parula in the shade : Prints Available

In order for anything to grow and flourish it needs Time. Your family, job, relationships, photography…..all need Time. Make sure you are devoting all the Time you can to the things you love. My hope is the investment of Time to something I love so much will help guide me through my own personal migration.

New Blog and Website

I have been thinking about updating my blog and website for some time. The main reason was to take advantage of newer technologies that the old blog and website could not utilize. For example I wanted to be able to post larger images which the old blog could not handle. I also wanted to update the look and feel for the website as well, officially separating my blog from my image galleries. I am very happy with the outcome and I thank Jack Brauer for his help and guidance with getting this project completed.

I thought for my first post I would start with a trip I took this past summer to the Turks & Caicos Islands. It was not a birding trip but needless to say my camera gear made its way down via my briefcase.

Gray Kingbird on Fence
Gray Kingbird on Fence

Never before this trip had I observed a Gray Kingbird. As a member of the flycatcher family, this bird is an astute hunter of insects although I was not fast enough to catch him with one in his beak. He also is very fast and really didn’t like me setting up near him.

Gray Kingbird Pose
Gray Kingbird Pose

Images captured with Nikon D4s, 80-400 VR2 on Lexar digital film.

Looking Forward to Barnegat Jetty

Lets face it, I don’t love the cold weather. Give me the choice of somewhere warm vs. cold and I take the warm location every time. The exceptions are for my son who plays hockey (usually cold places :-)) and for photography. Some of the best photographic locations in the world are even more beautiful in the winter. The winter also affords the opportunity to photograph some bird species not around during the warmer weather. One such magical place is Barnegat Jetty in New Jersey. If you would like some background information on the location check out my Barnegat Jetty Post from last year.

Harlequin Drake Swimming Near the Rocks

I loved the Harlequin Ducks that I photographed at the Jetty last year. They are beautiful birds.

Harlequin Drake and Hen in Flight

I look forward to getting back to Barnegat over Christmas break in order to photograph these wonderful birds and a host of other “winter only” residents that call Barnegat their home away from home.

Harlequin Drake on the Rocks

More Maine

Thank you for the kind words about the images I made while at Pemaquid Lighthouse in Bristol Maine. I promised a few more when I had time to sit down at the computer and process some more images. It feels like the weekends are the only time I have now for working on my images. Here are two more Lighthouse shots.

Pemaquid Lighthouse at Sunrise
Pemaquid Lighthouse Reflection

I also took the following 2 images that I really like while at Boothbay Harbor. We were trying to photograph a famous lighthouse named Cuckolds Lighthouse but the location of the sun just wasn’t right so we had to settle on finding other subjects.

Boothbay Harbor Sailboat
Colored Sea Weed/Grass

Images Captured with Nikon D3x, 70-200 VRII and 200-400 VRI on Lexar Digital Film

One Of My Favorite New England Landmarks

It never seems to fail that whenever I visit Pemaquid Point Lighthouse I come away with images I really like. I spent 5 days last week searching for fall color in Maine. Fall color has been somewhat limited this year due in part because of the extremely warm fall we have had here in New England. A cold snap is just what you need for the leaves to start turning colors. Since we had limited fall foliage to occupy our pixels, we decided to turn our attention to some of Maine’s historic lighthouses. No mention of lighthouses would be complete without a trip to Pemaquid Point.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse at Sunrise

The above image was taken from below the lighthouse from almost in the water. I would like to caution anyone thinking of replicating this image to proceed with caution as this location is very dangerous. Especially true in the dark!

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse B&W at Sunrise

We were very fortunate to have stormy wet weather for the 5 days of our journey. Stormy weather can be a photographers best friend….at least sometimes ;-). It is amazing how the clouds here can add to the drama of the scene. They also act like a light box, changing the mood, color and texture of the light on a regular basis. Here are just 2 of my favorite images. I will post others as I have time to process them. I hope you enjoy them.

Images captured with Nikon D3x, 27-70 f2.8 (split grad ND, top image) on Lexar Digital Film

Out Of My Comfort Zone

I am currently on a trip photographing fall foliage in Maine. An opportunity presented itself for me to photograph vintage aircraft from the Texas Flying Legends Museum.

Japanese Zero

The opportunity was unique in that the airport where the Legends were flying had a backdrop of fall foliage.

Betty’s Dream

I was apprehensive about spending 8 hours on an airfield in the middle of fall foliage season. I especially felt this way since frankly aviation photography was something I had never done before. Not only was it a really fun day, but it was phenomenal to see the faces on the Veterans who came out to see the very planes they flew in missions protecting our freedom. It was an awesome day.

Images Captured on Nikon D3x w 200-400 VR I on Lexar Digital Film.

Monday Musings – I Miss Italy!

Last summer we took a family vacation to Italy. The sights but more importantly the smells still resonate through my senses. These women were making orecchiette for the local restaurants and they were doing so with lightning speed. Just by looking at them I can taste the pasta with a little broccoli-rabe and garlic and oil ;-).

Orecchiette Makers
Pasta Maker

To me one of the best things about traveling is trying to photograph what locals take for granted. What exactly do I mean by that? I love to find interesting elements of everyday life that someone from the area walks past everyday and never really notices or admires. Below are 3 pictures that I feel capture that sentiment.

Church in Bari
Alley in Bari

Bari recently experienced several earthquakes that did some damage to the buildings that make up its rich heritage. I hope to be able to go back soon and revisit many of the sights I saw last summer.

Images captured with Nikon D700, 24-120 VR-I on Lexar Digital Film.

New York City Skyline Blur

Wow! I was blown away by how many people commented on the last post on NYC Skyline HDR & Pano. So I decided to share this image which is attempt at an intentional blur I made.

New York City Skyline Intentional Blur

I tried several different patterns by moving the camera during the exposure. Below is an example of moving the camera in the shape of a crown, more silly than an artistic masterpiece :-).

New York City Skyline Crown Blur

Have a great weekend!

Barnegat Jetty

I have wanted to visit Barnegat Jetty (Barnegat Lighthouse State Park) for several years. Fortunately I was able to meet up with Denise Ippolito just after Christmas for a day photographing Barnegat’s wonderful birds. Denise is the leader of many Barnegat Jetty workshops (she has one that starts this Friday, check her website for details) and is also the author of a very popular Barnegat Jetty Site Guide

There are hosts of birds and wildlife that call the jetty home during the winter. Harlequin Duck, Long Tailed Duck (formerly Oldsquaw), Common Loon, Red Throated Loon, Red Breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Common Eider, and Brant. Shorebird species include; Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Bellied Plover, and Sanderling . I have been told that Harbor Seals have also been seen at the jetty. The stars of the jetty for me this trip were the Harlequin Ducks.

Harlequin Drake

These ducks are difficult to come by during the winter unless you travel to coastal Maine where a large portion of the North American population spends their winter.

Harlequin Drake on the Rocks

I was lucky to be able to capture some decent images given this was my first time to the jetty. Swimming images are fairly common but I am told that ducks on the rocks and good flight captures are tough to come by. I really like the flight capture below.

Harlequin Drake and Hen in Flight

I will post images of some of my other captures from my visit over the coming days.

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film

Monday Musings – Master Your Location

Its that time of year again when I start thinking about where I would like to photograph next year. Having a location list is essential to making sure you don’t get stale. It also gives you something to look forward to and work toward. As I was kicking around some ideas with friends, one of them made a comment that I thought was worth writing about.

Great Black Backed Gull Wing Flap

The comment was along the lines of “I could never make images as good as you because I have nothing to photograph”. That comment made me wonder. How many others out there don’t get out and make images because they think they need to go to Yellowstone to find beauty?

Great Black Backed Gull Preening

I think one of the best parts of photography for me is mastering the landscape (buildings, wildlife, people, landscape, everything for that matter!) in and around where I live. Mastering your location is a tremendous learning experience. It helps hone your skills so that when you do spend the money to go some place you deem special as a photographic location, that you bring the skills necessary to capture more than just images that say “I was here”.

Herring Gull Yawn

These images were all taken this weekend at Greenwich Point Park. Most of you know that I am an emerging birder. One of the great things about photographing ones own community is that it improves skills other than my photography. How could that be you ask? Well, look at it this way. I spent a few hours at Greenwich Point searching for light and subjects. When I found subjects in good light, I started looking for gesture and biology to photograph in order to tell the story I was looking to communicate.

Herring Gull Preening

After making the images, I returned home and researched the birds I captured in order to learn more about their biology. If I hadn’t made the images, I wouldn’t have learned about the birds. There are hundreds of images in my files where the story is similar to this one. So the best advice I can give you is find things in your community to photograph that make you happy. Please don’t think you need to go to a special or exotic location in order to have a reason to make great images!

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film