The New World Trade Center

World Trade Center at Night

The other night I had the good fortune to photograph the Manhattan skyline on a glorious October night. Once darkness fell, I was captivated by this image of the New World Trade Center. From the minute I saw this image, I knew it was destined to be a B&W. The reason was simple. The majority of the midtown skyline is full of color. Standing across the river from 42nd St. one cant help but see color! But the view down river toward lower Manhattan takes a different view. This in part is due to the construction lights in the New World Trade Center. Lower Manhattan is void of color :-). I also like how the blurred reflection in the water leads you to the tower and the lights of the construction crane on top leads you out of the picture.
Have a great weekend.

Image captured with Nikon D700, 200-400 f/4 VR-I on Lexar Digital Film.

Mourning Dove Profile

Mourning Dove Profile

Our yard was over-run with Mourning Doves this year. I was told by a bird expert that if I wanted to reduce the number of Doves in the yard that I should try putting Safflower seed in all the feeders. Guess what? My Doves love Safflower seed, go figure.

To make this image I needed to get down low and wait for one of the birds to drop off the feeder onto the grass which they do on a regular basis. Thats what happens when you do the work and learn their behaviors and biology.

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

Monday Musings – Always Be Willing To Try Something New

Manhattan Skyline Twilight Pano

I have wanted to make panoramas for a long time, I just never seemed to have the right opportunity. Then I read about a workshop being hosted by Denise Ippolito. She is someone I always wanted to meet as I have admired her work for some time. The workshop was co-hosted by Scott Vincent. Once I signed up for the workshop, I needed to do some more work on making panos. I knew it would require picking up some new gear ;-). In particular, I knew I needed a nodal plate. I have used Really Right Stuff plates and ball heads for years so I went to their site and read through their literature (you can also call or email them, they are very helpful). To save you some time, here is the link to the exact rig I purchased to make some of the images I created on Saturday night (link here).

Manhattan Skyline

I’m really happy with most of the images I came away with especially since this was my first night time shoot and attempt to do panos. I will share with you shortly a 15 image HDR + Pano I created that came out remarkably well!

Scott and Denise were very helpful and the group of people that attended the workshop were very friendly. It was a nice size group of 5 shooters with 2 instructors. I had a great time and came away with what I think are some really good images. I also came away with a few things I did wrong that I need to correct. Alas, that just gives me a reason to try more evening and pano shots of Manhattan, maybe next time form downtown!

Empire State Building at Night

If you would like to see larger versions of the top 2 images, simply click on the galleries section of the website. They are located under Places.

Images captured with (top) Nikon D3x w/70-200 VR-II, (middle) D3x w/24-70 VR-II, (bottom) D700 w/200-400 VR-I on Lexar digital film.

To My Fellow Bucknellians – Please Read!

Rooke Chapel, Bucknell University

It was wonderful seeing so many old friends at our 25th Reunion this summer. Even though I did not have the opportunity to spend time with everyone I wanted to catch up with, many memories were turned up just by seeing some members of our class from afar! For Lee Ann and I the weekend was extra special because our oldest, now a senior at Bucknell, was performing with the Bison Chips during the weekend and my youngest sister Paula, was also celebrating her 20th reunion. It was truly a family experience.

However, I have to admit that I attended reunion with a heavy heart. A few weeks before reunion, I learned of the passing of Professor Michael Moohr (President Bravman’s note on Michael’s passing).

Professor Michael Moohr

Michael was a very special person to me. I think all of us go through life having encountered people who profoundly influence our development. Michael was one of those people for me. I know he was for hundreds of others.

So I’m sure a few of you are asking why I am writing this and why I am doing so in such a public forum? I, with a few other alums, have established a Memorial Scholarship in Michael’s name (Link to introductory letter here). The reason we did so is simple. It was the right thing to do, something Michael taught all of us by his example. Michael devoted 35 years of his life to educating, mentoring and nurturing Bucknell students. He was to many students much more than a professor or advisor. This holds true because he cared for the person first and the student second. By establishing this fund, we enable Bucknell to continue Michael’s legacy. Since the University does not allow broad distribution of mail/email I am hoping to reach as many people as possible with this post.

But I also have good news! $75,000 is the threshold for establishing an endowed scholarship at Bucknell. We now have approximately $68,000 committed which is a huge achievement in such a short fund raising period, especially true during these challenging financial times. So I am asking for your help. We have 2 alums that are willing to contribute half the difference of $7,000 as a matching challenge so we are oh so close to reaching the $75,000 level. If donating to this scholarship is something you would like to do, I thank you. But More importantly, you can help the committee by forwarding this blogs link to anyone you believe might be interested in helping keep Michael’s memory and spirit alive by contributing to the scholarship fund.

I thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I can guaranty 2 things to each of you. First, we will establish this endowed scholarship! Second, Michael is looking down on all of us, touched by our willingness to memorialize what he did out of love.

You will find a quick link to Bucknell’s donation portal with instructions below.
(Bucknell’s Donation Portal)
Once you click the link above, select “Other” under the fund drop down.
Under designation enter “Michael Moohr Memorial”

Photos courtesy of Bucknell University

Hey Connecticut Birders, Come Join a Bird Walk in Wilton

For those of you who are Facebook members, check out Birders Who Blog, Tweet and Chirp. They are organizing a bird walk starting in Wilton, CT in 2 weeks. You can find out more information here: BwBTC.

House Finch Taking Some Sun

I have followed their page for a while and the people involved seem to be really nice, friendly and helpful birders. I have learned a lot from them. I hope to see you there and look forward to making some new friends!

Image captured on Nikon D700 w/600mm f/4 and Tce 1.4-II on Lexar Digital Film

Black Capped Chickadee Bonanza

A group of Black Capped Chickadees has moved into the neighborhood. I was entertained by watching these birds at my feeders for several hours late Saturday afternoon. I had some opportunities to make clicks that I think truly show off this birds beauty. I hope you agree ;-).

Black Capped Chickadee with Fall Foliage in Background

I think the above image would be a great image except for one thing. Its too centered in the frame. You can probably tell I was having trouble keeping the branch lined up in a way that the fall colors made for a nice background. But alas, it caused me to leave my subject centered in the frame and made what could have been a great shot, based on the light, into just a good image.

Black Capped Chickadee Back

I always try to avoid “butt” shots. No one likes those. But I had to photograph the back of this bird. Look at how intricate and delicate the feather patterns are.

Black Capped Chickadee Before Call

I really like the gesture in this bird, right before it was about to call.

Images captured with Nikon D700 w/600mm f/4 and Tce 1.4-II on Lexar Digital Film

Scenes From Dubrovnik Part Deux

Fort Bokar Entrance, Dubrovnik, Croatia
As I mentioned the other day, we thoroughly enjoyed visiting Dubrovnik.

Fort Bokar, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Fort Bokar is the major strucutre of walls and towers that protected the city. This complex structure, considered the largest and most complete in Europe, protected the freedom and safety of its inhabitants for five centuries.

Portions of the walls and Forts that make up the city date back to 1319 and were mostly built by the citizens of that time. In 1979, the old city of Dubrovnik, which includes a substantial portion of the old walls of Dubrovnik, joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. I stronly encourage anyone traveling to the area to visit Dubrovnik and some of the surrounding towns. You will be glad you did!

Windows of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hopefully I will find some time to sort through the images from the local cities and do a blog post on them!

Images captured by Nikon D700 w/ 24-120 VR I on Lexar Digital Film

Some Birds Return

Well, it has been slow, but none the less some of the birds have been returning to the feeders in the yard. One of the first back was the Black Capped Chickadee. There was also a pair of White Breasted Nuthatches.

Tufted Titmouse Eyeing Spot at Feeder

A few Tufted Titmouse’ also were around. Its interesting to see the subdued colors of the birds as they approach winter.

Tufted Titmouse in the V

Yeah, the flat yucky light doesn’t help either. Just the same, I was happy to see some activity again. Im looking forward to see how my new feeding setups work during the winter months!

Scenes from Dubrovnik

We recently spent some time in Europe, a combination family vacation and 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration for my parents. One of the countries we all loved visiting was Croatia.

Dubrovnik Scenic

Our favorite city was by far Dubrovnik. So much so, that I have multiple days worth of images to share with you!

Dubrovnik through a Cannon Hole

One of the aspects I loved of Dubrovnik was the geometric patterns created by the terra cotta roofs.

Roof Tops in Dubrovnik

This picture was created from the fort walls which surrounded and protected Dubrovnik. I hope you enjoy these images and I hope to share more about Dubrovnik soon.

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

Monday Musings – Where Have all the Birds Gone?

Herring Gull Calling

My backyard has been bare. Occasionally I see a House Finch, Cardinal or Downy Woodpecker. But my yard used to be full of them including about 6 American Goldfinches. I have not seen one of the Gold Finches since Irene came through.
American Goldfinch

The only birds I have are Crows and Mourning Doves. One theory I have as to why the feeders have been empty of the more preferred birds is that the Crows and Mourning Doves might be crowding the smaller birds out. To take care of this problem, I switched to Safflower seed this weekend. Safflower seed is high in protein and great for song birds getting fat for winter….but the black birds and Mourning Doves don’t like it. So far, it has made a difference with the Crows and Doves, but still no song birds.

My other theory is that a family of Red Tailed Hawks has still been chasing squirrels and Crows in the yard and I am wondering if the smaller birds have kept away while we have this much hawk activity. It has been very interesting watching the hawks attack the bigger Crows.

I will let you know what happens over the next few weeks. I even traveled this weekend to some of the places where I am usually lucky finding shorebirds, but not much luck. I’m sure I will get some emails about the bounty of hawks and other birds around Connecticut. The birding blogs I read are heavy with sightings. But you have to remember, I am a photographer and birder. Seeing a bird and being close enough to photograph a bird are two very different things ;-).