Kenyan-born Socialist Democratically re-elected President United States

Dear Mr. President,

Now that the voting is done. Now that the counting is complete (Florida, WTF! Again?). Now that every television commercial will not be a political ad. Now that those fatuous concerns about birth certificates and college transcripts are stuffed where they belong. Can we finally start a serious conversation about climate change?

That’d be great.



american flags at the rally for sanity, 2010

Diminutive Descendant of Dinosaurs

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Female

The days are shorter and the shadows longer. The maples and oaks have shed their leaves and stand naked in the wind.

And by now this ruby-throated hummingbird, who visits my backyard each spring has moved on. She is on her way to winter feeding grounds somewhere in Central America. A monumental journey for such a tiny creature. And if that feat isn’t impressive enough, consider that this bird weighing a mere 3.8 grams has to cross the Gulf of Mexico – a non-stop, 500 mile flight from the Florida panhandle to the Yucatan Peninsula. (And do it again on the return trip!)

The hope, of course, is that the trip is not for nothing. That her winter home is still there when she arrives. That habitat loss is kept to a minimum… or halted completely. Or better still, reversed! One can hope.

Of course, my personal hope is that I am lucky enough to photograph her again next Spring.


Fortuitous Photo Ops

great blue heron, great falls maryland


I was on the Virginia shore of the Potomac River shooting kayakers in the falls when my peripheral vision spied this heron as it glided down. With a 6 foot wing span and gangly legs it landed awkwardly on the rocks of the Maryland side. The bird then began to jump from boulder to boulder looking for a decent place to fish. I waited.

As you might notice the grey coloring of a great blue heron’s plumage camouflages it well against these rocks. Not an ideal background. Yet, this one hopped again and landed for just a moment in the spot you see here. I couldn’t have asked for more. I shot.

It’s not often your subjects in the wild place themselves in such choice spots. Be ready when they do.

Farm Fresh in The City

A lady checks the produce stand at Magruder's in NW Washington, DC.

There’s just something about strolling through a produce stand on a crisp Autumn day. Watching the customers as they carefully examine the various tubers, fruits and vegetables. The murmur of neighbors and acquaintances, “What are you preparing for tonight? Is that a squash? What is a “goard”, anyway?”

Of course, textures and colors attract as well.


Couple with smart phones on DC metro.

Recently I’ve noticed a new “hashtag” in the Instagram universe: #nofilter.

Ironically, when you come across that hashtag and click on it, you see that a great many of the thousands of images actually do have a “filter” applied. So I’m not sure everybody is getting the point of that particular hashtag. But that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is to point out that there is no such thing as “no filter.” Even a straight-out-of-the-camera image from a $5,000 dSLR has a “filter” applied. Whether you own a Nikon or a Canon, a Droid or an iPhone; whether you apply one of the built in treatments within Instagram or use Photoshop CS5 or LightRoom3 or 4 or the Camera Bag app…”filters” are all over the place. Different algorithms for different cameras will render red, green and blue differently, also color saturation, contrast and white-balance. No matter the camera, the moment you depress the shutter reality is altered. A “filter” is applied.

Instagram and similar apps offer pre-made treatments making it easy for you to give your image the look you’d like. Some are subtle, some are over-the-top. And some people get unnecessarily exercised over these things. They think that everyone 20 years down the road will “regret” ever using things like Instagram or Hipstamatic. Can’t say that I agree. In fact, whether you’re a pro or a hobbyist, no matter the camera or the app, knock yourself out. Ignore the curmudgeons.

Experiment. Explore. Enjoy.