Saturday, April 21, 2018

Cape Henry Lighthouse #8

Cape Henry Lighthouse is located at Fort Story, Virginia. John McComb, Jr., an architect from New York, won the bid to construct the Cape Henry Lighthouse. The lighthouse's foundation is Aquia sandstone while the body is Rappahannock sandstone. The light house was finished November 15, 1792, and stands 90 feet tall and 26 feet in diameter at the base.

The lighthouse was originally constructed with wood stair case and the lamp was lit with whale oil. In 1857, a second order Fresnel lens was installed. In 1867, the cast iron staircase replaced the wood staircase.

By 1873 a report of the Lighthouse Board to Congress stated that the original Cape Henry Light house was showing its age. Large cracks in the masonry resulted from the installation of the cast iron staircase in 1867. At the time, engineers were unsure if the cracks were cosmetic or compromised its structural integrity.

Congress appropriated $75,000 in 1878, for a new lighthouse to be built. The Cape Henry Light Station would ultimately cost $150,000 to construct. 

New Cape Henry's distinctive black and white pattern was chosen to contrast the original tower's brown and grey facade.  New Cape Henry lighthouse keeper's quarters are still visible near the tower. Currently, the light station is owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Biltmore Estate #7

The Biltmore 

 Recently I went to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville North Carolina. The Biltmore Estate is a place that George W. Vanderbilt created as an escape from everyday life for family and friends. The Biltmore has up to 250 rooms on a 8,000 acre estate and includes wineries, gardens, dining, shopping, trails, and the Biltmore it's self.

The Conservatory

        The Conservatory is one of the 8 gardens in the Biltmore (not including the one with the trail).  The Conservatory was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt. This glass-roofed building nurtures exotic orchids, ferns, and palms. During the Vanderbilts' time, it provided flowers and plants for Biltmore House.


The Biltmore Winery was established in 1985 and was inspired by George Vanderbilt's passion for collecting and serving fine wines. There are more than 20 handcrafted wines and the Winery is America's most-visited Winery.

The Biltmore has daily tours and you can book your stay at this link:

Tip #3 Storytelling

As a photographer I have heard many times "This photo is amazing!"

There is nothing wrong with this at all of course. Amazing is a great compliment. However, I want viewers to see my images for more then what they are. I want to create images with stories behind them. When I started out in photography I was told to photograph what you know and what you are most interested in. Instead over the years I have learned to not only capturing what is given to me, but to go out and photograph something that is around me.  

I like my images to tell a rich story when a viewer sees them. Something more then just that particular moment captured in a split second. I am sure you have heard the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words." many times. As a photographer, I believe this is true when we dedicate ourselves to seeking out images that really tell a story.

The last few weeks my home needed repairs. A crew came out to make the necessary repairs. 

Every morning the workers showed up rain or shine to fix my roof. 

After a few days observing how challenging their job was I felt their stories needed to be told. 

Much of my photography focuses on people, more action sports photography. However, every now and then I like to step outside my comfort zone and capture something new and fresh. Simply taking a photo of a person is often not enough to tell a story. When possible, show context in your image.  

The photograph above shows the tools of his trade and the backdrop of being on the rooftop. Without showing this we'd only get half the story. Include your subject's environment to add not only perspective, but meaning.

I have read many posts on the rules of photography. Sometimes breaking these rules tells a better story. Never be afraid to try different things. Shoot the same scene from different angles, look for unusual perspectives, and take lots of photographs. That is how I learn to take better images.

Find the best POV (point of view) for your story.

When you have a specific story you want to tell, it is easier to place yourself in the best position to capture a shot. Think about what you want to say --- and who or what you want to highlight. With these images I want to show the hard work that these contractors do that can go unnoticed. 

Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. 

I received a message from someone who saw these images and wrote, 

"You make house maintenance look epic!"

....and that is why I love what I do. 

What story will your images tell???