I have been wanting to photograph Upper Caney Creek Falls ever since I saw a shot taken by Decatur photographer, Charlie Seifried. It was a panoramic shot that was made into a poster promoting the Bankhead National Forest in northwest Alabama. Charlie presented me with a copy after he hosted a photo workshop for our photo staff at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The photo, ever since, has inspired me to try to capture these beautiful falls myself.
This past week, I finally got the opportunity. In spite of the morning rain, I trugged on in hopes that the skies would clear. Actually, I wanted cloud cover to provide a more even, less contrasty light (photo 1). When the sun finally did arrive, I had to adjust a bit and find a way of photographing the falls while taking advantage of the sunshine (photo 2).
The falls lie just outside the Sipsey Wilderness, accessible from CR 2 off Cranal Road (CR 6). The falls were flowing pretty good despite the lack of rain in the area, evidenced by the extremely low level of the Sipsey River.
The two examples here fall a bit short of Charlie’s interpretation, but I thought they represented a good first attempt. I’ll have to return soon since I didn’t get a chance to photograph the Lower Falls this time. The Lower Falls are just downstream, about an hour’s hike. The Canon EF 17-40 f4L was used on a Canon 5D for both images.
This weekend I thought I’d experiment with the Orton effect on a couple of recent images I made on my return from Canada. The Orton Effect, named after Michael Orton, is a technique whereby two copies of the same image are sandwiched together. One image is rendered sharp and the other is shifted out of focus. Together, they create an image that displays a kind of wispy, dreamlike quality. The effect is not successful on every image however. Generally, it takes an image that has a good bit of detail. There are a number of ways to achieve the technique using Photoshop; some employ layers, and others use separate copies of the image, and the trick is to exactly superimpose the sharp copy on top of the blurry one. Each is underexposed so that once combined, they retain the density of the original.
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
That’s the opening verse of Canada’s national anthem. My wife and I just recently returned from a visit to our northern neighbor, specifically to Montreal and Quebec City. It was a return visit to Montreal, but our first visit to Quebec City. Both cities evoke a very European feeling where French is the predominant language. The old parts of the cities preserve much of the old French and British cultures, which played such major roles in the creation of these two cities.
I always take special interest in the architecture of the place I happen to be visiting. I have always had an interest in architecture, my major course of study in college. Wherever I go, I try to leave some time to check out the local architectural landmarks, especially if they include any Frank Lloyd Wright creations. Neither Montreal nor Quebec disappointed in that regard. Both cities combine a harmonious mix of the old and the new. Buildings are generally maintained in excellent condition despite centuries of withstanding the harsh elements.
The Musee Pointe-a-Calliere in Montreal, is a marvelous modern structure which is located on the site of the founding of the city (originally Ville-Marie) at the juncture of the St. Lawrence and St. Pierre rivers. The museum houses the ruins of the older structures including the renovated Customs House. A permanent archeological dig is currently underway within the walls of this museum. A perspective control lens was used for this capture on a Canon 5D.
An interior view of the arched windows of Sainte Anne de Beaupre. Located just a short drive from Quebec City, the basilica denotes the site of the oldest pilgrimage shrine in North America. The church blends Gothic architecture with Romanesque details, and the 240 stained glass windows magnificently depict the life of Saint Anne. On entering the church, one can see a tower of crutches and canes piled up near the entrance, a testament to the healing powers of Saint Anne de Beaupre. The Canon EF 17-40 f4L was used on a Canon 5D.
This past Saturday, I took some time out to check out the Arts on the Square festivities in downtown Athens, Alabama. It appeared to be well attended and the weather even cooperated. The threatened rains never came, at least not while I was there anyway. I believe this was the third annual event which provides a venue for local artists to show and sell their artwork. I saw some extremely talented painters, artists in clay, jewelry and mixed media. Naturally, I had to check out the fellow photographers, and was very impressed with the quality of work. It’s the only art form I feel qualified to critique. There were lots of activities for the kids and ways for them to express their creative talent as this budding painter demonstrated. Leica 35mm/f2.0 on Leica M8.
As a way of introduction, let me say that I have been a professional photographer for over 25 years, am currently based in Athens, Alabama but offering services throughout North Alabama. I have worked as a photojournalist, a commercial and portrait photographer, and most recently as the manager of the imaging and multimedia departments at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
I have witnessed an amazing evolution in the world of photography, and have been fortunate to have been involved with the transition from an analog to a digital world at several organizations.
Although my background was very much centered in the world of film, prints and darkrooms, I have grown to appreciate all that digital imagery has to offer, and have embraced it enthusiastically. The skeptical view, I held, that digital would never replace film, has given way to an acceptance of this “equal to the task” technology and some would even claim that it has now surpassed film in almost every category except, perhaps, in the area of permanence.
So, I invite you to come along with me as I highlight some of my work, both current and a some from the past. I hope to showcase both the current commercial and portrait work I am doing as well as some of my personal work which often gives me some of my greatest satisfaction.