Category Archives: Aircraft

My Top Images of 2012

My biggest fear as a photographer is being stuck in a rut.  That is photographing the same things over and over again.  Each year I do have a set of specific places I photograph.  There is the airshow at the Rhode Island National Guard and the Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, CT.  The challenge for me is first to perfect my photographic technique and second to look at the event differently.

This year, I added a few new techniques to my abilities.  I created star trails one evening from my front door and I started practicing portrait photography by setting up a rudimentary basement studio to photograph family and friends.

I also practices a lot more with off camera flash; lighting subjects in my back yard to bring out textures and colors.

Equipment wise, I added the Canon 5D Mark III to my tools.  I simply love this camera.  Moving to a full frame DSLR was also a learning experience with significant changes in how the lens perform at wider angles.  These larger image files are becoming difficult to process on my five-year old computer that was purchased without the thought of any kind of image processing.  So I see a high-end computer in my future.

This year I also exhibited for the first time in an Art Gallery and even sold a print.  I also set up camp at a “Harvest Festival” in my home town to see if any of my images would sell.  A few did but the rain all day limited the number of people attending the event.

With all that said, here are what I consider my top images of 2012…

Self Portrait. 

Inspired by Rodney Pike, I set off the create some manipulated portraits.  To to this however I needed to learn how to create portraits which sent me down the path of creating a rudimentary studio in my basement.  It was great learning how to set up the lights to create the portraits.  Syl Arena’s book: Speedliter’ s Handbook is an excellent reference to learn how to use flash from set up to capture.

Altered Ego |

Reggie – Mom’s Evil Cat

This image won Image of the Year at the Stony Brook Camera Club.  There were plenty of excellent images in this competition.  This image won on the cuteness factor.I think it brings out the true personality of mom’s cat.
Reggie | Mom's Evil Cat.

Circles of Light

Creating this image took learning a new technique, capturing star trails.  Lance Keimig’s night photography inspired me in a session he taught at the New England Camera Club Council Conference.  Pages 204 to 217 in his book “Night Photography: Finding your way in the dark” tells you all you need to know.

A circle of light |

Boston in the Morning

I love to photograph Boston.  For several years I have been photographing from the same location in East Boston.  This year I choose a new location and planned to photograph through the night staying at the Hyatt Hotel on this location.  (I was catching a plane out of Logan Airport in the morning).  Well mother nature was not good to me and that evening the wind was so strong, it kept vibrating my tripod and I was left with a series of “soft” images and two very cold hands…

The next morning, I had enough time to capture this single image of the city as the sun was just rising behind me.

Sunrise over Boston | Boston in the morning as viewed by the Hyatt Hotel in East Boston.

Butterfly with an Attitude

My daughter and I went to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield, MA this year.  It was great making images with my daughter.  Afterwards, it was great seeing the images she created.  As I saw butterflies and flowers, she saw turtles, lizards and birds.  I realized afterwards I had missed so much and have a lot to learn about observation from my daughter.

Butterfly with an Attitude 1 | Photographed at Magic Wings, MA

(Looks like this butterfly has a nose ring…)

Boston Marathon

This year the Boston Marathon was one of the hottest temperature-wise.  Temp was 79 at the start of the race and topped out in the high 80’s.  My son ran this race.  It was his first marathon and he ran “unofficially”.  He made it to completion with a decent time.  I am very impressed with his determination to complete the marathon.

These photographs are early in the race where everyone are eager and full of energy.  I love the portrait of my son but am not sure of the haircut.
Boston Marathon 2012 |

Mike Runs |

Solo Heart.

These Bleeding Heart flowers, grow in my backyard.  This was the last flower of the year.  I captured this macro image in a basement setup.  This image is 24 images stacked using a technique to bring out a very deep depth of field.  The images were combined using a program called Helicon Focus.

Solo Heart | The last bleeding heart standing in the garden.  Multilayer Maco

The RI Airshow.

These are two different images than what I have created in the past.  The truck was simply luck.  I was tracking the truck as it raced across the runway when there was a Boom!  The pyrotechnics were spectacular.  Timing was great just as the parachute deployed.

The capture of the Mustang was something I have been trying to get a clean capture for years.  You need a slow shutter speed to give the feel of spinning propellers but be steady enough to bring the rest of the image in sharp.  I still see flaws and need more work perfecting this technique.

You can read more in a previous blog post.

Boom |

Never Miss | This P-51D Mustang, affectionately nick named Never Miss, was in service from 1945 to 1956.  Fortunately it never saw military action.   In 1996 she was named Never Miss by James Elkins who owned it for 13 years.

Lek Yuen Bridge

This is a foot bridge found in the new territories of Hong Kong that crosses the Shing Mun river.  This bridge provides a majestic view of the downtown area of the “New Territories”. Captured using both night photography and HDR techniques.

Lek Yuen Bridge | A foot bridge found in the new territories of Hong Kong crosses the Shing Mun river.  This bridge provides a majestic view of the downtown area.

Buttonwood Farm 2012

Every year the Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, CT grows 10 acres of sunflowers.  People come from all around to visit and photograph this field.  Donations are collected for the Make –A-Wish foundation.I needed to stand in the middle of the field to capture this image with the barn in the background.

Buttonwood Farm 2012 | Every year the Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, CT grows 10 acres of sunflowers.  People come from all around to visit and photograph this field.  Donations are collected for the Make –A-Wish foundation.

Adirondack Balloon Festival.

In what may become a new tradition, the Adirondack Balloon Festival is a great place to go in September to capture some great images.There are some risks however in that mother nature can limit the flights and the first launch was cancelled on account of winds.  The following three images provides a feel of what images can be captured.

In my Beautiful, my Beautiful Balloon. Captured in the early morning, this balloon was part of an early morning balloon launch of 100 balloons.

Up Up and Away | In my Beautiful, my Beautiful Balloon.  Captured in the early morning, this balloon was part of a 100 balloon launch at Glens Falls, NY.

Fireworks over Lake George.

Fireworks over Lake George |

Morning Glow as this balloon master fills the balloon.

Baloon Master |


Still life in my back yard.  After the rain one morning I set out to photograph the turning leaves.  This image was captured with the leaves still on the tree using off camera flash to light the subject.

Fall |

Paths to Nowhere.

The next two images is a new idea that I am developing.  They are simply paths to nowhere.  The first image is a roadway in Minnesota in a low population part of the region. The second image, is my last image of 2012 a walk along the Upper Charles Trail in Milford, MA.

I think I do need a subject in these images a payoff at the end of the trail.  Still working on this concept.

The Road Home | Route 59

A walk in the cold | Along the Upper Charles Trail Milfird during the last snow of 2012.

Martha Mary Church

Martha Mary Church at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn and Grist Mill – Sudbury, MA.  Couldn’t find the Grist Mill but found this beautiful church.

Martha Mary Church | Martha Mary Church at Longfellow's Wayside Inn and Grist Mill - Sudbury, MA.  Couldn’t find the Grist Mill but found this beautiful church.

Our Lady of Victory

Located in Tannersville, PA, this is my brother’s church.  A Roman Catholic Church with a very vibrant community.  Captured just after Christmas celebration.  The light reflected through the clerestory windows provides dramatic light across the crucifix.  I saw this light and immediately saw the symbolism of the resurrection of Jesus.  Just after this capture, the clouds hid the sun and the light show was over.

Our Lady of Victory | Love how the light luminated the cross in this image of the interior of Our Lady of Victory Church, Stroudsburg, PA.


RI National Guard Airshow – Post Show Gallery

This past weekend I had a chance to photograph the RI Airshow over two days.  My first day was by invitation as a member of the media.  It was great being able to get to the airfield with my friends in photography to capture the event and just talk photography.  The “pre show” contained many families of the National Guard.  It was great seeing parents with their children showing off the wonderful aircraft displays around the airfield.  It is something to pause and think about the sarifice these people do for protecting us.

Phil Giordano captured some excellent photos this day and you can see the images in his Gallery.

The second day I went was on was father’s day and I felt guilty leaving early for this event but I just had to go.  My son and girlfriend met up which was great to have their company.  Also I met up with Dave Gould, a master photographer who also hung out with me capturing some wonderful images.

The RI National Guard does an excellent job organizing this program and providing quite a show.  I am honored to have the chance to attend this event each year and thank the men and women of the military who do what they must to protect our country.

Here are some of my images from the show. Enjoy!

RI National Guard Airshow – Jun16 – 17

The RI National Guard will hold their annual airshow this coming weekend Jun 16 – 17.  It is always a fantactic event.  A great place to bring the family and enjoy the beauty of flight.  This year the Thunderbirds are the headliers but there are several other excellent performances.  The schedule is here  .

RING Open House

RI National Guard Airshow 2011 – Enhanced Podcast

This is my 4th year photographing the Rhode Island National Guard Airshow.  This year I photographed over two days.  Day one I attended as a member of the press and on day two I attended as a guest of Oracle.  Sean Tucker flies the Oracle Challenger bi-plane.  He provides a wonderful performance pushing the limits of this bi-plane.  In addition, Sean is simply genuinely nice guy.

This year the Blue Angles flew their F/A-18 Hornets across the sky.  It is  a beautiful thing to watch their precision and perfection.

The 2011 RI Airshow

Watch on Youtube in HD

Look at Stills


Ponderings about Light and Time

Ponderings about Light and Time

I spent some time last week at the New England Camera Club Conference. It is an energy filled event that keeps us photographers busy learning everything from improving our image creation skills to inspirational presentations from great photographers showcasing their work. Presentations by Wendell Phillips, Kathy Tarantola and Andre Gallant were my highlights this year

One topic that I hear over and over again about photography is that photography is about light. Great photography is about correctly capturing that light. People talk about the golden moment when the sun is at an angle where the images captured are spectacular; people talk about cloudy skies and using that time towards capturing the bright colors in flowers. People are making careers out of teaching flash techniques to modify light. I do agree that light is very important in creating great images.

I think however equally important in creating a great photograph to Light is Time. Time has so many dimensions in photography; I wonder why I don’t hear equally as often discussions about time.

First the obvious, one’s choice of shutter speed is so important in making great pictures. In photographing air shows for example, photographing an F16 flying by would certainly require not only fast response time, but also a very fast shutter speed. However at the same show, a prop based airplane would require a slow shutter speed to provide the necessary motion blur on the prop to make the image dynamic.

Less obvious is timing when to press the shutter. Picking that moment is critical. As Henri Cartier-Bresson called it, this is the decisive moment. We have to wait for that moment. Capturing a moment a few seconds later or earlier could determine the greatness of an image.

And then there is night photography, low light photography and photography using neutral density filters. All these techniques are to slow down time. Night photography, one of my favorite genres, allows us to see the effects of time over a long period. The camera sees so much more that we can with long exposures. Yes there is Light but there is also Time. Night photography integrates many moments and layers this effect on the image.

In our photography, we are also capturing Time. A moment in life. A moment that will not happen again. I think this is the big idea here. Photography is about collecting moments of life. A flower photographed today, will not be here tomorrow. A family portrait today will be different tomorrow. A great example of capturing time is Nicholas Nixon’s family portraits of the Brown Sisters. Here he captures time quite well for these sisters over the years.

I think it is here, in thinking about the Time we are capturing, where we truly tell a story about that moment. Yes, Light is important but with great Light and perfect Time that is what truly makes exceptional photographs.