Visiting Cor Jesu

Visiting Cor Jesu

A few scenes from a visit I took to Cor Jesu, the monastery in East Tennessee for the Handmaids of the Precious Blood.  This is an order of cloistered nuns who spend their days praying for Catholic priests.

Read More

First Snow in East Tennessee

Do not let him fool you - my neighbor's Border Collie, Gus, is a tough cookie who has shelter but prefers to stay outside in all types of weather.  Speaking of cookies, that is his "Mrs. Richer, can I get a cookie, please?" look - and yes, I give him treats.

East Tennessee got its first snow yesterday and more is promised this weekend. I could not get out and about too far from home - Nor'easterners might scoff but you have to know how our back roads go up and down steeply, and bend and curve; driving was treacherous.

But here are some images from around my homestead, Dog Hill.  Click on any to see a larger image.

Christmas 2015 - the no snow edition . . .

Welp, all hopes for a white Christmas are gone this year in East Tennessee, especially driven home last night as I woke up at 2:00 am to the sound of booming thunder and torrential rain.

That is why I decided to make this short video as a sort of Christmas card.  I used still images - mostly my two dogs, Mac (orange collar, morose look) and Sam (blue collar, meth lab) - and applied what is called the parallax effect or 2.5d animation to add some subtle movement to the pictures and make them appear as if they are slow motion clips.

I hope you enjoy it!

Merry Christmas to all!  May 2016 be filled with health, happiness, and holiness for our world!

Went out to find me some cowboys

I saw the signs . . . "Red Gate Rodeo, this weekend."

Now, I love street photography.  But street photography does not need an urban street as a setting - it is all about capturing life as it happens, unscripted, to show the human element in its environment.

And so this "street" that I walked on Saturday night was pitted, grassy, and . . . had manure in certain spots.  It was crowded and hot, with the smell of grease from the funnel cakes mixing with the odors of livestock.  It was country music, it was wads of dip the cheek, it was Marlboros being smoked.  It was kids up too late and moms too tired to care, while dad was in the parking lot with the guys, passing a Mason jar of 'shine.

It was a rodeo.  It was small town America.

And it was great.

Under the Milky Way . . .

Living in East Tennessee, I have the advantage of only having about a two hour drive from an area that is considered a "dark sky" area.   This means that the light pollution that comes from street lights, advertising signs, house lights, etc. is low enough to allow a clearer view of the night sky.  

During this time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is in such a position that the galactic center of the Milky Way is lit more brightly.  Now, look up at the night sky and the fact is you are looking at the Milky Way; our solar system is smack dab in the middle of it.  But what people marvel at is its galactic center.  There are some stunning photos of the Milky Way, usually taken in very remote places since the further you can get away from artificial light, the brighter the stars will be.

Taylor lights up the night sky!

But while images of the Milky Way are beautiful, I think they would be improved with the addition of people.  Imagine a bridal portrait done under the stars, or a family Christmas card, or a senior portrait, or simply yourself because . . .w ell, because you can.  It is beautiful and it is unique.

Are such pictures easy to do?  No.  First, you have to find a dark sky area.  Then, you need a time when the moon is new, or just before or after a new moon, so there is as little illumination in the sky.  You need a clear night.  You need a southern view.  And you need to be there when the Milky Way arches overhead, which differs depending on the time of year.  Maybe it is at 10:00 pm.  Maybe it is at 2:00 am.  And . . . you have to stay still for a long exposure.

Breanna dances beneath the stars.

But it is worth the effort.  Last Saturday, friends and I headed out to the Cherohala Skyway in East Tennessee, about a 30 minute drive from Tellico Plains, TN.  We took some models and had a lot of laughs photographing them under the Milky Way. 

Mike looks like an ethereal gunslinger

Nature provides some great settings for us - let's take advantage of them and make some beautiful images.  If you are game for a light night out, so am I!  Give me a call and let's make arrangements.