“Best of 2019”

Here we are again as 2019 draws to a close. As has been customary for many years now I would like to share with you some of my favorite photographs of the year.

I don’t usually have them in any particular order, but this year I arranged them by season. Beginning with a stunning but very cold sunrise from Lake Ontario during winter, and ending with some wonderful fall color in Michigan this autumn!

For many years now I’ve participated in Jim Goldstein’s annual “Best of” Project. I appreciate Jim hosting this on his blog each year, giving photographers the chance to share their “best of” or favorite images of the year.

These are just a few of my favorite images of this year, I hope you enjoy this short trip through the seasons of 2019 with me!

“Lake Ontario Morning Reflections”
A gorgeous winter sunrise along the shores of Lake Ontario!
“Foggy Spring Forest”
During a spring visit to Shenandoah National Park I enjoyed some amazing mountain views, but I especially enjoyed some lovely and mysterious fog on a walk into the forest!
“Magnificent Sunrise Silhouette 2”
Absolutely stunning sunrise and this beautiful tree in silhouette on the shores of Lake Ontario in late spring! A tree that I returned to many times as winter’s bare branches turned into full spring foliage.
“Tew Falls View Two”
This view of Tew Falls in Ontario, Canada was especially beautiful to me because of all the lush green foliage at the time.
“Fifty Point Marina Reflections”
I spent many days at Fifty Point Conservation Area near Hamilton, Ontario during late spring and early summer. The reflections on this day at Fifty Point Marina were lovely!
“Rock Garden Spring”
Another place that I spent countless hours at during spring and summer this year was The Rock Garden at The Royal Botanical Gardens. So lovely and peaceful. I explored every nook and cranny, and could do it again and again and never be tired of the beauty! Here you’ll see wonderful reflections of spring foliage and color.
“Marquette Harbor Lighthouse 2”
I love to walk on the beaches of Marquette, Michigan. The light was really beautiful on this particular morning and shed a warm glow on the sand, trees, and lighthouse!
“Canyon Falls Summer”
Photographing waterfalls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a favorite activity of mine, and this year I thoroughly enjoyed photographing Canyon Falls on a drizzly warm summer’s day!
“A Presque Isle Morning”
The rock formations combined with the changing colors of Lake Superior at Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan are always amazing to me. This was an early summer morning, and the warm glow of sun hitting the rocks, the bright green evergreen trees in the distance set against the beautiful blue skies made this a keeper for me!
“Maybury Sanatorium”
I had the opportunity to enjoy peak fall foliage in Maybury State Park in an area that used to be part of the grounds of Maybury Sanatorium.

I thank you all for stopping by and checking out my favorite images of 2019! I hope you all have a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous, and adventurous 2020!

“Forever and a Day”

Well, it sure feels like forever and a day since I’ve posted. Sorry about that guys! Its been a busy past several months! Plenty of it was spent traveling.

I thought I’d share just a few images from this past spring till now. I won’t go into great detail in this post, but each photo has a little info about where and when it was made. Enjoy!

A beautiful combination of sunlight, fog, and clouds in The Blue Ridge Mountains during early May!
Gorgeous Irises later in May. A stunning array of them at The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario!
One of my favorite sunrise images of this year so far. This one was along the shores of Lake Ontario!
During early summer, enjoying a rainy day at Tew Falls near Hamilton, Ontario!
A wonderful late summer morning in Marquette, Michigan along the shores of Lake Superior!
I never tire of the beauty to be seen at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Michigan!
A stunning late summer view through the flowers as you come up to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan!

As we head rapidly into the autumn season I hope you’ll have some time to get outdoors and enjoy the cooler days and changing of the leaves!

“The Blue Ridge in Summer”

I was going through some of my photographs recently of The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia that I made during a Mid-June trip. I found these two images of a very beautiful, humid, and stormy summer day in the mountains!

The clouds were dark and heavy as was the air all around. The kind of  air with humidity that gives layers of haze in the distance, and feels thick to breathe.

The forests were full of trees and were a lush green from previous rains, giving beautiful contrasts of colors in both greens and blues!

I’m looking forward to heading back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Shenandoah National Park sometime this spring or summer. There’s always an ever changing landscape there just waiting for me around the bend!

"Storm on Blue" Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.
“Storm on Blue”
Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.

“Lookin Over the Blues”

Great news: Our snow has finally totally melted here!

I spent each day of this last week checking one particular spot to see if any crocus had popped up yet. I was thrilled to see one purple crocus yesterday. I think my excitement got the best of me. I have been going out several times a day to check on its progress, and just enjoy the simple beauty.

Now I’m talking about spring, and crocus. You might even expect I’d put up one of the many images I took of that one flower, but no, that’s not what today is all about.

I was looking back through some images from last spring. Early May to be exact. This one looked like the view I’d like to be seeing right now.

When I go to Shenandoah National Park I make sure to hike out to different locations especially to waterfalls. Sometimes though I just want to enjoy a leisurely drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains and stop at the easily accessible and wonderful overlooks along Skyline Drive.

One thing that I have appreciated ever since I was a child, was the look of the lovely stone walls that line many areas of the park.

I seem to have a special love of stone in general. Cobblestone streets, and buildings. The stones along Lake Superior and the walls they have built with them. Historical architecture built with many types of stone. You name it. I love it all!

In this simple scene below, I place just as much importance on the wall as I do the wondrous scene beyond it. Each stone carefully placed by hand, enhancing the natural beauty of Skyline Drive. Not only for looks, but for safety reasons as well.

So the next time you’re in Shenandoah National Park, look not only to the mountains, valleys and clouds. Look also to these walls which were originally built during the depression era. Walls that are at each of the 75 overlooks on the drive, as well as along much of the mountain sides!

As far as the park goes; Did you know that in 1939 the entrance fee for a car was 25 cents? Times sure have changed, and of course 25 cents went a lot further back then than it does now.

Times have changed but beauty still remains, and I thank those men that worked so hard, so long ago to make this place what is is today!

"Lookin Over the Blues"
“Lookin Over the Blues”

“My Special Farewell to 2013”

As the year is drawing to a complete close, I have been reflecting on many things that happened during 2013. I know in my last post I already gave you my 10 favorite, best, or best selling images of the year.

Now I’d like to share with you a few images from this past spring that have special meaning to me. As a lot of you know. I lost my father in May. It came without much notice, and I was not able to get to him in time before he passed away. I was driving from where I live, to the hospital he was in, in another state. The news reached me when I was halfway there.

I didn’t stop driving, in fact I might have driven even faster, with lots of tears a long the way. One thing I do feel good about is that I was able to have the chance to be with him in his hospital room for a short while after he had already passed away. Many of our family members gathered around my father, as we reflected upon his life, the lives he brought together and the gifts that he gave to the world.

He was a nature lover of the purist kind, he was someone who gave me my love of all the beauty out there, and how to enjoy and capture it. He never went anywhere without his camera in hand, which was something I learned very early on.

These next few images here were taken in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. A favorite place of his. A place where we were able to spend a lot of time together, and that we both have a special connection to.

 "Dark Skies Leaving" Late afternoon sunlight coming in as a thunderstorm pushes out across the mountains.
“Dark Skies Leaving”
Late afternoon sunlight coming in as a thunderstorm pushes out across the mountains.

 "Rainbow on the Ridge" A beautiful rainbow formed over the mountains as the storm passed!!
“Rainbow on the Ridge”
A beautiful rainbow formed over the mountains as the storm passed!!

  "Depth of Time" A final goodbye, an ending. The sun had set on this day, and on my father's life.  Beautiful clouds and fog moved in quickly as it got darker. I stayed there watching until I could see no more.
“Depth of Time”
A final goodbye, an ending. The sun had set on this day, and on my father’s life.
Beautiful clouds and fog moved in quickly as it got darker. I stayed there watching until I could see no more.

This year was one of great loss, but also of great wonder, depth, and blessings.

I wish you all the very best in this coming year, as we all travel along in this journey of life together!!

~ Peace ~

“Raindrops on Springtime”

As you can see, I’m still trying to get in some more spring images before fall arrives, and being that it is now September 1st, well it’s certainly on our doorstep!!

In May, I found large areas of beautiful bright pink Azaleas in Virginia. This day happened to be a rainy one, which played really nicely with the flowers.

For the most part I’ve been processing them in color, but I decided to do one in monochrome. This one was processed first in Lightroom, then in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

There isn’t a lot of contrast here, but I like the tone on tone look to it. When adding more contrast, it seemed to detract somehow from the flowers themselves.

Take a look, and see how you like it!! 🙂

-Raindrops on Springtime- mono

“Dogwood Curtain” 2

“Dogwood Curtain” 2

-Dogwood Curtain-  mono 2

A day of pink
Of blossoms fair.

Wind blows gently
Petals flare.

Distant thoughts
My soul to share.

Far off bench
Anyone there?

A day in spring
The world is new.

Among the blossoms
I’ll be with you.

~~ Rachel Cohen~~

“Time Well Spent”

When I think of time spent out in nature, to me it’s time well spent. On one of my visits into Shenandoah National Park. I stopped at the Dickey Ridge Visitors Center.

It was really quiet. There had been storms and fog, in and out of the area that day, so there weren’t many people there. The ones that were there had a lovely scenic vista and relative peace and quiet!

This view caught my eye, I really wanted to get the bench into the scene. I waited to see if I would be able to capture it without anyone there, but that didn’t happen during my short time at Dickey Ridge. I needed to move on down the road to some trails that were calling my name! 🙂 I decided to capture this scene with one person sitting enjoying a bite to eat, taking in the fresh mountain air, and scenic view. Another person off to the side readied herself to take some photos without feeling hurried by other people, just taking it all in.

I rarely include people in my images, but in this instance I’m really glad that I did. They add a dimension to the photo that makes it more complete.

As we head into the last stretches of summer, into the fall season. I find myself still processing images from springtime.

So enjoy spring in my images now, and summer outdoors while it’s still here. For soon I shall be posting lots of autumn wonder, and fall foliage!! 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend ahead to all!!

-Time Well Spent-

“Front Royal Town Square”

This past spring I had the opportunity to spend some time not only in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but also a little wandering around some small towns, especially Front Royal, Virginia. My favorite area of course was the historic district.

This scene is of part of the town square, which isn’t actually shaped like a square, but it is a lovely park with a beautiful gazebo in the center, in the historic district.

I decided to go really wide with this shot. I would like to have had a Fisheye, but didn’t have one unfortunately! Maybe next time! 🙂

The colors and tones really came out nicely against the beauty of the blue sky and clouds. It was a picture perfect day!!

After spending a few hours walking up and down the streets of Front Royal, I headed up into the mountains. The weather you see here was totally different from what I experienced just a few miles away, and a couple of thousand feet higher in elevation.

If you’ve been checking out any of my images on 500px. You may have noticed that! 🙂

“Front Royal Town Square”

-Front Royal Town Square-

“We Smile”

As you’ll see in a minute I am again referencing a song from way back in the early 1970’s sung by The Carpenters.
As soon as I saw this rainbow image while getting ready to process it in Lightroom, the words “We smile” came to my mind. When that happened, well the song “We’ve Only Just Begun”popped into my head. From there all the thoughts of new beginnings and the beauty of new beginnings came out.

Spring is a season of re-birth, new growth, and new beginnings. A time to embrace life, enjoy nature, nurture nature, and more importantly nurture ourselves both in body and spirit.

Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains spring is a wonderful time of year, and being able to see a rainbow after a big spring storm gives the sense of newness, fresh start, and pure beauty.

Read the lyrics to the song below the image. If you remember them from the 1970’s then feel free to rejoice!! 🙂 If they’re new to you, then think about them, and enjoy them with the beauty of this image!! 🙂

~~ We Smile~~

-We Smile-

“We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way
We’ve only begun

Before the risin’ sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run
And yes, we’ve just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day, together

And when the evening comes, “we smile”
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day, together, together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun