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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Second Manassas or Second Bull Run - depending on who you are

My last August photo adventure was a trip to the Manassas Battlefield. This weekend marked the 147th anniversary of the Second Battle of Manassas (if you are a Southerner) or the Second Battle of Bull Run (if you are a Northerner). Civil war reinactors spent the weekend camping out at the Brawner Farm (southern part of the battlefield park) dressed in their woolies - yes, woolies in August!!! This morning I headed over there to shoot some morning images. I wanted to get there early for a few reasons - the morning light and the morning cool (well, the morning not so hot). I arrived at the camp at around 8 am and left around 9:30. Here are a few shots - processed appropriately ...

I first came upon the confederate camp - around the old Brawner Farm House.

They were finishing up breakfast and getting set up for the day.

I shot a few more images of this area but ... the farm house had window air conditioner units - how authentic is that?!!!

After spending a little time talking with some of the reinactors, I headed to the Union camp. They were finishing up their morning coffee and getting ready for the events of the day.

Next weekend we are off to Atlanta for some Hokie football and sightseeing fun. I'm not sure if I will be taking my big camera ... who am I kidding, of course I will be.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Car and New Car Salesman, Don

The photo seems to have been cut off - perhaps a glitch in publishing to the blog directly from Flickr. To see the whole image, click on the image. But read my witty banter first!!!

We picked up our new car today, a Red 2010 Toyota Prius. Here she is all shiny and new on the Koons Tysons Toyota lot. Charles disagrees and does not think that a car has a gender - and he doesn't think that "she" should have a name. I disagree. I suspect she will have quite the personality. I will wait to figure that out before naming her. ;)

This is our salesman Don Evans. He was a great salesman. What every car salesman should be. He was not pushy. He was helpful. We really liked him and would recommend him to anyone. An added plus (for Charles): he is a Jayhawk and was in the Air Force (Charles, in addition to being a Hokie, is also a Jayhawk, and his dad was in the Air Force).

This is a grab shot that I took. These events and the people that make a difference should be memorialized!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Creative Spirit

Today, I went on a photo adventure to Glen Eco Park in Cabin John, Maryland. This "arts park" is a former chataqua and amusement park. The old amusement park buildings have an art deco style. But the park is also surrounded by woods. You enter the park by crossing over a wooden bridge over the Mineehaha Creek. Through the lush foilage, you see an old railroad bridge - perhaps this bridge brought people out to the park from downtown D.C.
One of the first things that you see as you enter the park is the Denzel Carousel. It wasn't open yet but the building itself is very colorful - especially with a little HDR processing. Although I had to move a few trash cans out of my shot.
There are lots of neon signs around the park. I am going to have to go back at night and catch the lights on. This is the sign for the main park entrance. I shot several versions of the sign from different angles. I was stuck by how quickly the sky was changing in the background. This shot is also an HDR image.
The sky was changing for good reason. Storms were moving in and out of the area. While shooting it started to rain so I took a break in the "Cuddle Up" pavilion to wait it out. While sitting there one of the park maintenance men, John, showed up to start power washing the concrete floor. The Cuddle Up pavilion is used for all kinds of activities from performances to art classes. John had these great yellow boots and was kind enough to pose for a portrait.
I'm going to have to head back to Glen Echo because there is lots to shoot there. Lots to feed my creative spirit.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There is always something to shoot ... there is - REALLY!!!

While in New York for my parents' anniversary celebration, we stayed in the quaint harbor town of Port Jefferson. I had planned on getting up early on Sunday morning to catch that wonderful morning light on the harbor. Unfortunately, I got to bed way to late the night before - the party ran until 11 and I got lost getting back to the hotel - so early morning shooting was not to be. Instead it was some ZZZZZZZZZZZ's.

While packing the car to head out, we noticed "Giggles." I had to get a shot of a boat named "Giggles!"

Then I noticed this larger boat and its reflection. I didn't like the background of smoke stacks (even if they did have stripes - which you can't even see in this shot) but I always love water reflections so I shifted my camera and shot the reflection. Not the best that I've ever seen but I like it.

Moral of the story: there is always something to shoot - you just have to look for it (even if you only have a few minutes to shoot).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lessons Learned

This past weekend we celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was a great event. I, however, was an awful photographer. I guess that I can blame lots of things for this ... mostly myself for not thinking. I was so wrapped up with everything that was going on that I didn't think clearly about the various things that I knew should have been done - like make sure the auto focus was always turned on, or that I was using the correct ISO, or ...

I did get some good shots. And thank goodness for Photoshop plug-ins. At least some of the shots could be saved somewhat. If you like some of the creative stuff.

I did shoot about 80 images so it will take a little while to process them all. In the meantime ... the couple of honor - my mom and dad!!!

The morning after the party - before we all headed on our separate ways - we were able to have breakfast together - my parents - my sister and her family - and me and my family. Joe's friend Billy shot the images. Unfortunately the autofocus was not turned on and not one shot was in actual focus. I love the Topaz Simplfy filter for an artistic family portrait.

My parents. 50 Years Together ... and still very much in love!!!

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Rawwwwwrrr!!!, originally uploaded by Nadia McIlhany.

Sometimes photography needs to be silly.

I've been wanting a bubble level for my camera. I even went so far as to go to the local camera store to purchase one. But they were out. Then, one of my favorite fun photo related sites,, had one on sale for a reasonable price (hope it is a good one). It came yesterday. In a big box about 50 times its size and included in the box was Rawwwwrrrr!!! (it actually said Rawwwwrrrr on the invoice (he was free).

Sometimes the inspiration for a photo just hits you in the face. What fun.