Leaving The Top Off The Celestial Blender

Driving up the path to the top of the field that morning, it looked as though the Almighty was making a Strawberry Smoothie and left the top off the blender.  It was Spectacular!

Easily, the most stunning pre-dawn I have seen in the fields since I came here 16 years ago.  And that’s saying something since I am up for just about every sunrise year round.

Shot with a Nikon D800E and an 18-35mm lens and a Nikon D700 with a 20mm Prime. Spot metering, f/8 ISO 400. Thanks for looking and have a great week ahead. See you next time.


Snow Encore

A snowstorm in southeastern North Carolina is pretty rare.  Two within a week is unheard of, but last Wednesday our second storm of the season blew through.

Not quite the disaster the previous storm was but enough to again close the schools down and send out the road crews.  In fact, the schools closed down 12 hours before the first flake floated to the ground.  All told, there was maybe an inch.  A little more in the wooded areas thanks to the wind and drifting and a bit of snow and ice left from the week before.

I know, not a big deal to those who live in more snow prone areas.  My sister in Maine calls me a “Winter Wimp.”  It’s all about what you are used to dealing  with.  I suspect, we’d better get used to the weather extremes because as Bob Dylan said, “The Times they are a’changing.”

A couple of asides.  Fed Ex and UPS had no problem with the weather.  UPS delivered my D750 from Nikon.  I had returned it to have the shutter checked as part of a Nikon Recall.  They gave it a complete once over.  New Shutter, replacement of the rubber grips and seals, sensor cleaning, overall cleaning and updated with factory specs including the latest firmware.  Thank you Nikon.

And Fed Ex delivered my 134 dollar used Nikon 80-210mm f 4-5.6 D lens. ( The “D” indicates the lens sends distance information to the camera for matrix metering.)  Nikon made this in Japan into the early 2000’s.  No one makes lenses like this anymore.  All metal. Lightning fast auto focus and among the sharpest lenses Nikon has ever made. It’s a push pull lens meaning you extend the barrel of the lens to the wanted distance.  If you can find a good one with little use, they’re a steal.  And, they work with just about every SLR and DSLR camera Nikon has made..  I bought this one for my Nikon F-100 film camera.  Thanks for the read and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

A Rare Snowfall

It doesn’t snow here often, maybe once every two or three years, if that, so, it’s a pretty big deal when it does.  Even a few inches will close schools for a week and empty the bread and milk shelves in the grocery stores.  And, if there’s freezing rain involved, the power usually goes out for several days.  Armed with my “hunker down list”, I made a supply run to stock up on, among things, gasoline, to keep the generators running in the event of a blackout. ( The power stayed on and the gasoline wound up in my truck.) The storm which came overnight, topped out at between 3 and 4 inches.   It was more than enough to cover the ground and pile up on the evergreens.   I packed up my camera and headed out with a sack of black oil sunflower seeds in hopes of catching a few bird shots. Birds must have some sort of Twitter thing that allows them to instantly communicate with other birds.   A few scattered sunflower seeds on the ground below my favorite River Birch Tree brought them out in droves.



The smaller birds like the Dark Eyed Junkos and House Finches were first on the scene, loading up before the bigger birds muscled in.

The Northern Cardinals, male and female, who mate for life, usually show up together.  It’s interesting how they take turns swooping down to the seeds, pick one up and fly back to almost the same spot in the tree to crack it open and eat.  After about an hour, the tree was overrun by Common Grackles.  These birds appear to be all black at a distance, but are actually highly iridescent with colors ranging from blue to purple depending on how the light strikes them.

My Nikon D750 was back at Nikon in New York getting its shutter repaired in a recall so I used the trusty D700 to capture these, using a 70 to 300 mm lens which I have had for well over a decade.  I had to get close to avoid extreme cropping with the D700 which packs only 12 megapixels.  I was right pleased with the results. Maybe by the next time it snows here, I’ll have one of those big telephotos that are all the rage. Maybe! At 72, I’m not one to look too far ahead.  Thanks for the visit.  Have a good week.



Dawn on Wednesday brought ample evidence of what was coming that night. By nightfall it had started as very light sleet with snow mixed.

Living out in the country, our biggest fear is always the loss of power.  I had layed in enough gasoline to power the generators  for several days in the event of a power failure but the weather gods shined upon us this time and the lights stayed on.  I figure we got maybe 3 to 5 inches with drifts in some places up to 7 or 8.  Not much when compared with what the Northeast got, but down here where snow removal is the month of July, it was enough to bring everything to a halt. There was nothing to do but admire a winter scene we had not seen since 2010.

The crews had moved in the day before the storm and harvested all of the soybeans and got them under cover before the snow started leaving a pristine field of white looking west toward the tree line and the tin barn.  It’s been brutally cold here since the storm with overnight lows just a tick above zero. Serious stuff for Southeastern North Carolina.  Thanks for the look.  Stay warm. See you next time.

A Worthy Sub for the D750

I had noticed the fade in a corner of a frame of one of my shots with the Nikon D750,  along with what seemed to be a hint of some artifacts hidden in the light.  I thought nothing of it.  Most of my photography is done at sunrise and unwanted flares and other tricks of the light are pretty common.  Then came the news that Nikon wanted me to check the serial number on my camera to see if it was affected by what Nikon had deemed a faulty shutter.  It was.  I was strongly advised to pack up the camera and send it off to Nikon for the installation of a new shutter to fix the problem.  There is no charge and Nikon picks up the tab for shipping at both ends.  Off it went.

I moved the trusty 24-140 mm F4 G lens that lived on the 750 to the old warhorse, the D700.  I admit I had some concerns.  The 700 packs just over 12 megapixels, exactly half of the D750 but, in my perfectly unscientific opinion, it shines in its low light capabilities and its ability to blend the edges of objects into the prevailing tones to create what to me anyway is a very pleasing and artistic image.  I got everything ready for the next trek out into the fields here on the farm.

The D700 doesn’t lend itself too well to cropping in post,  thus, framing in the camera is a must.  But at the end of the day, The old D700 is setting itself up to be the F3 of the digital age.  It’s been around for a long time but it still takes marvelous pictures.  Thanks for the look and best wishes for a joyous, healthy, safe, and prosperous 2018.  See you next year!

A Walk Around The Point At Land’s End

The Bogue Banks and its neighbor, The Shackelford Banks, lie just south  of Cape Lookout  off  the North Carolina Coast.  Unlike the Outer Banks which runs from Corolla in the north through the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Bogue and Shackelford Banks are pretty much positioned east west rather than north south.  This means the sun is overhead throughout the day from sunrise to sunset.  Here, the beaches are wider and they are growing.  The beach you see above which rounds the point was not here ten years ago.

The dunes along this section of beach have largely been built up due to the careful positioning of sand fences which dot the landscape.

The Bogue Sound and the town of Swansboro are  visible in the distance.  Beach erosion and the loss of sand and dunes due to nor’easters and hurricanes along the Outer Banks,  appears to have been to the benefit of Land’s End on the Bogue Banks.  Thanks for the look and have a great week ahead.