Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Top Ten Black & White Photos For 2010
In No Particular Order

1918 Baldwin Locomotive

Coming To The Narrows

Patiently Waiting

The Bench 

Walking To South Cumberland

Tree House


Riverside Park

Canal Past

Cumberland Station

There are many more Black & White photos that were on Riff's Photography Journal this year and you can see them by clicking on the link below. This link will take you to a Gallery on SmugMug that has all the B&W photos that I've published.

Some of these photos were taken with a DSLR and others were created with a Point & Shoot Camera. The camera's used were a Nikon D50, Nikon D40, Canon A95 and a Canon G11.

I hope you've enjoyed viewing these photos and I'm looking forward to bringing you more and even better photographs on Riff's Photography Journal in the coming year.

Yeah, this is my world and you are welcome to it.....
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photography


White Horse

 This image was created with a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO is 80 and was exposed for 1/160 sec @f/4.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Color Of Winter

Two Days In

This image was created by using a DSLR and a 50mm Lens. The ISO is 200 and was exposed for 1/320 sec @f/2.8.

Two days into Winter and, as the last vestiges of Fall was hanging on, signs of Winter was making itself known. The Fall colors are still bright but the whiteness of Winter invades the scenes, creeping into every corner of our minds.

It blinds us to the colors that was and will once again, in the fullness of time, return to give us those nice bright colors and the greens of Summer. That which make us see that all the world’s a sunny day.

I do have a Nikon camera and I love to take those photographs…

Goodby Kodachrome...
Momma has taken you away...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photography


Fading Steel

This image was created with a Point & Shoot Camera. Taken early one rainy & foggy morning while coming into the Narrows. In Photoshop Elements I converted the image to a Black & White photo and then added a touch of old photo paper look…

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Color Of Winter


This image was created with a DSLR. The ISO is 400 and was exposed for 1/30 sec @f/1.8.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Black & White Photography

C&O Railway & Chessie the Cat

This image was created by using a Point & Shoot Camera. The ISO is 80 and was exposed for 1/320 sec. @f/4.

This was like seeing a ghost from the past. It seemed that I hadn't seen one of these in ages, and I haven't. I had to stop and photograph this Engine which was just sitting there waiting for me to come along with my camera. I'm glad that it did. To go along with this, I've also included a bit of history of the C&O and of Chessie the cat...

Chessie was a popular cat character used as a symbol of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Derived from an etching by Viennese artist Guido Gruenwald, the image first appeared in an advertisement in the September 1933 issue of Fortune magazine with the slogan "Sleep Like a Kitten and Wake Up Fresh as a Daisy in Air-Conditioned Comfort".

In 1972 the C&O merged with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Western Maryland Railway, the newly formed company was named the Chessie System after the popular image and adopted the "Ches-C" logo, which incorporated the silhouette of the kitten into the "C" of the railroad's name. The Chessie System later merged with other railroads to become the CSX Corporation. Though the Chessie logo is no longer found in advertising and was phased out of usage on trains, Chessie is still the mascot of the CSX Corporation, and there are many examples of rolling stock that still feature the kitten logo, having yet to be repainted.

The above information was taken from

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Black & White Photography

Tree House

This image was created with a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO is 80 and it was exposed for 1/320 sec. @f/4.

When I saw this building I knew I just had to photograph it. There it was. Just sitting off this little dirt road that came off of a small two lane country road, and nestled underneath this fantastic looking tree. At first glance it looks like an old fashioned Out House.

However, I’ve never seen an Out House with flow through ventilation; and I do have some experience in using such an edifice . It’s not a storage shed, for the same reason; open windows. The other option is that it is a Bus Stop. If it is, I would surmise that it is a School Bus Stop. Interestingly, though, the door is on the opposite side of the back wall that faces the road. Usually a School Bus Stop would be facing the road, not turned away from it like this one is.

So, what could it be? Well, since it is close to a house, and under a tree with it’s back to the road, I would say… I really have no idea of what kind of a building it is. And I was not about to go up and check it out. After all, I was out in the country, by myself, next to a dirt road and this old farmhouse was close by. No telling who would have been watching me, or even worse.

So, I took the photo and was on my way as quickly as I could go. This is as dangerous as I want to get in being a Documentary Photographer, but I do like the finished result. It was worth the risk and I hope you like it as well…

Oh, if you click on the photo you will get a bigger and better image than what you see here...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Street Photography

Skater Boy

This image was created with a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO is 80 and was exposed at 1/200 sec. @f/3.2.

I was down on the Mall recently, standing in between N & S Centre St., on Baltimore St., when I heard “look out”. I turned to see what was happening and this boy on his skateboard came roaring by just a few feet away.

Now on the Mall skateboarding isn’t allowed but, more often than not, you will see someone of the youth persuasion riding one of these things through the area. It is supposed to be un-common to see this but it happens so much that it is a common site now a days. So the un-common has become the common…

Anyway, I only had time to raise the camera to my eye, point and fire away. On this particular occasion I was shooting in the Programmed Auto mode using Auto ISO just to see how the camera would record things on this overcast day.

Amazingly, for the most part, the camera choose a pretty good combination for the action before me. It gave me a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the skater, but slow enough to create a feeling of movement, and the aperture allowed for a partial blurring of the background. Not bad for a P&S.

I like this photo. You can see the “not allowed” action going on in an area where it is not supposed to be happening, but you don’t see the youth’s face as he goes whizzing by, his arms out for balance and oblivious to his surroundings. His focus seemed to be on just the fun he was having and the enjoyment of the ride. Envy comes easily in my aged, but youthful mind.

Ah, youth… yeah, I remember those days. I wasn’t perfect either… :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Black & White Photography

Black & White “Green” Tree

This image was created using a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO is 100 and was exposed @f/5.6.

If you saw the Road Trip photo... Painted Trees... from Monday’s post you will recognize this tree. It is one of the two trees that was in the Painted Trees image. Only this was a separate photo from which I created a Black & White image and added just a touch of color back onto the tree. That is how I got this effect.

Again, if you click on the photo you will see a bigger and better image...

This, too, was taken while on a Road Trip but it was handled differently in my digital darkroom which, basically, is just Photoshop Elements. You can have a lot of fun with your photography and you really don’t need the more expensive Photoshop. Unless, of course, there are things you want to do that Elements won’t handle. In which case I say go for it.

Some of my photography friends use Lightroom and the full version of Photoshop and they can create some great images with them and they have, and I do have to say I'm sort of envious of their work.

But as for me, at my age, Elements it is, although I may move up to version 9 for Christmas…

Monday, November 29, 2010

Road Trip Photography

Painted Trees

This image was created using a Point & Shoot Camera. The ISO is 100 and was exposed @f/5.6.

While driving up Rt. 36 towards Mt. Savage I saw these trees over next to a hillside. I pulled off the road for a few moments and took several photos. The trees just seemed to stand out with their color against the start monochrome of the landscape around them. The scene before me looked more like a painting than a photo so that is what I created.

If you will click on the photo you will bring up a bigger and better looking image.

Upon a suggestion by another photographer, who is also a good friend, I’ve decided not to do anymore photography from a moving vehicle unless I’m not the one driving. It really isn’t safe to do and I shouldn’t be setting a bad example for others. It’s as bad as talking on a cell phone while driving; it can be distracting and dangerous. So, no more Road Trip photos while driving; only if I'm a passenger...

There are many rural roads in Western Maryland and they all can provide something to photograph. You just have to be open to seeing them, and then be willing to stop and capture them as I did here...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photo

The Acorns

This image was created using a Point & Shoot Camera. the ISO was 800 and was exposed for 1/125 sec. @f/4.5.

You really don’t have to go far to find and capture interesting images. In fact, this photo was made in my back yard. It was about mid-afternoon and the weather was a heavy overcast day.

The reason I was able to capture this setup, and I did capture it just as you see it, was because I was out looking for something to photograph. Remember, if you are not looking you will never see.

Yeah, this is my world in my backyard. You are welcome, but ask first… :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A View From Western Maryland

Farm and The Corn Maze

This image was created with a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO was 80 and was exposed for 1/320 sec @f/4.5.

Taken in Garrett Co. Maryland, you can see this farm and the corn maze from an overlook just a couple of miles off of I68 on 219 south. The photo was created just a few weeks ago.

It may seem that I have quite a few photos taken in Garrett Co. but that’s only because my job takes me there more than any other area. So, I’m in a better position to photograph that area more than any other; and I really don’t mind. I could live there, if it weren’t so darn cold there in the Winter time.

Now if I was wealthy, retired and had a cabin on the lake. Nah, it’ll never happen…

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everyday Photographer

Overcast Photography

These images were created with a 10MP Point & Shoot Camera. The ISO was 200 and exposed @f/5.6.

When the sun goes behind the clouds the cameras are usually put away. Why? At times like these you can capture some great colorful images, if you will just look for them.

On overcast days, clouds are nothing but big diffusers creating soft light that, with or without wet weather, can result in some wonderfully saturated images. These three photos are examples of this. I preset the ISO and the f-stop and let the shutter speed adjust itself according to the conditions. In addition I used the “ Positive Film “ mode on my camera.

In Positive Film mode the camera emulates Slide Film and creates images like what you might get with Kodak Ektachrome; with emphasis on the Reds, Greens and Blues. This along with soft & diffused sun or sky lighting you can capture some really interesting colorful photos.

Then, in Photoshop Elements I adjusted Levels for color correction to make sure the colors were right, added a little vignetting, some contrast and a touch of sharpening and that was it. You don't have to do all this, but I would recommend, at the very least, to adjust Levels to make sure the colors are correct and add a touch of sharpening after re-sizing for web viewing. You will find your photos will look much better when uploaded to a web-site.

Try it sometime. The next time the sun is hidden by the clouds grab your camera, set it to Vivid or Landscape mode, if you don’t have Positive Film mode and go out and see what beautiful images you, too, can capture. The images are out there but, if you don't look for them you will never see them, and when you learn to see the photography becomes easier.

One more little tip. Always keep a camera of some kind with you. When you do and you've learned to see, you just might surprise yourself.

Have fun…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photo

Hanging Out

This image was created with a DSLR and a 28 – 200mm lens. The ISO is 400 and was exposed for 1/320 sec. @f/5.6.

There are many Squirrels in my neighborhood and they love to run the lines between telephone poles. One of the places they like to sit is on the rungs of the poles and this little critter was no different.

As I looked out the front window early one Sunday morning I noticed this Squirrel coming down the pole with something in it’s mouth. As he got to the bottom rung he sat down and began to eat. I went to get my camera and it was already set with the settings above. So all I did was to zoom in, focus and fire away. I like this kind of hunting…

Yeah, this is from my neighborhood and you are welcome to it…

Monday, November 15, 2010

Road Trip Photography

The Cove

This image was created with a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO is 80 and it was exposed for 1/320 sec. @f/4.5.

As a follow up to last weeks photo - Lake Side - taken from a road along side Deep Creek Lake, this photo was captured just about 10 seconds after the other photo. Again I just pointed and fired away. Sometimes you do get lucky and get one good photo but it is quite another to get two good photos at the same time while driving. This is one of those rare moments.

Yeah, this is my world and you are welcome to it…

Friday, November 12, 2010

Road Trip Photography

Pea Vine Run

All of these photos were taken with a digital Point & Shoot camera. The ISO was 100 and exposed @f/5.6.

Into The Run

Farm Land 

The Barn 

Farm Equipment 

Barn On A Hill 

Back Through The Gap 

Just about 10 to 15 minutes from downtown Cumberland, MD, about 5 miles, is Pea Vine Run. Once you enter through the gap you come to a completely different world, void of city life. A world that is full of farm lands, charm and beautiful scenery. It’s almost like taking a step back in time, and it’s all to be seen just outside of town.

Most places don’t have land like this so close to town. We do and I’m glad that we do. It’s beautiful, fascinating and a place all it’s own. Thank God for places like Pea Vine Run…

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photo

Waiting At The Station

This image was created with a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO is 80 and was exposed for 1/320 Sec @f/5.6.

Taken just a couple of weeks ago, Mountain Thunder is captured sitting at the Western Maryland Rail Station as passengers were loading for its weekend trip to Frostburg.

Yeah, this is my world and you are welcome to it…

Monday, November 8, 2010

Road Trip Photography

Lake Side

This image was created with a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO was 80 and was exposed for 1/500 sec @f/4.

I was driving down along side Deep Creek Lake last week and I knew that the fall foliage would soon be gone. As I looked across the Lake I could see how the sun was peeking out from the clouds and I picked up my camera, zoomed in slightly and waited for an opening through the trees.

I pointed the camera out the side window took a quick glance at the LCD, liked what I saw and fired away. This photo and another which I will show next week is what I was able to capture in about 10 seconds of time. Also, I was doing about 45 at the time I took these photos.

Again, if you click on the photo you will get a larger view of it.

Unless you are a little insane or a crazy image maker like me don’t try this kind of photography while driving; it’s worse than talking on the cell while driving… :-)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Travel Photography


This image was created with a DSLR and an 18-105mm lens. The ISO was 200…

When I’m traveling one of the things I like to capture is what the weather was like. Here the sun was shinning and it looked just like a glorious day except it was quite windy. So, I kept wondering how I could depict this without the usual cliché of showing the trees blowing in the wind.

Just about this time this young lady, who was out for a power walk along the river, came by and I noticed how her hair was being blown by the wind. I also saw how this lone tree was being blown in the same direction as her hair. So, I waited. Then as she got into this position I already had the exposure and focus set on my camera and all I had to do was just snap the shutter.

Result - Windy…

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photo

The Lighthouse

This image was created with a DSLR and an 18-105mm lens. The ISO was 200 and it was exposed for 1/640 sec @f/8.

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A View From Western Maryland

Peaceful Valley

This image was created by using a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO was 80 and was exposed for 1/200 sec. @f/4.5.

This view comes from Garrett County Maryland and it was captured just a week ago. To see the image full size just click on the lower part of the photo...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Weekend Moment

A Hay Bale’s Charm

On Sunday morning bright and clear
a hay bale lies full of cheer.
It provides for you a colorful blend
to give to you love from a friend…

Happy fall y'all...

This image was created by using a Point & Shoot Camera. Expensive equipment isn’t needed to provide those moments of joy that can last forever. Like, “I remember that. That’s when we…”

Yeah, this is my world, from my front yard… welcome…

Friday, October 29, 2010

Street Photography

Fall Romance

This image was created by using a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO was 320 and it was exposed for 1/320 sec @f/5.6

When I shoot street photos I do like to get in close and use the wide angle portion of the lens. Sometimes, however, you don’t have time to get in close, or by doing so might cause a change of what you want to capture. So, for me, it is best to shoot first and then get closer if possible.

This time I did shoot just as soon as I saw the two lovers sitting there and where I was allowed me to use the corn stalks as framing for the scene. Right after taking this photo I started to get in closer, trying to look like I wasn’t interested in them but the man got up and walked up the street and the women follow right after. The moment was gone.

For this “decisive moment” the shot that I took was the correct one. Had I waited to get closer the moment would have been gone and I would have missed what I feel is a good photo of a “ Fall Romance “…

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photo

The Guardians

This image was created by using a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO was 80 and was exposed for 1/640 sec @f/5.6.

I took this photograph on a Saturday morning while doing some street photography on Baltimore St. in Cumberland. The sunlight was coming in at a good angle and for me it just made these “Guardians” just stand out as they protected the entrance to this building.

The scene just looked like something you might see in an old fashioned Black & White movie. Of course I was visualizing this in my imagination as the original photo was taken in color. Sometimes you just have to let your imaginary senses dictate what the finished image might be.

Here, it resulted in “ The Guardians “…

Monday, October 25, 2010

A View From Western Maryland

Morning On Baltimore Street

This image was created by using a Point & Shoot camera. The ISO was 80 and exposed for 1/100 sec. @f/4.

I went to downtown Cumberland this past Saturday morning and there is always something happening on the mall. Shops and vendors were already out and ready for the day and the colors were just exploding all over the place. Even the color of the trash receptacles fit in with the setting.

A number of people were already over at the train station waiting for the Saturday run of Mount Thunder and a large group of kids and adults were down at Canal Place for the bike parade that had been scheduled; they soon would be coming through the mall where I was walking.

When you visit Western Maryland and Cumberland in particular you will find it a rare moment if there is nothing going on. So, come on down and spend some time with us. There is entertainment, art and historical events and places everywhere. Something for young and old alike. Western Maryland, a good place to spend the weekend.

Yeah, this is my world and you are welcome to it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Road Trip Photography

Foggy Morning

The photo was taken with a 5MP P&S camera; it's from a road trip up Rt 160 near the top of Wellersburg Mountain in Pennsylvania.

This image was one of the last photos taken with this camera before it died. The camera was a Canon A95. It had been a Christmas gift back in 2004 and I loved that little camera and it was the one that I used for all of my Road Trip photos. I still have it and it sits in a place of honor on my desk.

I think it is only fitting that one of the last images created by the A95 is a serene setting like this, and maybe it was letting me know that it is getting close to the time of rest. Yeah, I know, camera's can't talk and I wax poetic. So, I'll stop and we'll just say goodby to my little side-kick for the past 6 years...

Beginning with my next Road Trip photo we'll be using my new 10MP P&S camera and we'll start a whole new collection. Stay tuned for new images and a new beginning...

Goodbye little buddy...

Weekly Black & White Photo

The Side Door

This image was created by using a DSLR and a 28 – 200mm lens. The ISO was 200 and was exposed for 1/80 sec @f/8.

When I look at something like this I enjoy letting my mind wander and giving my imagination free reign to run wild . For instance, who all went through this door, what were they thinking and who was the last person to come out that door before the business closed down.

Just imagine the stories that are there, feelings that it knows and the emotions used in opening and closing the door. Did anyone fall over the rail? Did a fight ever occur on the landing or maybe a quick, secret kiss occurred in the shadow of the inside corner?

There is history here, more than could fill a book and we’ll never know the half of it.

Yeah, this is my world full of wonder, imagination and thoughts of stories left untold, and you are welcome to it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A View From Western Maryland

Fall In The Cemetery

This image was taken with a DSLR and a 28 – 200mm lens. The ISO was 200 and exposed for 1/400 sec @f/8.

Recently I was at a youth football game doing some photography and it was being played at a field next to a Cemetery. At one point in the game, during a break in the action, I looked up in the direction of the Cemetery and I saw this tree being highlighted by the late afternoon sun, and it was standing out nicely.

I raised my camera, zoomed in with my lens to the crop that I wanted, and fired away. This was the only photo I took as play resumed and I never got that particular light again. I was using center weighted exposure, as I always do for sports photography, and that helped in getting this image. I hope you like it as well…

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photo

1918 Baldwin Locomotive

This image was created by using a DSLR and a 28 – 200mm lens. The ISO was 400 and exposed for 1/500 sec @f/8.

The Builders Plate on the side of the Engine reads, “The Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia U.S.A. 43105, April 1918. With that in mind I felt that a photo with the look of a 1920’s style photograph would be the best way of showing this scene.

Yes, this is the same Locomotive (Mountain Thunder) as seen in last weeks photoblog entry, but with a different view and a different effect. And this image I like even better than the one from last week as it seems more like what a photo might look like back in the 20’s or 30's and captured on 120 or 220 B&W square film in a box camera.

Yeah, even 20’s style of photography is part of my world and I hope you like it…

Monday, October 11, 2010

A View From Western Maryland

The Allegany County Courthouse

This image was created using a DSLR and a 28 – 200mm lens. The ISO was 200 and exposed for 1/1000 sec @f/8.

This photo was taken from the C&O Canal Towpath just across from Canal Place in Cumberland, MD. The following description was taken from a Wikipedia article written about the Allegany County Courthouse.

Designed in 1893, the Courthouse was the first major commission of local architect Wright Butler. Butler based his design for this public building on the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style. The massing and detail of the courthouse are typical of this late 19th-century style, developed from the works of architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Characteristic of this style, the courthouse combines the use of brick highlighted with stone belt courses and presents a uniform rock-faced exterior finish. The building's ribbons of windows set deeply into the walls, and large arched entry are also typical Richardsonian features. Less typical is the courthouse's tower buttressed with round columns that rises above the three-story building. Construction of the building was completed for a total cost of $97,000.

The Courthouse is a beautiful structure and you can find numerous views for photographing the building from many places in the Cumberland area. For example, this a view of the rear of the building and it still looks fantastic. In fact, this is what you will see as you travel through Cumberland on I68, especially when in the Moose Curve section of the Crosstown Bridge.

The tall white Church Steeple is that of St. Paul's Lutheran Church which is also located on Prospect Square along with the Courthouse.

Yeah, this is my world and you are welcome to it…

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weekly Black & White Photo

Approaching Cumberland

This image was created by using a DSLR and a 28 – 200mm lens. The ISO was 400 and exposed for 1/640 sec @f/8.

While photographing a recent festival – Canalfest/Railfest – I was in a position one day to photograph the train known as “ Mountain Thunder “ approaching Cumberland for its tourist run to Frostburg. Hence the name “ Approaching Cumberland “.

I’ve photographed this train many times before but never from this particular viewpoint and I loved the way it was coming at me. My first thought was that this would make an excellent Black & White photo and that’s how I viewed this image when creating it. In addition, the last step in my digital darkroom was to add a little of a vintage photo look to the image which I think makes it look a little unique. I like it and I hope you agree…

Monday, October 4, 2010

A View From Western Maryland

Looking Down The Potomac

This image was created with a DSLR and a 28 - 200mm lens. The ISO was 200 and exposed for 1/800 sec. @f/7.

On a recent Friday morning, while documenting the setup of the Canalfest/Railfest Festival, I was spending a few moments at the C&O Canal Towpath overlook just south of Cumberland. I had been photographing the festival grounds from various advantage points when I turned and looked down the Potomac River.

Now I had been here before, but had never seen the River look so blue. The sky was partly cloudy - you can see a cloud's shadow on the right side of the River - and I figured that the River was reflecting the blue of the sky, and with the foliage just starting to turn colors I could not help but line up this view and photography this scene.

For me this is an example of seeing and observing what it is that lies before me. So many times we keep our eyes focused on the subject before us and never turn to see what's behind. Had I done so I would not have witnessed this view on this particular morning. I've always felt that if you are not looking you will never see. However, if you do look and see do you really observe what is in the view before you?

Western Maryland not only has so much to give as far as its history, music and the arts are concerned, but it also has photographic opportunities that abound at almost every turn. All we have to do is to just look and see, and when we do see we must observe what is before us, for there in lies the images that are just waiting to be captured.

Yeah, this is my world and you are welcome to it...