Burnside Bridge Panorama

•February 8, 2020 • Comments Off on Burnside Bridge Panorama

Burnside Bridge Panorama

This view of the Burnside Bridge from the overlook shows the advantage the Confederate defenders had in the battle for this Antietam Creek crossing.

The image is a two frame stitched panorama taken with my new (to me) Panasonic G3 infrared converted camera.

Cloudy Day

•February 4, 2020 • 2 Comments

First time out in the new year. I was trying out the new (to me) Panasonic G3 infrared converted camera I picked up recently on eBay.

IR photography typically provides a fantasy-like rendition of color and tonal relationships. The most common and obvious is that green foliage is rendered white. In January, there isn’t much foliage and the effect is much more subtle. In this case there is very little that would give away the IR camera. The output of he camera is almost pure monochromatic in spite of the fact that the raw files have a strong red cast to them. But the workup in Lightroom and Photoshop with the new Luminar as a plug-in gave me the tools to massage the image to bring out the texture in the active sky.

iPhone Astrophotography

•January 7, 2020 • 1 Comment
Moon photograph by iPhone September 19, 2019

The Moon photographed with iPhone and 120mm refracting telescope, September 19, 2019.

In a text message the other day a friend mentioned a new product to marry smartphones with telescopes. I remembered that I had dabbled with that recently so I found the image and worked it up for presentation here. I used a phone attachment accessory that cost something under $20.

The product my friend alerted me below is much more sophisticated and much more expensive, but really makes me curious about how it works

Shooting the Stars

•April 10, 2019 • Comments Off on Shooting the Stars

Last night I attended the meeting of the Jefferson County Photography Club in Charles Town. John Kracke presented some images and discussion about photographing stars and star trails, even under local light polluted skies. He offered some interesting ideas and inspired me to go back into my archives to see what I had.

Dark skies are one of the things that people say are essential for this kind of work and I had the good fortune to have some great dark skies in North Dakota when I was there in 2015.

People have seen my “Milky Way over Tunbridge, North Dakota” but during that shooting session I captured a few others that have been sitting on the hard drive for three and a half years. After going back and finding these, I really want to do more!

(Click on the image to see a larger version)

September is a great time to photograph the Milky Way in the Northern Hemisphere. Technical: Olympus EM-5 MkII, M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 lens; ISO 1600, 25 seconds @ f/2.


This image, with slightly different framing shows one of the most dense concentration of stars in the Milky Way. This was captured at ISO 3200. That extra stop of exposure enhanced the incredible cloud of starts near the center of our galaxy. Technical: Olympus EM-5 MkII, M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 lens; ISO 3200, 25 seconds @ f/2.


Just above and to the left of center is the great galaxy M31, glowing in the midst of the star field. Amazing to be able to capture it with a small digital camera and a “normal” lens. Technical: Olympus EM 5MkII, Panasonic-Leica 25mm f/1.4; ISO 3200, 15 seconds @ f/1.6.

Arches National Park: Hoodoos

•March 23, 2019 • 2 Comments

Deciding on a treatment for the images from our 2017 trip to Utah has been difficult. My lack of enthusiasm for getting up before dawn to capture that “Magic Hour” light means that much of my photographing is done during the middle hours of the day – not in the spirit of modern landscape photography.

Consistent with the title of this blog/web site, (“Light, shadow, form, and texture”) which does not mention color, I frequently lean toward finishing images in black and white. This is also related to the fact that long before digital cameras and printers could capture and reproduce great color images, I worked in black and white for any photography pursuits that I might have put in the “serious” category. Even today, I “see” in black and white.

You can see a print of this image at the Ice House Co-op in Berkeley Springs.

“Dark Mountain”

•March 3, 2019 • Comments Off on “Dark Mountain”

“Dark Mountain”

Image captured at 11,592 feet from the Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park in September, 2018.

I’m just beginning to sort through the images for that trip even as I am way behind on the images from Utah in 2017.

I’m not rushing (says “Captain Obvious”) to get these images finished and “out there”, where ever that is. I am going back and forth between color and black and white. At this time I am in a black and white frame of mind. But that is subject to change without notice.

As a photographer who admits that he is not a landscape photographer, I am feeling my way to make sense of the many hundreds of mostly landscape images from those two trips to magical places.

Prints are available of most of the images I post here. There is currently a print of this image on display at the Washington Street Artists’ Co-op in Charles Town WV. Or you can contact me by email at sterlingimageswv@gmail.com.


2019 Cumberland Valley Photographers Exhibit

•January 5, 2019 • Comments Off on 2019 Cumberland Valley Photographers Exhibit

I’m pleased to report one of my images has been selected for the 2019 Cumberland Valley Photograpers Exhibit at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown. The exhibit runs February 3-April 7, 2019, with a reception and awards presentation on Sunday, February 3 from 2-4pm.

“Grand Canyon Abyss”

The image is from 2017, when Malinda and I toured the Utah “Mighty Five” and then the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde for seven national parks on that trip. All were spectacular in their own way but the Grand Canyon was another level of special.

I’m still working on sorting through all the images from this trip and hope to include some more of them in a future exhibit.

Canyonlands National Park

•November 18, 2018 • Comments Off on Canyonlands National Park

When we got back from this trip, I was asked which of the national parks did I like the best. It’s hard to ignore theĀ  immense majesty of Grand Canyon, but Canyonlands was amazing in it’s vistas and other-worldlyness. It was a demonstration of the power of water erosion at shaping the landscape. It was here that I was prompted to ask “How can this even be on the same planet as West Virginia?”


Utah Sphinx?

•November 8, 2018 • Comments Off on Utah Sphinx?

It does not take much imagination to see an ancient beast depicted in this natural formation caused by millennia of wind and water erosion.

All over Arches National Park you can see formations where a little imagination can find a face or mummified creatures.

Arches National Park

•November 3, 2018 • Comments Off on Arches National Park

The famous “double arch” in Arches National Park.

Our first stop in Utah in April 2017 was Arches National Park. The “double arch” is one of the best known formations. Flowing water eroded away the softer rock in the middle leaving the arch.

But Arches NP is more than arches. Erosion has created hundreds of unique rock formations.

Here is another formation that my imagination suggests the ruins of an ancient city left behind by an ancient civilization.

Another area suggestive of ancient ruins.

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