A Long Shot

Douglas Tolley wasn’t home when a stray bullet from a nearby wooded area shattered a window on the front of his home. But his wife was. Luckily in a different part of the house, she thought the crash was made by the couple’s german shepherd puppy. Unable to find anything amiss, however, she dismissed the incident. Douglas discovered broken glass several days later and realized what had happened. He isn’t pressing any charges but wants people to realize that if they are shooting outdoors and miss their target, they need to think about where that bullet might end up.

This shoot was a fun little challenge in controlling reflections, remotes and a wobbly ladder. I’m thankful Douglas was patient while I was getting it all set up.

Eagle Eyes

UPDATE: I shot this image two weeks later, but I think it should be up top.


I spent a lot of time alone this week. Standing between a couple rusting Chevys in waist-high, thorny plants, I waited many, many hours to make a few decent frames. Yesterday, after six hours at the nest site, Kim and I looked over my take and agreed that the light just wasn’t working. The mother (father?) brought back a rabbit to eat around noon which provided some interesting moments but the sun was too harsh. I decided to try again.

Today was my fourth visit and I went out at dawn to see what a bald eagle’s morning routine is like. For the first hour, it was too foggy to see anything at all. I tried to count all the gutted cars that were in the field around me. I got to 36 with my limited visibility. Around 8:40 the fog finally lifted and I took a couple test frames and manually fine-tuned my focus. One of the two teleconverters I was using looked like it was from the 80’s, so it couldn’t communicate with the auto-focus motor on the slightly less antique 500mm lens I had. When I could make out the eagle’s pupil, I decided the focus wasn’t going to get any better than that so I left it.

By 10 the sun was already getting to be too harsh again so I packed up. I might try another morning next week to see if the babies are fledging yet but I think the nest will be obscured by leaves.

As boring as it may sound (and as boring as it may have been) this was an amazing shoot that produced, I think, some beautiful images.

For fun, and because I was getting restless, I hung my G10 on a tree nearby.

My Digs

I never posted a shot of my “new” home, which I found within 24 hours of arriving in Lynchburg last September. There are a lot of neat apartments in big, old houses here and I was lucky to find an affordable, spacious basement unit on the “hip” street in town. (Some of the more conservative people here see this street as the one that lures in the sinners with its alcohol and late-night partying.) My landlord informed me that the “For Rent” sign had only been up a couple hours before I called and signed my lease. Coincidence?

Perfect Petals

I don’t get uncomfortable on assignment very often but the moment I walked into the Holiday Inn lobby and saw a hundred women doting on tiny, yellow daffodil blossoms I felt immediately out of place. Like, I wanted to turn and run back to my car. It seems that young men are very underrepresented at the Garden Club of Virginia’s annual Daffodil Show. However, once I made some sense of the chaos and singled out a few of the ladies to speak with, it was a pretty fun shoot. Very “Best In Show.”

I posed Matilda Bradshaw by this arrangement because it was too perfect to pass up. Not my purest moment in journalism but I made sure to keep it separate from the rest of my take.