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Elakala Falls at Blackwater Falls State Park

I've been in a black & white, fine-art type of mood lately, so I thought I'd revisit some photos and process them in black & white. Here's one from Elakala Falls near the Blackwater Falls Lodge in West Virginia. These falls are so close to the lodge, you can walk there in about two minutes, just down an easy woodland trail. The falls are broken up into sections - upper and lower - and it's a bit of a climb to get to the lower one, but so worth it.

The Columns at the National Arboretum

One thing I love about photowalks with groups of other photographers is that they get me out to explore places I haven't been to, or even thought about visiting. This image is from a recent outing to the National Arboretum in Washington DC with the Instagram group, WalkwithLocals. It was bright. It was hot. But it was fun. Especially shooting in infrared.

The Tree at Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland

Here's one of my favorite infrared images from Ireland. It's a weeping willow-type tree in Merrion Square Park in Dublin. I like how the branches shoot off in all kinds of directions.

Trees are fun to photograph in infrared since the green leaves become white in the image and the bark of the trunk and branches remains dark. I like to boost the contrast in Lightroom to really make the image pop.

Playing with Prisma

Lately, the iPhone has been getting a lot more use in my landscape photography.. I don't use many photo filter apps, but there's one I recently tried that's really fun to use. It's the Prisma app, which makes photos look like painted works of art by the likes of Van Gogh or Picasso. There's a lot of different options and it's fun to see how the photos look in the different styles.

This image is from an iPhone photo of a stop along the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. The original wasn't really a keeper, because of the light and uninteresting background, but I thought it might deserve a try in Prisma, and I think it turned out pretty cool.

The Couple on the Bench

Twenty minutes outside of Dublin, Ireland is the beautiful Powerscourt Estate, home of Powerscourt Gardens, 47 acres of lush gardens and Ireland's tallest waterfall. It's also listed by National Geographic as one of the world's greatest gardens.

While walking around with my infrared digital camera, I happened upon this nice silhouette of a couple sitting on a bench enjoying a nice break. In a normal photograph the leaves on the trees would be green, but the infrared made them white. I knew this would be a nice contrast to the couple and bench. The way the dark tree trunks framed the couple was an added bonus. Normally, I would crop the top of the image down closer to the subject, but I think the height and the way the middle trees taper at the top makes it more interesting.

The View from Valentia Island

Since the clouds were so dramatic on our visit to Valentia Island in southwestern Ireland, I decided this view called for an infrared image. The infrared is great for making cloud formations look even more intense.

Little FYI - Valentia was the European point for the first successfully run transatlantic telegraph cable. The other end being in Newfoundland.

The Cliffs of Moher

Though an amazingly beautiful place to visit, The Cliffs of Moher in southwestern Ireland is also a tough place to photograph well - weather, wind, a ton of tourists, but I definitely recommend a visit.

At the time I was there, it was extremely windy, so I couldn't do any long exposures, even with a sturdy tripod. There was also a lot of low cloud cover and haze over the entire area.

When I started processing my photos, I knew right away that I was going to have to push the limits of Lightroom's dehaze slider, something I hadn't tried before. I was impressed. It worked out pretty well. Maybe not well enough to make a large print, but well enough to have a nice photo from the moment. Up top is the 'after' image and here's the original photo:

What do you think?

The River Nore in Kilkenny

This is an image from the town of Kilkenny in the south-east part of Ireland. It's one of the many beautiful towns with old castles, ruins, and colorful buildings. This particular scene, with the River Nore in the foreground, the colorful buildings in the middle ground, and Kilkenny Castle in the background, created a nice sense of dimension. The leading lines to the castle also helped make the image more interesting.

Travel Photography: Ireland Trip - Include People In Your Epic Images

This image was taken at Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. It's an amazing view from the beach, with the rolling surf and the mountains off in the distance. The dramatic clouds made the scene even more intense. As beautiful as the scene was, though, the image would have looked flat without the person there on the left third. The person adds a point of interest to draw your eye to, as well as a sense of scale to a very large view. When you get the chance, try to include a person or object in your epic, wide-angle images. They might even appreciate being part of it.

Fisherman and Lines

One of my favorite images from Ko Olina on Oahu, Hawaii. This one has the subject framed by the two fishing poles in an interesting way. I could have cropped in, but I liked the lone fishing rod on the left, and it doesn't hurt to have photographic objects in sets of threes (really, it's a thing).  I also love the colors and contrast between the rocks, the water and the sky. Wish I was back there right now!

The Tree in the Fog

On a recent weekend, I traveled to Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia for some early morning photos. It was the foggiest morning I had ever seen, like a giant blanket covering the entire battlefield. Which was fine, since I had been wanting to shoot in the fog for the longest time. My goal was to isolate some of the more interesting trees with nothing visible in the background. Goal accomplished.

Virginia Beach Pier at Sunrise

A couple of hours drive south of Chincoteague is the resort city of Virginia Beach. Staying overnight at a hotel on the beach, I was excited to get up the next morning to photograph the sunrise. But sunrises on the East coast are so hit-or-miss. You might get some nice clouds or you might not. In this case, I didn't get the majestic clouds I hoped for, but I planned my shot out ahead of time to get the sun right as it lined up with the end of the pier. I also chose a shutter speed that wouldn't smooth out the waves too much, so that I could get a nice texture in the water.

The Trees at Chincoteague

Location: Chincoteague, VA

Here's a sunrise image taken at Chincoteage National Wildlife Refuge on the coast of Virginia. It's a great place to visit year-round, with a large variety of birds, wild horses, and fauna. Interestingly, the wildlife refuge is located on the southern part of Assateague Island, with the northern part in Maryland and the southern part in Virginia. 

The Fog on the Occoquan River

Since our Virginia Christmas turned out to be very rainy, foggy and extremely warm for December, I'm posting this foggy morning scene on the Occoquan River near the Bull Run Marina. It's a favorite spot of local hikers and one of my favorite spots to photograph, especially mornings like this.

The Pier at Leesylvania State Park

Stepping away from infrared for a bit... Here's one of my favorite local places to visit, Leesylvania State Park on the Potomac River. It's one of those places you can visit 10 days in a row, and each day, your photos will look completely different. It could be the clouds in the sky or the color of the sunrise. It could be the number of fisherman on the pier or fog on the river. You just never know, which makes it an interesting place to photograph.