John Baggaley Photography: Blog https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog en-us (C) 2021 John Baggaley. All rights reserved. johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tue, 07 Sep 2021 17:59:00 GMT Tue, 07 Sep 2021 17:59:00 GMT https://www.johnbaggaley.com/img/s/v-12/u1042022683-o653062388-50.jpg John Baggaley Photography: Blog https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog 90 120 Falls of Hills Creek https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/9/falls-of-hills-creek Falls of Hills Creek (middle)Falls of Hills Creek (middle)Falls of Hills Creek in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Falls of Hills Creek is actually three waterfalls. This one is the middle of the three and is about 45 feet tall.

Tucked away in the center of West Virginia is a trio of waterfalls called the "Falls of Hills Creek". Above is the middle of the falls. It is about 45 feet tall. Bellow is the lower of the falls. It is about 65 feet tall. Since Falls of Hills Creek is fairly remote, there was no one else there when I visited, making for a very peaceful visit.

Falls of Hills Creek (lower 1)Falls of Hills Creek (lower 1)Falls of Hills Creek in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Falls of Hills Creek is actually three waterfalls. This one is the lower of the three and is about 65 feet tall. Falls of Hills Creek (lower 2)Falls of Hills Creek (lower 2)Falls of Hills Creek in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Falls of Hills Creek is actually three waterfalls. This one is the lower of the three and is about 65 feet tall.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Falls of Hills Creek nature scenic waterfall West Virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/9/falls-of-hills-creek Tue, 07 Sep 2021 00:00:00 GMT
A dragonfly haiku https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/8/a-dragonfly-haiku On pointOn pointA dragonfly (specifically a blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)) rests on the point of an unopened lotus flower.

On a sunny day,

Dragonflies eat mosquitos,

A smile adorns my face.

Blue, Purple, and GreenBlue, Purple, and GreenA blue dragonfly rests on a purple pond flower (pickerel rush (Pontederia codata)), with a lush green background.

Dragonfly HandstandDragonfly HandstandA dragonfly (specifically a blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)) perched on the point of an unopened lotus flower appears to be doing a handstand.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) dragonfly flower haiku lotus summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/8/a-dragonfly-haiku Mon, 02 Aug 2021 23:58:14 GMT
Chasing sunsets and waterfalls in Shenandoah https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/6/return-to-shenandoah Sunset from Hawksbill SummitSunset from Hawksbill SummitA sunset viewed from the summit of Hawksbill Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, featuring a beautiful sky, lush forests, and jagged rocks. Hawksbill summit is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park. The summit of Hawksbill Mountain is the highest point in Shenandoah, with an elevation of 4,050 feet (1,234 meters).

I recently returned to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It's one of my favorite places and I try to visit often. During my last visit, I climbed to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain. At 4,050 feet (1,234 meters), it's the highest point in Shenandoah and a really great place to shoot a sunset, like the one above.

I also visited South River Falls. There are many waterfalls in Shenandoah. This one isn't the tallest or the most frequently visited, but it is certainly one of the most beautiful. I love the tranquility of the space, enclosed by lush forest. I suspect it would be more frequently visited if the trail were a little less steep and a little less rocky.

Tranquility at South River FallsTranquility at South River FallsSouth River Falls in Shenandoah National Park, featuring the waterfall, a tranquil pool, lush vegetation, and moss covered rocks.

I actually took numerous photos of South River Falls. I really like the angle and composition of the first one, but the second one (below) is also quite nice with the sun peeking through the foliage.

Peeking at South River FallsPeeking at South River FallsThe late afternoon sun peeks through a lush tree canopy on the South River Falls waterfall, moss covered rocks, and a tranquil pool in Shenandoah National Park.

While in Shenandoah, I also stopped by Big Meadows late at night. It was a mostly clear night without any moon. Those are perfect conditions for astrophotography. The following is a photo of the galactic core of the Milky Way stretching above the meadow.

Big Meadows Milky WayBig Meadows Milky WayA starry sky over Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, featuring the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) forest Hawksbill mountain scenic Shenandoah National Park South River Falls summit sunset tranquility waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/6/return-to-shenandoah Tue, 08 Jun 2021 01:00:00 GMT
Sunset on the D.C. skyline https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/5/sunset-on-the-dc-skyline Sunset on WashingtonSunset on WashingtonThe sun sets on Washington, D.C. Featuring the Washington skyline, the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Capitol, and dramatic clouds.

A couple of weeks ago, NASA had scheduled to launch a rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. I thought it might make for a nice photo to shoot the Washington, D.C., skyline with the rocket rising in the distance. Unfortunately, NASA scrubbed the launch because of high winds. However, while I was waiting around for the launch, I got some great photos of the D.C. skyline at sunset. I've found that planning is an important part of landscape photography. An equally important part is being able to adapt when your plans don't work out.

Clouds Over the Washington SkylineClouds Over the Washington SkylineThe Washington skyline shortly before sunset. Featuring the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and dramatic clouds.

Sunshine on LincolnSunshine on LincolnThe sun shines a spotlight on the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., as the sun starts to set. Also featuring the Capitol and the Washington skyline.

Last Rays of Light on WashingtonLast Rays of Light on WashingtonThe last rays of sunlight hit the Washington Monument and the Capitol in Washington, D.C., as the sun dips below the horizon. Also featuring the Lincoln Memorial and dramatic clouds.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol D.C. District of Columbia Lincoln Memorial scenic skyline sunset twilight Washington Washington Monument https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/5/sunset-on-the-dc-skyline Fri, 28 May 2021 01:00:00 GMT
Sunrise and cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/4/sunrise-and-cherry-blossoms-at-the-tidal-basin Spring twilight at the Tidal BasinSpring twilight at the Tidal BasinSpring twilight at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, during the cherry blossom bloom. Featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Spring dawn at the Tidal BasinSpring dawn at the Tidal BasinSpring dawn at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, during the cherry blossom bloom. Featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Spring sunrise at the Tidal BasinSpring sunrise at the Tidal BasinSpring sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, during the cherry blossom bloom. Featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

This year, winter in Washington was long and dreary. We had lots of that hybrid rain and snow that we call “wintry mix.” It seemed like it would never end, but now it has. I cannot imagine a more dramatic end to such a winter than the arrival of cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin. It’s a truly magnificent sight. I feel so blessed to live here in Washington and to be able to experience the arrival of spring with the cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossoms at first lightCherry blossoms at first lightCherry blossoms lit with the early morning sun. New growthNew growthA new twig with blossoms grows forth from a cherry tree.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol cherry blossom cherry tree landscape scenic spring sunrise Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington water https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/4/sunrise-and-cherry-blossoms-at-the-tidal-basin Fri, 09 Apr 2021 22:13:50 GMT
January birds https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/1/january-birds Sitting RegallySitting RegallyA bald eagle sits regally on a bare branch in Washington, D.C.

I recently came across a bald eagle here in Washington, D.C. I was very excited to see it and have my camera with me! I absolutely love raptors, especially bald eagles, and I'm thrilled to have these photos!

Ruffled FeathersRuffled FeathersA bald eagle with ruffled feathers sits on a bare branch in Washington, D.C.

Sitting AlertSitting AlertA bald eagle sits on a bare branch in Washington, D.C.

This bald eagle wasn't the only bird I saw recently. I also came across this blue jay. We don't have a lot of blue jays here in Washington and I'm very fond of of these birds too. I feel very fortunate to get this photo.

Blue JayBlue JayA northern blue jay at rest.

On the other hand, we do have lots of ducks here in Washington. Here are two mallards. I love the coloring of male mallards.

Two MallardsTwo MallardsA male mallard duck and a female mallard duck swim in the Potomac River.

We also have lots of birds of the metallic kind, such as this jetBlue passenger airplane taking off from National Airport.

Metallic Blue BirdMetallic Blue BirdA Jet Blue passenger jet airplane takes off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

I had no idea that January could be such a great time to shoot birds.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) airplane animals bald eagle birds blue jay duck eagle jet jetBlue mallard nature Ronal Reagan Washington National Airport wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2021/1/january-birds Sat, 09 Jan 2021 00:00:00 GMT
Christmas at the Capitol https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/12/christmas-at-the-capitol Capitol Christmas ReflectionsCapitol Christmas ReflectionsEarly morning at the Capitol. The Capitol dome and the 2020 Capitol Christmas Tree are reflected in the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Also visible is the inauguration stage that is under construction.

Every year, I try to shoot the Capitol Christmas Tree. Usually I shoot it just after sunset, when the tree lights are on, but it's not so dark that the sky turns black. This year, I decided to try shooting just before sunrise. However, I wasn't sure whether it would work at that time of day and the overcast sky did not look promising.

When I arrived, the reflecting pool was perfectly placid, creating an amazing mirror image of the Capitol and tree. Then, after taking only two pictures, the wind picked up and destroyed the reflection. I might have packed up to go home then. The cloud cover was discouraging. An overcast sky should have ensured a drab sunrise. Instead, I stuck around and only five minutes later, the sun found a small break in the clouds, right along the horizon, and turned the sky a brilliant fuchsia color.

Fuchsia skies and Capitol Christmas TreeFuchsia skies and Capitol Christmas TreeBrilliant fuchsia skies over the Capitol just before sunrise, featuring the 2020 Capitol Christmas Tree and the inauguration stage under construction.

It was a brilliant sunrise! I'm glad I experimented with the sunrise and stuck it through after the wind picked up. Incidentally, if you look past the Christmas tree, you can see the inauguration stage under construction in the background.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Christmas tree fuchsia inauguration stage reflection scenic sunrise twilight Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/12/christmas-at-the-capitol Sat, 12 Dec 2020 00:20:09 GMT
Autumn beauty at the Tidal Basin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/11/autumn-beauty-at-the-tidal-basin Autumn twilight at the Tidal BasinAutumn twilight at the Tidal BasinAutumn twilight at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Sometimes when you hear or read about ugly things in the news, it's nice to go outside and watch a sunrise. It can be a powerful reminder that the world is a beautiful place.

Here are a few photos from a recent, peaceful morning at the Tidal Basin. The world is a beautiful place.

Autumn cherry trees at the Tidal BasinAutumn cherry trees at the Tidal BasinTwilight at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the cherry trees with fall foliage and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Autumn sunrise at the Tidal BasinAutumn sunrise at the Tidal BasinThe sun rises at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., while the cherry trees show off their fall foliage.

Autumn morning at the Tidal BasinAutumn morning at the Tidal BasinA peaceful autumn morning at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn fall foliage scenic sunrise Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin twilight Washington Washington Monument https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/11/autumn-beauty-at-the-tidal-basin Tue, 17 Nov 2020 01:18:00 GMT
Autumn in Rock Creek Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/11/autumn-in-rock-creek-park Autumn at Boulder BridgeAutumn at Boulder BridgeAutumn with fall foliage at Boulder Bridge in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.

Autumn is now in full swing here in Washington, D.C. The leaves take a little longer to turn here because the weather stays warm longer. The fall foliage first appears in the north and west and then gradually makes its way here. When it finally arrives, one of the best places to appreciate it is in Rock Creek Park.

Here are two recent photos from Rock Creek Park. The first is of Boulder Bridge and the second is of the rapids just north of Rapids Bridge. I shot them both with a polarizer to get rid of glare from the water. I think they turned out great.

Autumn and RapidsAutumn and RapidsFall foliage and rapids in Rock Creek, Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn Boulder Bridge bridge D.C. fall foliage nature river Rock Creek Rock Creek Park Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/11/autumn-in-rock-creek-park Thu, 05 Nov 2020 18:42:29 GMT
Autumn in the Mid-Atlantic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/10/autumn-in-the-mid-atlantic A walk in the woodsA walk in the woodsA gentle autumn stroll through the woods near Lake Laura in Basye, Virginia.

Autumn is arguably the nicest season in the Mid-Atlantic region. The weather can be very pleasant, with the sun shining and the temperatures being neither too hot, nor too cold. It's a great time to be outside.

I took the photos of the path in the woods near Lake Laura in Basye, Virginia. The covered bridge is Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge, which is near Mount Jackson, Virginia.

Meem's Bottom Covered BridgeMeem's Bottom Covered BridgeMeem's Bottom Covered Bridge near Mount Jackson, Virginia. A covered bridge and a red antique truckA covered bridge and a red antique truckA red antique 1931 pickup truck drives out of Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge near Mount Jackson, Virginia. A beautiful pathA beautiful pathA trail through the woods on a beautiful autumn day near Lake Laura in Basye, Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn Basye covered bridge forest Lake Laura landscape Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge Mt. Jackson scenic Virginia woods https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/10/autumn-in-the-mid-atlantic Sun, 18 Oct 2020 19:25:49 GMT
Autumnal Equinox on H Street 2020 https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/10/autumnal-equinox-on-h-street-2020 2020 Autumnal Equinox Sunrise on H Street 12020 Autumnal Equinox Sunrise on H Street 1The sun rises during the autumnal equinox on the H Street corridor in Washington, D.C., and featuring the DC Streetcar. The autumnal equinox was on September 22 and it marked the beginning of fall for the Northern Hemisphere. It's a notable occasion for shooting cityscapes because, on the day of an equinox, the sun rises and sets along the path of the equator. When you have a street like H Street in Washington, D.C., which runs directly east and west, the sun rises and sets at the ends of the street. I think that makes for neat cityscapes.

2020 Autumnal Equinox Sunrise on H Street 22020 Autumnal Equinox Sunrise on H Street 2The sun rises during the autumnal equinox on the H Street corridor in Washington, D.C., and featuring the DC Streetcar.

I took these photos last week. We had clear skies, warm temperatures, and some haze from the large forest fires way over on the West Coast. It's amazing that the fires were so large that they affected the atmospheric conditions here on the East Coast.

2020 Autumnal Equinox Sunrise on H Street 32020 Autumnal Equinox Sunrise on H Street 3The sun rises during the autumnal equinox on the H Street corridor in Washington, D.C., and featuring the DC Streetcar.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumnal equinox cityscape D.C. D.C. Streetcar H Street sunrise Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/10/autumnal-equinox-on-h-street-2020 Fri, 02 Oct 2020 01:42:00 GMT
Pink and purple skies over the Capitol https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/9/pink-and-purple-skies-over-the-capitol Pink and purple over the CapitolPink and purple over the CapitolA summer sunset brings pink and purple skies to the Capitol, while the dome of the Capitol is reflected in the skylight of the Capitol Visitor Center after a recent rainstorm.

I took this photo of the Capitol after a recent rainstorm. The glass in the foreground is from one of the big skylights for the Capitol Visitor Center, which lies entirely underground. The puddles are from a recent rainstorm, which also produced the beautiful sky.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) architecture Capitol dome rainstorm scenic sky summer sunset Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/9/pink-and-purple-skies-over-the-capitol Mon, 14 Sep 2020 16:53:57 GMT
The summer night sky https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/8/the-summer-night-sky The Milky Way and the MeadowThe Milky Way and the MeadowThe Milky Way over a meadow. Summer in West Virginia.

A couple of weeks ago, we made the short drive to West Virginia for a socially-distant vacation. It was great to get out of DC for a while. I feared that all the rain we had been having in DC would follow us, but we were blessed with clear skies. I normally curse clear skies, since bright blue skies are boring in landscapes, but this time they presented an opportunity: astrophotography. Clear skies and the lower level of light pollution in West Virginia allowed me to shoot the Milky Way. I took several photos. The one above may be my favorite, but it’s tough to decide.

Milky Way over the TreesMilky Way over the TreesA view of the Milky Way, high above a forest in West Virginia.

The following is a photo of the Milky Way over the cabin we stayed in. The only lights I left on in the cabin were very dim nightlights. The lights appear bright because I took a very long exposure (50 seconds) and even a little nightlight is much brighter than starlight.

The Cabin and the Milky WayThe Cabin and the Milky WayThe Milky Way hovers over a cabin. Summer in West Virginia.

Our visit also coincided with the peak for the Perseid meteor shower. Unfortunately, the clouds moved in while I was trying to shoot the meteors. Here's one that I caught while I was in Cacapon Resort State Park:

Meteor over CacaponMeteor over CacaponA meteor during the Perseid meteor shower appears over Cacapon Resort State Park in West Virginia on a cloudy summer night.

The night sky was not the only subject that I shot while we were in West Virginia. I took some landscapes as well. I like the following. It’s a photo of the Potomac River and Great Cacapon at dusk. I really like the color.

Dusk on the Potomac and Great CacaponDusk on the Potomac and Great CacaponDusk falls on the Potomac River and Great Cacapon. Summer in West Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) astrophotography Milky Way night sky scenic summer West Virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/8/the-summer-night-sky Tue, 25 Aug 2020 00:32:00 GMT
Summer in Shenandoah https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/7/summer-in-shenandoah Sunset on Stony Man 1Sunset on Stony Man 1The summer sun sets over the town of Luray and Lake Arrowhead; viewed from the summit of Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. My family and I recently stayed near Luray, which is a small Virginia town just outside of one of the main entrances to Shenandoah National Park. We had a great time hiking and I took lots of photos. The photo above and the following two photos are from the sunset on our first evening there. I shot them from the summit of Stony Man Mountain.

Sunset on Stony Man 2Sunset on Stony Man 2The summer sun sets over the town of Luray and Lake Arrowhead; viewed from the summit of Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Those of you who follow my work closely know that I've shot many landscapes in Shenandoah and I normally shoot sunrises. Shooting a sunrise means that afterwards I can drive back home to D.C. and have the rest of my day to get things done and spend time with my family. Sunsets can be problematic, so staying in Luray was an opportunity. I think my sunset photos turned out great and I hope you agree.

Twilight from Stony ManTwilight from Stony ManOn a hot summer’s night, dusk falls on the town of Luray and Lake Arrowhead. Viewed from the summit of Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

I didn't just shoot sunsets while we were staying in Luray, I also shot a sunrise. I think the following turned out quite nicely as well.

A hot summer dawn in ShenandoahA hot summer dawn in ShenandoahDawn on a hot summer’s day in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

A hot summer sunrise in Shenandoah 1A hot summer sunrise in Shenandoah 1A hot summer sunrise in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

A hot summer sunrise in Shenandoah 2A hot summer sunrise in Shenandoah 2A hot summer sunrise in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

The house we rented near Luray was actually on a dairy farm just outside of town. It was very scenic. Here's a view from the house:

Virginia dairy farm 1Virginia dairy farm 1A hot summer’s day on a dairy farm outside Luray, Virginia.

There was plenty of excitement on the farm. My boys enjoyed seeing the cows and some rabbits hopping around. What we weren't expecting was a glider to make an emergency landing in a cornfield right next to the house. Fortunately, the pilot was okay and it seems the glider was not badly damaged:

Glider in a CornfieldGlider in a CornfieldA glider that made an emergency landing in a cornfield outside Luray, Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) dairy farm glider landscape Luray nature scenic Shenandoah National Park summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/7/summer-in-shenandoah Tue, 21 Jul 2020 01:42:00 GMT
Going wide at Rock Creek Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/6/going-wide-at-rock-creek-park Twilight at Rock CreekTwilight at Rock CreekMoments before sunrise at Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C. I took this photo a little north of Rapids Bridge where the creek consists of fast-flowing water, i.e. rapids. The National Park Service says that this portion of the creek is the "fall zone—the geologic transition zone where the harder rock of the Piedmont Plateau meets the softer, sedimentary rock of the Atlantic Coastal Plain".

So, I got a new ultra-wide angle lens, the Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR. I've been very excited to play with it. 8mm is extraordinarily wide on a crop-sensor camera like my Fuji X-T4. It allows me to take some photos that I simply couldn't take before. So, to try it out, I waited for a cloudy day and visited Rock Creek Park. For this photo above, I got up very early. I didn't see a soul on any of the trails when I got there. Because it was so dark, it was actually hard from the trail to see any good places to shoot from, but I did eventually find one. I mounted my camera on my tripod, set the lens to its widest setting, and mounted a polarizer on the lens using a Haida M15 filter holder. I needed the polarizer to reduce the glare on the water, especially on the lefthand side. I then set my exposure very low, so as not to blowout the sky, and there we have it!

Springtime at Boulder BridgeSpringtime at Boulder BridgeAn early spring morning at Boulder Bridge and Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.

Once the sun came up, I ventured up and down the river. I like this one (above) of Boulder Bridge. Again, I shot it with my tripod and polarizer. For the photo below, I used both the polarizer and a 6-stop neutral density filter so that I could use a slower shutter speed and get that nice soft look for the water. All-in-all, I think my visit to Rock Creek was a fun and successful excursion. I'm looking forward to playing with my new lens some more.

Lush Green at Rock CreekLush Green at Rock CreekRock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C. I took this photo a little north of Rapids Bridge where the creek consists of fast-flowing water, i.e. rapids. The National Park Service says that this portion of the creek is the "fall zone—the geologic transition zone where the harder rock of the Piedmont Plateau meets the softer, sedimentary rock of the Atlantic Coastal Plain".

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Boulder Bridge landscape nature river Rock Creek Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/6/going-wide-at-rock-creek-park Sun, 21 Jun 2020 20:51:37 GMT
Happy Mother's Day! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/5/happy-mothers-day Mother's Day Flowers 2020Mother's Day Flowers 20202020 Mother's Day flowers from fleursDC.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) flowers Mother's Day still life https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/5/happy-mothers-day Sun, 10 May 2020 18:20:03 GMT
Blue Angels and Thunderbirds joint flyover of Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/5/blue-angels-and-thunderbirds-joint-flyover-of-washington Rising TogetherRising TogetherOn May 2, 2020, the United States Air Force demonstration squadron (the Thunderbirds) and the United States Navy demonstration squadron (the Blue Angels) conducted a 20-minute joint flyover of Washington, D.C., as a salute to frontline COVID–19 responders. The airplanes featured in this photo are the Thunderbirds as they participated in the flyover.

On May 2, the United States Air Force demonstration squadron (the Thunderbirds) and the United States Navy demonstration squadron (the Blue Angels) conducted a 20-minute joint flyover of Washington, D.C., as a salute to frontline COVID–19 responders. This was a very exciting event for me. We rarely get flyovers in Washington and it is very rare for the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds to fly together.

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds TogetherThe Blue Angels and Thunderbirds TogetherOn May 2, 2020, the United States Air Force demonstration squadron (the Thunderbirds) and the United States Navy demonstration squadron (the Blue Angels) conducted a 20-minute joint flyover of Washington, D.C., as a salute to frontline COVID–19 responders. The Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels are rarely seen performing together.

I had hoped that I might be able to get a photo of the planes flying in front of the Washington skyline, but it didn't work out from my vantage point. They were flying just a bit too high. However, they were close enough for me to get shots of the planes, which, for me, is exciting enough.

Blue Angels in FormationBlue Angels in FormationOn May 2, 2020, the United States Air Force demonstration squadron (the Thunderbirds) and the United States Navy demonstration squadron (the Blue Angels) conducted a 20-minute joint flyover of Washington, D.C., as a salute to frontline COVID–19 responders. The airplanes featured in this photo are the Blue Angels as they participated in the flyover.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet F-16 Fighting Falcon flyover Thunderbirds Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/5/blue-angels-and-thunderbirds-joint-flyover-of-washington Wed, 06 May 2020 01:00:00 GMT
Socially distant spring beauty at the Tidal Basin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/3/socially-distant-spring-beauty-at-the-tidal-basin The cherry tree greets the dawnThe cherry tree greets the dawnA lone cherry tree in bloom with the Washington Monument at dawn at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

The cherry blossoms are in bloom at the Tidal Basin here in Washington, D.C. We've all been self-quarantining at home, like much of the world, because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The bloom seemed like a good excuse to get out of the house and, at the time, we were merely being asked to practice social distancing (keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others) rather than being asked to stay at home. Fortunately, landscape photography is a solitary endeavor.

A quiet morning for reflection at the Tidal BasinA quiet morning for reflection at the Tidal BasinSunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, cherry blossoms, ducks, and a park bench.

In previous years, the cherry blossom bloom in Washington brought large crowds. While the biggest crowds usually formed in the afternoon, parking would start to become scarce at the Tidal Basin as early as 5 a.m. Photographers from all over would flock to the Tidal Basin to shoot the sunrise and the cherry trees, and you had to jockey for position to get your shot. This year was very different. 

Sunrise and cherry blossoms (vertical)Sunrise and cherry blossoms (vertical)Sunrise and cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and a park bench.

There were no crowds this time. While I did see other photographers and sightseers out there, it was easy to keep a distance of at least 6 feet. That was great for safety reasons, considering the pandemic, but it was also more pleasant and it opened up some more photographic opportunities. There is no way that, in any previous year, I would have been able to get these photos of the park benches without people sitting on and standing around them—well, that is, unless the weather were truly terrible, in which case I wouldn't be there either. The weather this year was quite nice, and that made for an overall pleasant experience.

Sunrise and cherry blossoms (horizontal)Sunrise and cherry blossoms (horizontal)Sunrise and cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and a park bench.

Of course, that was my experience this year when I visited the Tidal Basin at a very early hour. I understand that within a couple of days of my visit to the Tidal Basin, the D.C. government shut down all the nearby parking and closed the two nearest Metro stations in order to discourage large crowds. I'm glad I made it when I did and that it was not crowded.

Cherry blossoms at high tideCherry blossoms at high tideCherry trees and minor flooding from high tide at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

I hope you all enjoyed my photos. Stay safe!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) cherry blossoms COVID-19 DC novel coronavirus pandemic park bench scenic social distance sunrise Tidal Basin Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/3/socially-distant-spring-beauty-at-the-tidal-basin Thu, 26 Mar 2020 20:29:36 GMT
Snowless winter in Blackwater Canyon, West Virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/3/snowless-winter-in-blackwater-canyon-west-virginia Snowless Winter Dawn in West VirginiaSnowless Winter Dawn in West VirginiaOverlooking Blackwater Canyon and the Blackwater River at dawn on a very cold, snowless, winter morning in West Virginia.

We've been having a snowless winter here in Washington, D.C., so we decided to make a short trip to the mountains of West Virginia to play in the snow. Unfortunately, the week before our trip, it was warm, it rained, and all the snow melted. Then, right before we got there, it got cold again. If it's going to be cold, shouldn't one at least be rewarded with some snow? Well, we did find a fun sled run with manmade snow and I did capture this photo of Blackwater Canyon and the Blackwater River. I think it turned out quite nicely, even if there wasn't any snow. I took the photo at dawn, when the temperature was about 17℉ (about -8℃). Brrrrrrrr.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Blackwater Canyon Blackwater Falls State Park Blackwater River dawn landscape scenic snowless West Virginia winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/3/snowless-winter-in-blackwater-canyon-west-virginia Wed, 04 Mar 2020 02:00:00 GMT
Big trees, big bridges, and big boats in California https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/2/big-trees-big-bridges-and-big-boats-in-california A cluster of coastal redwood treesA cluster of coastal redwood treesA cluster of coastal redwood trees at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in California.

In January, I went out to California to visit some family. While I was out there, I had a chance to visit a few of the sites, most notably, the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. It was a beautiful day and the coastal redwoods were magnificent!

A path among tall treesA path among tall treesA path among tall trees in the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in California.

Looking up at tall treesLooking up at tall treesLooking up at tall coastal redwoods in the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, California.

I also had an occasion to see the Golden Gate Bridge, possibly the most photographed bridge ever. It's a beautiful suspension bridge that spans the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide strait that connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

The Golden Gate BridgeThe Golden Gate BridgeThe Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge from the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County in California, separating the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It opened in 1937, is 4,200 feet long, and 746 feet tall.

The bridge is 4,200 feet long and 746 feet tall. That's really impressive. You actually have to stand pretty far back to see the entire thing. I got some great photos of it. I was blessed with beautiful skies and great weather.

The Golden Gate BridgeThe Golden Gate BridgeThe Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge from the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County in California, separating the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It opened in 1937, is 4,200 feet long, and 746 feet tall.

I was also lucky to get this great shot of a cruise ship exiting the bay while a container ship was entering. I assume that the container ship was heading to the Port of Oakland, while the cruise ship was likely coming from the Port of San Francisco. The ships added a really nice sense of scale. The addition of a beautiful sunset capped off a really good visit to the Golden State.

Big ships and big bridgesBig ships and big bridgesA large cruise ship and a cargo ship pass by each other under the Golden Gate Bridge in California.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) California coastal redwood Golden Gate Bridge Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park San Francisco scenic trees https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/2/big-trees-big-bridges-and-big-boats-in-california Wed, 05 Feb 2020 01:32:00 GMT
Snowless winter in rural Maryland https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/1/snowless-winter-in-rural-maryland Snowless winter in rural MarylandSnowless winter in rural MarylandA view of rural Maryland from attop Sugarloaf Mountain on New Year's Day, 2020.

So I didn't manage to shoot the Capitol Christmas Tree this year. Things got a little hectic just before the holidays, but it's just as well, since the Reflecting Pool is under construction, along with part of the south wing of the Capitol. We also haven't had any snow yet, so I don't think I would have taken a particularly compelling photo even if I had tried. However, I did manage to find something else shortly after Christmas. On New Year's Day, I took my family hiking on Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland. I'd never been to Sugarloaf before. Other than suffering from a bit of chilly weather, we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. I especially enjoyed the beautiful views of rural Maryland, including this one shown above. I will certainly visit Sugarloaf again.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) agriculture farm landscapes Maryland rural scenic Sugarloaf Mountain winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2020/1/snowless-winter-in-rural-maryland Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:22:59 GMT
Fall foliage and the National Capitol Columns https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/12/fall-foliage-and-the-national-capitol-columns Columns and FoliageColumns and FoliageFall foliage and the National Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

Fall came late this year and it seems to be leaving early. It has already started getting cold and cloudy. I'm not ready to say goodbye yet, so here's a nice sunny photo of fall foliage at the National Arboretum by the National Capitol Columns. It's too bad the season didn't last longer. At least we have some things to look forward to. Soon, it will be time for me to take my annual photo of the Capitol Christmas Tree.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn fall foliage National Arboretum National Capitol Columns scenic Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/12/fall-foliage-and-the-national-capitol-columns Sat, 07 Dec 2019 01:44:30 GMT
Welcome autumn https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/11/welcome-autumn Autumn at Blackwater Falls 1Autumn at Blackwater Falls 1Autumn at Blackwater Falls in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.

Autumn took a while to get here. We had had a lot of warm weather, which delayed the fall foliage. When it did arrive, it was beautiful as always. Autumn is possibly my favorite time of year (but ask me in late spring and I might say the same thing about spring). I try to take advantage of the weather and beautiful scenery to shoot landscapes. Here are a couple that I took of Blackwater Falls, West Virginia, from a recent trip out there with my family. (The name comes from the tannins in the water.)

Autumn at Blackwater Falls 2Autumn at Blackwater Falls 2Autumn at Blackwater Falls in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn Blackwater Falls fall foliage scenic waterfall West Virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/11/welcome-autumn Mon, 18 Nov 2019 01:30:00 GMT
Chincoteague https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/10/chincoteague Wild Ponies 1Wild Ponies 1Wild ponies and an egret at the Chinctoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, Virginia.

Recently, my family and I made a trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island in Virginia. The wildlife refuge is known for the wild ponies that live on the island and is made famous by the beloved novel Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry. I enjoyed reading the book to my kids and it was fun for all of us to see the ponies in real life. I was also happy to get some great photos of the ponies, including a foal.

Wild Ponies 2Wild Ponies 2Wild ponies, including a mare and her foal, in the Chinctoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, Virginia.

Wild Ponies 3Wild Ponies 3Wild ponies, including a mare and her foal, in the Chinctoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, Virginia.

The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is also home to a lot of birds. I've never seen so many egrets all at once!

Flock of EgretsFlock of EgretsA flock of egrets takes flight in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, Virginia. A Pair of EgretsA Pair of EgretsTwo egrets enjoy some late afternoon sunshine on Assateague Island in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia.

The wildlife isn't the only draw to Assateague. The scenery is beautiful. The following is a series from a sunrise that I shot.

Blue Hour in ChincoteagueBlue Hour in ChincoteagueHigh tide and storm surge covers grassland at dawn on Chincoteague Island. Assateague Island is visible off in the distance. Golden Hour in ChincoteagueGolden Hour in ChincoteagueHigh tide and storm surge covers grassland at dawn on Chincoteague Island. Assateague Island is visible off in the distance. Golden Hour in ChincoteagueGolden Hour in ChincoteagueHigh tide and storm surge covers grassland at sunrise on Chincoteague Island. Assateague Island is visible off in the distance.

I took the sunrise shots from a stretch of grassland between Chincoteague Island and Assateague Island. This area normally wouldn't be so full of water, but at the time there was a storm further out to sea, so we were experiencing both high tide and storm surge at the same time. Here's a photo of the road between the two islands—it's completely under water.

High Tide and Storm Surge at Chincoteague Wildlife RefugeHigh Tide and Storm Surge at Chincoteague Wildlife RefugeStorm surge and high tide washing over the road between Chincoteague and Assateague Island. The Assateague Lighthouse is visible in the distance. Besides the water flowing over the road, you can see the Assateague Lighthouse off in the distance. It's a beautiful old structure that's still in use by the Coast Guard. Here are a couple more photos of the lighthouse:

Assateague Lighthouse and ForestAssateague Lighthouse and ForestThe Assateague Lighthouse and forest at dawn, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Assateague Island, Virginia.

Assateague LighthouseAssateague LighthouseAssateague Lighthouse

In case you were confused earlier when I mentioned Chincoteague Island: Chincoteague Island is located next to Assateague Island. The town of Chincoteague is located on Chincoteague Island and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the ponies are located on Assateague Island. I don't know why the wildlife refuge, which is located on Assateague is named after Chincoteague.

Anyway, since it's almost Halloween, here's a photo that I took while I was on Chincoteague of the October full moon (also known as a "Hunter's Moon" or "Blood Moon"). I think the cloud cover makes it look a bit creepy and thematically appropriate. Happy Halloween!

Hunter's MoonHunter's MoonClouds cover full moon in October. According to Moongiant.com, October’s full moon is commonly called the Hunter’s Moon, harkening back to European and Native American traditions where hunters would use the light of the full moon to track down their prey and stock up for the coming winter. Contrary to popular belief, the Hunter’s Moon isn’t actually bigger or brighter than usual. It simply rises earlier, soon after sunset, which would give hunters plenty of bright moonlight to hunt by during the early evenings. To Neo Pagans, however, the Hunter’s Moon is known by a far more morbid name - the Blood Moon.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Assateague Chincoteague egrets nature ponies wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/10/chincoteague Mon, 28 Oct 2019 22:47:55 GMT
Farewell to Summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/10/farewell-summer Lake flowersLake flowersSunset over Lake Wesauking and summer flowers.

Summer officially ended with the autumnal equinox on September 22, but the heat continued to linger here in Washington. Just two days ago the high was 97℉!. When I got up this morning, it was 50℉. It's looking like autumn may be here for real. Farewell summer!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) flowers lake Lake Wesauking landscape Pennsylvania summer sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/10/farewell-summer Sat, 05 Oct 2019 16:46:31 GMT
Birds and Critters https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/9/birds-and-critters Frog eyesFrog eyesA frog peers out of a marsh.

Recently, I went hiking with my family at Huntley Meadows. It's a great place to see wildlife near Washington, D.C. However, since we were going in the late morning, I wasn't expecting to see much in the way of wildlife. Most of the animals are active early in the morning or late evening, especially when it's hot out, as it has been lately. So, I left my big telephoto lens at home and brought a small telephoto, just in case.

Sure enough, the clouds came out, the temperature dropped, and the animals came out in play. I was glad to have that smaller telephoto. It would have been nice to bring the bigger lens, but I think some of these turned out great. The first photo (above) is my favorite. The frogs seemed especially plentiful.

Frog in the mudFrog in the mudA frog sits in a muddy marsh.

The birds were out as well. The first one below (off in the distance) is an egret. The next one is a green heron and the last is a great blue heron.

Huntley MeadowsHuntley MeadowsAn egret in the distance in Huntley Meadows, Virginia.

Green heronGreen heronA green heron stalks around the marsh.

Great Blue Heron Standing TallGreat Blue Heron Standing TallA great blue heron standing tall.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) bird egret frog heron Huntley Meadows marsh nature wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/9/birds-and-critters Fri, 20 Sep 2019 18:02:48 GMT
Summer insects https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/8/summer-insects MonarchMonarchA monarch butterfly sits on a large flower. Summer is an excellent time for insect photography. The butterfly in the above photo is a monarch. I think it looks quite lovely on that very large flower with the colorful background.

The following are some recent dragonfly photos. I am particularly fond of dragonflies; they eat mosquitos! They look cool too. Dragonflies are definitely my friends.

Tattered wingsTattered wingsA dragonfly with tattered wings. Briefly at restBriefly at restA dragonfly rests on the stalk of a lotus. Ready to flyReady to flyA dragonfly ready to take off.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) butterfly dragonfly flower insect summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/8/summer-insects Sat, 10 Aug 2019 19:23:00 GMT
Summer sunset over the Susquehanna River https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/7/summer-sunset-over-the-susquehanna-river Summer Sunset on the Susquehanna RiverSummer Sunset on the Susquehanna RiverThe sun sets over the Susquehanna River and the Terry Township’s rolling farmland in northern Pennsylvania.

Not far from Towanda, Pennsylvania, where I took the photos of the fireworks that I featured in my last blog post, I came across a really great vista overlooking the Susquehanna River and the Terry Township's rolling farmland.

I shot this photo from the top of a cliff about 500 feet above the river. I'm especially excited about the calm river and how it perfectly reflects the partly cloudy sky. I could hardly ask for better! Next time I'm up in the area, I'll have to make sure to return to the same spot. I'd love to see what it's like in the fall.

Incidentally, the location is not just beautiful, but also historic. A nearby sign, posted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, says: "Warriors Path: A great Indian highway from Six Nations country, New York, to the Catawba country in the Carolinas. It made its way through the Allegheny Mountains by following the Susquehanna and Juniata valleys."

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) farm landscape Pennsylvania scenic summer sunset Susquehanna River https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/7/summer-sunset-over-the-susquehanna-river Mon, 29 Jul 2019 23:39:06 GMT
Fireworks over Lake Wesauking https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/7/fireworks-over-lake-wesauking Fireworks bloom over Lake WesaukingFireworks bloom over Lake WesaukingColorful fireworks over Lake Wesauking in Towanda, Pennsylvania, in celebration of Independence Day (July 4). For Independence Day this year, we traveled to stay with friends at their house by Lake Wesauking in Towanda, Pennsylvania. We had a great time swimming, sailing, and grilling. Being away from D.C., I figured we would miss the fireworks this year. However, I was surprised to see a brilliant show put on by the neighbors around the lake. It was a very impressive display!

Sparkles above Lake WesaukingSparkles above Lake WesaukingFireworks sparkle over Lake Wesauking in Towanda, Pennsylvania, in celebration of Independence Day (July 4). Fireworks explode over Lake WesaukingFireworks explode over Lake WesaukingFireworks explode over Lake Wesauking in Towanda, Pennsylvania, in celebration of Independence Day (July 4).

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) fireworks Independence Day July 4 Lake Wesauking Pennsylvania Towanda https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/7/fireworks-over-lake-wesauking Wed, 17 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
Capitol dome tour https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/7/capitol-dome-tour  

Morning at the CapitolMorning at the CapitolEarly morning picture of Capitol, east side, 3 days before inauguration day

I recently had the opportunity to go on a tour of the dome of the Capitol. It was a great experience. We climbed more than 300 steps to a tiny balcony at the very top of the Capitol Rotunda. You can see the balcony in the following photo, along with a bit of the Apatheosis of Washington (the fresco overlooking the Rotunda).

Capitol Dome Inside BalconyCapitol Dome Inside BalconyThe balcony at the top of the Capitol Rotunda, just inside the Capitol Dome, with a view of the Apatheosis of Washington. Here's a view looking down on all the tourists in the Rotunda. You can sure feel some vertigo up there!

Down from inside the Capitol DomeDown from inside the Capitol DomeView of the Capitol Rotunda; looking down from the inside of the Capitol Dome. The Capitol actually has two domes. One is inside the other. When they built the north and south expansions of the Capitol, the previous dome looked out of proportion to the new larger building, so they added a larger dome over the smaller one. Here's a view from between the two domes. As you can see, while the domes appear to be made of stone, they're actually made of iron and painted white.

Between the domesBetween the domesBetween the interior and exterior domes of the Capitol.

After climbing to the top of the interior dome, we climbed outside onto a small balcony at the top of the outer dome. The view was breathtaking.

Scenic view from the dome of the Capitol 2Scenic view from the dome of the Capitol 2View of Washington, D.C., from the top of the dome of the Capitol.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol cityscape dome scenic skyline Washington Washington Monument https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/7/capitol-dome-tour Mon, 08 Jul 2019 23:30:00 GMT
Rocket Launch at Wallops Island https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/4/rocket-launch-at-wallops-island Mission NG–11 LaunchMission NG–11 LaunchA Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches from the NASA flight center at Wallops Island carrying the Cygnus spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station.

Recently, a neighbor asked if we would like to join his family on a trip out to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to watch NASA launch a rocket to resupply the International Space Station. Yes, we would! I had never seen a rocket launch before and everyone in the family was excited. It just so happened that the launch was during our kids' spring break and the launch was unusually scheduled for mid-afternoon (as opposed to late at night or very early in the morning). It was the perfect opportunity and it turned out to be a great experience!

Northrop Grumman AntaresNorthrop Grumman AntaresA Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches from the NASA flight center at Wallops Island carrying the Cygnus spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station.

The launch was part of a series of missions to resupply the International Space Station. In this case, NASA launched a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket with a Cygnus spacecraft that held supplies and materials for science experiments, including mousetronauts

Needless to say, I took a lot of photos. Sadly, we were pretty far from the launch site. Looking at the map, I figure we were about 3½ miles away. I used my Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 100-400mm and a 1.4x teleconverter (840mm full-frame equivalent focal length), which in layman's terms means I zoomed in a lot. My framing was perfect and I had a great view.

Unfortunately, it was a warm day and the sun generated heat waves (heat shimmer) that wrecked any fine detail I might get from my photos. Heat waves bend light, which distorts an image. The effect is more pronounced the further you are from your target. In this case, I was very far from my target. The only way I could have avoided the effects of the heat waves (heat shimmer) would have been to get closer (not an option) or shoot at a different time of day (also not something I could control). Oh well, I had lots of fun and got some great photos of my kids and . . . I got to see a really cool event! We were lucky because launches have been canceled at the last minute for various reasons, including a plane flying into restricted airspace.

JWB3_190417_4007-hdrJWB3_190417_4007-hdrFujifilm X-T2 with Fujinon XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR mounted with a 1.4x teleconverter (840mm equivalent on full frame sensor) pointed at the rocket launch pad at NASA's Wallops Island facility, waiting for the launch of the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Antares launch NASA rocket Wallops Island https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/4/rocket-launch-at-wallops-island Wed, 24 Apr 2019 01:42:57 GMT
One More Blossom Photo https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/4/one-more-blossom-photo Mirrored BlossomsMirrored BlossomsCherry blossoms mirrored in the still waters of the Tidal Basin frame the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was back at the Tidal Basin on the 4th with my family and took this photo. The water level in the Tidal Basin was unusually high—just high enough to touch the bottoms of some of the low-hanging branches. A lack of wind made for a beautiful, mirror-like reflection in the water. I was able to capture this image by holding my camera very close to the water. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) cherry blossom mirror reflection scenic spring Tidal Basin Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/4/one-more-blossom-photo Mon, 15 Apr 2019 01:02:00 GMT
Spring means cherry blossoms! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/4/spring-means-cherry-blossoms Blossoms in the Morning SkyBlossoms in the Morning SkyJust before sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., while the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

It's spring and here in Washington, D.C., that means cherry blossoms! It also means lots of tourists and terrible traffic jams. Fortunately, most people like to sleep in when they're on vacation. There are no crowds at 5:30 a.m. Early morning at the Tidal Basin during peak bloom is quiet and beautiful. Here are a few photos that I took on April 2.

Purple Morning Skies and Blossoms over JeffersonPurple Morning Skies and Blossoms over JeffersonJust before sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., while the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Purple Morning Skies and Blossoms over Jefferson 2Purple Morning Skies and Blossoms over Jefferson 2Just before sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., while the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Blossoms in the Morning Frame the CapitolBlossoms in the Morning Frame the CapitolMorning at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., with cherry blossoms in the foreground and the Capitol in the distant background.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol cherry blossom dawn landscape scenic sunrise Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin twilight Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/4/spring-means-cherry-blossoms Wed, 10 Apr 2019 01:39:18 GMT
Spring Equinox https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/3/spring-equinox First Light at the Capitol and Washington MonumentFirst Light at the Capitol and Washington MonumentDawn on the day of the spring equinox in Washington, D.C., featuring the Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

March 20 was the spring equinox. The equinox is the semiannual event in which the sun rises and sets along the equator. For a landscape photographer, this is significant because it means that the sun rises directly from the east and sets directly to the west. The National Mall, in Washington, D.C., runs east to west, which can make for some nice photos during the equinox. I shot this first photo (above) at dawn. The second photo (following) I shot right before sunrise. The third photo is the sunrise itself, with the sun peeking out from behind the Capitol and the Washington Monument. And finally, the fourth photo, is the Lincoln Memorial with the sunrise shining on Lincoln's face.

Just Before Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting PoolJust Before Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting PoolBright skies just before sunrise on the day of the spring equinox in Washington, D.C., featuring the Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Sunrise at the Reflecting PoolSunrise at the Reflecting PoolSunrise on the day of the spring equinox in Washington, D.C., featuring the Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Sunlight on LincolnSunlight on LincolnMorning sunshine on the Lincoln Memorial on the day of the spring equinox in Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol equinox Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool scenic spring sunrise Washington Monument https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/3/spring-equinox Sat, 30 Mar 2019 20:34:25 GMT
Kilgore Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/2/kilgore-falls Kilgore Falls in Black and WhiteKilgore Falls in Black and WhiteKilgore Falls in black and white. Located in the Falling Branch area of Rocks State Park in Maryland.

Last week, I decided to head out and visit someplace new. So, I went to Kilgore Falls in the Falling Branch area of Rocks State Park in Maryland. I didn't know what to expect, but I hoped for something great, and it was. Rocks State Park is in the heart of rural, scenic Maryland. The trail to the waterfall was beautiful and tranquil and the waterfall was magnificent. I had fun taking this photo.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Falling Branch Kilgore Falls Maryland nature Rocks State Park scenic waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/2/kilgore-falls Wed, 27 Feb 2019 02:10:00 GMT
More snow https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/2/more-snow Washington Monument and Snowy Tidal BasinWashington Monument and Snowy Tidal BasinThe Washington Monument and snow covered cherry trees at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

It's snowing again today, so I thought I might share some more photos from our last big snowstorm, which happened a couple of weeks ago. Washington is always beautiful when it snows.

Winter Sunrise at the Tidal BasinWinter Sunrise at the Tidal BasinA cold, snowy winter sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Thoms Jefferson Memorial and bare cherry trees.

This next photo is interesting because I got photo bombed by one of the helicopters operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1 "Nighthawks"). This helicopter squadron is known for transporting the President and the Vice President.

Winter Flyby at the Thomas Jefferson MemorialWinter Flyby at the Thomas Jefferson MemorialOne of the helicopters operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1 "Nighthawks") flying near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on a very cold and snowy morning at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Helicopter Squadron One is known for transporting the President and Vice President of the United States. When a helicopter is carrying the President, it has the call sign "Marine One" and when it is carrying the Vice President, it has the call sign "Marine Two".

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) D.C. helicopter snow sunrise Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington Washington Monument winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/2/more-snow Fri, 01 Feb 2019 13:00:00 GMT
Full Wolf Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/1/full-wolf-supermoon-total-lunar-eclipse Full Wolf Supermoon Total Lunar EclipseFull Wolf Supermoon Total Lunar EclipseSeries of images of a full supermoon in January. The first two images are of the Earth's penumbral shadow reaching across the moon and leading up to a total lunar eclipse. After two images of the total lunar eclipse are two images of the Earth's penumbral shadow receding.

Last Sunday night, we experienced an unusual lunar event. We had a total lunar eclipse of a full supermoon. It was absolutely gorgeous! I took this series of photos between 10:54 PM on Sunday and 1:33 AM on Monday. I was lucky that the sky was clear, but it was extremely cold. The temperature was 19º F with 21 mph winds gusting up to 40 mph.

The first two images in the series are of the Earth's penumbral shadow reaching across the moon and leading to the total lunar eclipse. After two images of the lunar eclipse are two images of the Earth's penumbral shadow receding from the moon. The moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse because the only light hitting the moon consists of rays of sunlight that are passing through the Earth's atmosphere, turning red in the same way that they do during a sunset. It is because of this red color that a total lunar eclipse is sometimes called a "blood moon".

A supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with perigee—the closest that the moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit—resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth. (Supermoon, Wikipedia (Jan. 27, 2019).) The fact that we had a full supermoon that coincided with a total lunar eclipse made this event extraordinary.

Each month's full moon has a name associated with it from folklore and past culture. According to National Geographic, January's full moon is known as the "Wolf Moon". American Indians and medieval Europeans named January's full moon after the howling wolves lamenting the midwinter paucity of food. Other names for January's full moon include "old moon" and "ice moon". Personally, I like "wolf moon".

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) blood moon lunar eclipse moon nature supermoon wolf moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/1/full-wolf-supermoon-total-lunar-eclipse Sun, 27 Jan 2019 21:04:13 GMT
Snow on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/1/snow-on-martin-luther-king-jr-birthday Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Covered in Snow and IceMartin Luther King Jr. Memorial Covered in Snow and IceThe Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial covered in snow and ice. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It commemorates the civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jr. It was carved by Lei Yixin.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. It was also the first mostly clear day after a big snowstorm. So I went over to the Tidal Basin to shoot the sunrise and this photo of Martin Luther King Jr. looking very cold. I will share my sunrise photos soon, but figured posting this one now would be timely. I hope you all enjoy the long weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. day. I plan to use some of that time to reflect upon his legacy.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Martin Luther King Jr. memorial MLK snow Tidal Basin Washington winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2019/1/snow-on-martin-luther-king-jr-birthday Wed, 16 Jan 2019 17:30:00 GMT
2018 Capitol Christmas Tree https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/12/Capitol-Christmas-Tree Happy holidays!

2018 Capitol Christmas Tree v22018 Capitol Christmas Tree v2The 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the United States Capitol. This year, the tree was chosen from the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. The tree was harvested on November 2, 2018, and traveled to Washington, D.C., by truck.

Above is a photo of the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the United States Capitol, here in Washington, D.C. This year, the tree came from the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. It was harvested on November 2 and traveled to Washington by truck.

Below is another photo I took of this year's Capitol Christmas Tree. I like this angle and the colors. Enjoy!

2018 Capitol Christmas Tree2018 Capitol Christmas TreeThe 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the United States Capitol. This year, the tree was chosen from the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. The tree was harvested on November 2, 2018, and traveled to Washington, D.C., by truck.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree Capitol Capitol Christmas Tree Christmas holidays Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/12/Capitol-Christmas-Tree Wed, 19 Dec 2018 03:00:00 GMT
Autumn finally arrived https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/12/autumn-finally-arrived Fall color at the Capitol 1Fall color at the Capitol 1Fall color at the United States Capitol.

Autumn is finally here. The trees around Washington, D.C., appeared to reach their peak color around Thanksgiving. This is highly unusually. Normally the trees would be completely bare by Thanksgiving. Better late than never! I shot these two photos of the Capitol framed in fall foliage the day after Thanksgiving.

Fall color at the Capitol 2Fall color at the Capitol 2Fall color at the United States Capitol.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn Capitol DC District of Columbia fall foliage scenic Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/12/autumn-finally-arrived Mon, 10 Dec 2018 01:19:00 GMT
Chasing Autumn at Catoctin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/11/chasing-autumn-at-catoctin First Light at Chimney RockFirst Light at Chimney RockDawn at Chimney Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland. The fall foliage is just starting to turn.

Congress was out of session in October to give members time to campaign for the November election. I took a few vacation days and used the opportunity to get out and shoot some fall foliage. Here, at the end of October, I drove out to Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. Catoctin is a national park that is relatively close to D.C. It also happens to be where Camp David, the Presidential retreat, is located.

I didn't actually go anywhere near Camp David, which is off limits to park visitors anyway. I wanted to shoot the sunrise at Chimney Rock, which is in a different part of the park. As you can see, even though it was late October, many of the trees had yet to turn. Nature decided this year that autumn should begin a month later. Nevertheless, it was a very pretty sunrise and I think I captured some great colors.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Autumn Catoctin fall foliage Maryland mountain nature sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/11/chasing-autumn-at-catoctin Sat, 01 Dec 2018 02:18:04 GMT
Green October https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/11/green-october The Color Before SunriseThe Color Before SunriseDawn, just before sunrise, at Pinnacles Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

In mid-October, I made the trek over to Shenandoah very early in the morning. It was a beautiful morning. Well, all mornings in Shenandoah are beautiful, but this was an especially beautiful morning. The clouds were perfect and I got some really great color in the sky. I love such mornings. However, one thing was quite strange. In a normal year, all of the leaves would have turned by mid-October. This year, the trees were still very green. I attribute this to the oddly warm weather we'd been having.

Green Autumn SunriseGreen Autumn SunriseSunrise at the Hazel Mountain Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. The forest is still full of green. Normally, by this time of year, the trees would have turned and started dropping all of their leaves.

After shooting the sunrise, I went for a hike on one of my favorite trails, viz. Whiteoak Canyon. I've shot Upper Whiteoak Falls before (spring and fall). This was my first time hiking further downstream and shooting Lower Whietoak Falls. It was very pretty.

Lower Whiteoak FallsLower Whiteoak FallsLower Whiteoak Falls in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) nature scenic Shenandoah sunrise waterfall Whiteoak Canyon Whiteoak Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/11/green-october Fri, 16 Nov 2018 01:53:00 GMT
Monticello https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/11/monticello MonticelloMonticelloMonticello was the home and plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. Monticello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical and architectural significance.

Last month, I headed down to Charlottesville, Virginia, with my family to visit Monticello, the home and plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence. According to our tour guide, the plantation is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is recognized not for the historical significance of its former occupant, but for its architectural significance. Thomas Jefferson was an innovative architect and for his home at Monticello, he mixed various architectural styles and included many of his own innovations.

After visiting Monticello, we headed down to visit the University of Virginia. The school was founded by Thomas Jefferson and he designed some of the first buildings, including The Rotunda, which you can see in the following two photos.

The RoundaThe RoundaThe Rotunda at the University of Virginia. According to Wikipedia, “It was designed by Thomas Jefferson to represent the 'authority of nature and power of reason' and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Construction began in 1822 and was completed shortly after Jefferson's death in 1826. The grounds of the new university were unique in that they surrounded a library housed in the Rotunda rather than a church, as was common at other universities in the English-speaking world. The Rotunda is seen as a lasting symbol of Jefferson's belief in the separation of church and education, as well as his lifelong dedication to both education and architecture.”

According to Wikipedia, The Rotunda "was designed by Thomas Jefferson to represent the 'authority of nature and power of reason' and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Construction began in 1822 and was completed shortly after Jefferson's death in 1826. The grounds of the new university were unique in that they surrounded a library housed in the Rotunda rather than a church, as was common at other universities in the English-speaking world. The Rotunda is seen as a lasting symbol of Jefferson's belief in the separation of church and education, as well as his lifelong dedication to both education and architecture."

The Rotunda 2The Rotunda 2The Rotunda at the University of Virginia. According to Wikipedia, “It was designed by Thomas Jefferson to represent the 'authority of nature and power of reason' and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Construction began in 1822 and was completed shortly after Jefferson's death in 1826. The grounds of the new university were unique in that they surrounded a library housed in the Rotunda rather than a church, as was common at other universities in the English-speaking world. The Rotunda is seen as a lasting symbol of Jefferson's belief in the separation of church and education, as well as his lifelong dedication to both education and architecture.”

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) architecture Charlottesville Monticello Rotunda Thomas Jefferson University of Virginia Virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/11/monticello Sat, 10 Nov 2018 01:00:00 GMT
Above the mountains and clouds https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/10/above-the-mountains-and-clouds In September, I took my family hiking in Shenandoah. It was a cloudy day, which made for some pleasant hiking. Here's a photo from Pinnacles Overlook—reinforcing why they're called the "Blue Ridge Mountains".

Clouds at Pinnacles OverlookClouds at Pinnacles OverlookClouds overtake the view at Pinnacles Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

After stopping at Pinnacles Overlook, we drove to Skyland and hiked up Stony Man. Unfortunatley, by the time we got to the peak, low clouds moved in to obstruct our view. Here's a photo I took just before the clouds completely obstructed our view.

Fogged in at Stony ManFogged in at Stony ManLow clouds and fog roll in, obscuring the view from Stony Man in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

All was not lost (photographically). After departing the Stony Man parking area, we came across the Thorofare Mountain Overlook and got a great view of the clouds creeping over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Peeking Above the CloudsPeeking Above the CloudsLow clouds in Shenandoah from the Thorofare Mountain Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Looking Across Mountains and Clouds 2Looking Across Mountains and Clouds 2Low clouds in Shenandoah from the Thorofare Mountain Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Looking across mountains and cloudsLooking across mountains and cloudsLow clouds in Shenandoah from the Thorofare Mountain Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

We had a fun time on the hike and the views with the clouds rolling in were wonderful. I hope you enjoyed my photos. I have some more coming from subsequent trips to Shenandoah and Catoctin. Stay tuned!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) clouds mountains nature Pinnacles Overlook Shenandoah Stony Man Thorofare Mountain Overlook https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/10/above-the-mountains-and-clouds Wed, 31 Oct 2018 00:00:00 GMT
Another visit to Lake Wesauking https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/8/another-visit-to-lake-wesauking My family and I drove up north to visit some friends at their house on Lake Wesauking in Towanda, Pennsylvania. Our friends were wonderful hosts and my family had a great time. The lake and countryside near the lake are beautiful. I made sure to get out on several occasions to shoot some landscapes.

I started out shooting some of the countryside. The area had been experiencing a tremendous amount of rain. With all of the heavy cloud cover, I didn't get to see any sunsets, but the grass was very green. I really liked this red barn that I found in the Wysox Township nearby. I took lots of photos. These are my favorite three.

Red Barn and Road at DuskRed Barn and Road at DuskA red barn, corn fields, and a road at dusk in the Wysox Township, Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Big Sky and Red Barn at DuskBig Sky and Red Barn at DuskA red barn, corn fields, and a road at dusk in the Wysox Township, Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Nightfall on WysoxNightfall on WysoxCut grass, a red barn, corn fields, and a road at nightfall in the Wysox Township, Towanda, Pennsylvania.

I tried for another sunset on a second night, but the cloud cover was even heavier.

Grass at duskGrass at duskHeavy clouds at dusk over grass and farmland in the Rome Township, Towanda, Pennsylvania.

I really like this old barn I found in the Rome Township of Towanda. The ivy growing up the side of the barn in the following photo and the old red tractor next to the barn in the next photo are both picturesque.

Heavy Clouds and Barn with IvyHeavy Clouds and Barn with IvyHeavy clouds and a barn with ivy growing on it at dusk in the Rome Township, Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Barn with Tractor at DuskBarn with Tractor at DuskAn old barn with and old, red tractor at dusk in the Rome Township, Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Of course I couldn't visit Lake Wesauking without actually taking any pictures of the lake. As with my sunset attempts, the clouds blocked the sunrise, but I did nevertheless get some nice color. I really like the texture in the clouds reflected in the perfectly tranquil lake.

Resting Sailboats at DawnResting Sailboats at DawnSailboats at rest on Lake Wesauking at dawn in Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Sailboats and a Cloudy SunriseSailboats and a Cloudy SunriseSailboats on tranquil waters with a cloudy sunrise at Lake Wesauking, Towanda, Pennsylvania.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) farm lake Lake Wesauking Pennsylvania scenic Wysox https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/8/another-visit-to-lake-wesauking Sat, 01 Sep 2018 01:45:25 GMT
Great Falls after a Summer Rain https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/7/great-falls-after-a-summer-rain Great Falls after a Summer RainGreat Falls after a Summer RainThe fog burns off at Great Falls in Virginia. The Potomac River is swollen with a lot of recent rainfall. We've been having a lot of rain lately. On Friday, it let up for a bit and I set out to see what Great Falls looked like. The Potomac was quite swollen. I took this shot shortly after the fog lifted. It was a beautiful morning.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls nature Potomac river summer Virginia waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/7/great-falls-after-a-summer-rain Mon, 30 Jul 2018 02:00:00 GMT
Dragonflies and telephotos https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/7/dragonflies-and-telephotos Dragonfly Ready to LaunchDragonfly Ready to LaunchA dragonfly perched at the end of a blade of grass. Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, I purchased the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens (yes, lens names are boring). It's a telephoto lens that extends to 400mm, which is quite long. This is a big, heavy lens I'd been wanting for quite some time. It has a good focal length for shooting wildlife, landscapes that feature the moon, flowers, and dragonflies. I'd played with the lens some after getting it, but until recently, I hadn't had a chance to take it out and really put it through its paces.

So when the weather turned nice and I had some free time, I took my new lens out to Kenilworth for the lotus bloom. I was a little anxious. Long telephotos are notoriously difficulty to use (they have a very shallow depth of field) and I wanted my first outing with the lens to be a success. Fortunately, it all turned out great and I am very pleased with the results. The conditions weren't great for shooting flowers (the sun was too intense) but it was perfect for dragonflies (they like the sun). I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this lens.

Dragonfly and a Splash of PinkDragonfly and a Splash of PinkA backlit dragonfly is perched on the tip of an unopened lotus with a pink lotus in the background.

Dragonfly on the EdgeDragonfly on the EdgeA dragonfly rests on the edge of a blade of grass. Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) dragonflies dragonfly Kenilworth nature summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/7/dragonflies-and-telephotos Mon, 23 Jul 2018 02:00:00 GMT
Fireworks Over the Washington Monument https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/7/fireworks Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 1Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 1Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C.

Independence Day this year was miserably hot and humid, but the fireworks were fantastic! This year I sat on the steps of the Capitol and had a great view of the fireworks exploding over the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. I normally try to post no more than two or three photos at a time, but I got very indecisive when writing this blog post. Which ones do you like best? I can't decide.

Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 8Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 8Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C. Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 6Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 6Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 2Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 2Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C. Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 5Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 5Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 4Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 4Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C. Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 3Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 3Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 7Washington Monument with Fireworks No. 7Fireworks explode around the Washington Monument on Independence Day in Washington, D.C.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) fireworks Independence Day July 4 Washington Washington Monument https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/7/fireworks Mon, 09 Jul 2018 02:00:00 GMT
Hahn/Cock and the Capitol https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/6/hahn/cock-and-the-capitol Hahn/Cock and the CapitolHahn/Cock and the Capitol"Hahn/Cock", 2013, by Katharina Fritsch (German, born 1956) on the roof of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Glass fiber reinforced polyester resin fixed on stainless steel supporting structure. In the background is the Capitol.

I recently visited the National Gallery of Art, here in Washington, D.C. and really liked this 14½ -foot sculpture of a blue rooster ("Hahn/Cock" by Katharina Fritsch). When I was younger, I was a big fan of the classics and some of the early modern artists, such as the French impressionists. I never cared for abstract expressionism or contemporary art. But as I grow older, I find myself gravitating more towards the later modern artists and contemporary art, like this enormous blue rooster. It's the creativity that impresses and speaks to me the most.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) blue rooster d.c. district of columbia hahn/cock katharina fritsch national gallery of art smithsonian statue washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/6/hahn/cock-and-the-capitol Wed, 20 Jun 2018 01:00:00 GMT
Memorial Day https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/5/memorial-day Marine Corps War Memorial SunstarMarine Corps War Memorial SunstarSunrise at the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) with snow on the ground. The Marine Corps War Memorial is located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It was designed by Felix de Weldon (sculptor) and Horace W. Peaslee (architect).

Next Monday is Memorial Day. I took the image above and the image below at the Marine Corps War Memorial (also known as the "Iwo Jima Memorial") back in March. I really like these images and I would have published them sooner, but I thought publishing them right before Memorial Day would be appropriate.

Snow at the Marine Corps War MemorialSnow at the Marine Corps War MemorialEarly morning at the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) with snow on the ground. The Marine Corps War Memorial is located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It was designed by Felix de Weldon (sculptor) and Horace W. Peaslee (architect).

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) arlington dawn iwo jima memorial marine corps war memorial memorial day scenic snow sunrise virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/5/memorial-day Fri, 25 May 2018 12:22:00 GMT
Spring Is Here Again https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/4/spring-is-here-again Spring is here again and like I do when spring arrives every year, I went out to shoot the cherry blossoms. I had several opportunities to go out shooting recently. Here are some of my favorites from the Supreme Court, the Tidal Basin, and the Capitol:

Supreme Court and Cherry BlossomsSupreme Court and Cherry BlossomsCherry blossoms at the Supreme Court on a windy morning in Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin Sunrise with BlossomsTidal Basin Sunrise with BlossomsSpring sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, cherry blossoms, and the Capitol (off in the distance). Japanese Tea Lantern at the Tidal BasinJapanese Tea Lantern at the Tidal BasinThe Japanese tea lantern at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring cherry blossoms and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the background. Springtime at the CapitolSpringtime at the CapitolSpring at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., with the cherry trees in bloom.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) cherry blossom scenic spring sunrise thomas jefferson memorial tidal basin washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/4/spring-is-here-again Mon, 16 Apr 2018 01:00:36 GMT
Blossoms and Wreaths at the Stone of Hope https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/4/Blossoms_and_Wreaths_at_the_Stone_of_Hope MLK BloomMLK BloomCherry blossoms and the Stone of Hope during sunrise at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The wreaths placed against the Stone of Hope were placed on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Last Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. I was at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial the day after and took the above photo. On the day of the anniversary, the National Council of Churches held an all day rally to combat systemic racism. They gathered in the morning at the Memorial and marched to the National Mall. I assume they left the wreaths at the Stone of Hope (in the photo above).

The anniversary coincidentally coincided with the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms. Normally huge crowds of tourists would be gathered at the memorial and around the Tidal Basin to admire the cherry blossoms. However, instead of encountering crowds on the morning after the anniversary, I found a quiet and solemn sunrise. It seemed appropriate.

I took some photos of the sunrise as well, but I wanted to publish my photos of the Memorial first. This next photo is of the Memorial two days later.

Springtime at the Martin Luther King Jr. MemorialSpringtime at the Martin Luther King Jr. MemorialCherry blossoms and the Stone of Hope at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The wreaths placed against the Stone of Hope were placed two days earlier on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) cherry blossoms d.c. district of columbia martin luther king jr. memorial spring washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/4/Blossoms_and_Wreaths_at_the_Stone_of_Hope Mon, 09 Apr 2018 18:49:05 GMT
Dawn on the Potomac https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/3/dawn-on-the-potomac Dawn on the MonumentsDawn on the MonumentsPurple clouds at dawn over the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and the Potomac River.

In March, I love to shoot the monuments in Washington, D.C. The vernal equinox is in March, so the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. The monuments also happen to be laid out mostly in a line from east to west. Here are two photos, one shortly before sunrise and one at sunrise, featuring the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and Arlington Memorial Bridge. 

Sunrise on the PotomacSunrise on the PotomacThe sun rises on the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and sweep rowers on the Potomac River.

While I was out having fun shooting the sunrise, I noticed lots of robins out looking for worms. They sure look well fed!

American Robin, Side ProfileAmerican Robin, Side ProfileEarly morning light shines on the side profile of an American robin. American Robin, Front ProfileAmerican Robin, Front ProfileEarly morning light shines on the front profile of an American robin.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) american robin arlington memorial bridge bird cityscape dawn landscape lincoln memorial potomac river sunrise washington washington monument https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/3/dawn-on-the-potomac Mon, 26 Mar 2018 17:50:27 GMT
Frigid Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/1/frigid-falls Frigid FallsFrigid FallsFrigid cold temperatures at Great Falls, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., shortly after a bomb cyclone. While Great Falls didn't receive much snow accumulation from the bomb cyclone, it did experience some very cold temperatures. When I shot this photo, it was 10.9 °F or -7.0 °F, if you account for the 18.4 mph winds. We didn't get a lot of snow from the bomb cyclone here in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, but we sure did get some cold temperatures. When I took this photo at Great Falls (about 30 min. outside Washington in Virginia), it was 10.9 °F or -7.0 °F, if you account for the 18.4 mph winds.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) bomb cyclone cold great falls ice potomac river scenic snow virginia washington waterfall winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2018/1/frigid-falls Sun, 07 Jan 2018 17:58:00 GMT
Happy holidays! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/12/happy-holidays Nightfall on the 2017 Capitol Christmas TreeNightfall on the 2017 Capitol Christmas TreeNightfall at the Capitol with the 2017 Capitol Christmas Tree lit. The 2017 Capitol Christmas Tree is an Engelmann Spruce from the Kootenai National Forest in Montana. Happy holidays everyone! I shot this yesterday. The 2017 Capitol Christmas Tree is an Engelmann Spruce from the Kootenai National Forest in Montana.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 2017 us capitol christmas tree capitol christmas christmas tree washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/12/happy-holidays Sun, 24 Dec 2017 04:38:42 GMT
Back to Blackwater Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/10/back-to-blackwater-falls It's autumn and I returned to Blackwater Falls in West Virginia. The fall foliage was lovely and I captured some great scenic shots while I was there. Here are some of my favorites.

This one is of Blackwater Falls. Low clouds and light rain brought out some great color in the fall foliage around the falls.

Blackwater Falls Framed by Autumn FoliageBlackwater Falls Framed by Autumn FoliageAutumn at Blackwater Falls in West Virginia.

In this one, you can see the low clouds creeping through Blackwater Canyon.

Autumn in Blackwater CanyonAutumn in Blackwater CanyonFall foliage and low clouds in Blackwater Canyon, West Virginia.

I've taken some photos of the Falls of Elakala before. It's a beautiful, tranquil spot. This time I figured I'd include the bridge over the falls.  The Bridge and the Falls of ElakalaThe Bridge and the Falls of ElakalaAutum at the Falls of Elakala in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.

I got up early to shoot the sunrise from Pendleton Overlook. My view of the sunrise ended up being obstructed, so I turned away and shot the other direction. In this one you can see the full moon is still out while the clouds start to light up with the first rays of the morning sun.

Moon over Blackwater CanyonMoon over Blackwater CanyonA full autumnal moon at dawn hovers over Blackwater Canyon in West Virginia.

Lindy Point is one of my favorite places in Blackwater Falls State Park. My luck with the clouds seemed to hold. I like this one quite a bit, along with the following photo. After the sun dropped below the horizon, the clouds turned purple.

Colorful Sunset at Lindy PointColorful Sunset at Lindy PointThe sun sets on Linday Point with fall foliage in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.

Dusk at Lindy PointDusk at Lindy PointDusk at Lindy Point with fall foliage in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.

Follow me on FlickrInstagram, and 500px or contact me here.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn blackwater falls state park canyon fall foliage falls of elakala lindy point nature sunset waterfall west virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/10/back-to-blackwater-falls Wed, 25 Oct 2017 01:14:35 GMT
A Yellow Spider https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/a-yellow-spider I recently came across this giant black and yellow garden spider while hiking in Huntley Meadows. It is by far the largest spider I've ever seen outside a zoo—other than perhaps the tarantula that my 4th grade teacher kept in his classroom. I'm not generally a fan of spiders, but I'm fascinated by the bright yellow coloring in this one.

Giant Black and Yellow Garden SpiderGiant Black and Yellow Garden SpiderA giant black and yellow garden spider.

Incidentally, it was a beautiful day at Huntley Meadows.

A Sunny Day at Huntley MeadowsA Sunny Day at Huntley MeadowsA sunny day at Huntley Meadows in Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) huntley meadows nature spider summer virginia wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/a-yellow-spider Fri, 29 Sep 2017 01:20:32 GMT
Let's hike Bearfence Mountain https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/lets-hike-bearfence-mountain At the end of August, I hiked to the top of Bearfence Mountain in Shenandoah National Park to shoot the sunrise. I had never been there before and had heard it was very pretty. Shall we pretend we can go back in time and hike it together? Let's go!

The Photographer's Ephemeris says sunrise will be at 6:38 atop the mountain. We want to be there for dawn as well, which begins at 6:10. We should be there no later than 6:00, so we have a few minutes to setup for the shoot. And we'll have to hike to get there. The National Park Service says the hike is of moderate difficulty, but short—only a 1 hour hike, round trip. So, we should make sure to be at the trailhead by 5:30 at the latest. Apple Maps says it's a 2.5 hour drive, so we'd better leave by 3:00. Getting up at 2:30 should be fine, as long as we setup the coffee maker the night before (we'll need it) and pack the gear ahead of time.

So we head out at 3:00 in the morning. It's temping to go back to bed, but the coffee is helping. The drive is going great until we get into further out into the Piedmont region. It's still dark, fog is settling in, and there are lots of deer along the side of the road. We'll have to slow down a bit to stay safe. Keep your fingers crossed we make good time—we would feel really silly getting up at 2:30, drive out all this way, and then miss the sunrise!

Fortunately, we get there on time. There are almost no cars on the road and just one other car in the parking lot at the trailhead. So, we don our head lamps and set off. We'll have to hike at a brisk pace. It's not easy going though—much of the trail consists of a rock scramble and everything is harder in the dark. Here's an iPhone photo of the trail:

JWB3_170825_0138JWB3_170825_0138The rock scramble portion of the Bearfence Mountain trail in Shenandoah National Park as seen with a head lamp at night.

The trail isn't quite as bad as it seemed at first. We make it up just in time for dawn.

Summer Dawn from Bearfence MountainSummer Dawn from Bearfence MountainA summer dawn in Shenandoah National Park as seen from Bearfence Mountain.

It's pretty atop the mountain, but a little chilly and a little windy. We'll have to experiment with our camera settings to compensate for the wind. It won't do to have all the foliage blurry. ... And then the sun comes up:

Summer Sunrise from Bearfence MountainSummer Sunrise from Bearfence MountainA summer sunrise in Shenandoah National Park as seen from Bearfence Mountain. It's very pretty, but too bad there aren't any clouds. One of the special things about Bearfence is that from the peak you have a 360-degree view of Shenandoah. In fact, if we turn around, we can see that there are clouds coming in from the west.

Low Clouds over the Blue Ridge MountainsLow Clouds over the Blue Ridge MountainsMorning low clouds approach from the west in Shenandoah National Park, as seen from Bearfence Mountain.

Speaking of which, turning around is difficult. We're literally standing on a bunch of rocks at the top of the mountain. If we take a step backwards, we'll fall down the other side of the mountain. Oh and let's look at those clouds gain. Wow, they're moving fast!

Low Clouds Approaching BearfenceLow Clouds Approaching BearfenceLow clouds quickly approach Bearfence Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.

And then:

JWB_170825_4688JWB_170825_4688Low clouds engulf Bearfence Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. Well, there goes our special 360-degree view of Shenandoah! I guess we might as well pack up and continue onto the second part of the trail and climb back down. We have more rock scramble ahead of us:

Bearfence Rock Scramble in FogBearfence Rock Scramble in FogLow clouds and the second half of the rock scramble leading away from the panoramic view atop Bearfence Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. Blue blazes mark the trail.

The trail is a bit ho-hum in the fog. We find a little lookout along the trail and stop to eat sandwiches. There's nothing to see but fog. After eating, we head out again. Further along the trail, there's a moment  when the sun pushes its way through the fog and foliage. We'll have to get the camera back out for this!

Forest Light Through the FogForest Light Through the FogThe sun peeks through summer foliage and low clouds on the trail from Bearfence Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.

That was a fun hike. We're back in the car now. It's getting close to mid-morning. We might as well drive north and start heading back. Mid-morning light usually makes for bad landscapes. But we got some good stuff and we might get back home in time for a late lunch.

On our drive north, we pass by some beautiful vistas. The patchy clouds are casting shadows on the forest below:

Patchy Clouds Over ShenandoahPatchy Clouds Over ShenandoahPatchy clouds cast shdaows upon the Blue Ridge Mountains and forests in Shenandoah National Park. We stop at the visitor center at Big Meadows to fill the water bottles. The view from the visitor center looks great. The low clouds have followed us north.

Low Clouds Over Big MeadowsLow Clouds Over Big MeadowsFog and low clouds pass through Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park. We might as well walk on down into the meadow while we're here!

When we get down into the meadow, the clouds are starting to lift and the light is a little harsh, but it's still very pretty.

Summer in Big MeadowsSummer in Big MeadowsLow clouds at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park.

And then the clouds have lifted.

Blue Skies Over Big MeadowsBlue Skies Over Big MeadowsA sunny summer day at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park. Well, I'd say that was a productive morning! We had a fun hike, got to see something new, and have a few great photos for our efforts. Let's head on home!

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) bearfence mountain big meadows fog hiking landscapes low clouds nature rock scramble shenandoah national park summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/lets-hike-bearfence-mountain Sun, 17 Sep 2017 19:43:43 GMT
Summer water flowers https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/summer-water-flowers Giant Water LiliesGiant Water LiliesGiant Victoria water lilies (Victoria Amazonica or Victoria Regia) in bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The giant Victoria water-lilies bloom in August here in Washington, D.C. The leaves of the Victoria can grow up to almost 10 feet in diameter. They're very impressive.

Also in bloom in August is the blue lotus—also a beautiful sight:

Blue LotusBlue LotusA blue lotus (Nymphaea Caerulea) in bloom at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

I found both the Victoria and the blue lotus at Kenilworth. While I was there, a great blue heron stopped by to squawk hello:

Squawking HeronSquawking HeronA great blue heron squawks at the world.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) blue lotus flowers heron kenilworth nature summer victoria https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/summer-water-flowers Sun, 10 Sep 2017 16:50:25 GMT
Hanging new photos in my boys' room https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/hanging-new-photos-in-my-boys-room JWB_170901_4963JWB_170901_4963Photos hanging in the boys' room: Zamboni in Arlington, streetcar in Rome, and Amtrak diesel locomotive in Washington. I decided I needed to hang some new photos in my boys' room. So, I asked my oldest son, who is now 4, what he would like. He said he wanted a Zamboni, an Italian streetcar, and an Amtrak diesel locomotive. I happen to have photos of all of those things.

Christmas ZamboniChristmas ZamboniA Zamboni (with a Christmas tree in the background) being used to prepare the ice at an outdoor ice skating rink in Arlington, Virginia. Italian StreetcarItalian StreetcarItalian streetcar in Rome, Italy. Amtrak #159Amtrak #159Amtrak locomotive #159 arriving at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Amtrak #159 is a GE P42DC, which is Amtrak's primary road diesel. The P42DC was introduced in 1996. It weighs 133.000 short tons (118.750 long tons; 120.656 t) and can travel up to 110 mph. Engine output is 3,550 horsepower.

The P42DC is part of the General Electric Genesis series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems for Amtrak, Metro-North, and Via Rail. There are a few unique things about the Genesis series of locomotives. First, they have a low height, allowing them to travel through low-profile tunnels in the Northeast Corridor. It is the only Amtrak diesel locomotive that meets the clearance or loading gauge requirements on every Amtrak route.

Second, they use a single, monocoque carbody design, thus making the locomotive lighter, more aerodynamic, and more duel efficient than its predecessors. However, this design makes it more costly and time-consuming to maintain and repair.

Finally, it is also a fully computerized locomotive that automatically controls all onboard functions, thus producing high reliability while keeping the maintenance requirements low.

GE Genesis, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=GE_Genesis&oldid=722660946 (last visited June 2, 2016).

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) amtrak diesel italy locomotive rome streetcar zamboni https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/9/hanging-new-photos-in-my-boys-room Sat, 02 Sep 2017 21:01:42 GMT
Butterfly https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/8/butterfly On a recent visit to the National Arboretum, I noticed this butterfly and thought it would make for a couple of nice photos. Enjoy!

Butterfly and Wildflowers 2Butterfly and Wildflowers 2A butterfly lands on a yellow wildflower.

Butterfly and WildflowersButterfly and WildflowersA butterfly lands on a yellow wildflower.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) butterfly flower nature outdoor https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/8/butterfly Fri, 01 Sep 2017 00:47:00 GMT
Summer at Lake Wesauking https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/8/summer-at-lake-wesauking My family and I went to Lake Wesauking, near Towanda and Wysox, Pennsylvania. We visited friends at their lake house and attended the annual Corn Roast. This was our first time back there since 2012. We had a great time and I made sure to shoot the sunrise again.

Purple Dawn, Lake WesaukingPurple Dawn, Lake WesaukingSummer and dawn at Lake Wesauking, Wysox, Pennsylvania. Lake Color at SunriseLake Color at SunriseSummer sunrise at Lake Wesauking, Wysox, Pennsylvania. Blue Hour at the Lake HouseBlue Hour at the Lake HouseSummer and dawn at Lake Wesauking, Wysox, Pennsylvania. Blue Hour at the LakeBlue Hour at the LakeShades of blue at dawn at Lake Wesauking, Wysox, Pennsylvania.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) lake lake wesauking pennsylvania scenic summer sunrise towanda wysox https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/8/summer-at-lake-wesauking Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:42:27 GMT
Circus Arts https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/7/circus-arts Each year, the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage holds the annual Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This year's theme was Circus Arts. I took my family to a presentation by Circus Juventus in the big top, which was erected on the Mall for the festival. Circus Juventus presented an adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland". We were all thoroughly impressed. Here are a couple of photos I took of the Red Queen.

Red Queen 1Red Queen 1A circus performer plays the Part of the Red Queen during an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland by Circus Juventus at Circus Arts, part of the 2017 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.

Red Queen 2Red Queen 2A circus performer plays the Part of the Red Queen during an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland by Circus Juventus at Circus Arts, part of the 2017 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) circus circus arts circus juventus performance smithsonian smithsonian folklife festival https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/7/circus-arts Tue, 01 Aug 2017 01:41:00 GMT
Hawksbill Summit https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/7/hawksbill-summit I recently had another opportunity to get out of town and do a bit of shooting. I knew right away that I wanted to visit Shenandoah National Park, but I wasn't sure where I wanted to go. I figured that I wanted to do something new and started poring over maps and trail suggestions. When I came across the hike for Hawksbill summit, things started falling into place. It was a relatively short hike with a beautiful vista and the drive was not too long. While the summit is on the western side of the mountains, which would normally present a good sunset but not a good sunrise, I found that the summit faced northwest and the sun would be rising mostly from the north. There was really just one problem, viz. I would have to get going very early in the morning if I wanted to get there on location before dawn. I figured the drive would take at least 2½ hours, the hike would take another 45 minutes, and I would need time for setup. Adding it all up, I found that I needed to depart from home no later than 2:30 AM. Ouch! Fortunately, it was all worth it.

Summer Sunrise on Hawksbill SummitSummer Sunrise on Hawksbill SummitView of the summer sunrise from the summit of Hawksbill Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. I took that shot at a bit before 6:00 AM. I took the following at 5:20 AM:

Summer Skies at Dawn from HawksbillSummer Skies at Dawn from HawksbillSummer skies at dawn from the summit of Hawksbill Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

And I was home by lunchtime.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) hawksbill landscape mountains nature shenandoah national park summer sunrise virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/7/hawksbill-summit Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:35:31 GMT
Independence Day, 2017 https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/7/independence-day-2017 The Capitol dome with pink and purple fireworksThe Capitol dome with pink and purple fireworksFireworks explode behind the Capitol dome in Washington, DC, on July 4, 2017.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 4th of July Capitol DC Independence Day Washington dome fireworks night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/7/independence-day-2017 Sat, 08 Jul 2017 20:42:20 GMT
Italy wrap-up https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/6/italy-wrap-up Sunny Spring Skyline, RomeSunny Spring Skyline, RomeSunny spring scenic look at Rome from the Villa Borghese Gardens. Here's one last photo for you in my series from Italy: a scenic look at Rome from the Villa Borghese Gardens. Check out the whole Italy series in an album here.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Italy Rome scenic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/6/italy-wrap-up Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:47:09 GMT
Florence at Sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/6/florence-at-sunset The Piazzale Michelangelo rests on a hill just south of the Arno river in Florence, Italy. From the Piazzale, you can see the entire city of Florence laid out before you. At sunset, the view is magnificent!

Sunset over FlorenceSunset over FlorenceCityscape of Florence, Italy, at sunset.

Cloudy Sunset Over FlorenceCloudy Sunset Over FlorenceCityscape of Florence, Italy, during a cloudy sunset.

Nightfall on FlorenceNightfall on FlorenceFlorence, Italy, cityscape after sunset.

Nightfall on Florence panoramaNightfall on Florence panoramaPanorama of Florence, Italy, after sunset.

Pink skies over FlorencePink skies over FlorencePink skies at twilight over Florence, Italy.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Arno Florence Italy cityscape panorama river https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/6/florence-at-sunset Wed, 07 Jun 2017 00:40:33 GMT
The Duomo https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/the-duomo While I was in Italy, I made time to visit two cities, Rome and Florence. And just as the Colosseum was the biggest draw for me in Rome, the biggest draw for me in Florence was the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower (known as the "Duomo" because of its giant dome). The exterior of the cathedral is magnificent and the views from the dome and the bell tower are phenomenal.

Duomo ExteriorDuomo ExteriorThe Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower (often referred to as the "Duomo" because of the cathedral's giant dome) in Florence, Italy.

 

Duomo and CityscapeDuomo and CityscapeThe dome of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower (known as the "Duomo") in Florence, Italy.

Giotto's CampanileGiotto's CampanileGiotto's Campanile (bell tower) viewed from the dome of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower in Florence, Italy.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower Duomo Firenze Florence Italy https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/the-duomo Thu, 01 Jun 2017 01:53:00 GMT
More from Rome and Vatican City https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/more-from-rome-and-vatican-city Here's the third installment of photos from my recent trip to Italy. This time, I'm featuring photos of the River Tiber, St. Peter's, and the Altar of the Fatherland. Enjoy!

The Vatican and River Tiber at TwilightThe Vatican and River Tiber at TwilightTwilight on Saint Peter's Basilica, the Ponte Sant'Angelo, and the River Tiber in Rome, Italy.

Castel Sant'Angelo and Ponte Sant'AngeloCastel Sant'Angelo and Ponte Sant'AngeloThe Castle of the Holy Angel and the Ponte Sant'Angelo over the River Tiber at night in Rome, Italy.

St. Peter's SquareSt. Peter's SquareView of St. Peter's Square from atop the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

The Altar of the FatherlandThe Altar of the FatherlandThe Altar of the Fatherland in Rome, Italy.

Dawn at the Altar of the FatherlandDawn at the Altar of the FatherlandThe Altar of the Fatherland in Rome, Italy, at early dawn.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Altar of the Fatherland Castle of the Holy Angel Ponte Sant'Angelo River Tiber Rome St. Peter's Square Vatican City scenic urban landscape https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/more-from-rome-and-vatican-city Thu, 25 May 2017 02:12:49 GMT
The Forum https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/the-forum Just west of the Colosseum in Rome is the Forum, a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings. The ruins are impressive and I wanted to get a shot of the Forum at sunrise. I decided to get up early and shoot the Forum from Capitoline Hill. I started shooting at dawn (before sunrise) and I was able to capture some great color in the sky. However I discovered, the hard way, the precise time the lights turn off at the Forum, viz. 5:50 AM, which is exactly as I was taking my first photo. Fortunately, my very first attempt was a success.

Forum DawnForum DawnDawn at the Forum in Rome, Italy.

I was in Rome in March, during the off season. Besides small crowds, there was one really nice advantage: I was there for the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox is when the plane of the Earth's equator passes through the center of the Sun, which occurs twice each year, once in the fall and once in the spring. The significance for most people is that during the equinox, day and night are approximately the same duration. For a photographer, the significance is that the sun rises and sets almost directly east to west. The Forum stretches east to west, with Capitoline Hill at the western edge and the Colosseum at the eastern edge. I was therefore able to capture the following sunrise: 

Forum SunriseForum SunriseSunrise at the Forum in Rome, Italy.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitoline Hill Forum Italy Roman Rome ancient sunrise travel https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/the-forum Sun, 14 May 2017 14:44:54 GMT
The Colosseum https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/the-colosseum When I went to Rome the first time, the first place I wanted to visit was the Colosseum. It's an impressive sight. Since I'm starting a series of blog posts about my recent trip to Italy, I think that it's appropriate that I start it off with my photos of the Colosseum. Here are my five favorites. Leave a comment and let me know which one is your favorite!

Colosseum Blue HourColosseum Blue HourBlue hour, early in the morning at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Colosseum Cloudy DawnColosseum Cloudy DawnA cloudy dawn at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Colosseum Morning CloudsColosseum Morning CloudsEarly in the morning with heavy clouds over the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Colosseum InteriorColosseum InteriorThe Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Colosseum Colorful SkiesColosseum Colorful SkiesColorful skies over the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Colosseum Italy Rome https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/5/the-colosseum Mon, 08 May 2017 02:00:00 GMT
Recent travels https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/4/recent-travels I recently traveled to Italy with my brother to celebrate his birthday. It was a fantastic trip and I have some really great new photos that I hope to share soon! In the meantime, here's an image I shot as I was departing Dulles.

SAS WingletSAS WingletSAS flight departing Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) and heading to Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup (CPH).

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) airplane transportation travel https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/4/recent-travels Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:27:00 GMT
Spring is here https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/3/spring-is-here In Washington, we know spring is here when the cherry trees bloom and the tourists swarm the city. As I do every year, I visited the Tidal Basin to shoot the sunrise and the cherry blossoms. Here are a few of my favorites this year:

Pink Tidal Basin SunrisePink Tidal Basin SunrisePink sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Peeking Through the Wall at the JeffersonPeeking Through the Wall at the JeffersonView of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., from behind a wall, during sunrise, and while the cherry trees are in bloom. Low Hanging Cherry BlossomsLow Hanging Cherry BlossomsCherry trees in bloom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Cherry Blossoms Spring Tidal Basin Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2017/3/spring-is-here Fri, 31 Mar 2017 22:19:03 GMT
Happy holidays! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/12/happy-holidays Christmas at the Capitol, 2016Christmas at the Capitol, 2016The 2016 United States Capitol Christmas Tree is an 80 foot Engelmann Spruce from the Payette National Forest in Idaho. Happy holidays, everyone! Here are my annual photos of the United States Capitol Christmas Tree. This year's tree is an 80-foot Engelmann Spruce from the Payette National Forest in Idaho.

2016 United States Capitol Christmas Tree2016 United States Capitol Christmas TreeThe 2016 United States Capitol Christmas Tree is an 80 foot Engelmann Spruce from the Payette National Forest in Idaho. Close-up of the 2016 United States Capitol Christmas TreeClose-up of the 2016 United States Capitol Christmas TreeThe 2016 United States Capitol Christmas Tree is an 80 foot Engelmann Spruce from the Payette National Forest in Idaho.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 2016 United States Capitol Christmas Tree Capitol Christmas Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/12/happy-holidays Mon, 19 Dec 2016 03:00:00 GMT
Autumn Color at the Potomac https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/11/autumn-color-at-the-potomac Here's another autumn sunrise. The fall foliage was just starting to turn when I took this photo and the clouds were very cooperative for a change!

Autumn Color at the Potomac RiverAutumn Color at the Potomac RiverAutumn sunrise at Great Falls and the Potomac River in Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Potomac River autumn fall nature sunrise waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/11/autumn-color-at-the-potomac Mon, 14 Nov 2016 03:43:00 GMT
A splash of color at the Arboretum https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/11/a-splash-of-color-at-the-arboretum I was at the National Arboretum recently and found these purple flowers growing near the old Capitol columns. It was a stunning sight!

Purple Flowers and ColumnsPurple Flowers and ColumnsPurple flowers by the Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol columns National Arboretum flowers landscape scenic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/11/a-splash-of-color-at-the-arboretum Mon, 07 Nov 2016 03:14:00 GMT
Golden colors of autumn at Dark Hollow Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/10/golden-colors-of-autumn-at-dark-hollow-falls When I was last in Shenandoah, I shot some photos of Dark Hollow Falls. The tree canopy was a bright gold. I really like all of the photos that I took of the falls and I had some difficulty deciding which ones to post on my blog. I narrowed it down to three photos, gave up, and then decided to post all three. Enjoy!

Falls Under a Golden CanopyFalls Under a Golden CanopyGolden colors adorn the trees at Dark Hallow Falls in Shenandoah, Virginia. Golden FallsGolden FallsGolden colors adorn the trees at Dark Hallow Falls in Shenandoah, Virginia.   Misty Golden FallsMisty Golden FallsGolden colors adorn the trees at Dark Hallow Falls in Shenandoah, Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Dark Hollow Falls Shenandoah autumn fall foliage nature waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/10/golden-colors-of-autumn-at-dark-hollow-falls Sun, 30 Oct 2016 19:00:00 GMT
Sunrise, Fog, and Fall Foliage https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/10/sunrise-fog-and-fall-foliage Last week, I drove out to Shenandoah to shoot a sunrise. The foliage was just starting to hit peak color and fog was covering the Piedmont. It was a beautiful sight.

Autumn Sunrise in ShenandoahAutumn Sunrise in ShenandoahAutumn sunrise from the Hazel Mountain Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Shenandoah Virginia autumn fall foliage morning sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/10/sunrise-fog-and-fall-foliage Thu, 27 Oct 2016 02:30:00 GMT
Sunrise on H https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/10/sunrise-on-h Fall began with the autumnal equinox on September 22. The day after, the sun rose directly up the H Street corridor in Washington, D.C. The sunrise was gorgeous. I tried this shot last year, but the clouds weren't as cooperative.

Sunrise on HSunrise on HSunrise over the H Street corridor in Washington, DC, the day after the autumnal equinox.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) District of Columbia H Street Washington cityscape scenic sunrise urban landscape https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/10/sunrise-on-h Wed, 05 Oct 2016 01:30:00 GMT
Another DC Summer Sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/9/another-dc-summer-sunrise I had another occasion to go out and shoot a sunrise. I went back across the river to Arlington and timed it so that I captured the sun rising next to the Lincoln Memorial. (Incidentally, this is my first landscape with my new Fujifilm X-T2.)

DC SunriseDC SunriseSummer sunrise over Washington, D.C.

Here's another shot from a little earlier (dawn, before sunrise):

D.C. DawnD.C. DawnSummer dawn. Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol DC Lincoln Memorial Washington Washington Monument city cityscape landscape scenic summer sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/9/another-dc-summer-sunrise Mon, 19 Sep 2016 02:38:00 GMT
Good Morning, Washington! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/8/good-morning-washington Good morning, Washington!

August Sunrise Over WashingtonAugust Sunrise Over WashingtonSunrise, Washington, DC, August, 2016.

Union Station, Before Rush HourUnion Station, Before Rush HourMorning at Union Station, shortly before rush hour.

Train Tracks Into and From Union StationTrain Tracks Into and From Union StationTrain tracks heading into and out of Union Station. The NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) neighborhood is to the left and the Near Northeast or Old City neighborhood is to the right. The road spanning the panorama is H Street.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) District of Columbia Union Station Washington summer sunrise trains https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/8/good-morning-washington Wed, 24 Aug 2016 01:02:00 GMT
A Waterfall and Wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/8/a-waterfall-and-wildlife Misty Summer SunriseMisty Summer SunriseEarly morning summer sunrise at Great Falls in Virginia. Last week, I had a chance to visit Great Falls. I had a great time. The sunrise was beautiful and I got to see some wildlife. It was well worth putting up with the heat and humidity.

VultureVultureA vulture at Great Falls in Virginia.   Young Buck 1Young Buck 1A young buck walks through the forest.   Young Buck 2Young Buck 2A young buck at Great Falls, VA.

Great Falls PanoramaGreat Falls PanoramaSummer morning at Great Falls, VA, panorama.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Potomac River Virginia animals birds deer landscape nature scenic vulture waterfall wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/8/a-waterfall-and-wildlife Wed, 17 Aug 2016 20:14:44 GMT
The Corpse Flower https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/8/the-corpse-flower The Corpse FlowerThe Corpse FlowerThe corpse flower (amorphophallus titanum) is an enormous and rare flower. It gets its name from the putrid stench it emits. A corpse flower blooms no more frequently than once every 3 years and can sometimes go decades between blooms. Once in bloom, a corpse flower may remain in bloom for only 24 to 48 hours and then it quickly collapses. This particular corpse flower at the United States Botanic Garden is 7 feet and 4 inches tall.

This week, a corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) bloomed at the United States Botanic Garden. It's an enormous and rare flower that gets its name from the stench it emits. The flower that bloomed at the Botanic Garden this week was 7' 4"! It was also six years old this week when it bloomed for the first time. Some corpse flowers go decades between blooms and the blooms typically only last for 24–48 hours. I felt very fortunate to shoot this corpse flower. I had never seen a flower nearly so large. It was quite a sight to behold.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) United States Botanic Garden Washington corpse flower flower https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/8/the-corpse-flower Fri, 05 Aug 2016 01:24:00 GMT
A Sunny Day at Kenilworth https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/7/a-sunny-day-at-kenilworth A couple of weeks ago, I went to Kenilworth to shoot the lotus flowers. While I was there, I also saw lots of dragonflies and a beautiful green heron. Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Lotus in ShadeLotus in ShadeLotus flower in the shade on a very sunny summer day at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC.

A Dragonfly and Two BulbsA Dragonfly and Two BulbsA blue dragonfly (Great Blue Skimmer, Libellulidae family) lands on a lotus bulb at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC.

The Heron and the BeeThe Heron and the BeeA green heron encounters a bee at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Washington dragonfly flower heron lotus nature https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/7/a-sunny-day-at-kenilworth Tue, 26 Jul 2016 22:50:29 GMT
Tree blossoms at Rock Creek https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/7/tree-blossoms-at-rock-creek I recently visited Rock Creek Park for a short hike along Rock Creek. I encountered some tree blossoms at Rapids Bridge. I thought they were pretty with all the greenery and figured I'd share them here. I hope you like them!

Rock Creek Blossoms 1Rock Creek Blossoms 1Tree blossoms hanging over Rock Creek in Washington, DC. Rock Creek Blossoms 2Rock Creek Blossoms 2Tree blossoms along Rock Creek in Washington, DC.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Rock Creek Washington blossoms summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/7/tree-blossoms-at-rock-creek Mon, 18 Jul 2016 18:16:59 GMT
My photo being used to promote PBS's A Capitol Fourth https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/6/my-photo-being-used-to-promote-pbs-a-capitol-fourth Not too long ago, I was approached by Capital Concerts to license one of my photos for promotion of PBS's A Capitol Fourth. I granted them a license and today I noticed that the Facebook page for A Capitol Fourth is using my photo for their Facebook cover photo. Yahoo! TV is also using my photo for promotion of A Capitol Fourth. As the date approaches, I expect to see the photo used more as it is part of the official promotional materials for this year's concert.

It's interesting to see how they modified the photo from the original. Here's my photo, which I licensed to Capital Concerts for promotion of the concert:

Red, White, and Blue V1Red, White, and Blue V1Red, white, and blue fireworks explode over the Capitol dome in Washington, DC, on Independence Day.

Click
here to see a closer crop of this same image.

Here is how the photo appears on Yahoo! TV:

Here's how my photo appears on the Facebook page for A Capitol Fourth:
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) A Capitol Fourth Capitol July Fourth Washington fireworks https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/6/my-photo-being-used-to-promote-pbs-a-capitol-fourth Thu, 09 Jun 2016 19:46:24 GMT
Amtrak Locomotives https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/6/amtrak-locomotives Recently, I was in my three-year-old son's room. I had decorated his room with various photos of our family and wildlife (bears, lions, etc.), which I shot specifically for him. My son turned to me and said wistfully, "Someday, I won't have any pictures in my room." "What do you mean?" I said. He responded, "Because I don't want any pictures in my room." Puzzled, I asked, "Why not?" And he responded, "Because they're not very good." Ouch! After taking a deep breath, I replied, "But you like my photo of the DC Streetcar hanging downstairs, don't you?" "Oh yes! I do!" he replied excitedly. And so there we have it, my son really just wants photos of trains in his room.

Amtrak #2003Amtrak #2003Amtrak trainset #2001 arrives at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Trainset #2001 is a Bombardier Acela Express (usually referred to simply as "Acela"). Acela is Amtrak's flagship and high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor. Acela trains are the fastest trainsets in the Americas; the highest speed they attain is 150 mph (240 km/h) in revenue service. Acela trains use tilting technology, which helps control lateral centrifugal forces, allowing the train to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved Northeast Corridor without disturbing passengers.

The first Acela trainset entered service on December 11, 2000.

Acela Express, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Acela_Express&oldid=722885592 (last visited June 2, 2016).

I normally don't shoot by request, but for my three-year-old, I've made an exception and shot a series of Amtrak trains. I didn't know much about trains previously, but I learned quite a lot while shooting the series. So, I'll share the series along with a little bit of what I learned.

The following represents Amtrak's basic lineup of locomotives, starting with a GE P42DC, which is Amtrak's primary road diesel. It was introduced in 1996 and can travel up to 110 mph.

Amtrak #159Amtrak #159Amtrak locomotive #159 arriving at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Amtrak #159 is a GE P42DC, which is Amtrak's primary road diesel. The P42DC was introduced in 1996. It weighs 133.000 short tons (118.750 long tons; 120.656 t) and can travel up to 110 mph. Engine output is 3,550 horsepower.

The P42DC is part of the General Electric Genesis series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems for Amtrak, Metro-North, and Via Rail. There are a few unique things about the Genesis series of locomotives. First, they have a low height, allowing them to travel through low-profile tunnels in the Northeast Corridor. It is the only Amtrak diesel locomotive that meets the clearance or loading gauge requirements on every Amtrak route.

Second, they use a single, monocoque carbody design, thus making the locomotive lighter, more aerodynamic, and more duel efficient than its predecessors. However, this design makes it more costly and time-consuming to maintain and repair.

Finally, it is also a fully computerized locomotive that automatically controls all onboard functions, thus producing high reliability while keeping the maintenance requirements low.

GE Genesis, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=GE_Genesis&oldid=722660946 (last visited June 2, 2016).

The P42DC features an extra low height, allowing it to travel through low-profile tunnels in the Northeast Corridor. It also features a single, monocoque carboy design, which makes the locomotive lighter, more aerodynamic, and more fuel efficient than previous Amtrak diesel locomotives. However, this design makes it more costly and time-consuming to maintain and repair.

Below is a Siemens ACS–64 (also known as the "Amtrak Cities Sprinter"). The ACS–64 is an electric locomotive operated by Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor. The first Amtrak ACS–64 entered service in February of 2014. It can accelerate 18 Amfleet cars to maximum speeds as high as 125 mph in the Northeast Corridor in a little more than 8 minutes.

Amtrak #626 at Union StationAmtrak #626 at Union StationAmtrak locomotive #626 at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Amtrak #626 is a Siemens ACS–64 (also known as the "Amtrak Cities Sprinter"). The ACS–64 is an electric locomotive operated by Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor.

The first Amtrak ACS–64 entered service in February of 2014. It can accelerate 18 Amfleet cars to maximum speeds as high as 125 mph in the Northeast Corridor in a little more than 8 minutes.

The design is based on the EuroSprinter and the Vectron platforms, which Siemens sells in Europe and Asia. Significant structural changes to the design were made to comply with American crashworthiness requirements, including the addition of crumple zones and anti-climbing features as well as structural strengthening of the cab, resulting in a heavier locomotive than the previous models. The body is a monocoque structure with integral frames and sidewalls.

The ACS–64 has advanced safety systems, including specialized couplers designed to keep trains from rolling over, jackknifing, or derailing during a collision. Additionally, they are more energy-efficient than the older models Amtrak operated in the Northeast Corridor. They lack dynamic braking grids in favor of 100% regenerative braking, depending on grid receptiveness. Energy generated from the brake may also be utilized to meet HEP needs, further reducing current draw from the grid.

Siemens ACS-64, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Siemens_ACS-64&oldid=722367613 (last visited June 2, 2016).

The design of the ACS–64 is based on various platforms that Siemens sells in Europe and Asia and has significant structural changes to the design to comply with American crashworthiness requirements. The body is also a monocoque structure with integral frames and sidewalls. The ACS–64 has advanced safety systems and is more energy-efficient than the older Amtrak locomotives.

Amtrak #2001Amtrak #2001Amtrak trainset #2001 arrives at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Trainset #2001 is a Bombardier Acela Express (usually referred to simply as "Acela"). Acela is Amtrak's flagship and high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor. Acela trains are the fastest trainsets in the Americas; the highest speed they attain is 150 mph (240 km/h) in revenue service. Acela trains use tilting technology, which helps control lateral centrifugal forces, allowing the train to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved Northeast Corridor without disturbing passengers.

The first Acela trainset entered service on December 11, 2000.

Acela Express, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Acela_Express&oldid=722885592 (last visited June 2, 2016).

In the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak also operates Acela Express trainsets. (The term "trainset" refers to a group of rolling stock that are permanently or semi-permanently coupled.) Acela is Amtrak's flagship and high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor. Acela trainsets can attain speeds as high as 150 mph, making them the fastest trainsets in the Americas. Acela trainsets use tilting technology, which helps control lateral centrifugal forces, allowing the them to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved Northeast Corridor without disturbing passengers.

Amtrak #597Amtrak #597Amtrak #597 operating at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Amtrak #597 is a National Railway Equipment 2GS12BR diesel genset switcher. A switcher is a locomotive used for assembling trains and moving railroad cars around. A diesel genset is a diesel locomotie that uses multiple high-speed diesel engines and generators, rather than a single medium-speed diesel engine and a single generator.

Amtrak has some additional locomotives in service that are a bit less glamorous than the Acela trainsets. These locomotives are "switchers." A switcher is a locomotive used for assembling trains and moving railroad cars around. They aren't generally used for pulling cars between destinations. Above is a National Railway Equipment 2GS12BR diesel genset switcher.

So, I had some fun shooting these trains and I learned a lot more about Amtrak than I ever knew before. My son is also very happy with the photos, which is the most important thing.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 2GS12BR ACS–64 Acela Amtrak Amtrak Cities Sprinter P42DC Washington locomotive switcher trains trainset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/6/amtrak-locomotives Sat, 04 Jun 2016 19:24:23 GMT
Martin Luther King, Jr. and cherry blossoms https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/4/martin-luther-king-jr-and-cherry-blossom The Visionary Framed By BlossomsThe Visionary Framed By BlossomsThe statute of Martin Luther King, Jr., framed by cherry blossoms, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.

I have a couple of additional cherry blossom photos to share with everyone. I like this one (above) of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, framed by cherry blossoms. The following is a photo of a cherry tree at the Tidal Basin in bloom, but from a high vantage point. I like the mix of color and the unusual perspective.

The Start of SpringThe Start of SpringA yoshino cherry tree begins to blossom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.

Happy spring, everyone!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Tidal Basin Washington cherry blossom https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/4/martin-luther-king-jr-and-cherry-blossom Sat, 23 Apr 2016 21:28:44 GMT
Tidal Basin in full bloom https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/4/tidal-basin-in-full-bloom Friendship and Good WillFriendship and Good WillMorning at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., while the yoshino cherry trees are in full bloom. A nearby plaque from the National Capital Sesquicentenial Commisson of 1950 reads: "The first Japanese cherry trees presented to the City of Washington as a gesture of friendship and good will by the city of Tokyo, were planted on this site, March 27, 1912. In my last blog post, I featured a photo taken just before the cherry trees at the Tidal Basin had reached peak bloom. And here we are above, just two days later, with the cherry trees in full bloom. Of course, as you can see in the following, not quite all of the blossoms had opened, but enough were open for the National Park Service to consider the Tidal Basin in full bloom.

Open and ClosedOpen and ClosedBlossoms from a yoshino cherry tree. When I'm at the Tidal Basin, I mostly shoot scenic landscapes, but I do also like close-ups of the blossoms.

Blossoms over WaterBlossoms over WaterBlossoms from a yoshino cherry tree extend over water.

In another recent post, I presented a scenic photo of the Tidal Basin just before sunrise, when the Tidal Basin hadn't yet reached full bloom (March 22). Here's a similarly framed shot taken on March 24th, the first day of full bloom. What a difference two days can make!

Pink Skies and Full BloomPink Skies and Full BloomPink skies over the Tidal Basin and Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., while the yoshino cherry trees are in full bloom.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington cherry blossom spring sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/4/tidal-basin-in-full-bloom Wed, 06 Apr 2016 03:06:26 GMT
Quiet mornings at the Tidal Basin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/3/quiet-mornings-at-the-tidal-basin A Burst of PinkA Burst of PinkPink and white cherry blossoms burst forth around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., just days before peak bloom. The cherry blossom bloom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., can be magical. I look forward to it every year. Sometimes the weather is down-right awful—and those are some of the best times to visit. When I took the photo above, it was 36 degrees. That's hardly the kind of temperature that you would expect in the spring. But on a weekday morning, the frigid temperatures keep the crowds away and allow one to appreciate the the tranquil beauty of the time and place.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington cherry blossom spring https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/3/quiet-mornings-at-the-tidal-basin Thu, 31 Mar 2016 02:00:00 GMT
The cherry blossoms are coming! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/3/the-cherry-blossoms-are-coming Pink Rising Over WashingtonPink Rising Over WashingtonA gorgeaous pink sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, just days before peak bloom for the cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms are coming! Actually, that was true when I took this photo on Tuesday, but it has taken me several days to process the photo. Peak bloom started on Thursday and they will all be gone soon. Don't worry if you missed the blossoms this year; I will be posting several photos over the next couple of weeks.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington Washington Monument cherry blossom spring sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/3/the-cherry-blossoms-are-coming Mon, 28 Mar 2016 01:29:08 GMT
Snow in Rock Creek Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/2/snow-in-rock-creek-park When I heard, before the storm, that we were going to get some snow, I got excited. I thought I might drive out to Shenandoah to shoot a sunrise with snow covering the Blue Ridge Mountains. But, in Washington, DC, we got hit with a whopping 22 inches of snow in just one weekend! There was no way that I would be able to get out of town. The city was completely buried.

So, I decided to shoot local. Last week, I posted some images that I shot at the Tidal Basin shortly after Snowzilla, the great Washington snowstorm of 2016. But I really wanted to shoot some snow in a wilderness setting. Fortunately for me, we have a bit of wilderness right in the heart of Washington, namely Rock Creek Park.

Boulder Bridge with snowBoulder Bridge with snowBoulder Bridge and Rock Creek in Washington, DC, covered in deep snow. My first stop was to Boulder Bridge, one of the most iconic features of Rock Creek Park. It wasn't very easy getting there with all the snow, but it was worth it. The creek was mostly frozen over, which allowed me to get the shot above without getting swept away in the rapids. I think the amount of snow and the unusual vantage point make the photo unique and quite compelling.

I took this next photo of the creek from Rapids Bridge. The height gave me a nice perspective and you can see just how much snow we received.

Rock Creek with snowRock Creek with snowSnow and ice cover Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC. I took lots of photos of the snow in Rock Creek Park, but I normally prefer only to post one or two at a time. However, I like this next one as well, so I'm posting a third. It's a classic shot of Boulder Bridge, but with snow and this time with a bit more blue sky.

Blue skies over snow-covered Boulder BridgeBlue skies over snow-covered Boulder BridgeBlue skies over a snow-covered Boulder Bridge and Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

With all this snow and ice, the creek looks a bit tame. However, in the parts I've been shooting, it's anything but tame. For a fun comparison, here are two photos I took of the creek a couple of years ago in the early fall:

Fall Color at Rock CreekFall Color at Rock CreekFall foliage around Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC. Autumn at Rock CreekAutumn at Rock CreekFall foliage around Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Boulder Bridge Rock Creek Rock Creek Park Snowzilla Washington snow winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/2/snow-in-rock-creek-park Tue, 09 Feb 2016 03:00:00 GMT
Snow at the Tidal Basin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/2/snow-at-the-tidal-basin Sunstar over a frozen Tidal BasinSunstar over a frozen Tidal BasinThe Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, is frozen over after Snowzilla, one of the largest snowstorms in DC history. The shore is blanketed with snow and a woman sitting on a half buried park bench checks her phone while the setting sun forms a sunstar as it peeks through the bare branches of a cherry tree. In my last blog entry, I wrote about how warm the weather was at Christmas. Just a month later things have really changed! On January 22 and 23, Washington was hit by a snowstorm dubbed "Snowzilla". The National Park Service measured 22 inches of snow at the White House and some of the northern suburbs received as much as 3 feet of snow!

Snow, cherry tree, and a sunstarSnow, cherry tree, and a sunstarThe sun sets on a snow covered Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. The sun peeks through the bare branches of a cherry tree, forming a sunstar. Two feet of snow is quite a lot for a city like Washington, which normally doesn't ever receive more than a couple of inches of snow at a time. While many saw the storm as a big headache (it shut down the entire city for days), others saw it as an opportunity for sledding and snowball fights. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to shoot some landscapes.

Snowy sunset on the Jefferson MemorialSnowy sunset on the Jefferson MemorialThe sun sets behind a filter of high clouds at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, after one of the biggest snowstorms in DC history.

All these images are from the Tidal Basin, one of my favorite places in Washington. The panoramas feature the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at sunset. I think they all turned out great and I had a lot of fun shooting them. I will follow-up soon with another blog post featuring some more images I shot just after the storm.

Panorama of a snowy Tidal Basin at sunsetPanorama of a snowy Tidal Basin at sunsetPanorama sunset of the Tidal Basin and Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, and the skyline for Arlington, Virginia, after one of the biggest snowstorms in DC history.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Jefferson Memorial Snowzilla Tidal Basin Washington panorama snow starburst sunset sunstar https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2016/2/snow-at-the-tidal-basin Thu, 04 Feb 2016 01:32:00 GMT
Have a Merry Warm Christmas! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/12/have-a-merry-warm-christmas We're having an unusually warm winter. It's currently 63 degrees out. The forecast for Christmas indicates a high of 72. We're definitely not getting a white Christmas this year!

Have a Merry Warm ChristmasHave a Merry Warm ChristmasThe 2015 Capitol Christmas Tree on an unusually warm December day in Washington, DC. The tree, a 74' Lutz spruce, came from the Chugach National Forest in Alaska.

Above is the 2015 Capitol Christmas Tree. It's a 74' Lutz spruce that came all the way from Church National Forest in Alaska.

Have a merry warm Christmas!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Capitol Christmas Tree Christmas https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/12/have-a-merry-warm-christmas Wed, 23 Dec 2015 19:33:40 GMT
Artomatic 2015 was a success! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/12/artomatic-2015-was-a-success John Baggaley Photography exhibit at Artomatic 2015. Last weekend was the last weekend of Artomatic 2015. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to see my exhibit. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed all the feedback.

If you didn't get a chance to see my exhibit, I put together an online gallery of the photos I featured in the exhibit. See the gallery here.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Artomatic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/12/artomatic-2015-was-a-success Sun, 20 Dec 2015 16:11:24 GMT
Autumn Morning in Shenandoah https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/11/clear-sky-autumn-sunrise-in-shenandoah Today is a dreary, rainy day in Washington. The leaves are mostly off the trees now. Winter feels like it's just around the corner. So, it seems like a perfect day to share some bright autumn color from Shenandoah. I shot these several weeks ago during peak season.

Clear Sky Autumn Sunrise in ShenandoahClear Sky Autumn Sunrise in ShenandoahAutumn sunrise in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, with beautiful fall foliage and clear skies.

Autumn at Whiteoak Canyon FallsAutumn at Whiteoak Canyon FallsFall foliage around Whiteoak Canyon Falls in Shenandoah, National Park, Virginia.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Shenandoah Virginia Whiteoak Canyon Falls autumn fall foliage morning sunrise waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/11/clear-sky-autumn-sunrise-in-shenandoah Sun, 29 Nov 2015 20:00:54 GMT
Artomatic: Meet the Artist Night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/11/artomatic-meet-the-artist-night This Saturday, November 14th, is Meet the Artist Night at Artomatic! I will be at my exhibit this Saturday from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. Stop by to say hi!

  • Where: 8100 Corporate Drive, Hyattsville MD (right by the New Carrollton Metro Station).
  • When: Saturday, November 14 from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.
  • Exhibit location: 3-062.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Artomatic exhibit https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/11/artomatic-meet-the-artist-night Sat, 14 Nov 2015 00:00:20 GMT
Artomatic is on! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/11/artomatic-is-on

Artomatic is on! Opening night was Friday night and my exhibit looks great! It will run through December 12, so there's plenty of time to go out and see it. There are several hundred other artists exhibiting too, so it's quite a fun event. (For more information about schedule and location, see my previous blog post.)

If you're interested in purchasing one of the signed, framed prints in the exhibit, send me an e-mail. Otherwise, I made an online gallery of the exhibit, where standard prints, with and without framing, canvas gallery wraps, and metal prints are available for purchase.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Artomatic 2015 exhibit https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/11/artomatic-is-on Sun, 01 Nov 2015 19:58:30 GMT
Artomatic 2015 https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/10/artomatic-2015

I am please to announce that Artomatic 2015 is finally here! After a 3 year hiatus, Artomatic is returning and once again,  I will be exhibiting my work. I am putting together a really great exhibit this year and I can't wait to show it off. If you would like to see it in person, stop on by! My exhibit will be on display for six weeks, starting October 30. Here are all the details:

 

When?

October 30 – December 12

Wednesdays & Thursdays
5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Friday, Saturday, Sunday:
11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Where?

Address:
8100 Corporate Dr
Hyattsville, MD 20785

Metro:
New Carrolton

My exhibit space:
3-062

 

Artomatic 2015 will feature hundreds of visual, creative, and performing art. There will be several bars throughout the building. It's a great opportunity to grab a drink and check out some really amazing, eclectic, and in same cases down right bizarre art.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Artomatic exhibit https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/10/artomatic-2015 Fri, 23 Oct 2015 03:00:00 GMT
Dawn on the H Street Corridor https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/dawn-on-the-h-street-corridor Dawn on H StreetDawn on H StreetDawn on the H Street corridor in Washington, DC. Busses whiz by and clouds block what would have been a glorious sunrise on the autumnal equinox. Last week I published some photos of a sunset at the Lincoln Memorial just a few days before the Autumnal Equinox. I had planned to shoot the sun setting just behind the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. Since Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool face directly to the east, I had to time my shoot just before the Autumnal Equinox. Similarly, I planned to shoot a sunrise of the H Street corridor. Because H Street runs east and west, I had to shoot the sunrise on the day of the Autumnal Equinox.

Streetcars on H StreetStreetcars on H StreetSunrise on the H Street corridor in Washington, DC, during the autumnal equinox. Low clouds block the sun, providing soft, filtered light as commuters try to get to work. The new DC Streetcars are out for testing. Unfortunately, the clouds didn't cooperate. Low lying clouds blocked the sunrise on the morning of the Autumnal Equinox. However, all was not lost. The clouds filtered the sunlight, casting a warm glow on the corridor. Moreover, the new DC Streetcars were out for testing, which was a fun treat and made for some nice photos.

Blue Hour on H StreetBlue Hour on H StreetDawn on the H Street corridor in Washington, DC. Featuring tower cranes, construction, early morning traffic, and the new DC Streetcar.

The H Street corridor has seen a lot of change in the past few years and it's nice to see how things are improving. The change is quite evident in the following two photos. I shot the first photo last week and the second on January 10, 2012.

Morning Traffic Flow on H StreetMorning Traffic Flow on H StreetDawn on the H Street Corridor in Washington, DC. Featuring early morning traffic flows.   H Street Night TrafficH Street Night TrafficTraffic at night on H Street NE, Washington, DC. H Street is an up and coming neighborhood in Washington, with lots of new bars and restaurants. The trolly tracks are new. The trolly should begin operation in 2013. The big pit on the left is ongoing construction of a large grocery store.

Not only is the DC Streetcar new, but several new large buildings have gone up and more are on the way. The H Street corridor is a vibrant and growing part of Washington.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) H Street Washington city dawn sunrise traffic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/dawn-on-the-h-street-corridor Thu, 01 Oct 2015 00:05:00 GMT
Super Eclipse https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/super-eclipse Supermoon Eclipse Under a Veil of CloudsSupermoon Eclipse Under a Veil of CloudsOn September 27, 2015, North America was treated to a lunar eclipse with a supermoon. A supermoon is when the moon is at its closest point to the earth all year—meaning it appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter. The reddish color is characteristic of an autumnal full moon—frequently known as a "harvest moon" or a "hunter's moon". On September 27, 2015, North America was treated to a lunar eclipse with a supermoon. A supermoon is when the moon is at its closest to the earth all year—meaning it appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter. The last time we experienced an eclipse of a supermoon was in 1982 and the next eclipse of a supermoon isn't supposed to occur until 2033. So, the supermoon eclipse sounded like it should be quite spectacular.

Unfortunately, Washington, DC, experienced significant cloud cover. Getting a good shot of the supermoon during the eclipse was almost impossible. To get this shot, I had to wait for a break in the quickly moving clouds and then take a quick shot before the clouds covered it back up again. This proved to be quite challenging.

Fortunately, I did get something, at least to document the occasion. The bottom right corner of the moon in the photo is where sunlight is reflecting off the moon. The rest of the moon is in a shadow created by the earth. The reddish color is characteristic of an autumnal full moon—frequently known as a "harvest moon" or a "hunter's moon".

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) autumn clouds eclipse fall harvest moon hunter moon lunar eclipse moon night sky supermoon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/super-eclipse Tue, 29 Sep 2015 02:36:00 GMT
Autumnal Equinox at Lincoln https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/autumnal-equinox-at-lincoln Peeking from behind LincolnPeeking from behind LincolnThe setting sun peeks from behind the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial just a few days before the Autumnal Equinox. A while back, I decided I wanted to take some photos of the sun setting behind the Lincoln Memorial with the Reflecting Pool in front. But then I had to wait five months to take the photo. To get the shots I wanted, I needed the sun to set in just the right spot.

There are only two days each year when the sun sets directly to the west (the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool face east). On the Autumnal Equinox and the Vernal Equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. Every other day, the sun rises and sets in a slightly different location—a bit to the north or south. This means you really have to plan ahead and be patient. The window of opportunity is very small. If it had been cloudy when I took this shot, I probably would have had to wait another six months.

Orange Starburst and LincolnOrange Starburst and LincolnThe sun sets just to the right of the Lincoln Memorial, forming a starburst, just a few days before the Autumnal Equinox.

I took these shots on Friday, a few days before the Autumnal Equinox, which is on Wednesday. I needed the sun to set slightly to the side of the Lincoln Memorial. With a little bit of luck and a lot of planning, I got what I wanted. I think the shots turned out great.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Autumnal Equinox Lincoln Memorial Reflection Pool Washington sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/autumnal-equinox-at-lincoln Wed, 23 Sep 2015 02:00:00 GMT
Butterflies https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/butterflies On Labor Day, I visited Brookside Gardens to visit the Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit. The exhibit was incredible. I had never seen so many butterflies before—nor had I ever seen so much variety. They were all very beautiful. They were also very difficult to photograph. I was shooting with my Nikon D800 and 70-200mm f/4. A close-up with a 200mm lens provides for a very narrow depth of field—in this case, a matter of millimeters. The slightest sway of my body forward and backward wrecked the focus. Fortunately, with some discipline and patience, I managed to get a few great shots. I particularly like this first one. The butterfly's eyes are tack sharp.

Green MajestyGreen MajestySide profile of a brown and white butterfly with green highlights.

Brown Butterfly, Green LeafBrown Butterfly, Green LeafA brown butterfly rests on a green leaf.

Blue Butterfly, Orange FlowerBlue Butterfly, Orange FlowerA black, white, and blue butterfly looks to take off from an orange flower.

Black, Yellow, and WhiteBlack, Yellow, and WhiteA black, yellow, and white striped caterpillar on a green stalk.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy butterflies caterpillars close-up photography https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/butterflies Mon, 14 Sep 2015 14:35:55 GMT
Victoria water lilies https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/victoria-water-lilies I made another trip to Kenilworth recently. One normally doesn't think to shoot flowers in August, when everything else seems to be drying out and withering in the heat. But August is when the Victoria water lilies bloom. The leaf of a Victoria water lily can grow up to almost 10 feet in diameter. They are wonderful to behold. 

CirclesCirclesVictoria water lillies at Kenilworth.

Purple water lilyPurple water lilyA purple Victoria water lilly at Kenilworth. ThreeThreeVictoria water lillies at Kenilworth.

The following isn't actually a Victoria water lily, but rather a winter hardy water lily. I shot it when I shot the Victoria water lilies. I like the strong contrast of the single white flower against all the dark green. 

OneOneOne winter hardy water lilly at Kenilworth.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Victoria Victoria water lily Washington flowers water lily https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/9/victoria-water-lilies Mon, 07 Sep 2015 02:49:50 GMT
Summer flowers https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/8/summer-flowers I usually associate flowers with spring, but some flowers bloom in the summer. The lotus, one of my favorites, is one such flower. Here are a few photos of lotus flowers that I shot in July.
One Before the OtherOne Before the OtherTwo pink lotuses, early in the morning.

One of the ThreeOne of the ThreeThree lotus flowers in early morning light.

A Field of Pink Lotus FlowersA Field of Pink Lotus FlowersMorning in a field of pink lotus flowers. Pink TranslucencyPink TranslucencyMorning sun shines through pink lotus petals.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth flowers lotus summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/8/summer-flowers Tue, 04 Aug 2015 01:32:00 GMT
Fireworks 2015 https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/7/fireworks-2015 Every year on Independence Day, I shoot the fireworks here in Washington, D.C. This year was unique for two reasons. First, I had the opportunity to shoot from the steps of the Capitol, which gave me an unusual perspective. Second, we had just experienced a lot of rain and the clouds were very low. The air was also very hazy. This created an atmosphere in the photos that felt somehow otherworldly. I hope you agree this made the photos a little extra special. Click on a photo to see it larger and let me know if you have a favorite!

Orange Fireworks, Blue SmokeOrange Fireworks, Blue SmokeOn Independence Day, 2015, in Washington, DC, orange fireworks explode behind the Washington Monument while smoke billows up from cannon fire. The cannons fired during the playing of the 1812 Overture by the National Symphony Orchestra on the west front of the Capitol. Blue Fireworks, Blue SmokeBlue Fireworks, Blue SmokeOn Independence Day, 2015, in Washington, DC, blue fireworks explode behind the Washington Monument while smoke billows up from cannon fire. The cannons fired during the playing of the 1812 Overture by the National Symphony Orchestra on the west front of the Capitol. Orange Fireworks and a Hazy MonumentOrange Fireworks and a Hazy MonumentOn Independence Day, 2015, in Washington, DC, orange fireworks explode behind the Washington Monument. Low clouds and heavy haze create an otherworldy atmosphere. Red Fireworks and a Hazy MonumentRed Fireworks and a Hazy MonumentOn Independence Day, 2015, in Washington, DC, red fireworks explode behind the Washington Monument. Low clouds and heavy haze create an otherworldy atmosphere. Orange and Yellow Fireworks, Smoke, and the Washington MonumentOrange and Yellow Fireworks, Smoke, and the Washington MonumentOn Independence Day, 2015, in Washington, DC, orange and yellow fireworks explode behind the Washington Monument. Low clouds and heavy haze create an otherworldy atmosphere.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Independence Day July 4 Washington Washington Monument fireworks smoke https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/7/fireworks-2015 Tue, 14 Jul 2015 00:32:35 GMT
Giant Panda https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/7/giant-panda Whenever I visit the National Zoo, I always swing by the giant pandas. Unfortunately, the pandas aren't nearly as cooperative as some of the other animals. Every time I have visited them, they've hidden in the back, far from view, or up close, but showing off their least flattering parts. My last visit, however, was very different. Tian Tian, the male, was napping right out in plain view. It was a rare opportunity!

Relaxed PandaRelaxed PandaTian Tian, the male giant panda at the National Zoo.

Shake It OutShake It OutTian Tian, the male giant panda at the National Zoo.

Panda in ZenPanda in ZenTian Tian, the male giant panda at the National Zoo.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National Zoo Smithsonian National Zoological Park Tian Tian Washington giant panda panda https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/7/giant-panda Thu, 02 Jul 2015 02:34:34 GMT
More cherry blossoms https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/6/more-cherry-blossoms A while back, I posted a photo from my cherry blossom shoot this year. It has taken me a while, but I finally completed a couple of additional photos from the same shoot. This first one is similar to this one from last year. The Capitol dome is currently under construction, so I shot from a different angle to cut it out from the frame. I think this one turned out great.

Jefferson and Cherry Blossoms at SunriseJefferson and Cherry Blossoms at SunriseA scenic morning at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Cherry trees in bloom frame the Jefferson Memorial and ducks swimming.

And here's one from earlier in the morning. The clouds were much more cooperative before sunrise.

Blue MorningBlue MorningDawn at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Featuring the Washington Monument and dramatic clouds reflected in the Tidal Basin.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington Washington Monument cherry blossoms dawn spring sunrise twilight https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/6/more-cherry-blossoms Mon, 08 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT
Featured in Long Weekends Magazine https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/5/featured-in-longweekends-magazine Harpers Ferry SunsetHarpers Ferry SunsetThe sun sets on a warm summer day over Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, while two freight trains cross the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers.

My photo of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, was recently published in the spring issue of Long Weekends magazine. It's on page 42 and looks great. The caption reads: "Because of its breathtaking scenery, Harpers Ferry was once cited by art historians as the most 'painted town' in America." I took the photo last year after a challenging hike to the top of Maryland Heights.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Harpers Ferry Long Weekends magazine Published West Virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/5/featured-in-longweekends-magazine Sun, 31 May 2015 21:31:27 GMT
Arsenal of Democracy Flyover https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/5/arsenal-of-democracy-flyover A Pair of CorsairsA Pair of CorsairsA pair of Vought F4U Corsair fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the thirteenth formation of the flyover, the "Iwo Jima" formation. According to the Washington Post, "The gull-winged Corsair was the first U.S. fighter to exceed 400 mph in level flight. Late to enter carrier service because of landing gear problems, it became famous flying from island bases in the Pacific with such squadrons as the Black Sheep Squadron led by Marine Corps ace Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington. The Japanese called it 'Whistling Death,' and it served through World War II and the Korean War. It served in Central American air forces until the early 1970s.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 41 ft.
Length: 34 ft.

On May 8, 2015, the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, a diverse array of World War II aircraft flew over the skies of Washington, D.C., to honor the heroes who fought in World War II and those at home who produced the tanks, ships, and aircraft that enabled the United States and its Allies to achieve victory.

The flyover took place just after noon, so I was able to attend merely by running across the street to watch during my lunch break. I was able to get out on the west front terrace of the Capitol. There was quite a crowd.

Anticipating the FlyoverAnticipating the FlyoverCrowds gather on the National Mall and on the west terrace of the Capitol in anticipation of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, May 8, 2015.

The aircraft flew in 15 historically sequenced formations. Each formation represented a major battle of the War. Here are some of my favorites. (Click on the photos for more information.)

The following two photos are of North American AT-6/SNJs flying in the first formation, the "Trainer" formation. I've seen a lot of these in movies about World War II.

In FormationIn FormationA fleet of North American AT-6/SNJ fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the first formation of the flyover, the "Trainer" formation. According to the Washington Post, "Army, Navy and Marine pilots learned how to dogfight and shoot in this single-engine advanced trainer, which also saw 'action' in Hollywood movies about World War II, standing in for Japanese aircraft.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 42 ft.
Length: 29 ft.

World War II TrainersWorld War II TrainersA fleet of North American AT-6/SNJ fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the first formation of the flyover, the "Trainer" formation. According to the Washington Post, "Army, Navy and Marine pilots learned how to dogfight and shoot in this single-engine advanced trainer, which also saw 'action' in Hollywood movies about World War II, standing in for Japanese aircraft.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 42 ft.
Length: 29 ft.

The second formation, the "Pearl Harbor" formation, included Curtiss P-40 Warhawks. These are the "Flying Tigers"! As a kid, I loved the tiger mouths that were painted on the noses of the fighters.

Flying Tigers!Flying Tigers!A pair of Curtiss P–40 Warhawk fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the second formation of the flyover, the "Pearl Harbor" formation. According to the Washington Post, "Claire Lee Chennault’s American Volunteer Group – the Flying Tigers – made this single-engined fighter, outmoded at the start of the war, famous through their hit-and-run tactics against the Japanese in China. The British, the Russians and other allied air forces used it in all theaters.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 37 ft.
Length: 32 ft.
The B-17 Flying Fortress from the ninth formation, the "Big Week" formation, was really neat and I'm quite happy with the photo. If you look closely, you can see where all the gunners sat.

Flying FortressFlying FortressA Boeing B–17 Flying Fortress flies in the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. This plane flew as part of the ninth formation of the flyover, the "Big Week" formation. According to the Washington Post, the Boeing B–17 was "First used in combat in 1941 (though prototypes were flown before then), the B-17 is one of the most famous bombers ever built. This aircraft was pivotal in the destruction of Germany’s industrial fabric and the allied victory in Europe.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 104 ft.
Length: 74 ft.

I'm particularly fond of the following photo and the one at the start of this post. (These are from the thirteenth "Iwo Jima" formation). The Corsairs are very fast airplanes and I was afraid the photos wouldn't turn out. Clouds and CorsairsClouds and CorsairsA pair of Vought F4U Corsair fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the thirteenth formation of the flyover, the "Iwo Jima" formation. According to the Washington Post, "The gull-winged Corsair was the first U.S. fighter to exceed 400 mph in level flight. Late to enter carrier service because of landing gear problems, it became famous flying from island bases in the Pacific with such squadrons as the Black Sheep Squadron led by Marine Corps ace Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington. The Japanese called it 'Whistling Death,' and it served through World War II and the Korean War. It served in Central American air forces until the early 1970s.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 41 ft.
Length: 34 ft.

The following airplane is enormous. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress (in the fourteenth "Final Air Offensive" formation) is the same kind of airplane that dropped the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Boeing B-29 SuperfortressBoeing B-29 SuperfortressA Boeing B–29 Superfortress flies in the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. This plane flew as part of the fourteenth formation of the flyover, the "Final Air Offensive" formation. According to the Washington Post, the Boeing B–29 was "A long-range heavy bomber that entered active service toward the end of World War II. One of the largest aircraft of its time, the B-29 was used in the nuclear attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 141 ft.
Length: 99 ft.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Arsenal of Democracy Flyover Washington World War II aircraft airplanes bomber corsair fighter flying foretress flying tiger historic superfortress https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/5/arsenal-of-democracy-flyover Fri, 15 May 2015 02:30:00 GMT
Cherry Blossoms 2015 https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/4/cherry-blossoms-2015 The cherry blossoms made their annual brief appearance here in Washington a couple of weeks ago. As I do every year, I shot the blossoms and the sunrise at the Tidal Basin. This is one of my favorites:

Twilight Cherry TreeTwilight Cherry TreeEarly morning, just before sunrise, at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, during peak bloom for the cherry blossoms. The sun is just starting to rise behind the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and a large Yoshino cherry tree leans out over the Tidal Basin.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington cherry blossoms https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/4/cherry-blossoms-2015 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 02:52:31 GMT
It's getting warmer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/4/getting-warmer Spring arrived, but it certainly didn't feel like it. It snowed here on the first day of spring. Fortunately, the weather is starting to warm up. While the cherry blossoms aren't out yet, they will be here soon. In the spirit of the coming season, I shot a few sunrise photos.

DC Skyline SunriseDC Skyline SunriseThe sun peaks up from below the horizon, casting an orange glow upon the morning sky in Washington, DC. Visible in the skyline is the Potomac River, Arlington Memorial Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the dome of the Capitol, which is undergoing restoration.

I love the color and how the sun is just peeking over the horizon. I also took the following just a bit earlier:

Purple DC SkylinePurple DC SkylinePurple skies hang over the Washington, DC, skyline at dawn. The skyline features the Potomac River, Arlington Memorial Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the dome of the Capitol, which is undergoing restoration.

I think the purple skies are really great. I'm quite happy with both shots. However, I figured I could get another nice shot shortly after sunrise, so I visited the Tidal Basin and shot this:

Thomas Jefferson in SunlightThomas Jefferson in SunlightEarly morning sunshine lights up the statue of Thomas Jefferson at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

The cherry blossoms should be here at the end of next week!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Thomas Jefferson Memorial Washington architecture city dawn skyline sunrise sunshine https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/4/getting-warmer Sat, 04 Apr 2015 19:10:15 GMT
It has been cold https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/3/it-has-been-cold It has been dreadfully cold here in Washington. About week ago, I had the opportunity to rise early and traipse out into sub-freezing temperatures to shoot the sunrise from across the Potomac River. While it was bitter cold, it was a gorgeous morning!

Dawn, Lincoln, Washington, and SnowDawn, Lincoln, Washington, and SnowA very cold morning before sunrise in Washington, DC. The Potomac River is frozen and the sun is about to rise behind the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and Arlington Memorial Bridge.

Sunrise over a frozen PotomacSunrise over a frozen PotomacOn a very cold morning in Washington, DC, the sun rises behind the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington Memorial Bridge, casting rays of light on a frozen Potomac River.

It won't be much longer now until the cherry blossoms arrive!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Cold Dawn Landscape Scenic Snow Sunrise Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/3/it-has-been-cold Sat, 14 Mar 2015 02:55:37 GMT
Charity Auction for Children's National https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/1/charity-auction-for-childrens-national Jefferson and the Cherry TreeJefferson and the Cherry TreeSpring sunrise at the Tidal Basin during peak bloom for the cherry blossoms. The sun is rising behind the Jefferson Memorial and the US Capitol is visible in the distance. The cherry trees were a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Japan in 1912.

This Saturday, a print of my image Jefferson and the Cherry Tree (above) will be auctioned off at the 8th Annual Dancing After Dark, an event to benefit Children's National here in Washington, DC. I signed the print and it's beautifully framed by the generous folks at Frame of Mine. The event, which will include cocktails, desserts, and dancing, will be held at the Carnegie Library. For tickets and other information, visit the event website.

 

 

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Children's National auction charity https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2015/1/charity-auction-for-childrens-national Fri, 23 Jan 2015 01:38:28 GMT
Happy Holidays! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/12/happy-holidays Happy holidays and a happy new year to everyone!

This year for my annual holiday blog post, I took two photos. The first features the 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the Capitol. The dome of the Capitol is covered in scaffolding. It is currently undergoing a two-year restoration. The tree is a white spruce from the Chippewa National Forest in Cass Lake, Minnesota. It was harvested on October 29. The tree is decorated with thousands of ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Minnesota. The second photo features the tree with the National Mall and the Washington Monument in the background.

2014 Capitol Christmas Tree and US Capitol2014 Capitol Christmas Tree and US CapitolThe 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the Capitol. The tree is a white spruce from the Chippewa National Forest in Cass Lake, Minnesota. It was harvested on October 29. The tree is decorated with thousands of ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Minnesota. The dome of the Capitol is currently undergoing a two-year restoration project, hence all the scaffolding.

2014 Capitol Christmas Tree and Washington Monument2014 Capitol Christmas Tree and Washington MonumentThe 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the Washington Monument and the National Mall. The tree is a white spruce from the Chippewa National Forest in Cass Lake, Minnesota. It was harvested on October 29. The tree is decorated with thousands of ornaments, handcrafted by children and others from Minnesota.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree Capitol Christmas National Mall Washington Washington Monument night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/12/happy-holidays Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:03:05 GMT
Farewell to Fall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/11/farewell-to-fall It's getting cold here. Winter is still a month away, but with the colder temperatures and the trees mostly bare, it doesn't feel like it's too soon to say farewell to fall. Here are a couple of sunrise shots of the Washington Monument that I took at the Tidal Basin before all the leaves fell off the cherry trees.

Washington Monument and Fall FoliageWashington Monument and Fall FoliageAutumn sunrise on the Washington Monument, the Tidal Basin, and Fall Foliage.

Reflected SunriseReflected SunriseAutumn sunrise with clouds reflected in the Tidal Basin. Featuring the Washington Monument and fall foliage.

This one of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial doesn't feature much in the way of fall foliage, but I'm including it anyway because I took it shortly after the other two and it seems to me that I rarely find the place vacant of tourists.

Martin Luther King, Jr. MemorialMartin Luther King, Jr. Memorial"Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope." The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington Washington Monument autumn fall foliage landscape sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/11/farewell-to-fall Mon, 17 Nov 2014 01:36:00 GMT
Autumn sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/11/autumn-sunrise On a recent cold and windy morning, I visited the Buck Hollow overlook in Shenandoah National Park to watch and shoot the sun rising over the fall foliage. Buck Hollow is located on Skyline Drive, which is considered one of the most scenic drives in the United States. It's well worth visiting in the fall, particularly during peak season. However, timing a visit can be hard since the peak is short and as unpredictable as the weather. I made it just after the peak for this shoot. In many places, the trees were completely bare, but at Buck Hollow, there were still plenty of colorful leaves on the trees.

Autumn SunriseAutumn SunriseThe sun rises over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park, revealing late autumn foliage at Buck Hollow.

Autumn Sun StarAutumn Sun StarThe sun rises over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park, revealing late autumn foliage.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Autumn Shenandoah Skyline Drive Virginia fall sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/11/autumn-sunrise Fri, 07 Nov 2014 02:01:00 GMT
Autumn at Great Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/10/autumn-at-great-falls Autumn has descended from the mountains and is approaching Washington. Last Thursday, I visited Great Falls, just outside the beltway, and color was evident all around. I got some great shots. The second is a panorama.

Great Autumn FallsGreat Autumn FallsGreat Falls, Virginia, surrounded by fall foliage.

Great Autumn Falls PanoramaGreat Autumn Falls PanoramaPanorama of Great Falls, Virginia, surrounded by fall foliage.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Virginia autumn fall foliage landscape waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/10/autumn-at-great-falls Mon, 27 Oct 2014 00:51:00 GMT
Sunset at Harpers Ferry https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/8/harpers-ferry I recently visited Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. Harpers Ferry is an historic town and national park. It resides at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. Maryland Heights, to the east of Harpers Ferry, presents a beautiful view of the town, but the hike to the top is fairly challenging—I got there just in time for the sunset:

Harpers Ferry SunsetHarpers Ferry SunsetThe sun sets on a warm summer day over Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, while two freight trains cross the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Harpers Ferry Potomac Shenandoah West Virginia landscape nature river summer sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/8/harpers-ferry Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:47:49 GMT
Lotuses https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/7/lotuses It seems to me that when most people think of flowers, they think of the spring. However, for someone who likes to shoot lotuses, summer is the season for flowers.

Here are a couple of lotuses I shot recently at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (click on an image to enlarge):

Two lotusesTwo lotusesTwo lotus flowers—one open and one closed.    Lotus and dewLotus and dewDew formed on a barely opened lotus.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth flower lotus summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/7/lotuses Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:19:42 GMT
Independence Day https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/7/independence-day This year, I celebrated Independence Day by watching the fireworks over the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial from across the Potomac River. I shot the images from water level, so I was able to get the fireworks reflected in the water along with silhouettes of boats in the river.

Red, white, and blue over the PotomacRed, white, and blue over the PotomacRed, white, and blue fireworks over the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Potomac River in Washington, DC, on Independence Day. Green fire over the PotomacGreen fire over the PotomacGreen fireworks over the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Potomac River in Washington, DC, on Independence Day.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Independence Day Lincoln Memorial Potomac River Washington Washington Monument fireworks summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/7/independence-day Mon, 07 Jul 2014 02:16:23 GMT
The smells of summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/6/the-smells-of-summer I was at Huntley Meadows last weekend when it hit me that it smelled like summer because it smelled like DEET.

Green MeadowGreen MeadowHuntley Meadows in the summer, just before sunset.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Huntley Meadows landscape summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/6/the-smells-of-summer Tue, 01 Jul 2014 01:58:00 GMT
Cherry Blossoms 2014 https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/4/cherry-blossoms-2014 For me, living in Washington, DC, the start of spring is marked by the bloom of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin. This year, peak bloom occurred a bit later than usual (April 11 rather than in late March). The bloom was delayed by an unusually cold winter. However, when the bloom did finally arrive, it was spectacular.

Jefferson DawnJefferson DawnDawn at the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, during peak bloom for the cherry trees. The cherry trees were a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Japan in 1912.

Golden Hour at the JeffersonGolden Hour at the JeffersonThe sun rises besides the Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, during peak bloom for the cherry blossoms. The cherry trees were a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Japan in 1912.

Jefferson and the Cherry TreeJefferson and the Cherry TreeSpring sunrise at the Tidal Basin during peak bloom for the cherry blossoms. The sun is rising behind the Jefferson Memorial and the US Capitol is visible in the distance. The cherry trees were a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Japan in 1912.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington blossom cherry blossom cherry tree dawn spring sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/4/cherry-blossoms-2014 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:53:00 GMT
Snow at the Arboretum https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/2/snow-at-the-arboretum We've had yet another snowstorm here in Washington. While others may dread the snow and all of the inconveniences snow entails, I look forward to every snowstorm. Snow turns an otherwise dreary winter landscape into something beautiful. Unfortunately, I can't make it out to shoot right after every snowstorm, but it has also been just cold enough for the snow to stick around for a while. So, when I had the day off on George Washington's Birthday, I visited the National Arboretum.

I've always been fond of the National Capitol Columns monument. In the following photo, the snow around the base of the 22 Corinthian columns really set off a nice contrast with the blue sky.

Snow ColumnsSnow ColumnsThe National Capitol Columns monument at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, surrounded by snow. These 22 Corinthian columns were once a part of the east portico of the United States Capitol.

I spent some of my time at the Arboretum shooting the trees as well. I was particularly taken with this Crape-Myrtle in the Gotelli Dwarf and Slowing-Growing Conifer Collection. To me, it looks as though the tree is reaching out to embrace me.

A Tree's EmbraceA Tree's EmbraceA Crape-Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) surrounded by snow in the Gotelli Dwarf and Slow-Growing Conifer Collection at the National Arboretum.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Crape-Myrtle Lagerstroemia National Arboretum National Capitol Columns Washington landscape snow tree winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/2/snow-at-the-arboretum Fri, 21 Feb 2014 00:58:58 GMT
It's cold in Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/its-cold-in-washington We've had a bit more snow here in Washington. It's hard to appreciate the additional snow, however, since it is very cold. I went out Wednesday morning to shoot the sunrise after Tuesday's storm. At dawn, when I took the following photo of the Lincoln Memorial, it was 8 degrees F with winds gusting up to 25 miles per hour. The wind chill temperature was -13 degrees F.

Winter Dawn at the Lincoln MemorialWinter Dawn at the Lincoln MemorialDawn at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, after a snowstorm. Arlington, Virginia, is visible in the background.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Dawn Lincoln Memorial Washington cold snow winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/its-cold-in-washington Sat, 25 Jan 2014 15:12:28 GMT
Snow at Great Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/snow-at-great-falls About a week ago it snowed here in Washington, DC. This was very exciting for me. It had been several years since we had had any real snowfall and snow does magical things for winter landscape photography.

Here are a couple of landscapes that I shot the morning after the snowstorm. I shot them at Great Falls, Virginia, which is just a little ways up the Potomac River from Washington.

Dawn on a snowy Great FallsDawn on a snowy Great FallsDawn at Great Falls after a snowstorm.

Twilight at a snowy Great FallsTwilight at a snowy Great FallsTwilight at Great Falls after a snowstorm.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Potomac dawn landscape river snow sunrise waterfall winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/snow-at-great-falls Sat, 11 Jan 2014 18:50:42 GMT
Air Force Memorial at Twilight https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/air-force-memorial-at-twilight The Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, was dedicated on October 14, 2006. I've been meaning to shoot it for a while now, but never found the time until recently. It's a beautiful memorial. It was designed by James Ingo Freed, the architect who is known for designing the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Wikipedia nicely describes the design of the Air Force Memorial as follows:

The three memorial spires range from 201 feet (61 m) to 270 feet (82 m) high and appear to be soaring; its array of stainless steel arcs against the sky evoke the image of "contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they peel back in a precision 'bomb burst' maneuver." Only three of the four contrails are depicted, at 120 degrees from each other, as the absent fourth suggests the missing man formation traditionally used at Air Force funeral fly-overs. (Wikipedia, United States Air Force Memorial (as of Jan. 6, 2014).)

Air Force Memorial TwilightAir Force Memorial TwilightTwilight at the Air Force Memorial near Washington, DC.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Air Force Memorial Arlington Virginia Washington sunset twilight https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/air-force-memorial-at-twilight Tue, 07 Jan 2014 03:50:00 GMT
Sumatran Tiger Cubs https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/tiger-cubs On August 5, 2013, the Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to two tiger cubs at the National Zoo. Bandar and Sukacita (SOO-kah-CHEE-tah) were on display for the first time on November 18. I was eager to shoot them playing around in the yard and got out there shortly after their debut.

PlayfulPlayfulOne of the new Sumatran tiger cubs at the National Zoo plays with its mother, Domai.

Surprise!Surprise!Sukacita (SOO-kah-CHEE-tah), a Sumatran tiger cub, attacks her mother, Domai, at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

Brother and SisterBrother and SisterBandar and Sukacita (SOO-kah-CHEE-tah), brother and sister Sumatran tiger cubs at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

LurkingLurkingDamai, a Sumatran tiger, at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

Kids are dangerousKids are dangerousDamai, a Sumatran tiger, and her cub Bandar at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. It appears that Bandar has given his mother a bloody nose.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National zoo Smithsonian animal cub tiger wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2014/1/tiger-cubs Sun, 05 Jan 2014 18:49:24 GMT
Happy Holidays! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/12/happy-holidays In the spirit of the holidays, I took two photos of the Capitol and the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree. The first is a photo of the Capitol at night with the Capitol Christmas Tree lit up and reflected in the Reflecting Pool. In previous years, I've taken similar photos of the Capitol and the Capitol Christmas Tree, but this year the photo is a little extra special because I received some cooperation from Mother Nature—the air was still and the waters in the Reflecting Pool were perfectly still, allowing me to capture a wonderfully sharp reflection of the Capitol and the tree.

Capitol Christmas ReflectionsCapitol Christmas ReflectionsThe United States Capitol and the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree at night, reflected in the Reflecting Pool.

The second photo is a closer shot of the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the Capitol. The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree is an 88 foot tall Engelmann spruce from Colville National Forest in northeast Washington State. It is decorated with thousands of ornaments handcrafted by the children of Washington State.

2013 Capitol Christmas Tree2013 Capitol Christmas TreeThe 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree is an 88 foot tall Engelmann spruce from Colville National Forest in northeast Washington State. It is decorated with thousands of ornaments handcrafted by the children of Washington State.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree Capitol Christmas Washington night reflection https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/12/happy-holidays Sat, 14 Dec 2013 22:00:46 GMT
The Main Reading Room https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/12/the-main-reading-room The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. While the Library of Congress generally allows visitors to take photographs in the Great Hall, photography is generally prohibited in the stunning Main Reading Room, except once each year on Veteran's Day.

On November 11, I ventured over to the Jefferson Building to shoot the Main Reading Room. It was a fun excursion. I've always been very fond of libraries and the Library of Congress is a very special place. Here are a couple of my favorite shots of the Main Reading Room. I hope you like them as much as I do!

In the Main Reading RoomIn the Main Reading RoomIn the Main Reading Room in the Library of Congress, Jefferson Library, Washington, DC.

Looking up in the Main Reading RoomLooking up in the Main Reading RoomLooking up in the Main Reading Room in the Library of Congress, Jefferson Library, Washington, DC.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Jefferson Building Library of Congress Main Reading Room architecture library https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/12/the-main-reading-room Thu, 12 Dec 2013 02:35:21 GMT
Photography exhibit at H St Coffee House https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/photography-exhibit-at-h-st-coffee-house My photography exhibit at H Street Coffee House & Cafe is now on display! The exhibit will run through January 23, 2014.

I attended the opening reception last night and the exhibit looks great! Thanks to everyone who attended the reception. I appreciate your support.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Baggaley H St Coffee H Street Coffee House and Cafe exhibit exhibition https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/photography-exhibit-at-h-st-coffee-house Sun, 24 Nov 2013 21:55:58 GMT
Coming up: exhibit at H Street Coffee House https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/coming-up-exhibit-at-h-street-coffee-house Beginning this Saturday, eight of my images will be featured in an exhibition at H Street Coffee House and Cafe, 1359 H St NE, Washington, DC. They will be on display from November 23, 2013, through January 23, 2014, and I will be present at the opening Saturday night, from 7:00 to 9:00.

I put a lot of work into the printing and framing of the images in the exhibit and I can say they look fantastic! The images are printed on high-quality luster or cotton fiber fine-art paper using professional-grade pigment ink for superior image quality and long life. Prints are matted with acid-free paper and framed in matte black wooden frames with non-glare acrylic. Each print is also signed and available for purchase. If you are interested in purchasing one of the framed prints displayed in the exhibit, send me an e-mail to arrange for payment and delivery after the exhibit ends on January 24.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Baggaley H Street Coffee House and Cafe exhibit exhibition https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/coming-up-exhibit-at-h-street-coffee-house Wed, 20 Nov 2013 01:34:00 GMT
November skies https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/november-skies Recently, I set out to shoot the fall foliage around the Tidal Basin. However, the skies were so dramatic that I ended up spending more time looking at the sky than at the trees. I guess I'll have to go back next year for the trees. In the meantime, I'm quite happy with my November skies.

Dramatic skies and fall colorDramatic skies and fall colorCloudy skies block a November sunrise at the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. The Jefferson Memorial is surrounded by cherry trees draped in fall color.

Cloudy sunrise at the Tidal BasinCloudy sunrise at the Tidal BasinBlue and purple clouds hover over the Tidal Basin at sunrise in Washington, DC. The Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial are framed by cherry trees with fall foliage.

November sunrise at the JeffersonNovember sunrise at the JeffersonSunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, is blocked by dramatic clouds. The Jefferson Memorial is framed by cherry trees draped in fall color.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Jefferson Memorial Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington autumn fall foliage sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/november-skies Mon, 11 Nov 2013 00:41:33 GMT
More fall color https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/more-fall-color I was walking along Rock Creek the other day and came across this turtle. It was one of those shots of opportunity. I like color of the leaves floating on by as the turtle hides in its shell.

Hiding in his shellHiding in his shellA turtle cowers in its shell as fall leaves whirl on past in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Rock Creek Washington animal autumn fall reptile turtle https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/11/more-fall-color Tue, 05 Nov 2013 01:24:00 GMT
Autumn at Rock Creek https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/10/autumn-at-rock-creek We're just starting to get some fall color here in Washington, D.C. Until recently, it had been dry and warm. Now it's rainy and getting cold at night. That's a great recipe for fall color.

The following are a couple of shots of Rock Creek that I took last weekend. You can see some nice reds and yellows popping out of the trees around the river. It was cloudy at the time, which makes for some great river photography.

Autumn at Rock CreekAutumn at Rock CreekFall foliage around Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

Fall Color at Rock CreekFall Color at Rock CreekFall foliage around Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Rock Creek Washington autumn fall landscape river https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/10/autumn-at-rock-creek Fri, 25 Oct 2013 02:06:00 GMT
Harvest Moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/9/harvest-moon The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. The Harvest Moon can occur anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the autumnal equinox. This year, the Harvest Moon occurred on September 19, which was pretty close to the autumnal equinox, September 22. The proximity of the Harvest Moon to the autumnal equinox meant that the moon rose almost directly east of the Capitol, presenting an excellent opportunity to get a good shot of the moon over the Washington, DC, skyline.

DC Moon ConstructionDC Moon ConstructionThe Harvest Moon rises over the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol in Washington, DC. Scaffolding covers the Washington Monument as it undergoes repairs required due to significant damage caused by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that occurred on August 23, 2011.

Moon Over WashingtonMoon Over WashingtonThe Harvest Moon rises over the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol in Washington, DC. Scaffolding covers the Washington Monument as it undergoes repairs required due to significant damage caused by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that occurred on August 23, 2011.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Lincoln Memorial Washington Washington Monument landscape moon night skyline summer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/9/harvest-moon Thu, 26 Sep 2013 00:31:00 GMT
Dragonflies https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/9/dragonflies Everyone loves a dragonfly. They're colorful, graceful, and deadly killers:

African lions roar and strut and act the apex carnivore, but they’re lucky to catch 25 percent of the prey they pursue. Great white sharks have 300 slashing teeth and that ominous soundtrack, and still nearly half their hunts fail. Dragonflies, by contrast, look dainty, glittery and fun, like a bubble bath or costume jewelry, and they’re often grouped with butterflies and ladybugs on the very short list of Insects People Like. Yet they are also voracious aerial predators, and new research suggests they may well be the most brutally effective hunters in the animal kingdom. When setting off to feed on other flying insects, dragonflies manage to snatch their targets in midair more than 95 percent of the time, often wolfishly consuming the fresh meat on the spur without bothering to alight. Angier, Natalie, "Nature's Drone, Pretty and Deadly", New York Times, September 9, 2013.

Perhaps the best part of all may be that dragonflies eat mosquitoes! Here are a couple of shots of dragonflies from a recent visit to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens—one of the last places in DC that I would expect to get bitten by a mosquito.

A dragonfly rests on the stalk of a lotus.Green eyes, blue tail The Insect Predator

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Dragonfly Kenilworth Washington dragonflies https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/9/dragonflies Mon, 09 Sep 2013 23:42:00 GMT
Morning in the Aquatic Garden https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/9/morning-in-the-aquatic-garden Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is one of those places I find myself visiting frequently. Usually, when I visit the gardens, I find the flowers and dragonflies the most compelling. They make for obvious subjects, so I focus on close-up photography. I never found a  way to capture the beauty of the gardens as a whole, without focusing on the parts. However, my last visit to the gardens was just after peak season for the flowers. The absence of flowers gave me an opportunity to look at the gardens in a new way. I found that I really liked the way the morning light fell on all the greenery of gardens. The following series is my attempt to capture the beauty of that morning light.

August sunrise at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC, featuring water lilies and a sunburst (also known as a "sun star").Garden Sunrise August sunrise at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC, featuring soft backlighting, flowers, and water lilies.Morning in the Aquatic Garden August sunrise at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC, featuring blue skies and a sunburst (also known as a "sun star").Garden Sunburst

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Washington landscape summer sun star sunburst sunrise water lily https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/9/morning-in-the-aquatic-garden Mon, 02 Sep 2013 23:37:00 GMT
Red, White, and Blue https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/7/red-white-and-blue Thursday was Independence Day and, as I usually do on the 4th of July, I made my way to the Capitol to shoot the fireworks. This year, I got a great shot of the Capitol with red, white, and blue fireworks exploding right behind the dome. I uploaded two versions of the same shot. The first shows the full length of the Capitol and the second is a closer crop that more closely resembles my images from previous years.

I hope you like my new fireworks images. Let me know which crop you like best. Thanks!

Expanded crop version:

Red, white, and blue fireworks explode over the Capitol dome in Washington, DC, on Independence Day. Closer crop version:

Red, white, and blue fireworks explode over the Capitol dome in Washington, DC, on Independence Day.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) 4th of July Capitol Independence Day July 4 Washington architecture celebration city fireworks https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/7/red-white-and-blue Sat, 06 Jul 2013 17:36:45 GMT
Blue Hour at the Capitol https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/6/blue-hour-at-the-capitol In September, I took a photo of the Capitol during the blue hour (the period of twilight each morning and evening when there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness) with the dome reflected in one of the two giant skylights of the Capitol Visitor Center (which lies underground, just in front of the Capitol). Normally, a small amount of water surrounds each of the skylights. At the time, the water wasn't present, I assumed because of an ongoing drought. The water has since returned and I recently visited the Capitol again to see if I could improve on my previous photo with the water present.

Here are two photos. I took the first just before the start of civil twilight and the second right at the start of civil twilight (dusk). I took the photos only 11 minutes apart and as you can see, in that 11 minutes, the light changed considerably.

The Capitol at dusk. The dome is reflected in the skylight over the Capitol Visitor Center.The Capitol at Dusk

Blue hour at the Capitol. The Capitol dome is reflected in the skylight over the Capitol Visitor Center.Blue Hour at the Capitol

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Washington architecture dusk reflection twilight https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/6/blue-hour-at-the-capitol Tue, 18 Jun 2013 21:03:02 GMT
Waterlilies https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/6/waterlilies I made another visit to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens recently. It seems the flowers are blooming a bit late this year. None of the lotuses were in bloom and only a few of the waterlilies had bloomed.

Here are a couple of the waterlilies. I think the colors turned out great. Flowers tend to look best on cloudy days and I used a polarizer to cut down on the glare. I'll try to get back to Kenilworth in a few weeks to see if I can get any of the lotuses.

Pink waterlilyPink Amidst the Green WaterliliesWhite Amidst the Green

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Washington flowers https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/6/waterlilies Fri, 07 Jun 2013 18:48:41 GMT
Zebras, Big Cats, and Lemurs https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/6/zebras-cats-and-lemurs I made a number of trips to the zoo recently. While I particularly had fun shooting the new Andean bear cubs, I also enjoyed shooting some of the other animals. Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

GrevyBlack and white Juvenile cheetah at the Smithsonian National Zoo.Furry

Ring-tailed lemurs sunbathing at the Smithsonian National Zoo.Sunbathing

African lion (Luke) yawns at the Smithsonian National Zoo.Yawn! A Sumatran tiger drinks at the Smithsonian National Zoo.Thirsty

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington cheetah lemur lion spring tiger zebra https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/6/zebras-cats-and-lemurs Sat, 01 Jun 2013 17:36:18 GMT
Andean bear cubs https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/5/andean-bear-cubs Early in the morning on December 13, 2012, Billie Jean, the female Andean bear at the Smithsonian National Zoo, gave birth to twins, Curt and Nicole. The zoo put the Andean bear cubs on display for the first time last weekend and I was there on Mother's Day to bask in their adorable playfulness.

Here are five of my favorite images of the bear cubs. Want to see them bigger? Just click on an image.

Andean bear cubs, Curt and Nicole, at the Smithsonian National Zoo, being very very cute.Aren't you cute!

Nicole, an Andean bear cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo, with a small twig in her mouth.Look what I found! Andean bear cub perched in a tree at the Smithsonian National Zoo.How do I get down again? Andean bear cub in a tree at the Smithsonian National Zoo.I think I got it!

Curt and Nicole, Andean bear cubs, embrace in an bear-cub-hug at the Smithsonian National Zoo.Bear cub hug

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Smithsonian National Zoo Washington bear cubs wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/5/andean-bear-cubs Wed, 15 May 2013 00:03:00 GMT
Dawn at the Tidal Basin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/dawn-at-the-tidal-basin Dawn is a magical time for me as a photographer. While the sun hasn't yet risen above the horizon, it shines just enough light on the night sky to splash some purple and red on an otherwise deep blue canvas.

Spring dawn at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Washington Monument and cherry blossom.Dawn, Cherry Blossoms, and the Washington Monument In the image above, you may notice the scaffolding covering the Washington Monument. It's currently undergoing repairs required due to significant damage that was caused by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that occurred back in August 2011.

Spring dawn at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., featuring the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Capitol.Purple Dawn at the Jefferson

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington Washington Monument dawn landscape sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/dawn-at-the-tidal-basin Tue, 30 Apr 2013 21:04:37 GMT
Seeking serenity among cherry blossoms https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/seeking-serenity-among-cherry-blossoms A couple of weeks ago, I went to photograph the cherry blossoms. It was bittersweet because of my father's recent death. A few years ago, my father and stepmother visited, and the three of us enjoyed going to the Jefferson Memorial while the blossoms were blooming. 

A serene sunrise at the Tidal Basin in Washington, featuring the Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol, cherry blossoms, and a passing duck.Serenity at the Tidal Basin

The peak bloom is one of my favorite times in D.C. and I enjoyed showing my father around the Tidal Basin. It seemed appropriate to think about him and our fun times together by returning to the Tidal Basin.

Early morning sun peaks through a canopy of cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.Morning Sun and Blossoms

I'm pleased at how these images turned out and I really wish that I could share them with my father. He had always been supportive of my photography and I think he would have liked these images.

Newly bloomed cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.Spring Cherry Blossoms

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington cherry blossom landscape spring sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/seeking-serenity-among-cherry-blossoms Thu, 25 Apr 2013 02:13:02 GMT
Spring sunrise at the Jefferson https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/spring-sunrise-at-the-jefferson Yesterday, I got up very early to shoot the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. The revised estimate of the National Park Service for peak bloom said that peak would start yesterday. Unfortunately, particularly cold weather set the peak bloom back even further than the revised estimate. However, all was not lost. While I didn't get to shoot any cherry blossoms, I did get to experience a beautiful sunrise.

Dawn at the Tidal Basin, featuring the Jefferson Memorial and the Capitol.Spring Dawn at the Jefferson Sunrise at the Tidal Basin, featuring the Jefferson Memorial and the Capitol.Spring Sunrise at the Jefferson Sunrise at the Jefferson Memorial.Jefferson Greets the Sun

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington dawn landscape spring sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/spring-sunrise-at-the-jefferson Fri, 05 Apr 2013 18:05:39 GMT
Indoor-Outdoor Space https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/indoor-outdoor-space I enjoy large open spaces with lots of natural light and plenty of greenery. That's something one very rarely finds indoors. Perhaps, that's why I really like the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery. At 28,000 square feet, the Kogod Courtyard is one of the largest indoor public places in Washington.

Last weekend I had an opportunity to shoot a panorama of the courtyard. The planters in the courtyard are particularly nice right now, as they're filled with fresh spring flowers. In the following panorama, you can also see wet footprints next to the water scrims. While I was shooting the panorama, children were running in and out of the water, having a really great time.

Panorama of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.Indoor-Outdoor Space This image is a panorama of 295 stitched and blended images. It prints nicely in a large 1:3 aspect ratio.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kogod Courtyard National Portrait Gallery Washington architecture panorama https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/4/indoor-outdoor-space Wed, 03 Apr 2013 01:48:26 GMT
Calder's Mountains and Clouds https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/3/calders-mountains-and-clouds The primary feature of the gigantic atrium in the Hart Senate Office Building is a huge sculpture and mobile by Alexander Calder. I see it everyday when I go to work. It's the kind of place where people meet at work: "Want to go to lunch? Sure! Okay, let's meet at Mountains and Clouds".

Alexander CalderEnclosed Mountains and Clouds

We had a Calder when I was a student at MIT as well (see here). I really liked that one too, but it didn't also have a mobile. In fact, I think Mountains and Clouds is Calder's only sculpture with an accompanying mobile. It may be his only mobile that isn't colorful. (Example here.) He died before it was built, so no one knows if the mobile was supposed to be colorful.

Alexander CalderInterior Mountains and Clouds

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Calder Capitol Mountains and Clouds Washington architecture indoors mobile sculpture https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/3/calders-mountains-and-clouds Sun, 24 Mar 2013 20:10:21 GMT
Lincoln Memorial Sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/3/lincoln-memorial-sunset Last weekend, the weather forecast predicted partly cloudy conditions. Thinking we might have a nice sunset, I headed over to the Washington Monument to shoot the sunset over the Lincoln Memorial. I was greeted with a gorgeous sunset. The clouds were perfect and we had some great color. My photos were only slightly spoiled by construction going on at the World War II Memorial.

A sunset with dramatic skies over the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Arlington, Virginia, is visible in the background.Sunset on The Temple

A sunset with dramatic skies over the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Arlington, Virginia, is visible in the background.Sunset over the Lincoln Memorial Twilight with dramatic skies over the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.Twilight on The Temple A sunset with dramatic skies over the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.Another day ends

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Lincoln Memorial Washington sunset twilight winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/3/lincoln-memorial-sunset Sun, 17 Mar 2013 20:27:27 GMT
Planning and adapting https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/2/planningandadapting The great 19th century general Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke had a theory of war that is often summed up in his statement "no plan survives contact with the enemy". (Wikipedia, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder (as of February 12, 2013).) I think the theory can also be applied to landscape photography.

They say all great landscape photographers plan out their shots. They visit a location, they visualize the shot they want, and they study the weather, the seasons, and the trajectories of the sun and the moon. I do all of these things as well, but it seems that no matter how hard I try, things never turn out the way I plan. So, I plan, and when things don't turn out, I adapt.

Last Sunday, weather.com predicted partly cloudy conditions at Great Falls. The Photographer's Ephemeris told me where and how the sun would set in relation to the falls. I planned and visualized my shot. I gathered my gear and set out to capture a glorious sunset.

When I arrived at Great Falls, clouds were gathering. Conditions looked good, but when the sun started to set, the clouds blanketed the sky and a sunset failed to materialize—a definite disappointment. So, like a general who adapts upon engaging an enemy, I adapted to the changing weather conditions. I experimented by contrasting the texture of the water with the texture of the overcast sky. The result was definitely a success.

Heavy clouds hang over rushing water in an off-shoot of the Potomac River at Great Falls Park in Maryland.Running Water

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Maryland Potomac clouds river winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/2/planningandadapting Tue, 12 Feb 2013 03:53:00 GMT
A cold winter's morning https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/2/a-cold-winters-morning Last weekend was a big weekend for photography. Besides shooting the Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum on Friday, I headed over to the other side of the Potomac early Sunday morning to shoot the sunrise over the Washington skyline. We had had a storm in the area and I was hoping the storm would break Sunday morning. Instead, the clouds lingered a bit and the storm broke a couple of hours after sunrise. Nevertheless, even though the clouds refused to cooperate, I'm happy with the moody images I was able to capture.

Sleeping city. The city sleeps before dawn. A cold winterSleeping city An austere, cold winterAusterity

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Lincoln Memorial Washington Washington Monument clouds dawn landscape winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/2/a-cold-winters-morning Sun, 10 Feb 2013 03:00:52 GMT
Columns and Cumulus Clouds https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/2/columns-and-cumulus-clouds I'm a big fan of cumulus clouds. Unfortunately, it seems we only get great skies here in Washington when I'm stuck in the office at work. We get some great sunsets too, but I have to admire them through my office window.

Fortunately, Friday was different.  It was a cold, beautiful day here in Washington. We had some great cumulus clouds floating over the city, and I was able to get off work a little early. So, I grabbed my camera and tripod and ran over to the National Arboretum. I was prepared to head out with all my gear at the last minute and I was rewarded with some great skies and late afternoon sun.

A sunstar and cumulus clouds over the Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.Looking into the sun Sunset on the Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.Glowing Columns Late afternoon sun shines on the Capitol Columns and cumulus clouds at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.Columns and Cumulus Clouds 2 Cumulus clouds float over the Capitol Columns on a cold winterColumns and Cumulus Clouds I hope you like my photos. If you do, please hit the like button, leave a comment, or tweet it to your friends!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Columns National Arboretum Washington clouds landscape sky sunset winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/2/columns-and-cumulus-clouds Mon, 04 Feb 2013 03:30:00 GMT
Second Inauguration of President Obama https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/1/second-inauguration-of-president-obama On Monday, I attended the second inauguration of President Obama. It was an enjoyable event, but a very cold one. I was fortunate to get a ticket to the standing section, so I had a decent view of the ceremony. Nevertheless, I still had to use a very long lens. I think some of my photos turned out quite nicely. Here are some of my favorites:

The Capitol during the second inauguration of President Obama.Inauguration Day at the Capitol, 2013 Crowds before the inaugural stage at the Capitol during the second inauguration of President Obama.Crowds before the Inaugural Stage The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings at the Capitol during the second inauguration of President Obama.Patriotic Singing President Obama delivers his second inaugural address.Obama's Second Inaugural Speech President Obama delivers his second inaugural address.2013 Presidential Inauguration A cold morning sunrise at the Capitol on Inauguration Day, 2013.Sunrise on the Capitol, Inauguration Day 2013 Crowds gather on the National Mall for the second inauguration of President Obama.Sunrise on the Mall, Inauguration Day 2013


Note: Most of these images were taken with the Nikon 70-200 f/4 combined with the Nikon TC-20E III teleconverter, handheld using VR.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol President Obama celebration ceremony inauguration patriotic sunrise winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/1/second-inauguration-of-president-obama Fri, 25 Jan 2013 03:40:00 GMT
Tomorrow is Inauguration Day https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/1/tomorrow-is-inauguration-day Tomorrow is Inauguration Day, upon which President Obama will be sworn in for a second term as President of the United States. I will be attending and I will hopefully get some nice shots. It may take me a few days to get my photos online. In the meantime, here are some that I took this evening, the night before the inauguration.

Sunset on the inaugural stage at the Capitol where President Obama will be sworn in for a second term as President of the United StatesThe stage is set Twilight on the Capitol the night before inauguration day when President Obama will be sworn in for a second term as President of the United StatesTwilight before the event

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol inauguration sunset twilight washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/1/tomorrow-is-inauguration-day Mon, 21 Jan 2013 02:13:26 GMT
Winter twilight at Great Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/1/winter-twilight-at-great-falls I started of the new year with a visit to one of my favorite locales, Great Falls in Virginia. It's a huge waterfall on the Potomac River, only a few miles from Washington, D.C. I visited Great Falls just before twilight to capture the sunset and dusk. We're having another warm winter, so no snow this time, but I think my images turned out nicely nonetheless. The first image was taken right at sunset and the second is a long exposure that I took during twilight, after the sun had fallen completely below the horizon.

Winter sunset at Great Falls, waterfall on the Potomac, in Virginia.Last vestiges of daylight at Great Falls Long exposure photo of twilight at Great Falls, waterfall on the Potomac, in Virginia.Twilight at Great Falls

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Potomac Virginia baggaley landscape long exposure nature photography sunset twilight waterfall winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2013/1/winter-twilight-at-great-falls Thu, 10 Jan 2013 03:49:00 GMT
Merry Christmas! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/merry-christmas Merry Christmas! The following are a few photos of the Capitol and the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. This year, the Capitol Christmas tree is a 73-foot Engelmann spruce, harvested from the White River National Forest in Colorado. Behind the tree, you can see a stage being constructed for the inauguration of President Obama's second term.

The US Capitol Christmas Tree, the Reflecting Pool and the Capitol.Christmas at the Capitol, 2012 The 2012 US Capitol Christmas Tree2012 Capitol Christmas Tree The 2012 US Capitol Christmas TreeU.S. Capitol Christmas Tree 2

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Christmas Christmas tree Washington landscape night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/merry-christmas Mon, 24 Dec 2012 17:36:26 GMT
Washington National Cathedral panoramas https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/washington-national-cathedral-panoramas Last year, I visited Washington National Cathedral to shoot some panoramic interiors. I recently restitched them using some new techniques. I think they turned out great. The following is a set of 4 panoramas, all of which were stitched from the same set of 117 images. Two of the panoramas face the sanctuary and the other two face the nave. One of each is cropped at a 1:4 ratio and the other at a 1:5 ratio. The 1:5 ratio crops are 360 degree panoramas and you can see how the edges line up with each other. Click on an image to see it full-screen.

Panorama of the interior of the Wshington National Cathedral, featuring the crossing.Washington National Cathedral Crossing (1:4 panorama)

Panorama of the interior of the Wshington National Cathedral, featuring the crossing.Washington National Cathedral Crossing (1:5 panorama)

Washington National Cathedral Nave (1:4 panorama)

Washington National Cathedral Nave (1:5 panorama)

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington Washington National Cathedral church interior panorama https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/washington-national-cathedral-panoramas Tue, 11 Dec 2012 01:19:00 GMT
Image of Snowy Washington Monument now available on Getty Images https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/image-of-snowy-washington-monument-now-available-on-getty-images My image of a sunset over a snowy Washington Monument was recently accepted by the editors at Getty Images and added to their collection. Purchase for use from Getty Images is now available here. You can also purchase a print of the image from my store here.

Sunset on a snowy Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.Sunset on a snowy Washington Monument I took this photo of the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin just as Snowmageddon was subsiding. As you may recall, Snowmageddon was the nickname for the massive snowstorm that hit Washington, D.C., in February of 2010. During the 2009-2010 winter season, the Washington, D.C., metro region received 56.1" of snow, hugely surpassing the average of 15.2" for the region and breaking the 111-year record.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Snowmageddon Tidal Basin Washington Washington Monument snow sunset winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/image-of-snowy-washington-monument-now-available-on-getty-images Fri, 07 Dec 2012 04:23:00 GMT
Library of Congress https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/library-of-congress The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress is an incredibly beautiful building. I had the opportunity to photograph the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building a couple of weekends ago. It was a great opportunity to experiment with color and angles. Here are six of my favorite shots of the library:

Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.Thomas Jefferson Building A bronze statue of a female figure holding a torch of electric light inside the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.Torch of Electric Light The Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.The Great Hall

The ceiling over the Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.Great Hall Ceiling Pillars inside the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.Pillars

The northwest corner of the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.Great Hall Northwest

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building Washington architecture city library urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/12/library-of-congress Wed, 05 Dec 2012 02:28:35 GMT
Night traffic in front of the MLK Memorial Library https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/night-traffic-in-front-of-the-mlk-memorial-library I love libraries and recently I was talking with a friend about libraries in DC and he mentioned that he thought the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library was quite ugly, despite being designed by the famous Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I've always thought it looked like an interesting building that simply felt like what I expect a library should feel like, viz. something very utilitarian and calm.

Anyway, my friend's comments got me thinking. I wondered if I could take a photo of the building that would make it look interesting. So, I gave it a shot:

Traffic passes in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., at night.MLK Library at Night 1 Here's a slightly different angle with more interesting traffic light patterns:

Traffic passes in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., at night.MLK Library at Night 2

What do you think?

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington architecture city library night traffic urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/night-traffic-in-front-of-the-mlk-memorial-library Fri, 30 Nov 2012 00:20:48 GMT
Happy Thanksgiving! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/happy-thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunrise behind the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.Sunrise behind Jefferson I took this photo of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial last weekend at the Tidal Basin here in Washington. A number of low-lying clouds are obscuring the sunrise, which is occurring directly behind the memorial. This is an unusual shot of the memorial because the sun normally rises well to the left (east) of the memorial, but because of the time of year, the sun rises further to the south than normal.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington autumn fall foliage sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/happy-thanksgiving Wed, 21 Nov 2012 16:56:26 GMT
Meridian Hill Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/meridian-hill-park In my last blog post, I mentioned shooting architecture near Meridian Hill Park and the Columbia Heights neighborhood. While I was in the neighborhood, I also spent some time in the park. It's a beautiful park, so I thought I might share a few of my photos from my visit to the park.

I particularly love this tree. When I took this shot, the sun was low and angled from behind, lighting up the canopy from underneath.

Autumn Canopy Meridian Hill Park is a structured urban park in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It's most striking feature is the Italian Renaissance-style terraced fountain in the lower half of the park. (Wikipedia, Meridian Hill Park (as of November 20, 2012).) The light was a bit harsh when I took this photo, but I thought it was really nice to see all these people out reading along the side of the fountain.

Meridian Hill Cascade Tranquil Fountain Recent history relating to the park is quite fascinating. Apparently, the park used to be quite dangerous: "In the 1970s and 80s, crime became widespread in the surrounding neighborhoods. Meridian Hill Park became a haven for drug dealing and was considered unsafe, especially at night. After renewed community interest in the surrounding area began occurring about 1990, a group of citizens formed 'Friends of Meridian Hill Park'. They organized volunteer nighttime patrols to combat crime, and lobbied the National Park Service to make improvements to the park. Since 2005 the Park Service has been working on a general restoration, repairing and replacing the unique concrete structures as necessary, and replacing key utility systems.". (Id.) I find the actions of the volunteers inspiring. Today, the park is quite beautiful and safe. Meridian Fountain

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Meridian Hill Park autumn fountain park tree urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/meridian-hill-park Tue, 20 Nov 2012 03:08:00 GMT
Architecture near Meridian Hill Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/architecture-near-meridian-hill-park The other day, I was on 14th St. NW, between Meridian Hill Park and Columbia Heights, enjoying some beautiful fall weather when I noticed two buildings across the street from each other with yellow accents. The yellow looked great set against the blue sky and I decided that I just had to shoot a series:

Yellow Squares Blue and Yellow Angles Architectural Ravine Clearly, I was in the mood to shoot architecture. I couldn't resist shooting St. Augustine Catholic Church, which is just down the street. I got it just as a service was ending and I shot it with the red Mini in the intersection for a splash of color.

St. Augustine Catholic ChurchSt. Augustine Church

Do you like this set? Let me know what you think! Leave a comment or click the Facebook like button!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington architecture autumn church city urban landscape https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/architecture-near-meridian-hill-park Fri, 16 Nov 2012 03:27:43 GMT
Some urban landscapes at twilight https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/some-urban-landscapes-at-twilight This weekend, I spent some time roaming around shooting urban landscapes. I particularly like how this photo of rush hour traffic on the George Washington Memorial Parkway turned out:

Photo by John Baggaley of rush hour traffic at night near Washington, DC.Coming and Going I also shot this photo of the Georgetown skyline:

Photo by John Baggaley of the Georgetown skyline during twilight.Georgetown Skyline Taking both of these photos proved to be challenging. My camera and I were buffeted by high winds. I had to brace the camera and hang weights from my tripod in order to keep the camera steady enough for long exposures.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Georgetown Washington autumn city landscape traffic twilight urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/11/some-urban-landscapes-at-twilight Sun, 04 Nov 2012 23:45:09 GMT
New blog and new host https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/new-blog-and-new-host Welcome to my new blog. The address is the same, but the host has changed. I have integrated my blog with a new portfolio and e-commerce website, which means you can now buy prints directly online!

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/new-blog-and-new-host Sat, 27 Oct 2012 19:46:38 GMT
Some urban landscapes https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/some-urban-landscapes-1 Last weekend, I went out on the National Mall with the intention of shooting some urban landscapes. I've always liked the National Museum of the American Indian and decided it might make a good subject for an urban landscape.

I ventured to the southwest corner of the building to capture the building in the late afternoon sun. In the following photo, I attempted to capture some of the grandiosity of the building along with this fabulous tree I found outside. I feel I was fortunate to get some great fall color.
Autumn at the National Museum of the American Indian
I circled around the building a bit to see if I could find any other great vantage points. The most interesting portion of the building is the awe-inspiring entrance. The late afternoon sun cast a shadow over the entrance, but I was able to pull out the detail in post-processing.

National Museum of the American Indian

I also stopped by the Tidal Basin to shoot an urban waterfall at the FDR Memorial. I really like the understated nature of the FDR Memorial. The trees and fountains evoke a feeling of calm and serenity. I tried to evoke some of the same in the following photo by keeping the composition simple and using backlighting. I really like the color and definition in the image.

Urban Waterfall

On another note, as I was running around shooting at the National Museum of the American Indian, I encountered a group of Hawaiians decorating a rock. They saw me carrying around my large camera and tripod and motioned me over. They asked me to take a photo of the rock and asked if they could tell me its story. I happily obliged them.


Kane Po is the name of this 300-year-old lava stone. It is one of four Cardinal Direction Markers around the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. After a 20-year stay at the museum, Kane Po will return to its home in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park near Hilo. Native Hawaiians consider it to be a living relative. The folks I spoke with had just finished decorating the rock. Each strand of rope circling the crown of the rock was delicately braided by hand from leaves. I was impressed by their love and respect for their ancestors and told them I would post a photo of the rock on my website. If you click on the photo above, it should take you to Flickr, where I posted a large version of the photo under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington architecture autumn city landscape urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/some-urban-landscapes-1 Mon, 22 Oct 2012 16:59:00 GMT
Bear Rocks Preserve https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/bear-rocks-preserve-1

While I was in West Virginia shooting waterfalls and sunsets in Blackwater Falls State Park, I heard about Bear Rocks Preserve. I was told it was a great location to shoot a sunrise. So, I did some Internet research and sure enough, the location looked like it was close and would make a great location for a sunrise shot.

Photo by John Baggaley of a sunrise at Bear Rocks Preserve in the Dolly Sods wilderness area in West Virginia.Twilight at Bear Rocks Bear Rocks is a body of land owned by The Nature Conservancy. It lies high above Canaan Valley, in the Dolly Sods wilderness area. Looking at a map, Bear Rocks appears to be close to Blackwater Falls State Park. However, we found it surprisingly difficult to get there and very slow going. The road to Bear Rocks is treacherous, including miles of single lane roads in remote forest and miles of unpaved, dirt roads on a high plateau. Once you arrive at Bear Rocks, there are no amenities and no marked trails. Bear Rocks is true wilderness.

Photo by John Baggaley of a sunrise and fall foliage at Bear Rocks Preserve in the Dolly Sods wilderness area in West Virginia.Autumn sunrise at Bear Rocks Visiting Bear Rocks was a real adventure for someone like me, who lives in a city. Fortunately, my car has all-wheel drive. My wife and I made two trips. We made the first trip in the afternoon to scout out the location and see what we were in for. The second trip, we drove before dawn, in the dark, so that we would arrive before daybreak.

Photo by John Baggaley of red leaves from blueberry bushes at Bear Rocks Preserve in the Dolly Sods wilderness area in West Virginia.A sunrise and blueberry leaves at Bear Rocks Bear Rocks is surrounded by beautiful, red blueberry bushes. Unfortunately, thick cloud-cover made for dull, diffused lighting, which doesn't work well for shooting vegetation. So, while I didn't get any great shots of the blueberry bushes, I did get some nice sunrise shots. The cloud-cover left a small gap on the horizon, just large enough to let through a bit of sunlight.

It was a fun trip. We really enjoyed visiting Blackwater Falls and Bear Rocks. I hope to return some day.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Bear Rocks Dolly Sods West Virginia autumn landscape nature sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/bear-rocks-preserve-1 Fri, 19 Oct 2012 20:49:00 GMT
Autumn sunset at Lindy Point https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/autumn-sunset-at-lindy-point-1

When planning my recent visit to Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia, my first goal was to get a great shot of Blackwater Falls (see my previous post "Autumn Waterfalls in West Virginia"). My second goal was to get a great shot at Lindy Point, which presents a beautiful vista of the southern portion of Blackwater Canyon. My wife and I hiked to Lindy Point for the sunset and encountered soft, warm light that accentuated the rocks and beautiful fall foliage.

Photo by John Baggaley of fall foliage and a sunset at Lindy Point in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.Autumn sunset at Lindy Point We actually arrived at Lindy Point well before the sunset so I could scout out a good location for the shoot. I had hoped for some dramatic clouds and I received exactly what I had hoped for. Unfortunately, it didn't last. All the clouds left just after we arrived. I shot the following about an hour and a half before sunset:

Photo by John Baggaley of fall foliage and a sunburst at Lindy Point in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.Fall color at Lindy Point The hike to Lindy Point is fairly easy and well worth it. We liked Lindy Point so much, we actually visited it twice during the same weekend.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Blackwater Falls State Park Lindy Point West Virginia autumn landscape nature sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/autumn-sunset-at-lindy-point-1 Thu, 18 Oct 2012 15:36:00 GMT
Autumn Waterfalls in West Virginia https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/autumn-waterfalls-in-west-virginia-1

My wife and I spent Columbus Day weekend in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia. I'd seen some impressive photos of Blackwater Falls and hoped to capture the falls myself with some nice fall foliage. We arrived just after peak season, so there was still some great color. The summer drought eviscerated the falls, but recent rainstorms restored the falls to a portion of its usual glory.

Photo by John Baggaley of Blackwater Falls and fall foliage in West Virginia.Autumn at Blackwater Falls It turns out that in autumn, Blackwater Falls State Park is a very popular destination for photographers. I met several photographers while I was there and learned about some other scenic locations. One of my favorites was the Falls of Elakala on Shays Run, which it turns out was only a short hike away from the lodge where we stayed.

Photo by John Baggaley of the Falls of Elakala in autumn in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.Autumn at the Falls of Elakala The best color we found Columbus Day weekend was at Douglas Falls. It's only a short drive from Blackwater Falls, and while it is smaller and lesser known, Douglas Falls is arguably more beautiful. Located by an abandoned coal town called Douglas, the only way to get to the falls is by way of a rough dirt road and then a short but very steep hike. The bright red color of the rocks comes from years of pollution and acid drainage from the mines and coke ovens in the area.

Photo by John Baggaley of Douglas Falls, West Virginia, in autumn.Autumn at Douglas Falls Ironic that pollution can actually make something more beautiful. The following is a shot looking downstream from Douglas Falls. I love the green water, red rocks, and green and yellow foliage.

Photo by John Baggaley of a river and fall foliage in autumn in West Virginia.Autumn in West Virginia The weather over Columbus Day weekend was pretty rotten for the the most part, as it was cloudy and rainy. However, overcast skies can be good for river and waterfall photography because it reduces glare and specular highlights. So, in some respects, the bad weather was a blessing in disguise.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Blackwater Falls Douglas Falls Elakala Falls Shays Run West Virginia autumn waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/autumn-waterfalls-in-west-virginia-1 Sun, 14 Oct 2012 14:08:00 GMT
Twilight in Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/twilight-in-washington-1

Last weekend I decided to shoot an urban landscape. I've seen some nice shots of the Washington skyline from across the Potomac and figured I might get something nice from the Marine Corps War Memorial or the Netherlands Carillon in Arlington. The weather forecast predicted clear skies. (That was no shock for me; clouds hate me.) So, in the absence of clouds, I thought I might get something interesting by shooting during twilight.

Photo by John Baggaley of the Washington, DC, skyline at twilight. Features the the Potomac river, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol.Dawn on Washington Morning twilight is the period beginning at dawn and ending at sunrise. (Wikipedia, Twilight (as of October 3, 2012).) There are three different defined periods of twilight, the distinctions between which are significant for photographers because the nature and quality of the light changes significantly between dawn and sunrise.

The periods in sequence are astronomical twilight, nautical twilight, and civil twilight. Astronomical twilight (when the center of the sun is between 12° and 18° below the horizon) is quite dark, as most stars are still visible when away from urban light pollution. With nautical twilight (when the center of the sun is between 6° and 12° below the horizon), general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but otherwise difficult to see. With civil twilight (when the center of the sun is between 6° below the horizon and dawn), objects are clearly distinguishable, but the sun is not yet visible above the horizon. (Id.)

Photo by John Baggaley of the Washington, DC, skyline at sunrise. Features the the Potomac river, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol.Daybreak on Washington I took the first photo precisely at civil dawn. The sky is a beautiful purple and the trees by the Potomac are mere outlines. Technically, I took the second photo five minutes after sunrise, but because buildings block the horizon, the effective sunrise in a city is a bit later. I shot the second photo just moments before the sun appeared. The sky is a beautiful orange color and detail is visible in the trees by the Potomac.

 

I'm pleased with the way my urban landscapes turned out, but I'm already planning to return for another try. I'd really like to get a sunrise with some clouds. I also want to try the landscapes with colder weather. Last weekend was relatively warm and very humid. The warm and humid air distorted the light and diminished the clarity of the images. I should be able to get something really good in late autumn or winter.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Lincoln Memorial Washington Washington Monument autumn city dawn landscape sunrise twilight urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/10/twilight-in-washington-1 Tue, 02 Oct 2012 19:30:00 GMT
A Capitol study https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/a-capitol-study

In 2008, Congress opened the Capitol Visitor Center to serve as a visitor center for both the Capitol and the city. The CVC is enormous. Fortunately, when Congress built the CVC, they had the presence of mind to put the entire thing underground so that it doesn't detract from the majesty of the Capitol itself. To make sure the CVC had enough light, the architects installed two massive skylights, which can be seen from the east side of the Capitol. It occurred to me that I might be able to take a nice photo of the Capitol dome reflected on one of the skylights.

Photo by John Baggaley of the Capitol during the blue hour.Capitol nightfall I think the photo turned out quite nicely. I really like the color and all the diagonal lines give the image depth and interest. I took it during the magical blue hour (the term comes from the French expression l'heure bleue, which refers to the period of twilight each morning and evening where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness (Wikipedia, Blue hour (as of Sept. 22, 2012))).

Around the skylights are some marble slabs that normally hold water. When present, the water is flush with the glass. It produces a nice effect. Unfortunately, when I visited the Capitol last week to take these photos, all of the water had been removed. (I assume because of the drought.) I'll have to go back and reshoot these images when the water is present (and hopefully with more clouds too).

When I shoot the Capitol, I usually visit the west side, where you can find the famous reflecting pool. The west side also gets more light at sunset. Since I was on the east side at sunset for the reflections on the skylights, I thought I'd take the opportunity to play around and see what I could get. I took the following panorama:

Panorama photo by John Baggaley of the east side of the Capitol in Washington, DC, at sunset and twilight.Official twilight

I find producing a good panorama technically challenging and the results oddly appealing. I'm not sure what it is about a panorama that attracts me. It may be something about the perspective.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Washington architecture night panorama reflection summer sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/a-capitol-study Sat, 22 Sep 2012 18:36:00 GMT
Blue Ridge Mountains https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/blue-ridge-mountains

If you've ever wondered why they're called the "Blue Ridge Mountains," here's a good answer:

Photo by John Baggaley of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.Blue ridges I took this photo a few weeks ago in Shenandoah National Park. The bluish color comes from the trees, which release isoprene into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color (Wikipedia, Blue Ridge Mountains (as of Sept. 10, 2012)).

When I took the photo above, I was up in Shenandoah with my wife to shoot the sunset. The weather forecast predicted partly cloudy conditions, which should have been perfect for a spectacular sunset. Unfortunately, we never once saw the sun.

We showed up early to eat dinner at Skyland. It started raining as soon as we entered the mountains. After dinner, the rain let up as we drove to Range View Overlook, but the clouds never let the sun shine through. Fortunately, the cloudy sky made for some interesting photography.

Photo by John Baggaley of dark clouds hovering over the Blue Ridge Mountains.The gathering storm

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Shenandoah Virginia landscape nature summer sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/blue-ridge-mountains Fri, 14 Sep 2012 09:06:00 GMT
Summer at Dark Hollow Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/summer-at-dark-hollow-falls

I read that Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park is the most popular waterfall in the park. If that's true, I can see why. It's a small but beautiful and intimate waterfall.

Photo by John Baggaley of Dark Hollow Falls (waterfall) in the summer in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.One leaf and a waterfall I visited Dark Hollow Falls a couple of weeks ago and shot the above image. Some of you who read my blogs regularly may recognize the image. It is the same composition as the following image, which I shot in October:

Photo by John Baggaley of fall foliage and Dark Hollow Falls (waterfall) in autumn in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.Autumn at Dark Hollow Falls For my visit to the waterfall a couple of weeks ago, I thought it might be nice to see how a summer photo would compare with an autumn photo of the same location and composition. The most striking difference is probably the color. The second most striking difference is probably the amount of water going over the waterfall. This summer, we were devastated by drought. I may have been lucky that there was any water at all going over the waterfall in August.


Another thing that struck me about the difference between the October and August images is that the tree branches that extend out in front of the upper portion of the waterfall are filled out with leaves, making it hard to see the upper portion of the waterfall from a vantage point downstream. The branches in the October image have no leaves, making it easier to see more of the waterfall. I do think the August image is lovely, but I think the October image is better overall.

While I was at Dark Hollow in August, I took the opportunity to play around with some different compositions. I rather like this one quite a bit:

Photo by John Baggaley of Dark Hollow Falls (waterfall) in the summer in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.Early summer morning at Dark Hollow Falls Here, leaving out the small pool of water and the leaves in the bottom left calls more attention to the mossy rocks. To me, this image has more balance than the first image, though perhaps a bit less visual uniqueness provided by the single leaf floating in the pool of water.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Shenandoah nature summer waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/summer-at-dark-hollow-falls Wed, 12 Sep 2012 16:54:00 GMT
August Blue Moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/august-blue-moon
August Blue Moon

In August, we had two full moons. By modern folklore, that makes the second full moon (above) a "blue moon" (the second full moon of a month). However, according to Wikipedia, a blue moon is actually the appearance of the third full moon in a season that has four full moons, instead of the usual three. (The moon isn't actually blue, as some friends of mine were disappointed to find out; magnificent nonetheless.)

There was a bit of hype about the moon, so I thought I'd try to shoot it. I got the moon rising next to the Smithsonian castle. I think it's a nice shot. I would have liked to get it rising over the Capitol, but the moon rose just a bit too far south.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National Mall night Washington summer moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/august-blue-moon Sun, 09 Sep 2012 19:48:00 GMT
Chincoteague https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/chincoteague

My wife and I recently visited Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island in Virginia. The biggest attractions for the wildlife refuge are the Chincoteague Ponies. The wild horses that live on the island were made famous by the book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry, and later the movie of the same name. Assateague is also home to a number of bird species and the Assateague Light House.

During our visit, I really hoped to shoot some nice landscapes. Unfortunately, the weather refused to cooperate. We either had no clouds at all or the the sky was completely overcast—it even rained on our last day there. Nevertheless, I think I got some nice shots.

Photo by John Baggaley of a summer sunset at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.Summer Sunset at Chincoteague My first attempt at a sunrise was challenging. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky. So, I figured I'd stop by the beach and shoot something a bit more bare—a bit more abstract.

Photo by John Baggaley of an Atlantic sunrise on Assateague Island, Virginia.Sunrise Tranquility Photo by John Baggaley of an Atlantic sunrise on Assateague Island, Virginia.Sunrise Tranquility On our last day at Chincoteague, it rained. I got up early in hope that the sun would peek through the clouds. I was rewarded very briefly for my efforts.

Photo by John Baggaley of a summer sunrise over Assateague Island (Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge) in Virginia.Assateague Sunrise

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Assateague Atlantic Ocean Chincoteague Virginia nature summer sunrise sunset wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/9/chincoteague Mon, 03 Sep 2012 12:25:00 GMT
Towanda and Wysox https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/8/towanda-and-wysox

I recently visited a friend and his family in Towanda, Pennsylvania. They have a beautiful house on Lake Wesauking. I wanted to take the opportunity to shoot a couple of sunrises and sunsets in the area. Knowing that I'm into photography, they offered to help out by showing me some nearby places in Towanda and Wysox that they thought would make for some good photos. What fabulous hosts! I had a great time and captured some really great sunrises and sunsets.

Sunrise at Lake WesaukingSunrise at Lake WesaukingThe sun rises on Lake Wesauking, Pennsylvania.

Sunrise sailboatSunrise sailboatThe sun rises on Lake Wesauking, Pennsylvania. Sun rays and hay balesSun rays and hay balesThe sun sets over a farm in Wysox, Pennsylvania. Pastoral sunsetPastoral sunsetThe sun sets over a farm in Wysox, Pennsylvania.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) farm lake lake wesauking pennsylvania rural summer sunrise sunset towanda wysox https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/8/towanda-and-wysox Fri, 24 Aug 2012 14:53:00 GMT
Sunset at Huntley Meadows https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/8/sunset-at-huntley-meadows I was in a good mood on Thursday and decided it might be fun to go out and shoot a sunset at Huntley Meadows. It's not the kind of place one normally thinks of when looking for good landscapes. It's famous as a wildlife preserve, where people go to watch birds, such as herons, egrets, and osprey. However, I thought it might be nice for a sunset because the lack of trees and high buildings would provide for a more open sky—I wanted something dramatic with clouds.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of a peaceful sunset at Huntley Meadows, Virginia.Sunset at Huntley Meadows I was surprised to find the meadow looking so green. We've been experiencing serious drought conditions. All the green grass in the photo might lead you to think otherwise, but the presence of the drought is obvious if you've ever visited Huntley Meadows under normal conditions. Most of what you see in the photo is normally underwater. On Thursday, I saw very few birds (no water means no fish to feed on), but I saw a lot of deer and the cloud formations made for a fabulous sunset, which is exactly what I was looking for.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Huntley Meadows Virginia landscape nature summer sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/8/sunset-at-huntley-meadows Mon, 06 Aug 2012 19:54:00 GMT
Golden eyes https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/8/golden-eyes A couple of weeks ago, I went to the National Zoo. I love shooting lions. They're probably my favorite subjects at the zoo. While the cubs get most of the attention these days, I think Luke is still the rock star. The male cubs are really teenagers now—adult lions who haven't grown their manes yet. While I was shooting the lions, I overheard kids mistaking the male cubs for female lions. The older kids explained to the younger kids that you could tell they were girls because they didn't have big manes. I didn't think I should explain.

Headshot photo by John Baggaley of Luke, the male African Lion at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.Golden eyes

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National Zoo Washington animal https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/8/golden-eyes Sat, 04 Aug 2012 18:23:00 GMT
Summer flowers https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/summer-flowers

I normally associate flowers with spring. However, summer seems to be a great time to shoot freshwater flowers.

Photo of white waterlilies by John Baggaley.White waterlilies I recently returned to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. On my previous visit in June, the lotuses were just starting to bloom and the waterlilies hadn't yet appeared. Both the lotuses and the waterlilies are now in bloom.

Pink waterlilies at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.Pink waterlilies

While I returned to Kenilworth primarily to shoot the waterlilies, I also took the opportunity to shoot some more lotuses.

Photo of a white lotus by John Baggaley.White lotus

Close-up photo of a pink lotus by John Baggaley.Pink lotus Most of the photos I've taken at Kenilworth that I really like are close-ups. The garden itself is very pretty, but I've struggled to get a good photo of the garden. The following is a photo of the garden itself. Notice that the lotuses are chest height, making it difficult to get a view of much more than what's right in front of you.

Lotus flowers at Kennilworth Park and Aquatic GardensA field of lotuses

While I was at Kenilworth, I also shot some more dragonflies. With all the still water around, you would think that mosquitoes would be a major problem at the gardens. However, it turns out that dragonflies eat the mosquitoes. I used to think they just looked really cool. Now I have even more reason to love them!

Portrait of a dragonfly by John Baggaley.Portrait of a dragonfly

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Washington dragonfly flowers lotus waterlily https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/summer-flowers Sun, 22 Jul 2012 19:11:00 GMT
A midsummer sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/midsummer-sunrise

I've heard a lot of great things about Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. I've seen some really great wildlife photos from Blackwater. Since I'm not much of a wildlife photographer, Blackwater hasn't been high on my list of destinations. However, I visited Blackwater a couple of weeks ago and was pleased to discover that the refuge also presents some really nice landscape opportunities.

Photo by John Baggaley of sunrise at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.A midsummer sunrise

I took this photo at sunrise. It was no easy feat. Sunrise was at 5:47 that day. The refuge is about a 2 hour drive from DC, so I had to get up at 3:00 to get there at 5:30. Moreover, when I arrived, I discovered that the parking area on the peninsula was closed off due to construction of a new pier. The next nearest parking lot was half a mile away. So, I drove to the next lot and ran. The sunrise only lasts a few minutes and there's no way I was going to get up that early and drive that far just to miss the sunrise! So I ran the half mile in the muggy summer heat with a huge photography pack strapped to my back and carrying my tripod—while swarms of biting flies pecked at my face. It was not a fun experience!

 

Nevertheless, I arrived in time for the sunrise and the run, the heat, and the bugs were all worth it! I love the photo. I definitely plan to visit Blackwater again. Maybe next time, I'll go back in the fall when the sun rises a bit later and the flies are no longer hatching.

 

Incidentally, the sunrise looks great against a dark background. Click here to see the photo in a black lightbox.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge landscape nature summer sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/midsummer-sunrise Sun, 15 Jul 2012 16:58:00 GMT
The beaver lodge https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/beaver-lodge On a hot summer's day at the beginning of July, I went out to Cedarville State Forest to shoot some photos of the swamp. We've been having a dry summer, so the water level was very low. While I didn't end up with any classic swamp photos, I did come across this beaver dam and beaver lodge that I thought was interesting.

Panorama photo of a beaver dam and beaver lodge in Cedarvill State Forest.Where beavers live
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Cedarville State Forest Zekiah Swamp forest landscape nature panorama summer swamp https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/beaver-lodge Thu, 12 Jul 2012 19:30:00 GMT
Fireworks at the Capitol https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/fireworks-at-capitol

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Every year, I look forward to seeing fireworks on July 4—especially now that I've figured out how to photograph them.

Chrysanthemum of light There are many online guides to shooting fireworks. They all tell you what settings to use on your camera. However, most of them don't talk much about composition. While fireworks can be awe-inspiring when viewed in person, they lose something when photographed. In my view, the photographer needs to add that something back. Simply pointing your camera up to the sky and shooting fireworks against a backdrop of the night sky just doesn't work for me. The best photos of fireworks include an interesting foreground or background that provides context and scale. For these photos, I used the Capitol to provide both context and scale.

A neon Capitol celebration Most of the great photos of fireworks that I've seen taken in Washington include popular landmarks. However, it seems that they have all been shot from the west of the Capitol and face east. If you go to the National Mall or across the Potomac River to the Iwo Jima Memorial on July 4, you will find huge crowds and many photographers with tripods. To the east of the Capitol, it is a completely different story. There you'll find just a few residents of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The biggest difficulty with shooting the fireworks from the east side of the Capitol is getting the proper angle. You need to be far enough away from the Capitol in order to line up the fireworks with the dome, but not too far or everything gets too small. The next biggest difficulty is finding an angle such that all the trees in the Capitol Hill neighborhood don't block your view—not an easy thing to do.

I hope you find my photos interesting and unique. If you have any questions or would like to provide me with any feedback, feel free to send me an e-mail or leave a comment.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Washington architecture city fireworks night summer urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/fireworks-at-capitol Fri, 06 Jul 2012 16:33:00 GMT
Just missed the storm https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/just-missed-storm Friday night, I was out shooting the DC skyline from across the Potomac when my wife called to tell me that a major storm was on the way. I looked up and didn't see anything. Nevertheless, I wrapped up what I was doing and about an hour later, a massive storm hit the DC metro area. I'm glad I left when I did!

Several days later, almost half a million people are still without power here in the DC metro area. Stores and restaurants are closed. With traffic lights out of commission, the roads are a mess. The storm happened to hit at the same time as a massive heat wave. The city set up cooling stations for those without power.

I was fortunate. We didn't lose power, and I got the shot I wanted:

Photo by John Baggaley of Arlington Memorial Bridge and the Washington, DC, skyline at twilight.A bridge to Washington

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Arlington Memorial Bridge Lincoln Memorial Washington Washington Monument city landscape night summer urban https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/7/just-missed-storm Mon, 02 Jul 2012 10:46:00 GMT
Artomatic 2012 Recap https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/6/artomatic-2012-recap


From May 18 through June 23, I exhibited 10 fine art prints of my images at Artomatic, a DC area arts festival. It was a wonderful experience. I had a lot of fun, met interesting artists and art lovers, and received a lot of great feedback. Thank you to everyone who purchased a print!

I still have a number of framed and unframed prints available for sale. If you're interested, send me an e-mail. I can arrange pickup or delivery of framed prints in the DC area or mail unframed prints outside the DC area. All photographs are printed at 13 x 19 inches using professional pigment inks on museum-grade cotton rag. The framed prints are signed and marked with the date the photo was shot.

Shenandoah Sunrise Autumn sunrise at Great Falls
Mossy river Rock Creek
Autumn at Dark Hollow Falls Falls Between The Trees
A touch of pink around a foggy memorial Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin
Piggy Back Washington National Cathedral Presbytery and Sanctuary
 
On another note, during Artomatic, I noticed a poet named "Brash" who was placing poems next to certain pieces of art at various exhibits. I was pleased to discover that Brash wrote a poem inspired by one of my photographs: Washington National Cathedral Presbytery and Sanctuary.

How God's Eye Sees
To John Baggaley's Washington National Cathedral Presbytery 
This is how God's eye sees
In its omniscient perspective
All light bends by degrees
Into the reflective
Vortex of His optical infusion
To unspool the all-connective
Vision of inclusion. 
Brash, June 16, 2012
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Artomatic exhibit sales https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/6/artomatic-2012-recap Sun, 24 Jun 2012 20:17:00 GMT
The lotus and the dragonfly https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/6/lotus-and-dragonfly

The lotuses weren't the only things worth seeing at Kenilworth last weekend. The dragonflies were quite active.

Photo by John Baggaley of a lotus flower with a dragonfly.A beautiful resting spot I'm not normally a fan of insect photography, but there's something very attractive about dragonflies.

Photo of a dragonfly by John Baggaley.Balancing on the edge Dragonflies are colorful, with delicate wings and large anthropomorphic green eyes. At times, they almost seem to be smiling at you.

Photo by John Baggaley of a dragonfly landing on a lotus with no petals.Yellow, blue, and a lot of green

If you're patient, dragonflies can be a bit easier to shoot than some other insects. While they do move quickly, they have a tendency to repeat themselves. If you see one perched, resting on a leaf, and it darts away just as you're about to get that perfect shot, stay put. There's a good chance that dragonfly will soon return to the exact same spot.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Washington dragonfly flower lotus spring https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/6/lotus-and-dragonfly Wed, 13 Jun 2012 18:23:00 GMT
The lotuses are blooming https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/6/lotuses-are-blooming

Summer is almost here and the lotuses and water lilies are starting to bloom at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.

Close-up photo of a pink lotus in bloom by John Baggaley.Lotus Close-up

I visited Kenilworth last weekend. We're clearly early in the blooming season, as many of the flowers haven't bloomed yet. However, there are a few patches where you can find some really great color.

Photo of a pink lotus in bloom against a backdrop of green by John Baggaley.Pink by Green

When shooting flowers, I like to get green backgrounds. The enormous leaves of the lotus work beautifully. The pink color pops nicely against the dark green.

Photo of pink lotus flower by John Baggaley.Translucent Pink

I think it's usually best to take photos of flowers outdoors when it's cloudy. Bright sunlight can look really harsh, washing out the color and delicate details in flowers. Last weekend, it was very sunny, so I tried a few things to compensate. First, I went early in the morning when the sunlight wasn't as harsh. The angle of the light was also very low and I was able to use the sun as backlighting, making the flowers glow. In the photo above, the petals of the lotus appear translucent. I think it's a fun effect.

Frequently, when I'm shooting around water, I like to use a circular polarizer to eliminate glare, which I usually find unattractive. However, when you eliminate glare, you also get rid of reflections, and sometimes reflections can add a beautiful element to a photo.

Winter-hardy water lilies in bloom. Reflections in the water make for a painterly photo.The Water Garden

The water in the lily ponds at Kenilworth are very muddy and muddy blacks and browns can create an unwelcome contrast with the lilies. In this photo, I turned my polarizer so that it would keep the reflections in the water. In doing so, I captured a reflection of the blue sky and the green reeds to fill in the space between the lily pads. I think the effect is quite nice. To me this photo looks like it could be the subject of a Monet painting. I like it quite a bit.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Washington flowers lotus https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/6/lotuses-are-blooming Sun, 10 Jun 2012 19:45:00 GMT
Artomatic 2012 Meet the Artist Night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/artomatic-2012-meet-artist-night This Saturday (June 2) is Meet the Artist Night at Artomatic. I will be at my exhibit to meet folks, talk about photography, and answer questions. The event begins at 7 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. Please stop by, I'd love to meet everyone.

Artomatic is located at 1851 S. Bell Street, Crystal City, Virginia. Free parking is available in the area and the Crystal City Metro station is located across the street.

My exhibit is located on the 8th floor of Artomatic in location #352.


]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Artomatic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/artomatic-2012-meet-artist-night Wed, 30 May 2012 15:06:00 GMT
Dawn at Great Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/dawn-at-great-falls On Sunday, I visited Great Falls to photograph the sunrise. It was a beautiful warm day and I got some great photos. Great Falls continues to be one of my favorite places in the DC area to photograph.

Photo by John Baggaley of dawn and sunrise at Great Falls (waterfall) in Virginia.Dawn at Great Falls

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Virginia landscape nature spring sunrise twilight waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/dawn-at-great-falls Mon, 28 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Artomatic 2012 https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/artomatic-2012


I'm excited to announce that I will be showcasing my work at Artomatic, the DC area's biggest arts festival. Artomatic runs from May 18 – June 23 at 1851 S. Bell Street, Arlington, VA (near the Crystal City metro stop). It features 10 floors of art by more than 1,000 artists: visual art, music, performance, film, fashion, and more. Workshops, tours, seminars, and other events are held all month long.

My exhibit will include 10 fine art prints of my images, featuring waterfalls, streams, and sunrises from Yosemite National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Great Falls, Rock Creek Park, and other beautiful locations. You will be able to find my exhibit on the 8th floor in location 352.

I hope you can visit my exhibit at Artomatic and share in this exciting event.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Artomatic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/artomatic-2012 Thu, 17 May 2012 05:48:00 GMT
Sunrise near South River Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/sunrise-near-south-river-falls

A week ago, I set out for South River Falls in Shenandoah National Park to shoot the sunrise and the falls. I think the sunrise turned out nicely.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of sunrise at South River Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.The Sun is Coming Up Unfortunately, the waterfall was a bit disappointing. The trail only took me to an overlook. I didn't see any way to get to the base of the falls. I always find that waterfalls look more magnificent if seen from the base of the falls rather than the top.

Fortunately, my hike to the falls wasn't wasted. South River itself is quite beautiful. I found this spot a little ways up from the falls. I love the moss growing on the rocks.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of moss covering large rocks in South River, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.Mossy river After hiking around South River, I set out to Lewis Falls to see if I could get the shot I was looking for. Unfortunately, a big storm came rushing in. I got this shot of the storm from Skyline Drive. I think the storm looks quite ominous.


A Storm is Coming
 
The storm wasn't terrible, but I didn't know how long it would last, so I didn't end up going to Lewis Falls. I'll just have to make another trip out to Shenandoah.
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Shenandoah Virginia nature river spring storm sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/sunrise-near-south-river-falls Sun, 13 May 2012 15:54:00 GMT
May Day Trillium https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/may-day-trillium
 

Purple and white trillium close-up. GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area.Purple and white trillium close-up

Last Monday, I got my hands on the new Nikon D800. I've been waiting to buy this camera for more than a year. It's an excellent camera, especially for landscape and studio photography. Unfortunately, the camera is currently sold out worldwide. I had been on a waiting list since February 7, with no expected delivery date, but my wonderful wife worked her shopping magic and was able to find one for me. It was serendipity that the very next day, the Senate was out of session and my office closed for the day to conduct major system upgrades. It also happened to be May Day and the trillium were still in bloom in GR Thompson WMA near Front Royal, Virginia. So, early Tuesday morning, I drove out to Thompson WMA to test out my new camera on the trillium.

A sea of mayapple and trillium


There are millions of trillium in bloom every year in Thompson WMA. The flowers grow in a dense forest. It's a breathtaking sight, but hard to photograph. The dense forest can make for cluttered photos. So, I looked for open areas when I could, but ended up taking lots of close-ups.

Wet great white trillium in GR Thompson Wildlife Management Area, Virginia.Wet great white trillium

Whenever I could, I tried to add context. In the following photo, I used the logs on either side of the trillium to create a natural frame. Recent rainfall helped make the colors pop.

Great white trillium between logs in GR Thompson WMA, Virginia.Great white trillium between logs

We had an early spring this year, so by May 1, the trillium were near the end of their bloom cycle—which, as far as I can tell, lasts about a week. The flowers start off white and then turn purple at the end of the cycle. In Thompson, the mayapple frequently blooms at the same time as the trillium, but I missed them this year. In the following photo, much of the greenery is from mayapple—a few trillium can be spotted as well.

Forest floor of mayapple and trillium in GR Thompson WMA, Virginia.Forest floor of mayapple and trillium

I had lots of fun shooting the trillium. The new camera was a joy to work with. I made a second outing last Friday, taking the day off work to shoot a waterfall and a sunrise in Shenandoah. I'll be posting those images later this week.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Thompson WMA flowers nature trillium https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/5/may-day-trillium Sun, 06 May 2012 15:56:00 GMT
White House Spring Garden Tour https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/4/twice-each-year-public-is-invited-to

Twice each year, the public is invited to tour the gardens outside the White House. My wife and I were able to get tickets from a friend and take the tour last week. We enjoyed it tremendously. It was a beautiful day. The sun was a bit too harsh to photograph the flowers, but the cumulus clouds over the White House were a real blessing. I'm quite please with the following two photos (both taken handheld because tripods were not allowed):

Billowing white clouds over the White House in Washington, DC.Billowing white clouds over the White House

The White House on a beautiful spring day.Blue, Green, and a White House

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington White House spring https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/4/twice-each-year-public-is-invited-to Sat, 28 Apr 2012 17:56:00 GMT
Space shuttle Discovery flies over Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/4/space-shuttle-discovery-flies-over

On Tuesday, NASA transferred the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center to its new resting home at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport. The shuttle made the trip on the back of a specially modified Boeing 747, and fortunately for me, the shuttle made a short detour around the Capitol.

Photo by John Baggaley of the space shuttle Discovery on the back of a Boeing 747.Piggy Back The shuttle's fly-by was well publicized and many folks who worked in the area ventured out of their offices to witness the historic event. The National Mall and the Capitol were quite crowded.


Crowds at the Capitol waiting for a fly-by of the Space Shuttle Discovery

The shuttle flew at an altitude of only 1,500 feet. That's very low! I envied the folks in the Post Office Pavilion (photo below). They would have had a great view! However, if you look closely at the photo, you can see folks in the tower looking the wrong way. The shuttle didn't make any sound and was moving quite quickly. I fear that some of them may have missed it. Wow, what a sight to miss!

Space Shuttle Discovery flies by the Old Post Office Pavilion

The low altitude flight of the shuttle made for some interesting photos. Here's one in which it appears the shuttle is banking around the Smithsonian castle. The guy working on the crane must have had a really great day!

Space Shuttle Discovery rounds the Smithsonian castle

The organizers of the fly-by wouldn't release the flight path of the shuttle before the fly-by. They provided an approximate time and suggested various viewing locations throughout the city. However, they said that there were no guarantees that the shuttle would fly by any particular location, since even slight changes in weather might require last minute changes to the flight path. This made it very difficult to plan out good shots. I really just wanted to see the shuttle; getting a good photo would be a secondary priority. So, I gambled on the National Mall and I got lucky. The weather was beautiful and the shuttle flew right overhead. I had a really great day!

Shuttle banking
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National Mall Space Shuttle Discovery Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/4/space-shuttle-discovery-flies-over Sat, 21 Apr 2012 16:06:00 GMT
Blossoms in the afternoon sun https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/4/blossoms-in-afternoon-sun

In my last post, I mentioned how I visited the Tidal Basin to shoot the cherry blossoms at sunrise. Well, I returned later on the same day to shoot the cherry blossoms in the late afternoon and at sunset. On my way to the Tidal Basin, I stopped by the Washington Monument. The following is my favorite photo from the afternoon:

Photo by John Baggaley of a young woman relaxing under a canopy of cherry blossoms near the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.Relaxing under a canopy of cherry blossoms As an aside, the girl reading under the cherry tree happened to be reading "Hunger Games".

Here are a couple more photos that I took at the Tidal Basin. The second photo is a stitched panorama.

Washington Monument and cherry blossoms at sunset

A panorama of the Tidal Basin at dusk
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington Washington Monument cherry blossoms sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/4/blossoms-in-afternoon-sun Wed, 04 Apr 2012 18:13:00 GMT
Fog and Blossoms https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/3/fog-and-blossoms

On Thursday, I made my annual trip to the Tidal Basin to shoot the cherry blossoms. I arrived very early in the morning and was greeted by a blanket of fog.

Early morning fog around the Jefferson MemorialEarly morning fog around the Jefferson MemorialFog lingers around the Jefferson Memorial just before sunrise during the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.

The fog allowed me to get some interesting shots. I particularly like the following photo. The flat lighting from the fog allowed me to achieve an even exposure and to capture a sense of dreaminess.

A touch of pink around a foggy memorialA touch of pink around a foggy memorialCherry blossoms frame the Jefferson Memorial shrouded in early morning fog during the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.

The presence of the fog and the fact that the trees bloomed a week earlier than expected helped keep the number of tourists to a much lower level than usual. With fewer tourists around, I was able to take some photos without people in my shots.

 

Cherry blossoms

The fog lingered until about mid-morning. I was able to take a couple of other shots that I think turned out well.

Foggy morning at the Tidal Basin with cherry blossoms

Layers of cherry trees
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Thomas Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin Washington cherry blossoms fog sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/3/fog-and-blossoms Sat, 31 Mar 2012 09:43:00 GMT
Washington skyline at night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/3/washington-skyline-at-night  

Washington skyline at night along the PotomacWashington skyline at night along the PotomacThe skyline of Washington, DC, along the Potomac River at night. On the left is Arlington Memorial Bridge, which leads up to the Lincoln Memorial. To the right is the Washington Monument and the Capitol is barely visible to the right of that.

On President's Day, I went across the Potomac to take some photos of the Washington skyline at night. I think this one turned out nicely. It's a 10 second exposure. On the left you can see Arlington Memorial Bridge, which leads up to the Lincoln Memorial. To the right of the Lincoln Memorial is the Washington Monument and further to the right you can just make out the Capitol.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Lincoln Memorial Potomac Washington Washington Monument city night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/3/washington-skyline-at-night Thu, 01 Mar 2012 19:40:00 GMT
Converging Lines https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/2/converging-lines

Converging on the Capitol

I took this photo Friday evening while standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. In the very center of the photo is the Capitol. On the left is the Pennsylvania North, the Newseum, and the Embassy of Canada. On the right is the Federal Trade Commission. Behind the trees on the right is a crane for ongoing construction at the National Gallery of Art.

I like night photos such as this one because, counterintuitively, there are some nice saturated colors. However, I also like this image for the perspective. The lines in the image converging on the Capitol remind me of a drawing technique I learned in school as a child. We were studying how Renaissance artists would create 3-dimensional images using a 2-dimensional medium (painting) by placing a dot in the center of a painting then drawing lines radiating outward from the dot. They would then draw structures and objects within the lines. The technique creates startlingly accurate perspective. I was quite taken with the technique. I liked the idea of using mathematics to draw beautiful pictures. (Wikipedia has a great article about perspective.)

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Washington city night https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/2/converging-lines Sun, 19 Feb 2012 16:30:00 GMT
National Capitol Columns Sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/1/national-capitol-columns-sunset

One of the less frequented but very picturesque places in Washington, DC, is the National Arboretum. I'm quite taken with the Arboretum, having visited numerous times to take landscape photographs. My favorite feature may have to be a monument called the "National Capitol Columns".

Photo by John Baggaley of a sunset with a silhouette of the National Capitol Columns in the National Arboretum, Washington, DC.Sunset with a silhouette of the National Capitol Columns The National Capitol Columns consists of 22 Corinthian columns submerged in 20 acres of open meadow, known as "Ellipse Meadow". The columns were originally built as part of the east portico of the Capitol in 1828, long before the Capitol dome as we know it today was completed in 1866. When it was completed, the dome was significantly larger than the dome the columns were designed for and it looked like the columns couldn't hold the new larger dome. In 1958, an addition to the east side of the Capitol was constructed as a remedy and the old columns were removed. In the 1980s, the old columns were transferred out of storage and placed in the National Arboretum. "National Capitol Columns." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 January 2012. Web. 18 November 2011.

The Capitol Columns in the National Arboretum, Washington, DC, at sunset.Sunset with a silhouette of the National Capitol Columns 2

I find the idea of Corinthian columns standing isolated in a large meadow quite striking. At first, I was quite surprised that I haven't seen many iconic photos of the columns. However, after trying to photograph the columns myself, I've found that it's harder than one would think. Just because something is pretty doesn't mean every photo of that thing will be pretty.

The best time to take a landscape photo is usually shortly before or after sunrise or sunset. That's when the lighting is most interesting. Taking landscape photos in the middle of the day can produce harsh shadows and bleached colors. Unfortunately, visiting hours at the Arboretum are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., which precludes taking sunrise photos of the columns. It's only in the dead of winter than the sun sets close to 5 p.m. and that doesn't give a photographer much flexibility.

The Capitol Columns in the National Arboretum, Washington, DC, at sunset.Columns holding up the sky

I've made numerous trips to the Arboretum to shoot the columns and been quite frustrated. Besides the hours, I've run into additional difficulties. Since it's winter and we have no snow, the meadow around the columns doesn't make for a very exciting background. That means instead of filling the frame with columns and meadow, I have to fill the frame with sky and columns. However, getting the right kind of sky requires some patience. Clear skies just won't do and my schedule doesn't allow me to go out shooting whenever I want. The weather isn't something you can plan for far enough in advance to schedule time off work, so getting that perfect shot is very hard. To get these shots, I had to watch the skies and bide my time, waiting for that perfect moment when both the sky was filled with broken clouds and I had the time to spare. I think here, my patience and persistence paid off.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National Arboretum Washington sunset winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/1/national-capitol-columns-sunset Sun, 22 Jan 2012 18:00:00 GMT
H Street Night Traffic https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/1/h-street-night-traffic

We still have no snow here in Washington, DC. Because winter landscapes without snow can be a bit dull, I decided to try some urban night photography.

Photo by John Baggaley of traffic at night on H Street NE in Washington, DC.H Street Night Traffic I took this photo of H Street in Washington from the top of a bridge that spans the railroad tracks that extend north from Union Station. The bridge connects the H Street neighborhood with the rest of the city and provides a nice view of the neighborhood. Using a six-second exposure, I was able to blur the lights of passing cars.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) H Street Washington city landscape night traffic urban winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/1/h-street-night-traffic Sun, 15 Jan 2012 14:07:00 GMT
Snowless winter at Great Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/1/snowless-winter-at-great-falls

So far, it has been a snowless winter here in the DC metropolitan area. Fortunately, there are still plenty of good subjects, despite the uncooperative weather. I took the following photo at Great Falls, Virginia, at sunset. I placed the horizon lower than I normally would to emphasize the vastness of the sky and the swooping clouds.

Photo by John Baggaley of a winter sunset over Great Falls, Virginia.Winter sunset over Great Falls I stuck around the falls until nightfall. The following is the result of a five minute exposure.

Nightfall in January at Great Falls, Virginia.Moonlight on Great Falls

The scene is lit only by the moon. To me, the complete loss of detail in the water, caused by the long exposure, and the moonlit shadows gives the scene an eerie alien look.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Virginia night sunset winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2012/1/snowless-winter-at-great-falls Mon, 09 Jan 2012 14:54:00 GMT
Merry Christmas! https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/12/merry-christmas
US Capitol Christmas Tree 2011

This year, the Capitol Christmas tree is a 65-foor Sierra white fir from California. Here's a nice description from the Architect of the Capitol:

This year’s tree — a 65-foot Sierra white fir — is from California’s Stanislaus National Forest. It was harvested on November 5, and traveled 4,500 miles throughout California and across the country to Washington, D.C. It arrived at the U.S. Capitol arrive at the U.S. Capitol on November 28. 
Architect of the Capitol staff have decorated the tree with 10,000 LED lights and nearly 3,000 ornaments, handcrafted by Californians to reflect this year’s theme, “California Shines,” highlighting the rich cultural and ecological diversity of the Golden State.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington Capitol Christmas https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/12/merry-christmas Sun, 25 Dec 2011 09:07:00 GMT
Winter is coming https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/12/winter-is-coming
Below: Leafless trees in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.

Leafless
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington Rock Creek Park forest autumn https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/12/winter-is-coming Thu, 01 Dec 2011 12:30:00 GMT
Autumn twilight at the Capitol https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/11/autumn-twilight-at-capitol
Autumn Twilight at the Capitol
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) twilight Washington sunset Capitol autumn https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/11/autumn-twilight-at-capitol Fri, 11 Nov 2011 12:21:00 GMT
Autumn color in Shenandoah https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/10/autumn-color-in-shenandoah

Living in Washington, DC, I feel fortunate for many things, one of which is that I get to live near Shenandoah National Park. A couple of weekends ago, I got up early to shoot some fall landscapes and waterfalls. The park is particularly beautiful this time of year. Here are a couple of my favorites from that weekend:

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of fall foliage and autumn at Dark Hollow Falls (waterfall) in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.Autumn at Dark Hollow Falls

 
 
Autumn at Rose River Falls
Rose River Falls
 


The next weekend, I made another trip out to Shenandoah to drive along Skyline Drive. Shenandoah was at peak that weekend and the leafers came from all over to see the foliage. The traffic was pretty bad, but considering the scenery was so beautiful, I hardly noticed.

Photo looking up at the fall foliage in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.Golden Colors of Autumn


Leafers
Leafers
 
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Shenandoah Virginia autumn landscape waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/10/autumn-color-in-shenandoah Thu, 27 Oct 2011 19:36:00 GMT
Vernal Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/10/vernal-falls View of Vernal Falls from the first bridge overlook on the Mist Trail in Yosemite, California.Vernal Falls Vernal Falls, Mist Trail, Yosemite, California. This is the last blog entry from my trip to Yosemite. It's fitting that I write about Vernal Falls, since the Mist Trail was my last hike. I couldn't leave Yosemite without hiking the falls. Growing up in Central California, my family and I made many visits to Yosemite. We always made sure to hike Vernal Falls, and it proved to be one of my favorites as a kid.

When I last set out on the Mist Trail, I intended to take a lot of photos close up to the falls. However, it's this photo, with the falls way off in the distance, that is my favorite. I like the look of the smooth water. It's calm and peaceful and I like the contrast with the rocks. To get the smooth water effect, I used a neutral density filter to get a 6 second exposure. I also spent a fair amount of time tinkering with curve adjustments in post processing. Straight out of the camera, the photo looked awful because the sun was just starting to rise behind the mountains and the entire river was in deep shadow.

I'm very happy with the photo. I just wish I had tried taking the same photo in landscape orientation as well. I guess I'll just have to go back.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) California Mist Trail Vernal Falls Yosemite sunrise waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/10/vernal-falls Mon, 10 Oct 2011 19:04:00 GMT
Tuolumne Meadows https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/10/tuolumne-meadows Blue and GreenBlue and GreenTuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, California.

High up at 8,600 feet in the Sierra Nevadas, Tuolumne Meadows is one of the more beautiful locations in Yosemite. The meadows are surrounded by peaks and domes. The Tuolumne River meanders through the center of the meadows.

Tuolumne MeadowsTuolumne MeadowsTuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, California.

We were blessed with beautiful weather and we had a wonderful time strolling through the meadows. I got some fun shots. I love the green trees and big blue skies. I'm told the wildflowers in late spring are fantastic. I would really love to go back.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) California Yosemite landscape nature https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/10/tuolumne-meadows Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:17:00 GMT
Half Dome with Purple Skies https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/half-dome-with-purple-skies

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of Half Dome with purple skies in Yosemite, California.Half Dome with Purple Skies

I took this photo of Half Dome just after sunset at Glacier Point. It's a beautiful place to watch the sun set. The sun slowly falls below the rim of Yosemite Valley, casting a partial shadow on Half Dome. As it falls, a park ranger gives a talk about the valley before a crowd of tourists. It's a beautiful and fun experience.

I took many photos of Half Dome while the sun was setting, but it's this photo of Half Dome after sunset that I like most. I really like the pink and purple sky and I like that there's still enough light to get plenty of detail in the rocks and tress.

 
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Yosemite landscape nature sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/half-dome-with-purple-skies Thu, 22 Sep 2011 19:29:00 GMT
Stretching out at 7,800 feet https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/stretching-out-at-7800-feet

 

Stretching out at 7,800 feetStretching out at 7,800 feetA man in a yellow shirt stretches out on an outcrop, 3,800 feet over Yosemite Valley. (Taft Point, Yosemite, California.)

After visiting Glacier Point in Yosemite, my wife and I decided to hike to Taft Point. It's a less frequently visited location that is a couple of miles from Glacier Point Road. The main attraction at Taft Point is the vista of Yosemite Valley. There's an outcrop with a small railing where you can stand and safely enjoy the view.

While I was standing against the railing and enjoying the view, a woman approached and began waving at someone off in the distance. I later found out that she was waving at her husband. She was encouraging him to climb out onto a tiny outcrop above Yosemite Valley. He was clearly uncomfortable, seeing as he was crawling on his hands and knees, presumable afraid to stand up, and she had to keep encouraging him to crawl out farther.

While I appreciate that this woman and her husband gave me a great subject for these shots (she even asked her husband to wear a brightly colored shirt so he would show up in her photos), I would never go out there myself, nor would I ever ask my wife to go out there. In fact, while I was taking this photo, my wife was safely sitting under a shade tree about 30 yards away.

Taft Point is about 4,000 feet over Yosemite Valley. That's an awfully long way to fall. Very scary, but boy does it make for an interesting photo.

Relaxation at 7,800 feetRelaxation at 7,800 feetA man in a yellow shirt relaxes on an outcrop, 3,800 feet over Yosemite Valley. (Taft Point, Yosemite, California.)

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Yosemite landscape nature https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/stretching-out-at-7800-feet Tue, 20 Sep 2011 19:24:00 GMT
Yosemite Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/yosemite-falls

I took these photos of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls in August. Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls are usually nothing more than trickles of water in August, but last winter, Yosemite received roughly double the usual amount of snow, leaving a steady flow of water even in late summer. I felt very lucky.

Falls Between the TreesFalls Between the TreesUpper and Lower Yosemite Falls framed by redwood trees. Yosemite, California.

For the first shot, I tried to put the falls in some context. I love the tall trees in Yosemite and I thought it would be fun to frame the falls between giant redwoods. I like the mix of primary colors, viz. red, green, and blue.

The following is a shot of just Lower Yosemite Falls. I took this shot from a closer vantage point. Being closer helped me eliminate some of the atmospheric haze that robs the previous photo of detail around the falls. I like the soothing colors and all the texture in the trees and rocks.

Falling Into The TreesFalling Into The TreesLower Yosemite Falls framed by redwood trees. Yosemite, California.

I also took some close-up shots of Lower Yosemite Falls—well, closer at least. I'm not sure which version I like better—the landscape or portrait variation.
Lower Yosemite Falls (vertical)Lower Yosemite Falls (vertical)Lower Yosemite Falls. Yosemite, California.
If you look closely enough, you can see people climbing around the rocks beneath the falls, giving you some notion of scale. (The area beneath the falls is off limits, but folks tend not to pay attention to the signs.)
Lower Yosemite Falls (horizontal)Lower Yosemite Falls (horizontal)Lower Yosemite Falls. Yosemite, California.
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) California Yosemite forest landscape waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/yosemite-falls Sun, 18 Sep 2011 14:38:00 GMT
North Dome and Half Dome at Sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/north-dome-and-half-dome-at-sunrise North Dome and Half Dome at SunriseNorth Dome and Half Dome at SunriseView from Glacier Point of North Dome (on the left) and Half Dome (on the right) at sunrise. Yosemite, California.

I took this photo of Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point. In the photo, North Dome is on the left and Half Dome (once commonly called "South Dome") is on the right.

High above the Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point provides one of the best vistas of the valley. It's a very popular destination—particularly to watch the sunset. Very few people go there to watch the sunrise. My guess is that it's because it's at least an hour drive from any accommodations and because the most interesting vista is facing into the sun instead of away from it. Most consumer cameras aren't capable of handling the sun shining right into the camera. Even with my nice camera, this photo took a considerable amount of effort and experimentation to tease out the detail and color. I think it looks good and I hope it's considered a unique shot of the valley.

In a later posting, I'll share the sunset photos I took from Glacier Point.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) California Yosemite landscape mountains sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/north-dome-and-half-dome-at-sunrise Mon, 12 Sep 2011 18:16:00 GMT
Morning in Yosemite Valley https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/morning-in-yosemite-valley

In continuation of my series on Yosemite, here are a few photos from Yosemite Valley. I took the following photo in the morning from Sentinel Bridge. In the foreground is the Merced River and in the background is Half Dome.

Morning on the Merced River and Half DomeMorning on the Merced River and Half DomeMorning in Yosemite Valley. View of the Merced River and Half Dome.

One of the biggest attractions in Yosemite Valley is Cook's Meadow. During the late spring, the meadow is filled with wildflowers, but even in August, the meadow is beautiful. I think the beautify of the meadow lies in the juxtaposition of the flat wetlands with the giant peaks and tall trees that surround the meadow.

Morning in Cook's MeadowMorning in Cook's MeadowMorning in Cook's Meadow, Yosemite Valley.

I've been trying for some time to create a photo with trees in the foreground and met with varying degrees of success. I think the following photo works. Behind the trees is the Merced River and then Cook's Meadow. The bright background behind the trees pulls you into the photo. When I see this photo, it makes me feel like I'm there and that I can just walk through the trees and into the meadow. It gives me a sense of place.

Through the Trees at Cook's MeadowThrough the Trees at Cook's MeadowMorning in Yosemite Valley. View of Sentinel Meadow through some redwood trees.

Yosemite Valley is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's clear from the crowds and the traffic that I'm not the only one who knows this. Fortunately, most people aren't willing to get up at 4:20 a.m. while on vacation. So, if you're willing to get up early enough, you can have the valley all to yourself.

The following photo is of the Merced River with Upper Yosemite Falls in the background. I took the photo from Swinging Bridge, a very popular place for picnicking and swimming. When I was there at 7:30 a.m., I found only one other person. I like the photo. To me, it looks very calm and peaceful. I really like the reflection of the mountains in the water.

Morning on the Merced RiverMorning on the Merced RiverMorning in Yosemite Valley. View of Upper Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge.

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) California HDR Yosemite forest landscape meadow moon nature reflection https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/9/morning-in-yosemite-valley Mon, 05 Sep 2011 10:59:00 GMT
Sunburst over Yosemite Valley https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/8/sunburst-over-yosemite-valley

 

Sunburst over Yosemite ValleySunburst over Yosemite ValleyA sunburst forms as the sun crests over Half Dome and the rim of Yosemite Valley.

Here's another sunrise shot of Yosemite Valley taken from Tunnel View. I took this photo just as the sun crested over the rim of the valley. The sunburst effect and lens flare add color and drama to an otherwise very nice photo, making it something special.

I created the sunburst effect by using a particularly small lens aperture and pointing my camera directly into the sun. The lens flare is a side effect caused by including the sun in the photo. Normally, lens flare is considered a flaw when it appears in a photo, but here, I intentionally left it in because I think it adds extra color and excitement. I particularly like how it streaks towards the bottom left-hand corner.

The following is another sunrise photo that I really like; I took it just 2 minutes before the sunburst:

Sunrise over Yosemite Valley 2Sunrise over Yosemite Valley 2Yosemite Valley at sunrise.

While taken only 2 minutes apart, the photos are very different. The light was changing very quickly. I had only a few minutes to capture these images before the sun got too bright, making it impossible to take any photos while facing my camera directly into the sun.
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) California HDR Yosemite landscape nature sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/8/sunburst-over-yosemite-valley Tue, 30 Aug 2011 19:30:00 GMT
Sunrise over Yosemite Valley https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/8/sunrise-over-yosemite-valley

I recently returned from a short vacation in California with my wife where we visited Yosemite. We had a great time and I got some great photos. My wife was very patient with my photography and I'm very grateful to her for that.

Sunrise over Yosemite ValleySunrise over Yosemite ValleyYosemite Valley at sunrise.

Above is one of my favorite photos from the trip. The view of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View is probably one of the most photographed images of Yosemite. It's a beautiful vista and it's hard to take a bad photo from that location. However, it's also deceptively hard to take a good photo.

One of the things that I've discovered about landscape photography is that skies are very frequently boring. A sure way to ruin a beautiful landscape photo is to fill it with solid blue sky. When the sky is solid blue, my usual solution is to frame the photo without any sky. However, this solution doesn't work with something like Yosemite Valley because much of the interest comes from the peaks surrounding the valley, and you can't capture the peaks without capturing some sky.

We were cursed with clear blue skies for most of our trip to Yosemite, so I had to get creative. In the shot above, you can see that I used the sun to create interest in the sky. When the sun rose just behind Half Dome, it shot of rays of light all over the rim of the valley. The rays of light add interest to an otherwise boring sky. I really like the effect.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share some more of my favorite photos. I'm still processing many of them.


 
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) HDR Yosemite sunrise waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/8/sunrise-over-yosemite-valley Sun, 28 Aug 2011 14:07:00 GMT
Cambridge meets Boston https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/8/cambridge-meets-boston

I spent 7 years in Boston. It's one of my favorites cities. I love that it's not too big, but it still has everything you expect in a big city. You can walk almost everywhere and still visit great parks and restaurants. It's also very clean and has lots of trees. It's a very picturesque city.

I brought my camera with me for the visit. Since photography wasn't my primary reason for visiting Boston, I didn't bring my tripod. Nevertheless, I wanted to return to DC with some good pictures of Boston. This one, I think, turned out nicely. It's a panorama of the Charles River from the vantage point of the Harvard Bridge (MIT and Cambridge are on the left, Boston is on the right, and most of the sailboats are MIT dinghies).


I spent 4 years walking across this bridge every day. I love the view. I would have liked to spend a lot of time carefully crafting this photo; perhaps taking it during a sunrise or a sunset. However, I didn't want to bore my wife and my sister or make them get up too early in the morning—they were already being very patient with me as it is. So, while the photo isn't anything special artistically, it works for me, as it evokes some really wonderful memories. It's a very fine postcard shot.

18x3 high dynamic range images; 46.5 MP, 50 mm, f/8; blended with Nik HDR Efex Pro, stitched with Hugin, and retouched with Apple Aperture.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) panorama Boston Cambridge https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/8/cambridge-meets-boston Mon, 01 Aug 2011 15:57:00 GMT
Panoramas of Washington National Cathedral https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/7/panoramas-of-washington-national

Lately, I've been interested in creating panoramas. I've been reading up on the subject and found a wonderful open source application called "Hugin" that can be used to create panoramas by stitching together photos. The latest release is quite powerful and despite the fact that it's free software, it's quite polished.

To test out the latest release of Hugin, I visited Washington National Cathedral. I've always loved cathedrals and the National Cathedral in particular. I also recently finished reading Ken Follett's great book The Pillars of the Earth, which has me even more excited about cathedrals. So, the National Cathedral was a perfect subject for my test.

My goal was to take a 360 degree panorama of the interior of the cathedral from the crossing (the point in a cathedral where the nave, transepts, and presbytery intersect). I think it worked:

Stitched panorama of the crossing at Washington National CathedralWashington National Cathedral Crossing (1:5 panorama)

To take this image, I placed my camera on a tripod and used a spirit level to ensure that the entire setup was perfectly level. I set the focal length to 24mm with an aperture of f/8. I took some test shots and then set my camera to full manual mode using the shutter speed taken from the test shot (to ensure even exposure across every image). Then I began shooting. After each image, I rotated the camera slightly to the right, making sure the next image would overlap with the previous image by at least 25 percent. After rotating an entire 360 degrees, I angled my camera upwards 45 degrees and repeated the process. (This took a long time because I had to wait patiently for people to move out of my shots.)

Each image that I took was actually a series of 3 shots--one evenly exposed, one under exposed, and one over exposed. In total, I took 117 shots. For each set of 3 shots, I later blended them together into one high-dynamic-range (HDR) image using tone mapping software called HDR Efex Pro. I did this because the lights and windows were too bright and the shadows were too dark otherwise. The act of blending the photos toned down the lights and brought out the details in the shadows.

This left me with 39 high dynamic range photos, which I stitched together in two rows using Hugin to form the image above. I think the result is quite spectacular. (The final image is massive, so I reduced the size for purposes of posting it online.)

While I liked the panorama from the crossing, I had been hoping to get an image that featured the sanctuary and the altar more prominently. So, I entered the presbytery and repeated the same process, except that this time, I used a 12mm focal length (very wide) and in Hugin I used a mercator projection instead of a cylindrical projection.

Photo by John Baggaley of the presbytery and sanctuary of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.Washington National Cathedral Presbytery and Sanctuary I think this one turned out spectacularly. In the center of the image is the sanctuary and on the far left and far right is the choir. Since it's a 360 degree image, I could have set the center of the image to be any point of my choosing. Here's the same panorama, but with the choir in the center and the sanctuary on the far left and right and a bit more of the ceiling cropped out:


Washington National Cathedral Presbytery and Choir

I hope you will agree with me that my experiment was a success. I love the unique perspective that the panorama stitching software provides. However, generating the images was quite laborious. In taking the photos, I had to use manual camera settings and ensure that the the camera was perfectly level at all times. Moreover, between the two panoramas, I processed 201 images. Blending and stitching takes a lot of computer processing, so the entire process was very time consuming. However, I think it was worth it, and I look forward to more such experiments.
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Hugin National Cathedral Washington architecture cathedral panorama https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/7/panoramas-of-washington-national Thu, 07 Jul 2011 17:04:00 GMT
Herons and Pickerel https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/6/herons-and-pickerel

I love bird and wildlife photos and I think they're the best when they display some context. I took this photo last weekend at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC.

Great Blue HeronGreat Blue Heron On its own, a photo of this great blue heron would be nice, but the lush greenery of the surrounding lotus plants makes the photo something special.

Photos of birds in flight can often be challenging because frequently you either end up aiming your camera up in the air and getting a photo of a bird with a boring pale blue background or you get a busy background that distracts from the image of the bird. I think I avoided both of those problems in the following image:

Wild great blue heron in flightHeron in flight In this image, I used the largest aperture my lens was capable of achieving in order obtain a shallow depth of field and throw the background out of focus. I also panned the image slightly to assist in the blurring of the background. I think the green texture is interesting and pleasing, but blurred just enough not to be distracting.

The herons on Sunday morning were quite active. I captured the following great blue heron just after it caught a fish.

Wild great blue heron with a fish in itFeasting Heron Besides the herons, I also had fun on Sunday taking photos of the pickerel.


JWB_20110605_120

The blur, or aesthetic quality of the blur, in a photo is called "bokeh". I think the bokeh in this image frames the pickerel nicely. While the background was actually very busy, I threw it way out of focus by using a long lens and positioning myself significantly closer to the flower than the background.
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Washington bird flowers heron pickerel wildflowers wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/6/herons-and-pickerel Tue, 07 Jun 2011 17:35:00 GMT
Morning in Shenandoah National Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/5/morning-in-shenandoah-national-park

Last weekend, I really wanted to shoot waterfalls. Some of the best waterfalls in the mid-Atlantic region are located in Shenandoah National Park. So, I got up very early and headed out west to the park. Not long after entering the park and turning down the famous Skyline Drive, I came across this vista and beautiful sunrise. I immediately pulled over and grabbed my camera and tripod.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of a spring sunrise in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.Shenandoah Sunrise I love how the rising sun lights up the tops of the trees and highlights the foliage in the foreground. The broken clouds add interest to the sky and I like the sense of depth created by the faded mountains in the background. I created the streaks of sunlight by using a tiny aperture (f/22).

Energized by the sunrise, I headed over to Whiteoak Canyon to shoot Upper Whiteoak Canyon Falls. The hike through Whiteoak Canyon to the upper falls was 2.3 miles downhill (4.6 miles round trip). The return trip was much more difficult because it was all uphill. However, the hike was very much worth it.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of Whiteoak Canyon Falls in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.Whiteoak Canyon Falls When I finished the Whiteoak Canyon hike, it was still fairly early in the morning, so I decided to try another nearby waterfall hike. The Cedar Run Trail was noticeably shorter than the Whiteoak Canyon trail, but much more difficult. Like the Whiteoak Canyon trail, the Cedar Run hike was all downhill to the waterfall. While only 1.7 miles (3.6 round trip), it was 1,500 feet of elevation change in just 1.7 miles. The hike back was very difficult.

The Cedar Run trail was very beautiful, but I wasn't particularly impressed with the actual falls. Perhaps, my inspiration was waning as I got tired. 8.3 miles in one morning is a lot, particularly with significant elevation changes. A brief late morning rain shower didn't help either. However, on my return trip from the falls, I came across this surprise:


JWB_20110522_191


I've never seen an owl in the wild before. This one was significantly larger than I expected. It took my breath away. I dropped my bag and scrambled to grab my camera, swap lenses, and change all my camera settings (wildlife and landscapes require very different camera configurations). The owl didn't sit still for long. After flying from branch to branch, the owl swooped down to Cedar Run, caught the crayfish you see in the photo, and landed on a nearby branch for just a moment to check me out and fly off for good. I barely had enough time to take this shot. It was really nice to finish my trip to Shenandoah on a high note.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Cedar Run Shenandoah Virginia Whiteoak Canyon owl sunrise waterfall wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/5/morning-in-shenandoah-national-park Thu, 26 May 2011 19:30:00 GMT
Rock Creek https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/5/rock-creek

Last Sunday, Melissa attended a baby shower near Rock Creek Park. I gave her a ride to the shower and, despite the fact that it was a drizzling dreary day, I figured I'd use the opportunity to take a few photos of Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of Rock Creek in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC.Rock Creek And I'm really glad that I did. I love this photo. I love the color and the juxtaposition of hard and soft.

To get the shot, I had to climb out on a number of big (and some unfortunately not so big) slippery rocks to get into the middle of the river. The blur of the water comes from using a 2.5 second shutter speed and a tripod. The slow shutter speed was made possible by my use of a 6-stop neutral density filter. The lens reduced the amount of light going through my lens by a factor of 2^6 = 64. That's really dark. In fact, it was so dark looking through the lens, I had trouble focusing the camera.

Sunday was also a good day, despite the rain, to see the azaleas, which were just starting to bloom along Rock Creek. I love the wild azaleas around Washington, DC. They're called "pinxter azaleas" or "Pinxterflowers" (Rhododendron periclymenoides). They aren't your garden variety azaleas (literally!) because the shrubs lose their leaves during the winter and most landscapers prefer a plant that retains its leaves. The species name comes from the Latin for "naked-flower", since the flowers of the plant often appear before its leaves are fully expanded.
 

JWB_20110501_024
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Rock Creek Park Washington flowers river spring wildflowers https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/5/rock-creek Fri, 06 May 2011 11:37:00 GMT
Trillium https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/5/trillium
JWB_20110429_110


Every year around May 1, millions of wildflowers of the species Trillium grandiflorum bloom in G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Virginia. I visited Thompson WMA last year to shoot the trillium. On Friday, I drove back out there to shoot them again.

I arrived just as the sun was rising. The very first rays of light streamed up my path and lit up the trillium in the following photo. The light lasted only a matter of seconds, but I think I got it just in time. I used an ultra-wide angle lens in order to get in close to the flower and capture some of the surrounding context.

The first rays of the morning sun light up a Trillium grandiflorum in Thompson WMA in Virginia.Trillium at Sunrise The flowers and the trees in Thompson WMA on Friday seemed to be in a disagreement about whether we were in the midst of spring. The trillium were in full bloom, but the trees were barely budding leaves. Last year, the full trees created a green cover, blocking my view of the sky. Since the trees didn't completely block out the sky this time, I decided to use the opportunity to turn my camera upwards and shoot the tops of the trees with a showing of sky in the background. I love the color and perspective in the following photo:

A view of the sky beyond the trees in Thompson WMA, Virginia.Looking Up On the other side of Thompson WMA from the trillium parking lot, near Thompson Lake, I found this pastoral view:

Pastoral Virginia

I decided to take a chance at a high-dynamic-range panorama. The image consists of 15 images: 5 high-dynamic-range images stitched together using Autopano, each of which is a high-dynamic-range image consisting of 3 separate images blended together using Nik HDR Efex Pro. It took several attempts to get this final image. The wind was blowing and the movement of the clouds kept shifting the light around. I like this image for the interesting lighting, the color, and the layers created by the hills.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) HDR Thompson WMA Virginia panorama spring trillium wildflowers https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/5/trillium Tue, 03 May 2011 18:01:00 GMT
An afternoon in Rock Creek Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/4/afternoon-in-rock-creek-park Rock Creek Park to do some hiking and take some photos. The late afternoon sun gave me this great forest shot with the sun streaming through the leaves.

JWB_20110421_025

The dogwoods are in bloom here in the District and when I went to the park, I was hoping that I would see a bunch of them along Rock Creek. I would have liked to get a shot of a dogwood in bloom leaning out over some rapids. Unfortunately, I didn't find very many dogwoods. But I did find this one growing next to the creek. Since the tree wasn't actually leaning out over the water, I had to get a bit creative. To get the shot, I stood up very high on top of Boulder Bridge and use a telephoto lens. I think it turned out nicely. The setting sun provided some nice accents to the flowers and leaves.

JWB_20110421_118

While I was there, I also took a photo of Boulder Bridge. It is one of the most iconic structures in Rock Creek Park. (I'll definitely have to try this one again in the fall.)

JWB_20110421_106_HDR

When I took this photo, the highlights in the trees were too bright and all washed out. Likewise, the shadows around the bridge were too dark. So, I took three photos, one with the trees exposed correctly, but everything else too dark, one with the shadows exposed correctly, but everything else too bright, and one balance in between. Later, I used some software to merge (or blend) the photos into a single composite, which you see above.

This blending technique is called High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing. The idea is HDR processing will allow you to take photos of very high contrast scenes that can't otherwise be taken with a normal camera. The most popular software for HDR processing is Photomatix. I've played with the software and I find that it's very easy to exaggerate the HDR effect and very difficult to achieve natural or subtle results.

My experience with Photomatix and with viewing a lot of really terrible HDR images online had turned me off to HDR processing. However, a couple of things have caused me to reconsider. I recently read an article by landscape photographer Tom Till about the virtues of HDR processing and some of his HDR images are quite amazing. I also read about a new HDR processing plugin for Aperture called Nik HDR Efex Pro that promises to give more natural and subtle results than Photomatix. So, I downloaded a demo of Nik HDR Efex Pro and figured I'd try it out on some of the images I took last Thursday. So far, from my experimentation, the reputation of the Nik plugin is well deserved.

JWB_20110421_074_HDR

Without using any HDR software, the sky in the photo above was washed out, without any detail, and the creek was way too dark. I used the Nik plugin to generate this image and I think the results are nice. It's not obvious that HDR was used to generate the image and the effect is subtle. The new software is promising. I'll definitely have to experiment more with HDR in the future.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington Rock Creek Park District of Columbia HDR spring forest dogwood https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/4/afternoon-in-rock-creek-park Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:30:00 GMT
Early spring in Cedarville State Forest https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/4/early-spring-in-cedarville-state-forest JWB_20110410_175
The weekend before last I set out for Cedarville State Forest in southern Maryland. A short drive from Washington, D.C., Cedarville is where the headwaters of the Zekiah Swamp are located.

The last time I visited Cedarville was in late April and it had rained all night and the morning before I arrived. I loved the flowers and lush vegetation that I found in the swamp. Having grown up in the desert-like conditions of the Sanjuaquin Valley in California, I find swamps foreign and fascinating. (I absolutely love the work of Ronnie Gaubert.)

This visit to Cedarville was in early April and it seems that spring hadn't yet arrived. There were no flowers to be found and the ferns were only just beginning to peek out from underneath a floor of leaves.

JWB_20110410_011

Despite the lack of greenery, there were some interesting photographic opportunities to be had. This stream made for some interesting photos. I tried to make things more dynamic with a low wide-angle shot and framing the image with tree leaning out into the water. The color of the water is particularly striking because I used a polarizer to eliminate the glare, making it possible to see straight through to the bottom.

JWB_20110410_136
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Cedarville State Forest swamp spring forest Maryland https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/4/early-spring-in-cedarville-state-forest Mon, 18 Apr 2011 18:42:00 GMT
Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/3/cherry-blossoms-around-tidal-basin

In 1912, the City of Tokyo donated more than 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C. Many of the cherry trees were planted around the Tidal Basin and every year they blossom in late March or early April, turning the Tidal Basin into a beautiful photographic opportunity. The peak bloom only lasts for about a week, so the window of opportunity for shooting the blossoms is quite small, particularly if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of sunrise and yoshino cherry trees in bloom around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin I shot this image at sunrise this morning at the Tidal Basin. It was a bitterly cold day, which is why you see very few people in the photo. Normally, when the sun is out, the sidewalk would be packed with walkers, joggers, and scores of photographers and their tripods. The weather forecast for the rest of the week is rain and snow, so I may have had perfect timing. The exact date of the peak bloom also happened to be today.

I like this image because of the varied color, the interest generated by the directional light from the rising sun on the left, and the movement created in the image by the line of the sidewalk leading up to the tree and then by the curve of the branches leading back around the image to the bottom left again.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Tidal Basin Washington cherry blossoms spring https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/3/cherry-blossoms-around-tidal-basin Tue, 29 Mar 2011 19:30:00 GMT
Super Moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/3/super-moon On Saturday, we experienced an unusually large moon known as a "super moon" or a super "perigee moon". A super moon is when the moon, following an elliptical orbit around the earth, makes its closest approach to the earth (when the moon is at its "perigee") and when the moon is fully illuminated. A super moon is a very rare phenomenonthe last occurrence having taken place in 1993.

The Statue of Freedom and the Super Moon

Unlike Friday, the sun set on Saturday before the moon rose. The weather was also perfect. The biggest challenge was going to be one of composition. I would have liked to get a shot of the Capitol framed by the moon.

Using The Photographer's Ephemeris, I charted out the path the moon would take. From the perspective of standing on the National Mall, it would rise to the southeast of the Capitol and follow a path moving to the northwest. The moon would look its largest while closest to the horizon and the Capitol would look smaller relative to the moon the further I stood from the Capitol. So, ideally I would stand far away from the Capitol to the northwest.

Unfortunately, the line of sight from the northwest was blocked by buildings and trees. If I got closer, the Capitol would dwarf the moon and block it until it rose way above the horizon. I thought I might get the shot if I stood on the northern edge of the Mall near 4th Street. Apparently, many other photographers had the same thought, including a nice Associated Press photographer I chatted with while waiting for the moon to rise.

Flexibility saved the day. The shot from the Mall never materialized. Thinking quickly, I decided to frame another object with the moonone that was significantly smaller than the Capitol and one that would be high enough that I could get the right angle. So, I shot the Statue of Freedom from northwestern parking lot of the Capitol. I think it turned out quite nicely.

Also of note, while I was waiting for the sun to set and the moon to rise, I took this shot of the Washington Monument. I'm very happy with this image. Can you see the airplane in the bottom left-hand corner headed towards Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport?

JWB_20110319_006Sunset behind the Washington Monument
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National Mall super moon night Washington sunset spring Washington Monument Capitol Statue of Freedom moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/3/super-moon Sun, 20 Mar 2011 20:45:00 GMT
Full Worm Moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/3/full-worm-moon
JWB_20110318_035

The shot would have been very good if the sun weren't still up and there hadn't been so much atmospheric haze. It would have been even better if the moon were close to the horizon, where an optical illusion would have made it look enormous. However, the sun was so bright that when the moon was on the horizon, it was impossible even to see the moon, not alone photograph it.

Fortunately, later in the evening, I was able to get some fine shots of the moon. I'm quite happy with the way this one turned out:

JWB_20110318_102
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) worm moon Washington spring Washington Monument moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/3/full-worm-moon Sun, 20 Mar 2011 20:20:00 GMT
Sunrise at a snowy Great Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/2/sunrise-at-snowy-great-falls

For some time now, I've been wanting to get some good shots of Great Falls in a wintry setting. So, when it snowed here a couple of weeks ago, I figured that I should take advantage of the opportunity. Because the snowstorm hit during the middle of the week, I was initially inclined to wait until the weekend, but I was afraid that the snow would melt before I could get to the falls. So, I got up early and drove out to the falls before sunrise. I figured that if I was fast enough, I'd be able to get out there, shoot the falls, and then drive back into town and get to work before the office opened. I was rewarded with the following:

Snow covers Great Falls, Virginia, after a major snowstorm.Sunrise at a snow covered Great Falls I like the color and texture of the water. It looks very cold and I find the blurred movement of the water quite striking.

I took this image at 7:43 a.m. using a 12mm focal length and an extremely small aperture of f/25. I also used a Nikon circular polarizer II stacked on a Hoya Pro1Digital 0.6 neutral density filter. This was necessary to get a super slow shutter speed, which I needed to obtain that smooth blur effect with the water. With this image, I was able to achieve a 2 second exposure. While I think it looks fairly nice, I do think it would have looked a bit better if I had been able to get a 3 or 4 second exposure and thereby blurred even more of the water's movement.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., the sun broke through some low-lying clouds and projected some nice light on the cliffs. I took the following at 8:14 a.m.:


Sunrise at Great Falls after a snowstorm

The light was too intense to obtain a shutter speed of more than a second, even with stacked filters and a super small aperture. So, for this image, I used a more reasonable aperture of f/11. With the neutral density filter and without the polarizer, I obtained a shutter speed of 1/40s.

While the water isn't as striking in this second photo, I like the early morning light on the rocks. The light is much less flat, giving the rocks more character. Also, this second image is significantly sharper than the first because it doesn't suffer from diffraction, which on my camera, affects images taken with apertures smaller than f/11.

While most of the images I shot were taken with the same composition as the first two photos, using wide angles and such, I decided to experiment with some longer focal lengths. I think the following turned out nicely, though not as well as the first two:

Rapids at a snow-covered Great Falls

On another note, while we didn't get more than a few inches of snow the previous night, the storm caused quite a few problems for the D.C. region. The snow was very wet and heavy. All of the Federal offices opened late because of the snow, including my own, and many homes lost power and heat. The drive at 6 a.m. out to the falls was somewhat treacherous. Many roads were closed and unplowed. Of the roads that were open, I had to be careful and navigate around abandoned cars and fallen trees. I was very grateful to have all-wheel drive.

The following is a photo of Old Dominion Drive, the road in Virginia leading to and from Great Falls Park. I took this on my way out of the Park, driving just behind two snowplows. If you think the road looks bad in the image, just imagine what it might have been like at 3 hours earlier, before any snowplows had touched the street.

Snow covering Old Dominion Drive
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Virginia snow sunrise waterfall winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/2/sunrise-at-snowy-great-falls Wed, 09 Feb 2011 18:17:00 GMT
Exploring wide angles in the Capitol https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/exploring-wide-angles-in-capitol
Looking up at the Capitol dome

Sunday in the Capitol Rotunda

Here's a fun note about the following photo of the statute of President Garfield. You can also find him in the above photo; he's the statute immediately to the left of the doorway. There was very little space between the statue and the wall.

President Garfield in the Capitol Rotunda

Russell Senate Office Building stairs
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington District of Columbia Russell Senate Office Building Capitol Capitol Rotunda https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/exploring-wide-angles-in-capitol Wed, 26 Jan 2011 16:53:00 GMT
Mountains and Clouds revisited https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/mountains-and-clouds-revisited In my last blog entry, I posted a photo of Alexander Calder's Mountains and Clouds sculpture, which is located in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. I shot the photo with a new ultra wide-angle lens that I had purchased, viz. the Nikon 12-24mm. Since then, I exchanged that lens for the newer Nikon 10-24mm ultra wide-angle lens and revisited the atrium to take another shot of the sculpture.
 

Mountains and Clouds revisited

I think this version turned out nicely. If you compare it with the previous version, which I took with the Nikon 12-24, one of the first things that you may notice is that there's less of a problem with parallax or keystoning. This is because the Nikon 10-24 is noticeably wider and I was able to point my camera perfectly level with the ground and achieve the same composition. With the previous photo, I had to point the lens slightly towards the ground in order to capture the front-most potted tree. While the two lenses have only a 2mm difference in minimum focal lengths, the difference in angle of view afforded by 12mm (99°) and 10mm (109°) is quite dramatic in practice.

While processing the two photos, my impression was that the Nikon 12-24 was a bit sharper and contrastier than the Nikon 10-24, but the lighting was brighter when I took the first photo and the smaller angle of view afforded by the 12-24 brings the image in closer, revealing more detail, so it's really hard to compare. On the other hand, the difference in the angle of view was quite dramatic, with the advantage to the 10-24, so I'm happy I made the exchange. I'm looking forward to using the Nikon 10-24 to shoot landscapes this spring.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Calder District of Columbia Hart Senate Washington https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/mountains-and-clouds-revisited Mon, 24 Jan 2011 20:29:00 GMT
Mountains and Clouds https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/mountains-and-clouds
Mountains and Clouds

I've often admired this work of art. It reminds me some of the Big Sail, another Calder sculpture located at my alma mater MIT, so perhaps it also makes me feel a bit nostalgic.

Alexander Calder designed Mountains and Clouds specifically for the Hart Building, which opened in 1982. Unfortunately, Calder died before the building and the sculpture could be completed. The sculpture was built from his designs, but it was painted black because it's unclear what color he would have liked it painted. Most of his mobiles are painted in bright colors.

Another interesting fact about Mountains and Clouds is that it is the only installation by Calder in which he combined both a free-standing sculpture and a mobile.

Incidentally, from a photographic sense, I haven't been able to photograph the sculpture until now because I didn't have any lenses that were wide enough to capture the entire thing. As a Christmas present, I obtained a new ultra-wide angle lens, a Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED. I figured the best way to test it out would be to visit the Senate and take a photo of my favorite sculpture.

In the photo, you will notice there is some keystone (parallax) issues. This is because I wasn't able to frame the photo without pointing my camera slightly downwards. I really wanted the top of the front-most potted tree in the photo.

I'm happy with the performance of the Nikkor 12-24mm, but I'm probably going to return it to get the Nikkor 10-24. The 10-24 is wider and probably a bit better for landscape photography; it will probably suite me better.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Senate Calder Washington Hart https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/mountains-and-clouds Mon, 10 Jan 2011 12:05:00 GMT
New site https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/new-site ]]> johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) admin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2011/1/new-site Fri, 07 Jan 2011 20:59:00 GMT Happy Holidays https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/12/happy-holidays

We’re having a white Christmas here in Washington, DC. It snowed last Thursday. While nothing like the major blizzard that we had shortly before Christmas last year, I wanted to take advantage of this snowfall as well. I really like the photos of the Capitol that I got last year, but none of them depict the Capitol Christmas Tree lit up brightly. So, on Friday, I managed to get out of the office to shoot the Capitol Christmas Tree.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of the annual Capitol Christmas Tree in front of the US Capitol.Christmas at the Capitol (landscape) The annual Capitol Christmas Tree is a tradition that started in 1964. This year, the tree is a 67-foot Englemann spruce brought all the way from Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. It is decorated with approximately 5,000 ornaments crafted by the people from across the State of Wyoming that reflect the theme of this year’s tree: “Wyoming: Forever West”. (Yes, I actually did some research before I took the photo—although primarily because I wanted to find out what time they turn the lights on and off, which incidentally is dusk till 11pm.) The tree is lit up with approximately 8,000 to 10,000 LED lights, which have an extremely long life span and are environmentally friendly.
 

2010 Capitol Christmas Tree
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol Christmas District of Columbia Washington snow winter https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/12/happy-holidays Mon, 20 Dec 2010 19:00:00 GMT
Autumn at Great Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/11/autumn-at-great-falls

Fall in Virginia and around DC is very beautiful, but the window of opportunity to shoot autumn landscapes is very short. I’ve been trying to think about how best to take advantage of that window and so naturally I’ve turned to some of the locations that I’ve already shot. One of my favorite locations in the area is Great Falls, Virginia.

A couple of weeks ago, I got up early and drove out to the park to shoot the falls at sunrise. For the following photo, I stood on the railing of an overlook to get just the right angle. Notice the blurred waterfall and the kayakers.

Fine art photo by John Baggaley of an autumn sunrise at Great Falls, Virginia.Autumn sunrise at Great Falls I shot using a 16mm focal length (24mm equivalent on a traditional 32mm camera) using an aperture of f/11. The small aperture and the use of a circular polarizer allowed me to get a slow shutter speed of 1/6 second, which created the silky look of the falls.

 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Great Falls Virginia autumn waterfall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/11/autumn-at-great-falls Sun, 07 Nov 2010 19:00:00 GMT
Sunrise on Old Rag Mountain https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/10/sunrise-on-mountain

Last week I got up at 2:00 am and drove to Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. This was my 3rd trip to Old Rag Mountain. I went a few weeks ago to scout out locations for this shoot. My goal for this shoot was to capture the fall colors at sunrise, which is why I had to set out so early. I begin climbing the mountain at 4:15 am in the dark. It was a brutal climb.

Getting up at that insane hour and the strenuous climb were well worth it. I caught this beautiful sunrise.

Exposure was very challenging. Using auto settings I either blew out the sky, giving me great detail in the rocks but a washed out sky, or I captured the highlights around the sun but lost all the details in the rocks. However, here I used spot metering (a few degrees to the right of the sun) and then used the highlight and shadow recovery tools in Aperture. I’m very happy with the results.

Sunrise atop Old Rag Mountain The obvious place to take photos at Old Rag is from the peak. However, the place I picked was about 2/3 up to the peak. I think the location I found had better color and a nicer vista.


Fall sunrise on the mountain


I really love the color and composition of the following photo.

Fall colors atop Old Rag Mountain I would have liked to get the farm to stand out a bit more. I tried hiking another half hour or so to the peak, hoping the higher angle would bring out the farm better, but it just didn’t work out. One of the problems with this kind of landscape photography is that once you make a decision, you can’t go back on it easily. By the time I got to the peak and turned around to get back to my original location, the sun would have risen too much and the lighting would have changed.

 
I had been planning this shoot for weeks, following the leaf pics and color news for Virginia and the fall color reports for Shenandoah National Park. I had timed my shoot based upon the peak season estimate, which was supposed to be Columbus Day, October 11. Unfortunately, estimates aren’t perfectly accurate. A few days before my shoot, they changed the estimate. We had a very dry summer, which is affecting our fall colors. The latest estimate is that peak season in the mountains will be today. Go figure. Nonetheless, despite the presence of a lot of green, I think I was able to capture some really wonderful color.

A patchwork of fall colors in Shenandoah National Park
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Old Rag Shenandoah Virginia autumn mountains sunrise https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/10/sunrise-on-mountain Sun, 17 Oct 2010 19:02:00 GMT
Dusk at the National Mall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/10/dusk-at-national-mall On the Sept 22, we were supposed to get a beautiful harvest moon rising over the Capitol and then across the National Mall. This supposedly happens only twice a year, so when weather prevented me from getting the shot, I was very disappointed. (See my 9/23 blog entry.) However, I had heard that the moonrise changes only a half a degree or so each day. So, I figured that just two days later I should be able to get a very similar shot.

Unfortunately, since the sky is so large, a mere 1 degree can make a really big difference. When I went to the Washington Monument on Sept 24, we still had a harvest moon and it was gorgeous, but it rose over a bunch of trees—nowhere near the Capitol.

Nonetheless, another night out on the Mall at sunset is never wasted. I got some great shots from the Washington Monument of the Lincoln Memorial.

I used a telephoto lens to take this shot. A telephoto lens compresses things, reducing the apparent distance between objects. Here you can see Arlington, Virginia, which looks like it’s right behind the Lincoln Memorial rather than being completely on the other side of the Potomac River. You can also see that the very long Reflecting Pool looks very short.

JWB_20100924_013
Sunset over the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington, VA

I love the purple in the following two photos. I suppose that I have a special affinity for evening shots. I love how at night, the lighting can be quite dramatic.

JWB_20100924_101
Lincoln Memorial and Arlington, VA, at dusk


The lights at the bottom of the following photo are from the World War II Memorial.

Sunset and dusk over the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC.An Evening at the Lincoln Memorial Besides the Lincoln Memorial, I had a great view of the Capitol from the Washington Monument. The white tents are for the National Book Festival that took place the following weekend.

JWB_20100924_068
The Capitol at dusk with preparations for the National Book Festival

I think you can only get these deep blue skies at dusk. I really like it.
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Capitol District of Columbia Lincoln Memorial National Mall Washington dusk sunset https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/10/dusk-at-national-mall Fri, 01 Oct 2010 19:08:00 GMT
Return to Old Rag Mountain https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/9/return-to-old-rag-mountain      Last weekend, I returned to Old Rag Mountain. I went there last year at about the same time. My purpose then was primarily social. However, my purpose was a bit different this time, viz. I planned to scout out locations for a visit in October. It was a solo trek.

     I would really like to visit Old Rag in October when the leaves have changed. I should be able to get some wonderful early morning panorama shots of the fall foliage. However, when shooting landscapes at sunrise, there isn’t any time to wonder around looking for good vistas, the light changes too quickly to waste time. So, last weekend I figured that it would be good to visit Old Rag and scout out all the good vistas and make note of the timing of my ascent. This way, I’ll be prepared when I visit again in October.

     So, last weekend I got up at 3:30 am and departed at 4:00 am for Sperryville, Virginia. I arrived at the lower parking lot for Old Rag at 6:00. Dawn was at 6:30 and sunrise was at 7:00. Since the peak is only part-way into the 8.5 mile trail loop, I figured that I might hike fast and get to the peak by sunrise.

     Armed with a headlamp I picked up at REI, I set out hiking by myself in the dark. And boy was the hike tough! To get to the peak, you have to hike over the Ridge Trail, a 3 mile rock scramble! I’m in decent physical condition, but even so, I found the trail difficult. Not only is the rock scramble 3 miles long, but it includes 2,200 feet of elevation gain. That’s like climbing the stairs to the top floor of a 220 story skyscraper! And if that isn’t hard enough, I was carrying a lot of photography gear, including my enormous Gitzo series 3 tripod.

     In the photo below, you can see 3 peaks off in the distance. The furthest peak is the peak of Old Rag Mountain. I was already winded when I took this photo and the trail looked daunting.

The Ridge Line TrailThe Ridge Line TrailView of the Ridge Trail on Old Rag Mountain. The peak of the mountain is the furthest peak in the image.

     Well, I missed the sunrise. The trail took way too long and was much too challenging for me to hike in a mere 1 hour. Instead, it took me 3 hours to get to peak. I arrived at 9 am. I think I could have made it in closer to 2 hours, but when I realized that I wasn’t going to make it in time for the sunrise, I made a few stops to take photos along the way. And I’m glad that I did. I really love this photo of mist rising over Shenandoah—I took it about a third of the way into the rock scramble.

Early Morning Mist, Old Rag MountainEarly Morning Mist, Old Rag MountainEarly morning view from the Ridge Trail on Old Rag Mountain of mist rising over Shenandoah.

When I got to the peak of the mountain, I was greeted with an incredible sight—and I don’t mean the vista, which was also incredible.

Pink sofa on Old Rag MountainPink sofa on Old Rag MountainA group of 10 or 15 students from Old Dominion University carried a pink leather love-seat up to the peak of Old Rag Mountain. I'm amazed they carried it all the way up the Ridge Trail: 3 miles of rock scramble and 2,200 feet of elevation gain. They set out at 4 am to watch the sun rise.

     A group of 10 or 15 students from Old Dominion University carried a pink leather love-seat to the top of the mountain and perched it on top of a boulder to watch the sunrise.

Pink sofa on Old Rag MountainPink sofa on Old Rag MountainA group of 10 or 15 students from Old Dominion University carried a pink leather love-seat up to the peak of Old Rag Mountain. I'm amazed they carried it all the way up the Ridge Trail: 3 miles of rock scramble and 2,200 feet of elevation gain. They set out at 4 am to watch the sun rise.

     The pink couch was completely out of place. I might as well have seen a pink elephant. I was stunned when I saw it. Actually, I was out of breath from the hike. And these kids carried a couch up the side of the mountain!

Pink sofa on Old Rag MountainPink sofa on Old Rag MountainA group of 10 or 15 students from Old Dominion University carried a pink leather love-seat up to the peak of Old Rag Mountain. I'm amazed they carried it all the way up the Ridge Trail: 3 miles of rock scramble and 2,200 feet of elevation gain. They set out at 4 am to watch the sun rise.

     They started hiking at 4 am in the dark—and I thought I started early! They were hoping to catch the sunrise as well, but barely missed it. I chatted with them for a while. I was so impressed by their feat. And they were very friendly, offering me an opportunity to sit on the couch for a while, but I declined. (You might guess why by looking at the photos.) However, what was most impressive to me wasn’t that they were able to carry the couch up the mountain, but that they actually carried it back down with them!

     Last weekend’s hike was fun and very challenging. However, next time when I go in October, I will have to get up even earlier. While the sun will rise a bit later, I now know that 3:30 am just isn’t going to cut it. And yes, landscape photography is hard . . . really hard.

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Old Rag Shenandoah Virginia autumn mountains https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/9/return-to-old-rag-mountain Sun, 26 Sep 2010 19:45:00 GMT
Harvest Moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/9/harvest-moon
JWB_20100922_008
Moon rising over the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Yesterday, on the day before the vernal equinox, I met up with the DC Social Flickr group to photograph the harvest moon. We met up at the Lincoln Memorial. Our intent was to capture the harvest moon rising above the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

JWB_20100922_014
Moon rising over the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

This was my first time meeting up with the DC Social Flickr group. I really enjoyed meeting everyone. However, the photography was a bit disappointing. Clouds covered the horizon, preventing us from getting any photos of the moon over the Capitol until it rose fairly high in the sky.

JWB_20100922_017
Partially obscured moon rising over the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

I had really high hopes for the night. I’ve seen some really dramatic photos of harvest moons in DC. But alas, the weather was not cooperating.

JWB_20100922_020
Washington Monument reflected in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

I do like the photos that I got yesterday. However, they just aren’t what I was trying for. Perhaps I’ll make another trip out onto the Mall later this week. However, the window of opportunity is short. There are only two harvest moons each year. The next one is in March.
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) National Mall dusk Washington Reflecting Pool Lincoln Memorial Washington Monument moon https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/9/harvest-moon Thu, 23 Sep 2010 08:08:00 GMT
Huntley Meadows https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/9/huntley-meadows

Blue Dasher dragonfly in Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia.Blue Dasher Last week, I made a couple of trips to Huntley Meadows Park, an unexpected 1,425 acres of forest, meadows, and wetlands in the middle of suburban Alexandria, Virginia.

On my first visit, I was fascinated with the dragonflies.


JWB_20100824_023

JWB_20100824_037

Huntley Meadows is most famous for its wildlife--primarily birds. The ducks (or are these geese?) were my closest targets. The proximity was important because the longest lens I own is only 300mm--the minimum focal length for birding is largely considered to be 400mm.

JWB_20100824_072

But a relatively short lens wasn’t my only difficulty. The sun was setting behind cloud cover, resulting in heavy glare on the water. I tried using a polarizer to fight the glare, but the polarizer only exasperated my third problem, viz. that the light was fading and my telephoto lens isn’t very fast (doesn’t have a very large aperture). The polarizer couldn’t eliminate all the glare and only cut down on the amount of light I was collecting. So, I tried to make the best of it by accepting the glare and going for a high-key look.

JWB_20100824_078

Here’s my attempt to add a little color.

JWB_20100824_095

Besides ducks (or geese), Huntley Meadows also features herons. This guy looked great, but I couldn’t get close. I had to crop quite a bit on this one.

JWB_20100824_128

On my second visit, I caught the sunset without cloud cover and this time the egrets decided to cooperate.

JWB_20100825_002

Of course, that’s just relative. Without a long lens, there’s no way I would have been able to get close without wading into the water. So I tried to get creative again. This time, I decided to focus on the light and the empty area of the water around the birds.

Golden reflections

Silhouette of a wild heron at sunset

I hope you like my photos. Feel free to check them out on Flickr and send me an email or leave a comment below.

Edit (9/3/2010):

Let’s throw in a nice photo of a butterfly just for good measure.

JWB_20100824_152
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Huntley Meadows bird butterfly dragonfly duck egret goose heron wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/9/huntley-meadows Thu, 02 Sep 2010 08:16:00 GMT
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Rain https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/8/kenilworth-aquatic-gardens-in-rain
At first, I figured I’d have to reschedule. However, I wasn’t dissuaded. I figured that the rain might make for some unique photos and I wasn’t disappointed. The waterlilies were stunning.

JWB_20100818_057

JWB_20100818_069

I was also impressed with the lotus flowers.

JWB_20100818_054

JWB_20100818_049

Besides the flowers, I found a number of birds. I was able to get fairly close to this heron.

JWB_20100818_019

JWB_20100818_018

JWB_20100818_022
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) heron Washington Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens District of Columbia rain weather wildlife flowers lotus https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/8/kenilworth-aquatic-gardens-in-rain Sat, 21 Aug 2010 09:34:00 GMT
A Walk in the Park https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/8/walk-in-park
While it was a pretty hike, the highlight was seeing deer. Bambi was very shy.

JWB_20100816_052

JWB_20100816_048

JWB_20100816_043
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Washington Rock Creek Park District of Columbia wildlife deer https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/8/walk-in-park Thu, 19 Aug 2010 12:11:00 GMT
Wedding of Allison and Dustin https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/7/wedding-of-allison-and-dustin
JWB_20100717_198

Allison had a beautiful vintage dress.

JWB_20100717_200

The ceremony took place at Allison’s parents’ place on the St. Lawrence River. Because the wedding took place in the afternoon and the sky was clear, the lighting was harsh. However, I was able to compensate by overriding my camera’s exposure settings and doing some careful post-processing. I think I ended up with some good results.

JWB_20100717_208

JWB_20100717_222_crop

JWB_20100717_227_crop

JWB_20100717_243

Allison made her own hair piece out of a brooch that Melissa gave to her and some feathers.

JWB_20100717_273

For their first dance, Allison and Dustin performed a dance routine that they created while taking a ballroom dancing class.

JWB_20100717_332

Here’s a photo of Allison dancing with her father.

JWB_20100717_337

Later in the afternoon, the sun began to set and a slight breeze picked up. The weather was very comfortable.

JWB_20100717_356

The St. Lawrence River is a major shipping channel. During the wedding, large ships occasionally sailed on by.

JWB_20100717_378

We were blessed with a beautiful sunset and I did my best to capture the color.

JWB_20100717_380

JWB_20100717_385

The following day, we went on a boat ride around the islands in the St. Lawrence river. I really like this photo of Chris.

JWB_20100718_411
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Canada wedding Cornwall https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/7/wedding-of-allison-and-dustin Sat, 17 Jul 2010 12:29:00 GMT
Crabtree Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/6/crabtree-falls
I made sure to get to Crabtree Falls right at sunrise. I wanted to shoot it with good lighting. It was important to me that not only should I avoid harsh lighting, but I wanted to get slow shutter speeds so that I could get the soft look of the falls. I was rewarded with the following:

JWB_20100605_122Sunrise at Crabtree Falls

Notice how soft the water looks? That one is my favorite, but I also like the following:

JWB_20100605_142

Both of those images have nice strong foreground elements. The following is a simpler composition with no real foreground element, but the water looks dramatic:

JWB_20100605_166Sunrise at Crabtree Falls

Besides the lighting, there were three other great benefits of getting to the falls early. First, it was much cooler. That part of Virginia was experiencing a heat wave that weekend. It was 95 by mid-afternoon, but very comfortable at 8 in the morning. Second, there were fewer bugs flying around. But perhaps most importantly, I avoided the huge crowds:

JWB_20100605_132
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) waterfall Virginia Crabtree Falls https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/6/crabtree-falls Sat, 05 Jun 2010 12:35:00 GMT
Lions and Tigers https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/5/lions-and-tigers
Luke

On Sunday, I visited the National Zoo here in Washington, D.C. I’ve been to the zoo before, but I wasn’t thrilled with my previous results. This time, however, I was equipped with a better camera, a better lens, more experience, and some basic knowledge about the zoo. The key is to go early before the tourists arrive and while the animals are active.

I also decided that this time I would focus on my favorite animals, the great cats. Fortunately both Luke and Shera, the African lions, were out and about.

JWB_20100516_034

Naba, the other lioness, was away. She gave birth to the Zoo’s first cub in 20 years. That’s very exciting news.

The following are two photos of Shera. She’s quite a magnificent creature.

JWB_20100516_053

JWB_20100516_185

However, she was taking it pretty easy. I love how content she looks in the following. And I love the green bokeh in these photos.

JWB_20100516_162

JWB_20100516_100

But of course, lions are famous for napping. Occasionally, Luke would yawn. It proved very difficult to take this picture. He doesn’t exactly let you know he’s going to yawn before he does it, and if you’re not paying attention, you miss the shot. The background on this one is regrettable, but otherwise a good shot in my opinion.

JWB_20100516_144

The lions aren’t the only animals on great cat island. Here’s a shot of Guntur, the male Sumatran tiger.

JWB_20100516_213

Guntur’s father Rokan is in a separate pen. Rokan is 19. That’s extremely old for a tiger. In the wild they rarely live past 12. He looks very scary in this photo.

JWB_20100516_265

I got a shot of Rokan yawning as well.

JWB_20100516_306

On my way out of the zoo, I stopped by the cheetah conservation station to see if I could get some interesting photos of Tumai, the zoo’s resident cheetah. They pulled her into a new pen where they had setup a chasing target. I didn’t realize what was happening at first, so I wasn’t prepared. For a split second, Tumai decided she wanted to play and chased the target around the pen. But only seconds later, she decided she didn’t want to have anything to do with it and waited by the door to her normal pen. This was the best shot I could get, as clearly my reactions aren’t as fast as a cheetah.

JWB_20100516_344
 
]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) District of Columbia National Zoo Smithsonian Washington cheetah lion tiger wildlife https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/5/lions-and-tigers Sun, 16 May 2010 12:44:00 GMT
Photo Trekking 6: Thompson WMA https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/5/photo-trekking-6-thompson-wma [This is my 6th installment in a 6-part series for a photo trekking class I took with Barbara Southworth through the Smithsonian Associates Residence Program.]

The last hike of the Photo Trekking class was in GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area, Virginia. The place is normally reserved for hunting, Monday through Saturday, but on Sundays, it’s open to hikers. The place is probably best known for its trillium bloom, which is likely the largest bloom of large-flowered trillium in the United States.

In early May, there are millions of trillium in bloom in Thompson WMA.

Trillium in Thompson WMA, Virginia.

 

Trillium aren’t the only wildflowers that bloom in Thompson WMA. The lady’s slippers are quite popular with hikers.

LadyLady's Slipper

 

I particularly liked the mayapples. I got this photo when the clouds broke just enough to give me a little sun.

Mayapple with raindrops in early morning light in Thompson Wildlife Management Area. Podophyllum peltatum, commonly called mayapple, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Berberidaceae.

The wildflower I photographed most was the purple geranium. I really like this one. If you look closely, you can see evidence of a recent rainfall.

Purple geranium with raindropsPurple geranium with raindrops

 

I got this one with some dramatic lighting. You can also see a new flower about to bloom.

Purple geranium in early morning light in GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area.

There was a lot to see everywhere I looked. I had some fun trying to get this millipede. It was pretty hard, as the little guy was moving fast.

Black, red, orange, and yellow centipede in GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area

As you might have guessed from the selection of photos I’ve displayed so far that I did a lot of close-up photography. Well, I also tried some landscape shots as well, but it was hard to nail the composition.

A sea of trillium under a canopy of trees in GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area.

I think this one turned out reasonably well, but the trillium don’t pop out at the viewer as much as I think they should.

Forest path lined with trillium in GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area (Thompson WMA).Forest path lined with trillium

 

]]>
johnbaggaley@icloud.com (John Baggaley Photography) Thompson WMA Virginia centipede flowers geranium lady's slippers mayapples trillium https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/5/photo-trekking-6-thompson-wma Mon, 03 May 2010 23:39:00 GMT
Photo Trekking 5: Cedarville State Forest https://www.johnbaggaley.com/blog/2010/4/photo-trekking-5-cedarville-state [This is my 5th installment in a 6-part series for a photo trekking class I took with Barbara Southworth through the Smithsonian Associates Residence Program.]

On Sunday, my photo trekking group ventured to Cedarville State Forest near Brandywine, Maryland. It’s a little known place, but it was gorgeous! We almost didn’t go. It had rained all night and the weather forecast was for thunderstorms in the morning and throughout the day. Many of the hikers bailed, but those of us who persevered were quite rewarded!

Wild azaleas after a rainstormWild azalea after a rainstorm

 

Cedarville is a forest with some swamps and bogs. Because it had just rained, everything was lush and green. All of the leaves were dripping with the rain.
 

JWB_20100425_034_crop

After what must have been an hour of hiking and shooting . . . and mostly shooting . . . I think we only traveled perhaps 100 yards. Barbara laughed that we were the easily amused group.

One of the first things that we saw that really fascinated me was a tree partially eaten by what I imagine must have been a very large beaver.
 

JWB_20100425_053

There was a lot to see in the swamp. I almost missed this frog: