The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a wonderful place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, bikers and paddlers. There are over 40 miles of calm river, 67,000 acres of valley, bountiful wildlife, 100 miles of trails, waterfalls and historic villages. It’s also a great place for photographers whether you prefer landscape or wildlife as your subject. I’m neither of those, yet it is a perfect backdrop for environmental portraits, editorial and lifestyle images as well. The river itself has plenty of opportunities for photographers, but there are also a lot of abandoned buildings and villages. Several decades ago, the government, through eminent domain, forced local residents to abandon their homes so that the valley could be flooded for use by a power generation plant to be located in the area. Many of these abandoned buildings still stand albeit barely. However, they are easily accessible on foot, bicycle and automobile.
For example, the town of Millbrook, NJ has a beautiful church that I used to photograph this lovely woman. Inside the church, I had her lay on her back with a look of expectation along the top of the altar. I’m not sure what I was after or the type of mood I was trying to accomplish other than something soft and dramatic. Some say I should call it sensuous sacrifice but I’m not sure that would be appropriate.
We continued outside where I photographed her as she was leaving the church. Again, I’m not sure what I wanted other than for her to hold the doors open, look down and close her eyes. Many stories can be created with this image and I almost prefer the viewer use their own imagination as to why I captured her this way.
So please visit the area and check out all the possibilities to practice your skill at the visual arts then share it with everyone. If you can’t make it, let me know what story comes to mind when you view my images.
Dogs are a man’s best friend. I know some would take issue with that statement and would want to change it to a dog is a human’s best friend. Either works for me because I would find it difficult not to have a canine companion. I’ve had many pet dogs throughout my life from beagles to a large St Bernard. I can’t really say which one was my favorite. At each moment in time, each were my favorite and my wife and I cried buckets worth of tears at each of their passing. The passage of each one was very difficult for us so after our St. Bernard passed away, we decided to take a bit of a break from dog companionship because it was too painful to let them go. That thought only lasted a few weeks and we immediately settled on getting a couple of rat terriers.
Rat Terriers are a whole lot of fun, but they go from moving 100mph to an immediate standstill. One of our rat terriers named “Indy” not only is a loyal companion he also loves to be photographed whether out in the woods or in my studio. While this photo of Indy in the woods appeared in last summer’s issue of Hobby Farm Magazine, my favorite is still this studio shot of Indy:
Whenever I need some outdoor gear or when it is time to renew my hunting and fishing license, I visit Ted over at Pike County Outfitters. The store is located in Apple Valley on Highway Six near the edge of downtown Milford, PA.
I always enjoy walking through his place which is full of quality merchandise. One of the signature items in there is not for sale. It’s a huge Brown Bear Ted purchased from a friend of his who shot it in Coastal Alaska. When I mentioned to Ted that I wanted to take his picture he was a bit leery. He was apprehensive because, he is a shy guy but also, he did not think I would be able to take his photo and include the entire 10ft bear in the composition and avoid the cane hanging from the ceiling.
I talked to him to make him at ease and assure him that I would be able to include the bear in the frame. I did not want to try to explain that my 300mm Rodenstock lens is the equivalent to 50mm in the large format world nor the fact that a large format camera has the advantage of being able to tilt and shift the front lens board as well as the back that holds the frame.
This ability allows me to mount the camera on my tripod, set the camera far enough back to include the bear, yet low enough to avoid the canoe. All I had to do was lift the front lensboard and voila, a perfect composition. The only thing I explained to Ted was that the exposure time was going to be long and he would not be able to move for 30 seconds since I was using just the available light in the store.
The image above was created with a Deardorff large format camera using Ilford HP5 black-and-white film.
Raymondskill Falls one morning. Shot with a Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID with a 65mm lens and Fuji 160 film. I also used a split neutral density filter to hold the highlights in the upper left hand corner and still maintain detail in the shadows. While digital is all the rage these days, I still use film on many occasions when time is not of the essence. Personal projects are a great example of an ideal situation where I still use film. In fact, I use either an 8×10 Large Format camera made by Richard Ritter in Vermont or a Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID medium format camera. I prefer this method as opposed to purchasing Photoshop and Lightroom plug-in that tout the ability to recreate the look and feel of film. Moreover, I prefer the workflow: 1) Shoot; 2) send the film for processing to Millers for their proof special (develop, scan and print 4×5 proofs); 3) flip through printed 4×5 proofs that have amazing quality; 4) send negative(s) for final print. No computer necessary except when posting somewhere.