Why I Love Long Exposure Photography

I love taking long exposure photographs.

They allow me to see through my lens what my eyes cannot.

It's as if I'm looking into space.

The Milky Way over 'Lake Lure' in North Carolina

The Milky Way over 'Lake Lure' in North Carolina

Stars are light. A camera uses light to create images. The longer the shutter is open, the more light hits the camera's sensor. We adjust our shutter speeds on a regular basis - you notice the effects of this more casually. An over exposed photo or a blurry photo of someone indoors.

In addition to more light getting in, the shutter being open longer also captures more movement (all movement) - everything that happens while the shutter is open is captured by the camera's sensor. When used incorrectly, your shaky hand or your shaky subject will result in a blurred image. However, when your camera is on a tripod, the shutter can stay open as long as necessary. And when your camera isn't moving, it can create some amazing photos.

Traffic in Charlotte, NC

Traffic in Charlotte, NC

4th of July fireworks

4th of July fireworks

Super Moon

2016's Super Moon.

Scientifically named "perigee-syzygy", this is the largest moon in 69 years. 

Wow.

A Rough Week for the City of Charlotte

During a week of serious protests in Charlotte following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott that almost caused the NFL to move this weeks Carolina Panthers game elsewhere, the city was overdue for a win on Sunday.

But alas, the Panthers were shut out in the second half after leading 10-0, eventually losing 22-10 - their first loss at home since 2014.

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Carolina came out strong, first scoring a field goal, and later a 3 yard touchdown run by Cam Newton. 

But after a safety and a punt return by the Vikings, Carolina went into the half only up 1 point. The Vikings adjusted at half time and Carolina didn't. 

Cam was sacked 8 times - the most sacks he's had since 2014. His offensive line did him no favors today.

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Cam Newton escaping what would have been yet another sack.

Cam Newton escaping what would have been yet another sack.

After the safety, Cam's lineman help him up - something they had to do far too often..

After the safety, Cam's lineman help him up - something they had to do far too often..

A limping Cam assisted off the field by doctors.

A limping Cam assisted off the field by doctors.

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Carolina Panthers Week 2 - 49ers @ Panthers

Carolina redeemed their week 1 loss with a blowout against San Francisco in the season's home opener.

QB Cam Newton during introductions

QB Cam Newton during introductions

The 49ers drew first blood with a field goal making it 3-0 but the Panthers responded quickly by forcing a fumble and recovering it for a touchdown right away

From there it was smooth sailing.

Defensive stops, led by LB Luke Kuechly kept the 49ers from competing against the repeatedly successful offensive plays by Carolina

LB Luke Kuechly stopping a crucial 3rd down run

LB Luke Kuechly stopping a crucial 3rd down run

Kelvin Benjamin, who missed all last year due to injury, made his present felt with 7 mostly spectacular catches, 108 yards, and 2 touchdowns

Benjamin dropped this pass in mid air after being hit, but saved it by catching it again, one handed this time, before hitting the ground

Benjamin dropped this pass in mid air after being hit, but saved it by catching it again, one handed this time, before hitting the ground

Followed quickly by his first touchdown

Followed quickly by his first touchdown

Cam celebrates with his star WR and encourages him to give the ball to a fan

Cam celebrates with his star WR and encourages him to give the ball to a fan

I think it's safe to say that Cam missed Benjamin!

I think it's safe to say that Cam missed Benjamin!

The 49ers attempt to retaliate but Carolina stops them quickly.

Luke Kuechly giving rookie CB Worley kudos for the stop

Luke Kuechly giving rookie CB Worley kudos for the stop

Followed by another Kelvin Benjamin touchdown

An excited Cam Newton

An excited Cam Newton

Carolina wraps it up with another touchdown, a few field goals, and an interception to seal the game.

46-27. 1-1 and on to week 3

Fan Fest 2016

The best day of training camp is Fan Fest when the Panthers travel back to Charlotte for a celebratory practice in Bank of America Stadium. The stadium was nearly filled again, breaking another attendance record.

 

 

It rained hard early on but afterwards we were rewarded with an awesome rainbow over the stadium.

Cam Newton put on a show as always. 

It's become a Fan Fest tradition for him to go to one of the end zones and lead the crowd in the "wave". It's a lot of fun - you can watch it happen here 

Another funny moment was when the refs came onto the field. Cam greeted them jokingly and they laughed with each other for a moment. As Cam walked off, one of the refs threw a penalty flag and hit Cam in the back. Cam looked down and pretended he was shot

The defenses secondary group (safeties and defensive backs) call themselves Thieves Avenue. I took this shot by sticking my camera underneath the players bench as the backups observe the starters.

Greg Olsen touchdown

Greg Olsen touchdown

A nice moment each Fan Fest is seeing the players with their families after the practice ends. 

And to finish off the night, the Panthers always have a fireworks show. It gets more impressive every year - they outdid themselves this time following a quick concert - The stadium went dark and when the fans turned on the sticks they were given when entering, they all lit up in flashing colors as the fireworks and lasers commenced. Made for an impressive show.

Let the season begin..

A Real "Carolina Panther"

A cougar from the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.

The "Panther" was a mythical creature in ancient legend, described as a big cat. They were said to emit a sweet smelling odor when they roared, which would draw any nearby animals to be eaten.

Real Panthers are Cougars, Jaguars, & Leopards - The name refers to any of those cats, among others. Even the Black Panther is a really a type of Jaguar.

Photographed at the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville, North Carolina

Photographed at the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville, North Carolina

Carolina Panthers Training Camp - July 28th

Football is back and so is Kelvin Benjamin.

The first day of Training Camp - it's officially football season. 

The Panthers look good for the first day - Kelvin Benjamin is back after missing all of last season, 1st and second round picks Vernon Butler & James Bradberry are everything we expected, and apparently Cam Newton dyed his goatee...

Fun day in Spartanburg.

'Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.'

A big, beautiful, untouched river full of wildlife; far off the tourist-ridden roads and trails of the Smoky Mountains 

Sometimes I drive through brutal 20 mile long roads for hours that lead to nothing but back pain and a beat up 4Runner.

Other times I find what I left Charlotte looking for without even knowing it.

"Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going." - Paul Therox
"Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty." - Brian Greene

"Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty." - Brian Greene

Black Bears in the Smoky Mountains

I made the drive out to the Smokies again with the goal of photographing bears and any other wildlife.

If you don't already know why they're called the Smoky Mountains, it will become obvious if you ever visit them in the morning.

It wasn't long before I found the first bear. But the fog was still out and she was still fast asleep in her tree. She wasn't camera ready yet.

By noon that day I'd later find her awake, as well as five other bears.

The next of which was a big female. I saw her from a very long distance; she had just taken her cubs up a tree and left them so she could get food. I walked about 100 yards to where she was, hoping to see her but couldn't. Before I could give up, I see her come out from behind a tree and walk right up to me. 

She's not 40 yards away but doesn't seem to mind my presence so I move closer and watch her as she proceeds to demolish a fallen tree in search for insects to eat.

It was incredible to see her strength while I was close. First she stands up and lands on the tree, crushing it. She rolls it over, picks it up and drops it back down, each time sticking her nose inside and eating whatever insects she disturbed.

I didn't overstay my welcome and let her go back to her cubs.

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When I saw the next bear I got excited. It was a small yearling, and only 50 feet away. 

I quickly curbed my excitement as I realized its mother was not far away, lying under a tree. Watching me. The cub didn't mind me, but I wasn't sure about the mother and kept my distance.

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I am in awe every time I visit these mountains. As the sun rises and gradually cuts through the "smoke",  it becomes it's own world in a much larger one. 

The miles of nature and endless wildlife draw me in; I forget that I haven't had a phone signal the entire day. 

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Crows are smart.

Crows are really smart. 
I watched them use sleight of 'hand' to trick each other last week: Crows randomly store food in case it get's scarce later. Crows are also thieves. They watch each other store food and then steal it. But once the victim realizes its food is being stolen, it will pretend to stash the food wherever it's been stashing it, while really hiding it in it's chest feathers. Then it goes elsewhere and hides it there instead.

I got to watch one do this about five times. He'd do the fake, glance over his shoulder, and fly off to hide it elsewhere. Tricky.

Let's give this blog thing a try

I'll be using this blog to talk about my favorite photos, my traveling, interesting wildlife as well as behind the scenes of photoshoots, sport events, and anything else.