One of my favorite kinds of birds to watch and photograph are ducks. Ducks while all being similar come in such a wide array of shapes sizes and colors. They have different behaviors and live in different habitats.

There are so many things to enjoy about ducks. I like them because they are a size that is relatively easy to spot with the naked eye. So you can find them watch them and in many cases identify them without a lot of work.

I love this random duck that showed up at a local park one day.
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In 2021 I did something I had never done before. I took on a challenge in my photography that would hopefully push me out of my comfort zone. I started a the year off with a 30 day photography challenge. During that time I took at least one, usually way more than one, photograph every day. And then I shared one photo taken that day here on my blog. Then after one month was over I was enjoying the experience so much that I decided to commit to doing this for the entire year.

I took on this exciting new challenge for a couple of reasons. I wanted to develop a level of consistency with my photography that I had never had before. Getting my hands on a camera clicking the shutter every day. I thought that simple fact would allow me to learn so much more about my craft and myself.

Decorative autumn corn photographed indoors with lighting.
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Meet The Wonderful Willow

It is always a wild ride here. We have had as many of 7 dogs living in our house together. It is not always harmonious. Sometimes it is chaotic. But, over the last several years our family of dogs living with us has been shrinking. We were down to only two dogs living with us. We haven’t had only two dogs since my wife and I first started living together.

As our family has shrunk and things have become a little more stable, we have talked a lot that having three dogs in our home would probably be the ideal situation for us. We could have the two types of dogs we are most in love with and then one wild card dog. We love Bernese Mountain Dogs and Pitbull type dogs.

Willow looking straight into the camera.
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Acadia National Park is one of my favorite places to visit. There is so much to see and do there. I don’t often travel to the same place multiple times, because I like to explore as much brand new scenery and have as many brand new experiences as I can. But there is just something about Acadia National Park that draws me back.

Part of what draws me to Acadia National Park is that it is so different than where I live. It is an island along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in Maine. I live in the center of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. No ocean to be seen.

Jumping into the ocean. Acadia National Park.
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Ponds are one of my favorite features to find in a landscape. There is so much you can do with a pond photographically. Ponds also do so much for nature, which I find interesting.

We liked the idea of a pond so much that we bought a house with a pond on its property and the pond was a large part of what drew us to our current home.

There is a lot to be found at ponds. Ponds can exist in just about any type of environment imaginable. This lends ponds to be a great place to spend some time no matter what you want to photograph.

Beautiful fall colors at the pond in the woods at Steege Hill Nature Preserve.
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Look To The Sky

The sky. It’s all around us. You look out a window or go outside, and there it is. You don’t have to make much of an effort to find it.

I love the sky. Sky is an important part of photography. But, I often only think of the sky as one element of a photograph. And the sky is not usually the subject of the photograph. They sky is “just the background”.

A lot of the time when I am creating photographs when and if I think about the sky at all it is just making sure that the sky does not ruin a photograph.

During my 2021 One Photo A Day project I experimented taking some night time photos and I like how the cloudy sky turned out in this long exposure at night.
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I love to get out on a good old dirt trail. These days I am more often than not running rather than hiking. Running allows me to explore and see more. But there is nothing better than a slow ramble down a trail taking photographs.

Trails are magical portals that take you to another world. They may lead a few feet or hundreds of miles. You may arrive at a peaceful pond. Or you might end up looking down a steep cliff.

Trail through the foliage at Etna Nature Preserve.
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Watkins Glen State Park is a beautiful location. Maybe one of the most beautiful locations I have ever been to. The park is beautiful all around. And I am fortunate to live right nearby.

The beauty of the park is almost overwhelming. There are parts of the park where the beauty is more concentrated. The beauty of the park takes on a spectacular quality. As in the beauty becomes dramatic and eye catching.

The spectacular forms of beauty are really concentrated at the lower portions of the gorge that makes up the park. If you walk the lower parts of the gorge you are quickly confronted with amazing waterfall after amazing waterfall.

Near the bottom of the gorge trail the gorge itself is narrower and there are steeper drop offs where the water has carved away the stone. This really creates a sense of drama.

If you have not been to Watkins Glen State Park but have seen a photo or even if you do a quick google search you have most likely seen a photo from the beginning portions of the gorge trail.

I wanted to create a project with a different focus.

This has been a preview of my eBook featuring Watkins Glen State Park.

If you enjoyed this content you can click the link to buy the book: Watkins Glen State Park Top Down

I hope you enjoy and consider supporting the work that I do.

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I love birds. I have a special fondness for the birds we see most often. For me that is obviously Song Birds.

As a lapsed biology major who is much more artist than scientist these days I am not strictly speaking in scientific terms of species, family, genus, order, etc. types of classifications when I speak of Song Birds. This is more of I know it when I see it kind of reverence for birds I think of as song birds. So scientists and hard core birders avert your eyes. The way I think about and talk about Song birds might make you squeamish.

I love Song Birds not because they are necessarily something special or spectacular. I love them because they are often average, normal, and mundane. They are often the kinds of birds we see and hear every day. They types of nature that just blends into our environment and we often don’t even see anymore.

Eastern Bluebird perched on a tree branch in New York.
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It is really hard for me to put into words why I love trees. There is just something magical and mystical about trees. Trees can be almost anything you can imagine. Take on any form, shape, or size.

No two trees are alike. A tree can be a 6 foot tall flowering cherry tree or it can be a two hundred foot tall sequoia. What even is a tree?

Is it a tree, or a shrub, or a bush? Is a grove of trees all one plant that has spread and grown underground only to emerge as individuals above ground for us to see? Or is each tree a distinct individual plant?

Tree in silhouette at sunset.
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