First photos of 2014

We are already several weeks into 2014 and I have yet to post my first photos of the year. Winter is such an awesome time for photographers, and I like to get out a couple of times to shoot in the snow. In Western New York, we spend too much time complaining about our winter weather and not enough time enjoying the beauty that winter brings. Don't get me wrong, I hate shoveling snow as much as the next guy. I have an old Toro snow blower that I purchased from a neighbor almost 20 years ago. The blower works great, but notoriously every time I use it, the wind picks up giving me a face full of freezing snow and causing me to say in frustration, like everyone else, "I hate winter!"

When I get out with my camera, however, my thoughts immediately turn to how lucky I am to live in a region that provides four distinct seasons--winter being one of my favorites. So, on January 24, I took the day off from work to head out into the field to shoot what winter had brought us. Although I was fortunate to have a bright blue sky, it was about as cold as I could remember. In fact, I got to the point that I would leave my car running when I stepped out to capture the photos in this collection.

We have a lot of iconic sights in the Rochester area that have distinct looks in the winter, and some of my favorite places are worth visiting again to see how they look with a blanket of snow. My adventure on this day took me to Sodus Point. I shot photos of a high school senior here in the late summer, 2013, and I told myself that I would return to see what the apple orchards and the Sodus Point Lighthouse looked like in the fall and winter. I didn't get there in the fall, so I wanted to visit this area again on this trip to see how the landscape had changed. I traveled along Lake Road out of Pultneyville to cover the apple orchards. Here, the bright blue sky quickly turned to a cold winter afternoon. The weather wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but I was glad to have the time to be there. The Sodus Point Lighthouse is a gem, and on this day with no one around and the cold wind blowing through, it was really a sight to see. The snow was fresh, and only my foot prints broke up this vast area of white.

A few days later, I joined the Rochester Nature Photographers Meet Up Group on a very cold trip to Ontario State Park. My wife purchased a fisheye lens for me for Christmas, and I wanted to break it in. A fisheye lens will show a lot of distoration in its 180 degree view. Check out the images below. I look forward to incorporating this fun lens into my collection. It's all about the equipment!

My wife and I visited Mendon Ponds Park on a snowshoe outing last weekend, resulting in a stop at the nature center. I forget how great this place is! The birds and other wildlife here are amazing. How great are these photos of the red cardinals? I love them!  And, the chickadees literally eat out of your hand. A great place to have fun taking pictures. 

The year 2014 has started out on a high note. I look forward to updating you on other adventures throughout the year. Thanks for reading!

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