"When the cat's away..."

My wife and her sister decided to pay a visit to their brother and his family in North Carolina this weekend, and with both of our boys away at college, I had an entire weekend to myself. So, when the cat's away the mice will play, and in my case, it was time for me to spend time shooting. My camera has been calling me for a few weeks, so I was happy to head out on a local photo adventure. I'm convinced that some of the best photography can happen within just a few miles of your home. I didn't want to venture too far off, so I put $40 of gas in my car and started exploring.  

Recently, I've developed an interest with barns. The older, decaying barns that dot the countryside have caught my eye. Through the lens of my camera, and perhaps to anyone else who doesn't have anything else to think about, they are real works of art; their aged wood gives a lot of character and charm, add an overly cloudy day, and I think, you have some interesting looking shots. I have included some of the barns here that I discovered on my journey. 

I found myself, once again, down in the gorge at Grimes Glen in Naples, about 30 minutes from my home. I'm not sure why I find this little creek so interesting, but this is one of many times I have been down there. In fact, I think I have now covered all four seasons. The snow gives a pure look that appears very Adirondack-ish to me, and I really like the wide angle shots that show off the beauty of this place. This time of the year the water is flowing pretty swiftly, ideal for those slow-shutter-speed-moving-water-look that is, from a photographer's perspective, pretty cool--thank God for Neutral Density filters to help slow down my camera's shutter speed. About a quarter mile into the gorge is the first of two waterfalls that are really beautiful. The best view of the first falls is, of course, on the other side of the trail from where I was. I attempted to cross the water a couple of times, but quickly found myself in too deep water, even for my waterproof Merrells. In a few days the snow will be gone from here, leaving a lot of brown and grey color until spring provides the green that will once again be a reason for me to head back to Grimes Glen.  

I spent time in some of the traditional areas in Rochester that I haven't been to in a long time. Mt. Hope Cemetary is one of the most interesting places in all of Rochester. One day I will take the tour. You could literally spend hours here, as there are tons of places to explore and discover. Maybe when spring comes, it will be a better time to walk around. I've always thought it was a little crazy to shoot pictures of tombstones, but this is a place that spills over with history and the whole story of early Rochester comes to life. I didn't find it too disturbing to lay down on the cold ground and get some shots of Susan B. Anthony's simple grave. I think she would have been cool with it.

My next stop, and only because I have never been here, was to the Vietnam War Memorial in Highland Park. As I discovered, this is a great place to visit and there is a lot of character in the simple name plates that make up the Memorial.  Like at the Memorial in Washington, DC, there are American flags and other momentos drapped over the names of the soldiers. I also took a trip to Cobbs Hill, another place I rarely visit. The traditional view of the Rochester skyline is pretty amazing from here, especially as the end of the day colors immerge in the distance. 

I think I learned today that I have become an HDR junkie. If you know anything about HDR, you can see that--oh well--I probably way over use it. But I really like what this software does to the sky that you can't get on a single capture. 

My last stop on my journey was Webster Pier. This is one of the best places in Rochester to see the sun set. The colors are simply amazing. Although it was freezing cold here--and I mean really freezing cold--it was worth it to see the sun set againsts the snow and chilling waters of Lake Ontario. You can easily see this view in the summer when life is easy, but to endure it on a freezing cold March day is another thrill in itself. On a warm day, this place would be swarming with people.  However, on this day, it was me and the cold, cold wind of Lake Ontario!  

This was a great day to be out and about, and I love the photos I got from my journey. I hope you do too.

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