Monthly Archives: January 2013

Buttermilk Falls

Images For Sale

Back when I created the about page on January 1st, I mentioned that my plan was to have the  images for sale by the end of the month.  Well, with very little time to spare, I have accomplished that goal.  As of now, you can click here to purchase any of the featured images from every post (minus the Newtown images.  You can download the full sized versions of those here)


25% Off For Fans of After The 9 To 5 on Facebook

Stay up to date with the latest posts, see before and after shots, and more!  Like After The 9 To 5 here, then click on the coupon tab that appears to get 25% off on all prints.


Get Into The Woods To Get Out Of The Light

If you listen to most nature photographers, the best times to shoot are the “golden hours” (The first and last hours of sunlight each day).  I completely agree with that philosophy, but that doesn’t mean the opportunities to shoot are gone if you can’t be out during those early or late in the day events.

Sunrise and sunset times are less important when it’s cloudy out, and depending on the type of cloud; the light can be spectacular even in the middle of the day.  There is also night photography where you can shoot a moonlit landscape with a long exposure.  it’s always interesting to see how the camera picks up the colors that our eyes can’t under the low light.  On a clear night, bring the stars into the frame and let their streaks create arcing patterns, or zoom in see what details you can capture on the moon itself.

But when I’m itching to get out and photograph even when I know the bright midday sun could cause problems,  I head into the woods.  The trees offer a nice canopy, providing the shade needed to get decent results and sometimes the sun shines through the branches, creating different and interesting lighting effects.


Buttermilk Falls – Terryville, CT

It was one of those days when I wanted to be shooting and the “golden hours” weren’t going to fit my schedule.  I always like photographing waterfalls, so I Googled around for a while and came to a website with a description and photos of Buttermilk Falls.  One of the notes was about the wooded trail to access the falls, so i figured it was a good midday location. With it being pretty close to my house, perfect for that day.

Because there was snow on the ground, the hike down the trail was a little dicey at times, but I took away more than a handful of keepers  plus this little gem from the trip, so I say it was worth it. I’ve been back a couple of times and it always is.  No matter what time of day.   Photo

Buttermilk Falls

Corporation Beach Sunset

39 years ago today I entered this world and for that, I am taking a day off from writing.

Hope you enjoy this photo from Corporation Beach in Dennis, MA.  Always a great spot for sunsets!

Corporation Beech Sunset

2011 Jumpfest Weekend

After photographing the red barn in Washington, I drove around for another hour or so and found a few other spots to shoot, including another red barn (it turned into a theme that winter). But before heading home I saw a sign for a ski jumping meet in Salisbury, CT in a couple of weeks.   I mentioned in an earlier post that I played sports growing up.  I’m still a fan and play a few sports once in a while, so I took the opportunity to photograph the jumps as a self-made assignment to see how I might fare in sports photography. I even managed to get a media pass after the nice man stopped me as I was walking up the press only area next to the jump (I must of missed the sign).   After signing the media pass paperwork, I was free to wander around and shoot. One by one the jumpers slid down the ramp and soared through the air towards the mass of people at the bottom. I’m afraid of heights, so just being on the very steep stairs near the top made me uneasy and wondered if I could ever do what these young men and women were doing.


2011 Jumpfest Weekend – Salisbury, CT

Well, we are 2 weeks away from the 2013 Jumpfest Weekend and I am finally making good on the story I told the man to get the pass.  I told him I wanted to shoot for my blog.  I already owned afterthe9to5, so it could have been true. I did send a CD with all of the images from the day to the head of media relations for SWSA (Salisbury Winter Sports Association) though. I really did just take them for practice so I was happy they might be getting some use.   Shooting that day was a lot of fun. I would climb the stairs all the way up so I could get a good perspective of the crowd below as the jumpers landed.


Half way down the stairs, I took photos looking up at them as they rocketed through the air, learning that for me to get the best results (for my camera at the time) I needed to use one jumper to lock focus on and then shoot in manual focus and snap away as the next jumper passed the same spot. I think the autofocus on my newer camera would have been able to handle the speed of these high flying daredevils, but I didn’t have that luxury then.


The bottom of the stairs allowed me to capture the jumper’s often less than graceful landings, but when they were smooth, the crowd would go wild, electrifying the cold winter air.



And if the crowd or the hot cocoa couldn’t keep you warm, the large bonfire certainly helped take the edge off.


A little hill near the concession stand gave me a nice vantage point for my final shot of the day. Well, not really; I stopped to take another red barn photo on the ride home (I can’t drive passed them without stopping).


If you want to attend this year’s jumpfest, take a look on for the full schedule of events.


Snow Covered Farm


It snowed here in the northeast today and that gave me the idea to post one my favorite snow images.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the winter and it’s accompanying precipitation.  My work commute, is bad enough on dry days, but throw a little of the slick stuff on the ground and my ride ends up like leaving Gillette Stadium on AFC Championship Sunday (bumper to bumper and a lot of disgruntled drivers!).  I also have many fond memories of the snow though:  Sledding as a kid, or even as an adult with my daughter;  snowboarding trips to Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire; watching my dog run wildly and chomp at the pile I tossed her way while shoveling; and many others that brought an equal amount of joy even on the coldest of days.


Snow Covered Farm – Washington, CT

On those snowboarding trips up north, I remember looking at all the snow covered farm land and admiring it’s beauty.  All the trips came during a long stretch where I wasn’t taking any photographs at all.  That’s a story for another day, but those trips were the one time I wished I was still shooting.

So, a few years after digital imaging took off, and I let go of my grudge with photography, I took a drive out to the northwest area of Connecticut. It came after a winter storm had come through the days before.  When I turned onto Painter Ridge Road in Washington, I knew I found a great spot to shoot.  I loved the way the red barn contrasted with the snow and how all three main elements created a nice triangular composition.  I took away a few favorites that day including a close-up I really like of the barn, but this one wins out for me.

 Snow Covered Farm



The Four Paths


Place 5 people in a location and give each the same kind of camera. I’m willing to bet none of them produce the same image. The main reason being that we all see beauty differently. Past experiences send us down different paths that skew our perceptions. A sandy beach can mean relaxation to one person, while it can bring another to thoughts of a recent rainy vacation. Both would be looking at the same exact thing but only one would really want to highlight its beauty. A level of passion impacts all photos.  Without it; I’m not sure how anyone would ever produce a great image.


The Four Paths – Project River, Seymour, CT

I’ve mentioned an image as being a top 5 or top 3 in the past, but I’m always careful not to say it’s my favorite. Unless I am talking about this one that is. This image is my all time favorite and the reasons go way beyond just how it looks.

I do love how it looks, but there is much more to it than that for me. I always think of the four separate falls as the end result for each drop of water. Starting out as a rain drop somewhere up the river with the journey taking them together at times and abruptly separating them at others. All of those misdirections eventually leading them to their ultimate fate; a wild forceful ride quickly to the bottom; a smooth gentle fall that takes some time;  or a mixture of the two; smooth and quick or rough and slower.

There is one other aspect to this photo that really makes me smile when I look at it. The location.  You might be asking where is this place and why isn’t it a big tourist spot, but the reality of this image is much different than the reality of the scene it sits in.

Just above the falls lay two giant cement pillars and they are holding up a highway that spans across the entire view.  I almost didn’t stop when I saw it because I didn’t want to have to do all the editing work to remove the unattractive objects. The falls were just amazing to look at though so I pulled into the parking lot across the street and headed over.

I took a few wide angle shots before I decided that it wasn’t worth the editing effort.  That’s when I took the camera all the way to the ground and got as close to the water as possible without getting soaked. I tried a few different angles but this was easily my favorite. Editing was relatively simple with minor exposure and color adjustments.

The Four Paths


You can see the wide angle photo over on the Facebook page.


Sunrise from Common Road

I mentioned in the Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise post how much I love a particular drive and the lake was near the beginning of that drive.  There is a fork in the road a few miles up the road that always forces me to make a choice.  I can stay on East Warren Rd. or bear right onto Common Rd.  Both offer amazing views and there really is no wrong choice.  It usually comes down to which one I haven’t photographed in a while.


Sunrise from Common Road – Waitsfield, VT

Common Road won out on this late summer day in 2011 and as soon as I made the turn I knew I made the right choice.  I had passed this spot many times prior to this day and always thought it had the potential for nice early morning image, but on this day I wouldn’t continue driving by.  I pulled over quickly, hopped out of the car and was snapping off sets of photos in no time.

Sunrise from Common Road



In the spirit of a post I have seen on Facebook, and it totally relates to what I’ve been going through this week, I am including the message at the end of this post.  If you aren’t going to read anything else, please read that at least.

This week has been a difficult one for me.  It had been a couple of years since a single txt message from a friend stopped me in my tracks with overwhelming sadness and grief. I’m not going to go into the details here about what happened this time. That is private to those involved, but it has brought back so many memories for me that I thought I should share the story of a true inspiration.



It was fall of 2009 when I received an out of the blue txt message from my friend Kim.  This was a much different message then the one I would be getting from her a year later, but it was right after she went through a tough battle with cancer and she was taking some much needed R & R time with her family.  I don’t have the old txt, but it basically said:

Hi Chris, I am at an beautiful photo gallery in Vegas right now and was thinking how cool it will be when your work is displayed like this.

It touched me that she took the time to do that, but even more, was her confidence in me. When I laughed back at her, she made sure I understood she was serious. But that was Kim. She always found a way to make the people around her feel special and I was very fortunate to be one of those who got to know her.   I am definitely not alone though. She was a teacher and I always thought that to be the perfect fit for her and a real treat for those lucky enough to be in her class.

When I received her txt message many months later, telling a group of us that the cancer returned and now it was terminal, I was at a loss for words.  I assumed she would go silent as well, but I was very wrong.  She was on Facebook almost every day liking a post or commenting on a friend’s status.   Always trying  to pick up their spirits and never looking for sympathy.

Before she left us, she made me promise to have a gallery show some day.  I simply nodded, but I understood she meant it, and when I feel my work is good enough, I will honor her wish and give a little wink up to the sky, like I did the night we had to say goodbye.  When I did, the image below was what I saw.


Did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the one who takes care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? Did you know the 3 hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and help me. Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile and see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues right now–Let’s start an intention avalanche. We all need positive intentions right now. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. I hope to see… this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support. I know some will!! I did it for a friend and you can too. You have to copy & paste this one, no share button, because kindness is a effort given from the heart not the press of a button!!!


Sesuit Harbor

Who to Follow – Scott Kelby

If you work in Photoshop at all, chances are that you already know who Scott Kelby is. I think of him first as the president of NAPP, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, but lately he has been blowing me away with his photos of NFL football games. The reason I thought to highlight him this week was from seeing his photos of the NFC championship game this past Sunday. On Facebook, he posted the results from 4 simultaneous photos of Falcon’s Cornerback Asante Samuel as he came out of the tunnel. They all look really cool, but what I like even more is that he explains, with photos, how he set it all up. He’s always teaching and if you have an itch to learn photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other Adobe Creative Suite product, Scott should be on your list to follow. His main website/blog is and if you are truly serious about Photoshop, visit NAPP today.


Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis, MA

When the weather didn’t cooperate for an ocean side sunrise, I headed back towards the bay to photograph the Sesuit Harbor.  I stayed around the boats for a while, getting in close and capturing different crews as they headed out for the day and then the sun started to break through the clouds.  I walked a few hundred feet north and found this beautiful site before me. I took 10 to 15 photos of the scene and a few more of an old dune fence before heading back to the family.  It was another fine start to the day!

Sesuit Harbor


Tomorrow: Setting the mood for the weekend.


Mad River Light

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  We’ve all heard that saying before, but the question is, have you listened to that advice?  Sometimes I think I know better and give up, figuring it will save the wasted time.  It’s a toss-up between giving it (whatever it is) another try or listening to that other phrase I’ve heard before;  insanity is the repeating of something over and over again, expecting different results.


Mad River Light – Warren, VT

I learned a while ago to never expect the same results when it comes to photography.  Too many changing variables make it an impossible task, although it might be a fun experiment to attempt: Try and take the exact same photo on two separate days.  I doubt an exact match could happen, but it would be interesting to see how close the two could get.

By the end of my most recent trip to the Mad River Valley, I was beginning to wonder if getting mediocre results was all that I was going to get at this one particular spot that week.  I had been there  every day of the trip.  Sunrise, sunset, cloudy, sunny, and each night when I looked through the days captures, I would be disappointed with the results.  Not always bad, but just not the beautiful scenes I was seeing in person.  I was missing something and made it a goal to go back on my last day and figure it out.

I sat there for about 15 minutes, just looking around while remembering the photos that had come up short.  I knew I needed to showcase the light better for this scene, but until then I had missed what I was doing wrong and I concluded that it was nothing.  The cloudy days simply lacked the punch that the scene needed and the photos from the previous sunny days had way too much contrast in them to ever photograph well in one exposure.

It was about an hour prior to heading home from our summer vacation before I figured this out, so I was feeling a little embarrassed, but I was also glad I hadn’t given up.  There was still time to shoot and I probably had some good sets from the previous days to edit as well. They just needed some HDR and color work.

That was still unproven to me though and I wasn’t going to rely on speculation for what I knew could be a beautiful image, so I grabbed my gear, setup, and refocused on the same rock I had the previous 4 days.  This time, paying close attention to the histogram on the back of my camera to make sure I captured the full range of light.

Processing was done with the following applications and in the sequence listed: Lightroom; Photomatix; Lightroom; Photoshop; Lightroom; Nik Color Efex Pro; and Lightroom.  Not every image I work on is quite this involved, but you can see that Adobe Lightroom is the goto program in my workflow.  After every step of the process, I look at it in LR and almost always make a tweak or two.  When I’m finally happy, the image gets added to a fav collection where I can export it in just about any format I need. There are limits to everything of course and LR is no different.  That’s where the other programs come in. Cloning and masking are done in Photoshop. HDR processing is done in Photomatix, and color tweaking is done with the Nik product.   They are all just tools in box.  If the vision is there, the results will follow.   This image was one of the last from the trip, but it is very high on my list of memories from it and it proved again, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I will add the before photos to the Facebook page soon if you want to see the transformation for yourself.

Mad River Light


Tomorrow I’ll have a “who to follow” and an image from Cape Cod.



Blog750_22b_20090704_1485The Fourth of July always marks a fun time of year for me.  Long warm days, family picnics, and fireworks!  Just about every town nearby has their own version of the day’s final celebration.  I have always loved when they light up the sky and the surrounding areas giving a glimpse of those watching nearby.  Back when I was growing up, my family would visit a nearby friend’s lakeside cottage on the fourth.  All the kids would play in the water all day.  Fishing, swimming, boating and sailing.  We never slowed down!  As the sky started to darken late in the day, we would gather the families together and head out on a boat or two to watch the nighttime festivities.  When the sky finally did light up with the first flash, we would see for the first time just how many boats were on the lake doing the same thing we were.  It was always a sight to behold and now that I am enjoying photography so much, I look forward every year to my attempts at capturing similar views in this annual showcase of pyrotechnics.


Waterbury, CT Fireworks – 4th of July, 2009

10 plus hours of driving didn’t stop me from going out to Blog750_22c_20090630_0543photograph the Waterbury Fourth of July fireworks in 2009.  I was driving my family back home from Disney World when I realized we might make it home in time for the show.  We had just spent the week in Disney, where I took over 2000 photos (I did eventually pair them down to 600 when all done).  Some of those were of the spectacular light show at Epcot (pictured right).  I actually ran all the way out to our car to get my tripod before it started. That was quite the distance, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get the shots I wanted without it.   Photographing fireworks is a lot like capturing waterfalls. Use a long exposure and let the light travel across the sensor. They are a little trickier because they go off in different locations, but are usually within some invisible border that you can rely on for most of the photos.  Some will be missed, but there will be more keepers too.  Be patient and watch the first few sets before deciding on the best composition. The way the fireworks light the ground below changes the scene dramatically from how it looked just before dark so be prepared to move.   Once set; snap away while varying the shutter speed and timing. Each image will be completely unique. Blog750_22_20090704_1464

I added four more images from the Waterbury Fireworks on the Facebook Page.  Check them out here

Tomorrow?  No idea yet!  Check back to see what I choose.