Category Archives: Lakes and Ponds

Moonlit Foliage

I finally forced myself out to shoot some landscapes this week!  My schedule is pretty busy these days, so I used the only free time I had and went out around midnight to get my shots.  Yes midnight!!  This was my only light source for the session…20151027-0022

I have always loved shooting under moonlight.  It was pretty dark out, but the full Hunter’s Moon lit up the area enough to get a decent composition in the camera.  After that, the rest is pretty simple as long as everything falls into place like it did for me on this night…  It was extremely calm, which is key for long exposure shots.  It is also peak foliage season right now, so I was hopeful that I’d see some dramatic colors once I snapped off a few photos.  I did a few quick test shots to get my times down and then began taking a couple from each position, increasing or decreasing the shutter speed a little each time.  The images were between 2 and 3 minutes long and shot at f/8.

Moonlit Foliage



Within the 9 to 5

Although my job at work mainly consists of analyzing and programming, every once in a while, I get to work on a photography or video project. Back in October of 2012, I was given the opportunity to produce a music video for my company. It was done during the viral parody days of the now famous Carly Rae Jepson song, Call Me Maybe. I was given the task to create one of these videos promoting Manufacturing in Connecticut.

Being a huge fan of shows like “How it’s Made” and “Unwrapped”, I jumped at the chance to go in and video eight different manufacturing companies during a span of two weeks. Editing was very time consuming, but I enjoyed every minute (That’s probably a lie, but how I remember it now!).

A copyright issue with the song kept the video from playing on mobile devices for over a year, but apparently that has been lifted. We managed to get over 10,000 hits despite the problem, but I often wonder how many we would have received if it was available on phones and tablets from the start.


Frozen!  Sylvan Lake, Watertown, CT

With all of the sub-freezing weather we’ve been having this year; I felt the need to post one of my favorite frigid feeling photos. Even though I am not a huge fan of the cold, I don’t mind (too much), photographing in it. Dressing in layers as well as wearing good thin gloves are two important keys for me to be happy while shooting. I definitely work a little quicker once the temp drops below freezing, but I can tolerate it enough to capture beautiful scenes like the one below.


Stay warm everyone! Spring is right around the corner!

Blueberry Fog

In one of my early posts (Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise), I wrote how I usually stop at Blueberry Lake first during my early morning rides when in Vermont.

Back in August of 2008, the small lake alongside Plunkton Rd. in Warren, VT was almost completely hidden from view as I drove past it. The fog had come in thick overnight, but as I looked back at the lake, I noticed a little sunlight trying to peek through.

I turned the car around and hurried to the parking lot. As I setup my camera and tripod, I started to see some detail in the surrounding evergreens . The fog was lifting and I wouldn’t have much time before the beautiful scene would be gone forever.

I only clicked the shutter 3 times that morning (at the lake), but it was stretched out over a few minutes as I waited for the fog to roll in or out between each shot. Some days I have more patience than others when it comes to my trigger happy shutter finger; especially on a foggy day, when the scene can be drastically different with each click; but this morning drive was my last of five in a row that trip, so I was a little burnt out and had already snapped off a couple thousand shots during the week, so taking my time and trying to get it right in camera was an easy choice to make. I already had many hours of editing time in my future and didn’t feel like piling it on that day. The composition, along with the way the sunlight hit the trees, made this one my favorite of the three, and it still holds as one of my favorite images.

Blueberry Fog


First of all, I’m sorry for not having any posts in a while. Life takes priority sometimes and this is one of those. I’ll get back to posting more regularly soon, but for now, I will when I can.


Reflection – Middlebury, CT

I had intended to wait till fall before posting this image, but after more than a week of personal reflection, I decided it’s just as relevant now as it would be then. For me anyway and it’s my blog, so I get final say 🙂

I have always liked this image a lot. The autumn colors flow really well together and the abstract composition kind of gives it a Monet quality. I have tried to take similar photos since this one, but none have that little extra something that I think this one does.


I hope to post again soon…


Winnemaug Sunset

Setting the Mood for the Weekend

To stay true to my post from last Friday, this will be a short post heading into the weekend.


Sunset over Lake Winnemaug – Watertown CT

I come over a hill as I near my house every night on my way home from work.  As I do, I get a perfect view of the western hills.  Well, not always so perfect on those blinding nights, but certain times of the year line up perfectly for seeing dramatic skies developing quickly with the setting sun.

On this particular November night, the sky was just about as red as I’ve ever seen.  I immediately called my wife to let her know I’d be a few minutes late.  I knew it wouldn’t be much longer because in November the sun sets quickly and a few clicks of the shutter is all I’d have before darkness sets in. Winnemaug Sunset - Watertown CT


Busy weekend, so will have a quick photo post tomorrow. Not sure what yet. Any photography or website questions? Contact me at


Duck Soup at Hubbard Park

Hubbard Park – Meriden, CT

Blog750_17b_20081024_058Located about 20 minutes from me in Meriden is this wonderful park that is home to numerous waterfowl and other wildlife. I have been going there ever since I took up photography, mainly because it is one of those places that’s different every time you go and it seldom disappoints. This is where I go when I have the itch to take photos, but can’t think of anywhere to shoot. The park is great itself, but there is also a road and hiking trails that lead to a tower called Castle Craig, where you can climb the observation deck and peer out at Meriden and beyond.

All four seasons offer something new. The summer has a wide variety of birds, from gulls flying above to swans gracefully swimming past the fountains. The fall brings amazing color to the otherwise green surroundings, and during the holidays, the park transforms into a nighttime treat for both kids and adults alike in its “Festival of Silver Lights”. Then comes my favorite time of year at the park. Early spring brings in hundreds of mallard ducks and always me with my camera.


Duck Soup at Hubbard Park

On March 6th, 2011, I stopped for one of my usual photo fixes. A couple of young children were throwing bread in for the ducks to fight over and I hurried over to capture the action. I am proud of this image on its own, but a lot of Photoshop work went into it to get it this way, so I have a little extra appreciation for it.

I carefully removed all of the flying bread that was all over the scene. I also removed a couple of the green headed troublemakers that didn’t understand composition fully. Finally, I went into the normal adjustments of color, but with this image, it seemed to go on forever before I was pleased with it. Images like this one are why I get so behind in editing and have a backlog of some shoots going back to 2010.

Duck Soup at Hubbard Park

I’ve created an album on the Facebook page so you can view the original photo. See for yourself.

Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise

Mad River Valley Vermont

I first started going to Vermont and the Mad River Valley about 13 years ago when my then-girlfriend and future wife invited me to her grandparents’ cabin in Warren.

It was at a time when I was still getting into photography and I was blown away at all the beauty everywhere we went.  I would go out every day and explore all of the roads In the area, trying to make mental notes of the ones I liked the best.  The next morning I would wake up early and head towards one of those places to photograph the early morning light.

We’ve gone back up to the cabin almost every year since. Some years we would take both a summer and a fall trip, getting two very different vacation and photo experiences.  The summer trips meant 4 a.m. wake up calls to be out for the early light, but also being back at the cabin just as the family is waking up.  I can sleep in till 5 in the fall, which may sound early, but that extra hour makes a big difference to me.
The location of the cabin is perfect!  It is a quick drive to route 100 for easy access north towards Stowe or south towards Rochester.  Most mornings, however; I prefer to take one of the most picturesque drives there is and the cabin sits right at the beginning.   Just over a mile down the road is one of my favorite spots and I don’t pass it up often. On every trip to Vermont, I end up with more photos of Blueberry Lake than any other location. The cool mountain air usually makes for low flying clouds along with steam rising as the water warms.  This means it really looks different every day, but almost always dramatic.


Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise

The problem with having such a beautiful spot so close to the cabin, is that I end up missing my intended locations quite often. I might get there, but it’s usually after the golden light is gone, so on our most recent trip this past summer, I made a point to get to my spots on time. As you can see in the “Mad River Morning” post, I was successful at least once.  In fact, I took this photo that same morning.
Instead of waiting for sunrise like I normally would, I decided to stop while it was still dark out and use long exposures to grab what little light there was.  This was my final shot before heading towards Moretown, but I was delayed again when I saw the fighting deer along route 100.  It was quite the morning!

Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise


This morning had some amazing fog. Actually. too thick for most of the morning, but as it started to lift I was able to capture some nice, moody photos.  I hope to have something to share later in the week.

Also…if you like this blog, stay up to date with post updates, links to other photographer’s pages and more on the After The 9 To 5 Facebook page.  Like it here.



Starting with this post, I am going to be sharing some of my favorite photographers to follow.  I’m not sure how often yet.  Maybe once a week or some other scheduled duration or maybe just whenever I feel like it.   Time will tell.


Who To Follow – Gavin Seim

I first started following Gavin Seim ( about two years ago during a phase I went through listening to any photography related podcast I could find. His Pro Photo Show podcast is the only one I still listen to regularly.  Why this one?  The energy and passion he brings.  He is clearly someone who thinks about things from many angles and is willing to try new ideas. You may have to rewind a few times because he moves at a pace faster than the rest of us, but it’s worth a listen if you are looking to get good photography advice from a pro.



I came up with the idea to show this image when I was writing about HDR last night.  This is not an HDR.  In fact, it wouldn’t even be a digital image if it wasn’t for a scanner.  This was taken on Black & White 35mm film and developed in a darkroom in my parents’ master bathroom.  The reason this image came to mind, was that it followed the same concept as the image of the river.  It began with a vision and finished with editing.  It’s hard to tell, I know, but this is actually an ordinary lake.  The black along the top is the result of severely underexposing the photo, and therefor, the evergreens on the other side.  The sun setting just above them and out of the frame provided a perfect moon-like effect that I envisioned before snapping the shutter.   The first time I made a print from the negative I was disappointed.  The beach was way too dark.  Today, that would easily be fixed in Adobe Lightroom© with a quick stroke or two of the adjustment brush.  But in the darkroom it was handled by arcing a piece of cardboard along the water line for one length of time, then with the cardboard removed, exposed for another length of time under the enlarger.  Getting those lengths of time correct took a lot of trial and error as well as enlarging paper, but using that technique allowed me to get the image I pictured in my mind when I took it.  Just like the HDR technique I used helped me get the desired result in the Mad River image.



Come back tomorrow for one from Cape Cod!


Newtown the Beautiful. Part 1 of 4

When I decided I was going to do these posts, I wasn’t sure how it would go. I was very emotional as I exited I-84 for Newtown/Sandy Hook.  From what I have read over the last few weeks, I know I am not alone in the pain felt over the thoughtless act that occurred on December 14th.

It didn’t start that way for me though. You see, I had my work holiday party that day and was driving there when I heard over the radio that police were responding to a shooting at a school in Newtown.  That is just 30 minutes west of where my daughter was in school and where soon, she would be in a school-wide lock down until they knew it was safe. The sad thing is that it didn’t even phase me to hear about the shooting and I assumed it was either one student against another or against a teacher. And I also assumed it was a high school or middle school. Like that would have been OK.  It is a very sad truth, but we have become accustom to hearing these news reports in our society.

So I just continued on my way to the party and a few hours later, when a coworker told me that 20 children were killed, I knew for the first time that something on a larger scale had happened.  I still went to the post party happy hour that happens every year, but being a big tough thirty-something (OK…in my mind I am tough) at a bar full of happy people, while inwardly weeping, was not a good place for me to be.  I put on a good act for a while, but when I saw a friend outwardly emotional about what had happened, I didn’t know how to react.  I wanted everyone to continue having a good time at the bar, but I was emotional about it too.  So what choice did I make?  I told her she should leave because she was bringing everyone down.  Yes, I know I am an ass and told her so the next day.  I left the bar early and immediately got a bad stomach bug that kept me up all night…served me right.   Anyway, during the week that followed; I saw so many heartwarming stories and acts of kindness that I knew I had to do something too.  A town was weeping and as I read on and on, I realized that it wasn’t a town, but a state; a nation; and a world that was weeping. And as we scoured the web in search of answers, we saw countless images of beautiful memorials in town; of the beautiful faces that were taken from the planet way too early; of the grieving that so many were going through; but I had been to Newtown many times in my life and that was not how I knew it, nor how I wanted to remember it, so I decided I would go as many days as I could on my holiday vacation and photograph the scenery of Newtown.

Day 1 – Pond Brook

As I entered Newtown before sunrise on Saturday, December 22, I couldn’t help but notice the local diner right off the exit.  I would have stopped and photographed it right away, but I had been up a few hours already that morning and had planned out my trip so that I could be in a certain area by a certain time in case the clouds opened up.  So I made a mental note to go back there another day and continued to my preset destination. When I do these trips I often open up Google maps and zoom into a wide area around my location.  From there, you can see rivers and ponds, state parks, etc…  And that is exactly what I did to end up here at Pond Brook.  It was actually snowing out a little when I arrived, so my hopes for good light coming from the sun were pretty much over.  That was until I was packing up the car to leave after taking about 15 or so mediocre shots.  I noticed just a hint of the sun on the far trees.

I pulled everything back out, mounted my camera back onto my tripod and began snapping away.  I only took 75 photos that morning, which is low for me on something like this, but I knew I had some good images and was satisfied.  As I left I decided I would drive over near the school to see the memorial.  I didn’t get out of my car, but I gave a nod and a wave to the policemen guarding the entrance to the school road.  It was a very emotional first day.

Day 1 – Pond Brook


Tomorrow I will share the Image of that diner I mentioned and bring a little color to this blog.




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2013 – A LOT OF HOPE

I have a lot of hope for 2013 and in my world of photography, that starts with this blog. To find more info about this site, click here. I am very excited about it and plan on passing along some of the knowledge I have gained from many years of taking thousands of photographs. So many, that I have countless libraries of unedited photos that I will be sharing as I get to them. Those, along with the new images I create, provide a lot of promise for the new year.

As for my non-photographic hopes for 2013, I hope to see a more peaceful world. I know it is way over the top cliche, but seriously, people! I hope we hit a low in 2012. I am also hopeful that my children grow up. Two of them anyway. The other can slow down a bit.



A photograph really can tell a thousand words and for me, many more. Every image I make has a story behind it. From the journey getting to the location, to finding the best spot to shoot and then deciding on what settings to dial in so that the resulting image will end up looking like what I want given the constraints of the cameras, lenses and post processing software that I have. Follow that with the editing itself where the image can be finished in as little as a few minutes or as long as many days and a thousand words hardy seem like enough.

This image came at the end of a very long morning when I was out shooting nature photos on December 28th, 2008. It was a pretty bad morning for shooting, as it was a raining off and on and the light wasn’t very good. I managed a few decent photos in one location, but not much else. On my ride back home I passed this pond along the side of the road and saw the fog rolling in. I quickly turned around when I could. It is on a pretty busy road and I remember driving back and forth a few times looking for a place to park. The snow had covered the little parking area, so I had to guess and just pulled in hoping not to get stuck. But the mental photograph I had already taken as I passed by the first time was good enough for me to take that chance; I would deal with getting out after getting the shot, so I wasn’t too concerned. I also remember that the fog was moving so fast that almost every photo I took looks different even though they were seconds apart. In edit, I had a hard time deciding on my favorite, but this one won out in the end.

So you see? This photo was taken more than 4 years ago, and only it and one other from the morning shoot remained in my master library and yet I was able to remember all of that. I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner last week, but my photos reach a different place in my brain and hold endless stories within them. I hope you find some interest in them.

Winter Fog



A few weeks ago one of the most horrific events of my life took place less than 30 minutes from where I live. It was the shameless killing of 27 people. 20 of them, innocent as can be, 6 and 7 year olds, while they attended school. It has affected me more than I ever thought it would and during the week that followed, I had lost most hope for our world.

…and then I saw what Americans had in reserve and the love and outpouring has been amazing. A few idiots aside, the unity people showed over the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT was probably the most I have ever seen. It inspired me to do something to give back as well. I drove to Newtown and Sandyhook on four separate mornings to take photographs. Not of the thousands of items left at the memorial near the school – although it was overwhelmingly beautiful – but of the beautiful scenery in that area. I wanted to show people that Newtown is just an ordinary, New England town. One like most others that I have photographed all over the area. And that even though it may be banged up a little right now, the beauty is still there. Over the next four days I will be posting those images and a few of my thoughts and emotions as I drove around. Please come back, read, and share them with anyone you think might appreciate them.

So my one last special hope is that we never forget what happened in Newtown. That we try to make a difference and help our neighbors in any way when we can.

Cheers to a hopeful 2013.