Blog: Words and images

Liberty and Manhattan


It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite things to do in New York. The pedestrian walkway on the bridge provides an excellent opportunity to get close-up shots of the century-old architecture on the bridge, but it also provides a superb elevated platform and interesting perspective for photographing the city’s skyline.

I shot this photo of the lower end of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge in 2005. …

Quiet catbird

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

I guess this is a story about how my many hours hiking in search of wildlife to photograph have conditioned me to link specific sounds to specific animals.

A few months ago I was hiking through a field near the edge of a forest when I heard something that sounded like a cat mewing in the underbrush. “Gray Catbird,” I told myself, then turned the camera toward the sound in hopes of getting a shot of the catbird if it popped to the top of a plant.

Faces of competition


It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

When shooting a colorful action sport like bicycle racing it pays to know the course and plan your shots.

I photographed the Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic each June before they changed it to a one-day evening event — not the best time of day for action sports photography — a few years ago. I knew the hilly, curvy course very well. 

I’ve used a variety of lenses — from wide-angles to get the bikes whizzing past me on a turn to telephoto zooms for longer-range shots. …

The case for presets

This is a departure from my typical blog content. I’m writing about the behind the scenes processing steps taken to prepare a photo for display.

I usually use my blog to tell the story of a specific photo. For wildlife photos, that story typically includes information about the bird or other animal I photographed. For landscape or city/travel photos, the story often explains why I decided to photograph the scene or some facts and history about the location. While I occasionally touch on “photo technical” information (composition, lighting, lens decisions, etc.), it’s only as that information helps explain why a photo catches the eye. 

Hazy shade of winter


It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

As I gazed across this scene on the last day of 2007, Simon & Garfunkel’s “A Hazy Shade of Winter” started running through my brain.

To me, the scene epitomized a winter morning: a patchy, grassy snow on the ground beneath bare trees reaching toward a thick cloud cover that created a hazy, light gray ceiling. 

It looked stark. It looked cold. It looked like winter.

But capturing a photo that would convey that cold, stark scene in a way that viewers could feel it, in a way that would make them feel like shivering, was going to be a challenge. 

Photographing public art


I admit that I’m a junky for public art, the interesting and often odd sculptures found in public spaces or in front of buildings in major cities. These sculptures always grab my attention and are the subject of my featured gallery for January.

As a photographer, I like to find viewing angles that illustrate how the sculptures interact with the cities that surround them. Some don’t fit in at all, at least from a photo composition viewpoint. But others integrate so perfectly that it’s difficult to imagine the location without the sculpture.