Thomas Sumter was a a brigadier general in the South Carolina militia during the American War of Independence. Because of his fierce fighting, the British named him the Carolina Gamecock. The British had earlier burnt down his house – that probably had something to do with the name.
Last Sunday, my wife and I visited our freshman son Parker at the University of South Carolina (USC) Gamecocks home football game against the Missouri Tigers. What started as a blistering hot first half quickly became a heavy steady rain from half-time through the middle of the 4th quarter.
I brought my Nikon in hopes of capturing a few game and people shots. The rain turned out to be a significant photograph bonanza! Here’s the first of a two part post featuring Gamecock game-day photos.
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I found this cool, old abandoned house on Oak Grove Rd., between the communities of Woodlawn and Sulphur Springs, Virginia. Ideally, I would have pulled off and spent some time exploring this grand old home. Unfortunately, the narrow road and steady rain presented quite an obstacle. Perhaps I will, the next time I’m travelling through the back-roads of the New River Valley of southern Virginia.
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Visitors to Foster Falls, Virginia Campgrounds or the New River State Park will be familiar with this large livestock operation on the left, just before the park entrance.
As many times as I passed this farm on the way to a Boy Scout camping trip at Foster Falls, this was the first time I actually “saw” the compositional opportunities at this location. Proprietor/farmer Tommy Stone was kind enough to provide some local history while standing in the pouring rain.
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For this Monochrome Monday, I’m introducing a series of posts from a recent rainy day visit to the New River Valley area of southwestern Virginia. My Scout Troop participated in a day long cycling trip along the New River Trail. As one of the drop-off and pick-up drivers, I was afforded a wonderful opportunity to capture the local countryside, albeit in the rain.
This must have been one of the first times I deliberately shot for hours in the rain. My rain gear kept me dry, and my Nikon only required an occasional wipe from a dish towel. Because of the low light and need to capture the rain, I shot between 500 & 2000 ISO. A shutter speed of 1/500 or faster was needed to capture the rain, though as expected, I found the density and rate of rain to vary widely.
After this experience and bounty of compositions captured, I’m more likely and confident to head-out with my camera on a rainy day. Earlier in the year, I had success capturing falling snow landscapes and cityscapes. Next on the list is to study rainy day cityscapes and street photography. Oh, my Scouts made it 17 miles in the rain!
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Part two of the lovely sunrise captured at Ocean Isle Beach. This post includes a couple of monochrome compositions as well. While the lovely color hues are a significant feature in the color compositions, the monochromes elevate the interesting patterns and textures of the clouds and tidal morning seascape.
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Last summer I took notice of several Mimosa trees (Albizia julibrissin) or Persian Silk Tree, growing along the highway on my daily commute. By the time I got around to taking photographs, I had unfortunately missed the end of the flowering season in mid-July. This year I was deliberate about sleuthing out the best morning and late afternoon Mimosa tree candidates.
Initially, I intended to feature the lovely magenta-red flower clusters in contrast with the dense, dark green bi-pinnate compound leaflets. However, after following my color treatment, my monochrome workflow revealed a strikingly different composition.
As widely observed and commented on, monochrome elevates the composition’s lines, shapes and textures across a range monochromatic tonality. The increased monochrome visual impact in these compositions comes from the Mimosa tree’s fascinating leaflet and flower architectures. In previous posts, I’ve discussed how fractal geometry and Fibonacci numbers (e.g. Golden Mean, Golden Spiral, etc.) is expressed in the patterns found in plant structures (phyllotaxis).
The Mimosa tree was introduced to the United States over 250 years ago. Today its widely considered to be an invasive species and is opportunistic across many different soil conditions. Its numerous seed pods are easily spread and remain fertile over long periods of drought. It’s not surprising then to find so many specimens occupying the treeline along well-traveled roadways across the US.
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