Luray Caverns

Part Two of my vacation takes us to Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia.

Luray Caverns is a system of caves within Limestone.

Towards the entrance.....
(ISO 3200, 10mm, F11, 3 Exposures)

Saracen's Tent....
(ISO 400, 10mm, F3.5, 3 Exposures)

The Double Column.....
(ISO 400, 10mm, F3.5, 3 Exposures)

The two photos below are of Dream Lake.  Dream lake is a natural spring that exists within the caverns.  It forms a pretty shallow pool.  Since it is largely undisturbed, it acts like a mirror.  It also looks very very deep or even never-ending, even though it's only about 20" at it's deepest.
In both photos below, there are no stalagmites.  Only stalactites.  The "stalagmites" that you see towards the bottom of each photo is actually a reflection of the stalactites.  Notice the symmetry?

(ISO 400, 22mm, F4.5, 3 Exposures)

(ISO 400, 22mm, F4.5, 3 Exposures)
I don't remember what this formation was called, but I found it interesting, as it looks like an old man with a beard.
(ISO 400, 10mm, F3.5, 3 Exposures)

If you are even in this area of Virginia, I highly recommend stopping at Luray.  
If you are a photographer, a tripod is a must.  It's very dark even though they have the caves lit.  Some of these HDR exposures in the caves were 15-20 secs to get the overexposed version.  I really recommend hanging towards the back of the tour group.  My group had 40 people, and the only way to get good shots was to shoot after everyone had started to move to the next location.  Otherwise, I would have either had people in my shots, or I would have bugged everyone to get out of my shot, which is not a good idea.  After everyone clears out, shoot fast!  The lights are on a timer, and after the group leaves, the lights will shut off.  This only happened once to me.  Not only did it ruin my shot, but it's also a little dangerous.  Obviously, you can't see anything when those lights go off, so tripping would be pretty easy!


Skyline Drive, Shenandoah Valley

I just returned from a great vacation with my Dad and Brother.  We took my Dad's motorhome across Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

We visited a lot of great locations for photos.  Skyline Drive, Luray Caves, Monticello, Blue Ridge Parkway, Flight 93 Memorial, Falling Water, and Nemacolin.

You can imagine that I have a heck of a lot of photos.  I'll start this blog post with pics of the Shenandoah Valley, and then over the next couple of weeks, I'll post the other locations.

So here are some photos from the Shenandoah Valley, Skyline Drive.

(ISO 100, 20mm, F11, .0166 sec)

(ISO 100, 22mm, F11, .125 sec)

(ISO 100, 10mm, F11, .005 sec)

(ISO 100, 10mm, F11, .008 sec)

(ISO 100, 10mm, F11, .062 sec)

Thanks for looking!



The Sky Can Change Quickly!

About a week and a half ago, we had four or five days of nearly constant rain.  Sometimes the sun would peek out, but generally, we just has lots and lots of rainy boring weather.

While this was going on, we had absolutely phenomenal clouds coming and going, but not much sun getting through to really make them look great.  I don't mind gloomy and dark clouds (they do make for some great photos), but I really wanted some sun with these clouds. 

During one of the days where the rain had stopped and the clouds were still around, I left the house close to sunset trying to capture these clouds along with the sun, and I think that caught a good shot.

I saw a pretty decent formation of clouds, and then the sun started to peek out a little bit, so I started setting up my camera.

The final result is below, and I was kind of lucky.  When I started setting up for the shot, it was a decent looking scene, but not spectacular.  I almost went back to the car to keep scouting.

In a very short time, the sun lowered just enough to go behind the low clouds without penetrating, making them look very dark and gloomy.  But the sun wasn't low enough yet to do the same to those high clouds.

The result was pretty amazing and the whole scene opened up as shown below very fast.  It looked really neat to have both dark and gloomy clouds along with clouds that were very well illuminated in the same frame.  And then those beams of light started to also spray upwards right about when I was ready to shoot!

This moment only lasted about 30 seconds.  It didn't take very long for this scene to completely change as the clouds moved and the sun set.  It's really amazing how scenes like this can exist for such a short time period.

(ISO 100, 24mm, f10, 1/100 sec)

Thanks for looking!




I was going through my portfolio, and realized that I had a decent amount of photos of children that I'm pretty proud of.

I thought that I'd share....these are either of my son or his cousins. 

(ISO 800, 55mm, f5.6, 1/40 sec)

(ISO 320, 50mm, f2.2, 1/80 sec)
My wife took this one!

(ISO 1250, 250mm, f5.6, 1/4000 sec)

(ISO 125, 50mm, f2, 1/800 sec)

(ISO 100, 50mm, f1.8, 1/200 sec)