"Calligraphy" - Backlit palmetto leaf, Florida

Arriving in Florida on the first day of my short visit, my family and I decided to visit a local park and take a walk. It was just what I needed after spending even a few short hours on the cramped and busy airplane. The quick transition from Virginia winter to Florida spring green made me giddy with excitement. Every sight, sound, and smell felt new and shocking. It was like I hadn't seen the color green, heard the warble of a passerine, or smelt the nectar of a fresh bloom in years. It was then that I saw a palmetto leaf shining brightly among its neighbors. The sun struck the backside of the leaf at a perfect angle. The leaf was transformed into a sharply defined jigsaw of shape and line. A few lone fronds of another distant palmetto cast small shadows. Nature's calligraphy was complete.

"Calligraphy" - Backlit palmetto leaf, Florida.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 135mm. 1/8th second, f/22, ISO 400. Tripod.

"Wise Beyond Years" - Florida redbelly turtle basking, Blue Spring State Park, Florida

Well hello there! Just got back from beautiful, sunny, and muggy central Florida. I had such a great time visiting with my grandparents, mom, and cousins (they flew all the way in from Colorado!) It's a little rough being back here in northern Virginia again with all of our brown trees, but I feel rejuvenated. I also managed to bring home a couple of images. This particular photograph was taken in one of my favorite parks in the area, Blue Spring State Park. While kayaking along the St. John's River, numerous Florida redbelly turtles began to emerge as the day warmed up to bask on the various logs and roots dotting the shoreline. This individual chose an especially photogenic location with a nice green reflection surrounding him. What a nice guy. While he was quite small in stature, the moss on his back seemed, to me at least, that he must have been wise beyond his years. More to come soon, thanks for reading!

"Wise Beyond Years" - Florida redbelly turtle basking, Blue Spring State Park, Florida.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 400 f/5.6. 1/500th second, f/7.1., ISO 400.

"Mason's Nebula" - Ice patterns and beech leaf, Mason Neck State Park, Virginia

I never get tired of photographing ice. Even with spring approaching, I would happily continue photographing the infinte shapes, textures, and lines found within ice. Each trip in search of ice is always different, and I love that. In this image, a small pond at Mason Neck State Park had frozen over completely during an extended cold snap. I doubt this has happened even once in the previous decade. The pond contained many bubbles that rose from the depths, likely caused by decomposing matter along the bottom. The bubbles in this image seemed to originate from and around this beech leaf. The way the pockets of air have been elongated and frozen in place reminded me of a nebula giving birth to stars. 

Next week I will be heading down to Florida for a week of family vacation and a bit of photography. I'm so excited to see my first green leaves of the year, and hope to get a few new images while out kayaking and exploring the many parks of central Florida. Peace out, homies!

"Mason's Nebula" - Ice patterns and beech leaf, Mason Neck State Park, Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 + 500D Closeup filter @ 78mm. 0.4 seconds, f/22, ISO 100. Tripod. Polarizer.

Tricolored Heron against Mangroves in Shadow, Fort De Soto Park, Florida

I'm going to head back to Florida this morning. Back to that morning in the lagoons of Fort De Soto Park. It's a nice respite from the freezing rain predicted today, and it makes me even more excited to get back down to Florida in a few weeks. In this image, a beautiful tricolored heron in full breeding plumage is stalking some prey. The heron is bathed in sunlight, but the distant shore full of dark mangroves remains in shade. The contrast between the two really brings out the texture, detail, and color of the heron.

Tricolored Heron against Mangroves in Shadow, Fort De Soto Park, Florida.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 400 f/5.6. 1/2500 second, f/7.1., ISO 400. Tripod.

"Reflections Through a Fuzzy Lens" - Great blue heron fishing, Fort De Soto Park, Florida

I think I'll take a break from the ice images for a bit! Besides, I'm sure everyone on the east coast is sick of the cold. Bunch of wimps, we are. Anyways, this photograph is of a great blue heron fishing for minnows in a lagoon in Florida's Fort De Soto Park. Truly one of my favorite places in Florida. White sand beaches, crystal clear water, abundant wildlife. This place has it all, as long as all you are looking for is a picturesque white sand beach with crystal clear water and abundant wildlife, that is. Looking at this image brings back so many great memories of that morning spent in the lagoons. It brings me just a touch of warmth during a day otherwise filled with freezing rain.

"Reflections Through a Fuzzy Lens" - Great blue heron fishing for minnows, Fort De Soto Park, Florida.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 400 f/5.6. 1/2500 second, f/7.1., ISO 400. Tripod.

"Finding Love" - Ice Patterns, Great Falls National Park, Virginia

Why couldn't I have found this charming scene before Valentine's Day? Damn! Let's try to forget about my poor timing, alright? I found this pattern in ice along a small stream in Great Falls National Park, Virginia. I was immediately drawn to the heart shaped hole in the ice. I had to use it in a composition. To me, the lines surrounding, curving up and down, and all around the heart symbolize a search for love. Yeah, yeah. Cut me some slack, I'm an artist!

"Finding Love" - Ice Patterns, Great Falls National Park, Virginia

The scene at Great Falls that morning was really something else. I've never seen the Potomac River so crowded with ice. In fact, I can't ever remember a time that there were icebergs floating down the river. This consistent cold has really provided me with some exciting photographic opportunities. It's not even close to being over yet. Rest assured, you'll be seeing quite a few more ice images.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 172mm. .6 seconds, f/32, ISO 100. Polarizer. Tripod.

"Fault Line" - Ice patterns, McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, Maryland

The weather last week was finally cold enough to form some interesting ice patterns here in the northern Virginia area. Traveling just a bit further north to McKee-Beshers WMA, I found even more ice formed in the numerous puddles located on the property. Initially I was attracted to the elongated cell-like structures found in this puddle, but as I drew closer I noticed the distinct line of darker ice running through the middle. It formed the perfect line to create movement within the composition.

"Fault Line" - Ice patterns, McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, Maryland

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 + 500D Closeup Filter @ 154mm. 1/4th second, f/22, ISO 100.

"Forgotten Forest" - A foggy day in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Well, it appears that the Nor'easter has missed us for the most part here in Northern Virginia. Bummer! I haven't yet had a single day this year with excellent winter conditions, whether from snow or from ice. However, this time is proving to be valuable to dig back into my archives and process new images. Here, a scene from Shenandoah National Park, Virginia is showcased during a beautiful foggy day in the upper elevations of the park. I processed this one a bit cooler to showcase the effervescent blue tones found throughout the layers of fog. I particularly like the copious amounts of lichen on this group of trees as well as the fresh growth of verdant green leaves.

"Forgotten Forest" - A foggy day in the forests of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 10-22 @ 21mm. 1/6th second, f/13, ISO 100. Polarizer.

"Doubt Creeps" - Great blue heron fishing along the Potomac River, Great Falls National Park, Virginia

With the relatively warm temperatures of Virginia so far this winter resulting in a complete lack of ice and snow, I've been digging back into my archive of images that never got processed for one reason or another. I find that reevaluating older photographs is an excellent process as what I look for in a worthy image is always changing. I'll be frank, I love this image! Without looking back it would have sat there worthlessly on my hard drive. "Doubt Creeps" captures an image of a great blue heron fishing along the Potomac River last summer. This individual allowed me to approach quite closely and use the wide end of my 70-200mm lens to emphasize the bird in the foreground while also displaying the waterfalls in the background. It always amazes me that these birds choose to fish here among the turbulent waters. I can't wait for the summer of 2015 and the return of the herons.

"Doubt Creeps" - Great blue heron fishing along the Potomac River, Great Falls National Park, Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 87mm. 1/5th second, f/22, ISO 100. Polarizer. Tripod.

"Autobiography" - Foam swirls in an eddy, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Using a slow shutter speed to capture motion of foam or leaves in a swirling eddy has become somewhat of a cliche in modern nature photography. Okay, that's an understatement. People seek "swirlies" with the veracity of a used car salesman who has just spotted a virgin car buyer. Nevertheless, they have become popular for good reason. The implied motion promotes the viewer's eye roam around the scene and create a moving (literally) composition. The eddy portrayed here is one of the largest I've seen, and I just couldn't resist trying my hand at capturing the flow of it.

"Autobiography" - Foam swirls in an eddy, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 10-22 @ 10mm. 13 seconds, f/16, ISO 100. Polarizer.