Welcome to the space where I share how I make my images. Some images were made very simply. Some took a great deal of thought, action and execution. Should you have any questions about anything, drop me a line. Many thanks  - JD

The Last of Winter on the Roan

March 19, 2017  •  2 Comments

I got to take a few hours off of work Wednesday, so what else would I do but head up to the Roan to see the snow that had fallen over the crazy three days of winter we had in March? 

I probably should've started this journal entry by saying that winter was rather dull this year. I was fortunate enough though to make it to the Roan several times this season so I'm pleased with the amount of snow hiking I did. 

This last visit was quite intense though, with temps hovering around 10 degrees and the windchill around -10 degrees. Still, I managed to hike up Roan High Knob and explore the forest, as well as hike up to Round Bald and play around up there for sunset. The wind was so strong that many of my images turned out blurry from camera shake. I did have several that I was happy with and the experience was unforgettable so I was happy all-around. 

Below are my favorite images from the trip, in no particular order. The second image is similar to this one I took last year (second image down). I realized this while composing the shot and thought it'd be funny to compare them when I finished editing this batch. Turns out they are quite different. Both were taken in the same forest yet have very different elements in them. 

The textures in the snowy trees, the colors in the sky, all made for an awesome last winter adventure. 

With all this said, I'd like to take a moment to thank the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy for their tireless work protecting these lands around the Roan for the enjoyment of the public. I am proud to say I am a member of this wonderful organization and encourage anyone who loves WNC to join and take part in protecting our mountains for present and future generations. 

Cheers and many thanks, 

JD

 


My Favorite Images from 2016

January 08, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

At the beginning of every year I look back at some of my favorite images from the previous year and think about those experiences and how they had an impact on me. A lot of photographers do this. I always enjoy looking at everyone's work and participating in the voting process some photographers hold to determine their top images of the year. 

This year I decided to list 16 of my favorite color images and 10 of my favorite black and white images I made in 2016. Color photography and black and white photography are so different for me I just had to separate them. I find them to be two totally different mindsets. Anyway, these images are some of my favorite images, which might be different from my best images, technologically or compositionally speaking.

I've listed them in chronological order below, starting with color. Hope you enjoy and happy new year, 

JD

Snow-Covered Forest, Roan High Knob, Pisgah/Cherokee National Forest, NC/TN

 

Forest Snow, Afternoon Light, Roan High Knob, Pisgah/Cherokee National Forest, NC/TN

 

Granite, Mist, Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, MEGranite, Mist, Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME

Granite, Mist, Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME

 

Evening Light, Ridges, From Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Pool, Bubbles, Foliage, Nantahala National Forest, NCPool, Bubbles, Foliage, Nantahala National Forest, NC

Pool, Bubbles, Foliage, Nantahala National Forest, NC

 

Mt. Powell, Sunset, Fall Color, Eagles Nest Wilderness, White River National Forest, COMt. Powell, Sunset, Fall Color, Eagles Nest Wilderness, White River National Forest, CO

Mt. Powell, Sunset, Fall Color, Eagles Nest Wilderness, White River National Forest, CO

 

Moose, After Sunset, Eagles Nest Wilderness, White River National Forest, COMoose, After Sunset, Eagles Nest Wilderness, White River National Forest, CO

Moose, Evening, Eagles Nest Wilderness, White River National Forest, CO

 

Campsite, Gore Range, White River National Forest, COCampsite, Gore Range, White River National Forest, CO

Campsite, Gore Range, White River National Forest, CO

 

Joshua Tree, Moon, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CAJoshua Tree, Moon, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Joshua Tree, Moon, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

 

Sunset, Boulders, From Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CASunset, Boulders, From Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Sunset, Boulders, From Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

 

Evening Light, Ridges, Joshua Tree National Park, CAEvening Light, Ridges, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Evening Light, Ridges, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

 

Sunset, Moon, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CASunset, Moon, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Sunset, Moon, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

 

Graveyard Fields, Fall Color, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCGraveyard Fields, Fall Color, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Graveyard Fields, Fall Color, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Rime Ice, Evening Light, Craggy Pinnacle, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Winter Sunset, From Craggy Pinnacle, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Mt. Mitchell, Cloud Layers, Evening, From Roan Mountain, Pisgah National Forest, NC

 

Boulder, Fog, Winter, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Foliage, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

 

Stone Mountain, Trees, Morning, Stone Mountain State Park, NC

 

Rock Pattern, Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, ME

 

Puddle, Sea Wall, Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, ME

 

Mt. Powell, Evening Light, White River National Forest, CO

 

Bottom of Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, CO

 

Evening Light, Ridges, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

 

Boulders, Sunrise, Hidden Valley Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

 

The Black Mountains, Cloud Layers, Puddle, From Grassy Ridge, Roan Mountain, Pisgah National Forest, NC

 

 


Light Rays from Waterrock Knob

November 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

A month or so ago my brother Parker and I camped at Balsam Mountain Campground in the Smokies. It's the highest elevation front country campsite in the park and the weather can be quite unpredictable and um. . . well, brutal.  So to do a day hike we had to flee the area and find more tolerable weather. We ended up hiking some of the Mountains to Sea Trail at Waterrock Knob and got to catch quite a show as the sun went down. It was pretty cloudy, but this meant the light rays were out in full effect. Fun fact, the actual name of these rays: Crepuscular rays. 

Below are my favorite three images I took during the experience. If you've never been up there for a sunset, you need to plan a trip. It can be quite magical. 

Cheers, 

JD

Light Rays, from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCLight Rays, from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Light Rays II, from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCLight Rays II, from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Light Rays III, from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCLight Rays III, from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 


Fall Color in WNC

November 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I spent some time last weekend in Pisgah National Forest and on the Blue Ridge Parkway taking in the fall color. The spot with the best light and color combination was the Graveyard Fields area. There were several beautiful patches of colorful trees but also some gnarled and mangled dead trees that gave a lot of nice contrast. 

Since going out west to Joshua Tree I keep wanting to shoot in black and white. I just couldn't do it this past weekend though. The images are too compelling in color. I believe I converted one image to black and white, but all the rest I kept in color. Plus it's fall in the southern Appalachians. . . to not shoot in color would be appalling! 

The first image is my favorite from the bunch. There's just so much to look at. 

Hope you enjoy, 

JD

Oh and the painterly look of the images comes from my use of 100-300mm telephoto lens from the late 80s. Sometimes it adds a nice touch!

Graveyard Fields, Fall Color, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCGraveyard Fields, Fall Color, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Fall Color Cluster, Evening, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCFall Color Cluster, Evening, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Leafless Trees, Fall, Evening, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCLeafless Trees, Fall, Evening, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Dead Tree, Fall Foliage, Evening, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCDead Tree, Fall Foliage, Evening, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC Fall Color, Evening Light, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NCFall Color, Evening Light, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC


A Few Days in the Desert

October 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I met my brother Nick and our friend Nick Todaro in LA a couple of weeks ago and we immediately headed east toward Joshua Tree. We spent a few days in the park exploring everything that landscape has to offer. It's such a cool place.

We did several hikes and each one, although different, had very cool features. 

The desert experience did not disappoint. It came complete with three scorpions, several desert foxes, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and a chunk of Cholla Cactus in my leg. My advice to anyone going to the Cholla Cactus Garden: obey the warning signs and stay on the designated path!

My favorite activities of the trip were scrambling over boulders in the Wonderland of Rocks Wilderness and hiking to the summit of Ryan Mountain for sunset. The views from Ryan are awesome. 

Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. I tend to see in black and white when I'm out west because I shoot in color so much while I'm in North Carolina, but I also took some fun color images while in the park. Hope you enjoy, 

JD

Sunset, Boulders, From Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CASunset, Boulders, From Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Boulders, Clouds, Wonderland of Rocks Wilderness, Joshua Tree National Park, CABoulders, Clouds, Wonderland of Rocks Wilderness, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Cholla Cactus, Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, CACholla Cactus, Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Evening Light, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CAEvening Light, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

 

Evening Light, Ridges, Joshua Tree National Park, CAEvening Light, Ridges, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Joshua Trees, Morning, Joshua Tree National Park, CAJoshua Trees, Morning, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Desert Plants, Sunset, on Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CADesert Plants, Sunset, on Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Boulders, Sunrise, Hidden Valley Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CABoulders, Sunrise, Hidden Valley Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Joshua Tree, Moon, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CAJoshua Tree, Moon, Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Evening Light, Ridges, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CAEvening Light, Ridges, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Sunset, Moon, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CASunset, Moon, From Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Desert Plants Sillhouette, Sunset, on Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CADesert Plants Sillhouette, Sunset, on Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, CA