Mark Pollitt Photography: Blog https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog en-us (C)2020 Mark Pollitt Photography markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Sun, 17 Jan 2021 12:26:00 GMT Sun, 17 Jan 2021 12:26:00 GMT https://www.markpollittphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u990728995-o51353381-50.jpg Mark Pollitt Photography: Blog https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog 120 90 Best of 2020 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2021/1/best-of-2020 Best of 2020 Graffiti Junktion, Thornton Park, OrlandoGraffiti Junktion, Thornton Park, Orlando

I think we will all agree that this year has been one unlike any we have lived through. It has taken away many of the things that we cherish: our friends, our families, the freedom to travel, and to meet new people. For the last few years my life has revolved around photography and nature. While I did do some work and teaching, my focus has been to photograph the world (101 countries, so far) and share its beauty. But as this pandemic prevented me from teaching, working, and traveling, I still had to photograph. Those who are photographers will understand that primal need to see what the world looks like through a lens.

Delicate BloomDelicate Bloom Creek Landscape, Howard Nature ConservancyCreek Landscape, Howard Nature Conservancy

So, while I was limited to venues closer to home, it gives you the opportunity to find inspiration in new places and inspiration around you. I have never been much of a street photographer or intentionally focused on art. But the implementation of a lock-down and curfew, coupled with an exception for exercise, gave me an idea. I could leave the house as soon as the curfew was lifted in the morning and take a walk in many of the urban areas of Orlando that are normally crowded. I had seen many murals and other street art around town, so I decided to seek them out. I discovered that this approach was especially effective on Sunday mornings. Except for the sleeping homeless, the city was empty. This summer, I had the opportunity to try this approach in Baltimore. While not quite as effective, still much less hazardous than outside the pandemic.

Mosquito LagoonMosquito Lagoon Feeding Baby MoorhenFeeding Baby Moorhen

But nature has flourished during the pandemic. I was able to find places that were open to visitors, without being crowded, and I was able to continue to do some nature photography.

And so, I present my Best of 2020 collection. It is 100 images taken from my photography in this watershed year.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Best of 2020 Mark Pollitt Photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2021/1/best-of-2020 Sun, 17 Jan 2021 03:54:41 GMT
The Joy of Missile Launches https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/12/the-joy-of-missile-launches NROL-44 LaunchNROL-44 Launch

We're back in Florida and just in time for one of the most active missile-launch seasons on record. We've had the Crew Dragon Missions along with numerous Starlink and other commercial SpaceX launches. Photographing missile flights is one of the "perks" of living here. During the Space Shuttle times, each launch was a major event. As the program wound down to the last few flights, literally millions of people flocked here to see, and photograph, these magnificent machines fly. And then it all ended. For almost ten years, there were few missile launches and some were so shrouded in secrecy, that you didn't know about them until the last minute. But once SpaceX got the bugs worked out on the Falcon 9, things started to pickup. This year Spacex will launch 24 rockets, most from Cape Canaveral.

Over the years, I've gotten to photograph quite a few launches. Generally, the daytime launches are fun, but not that visually stunning. You get a lot of white "smoke" around a skinny tube, and a bit of fire at the bottom. After you've taken a few, you realize that they all pretty much look the same. The sound that a rocket makes is the real treat! But the sunrise, sunset, and night launches are more spectacular and much more challenging to photograph. Rocket motors generate HUGE amounts of light. You go from pitch black to the equivalent of brilliant sunlight in a fraction of a second. You need to shoot in manual and have all your settings ready to go. The newer missiles clear the tower in about 10 seconds from ignition! If you are also shooting a "streak shot" (see below), you will need to trigger your second camera, mounted on a tripod. Once the missile has cleared the launch tower, the rocket motors are so bright that you will rarely see the actual missile. Unlike daytime launches where you can get the missile and the rocket plume, at night you are basically shooting just the plume, looking for interesting patterns. Typically, the main engines shut down after two and a half to three minutes. At that point your shoot is over. From first click to last is usually less than three minutes! If you haven't guessed, I prefer nighttime launches.

Waiting for a launch, St. Johns RiverWaiting for a launch, St. Johns River

While the actual photography is quick, getting to that point isn't. For one recent Starlink launch, the mission was scrubbed (postponed) twice before it finally launched on the third try. So, I gathered my gear and went out to an airboat ramp along the St. Johns River to take a streak shot, each time.

So, you're standing around, in the dark, with alligators hunting for food and mosquitos trying to dine on you, while the launch gets delayed later and later. But sometimes you get to practice some long exposure shots to check your settings. Sometimes the results surprise you. So, on the second night I went home with one "keeper" image for three hours waiting and numerous bites. So you go out the next night and the missile does launch. But just before it does, a rain shower gets between you and the launch. And so, your streak is only a little sliver under the rain clouds. That image cost three nights work!

Starlink LaunchStarlink Launch
NROL-44 TrailNROL-44 Trail

But sometimes you get lucky. One of the best missiles to see launch is the Delta IV Heavy. These are used for launching particularly heavy payloads, like reconnaissance satellites. They use a large main rocket, with two booster rockets strapped to the sides. They are loud and light up the night like the Sun! NROL-44 was scheduled for the other night and I thought the weather looked good, so I gave it a try. I found a nice spot, all to myself, to set up my tripods and cameras. And although there was a several hour delay, it launched in its usual, spectacular way. If you enjoyed these photos, you might want to look at my Space and Astronomy page. Enjoy!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Florida Mark Pollitt Photography missile launches NROL-44 SpaceX https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/12/the-joy-of-missile-launches Sun, 13 Dec 2020 15:47:24 GMT
Extension Tube Macrophotography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/7/extension-tube-macrophotography We were able to escape Florida's spike in the pandemic by driving up to Maryland for the summer. Since they are more "locked-down" here (a good thing), a lot of the photography I want to do will have to wait a bit longer. But our nearby Nature Conservancy is open and has lots of native flowers in bloom. Fujifilm is not known for their macro lenses and their regular lenses don't have close focusing distances, so I decided to try some inexpensive Meike auto-focus extension tubes (10 & 16mm, ~US$28.00 on Amazon).

So, out to the conservancy I went, with my X-T3, 16-80 and a 16mm extension tube. While I could have used the 10 & 16mm tubes together, they only work well when the focal length of the lens is equal to, or greater than, the extension tube(s). I didn't take my tripod along, as there was a modest breeze blowing. So, all the shots here are hand-held.

Echinacea purpureaEchinacea purpurea Echinacea purpureaEchinacea purpurea
Echinacea purpureaEchinacea purpurea

I was very pleasantly surprised at the clarity of the shots.  I found that you have to experiment to find the relatively narrow focus range in which the auto-focus will work. Once you get in that ballpark, the autofocus seems to work well. These close-up images allow us to see nature from yet another perspective. And for me, that is the "raison d'etre" for photography. Seeing the results of this brief experiment, investing such a small sum to add yet another dimension to our photography seems like a no-brainer.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) macro photography Mark Pollitt Photography Maryland Mieke Extension Tubes Nature Conservancy https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/7/extension-tube-macrophotography Fri, 17 Jul 2020 18:52:00 GMT
Empty Streetscapes and Urban Art in Orlando https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/4/empty-streetscapes-and-urban-art-in-orlando Empty Streetscapes and Urban Art in Orlando

I spend most of my time, at least when I'm behind a camera, as a nature and travel photographer. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the parks are closed, all my trips until October have been cancelled, and I'm pretty much staying home except for trips to the store and doctors. I've lived in Orlando for a number of years and as I drive around town, I've been impressed with the wall murals and other "urban art" found throughout the city. So, I decided to use my next exercise walk to take some photos of Orlando's "street art" along the empty streets of my home town. I also took at couple of shots along Orlando's "main street," Orange Avenue, of City Hall, and the Dr. Phillips Center. As you can see, I didn't have any problems with social distancing! North Mills Ave. SouthboundNorth Mills Ave. Southbound Geographically, The City of Orlando, is actually a relatively small part of the Orlando Metroplex. It has a high-rise core, surrounded by many small residential and mixed-use areas. The City has a diversity far broader than its small size would suggest. In addition to the traditionally white and black neighborhoods, there is a large Asian neighborhood called "Little Saigon," so-named for the large influx of Vietnamese refugees in the mid-1970's. Over the years the area's ethnicity has broadened to include other Asian and Hispanic residents. New generations of "creatives" have moved to many of the neighborhoods surrounding Little Saigon. As a result, it has become a great location to see the murals, decorated objects and  storefronts that make up the urban artscape. Many of these are located along Mills Avenue, in Little Saigon and in the area of the Milk District.

I hope that you will click on this link to see some more of this bright and joyful art - just the antidote to another week of lock down!

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing ArtsDr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts City Commons, OrlandoCity Commons, Orlando Orlando City HallOrlando City Hall

 

 

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Empty Streets Florida Little Saigon Mark Pollitt Photography Milk District Orlando Urban Artwork https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/4/empty-streetscapes-and-urban-art-in-orlando Wed, 22 Apr 2020 18:43:16 GMT
My Best of 2019 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/1/my-best-of-2019 Machu Pichu, PeruMachu Pichu, PeruClick on photo to see Best of 2019 Travel Collection Sand Hill Crane and ColtsClick on photograph to view Best of 2019 Orlando Wetlands Park Collection

2019 may be the year that I have traveled the most to make pictures. The year began rounding Cape Horn, while returning from Antarctica, followed, several months later, by a voyage from the beaches of Tahiti to Machu Pichu, and then through the Panama Canal to the the east coast. Summer brought a trip from the Shetland Islands of Scotland, the length of Norway, cruising the White Sea of Russia, and finally back to Copenhagen. And in the Fall,  I got to do some weekend photography, whilst I was teaching in Central New York. When I wasn't doing any of those things, I was usually guiding and photographing at the Orlando Wetlands Park.

It was also a year of photographic transition. After predominantly shooting Canon cameras for almost 40 years, I jumped, headlong, into the Fujifilm ecosystem; first with an X-T3 and adding an X-H1 for wildlife duties. I'm still not completely comfortable with the new cameras, but that's part of the fun!

For those of you who have followed my photography and/or those who have traveled with me, I dedicate this annual collection. I took over 30,000 images this past year and I think these are the best. But since all my viewers don't equally enjoy nature and travel photography, I have separated them in to two collections, one for travel and the other for my nature photography at the Orlando Wetlands Park. I hope you will enjoy them.

If you are a newcomer to my photography, please either leave a comment or drop me a line, and I'll be happy to add you to my mailing list. I usually send out 3-4 messages per year, so I promise not to spam you.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Florida Mark Pollitt Photography nature photography Orlando Wetlands Park travel photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2020/1/my-best-of-2019 Sat, 11 Jan 2020 21:57:19 GMT
Autumn in Central New York https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/12/autumn-in-central-new-york Canal-side ColorCanal-side Color

I did both my undergraduate and Master's work at universities located in Central New York. For those unfamiliar with the geography, it is the area roughly centered between Albany and Buffalo. The region was formed by a vast array of glacial activities over a period of tens of thousands of years, resulting in some of its most familiar features such as the Finger Lakes and numerous waterfalls. The result is a wonderful variety of lovely landscapes, enhanced, even more, by the colors of Autumn. The area's central artery was, after the early 1800's, and still is the Erie Canal.

Every year I go back to this region to teach, usually for a couple of weeks in May and for a series of weekends in the Fall. I've been doing this for over a dozen years, but haven't been able to take much time to photograph the sights. This year, I was determined to change that. I made a point of tacking a an extra day or so for the Autumn trips, just for photography. I made sure that I made time looking at some of the farms, towns (such as Seneca Falls), and the Erie Canal. Have a look at some of the photos. I hope you enjoy this brief visit to Central New York. If you did, I'd appreciate a post. Thanks.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) autumn Central New York Erie Canal Mark Pollitt Photography Seneca Falls https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/12/autumn-in-central-new-york Mon, 16 Dec 2019 00:06:20 GMT
North Cape Cruise - July 2019 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/8/north-cape-cruise---july-2019 This has been a "world travel year"! We began the year in Antarctica, sailed across most of the Pacific and all of the Caribbean in March, and now in July we are traveling above the Arctic Circle (above 66° 32′ N latitude). It was only last year that we circumnavigated the world along (more or less) the Equator. This trip was aboard Oceania's MS Nautica. This cruise would also be a "shakedown cruise" for a new camera system: the Fujifilm X-T3. After 40 years of being primarily a Canon shooter, this was a brand new experience. I hope you like the results.

Shetland Islands, Scotland

We were scheduled to join the ship in Dublin, but due to weather, politics, and airlines, we failed to make our Irish rendezvous and had to fly ahead to Lerwick, in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Since the ship had a day at sea after leaving Dublin, we arrived with an afternoon and evening before the ship would arrive for its scheduled day in port. I tried to make good use of that time for photography. Fortunately, the sun doesn't set until almost midnight and raises at 3 AM at this time of year. Lerwick is a charming little city, made famous by the BBC television series Shetland. The crime drama aside, the locations and cinematography show off the island in its true beauty. After the ship arrived, we took a previously scheduled tour and began our voyage.

Alesund, NorwayAlesund, Norway

The itinerary was to sail from the Shetlands, up the east coast of Norway, stopping at: Bergen, Alesund, Trondheim, and then Hammerfest (one of two of the northernmost cities in Europe). After leaving Hammerfest, we would sail northeast, crossing the Arctic Circle into the Barents Sea, then southeast to Murmansk, and thence down the Kola Peninsula to the mouth of the White Sea. In addition to the port call in Murmansk, we stopped at Solovetsky Island and Arkhangelsk (Archangel). At the latter, we were a mere 40 miles from where, three weeks later, there was an incident involving a nuclear missile. I really believe in not putting travel off: you never know when you won't be able to do it or where you want to go won't be there! As you will see from the photos, Northern Russia is very different to the more modern, affluent, cites such as St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Solovetsky MonasterySolovetsky Monastery

After leaving Arkhangelsk, we sailed up to the North Cape (Nord Cap), stopping in the other, arguably, most northern city in Europe; Honningsvag. We traveled overland to the actual North Cape. You truly feel like you are on the edge of the World, as you stand 1,000 feet above the sea, knowing that there is nothing between you and the North Pole but 1,300 miles of dark cold water, ice, and brutal weather. We sailed South, past the Lofoten Island (on my bucket list) to port calls in Kristiansund and Flam. After another day at sea, we disembarked in Copenhagen.

Nord Cap, NorwayNord Cap, Norway

For purposes of my website, I have decided to break the trip into three albums: Shetland, Norway and Russia. This way you can browse each one at your leisure. Each has a manageable number if images. As always I hope you enjoy them and I welcome your (non-commercial) comments. You can click on each of the photos below to go directly to each of the albums. You can also go to www.markpollittphoto.com , scroll down below the slideshow and click on the albums individually.

Click on photo to go to album
ShetlandShetland The Port of MurmanskThe Port of MurmanskRussia Sami  Camp, Hammerfest, NorwaySami Camp, Hammerfest, Norway

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Alesund Archangel Bergen Flam Hammerfest Honningsvag Kristiansund Lerwick Mark Pollitt Photography MS Nautica Murmansk Norway Russia Shetland Solovetsky Trondheim https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/8/north-cape-cruise---july-2019 Wed, 14 Aug 2019 21:57:31 GMT
Tahiti to Miami - Spring 2019 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/4/tahiti-to-miami---spring-2019 Bora BoraBora Bora Moai at  Ahu Tongariki, Rapa NuiMoai at Ahu Tongariki, Rapa Nui

For over 30 days we sailed aboard the MS Marina embarking in Tahiti and disembarking at Port Canaveral, Florida.  It was yet another epic journey, but felt like three separate trips strung together. First there was the voyage across the Pacific, including four ports in French Polynesia, Pitcairn Island, Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island, and ending in Lima, Peru. This first part of the journey took eighteen days.

The islands are beautiful and the distances vast: it took ten days to sail from the eastern edge of French Polynesia to Lima, across some of the most remote ocean in the world. We did not see another ship, aircraft, or even contrail for days at a time. Going ashore in Pitcairn Island, where the descendants of the HMS Bounty now reside, is nearly impossible as they only have a tiny dock. Instead, a majority of the 34 residents on the island took their longboat out to see us, while we circled around their small island.

Visiting Easter Island has been a dream of mine for many years, perhaps after reading Kon Tiki in high school. Unfortunately, the surf was so high that we were not able to launch our tenders and go ashore. Other than the seas, the weather that day was wonderful and the Captain circumnavigated the island as close as he dared. So, we at least got to see the quarry and a number of Moai.

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin, CuscoCathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin, Cusco Machu Pichu, PeruMachu Pichu, Peru

While most of the passengers left the ship in Lima, there were a number that were continuing on for the next leg. Of that group, there were four couples, including ourselves, that would take a four-day overland trip to Machu Pichu and rejoin the ship in Ecuador. It was a challenging trip with many hours of flying, driving, riding trains, and climbing stairs/rocks/hills. Our base of operations was Cusco, where the altitude is over 11,000 feet. We never really had time to acclimate, so it was a bit tough to move around. The good news is that Machu Pichu is actually much lower (~8,000 feet) and you feel much better while you're there. After four days, we took two flights and a four hour bus ride through the poorest part of Ecuador to return to the ship.

Golden helicon, Roatan, HondurasGolden helicon, Roatan, Honduras Pacific Entrance to New Panama CanalPacific Entrance to New Panama Canal

The next part of the journey was along the South American coast, through the Panama Canal, along the Caribbean coast of Central America, stopping in: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and on to Miami. After returning to the ship in Miami, we were told that due to a really strong storm in the Atlantic, our itinerary would have us stop in Port Canaveral the next day, to let the storm pass, skip our port call in Norfolk, and arrive in New York late the following day. Since we had an early flight out of New York, we opted to get off the ship in Port Canaveral and have a 30 minute drive home! Thus our epic journey came to a sudden end.

As always, we met lots of wonderful people along the way. Travel is very much a shared experience. And so I share these photos with all my viewers. I've divided the photos into two collections: South Pacific & Latin America

Stay tuned for another wonderful journey this summer.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Belize Bora Bora Ecuador Fakareva French Polynesia Guatemala Honduras Machu Pichu Mark Pollitt Photography Mexico Panama Peru Pitcairn Island Rapa Nui https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/4/tahiti-to-miami---spring-2019 Wed, 24 Apr 2019 14:24:39 GMT
Greetings from Antarctica https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/1/greetings-from-antarctica Wilhelmina BayWilhelmina Bay

I have been planning and dreaming about a photo trip to Antarctica for many years. Finally, I've done it. As I write this, I just returned from my two week sojourn at the "bottom of the Earth." It has been Stunning! Perhaps the best way to explain Antarctica is: take the scale of Alaska, multiply by a couple of factors of ten, and color it black, white and electric blue!

I took more than seven thousand photos, so it will take some time to select, edit, and post a manageable number. But in the meanwhile, here's a taste of the South. If you click on any of these images, they will take you to a working directory and you'll see many more images. Enjoy!

Frozen ToadstoolsFrozen Toadstools Advours ChannelAdvours Channel
Scratch What ItchesScratch What Itches Having Fun with TouristsHaving Fun with Tourists

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Andvours Bay Antarctica Gerlache Straight Half Moon Island Mark Pollitt Photography Neumayer Channel Wilhelmina Bay https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2019/1/greetings-from-antarctica Tue, 08 Jan 2019 14:08:01 GMT
The Quilt Barns of Carroll County Maryland https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/9/the-quilt-barns-of-carroll-county-maryland #22 Churn Dash Quilt#22 Churn Dash Quilt

Yes, I know, the title of this blog, and the accompanying collection, sounds like a Clint Eastwood movie involving bridges. Unfortunately, I didn't find Meryl Streep on the back roads of Maryland, nor do I expect this will result in a layout in National Geographic. But it is my first "project," per se. I've been photographing for many decades, but only sporadically, situationally, and casually. For the first time, I committed to a specific goal and time period: I would photograph all 31 of the barns on the Carroll County Quilt Barn Trail and I would complete it this summer. I have to credit a friend of mine (C, you know who you are) for encouraging me to do this.

I found this project fun and challenging. Actually finding the barns was a bit like a scavenger hunt! Sometimes the quilt blocks were in plain view, facing the address given by the Carroll County Tourism Map. Sometimes the spot on the highway that the street address marked, was a country mile from the barn. Sometimes, the barn and quilt block are only visible from parallel or adjacent roads. And at other times, the quilt block was placed where there was either a crop, ready for harvest, or a sloppy barn yard immediately in front. Photographically, I had to use the available light, at the time of day I found the barn, even if it was the worst possible lighting for the particular location. And of course, you can't just cut down the wires hanging in front of the quilt blocks. The barns themselves were located all over the country, in areas that I didn't even know existed. Much of the time I could have just as easily been in Madison County, Iowa or even Kentucky. It was fun to travel these roads less traveled and see rural America. Inevitably, I ran into some of the local farmers and their neighbors. This too was a joy, as talking to people from diverse backgrounds was the greatest pleasure of my former career. If you can get people to talk, shut your mouth, and open your ears, you will learn something from everybody.

I hope you enjoy the photos in this collection. They may not be my best work, but they certainly got me excited to do another project. You'll just have to wait and see what it's going to be. Please see my photos at: Quilt Barns of Carroll County

Carroll Country, MDCarroll Country, MD

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Carroll Country Mark Pollitt Photography Maryland Quilt Barn Trail https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/9/the-quilt-barns-of-carroll-county-maryland Fri, 14 Sep 2018 13:13:32 GMT
Niagara Falls https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/7/niagara-falls Sunset On Horseshoe FallsSunset On Horseshoe Falls

Neither my wife, nor I, have been to Niagara Falls in over 45 years and never together. So, with a good weather forecast after my latest stint at Syracuse University, we headed West. Besides wanting to revisit the falls, I wanted (not surprisingly) to do some photography. The deep and relatively narrow gorge presented some interesting lighting challenges. Likewise, the large amount of "white water" and mist provided overwhelming contrast, as well as, difficulty in getting a correct exposure. The latter issues are exactly the kinds of problems I will be facing on my next major trip. Hint: it involves a very large amount of ice. Since it took so long to go back and forth between the U.S. and Canadian sides, I was somewhat limited in the amount of time that I could actually photograph. In the end, I got some (I think) good images. I know I learned a lot in the process. You can see the best of my Niagara Falls photos on my website.

As kind of a side note, all of the photos on this trip were taken with my Canon M5. I continue to appreciate the reduction in weight and size of my kit, relative to my DSLR's. But, as I learn to shoot this particular camera, I increasingly am amazed at the quality of the images the camera is capable of. I do wish, especially after this trip, that it was weather-sealed. 

Enjoy the photos.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Canada Canon M5 Mark Pollitt Photography New York Niagara Falls https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/7/niagara-falls Tue, 31 Jul 2018 01:09:40 GMT
Soleado Lavendar Farm https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/7/soleado-lavendar-farm Soleado Lavender FarmSoleado Lavender Farm

  In June, I took a couple hour drive into the wild corner of Maryland's Montgomery County. June is usually the peak month for lavender in Maryland. But early, heavy rains forced the blooms early. As a result, they farmers had to harvest the lavender early. And while there was only a small amount of purple flowers blooming, it was a lovely spot to do some photography. Next year, I'll have to come a bit earlier. These and other photos can be seen on my Maryland Landscapes webpage.

Montgomery County, MDMontgomery County, MD

Montgomery County, MDMontgomery County, MD

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) dickerson landscape mark pollitt photography maryland soleado lavender farm https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/7/soleado-lavendar-farm Tue, 31 Jul 2018 00:14:49 GMT
Baltimore Painted Ladies https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/7/baltimore-painted-ladies Baltimore Painted LadiesBaltimore Painted LadiesBaltimore Painted Ladies

This summer, I'm spending time in the Northeastern part of the United States. I'll be doing some local and regional photography, which I hope to share with my viewers. 

Like most photographers, when I travel, I'm not only looking for new photographic subjects, but I often seek out local photography stores. Amazingly, there is only one true photography store left in the Baltimore region! It is located in one of the classic Baltimore neighborhoods: Hampden. While shopping at Service Photo, I asked several of the employees if they had heard about the "Baltimore Painted Ladies." These are brightly painted town homes, or as folks in Baltimore call them, "row houses." It turns out that there are quite a few located not far from Johns Hopkins University. So, under threatening clouds, I went off to photograph some of these homes.  No doubt, I'll go back under more favorable conditions to shoot more of these residential gems.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Baltimore Painted Ladies Baltimore Maryland Mark Pollitt Photography Row Houses https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/7/baltimore-painted-ladies Wed, 18 Jul 2018 13:20:18 GMT
Bangabandhu 1 Falcon 9 Block 5 Launch https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/5/bangabandhu-1-falcon-9-block-5-launch May 10-11, 2018

We went out to Canaveral Shores National Seashore to photograph the launch of SpaceX's first "Block 5" Falcon 9 with a Bangaladeshi payload. The first day, the launch was delayed several hours before the launch was aborted 57 seconds from ignition. Such is photographing missile launches! The following day, it went right on schedule, at 4:14 PM.

The weather was sunny, relatively calm, a thin overcast and very hot: 91 degrees Fahrenheit. This made for a great deal of haze and thermal distortion. Photographically, this is the norm for summer launches from Florida. It is hard to get crisp, clear images, especially from a distance. I hope you enjoy the so-so photos of this launch.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) 1 bangabandhu falcon 9 florida mark pollitt photography spacex https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/5/bangabandhu-1-falcon-9-block-5-launch Sun, 13 May 2018 15:43:36 GMT
Final Stops: Malaysia and Singapore https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/3/final-stops-malaysia-and-singapore Petronas Tower 2018

Our final two stops on this odyssey were Malaysia and Singapore. We were originally scheduled to dock in two ports in Malaysia: Penang and Port Klang, but scheduling precluded our stop in Penang, so we only had time for a quick visit to Kuala Lumpur. While I had been to "KL" before, last time in 1997, the city was almost unrecognizable. Then, the Petronas Tower (above) was the only real skyscraper in the city.  Now, downtown KL looks more like Chicago, except hilly. They seem to be doing well and have picked up some of the positive habits from their neighbors to the South, Singapore. KL was much cleaner than I remember it over 20 years ago.

Similarly, I have been going to Singapore for over 40 years, but haven't been back since '97. Each time I go to this city-state, I am amazed. The capacity of this tiny set of islands to create a modern metropolis, comparable to any in the World, preserve its component cultures, all the while being immaculate and safe is wonderfully unique.

After spending a couple of days ashore in Singapore, we began the long flights back home. It has been an awesome 40+ days. Unfortunately, I had to go back to work the day after I returned, and am still trying to re-calibrate my brain. For this blog I have only picked a couple of photos to demonstrate the integration of the old and new. I'm sure you'll look forward to many more photos of these two port, as well as all the others, when I finish selecting from and editing the 9,928 photos I took from this trip.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) kuala lumpur malaysia mark pollitt photography petronas towers singapore https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/3/final-stops-malaysia-and-singapore Sat, 31 Mar 2018 15:29:02 GMT
Myanmar: Yangon and Bagan https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/3/myanbar-yangon-and-bagan Sunset Over Bagan, MyanmarSunset Over Bagan, Myanmar

Finally, after thirty days of traveling, we arrived in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. This was one of the two main reasons to take this trip. It is a country with a storied history and a dark, recent past. It has only been "open" for tourists in the last several years and is still suffering from a tarnished reputation. These are reason enough to visit, but the real draws are the temples and stupas that dot the country. The bonus turned out to be the gentle people of this forgotten land.

We arrived in port just before sunset and immediately headed for Yangon to see the fabled Shwedagon Pagoda by night. The pagoda and associated temples were begun between the 6th and 10th Centuries AD and were re-built and expanded over time. It now stands a whopping 368 feet tall and is covered by real gold plates, riveted in place! Doing the traditional clockwise walk around the stupa, watching the pilgrims and monks in their devotions, under a black sky and light reflected from the giant gold bell, was magical indeed. We had to leave far too soon, as we would have to leave the ship before 4 am the next morning for our expedition to Bagan.

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, MyanmarShwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, MyanmarShwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

Bagan was the capital city of the Pagan Dynasty during the 9th to 13th Century. During the early times of this period, one of the kings adopted Buddhism. Subsequently, he encouraged all of his rich and powerful supporters to build temples and stupas to worship the Buddha. The result is a collection of over 3,000 temples, monasteries, and stupas, spread over 65 square miles! It is effectively a Disneyland of Buddhist Archeology. We had fantastic tours and ended the day with a gourmet meal, by candlelight, next to an ancient temple. The dinner was followed by an Elephant Dance with traditional music. It was an absolutely magical night.

Temples, Bagan, MalaysiaTemples, Bagan, Malaysia Dinner among the Temples, BaganDinner among the Temples, Bagan Temple, Bagan, MalaysiaTemple, Bagan, Malaysia

During our visit to Bagan, we met many "locals," many of whom were from hill tribes from the North of the country. Many of these people had very little previous contact with Westerners and we were very surprised at their reactions. Some would merely stare, others would reach out to touch us or have photos taken with us. One older women went so far as to shake Jane's hand! They are gentle, open people and it took us a while to overcome our jaded suspicions.

Market Day, Bagan, MalaysiaMarket Day, Bagan, Malaysia Monk, Bagan, MalaysiaMonk, Bagan, Malaysia

We returned the following day, arriving in Yangon in time to cast off for our next adventure.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) bagan mark pollitt photography myanmar yangon https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/3/myanbar-yangon-and-bagan Sat, 17 Mar 2018 14:49:22 GMT
The Middle - Seychelles, Maldives, and India https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/3/the-middle---seychelles-maldives-and-india

I've been slacking a bit on my blogging. I planned on making this two entries, but got behind during the transit to India. So, I decided to do one, long entry. After heading East out of Kenya, we sailed for two days, skirting the pirate-infested area off of Somalia,  to reach this mid-ocean chain of islands. The Seychelles are fascinating for a number of reasons, including the fact that they are actually a remnant of when, what is now India, broke off from Africa. A few granite mountains were left in the Indian Ocean and formed the main islands of the archipelago. The other unique aspect is that they were uninhabited by humans until the mid-18th Century. Their isolation and lack of communication with other lands resulted in a unique ecosystem that is the richest I have ever witnessed. The high granite mountains are covered with so many species of plants, that if you stand in one spot, it will be difficult to count the number of species just in your immediate view! While there are a number of unique birds, most are relatively bland. It seems that there are few predators, and the need to compete is less.  Despite the cloudy and rainy weather, we could see that this is a beautiful island with magnificent beaches. It is also a very safe place.

From the Seychelles, we sailed Northeast for another three days to the Maldives. The country is a collection of over 1,000 sandbars in the North Central Indian Ocean. The main island and capital, Mahe, is a tiny, flat, island one and a half by one kilometer and is home to 140,000 people, which makes it one of the most densely populated places on Earth. This is contrasted with hundreds of atolls, most uninhabited, surrounded by magnificent blue coral rings and centers of pure white sand. There is currently unrest in the country, and while there were tensions, we saw no overt activity during our morning walk into town, nor during our snorkeling expedition later in the day.

Leaving the Maldives, we sailed to two ports on the Southwest coast of India: Mangalore and Cochin. This was our first trip to India, so it was quite an experience. We took tours which showed us both the cities and some of the surrounding areas. Even though these two ports were relatively close to each other, the differences in culture, language, and history were striking. My one insight is that India is more a collection of states, cultures, and regions, rather than a unified country. It has a long, rich, and complex history. It is also vast is size (1.2 million square miles) and population (1.3 billion people). We saw astonishing diversity of modern industry and technology interspersed with primitive agriculture; great wealth and crushing poverty; magnificent beauty marred by ugly trash and pollution. This rich tapestry and the vibrant colors make for incredible photographic opportunities, but navigating the many cultural mores and the chaos is challenging.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) cochin india maldives mangalore mark pollitt photography seychelles https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/3/the-middle---seychelles-maldives-and-india Wed, 07 Mar 2018 02:21:02 GMT
East Africa - Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Kenya https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/east-africa---tanzania-zanzibar-and-kenya Bagamoyo Beach After skipping Madagascar, we continued on, up the coast of East Africa. This is a region where the culture of the native Africans met the Islamic Traders, and were shaped by the European "Protectorates" of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The people from the interior of the continent have migrated to the coast, where they live in crowded poverty. Our last day in Kenya, we observed the aftermath of riots caused by the government's bulldozing squatter's shops and shacks located on a major thoroughfare.

Our first stop was in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where we took a rather exciting tour that involved being convoyed by police escort for an hour and a half, out to the small town of Bagamoyo, along the coast. We saw 13th Century ruins of an Arab Trading Post, a Catholic church and college, and the headquarters of the German Protectorate.

 

The following day, we docked on the island of Zanzibar, formerly a separate country,, but since 1964 amalgamated into the Tanzanian union. Unlike the mainland of Tanzania, it is predominantly Muslim. We had an opportunity to see the rural countryside, which is largely agricultural, as well as a visit to the Jozani National park where we visited an ebony forest teeming with various monkey's, including the rare Red Colombus Monkey, and a mangrove swamp. We got to spend the afternoon walking around the ancient Arab city of Stonetown.

Our final day saw us back on the mainland of Africa, in Mombasa, Kenya. After driving through the industrial section, the poor section, and the rich section of the city, we visited what was formerly a quarry for a cement factory (still next door and still operational), that has been reclaimed as a nature reserve. They have done so in fascinating way. Rather than merely bringing in soil and animals, they brought in insects and worms to convert the rock into soil, followed by plants and other animals that would enrich the humus and they slowly built up an entire ecosystem that now houses a wide range of plants an animals. It is essentially a compact zoo and botanical garden combined!

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) tanzania dar es salaam kenya mark pollitt photography mombasa zanzibar https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/east-africa---tanzania-zanzibar-and-kenya Tue, 27 Feb 2018 04:49:43 GMT
The First Leg: South Africa and Mozambique https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/the-first-leg-south-africa-and-mozambique

After our long journey to Cape Town, South Africa, we had a couple of days to rest, in port and while sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. We stopped at four ports on the East coast of South Africa (Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, and Richards Bay) and one (Maputo) in Mozambique. We visited several game parks and the Zulu Nation homeland. We also had an opportunity to walk around in downtown Maputo.

The coastal game parks are mostly private affairs which cater to short-term tourists. The animals are confined to the parks, but the parks are sufficiently large to prevent over-crowding. They are good, but don't have the natural feel of Kruger and Chobe National Parks, nor the volume and range of animals. Since we would arrive late-morning and leave mid-afternoons, we would do a mid-day game drive. Those familiar with nature will recognize that the middle of the day is not the best time to see wildlife. Nonetheless, we did get some good shots and they were worthwhile visits.

This was our first trip to Mozambique. It is a former Portuguese colony is Southeast Africa. It has some interesting architecture ranging from colonial to ultramodern skyscrapers. But the most interesting part of the visit was to the local marketplace, where you can see the food and people of the country.

We have been steaming North for two days, headed for Madagascar. Unfortunately, the wind and currents have caused the Captain to cancel our stop in one of the most interesting islands on our route. Many of us are very disappointed. Our next port will be Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) mark pollitt photography mozambique south africa https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/the-first-leg-south-africa-and-mozambique Sun, 18 Feb 2018 07:34:06 GMT
Namibia https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/namibia Namibia

Our long flight from Frankfurt to Cape Town took us over Namibia during the late morning hours. I have always been taken by the photographs taken in Namibia by almost all the nature/wildlife photographers I have seen. On the ground it is certainly a rich source of photographic inspiration. But from 33,000 feet, you get an entirely new perspective.

Having flown over the American West many times, you realize the scale of landscape. Our photographs on the ground are but mere microscopic visions of what is a continental picture. Flying over the American West, from East to West, we see endless farms and forests nourished by broad rivers. The dominant color is green and angular lines and patterns of human civilization integrate with the natural features. Further West you see tall mountains, high plateaus, and deserts. The colors shift to blacks, greys, reds, browns, and ocher. The greens are never entirely missing, just not a dominant feature except where there are forests and rivers.

The Namibia is home to the oldest desert, with the highest sand dunes, in the world. It stretches all the way from Africa's interior to the Atlantic Ocean. The sight of a vast, orange desert bordering a massive ocean is a unique sight. The interior of the country is mountains and deserts whose only economic gain is mining for diamonds, gold, and uranium. It has a small population that is crammed into a small habitable area, resulting in one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Having now seen Namibia from the air convinces me that I must go and photograph this country! EDITORIAL NOTE: I debated posting the above image, as it is not the quality that represents my work. But the scratched, frosted plexiglass of the aircraft window did not allow any better. I hope you will indulge me on this one image.

 

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) africa mark pollitt photography namibia https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/namibia Fri, 16 Feb 2018 08:32:21 GMT
Beginning of a Journey https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/beginning-of-a-journey Franfurt, Germany ApproachLanding at Frankfurt All journeys have a beginning. In most cases, that beginning is not that much fun. As we look forward to a wonderful kaleidoscope of images and experiences, on what is slated to be an around the world trip, we still have to get to places. This journey started on a perfect Florida evening aboard a Lufthansa 747 bound for Frankfurt. It was great to fly aboard the big Boeing. It brought back fond memories of when they were the backbone of long-range American aviation. Alas, it is only foreign airlines that still fly the '47 in passenger service.

After arrival into Frankfurt, we booked into a room at the Sheraton for a few hours of sleep and a shower. Tonight will be a long night aboard an Airbus 340, bound for Cape Town, South Africa. Stay tuned, we'll let you know more when we get there.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) 747 florida frankfurt germany mark pollitt photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/2/beginning-of-a-journey Wed, 07 Feb 2018 16:02:47 GMT
Winter 2018 Missile Launches https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/1/winter-2018-missile-launches Zuma & SBIRS 4 Launches Zuma LaunchZuma LaunchZuma Liftoff Zuma LaunchZuma Launch Timelapse SBIRS 4 LaunchSBIRS 4 Launch Timelapse SBIRS 4 LaunchSBIRS 4 Launch

The pace of spaceflight has increased a great deal in the last year or so. SpaceX alone had 17 launches. 2018 is starting off with a bang as well. I had the opportunity to photograph both the super-secret (and unfortunately failed) launch of the Zuma Payload aboard a Falcon 9, as well as, the launch of the SBIRS-4 Ballistic Missile Warning Satellite aboard an Atlas 5. Both were early evening launches under clear skies and cool, dry conditions. A very nice change from the usual conditions. You can find some interesting additional photos in my Space and Astronomy Page.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) atlas-5 falcon-9 florida mark pollitt photography sbirs-4 spacex titusville zuma https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/1/winter-2018-missile-launches Wed, 24 Jan 2018 00:52:57 GMT
Best of 2017 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/12/best-of-2017 Fiery Dawn - Ft. Christmas Crimson Dawn - Orlando Wetlands Park

2017 was a busy year. Busy is good, if you're taking pictures. It is even better when you have beautiful things to photograph. We traveled to virtually every part of the eastern half of the North Atlantic; from Bonaire to Iceland. In the past 12 months, I have taken just over 25,000 photographs. So, I must be having fun. But quantity isn't the reason to take photographs. I have been pleased with the progress I have made both technically and artistically this year. So, I hope that you, my audience, will find increasing pleasure in seeing these images.

A couple of years ago, I started posting an annual "Best of" collection. But as I went through my images, I realized that almost half of all of my photographs were taken at the Orlando Wetlands Park. Since I get to be there early and late, and get to take photographs of the flora and fauna to show visitors on my tours, I get a lot of practice.  So this year I'm posting two different "end of year" collections: one highlighting my travels and the other my photography at the Orlando Wetlands Park. The former is just called Best of 2017 and the latter Orlando Wetlands Park 2017. Enjoy!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) mark pollitt photography orlando wetlands park https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/12/best-of-2017 Mon, 01 Jan 2018 02:46:57 GMT
Insignia Cruise to Cuba https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/12/insignia-cruise-to-cuba  

1953 Ford Crestline Convertible1953 Ford Crestline Convertible

The day after Thanksgiving, we sailed aboard Oceania's Insignia to Key West and then on to Havana, Cienfuegos, and finally Santiago de Cuba. This is a trip that I have been looking forward to for a long time. For a photographer, Cuba is one of the most fascinating destinations. The country is essentially a time capsule. And while there have been many thousands of visitors in the last several years, many of whom are photographers, it gives you the feeling that you are the first to see these things in recent memory.

Because of the recent changes in regulations governing Americans traveling to Cuba, we opted to stick with the tours offered by the cruise line. These tours were not designed with photographers in mind, so much of the shooting was done "run and gun," snatching shots as you kept moving from place to place. This is not the ideal artistic approach to photography, but it does force you to shoot what you see. I think if you look at the shots taken in Key West and compare them to those taken in  Cuba, I think that they have a very different feel. Those taken in Cuba have a more documentary look. That is not all bad, as I went there to look at the country with fresh eyes. Perhaps I'll go back sometime and have the luxury of taking my time to create more artistic images.

I'm glad I went and would encourage any photographer to take a look at this place before it disappears in the march of progress.

You can see my Insignia-Cuba Collection here: http://www.markpollittphoto.com/p662085267

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) cienfuegos cuba florida havana mark pollitt photography santiago de cuba https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/12/insignia-cruise-to-cuba Mon, 18 Dec 2017 01:50:11 GMT
Another Dawn Flight https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/12/another-dawn-flight MCO DawnOrlando Airport Dawn

Another aerorplane
Another sunny place
I'm lucky I know
But I want to go home...

Michael Buble

I fly - a lot. After viewing this shot taken from the People Mover at the Orlando Airport one recent dawn, I realized that the two most iconic times at the airport are the "dawn patrols" and the "Friday Night, last plane in." It seems that these are the times that only the inexperienced travel, because they don't know any better; or the professionals, who fly because they have to be somewhere. They are also the times that often share the two quintessential emotions of travel: fatigue and satisfaction. The former because travel is hard work. The latter for a host of reasons including being somewhere to see the beautiful beginning of another adventure. But sometimes, it's that you want to go home.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) mark pollitt photography orlando https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/12/another-dawn-flight Sat, 16 Dec 2017 13:05:02 GMT
Miami to Iceland Journey Photos Posted https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/8/miami-to-iceland-journey-photos-posted Miami Pilot StationMiami Pilot StationU.S. and Canada Gallery Kirkjufell, Grundarfjörður, IcelandKirkjufell, Grundarfjörður, IcelandGreenland and Iceland Gallery

In July, we sailed for 20 days from tropical Miami to brisk Iceland. Along the way, we stopped in: Port Canaveral, Norfolk, New York, Boston, Bar Harbor, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, two ports in Greenland, and two ports in Iceland. It was a diverse and fun trip. It was a real photographic challenge to photograph everything from major cities, quaint villages, flat lands, mountains, seascapes, volcanoes, glaciers, icebergs and wildlife under every possible weather condition from bright, tropical sunshine to dense, cold fog, and everything in between. Of course, that was the fun part!

The not-so-fun part was coming home to cull and edit well over 5,000 images. Fortunately you, the viewer, don't have to wade through all of those. I have selected around 140 images, separated into two galleries. I decided to break the trip up into a U.S. and Canada Gallery and a Greenland and Iceland Gallery. You can also click on the photos above.

Please enjoy the images and feel free to leave a post on the Guestbook.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) bar harbor boston brunswick greenland iceland mark pollitt photography miami new new york newfoundland norfolk nova scotia https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/8/miami-to-iceland-journey-photos-posted Wed, 09 Aug 2017 23:23:41 GMT
Final Stops: Iceland https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/final-stops-iceland Gatklettur - Arch RockGatklettur - Arch Rock

Our final two stops were to a country ironically named Iceland. It is ironic, in that Greenland is not green at all: it is almost completely covered by ice. Along the coasts there is black rock, but no trees or grass. On the other hand, Iceland has a lot of green, albeit mostly grasses and moss, but they are trying to re-establish some forest. In the summer, Iceland has an intermittent mantle of bright, Irish green, punctuated by rugged dark rock and brightly colored minerals, all of which is illuminated by soft shafts of blue or golden light filtered by clouds.

Photography in Iceland is both a joy and a frustration. The landscape features are amazing, as is the lighting. But it takes patience to wait for the artistic coincidence of the great light hitting the beautiful landscape. The weather changes so quickly, that the light can be gone before you can get a shot. In an hour, it can go from brilliant sunshine, to dark and foreboding, to impenetrable fog. Traveling by ship and motor coach is not the best way to get great photos in Iceland.

Iceland is truly a country of fire and ice. It is a colossal classroom of Earth Science: unique glaciers, active volcanoes, tectonic plates, and so many waterfalls, that many are not even named!

The first day we anchored in the harbor of Grundarfjordur, for a tour of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Towering over the town is Mt. Kirkjufell, one of the most photographed mountains in the country. Our tour took us to a number of scenic and historical locations. Unfortunately, most of the day the weather was dark and windy, making good photography difficult. You are literally going from under to over exposed in a matter of seconds, with low visibility and haze.

The second day, we docked in Reykjavík, the world's most northern capital city. I had been here in 1998, when the population of the entire country was under a quarter million. At that time, the buildings were mostly wooden structures. Now, the country has over 350,000 people and a modestly large, modern city. Most of our time was spent on the classic "Golden Circle" tour which takes you to the major tourist attractions of the largest waterfall in Europe (Gullfoss), the original geyser (Geysir), and the National Park that is both the location of the oldest, continuous parliament and the rift valley formed by the separation of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Thus ends another adventure. We sailed over 4,500 miles, to 4 countries, and 12 ports in 20 days. I took over 5,000 images. So, it will be awhile before I select the best images for a gallery on my website. Until then, keep seeing and keep shooting!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) geysir grundarfjordur gullfoss iceland mark pollitt photography snaefellsnes https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/final-stops-iceland Tue, 01 Aug 2017 03:12:07 GMT
Qaqortoq, Greenland https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/qaqortoq-greenland

Icebergs and growlers met our arrival in Qaqortoq, Greenland. The town, population of 3,200, is located in southern Greenland. As we arrived at our anchorage, we were accompanied by a lovely iceberg that slowly rotated around our ship for the whole day, melting drop-by-drop, changing shape and texture.

 

 

The town provided a look at more traditional Inuit life in the North. The local fish market offered fresh whale meat, harvested earlier that day, to the locals. Behind the houses and businesses of the village, there was a beautiful lake. Along the way, we fought off the national bird of Greenland, the mosquito!

As we enjoyed the sun and relatively warm temperatures, an ominous gathering of icebergs formed outside the harbor. After reviewing the latest Ice Charts, the Captain and Greenland Pilot decided it was far too dangerous to proceed with our planned transit of the Prince William Sound. With a great deal of disappointment, we set sail, the long way around, for Iceland.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) greenland mark pollitt photography qaqortoq https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/qaqortoq-greenland Sun, 23 Jul 2017 11:36:04 GMT
Nuuk, Greenland https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/nuuk-greenland

As we approached Greenland, the weather turned rough: 10-12 foot seas, 40 knot winds, air temperature 39F, sea water temperature 36. We also saw our first ice today. This delayed our entry into the capital of Greenland, Nuuk. It is hard to conceive of a country the size of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined, with only 57,000 people. Nuuk has almost half of them. In comparison, tiny Iceland has 355,000 people.

Slowly, the weather improved and we were able to tender ashore after lunch. The city has a combination of traditional, wooden structures and new, modern high-rise buildings. As the day progressed, the weather improved, and by 10 o'clock in the evening, it was beautiful. The weather forecast for our next scheduled port was so bad, that the captain chose to spend the night at Nuuk, do another short shore visit in the morning and then get underway for our next Greenland port: Qaqortoq.

 

The morning dawned with a renewal of the fog, and after a short, cold, visit, we resumed our journey.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) greenland mark pollitt photography nuuk https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/nuuk-greenland Sun, 23 Jul 2017 11:06:29 GMT
Canadian Maritimes https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/canadian-maritimes Peggy's Cove

With port calls on 6 of seven days, I have fallen further behind in my blogging. Rather than try to do separate blog entries for each of the Canadian Maritime provinces we visited, I’ll just do one. You will have to wait until I post the album to get the full impact. Further, we have been so far North, that we haven’t had much satellite bandwidth for three days.

The first Canadian port was St. John, New Brunswick, not to be confused with the third port St. Johns, Newfoundland. We signed up for a photo tour of New Brunswick, only to have the skies overcast and a pouring rain for most of the shooting. The biggest challenge was keeping our gear dry and the lens clear of rain. All-in-all, it wasn’t a very satisfying visit.

Our second Canadian port was Halifax, Nova Scotia, and what a winner it was. Halifax is a fun little town, but the real star was Peggy’s Cove, a much-photographed little fishing village. And while we had plenty of company, I could have easily spent a couple of days in and around the town. The rest of the island looked interesting as well. We’ll have to come back “on the ground” to fully appreciate this port.

 

Our last Canadian port was St. Johns (with an “s” at the end), was also stunning. We took a tour that included a boat ride along the beautiful coast, out to an Atlantic Puffin rookery, and among a bunch of humpback and Minke whales. Later we went to Point Spear, the easternmost point in North America and saw more of the beautiful coastline and as many as five whales at a time.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) canada mark pollitt photography new brunswick newfoundland nova scotia https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/canadian-maritimes Sat, 22 Jul 2017 00:04:33 GMT
Boston https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/boston Old South Meeting HouseOld South Meeting House

Historical gems, such as the Old South Meeting House, are tucked inside the modern city of Boston. We didn't arrive until afternoon and departed by nine in the evening. While our visit was a short one, with only enough time for a quick city tour, it provided a feel for how rich a visit to Boston could be. The weather wasn't particularly cooperative, as the sky was mostly overcast with a heavy summer haze.

Boston Skyline at NightBoston Skyline at Night

As darkness fell, and we got underway, some of the fog disappeared and we were treated to a wonderful view of the city's skyline and a very up-close-and-personal view of Logan Airport's duty runway. Later, the Moon rose with an orange glow, just above the low-lying clouds. Stay tuned for our next stop: Bar Harbor, Maine.

Logan Runway - NightLogan Runway - Night Boston MoonriseBoston Moonrise

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) boston mark pollitt photography old south meeting house https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/boston Thu, 13 Jul 2017 20:13:14 GMT
New York City https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/new-york-city Grand Central StationMain Hall, Grand Central Station

Next up, the Big Apple. While I have sailed in and out of New York harbor on a number of occasions, it is always a magical moment. Seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island always makes you imagine what our ancestors thought as they left their homes, families, and identities behind to build a new life and country.

We spent the day photographing Grand Central Station (you need to get a permit to use a tripod and professional gear), the New York Public Library, and Times Square. It was hot and crowded.

The sunset departure was a pleasant change of pace. And while the sunset wasn't a particularly lovely one, it did provide a few interesting moments of light.

Manhattan SunsetSunset on Lower Manhattan

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) grand central station manhattan mark pollitt photography new york city https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/new-york-city Thu, 13 Jul 2017 01:50:34 GMT
Norfolk https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/norfolk Nauticus Center NorfolkNauticus Cruise Ship Terminal

First of all, I'm having a bit of a struggle keeping up with the blogging. Too much to do, too many photos to take, process, etc. Oh well, live and learn...

Our next stop was Norfolk, Virginia. Not exactly a household name in cruise destinations. That's unfortunate, because it has turned into a wonderful port call. As you can see from the photo above, we literally docked right downtown, next to the maritime museum and the USS Wisconsin. Norfolk is undergoing a bit of a renaissance right now, with many new attractions and restaurants within blocks of the pier.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) In case you're thinking: "But isn't Norfolk a big Navy Town?", you would also be right. A good friend of mine was kind enough to get us not only on the Naval Base (the largest in the world), but onto the pier where the USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) and the about-to-be-commissioned Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) were both docked. Standing between these two mega-ships is awe inspiring! Thanks, John!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) mark pollitt photography norfolk uss eisenhower uss gerald r. ford virginia https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/norfolk Thu, 13 Jul 2017 01:35:37 GMT
Day at Sea https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/day-at-sea Deep Blue SeaSomewhere in the Atlantic Today supposed to be a leisurely day at sea. And it started that way. A bright Sun shown down on a deep blue ocean. "Deep blue sea" is not just an expression. As the lecturer today mentioned, the deep ocean gets it rich, dark, deep blue because the ocean swallows (absorbs, in scientific terms) all of the red, yellow, and green light; reflecting only the pure blue.

USCG Rescue at SeaHH-60 from CGAS Elizabeth City, July 8, 2017 But the peaceful day came to a dramatic conclusion with a medical evacuation from the ship. The Coast Guard sent out one of their HH-60 Jayhawks, painted in the Coast Guard Aviation Centennial paint job. While the color represents the color of the original USCG helicopters, I don't find it aesthetically pleasing.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Coast Guard Deep Blue Sea Mark Pollitt Photography USCG https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/day-at-sea Mon, 10 Jul 2017 03:07:52 GMT
First Stop - Port Canaveral https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/first-stop---port-canaveral Port Canaveral Thunderhead Nothing like starting in your own back yard! Since I have lived a good portion of my last dozen years in the Orlando area, a port call in Port Canaveral seems rather pointless. But then again, like many things about cruising, it forces you to take a different perspective. I heard many of the other passengers remark at how flat Florida is. That is certainly true. So what is it about its lack of terrain do I, as a photographer, appreciate? One thing is the sky. In hilly country, particularly with tall trees, you can't see the grand and constantly changing landscape that is the sky.

Birthplace of Space FlightCape Canaveral Air Force Station - where the early astronauts launched. As we departed for our next port, we sailed along the shoreline of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. While NASA's Kennedy Space Center is better known, CCAFS is actually the birthplace of space flight. It is where the early military missles were tested and where the Mercury astronauts launched into space. I know the Air Force is trying to preserve some of that history and you can see some of that while sailing North.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) florida mark pollitt photography port canaveral https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/first-stop---port-canaveral Mon, 10 Jul 2017 02:45:14 GMT
The Journey Begins https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/the-journey-begins Miami Pilot StationMiami Pilot Station and Coast Guard Base Miami

We begin our mystery journey in Miami, birthplace of modern cruising. We were whisked from the airport to the ship and were aboard in, literally, minutes. Several hours later, we cast-off and got underway. Leaving the Port of Miami is always interesting for me. As a former Coast Guard officer stationed there in the early 1980's it is amazing to see the city's growth and evolution. It has become the capital of the Caribbean and South America. The photo above shows the Miami Pilot Station in the foreground and Coast Guard Base Miami across the channel, on the right.

Life Boat DrillOld Veterans get Abandon Ship instruction from young crew members. 2017

All journeys have formalities. Before getting underway, most ships hold an Abandon Ship Drill. I took this photo of our iteration of this tradition. In looking at the photo, I realized that some of the men were veterans and some were wearing baseball caps celebrating their service. Despite their age, many stood as upright as the could, paying attention to the Captain's instructions just as they had decades ago, as young servicemen. The drill leaders were the young crew members of our ship, most never having experienced an on board emergency. This seemed, to me, an interesting juxtaposition to the experience of the veterans who were, inevitably, schooled in formation by their older, experienced leaders.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Florida Mark Pollitt Photography Miami https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/the-journey-begins Sat, 08 Jul 2017 19:30:40 GMT
Getting Ready to Roll https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/getting-ready-to-roll Thomas Viaduct Elkridge, MarylandThomas Viaduct Elkridge, MarylandThomas Viaduct, Elkridge, Maryland

After a busy Spring and early Summer, it is finally time to go out and enjoy some travel time. I've been tuning up my photo gear, selecting my load-out and preparing for an epic voyage: I'm going to make it a bit of a mystery, so stay tuned to this blog for updates along the way.

As part of my tune-up of gear and techniques, I went to the Patapsco State Park in Elkridge to take a look around and photograph the Thomas Viaduct. This railroad bridge, was built between July 4th 1833 and July 4th 1835. It is the world's oldest multiple-arched stone railroad bridge. It has survived numerous disastrous floods, including last summer's tragic flooding of Ellicott City. It remains in daily passenger and freight service, and is therefore one of the oldest operational bridges. It is 612 feet long and interestingly, is built on a 4 degree curve.

 

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Mark Pollitt Photography Thomas Viaduct railroad bridge https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/7/getting-ready-to-roll Thu, 06 Jul 2017 11:23:21 GMT
Spring in the Midwest https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/6/spring-in-the-mid-west Iowa SpringtimeIowa SpringtimeAmes, Iowa. June 2017

I journeyed to Iowa this week. It has been many years since I got to walk down a country road in America's heartland. The warm sun, gentle breeze, the smell of freshly tilled soil, and the bird songs are magically peaceful. It is a spiritual reminder that our country's industrial and political might are balanced by our agrarian roots. When life gets crazy, when the world seems mad, try to recall the peace and harmony of a world that changes with the seasons, bends to the weather, and does God's work.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Iowa Mark Pollitt Photography springtime https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/6/spring-in-the-mid-west Mon, 12 Jun 2017 02:43:43 GMT
NROL-76 Launch https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/5/nrol-76-launch NROL-76NROL-76The Launch of NROL-76, May 1, 2017

After getting scrubbed on Sunday, SpaceX scheduled another attempt to launch the NRO satellite early Monday morning. So again, I got up early and drove over to Titusville to try and photograph the launch. The launch pad was covered by a low, thick cloud deck with a great deal of moisture underneath. In fact, I got a rather interesting shot of the pad with a storm crossing an orange opening in the haze. But just about launch time, the cloud deck rose just a bit. And while it served to shield the lens from the direct rays of the rising sun, what resulted was one of the toughest backlight situations I've ever seen for a launch. But the result is a very environmental portrait of the launch.

SpaceX chose to land the first stage on the landing pad at Cape Canaveral. I was able to photograph a good portion of the decent, but was unable to see the final landing at the pad. I did get to experience the tremendous sonic boom associated with its return. Today's display of engineering and manufacturing excellence was truly inspiring. BZ

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Aviation Florida Mark Pollitt Photography NROL-76 SpaceX Titusville https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/5/nrol-76-launch Mon, 01 May 2017 23:52:24 GMT
Waiting for NROL-76 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/4/waiting-for-nrol-76 Waiting for NROL-76 Waiting for NROL-76

It seems that photographers (and firemen) only do two things: wait for things to happen or rush to where things are happening. The latter is easy - we know where we are going and what to do when we get there. The former is more difficult. Trying to make satisfying and productive use of what is otherwise "dead" time is a challenge. Sometimes we just force ourselves to do things that need doing, but aren't very satisfying. Cleaning lenses is a chore. I don't know many people who enjoy it. But sometimes it just pays to watch the world go by.

This morning, I got up before dawn to photograph the launch of a "spy satellite," NROL-76. I've shot more than a few launches, and know from experience that you need to get set up early to secure the best viewpoint. You setup your tripod and equipment and then you wait. More so with classified satellites, as they give you very wide launch windows and you don't know when it's actually going to go until the last few minutes. So, you wait. I always keep a spare body, with a wide-angle lens ready, to shoot contrails or "unprogrammed events" (bad things that happen to missiles.) It also serves as backup to the main camera in case of unprogrammed camera events.

This morning, as I stood around just waiting, what started as a very unremarkable dawn, yielded two very different shots in the matter of a couple of minutes.  The mission was scrubbed, so I get to get up early again tomorrow. But sometimes it just pays to watch the world go by. Enjoy!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Florida Mark Pollitt Photography NROL-76 Sunrise Titusville https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/4/waiting-for-nrol-76 Mon, 01 May 2017 03:03:49 GMT
Royal Princess Cruise 2017 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/3/royal-princess-cruise-2017 Eleuthera SoundEleuthera Sound

After my long hiatius, we decided that we needed yet another cruise (#45). So, along with some friends, we booked a cruise on Princess Cruises Royal Princess. The ten-day trip took us from Ft. Lauderdale, to Eleuthera, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, and Aruba. It was good to get away and just enjoy life for a bit. It also gave me several opportunities to photograph both familiar and new sights. Having traveled to the Caribbean for many decades, the pace of change in the islands seems to accelerate with time. The increasing commercialization and economic colonization of the islands is leaving less and less of the essential natural habitats and culture. So, I try to photograph those that still exist.

I hope you enjoy this Royal Princess 2017 photo album.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Aruba Bonaire Dominica Eleuthera Ft. Grenada Lauderdale Mark Pollitt Photography Princess Cruise Lines Royal Princess St. Thomas https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/3/royal-princess-cruise-2017 Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:27:14 GMT
I'm Back.... https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/3/im-back  

A Sundown on the MississippiMississippi River Sundown - February, 2017

After a long hiatus, I have returned to my blog. I resumed my journey with a business trip to New Orleans just before Mardi Gras. I have been there many times, but I hadn't been back since Katrina. Ten years after the storm, one can see the devastation everywhere. While the city's spirit has remained, it will still be a long time before it regains its glory.

In the meanwhile, I had just a bit of time to do some photography with a new camera: a Canon M3. While it will never replace my DSLR, it certainly has some interesting travel potential as well as some great image quality. I hope you enjoy my New Orleans 2017 album. I promise to be back soon with more travel, nature, and landscapes.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Canon M3 Mark Pollitt Photography New Orleans https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2017/3/im-back Fri, 17 Mar 2017 02:11:42 GMT
France 2016 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/7/france-2016 New Cloisters, Cluny AbbyNew Cloisters, Cluny Abby

In June we were scheduled for a couple of days in Paris, followed by a week-long cruise down the Saone and Rhone rivers of France. Travel doesn't always go the way it is planned. The weather in Paris was mostly overcast and rainy. France had gotten so much rain during the spring and early summer that all the rivers were so swollen that the ships could not navigate or pass under the bridges. So, after arriving at our ship, which was not were it was supposed to be, we ended up sleeping aboard the ship and taking daily bus tours to progressively more distant sights that we were supposed to sail to.  It was a very disappointing and exhausting trip.

But as a determined photographer, I believe that you can find, if not beauty, shots anywhere. So, I have put together a gallery that was the best I could do on this misadventure. Enjoy, and as always, please post your comments on the web.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) france mark pollitt photography rhone river cruise saone https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/7/france-2016 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:12:07 GMT
Launch of Atlas OA-6 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/3/launch-of-atlas-oa-6  

Liftoff of OA-6 Mission to the ISSLiftoff of OA-6 Mission to the ISS

March 22, 2016 - This was a picture perfect night for a launch. Pleasantly cool temperatures, a light breeze, and a full Moon set the stage for the latest re-supply mission to the International Space Station. United Launch Alliance didn't disappoint the many spectators by, once again, launching on-time, with no holds. I have posted a couple of pictures in a special gallery, at the request of a number of the spectators who shared the experience at one of Titusville's waterfront parks. I enjoyed your company.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Atlas Aviation Florida Mark Pollitt Photography OA-6 Titusville https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/3/launch-of-atlas-oa-6 Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:52:24 GMT
Tico Airshow 2016 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/3/tico-airshow-2016

The Space Coast Regional Airport, once known as the Titusville-Cocoa Airport, and locally referred to as TICO , has hosted an air show for many years. It is one of the first of the airshow season, and is a popular show locally. This year's show included a new approach for Friday's events. It featured a somewhat shortened day show at 3:30 in the afternoon, followed by a twilight show at 7:30 and fireworks following that.

The weather was perfect, clear and with a moderate breeze. The show included a USAF F-16 Demonstration Team, several P-51's, T-28's, B-25's, a MIG-17, and the AeroShell demonstration Team. The pilots put on a good show, with the "show line" close enough for everybody to feel a part of the action. It has been awhile since I've photographed an air show, and the low-shutter speeds required to give the propellers a blur is a challenge. Add to that the rapidly fading light of the twilight show, and it made for a wonderful day and evening of shooting. Some selected images can be found on the TICO Airshow Page of my website.

Please enjoy and feel free to leave a post.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Florida Mark Pollitt Photography TICO Airshow Titusville aviation https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/3/tico-airshow-2016 Tue, 15 Mar 2016 18:22:04 GMT
Winter in the Southwest https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/3/winter-in-the-southwest

In connection with a recent business trip, I was able to take a bit of time to photograph two amazing locations: Grand Canyon National Park and Valley of Fire State Park. The former is, of course, one of the true wonders of the World, while the latter is a huge (~42,000 acres) Nevada State Park located about 50 miles North of Las Vegas. Both provide spectacular opportunities for photography.

Winter is a wonderful time to photograph in the Southwest. The sun and moon are bright, but the air is clear, with few clouds. The temperatures in the daytime are comfortable, but evenings can be downright cold.  Speaking of the moon, I happened to be at the Grand Canyon during a full moon that allowed me to do some long exposure shots. You can view the three galleries: Grand Canyon by Night, Daylight Grand Canyon, and Valley of Fire. I hope you enjoy this images. If you do, please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Arizona Grand Canyon Mark Pollitt Photography Nevada Valley of Fire https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/3/winter-in-the-southwest Sun, 06 Mar 2016 17:40:36 GMT
Grand Canyon by Moonlight https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/2/grand-canyon-by-moonlight Kaibab by MoonlightKaibab by Moonlight

On a recent business trip to the Southwest, I was able to take a couple of days off to do some photography. One of the stops was at the Grand Canyon National Park. The sun set on us during the long drive to the park. We noticed, right after sunset, that a full moon was rising. So, after checking into our hotel and grabbing a bite to eat, we went out to take a look at the canyon by moon light. It was a magnificent view, with nobody around. Despite the cold temperatures, I decided to do some long-exposures images of the park. With a 30-second exposures, the scenes look like daylight. But if you look carefully, you can see the stars in the "blue" sky.

The next day, we were out at the rim before sunrise, and while it is a mystical experience, it didn't produce spectacular images. But we soldiered on and as the sun ascended in the sky, we got quite a few excellent images. These will be posted on a future gallery. But in Winter, the sun sets early and the cold returns. But since we had dinner in the park, I decided to try some "moon-rise" photos. These proved interesting as well.

The gallery for my moonlight images is here: http://www.markpollittphoto.com/p812840769

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Arizona Grand Canyon National Park Mark Pollitt Photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/2/grand-canyon-by-moonlight Mon, 29 Feb 2016 21:09:40 GMT
Best of 2015 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/2/best-of-2015 Bathing the Baths

As a started doing last year, I have put up a number of my favorite images for last year. A number of these you will also find in some of my other collections, but there are many that have not be previously published. You can find them at: http://www.markpollittphoto.com/p841888735.

I hope you will take a minute to look over these photos, comment on those you found particularly worthy, and inspire you to new journeys and adventures of your own - whether it is seeing a familiar object in a fresh way or feeling motivated to go someplace new. Photography is about seeing life in front of us.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Mark Pollitt Photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/2/best-of-2015 Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:30 GMT
Orlando Wetlands Festival 2016 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/1/orlando-wetlands-festival-2016

It's that time of year again, the Orlando Wetlands Park will celebrate its 16th Annual Orlando Wetlands Festival at the park In Christmas, Florida. And this year it is special: they are celebrating the opening of the park on a year-round basis! Previously, the park has been closed during the winter. Now visitors can see the park 365 days a year, starting February 1, 2016. 

The festival will include guided birding hikes, plant identification hikes, a wetlands exploration with a noted biologist, hayrides and many other events.  I and several other photographers will be doing photo walks that day (mine is at 10:30 AM). Visitors need to park at the Fort Christmas Historical Park, where there are lots of exhibits, vendors and activities for kids. Then they can take a shuttle bus to the OWP, where they can partake of the various hikes, hay rides, and guided tours. It will be a wonderful celebration of Florida's True Nature.

For more information see the City of Orlando's site: http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/wetlands-festival/

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Mark Pollitt Photography Orlando Wetlands Festival 2016 Orlando Wetlands Park https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/1/orlando-wetlands-festival-2016 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 13:14:04 GMT
Australia & New Zealand Photos https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/1/australia-new-zealand-photos Emerging LightEmerging Light

I had hoped to blog during our recent trip on the Celebrity Cruises Solstice, but the Internet connections were barely adequate for email, despite the excessive price. So, I had to wait until my return to post the photos from the trip.

The trip began over New Years - we took off on December 30th and landed in Sydney on January 1st. We spent a couple of days in Sydney, under some very unseasonable cloudy and rainy conditions, certainly not conducive to classical travel shots. We sailed on January 5th for Melbourne & Hobart in Australia; then on to the New Zealand ports of: Fiordland National Park, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Taronga, Bay of Islands, and finally Auckland.

Each port provided new opportunities and challenges. The album is at: http://www.markpollittphoto.com/p954406221 I hope you will enjoy my efforts.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Australia Celebrity Cruises Mark Pollitt Photography New Zealand Solstice https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2016/1/australia-new-zealand-photos Fri, 22 Jan 2016 20:43:52 GMT
Amazon Adventure Photos https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/12/amazon-adventure-photos Play Music...Play Music...

For 26 wonderful days we got to sail from Miami to Manaus, Brazil and back, some 7,000 miles, making many wonderful new friends. As one person commented, "it's like an Amazon River Cruise sandwiched between two Caribbean cruises. The trip provided some great opportunities for photography, including travel, landscape, documentary, portraiture, and wildlife. I "culled" 150 photos from the 5900+ that I took and placed them in a single, cruise-specific collection: Regatta 2015. This is a bit larger than I like, and I will likely link many of the photos to more generic (landscape, nature, etc.) collections at a later date. I hope you enjoy them. Please leave me a post if you do!

In the meanwhile, I have to get ready for our next adventure: Australia and New Zealand!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Amazon River Caribbean Mark Pollitt Photography Regatta https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/12/amazon-adventure-photos Tue, 08 Dec 2015 18:31:25 GMT
Welcome to the Amazon https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/11/welcome-to-the-amazon Blue & Gold Flight of Three

Yesterday we entered the mouth of the Mighty Amazon. It's width makes it almost impossible to see from side to side. But it is not the size that first hits you - it is the overwhelming smell of countless fires, set by residents to clear land for farming. What smells like destruction and loss of an important ecosystem to us, feels like progress to the residents. On a brighter note, about two dozen Blue and Yellow Macaws flew over the ship just before sunset. That feels like a warm welcome.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Amazon River Mark Pollitt Photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/11/welcome-to-the-amazon Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:57:01 GMT
Miami Welcomes the Night https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/11/miami-welcomes-the-night Miami Welcomes the NightMiami Welcomes the Night

We begin our voyage to the far reaches of the Amazon from Miami, Florida. Our departure is delayed so we can take on more provisions, which allowed me time to photograph the city's transformation from gleaming, tropical metropolis to one of the most exciting cities in the world. The changes in the skyline, over time are phenomenal. When I was stationed here, many years ago, the building on the right of the photo, with the TV broadcast antenna, was the tallest building in town. The rising of the neon, with the setting of the sun was an appropriate send-off on our journey. Stay tuned for updates on our trip.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Florida Mark Pollitt Photography Miami https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/11/miami-welcomes-the-night Thu, 05 Nov 2015 03:20:09 GMT
Florida Fall https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/10/florida-fall Florida Fall FoliageFlorida Fall Foliage

When you think of Fall, you think of mountains and trees of yellow, orange, and red. You think of cool days and chilly nights. We don't have that in Florida. Fall, for us, is a transition between the oppressive heat and humidity of Summer to the season that is the reason for Florida: Winter. But for a brief few weeks, the air dries out, the days are merely warm and the wildflowers abound. This is Florida's Fall.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Florida Mark Pollitt Photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/10/florida-fall Tue, 20 Oct 2015 20:10:38 GMT
Washington Night Shoot https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/8/washington-night-shoot

I was out shooting at the Howard Country Nature Conservancy, when a gentleman came over to talk to me. It turned out that he was a member of a local photo guild and he invited me to go with them on a sunset/night shoot down in Washington, DC. I'm always interested in meeting other photographers, so I quickly agreed. I had a wonderful evening shooting with the Central Maryland Photographer's Guild. Thanks John Maloney!

You can see more of the images from that shoot on my Washington, DC gallery.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Mark Pollitt Photography Washington, DC https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/8/washington-night-shoot Sun, 30 Aug 2015 22:09:23 GMT
Sacramento https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/8/sacramento

I recently spent several days in Sacramento, California on business. Fortunately, I was able to take a bit of time off to photograph some of the city's sights and surrounding countryside. Not being very familiar with the area, I was fortunate to have gotten some location advice from David McKay, from McKay Photography Academy. David was very generous with his advice and I look forward to doing a photo trip with him. In addition to Sacramento, I was able to wander around Sutter's Creek, Amador, and Volcano - old mining towns to the Southeast of Sacramento. On one particularly memorable evening, I was joined by friend and fellow photographer Carl Kriigel. You can see the gallery from this trip on the California page of my website.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Amador, CA Mark Pollitt Photography Sacramento Sutters Creek, CA Volcano, CA https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/8/sacramento Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:01:14 GMT
Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/6/pinckney-national-wildlife-refuge Storm BrewingStorm BrewingStorm Brewing over Pinckney Island

 

Pinckney Island PathPinckney Island PathPinckney Island Path

On a recent drive up the East Coast, I had a small amount of time to spend at Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge before some wicked thunderstorms hit. I only had time to do a few shots, and given the dramatic skies, with high contrast, I chose to do a couple of HDR strings. The pictures you see here are the result. Enjoy!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Mark Pollitt Photography Pinckney Island South Carolina https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/6/pinckney-national-wildlife-refuge Sun, 07 Jun 2015 03:00:36 GMT
Madeira Photography https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/4/madiera-photography

During my recent transatlantic voyage, we stopped in Madeira. This island, some 360 miles West of Morocco, is  part of Portugal and is noted for its wines. It is a volcanic island with steep hills and a rugged coast. The islanders have created vast terraced fields where they grow a multitude of crops and flowers. It is a stunningly beautiful island. Having been there before, I knew that I wanted to spend my time there photographing its landscapes. I was unable to find a dedicated photography guide, but was able to locate a highly-rated tourist firm, Hit The Road Tours, and it's owner, Jeff, was willing to work with me to spend a day photographing the island. While he didn't have a photographic background, he's a quick study and he knows all the best spots to see on the island. Together, we had a great time and the resulting photographs came out well. I look forward to working with Jeff and  his firm again. I welcome you to view my photos in the Madeira collection

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Hit The Road Tours Madeira Mark Pollitt Photography Portugal https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/4/madiera-photography Wed, 29 Apr 2015 14:27:14 GMT
Rescue at Sea https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/4/rescue-at-sea On a recent Transatlantic voyage, our ship had to divert towards the Azores in order to facilitate the medical evacuation of a passenger. The Portuguese Air Force sent a Merlin helicopter, along with a fixed-wing "bird dog," to act as top cover and radio relay. The rescue occurred at dawn and I was able to get some pretty good shots of the action. It was odd, having been the one (in the distant past) flying the helicopter, to be photographing the mission.

The mission was well executed by both the crew of the MS Riviera and the Portuguese Air Force.  The patient, I understand, is doing well. Bravo Zulu!

You can see some of the photos on the Rescue @ Sea page.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Marina Mark Pollitt Photography Oceania Portuguese Air Force cruise helicopter rescue ship https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/4/rescue-at-sea Sat, 25 Apr 2015 20:12:27 GMT
Opening Day at Orlando Wetlands Park https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/2/opening-day-at-orlando-wetlands-park Some people look forward to the Opening Day of baseball. Others look forward to the beginning of school. Every year, I look forward to the opening of the Orlando Wetlands Park. This year the weather was wonderful and the public came out in unprecedented numbers. This is one of the best kept secrets in the Orlando area. If you're around, they will be holding their 15th Annual Wetlands Festival on Saturday, February 21, 2015. That's something else to look forward to.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Orlando Wetlands Festival orlando wetlands park https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/2/opening-day-at-orlando-wetlands-park Wed, 04 Feb 2015 00:55:14 GMT
Best of 2014 https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/1/best-of-2014 Roundhouse DomeThe dome of the B&O Roundhouse in Baltimore, Maryland

One of the problems of creating a large number of photographs each year is to decide how to display and share them. I have noticed that a number of my photographic idols, including Art Wolfe have done an annual "Best of." I thought I'd give it a try. So I created a collection,  The Best of 2014, and I invite you to take a look. Please leave me a message if you enjoyed any of the photos or would like to leave feedback.

It turns out that doing this, while a lot of work, has some benefits. It forces you to really evaluate your work critically. It also allows you to see, in one place, the depth and breadth of your work: what did I do well, what major areas aren't represented in my best work, how is my style evolving? It also allows you to put a period after the year's work, as well as, define and focus on goals for the next year.  Please enjoy my images.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Best of 2014 Mark Pollitt https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/1/best-of-2014 Sun, 18 Jan 2015 15:22:40 GMT
This isn't the Amazon! https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/1/this-isnt-the-amazon As some of you know, I was scheduled for a wonderful cruise up the Amazon over the holidays. I was really looking forward to photographing this part of the world. It was an important item on my "bucket list." Unfortunately, a couple of days before we were to sail from Miami on the MS Insignia, she had a fatal engine fire in St. Lucia. After ascertaining that the ship was not seaworthy, it was towed to San Juan for repairs. Needless to say, we were very disappointed. I had a month-long "hole" in my schedule, with no time to fill it with something exciting. So, I spent some time up in Maryland. At least I got one good river photo! But we'll look forward to another Amazon trip. Patapsco State ParkPatapsco State Park

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Maryland Patapsco State Park https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2015/1/this-isnt-the-amazon Sun, 04 Jan 2015 18:50:06 GMT
Launch of Orion https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2014/12/launch-of-orion  

Orion's LaunchOn December 5, 2014, the Orion capsule launched aboard a Delta V Heavy

I got up early two mornings in a row in order to witness the launch of the Orion space capsule. This marks the return of the United States to the manned space flight program. I have witnessed quite a few launches after the demise of the shuttle program. This was a wonderful, dawn launch. But what was truly amazing was to see the tens of thousands of spectators come to view this mission. In talking to these ordinary citizens, it was heart-warming to see and hear their pride in this next phase of space exploration. We've been away too long.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Canaveral Cape Orion https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2014/12/launch-of-orion Sun, 07 Dec 2014 02:34:08 GMT
The Hague & Vienna https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2014/1/the-hague-vienna Unfortunately, my travels have been limited by work, but I had to make a quick overseas trip on business and was able to steal a few hours of photography along the way. With very short days and grey skies, there were very limited opportunities for the touristic, bright sunny day shots. But cloudy skies have their own magic. Please enjoy!

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Austria Hague Netherlands Vienna Wein https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2014/1/the-hague-vienna Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:50:09 GMT
South America Cruise https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2013/3/south-america-cruise This is a really late posting. I have an excuse, but you don't want to hear it. In December of 2012, we took an 18-day cruise on Oceania's Marina. From the cities of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile to the wilds of Patagonia, it was quite a journey. The seas were rough and most of the days were overcast and dark. But the ship was brilliant! Occasionally I was blessed with some photo opportunities. Check out my new album South America 2012.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Marina South America https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2013/3/south-america-cruise Mon, 11 Mar 2013 14:36:20 GMT
Skyline Drive, Monticello and Richmond https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/7/skyline-drive-monticello-and-richmond Shenendoah Valley Sunset Before the vicious June 29th Storm hit and the subsequent oppressive heat wave descended on the Mid-Atlantic, I was fortunate to enjoy the last mild weather with a trip to Virginia. The Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park provided wonderful landscape opportunities as well as some interesting wildlife, including a close encounter with two bears. It is amazing to realize that this wonderful and wild place is within day-trip range of over 60 million people. We should all be grateful to President Hoover for his foresight.

We stopped at Monticello on our way to Richmond for a business meeting. While the temperatures were beginning to soar, the skies were clear and provided some good shots of Mr. Jefferson's amazing home and gardens. Once we got to Richmond the temperatures reached 104 degrees and therefore the only photos I chose to take were interiors of the Jefferson Hotel, an amazing Richmond landmark.

As always enjoy the photos. You can find the complete Virginia trip in the Travel section or just the landscapes in the corresponding section.

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Monticello National Park Richmond Shenendoah Virginia https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/7/skyline-drive-monticello-and-richmond Wed, 11 Jul 2012 17:02:31 GMT
Baltimore Sailabration https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/7/baltimore-sailabration Baltimore Tall Ships

I have been associated with Baltimore, Maryland for much of the last 25 years. I have watched it evolve from a down-on-its-luck shadow of its industrial past to a new, modern and vibrant city. Last month, as part of the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebrations, they hosted a visit by over 40 ships, from 3-masted tall ships to modern warships.  The weather cooperated and the citizens turned out to welcome their maritime visitors from around the world.

I went out very early one morning and along with what must have been every photographer within 500 miles, got to photograph the celebration. As always, enjoy the photos from this wonderful event.

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Baltimore War of 1812 maritime history sailing ships https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/7/baltimore-sailabration Sat, 07 Jul 2012 03:36:25 GMT
Fantasy of Flight https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/4/fantasy-of-flight

B-25 BomberIMG_2409-Edit      On my way to Tampa, to renew my Flight Instructor's license, I stopped at Kermit Week's Fantasy of Flight. This is an amazing collection of aircraft, may of which are flyable, including this B-25J bomber. He has amassed many dozens of aircraft and untold engines, propellers and other items of aviation history. He is to be lauded for using his resources to not only preserve aviation history, but to share aviation's many dimensions: emotional, spiritual, technical and artistic.

   While I spent several thousands of hours flying a wide variety of aircraft, I have only recently learned to view them as alternately works of art and inspiring monuments to their builders and crews. In some cases, such as the photo above, they can also be a canvas. Taking this photograph was an interesting exercise in trying to capture the aircraft's power, beauty, and environment while inviting the viewer to imagine what it must be like to fly in a B-25. You can find more photographs from Fantasy of Flight in the Aviation section of my website.

by: Mark Pollitt

©2012 Mark Pollitt Photography

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) aviation vintage aircraft https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/4/fantasy-of-flight Tue, 17 Apr 2012 22:33:45 GMT
Wetlands Dawn https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/4/wetlands-mornings

Wetlands Dawn

4/11/12

Wetlands Dawn 04/11/12IMG_6605-Edit


     I've never really liked to get up early in the morning, especially before dawn. I do it when circumstances demand, such as work, but rarely because it feels good.

 

     But as all photographers know, there is a magical light that is only available right after dawn and just before sunset. It's often called the "golden hour." For photographers like me, we would prefer to specialize in the latter edition of the golden hour. Certainly it must be the same as the earlier version, after all,  light is light. But an addiction to photography makes one do strange things, like get up early to photograph things and places that are only available during the "early edition" of the golden hour. If you're really addicted, then you do uncomfortable things just to see what happens. Thus, I arose early several days recently. I found out two things.

 

     All "golden hour" light is not created equal. I can't prove it with a spectrograph, but it just isn't. It may just be my eyes, but the blues seem more delicate and the reds even more vibrant than at sunset. That alone is worth getting up for.

 

     In the wetlands, animals start to move with the rising sun, and it is a good time to see wildlife. It is a hard time to photograph wildlife, as the light is dimmer than it appears to our eyes. But the dawn rewards another of our senses, our ears. Before the dawn, the sounds are soft and mellow, save the occasional pig frog's deep, resonant croak and the limpkin's chilling scream. But as the sun rises, it seems that every living creature, at least all the birds, celebrate the new day with sound, if not song. Standing still, behind my tripod, in the still of the dawn, I slowly become uplifted by the avian crescendo that peaks just after the sun separates from the horizon and takes control of the day. Almost imperceptibly, the chorus dissipates and becomes the background noise of another wetlands day.

by: Mark Pollitt      

©2012 Mark Pollitt Photography

Photo taken at Orlando Wetlands Park, Christmas, FL

 

 

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markpollittphoto@gmail.com (Mark Pollitt Photography) Orlando Wetlands Park https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2012/4/wetlands-mornings Wed, 11 Apr 2012 20:45:33 GMT