Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beach Sunrise

_DSC3291_DxO ps crop 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

The sunrises during our stay at the beach over Thanksgiving had been bland at best. Until the last morning when there was a wisp of clouds for a brief moment of color. I used my Vari-N-Duo to get a several second exposure.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Socked In

_DSC3261_DxOps 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

The spectacular sunrise I awoke early for did not happen on this morning. Instead of color overcast and fog rolled in. Not to be deterred, I found this scene. There are pictures everywhere if you look for them and let them come to you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Basket Under Window

Basket- 2012-10-15, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Taken in the Cable Mill house a couple years ago. I had fun reprocessing this one. The square format works well with this subject.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunflower Quartet

IMG_0712, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

It is crunch time on the farm with harvest season set to begin next Saturday. We've all been working day and night to get ready for the show to begin. So to unwind before drifting off to sleep this past week, I have been exploring alternative processes and looks of a favorite sunflower image from a year ago. This is what I ended up with.

I find the creative process an interesting adventure. Some times I can visualize the desired result and work to attain that vision. Other times, as in this instance, the only goal was to explore different textures and graphic interpretations. It wasn't so much about the destination as the journey.

Every bend I went around on this journey, I found something else I liked. I lost count of the various processes and apps I used to create this. I do know that each interpretation is a result of at least two versions that were blended together to achieve the result. Most used four, five or six or more apps to create. Don't ask how many creative apps I have- I've lost count.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pipes, A Creative Journey

IMG_1674, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
It has been a while since my last post. We've been working night and day, literally, preparing for our busy harvest season. I have not had time to do much photography lately save for some playing with the iPhone. Playing with various apps is my form of relaxation after a long day.

These pipes reside in the old silk mill and form a radiator. Naturally, it would be impossible for them to be fitted in such a fashion. The original photo was captured with AvgCamPro- a series of 16 exposures were taken (I had my iPhone mounted on a tripod) and then blended together, thus reducing noise in a very dark setting. It was so dark, that I was making 30 second exposures while using a flashlight of this subject with my Nikon.
I then used PhotoWizard to make the mirrored effect, followed by Photocopier for toning. Some final contrast and ambiance adjustments in SnapSeed.

Then I had the idea of the pipes inside an inferno. Fiddling with a new app (to me at least) , I combined a texture I had previously made with the pipe made with Photomates. Then I took that image and made an oil painting version with Glaze and blended the two together with Blender app. There were probably some other apps involved during the creative process as well.

A fun app to play with, Tiny Planet, was the basis for the last version. I then went to PicGrunger, added a layer of ScratchCam and finished in PhotoStudio.

It all began with this dingy capture months ago.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


IMG_1475, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
I had not done much with my iPhone recently until I ran across this new app, Glaze. Glaze is a painting app with a large number of filters. The results can be quite stunning, often by itself or blended with other versions. After Karen Messick was kind enough to mention me in her blog, I thought I better share a few examples of my own. Thanks Karen!

The lead image I snapped in Costco of some colorful flowers (yes they were the colors shown). I used Blender to blend the Glaze version with one made in Moku and then finished it in SnapSeed.

The following all used Glaze, either alone or in combination with other apps. It is not a full res app, so you might need to up-res the result depending on your use.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bumbling with Textures

This bumble bee was kind enough to sit still on Donna's butterfly bush. the background was not attractive, so I tried a couple texture overlays using Totally Rad's Dirty Pictures plugin to add a couple of textures. I'm still getting a feel for how various textures and blending modes might look. Fun stuff to play with.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Backlight at Sunset

Ran across this older image in the files and thought to reprocess it. I was happy with it before- it hangs on my bedroom wall- but the software improves and I learn new things.

This was my sister's flower, next door. After work one day I was riding around looking for photo subjects and this caught my eye just as the sun was about the hit the horizon. An HDR originally done in Photomatix (have not used that in while since NIK's product came out) and Topaz Detail. Made a couple of adjustments in Topaz Adjust last night. I think I'm going to have to reprint it now.

You ever notice how flowers can be almost electric in appearance? Well, that is because they are, in sense. Many flowers need insects to assist in pollination. Insects, according to Dr. Callahan's research, tune into plants largely in the IR spectrum. So flower parts are waveguides for attracting bugs. He also demonstrated how sick, malnourished plants attract bad bugs. All fascinating stuff to me as a farmer. Callahan had a lot to do with radar in WWII in the defense of England. I imagine he has passed away by now, but if you like science, I recommend some of his easy reading books.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Technicolor Bug

This little bug was perched on a sunflower leaf the other morning. Looks like a leaf hopper to me, but I have never seen one so colorful. Cute little fellow, don't you think? As long as he stays away from my pumpkin crop he gets to live another day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Buzzing Pollinator

Another image from my wife's wild flowers. It can be a bit tricky to shoot insects, especially bees when they are collecting pollen. They are, well, busy as bees! I was using a diffuser and no flash so patience was needed to wait for this bee to sit still for a moment.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Diets Like Like

_DSC9655_DxOpsnx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I had no idea there was diet soda back in the mid 1950's. I do remember when I was kid in the 1960's the 8 oz. soda bottles. On my last visit to the Silk Mill last month, I went looking for this bottle as I had not seen it before on previous trips. A friend had visited earlier and captured an image of this bottle. I found it in the basement, way back in the shadows in the spare parts shelves off the machine shop area. I made a 30 second exposure and lit it with my small flashlight, using my hand to shape the light.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sunflower, Looking for Angles

There is just something fun about sunflowers. I have a number of sunflower images, but I was looking for a different angle. So I went to my wife's garden and came up with this one.

Processing was diverged from my usual routine, as I used NIK's Snapseed for Windows just for something different after the RAW conversion in DxO Pro. Snapseed imports tiff's and for files that need minimal work it can be handy. Photoshop was only used to down rez and add my copyright.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yosemite Best of Show

This image from my visit to Yosemite last February won Best of Show last month in the Fredericksburg Photo Show. My cousin Joe remarked that he had heard I won on Facebook, not not seen the picture. Here it is Joe. I also made a BW version that liked as well.

Single image processed in DxO and Nik filters. The BW image was made quickly in Snapseed. Normally, I'd go to Silver Efex Pro for the BW conversion, but in this case I'll take Tony Sweets advice, "When it looks done, it is done."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

There Were Three

_DSC1656_SnapseedB (c)72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I took this shot of the Osprey chicks last week. The three chicks seemed to be doing well and I had high hopes that all three would mature. Sadly, the youngest, seen on the left, did not survive the strong storm over the weekend. We had some large hail and it had been over 100 degrees all week. For whatever reason the youngest perished.

The remaining pair are almost grown and are now expected to eat fish their parents bring themselves. About a week and half ago, the mother began to fish for them as well as the father. I suspect mom thinks they are large enough to avoid predation at this stage. Although in the last week, one of the parents has driven off Bald Eagles who came too close to the nest on a couple of occasions. The last time, dad was bringing a huge golden fish to the nest when an eagle swooped in to get an easy meal. Nothing doing! The eagle was swiftly driven off. Earlier this spring, the moma bird pinned a young Bald Eagle to the ground that ventured too close to the nest. She nailed him a few times and I did think the eagle was going to escape. Eventually the eagle was able to limp away and after several tries managed to fly into a low tree.

the two remaining juveniles have begun to flap their wings in preparation of flying. It is going to take a few weeks of wing exercise before they are ready to attempt flight. Last year, the fist brief flying took place during a storm with strong winds. In essence, they begin early flight attempts in nature's wind tunnel which allows them to go straight up and down over the nest. Soon after that, they will fly a short distance to the nearest light or electric pole, rest a while and then fly back to the nest. Each subsequent day they fly a little further out and back. About a month after learning to fly, they will begin the migration to Central or South America with their parents (presumably). I guess they learn to fish on the journey south.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Crooked Stem, Crinkled Petals

This flower was the last one of the bunch. The stem was crooked and spindly. The petals crinkled and unsymmetrical. All of which made it stand out and I made the click. Finished in Snapseed with some texture added.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


_DSC8097_DxOpstpzvce 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I had planned for the last shot at Ryan and Gayle's wedding reception to involve some light painting. It turned out to be a fun one to do. Ryan and Gayle have been pestering me for weeks to finish it. Here's to love!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Return to the Silk Mill

IMG_1102, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
Donna took me to the mill for Father's Day last weekend. We met up with the gang for diner Saturday and spent the night in Cumberland. This may have been my last trip to shoot at the mill. I didn't do hardly any iPhone work the last visit back in the winter and thought I might do some this time around. All of the images in this post are iPhone. I'm looking forward to processing the big boy camera images.

The top image was taken in the lower level of a scene that others, including Tony Sweet, had set up.

Outside of the mill are these interesting valves. I suspect they are water service valves. In my several trips to the mill I had not captured a photo of one of these I liked until now.

The third image is of an area of the factory that is off limits due to asbestos: The boiler room. A vandal had broken a window pane affording a first glimpse of the unseen area. The mill sits over the middle of a large seam of coal, which was mined during the era of the mill construction and operation. I have read that one of the reasons the mill was built here was because of the existing coal mining labor force in the region. As an aside, coal was the chief product shipped on the C&O Canal which ended in nearby Cumberland, Maryland. Naturally, the boilers were fired with local coal. They are huge things, standing nearly two floors tall. I wish we could get in to see them up close as I'm sure they would be fascinating subjects to photograph.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Three Chicks

_DSC9160nxpstpzC 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Last year only two chicks survived, as the third smallest one perished. This year I think all three will make it. The youngest is having a morning snack in this photo. The papa bird has been very busy keeping those hungry mouths fed, catching and bringing several fish a back to the nest every day. The mama bird feeds the chicks bite sized chunks of raw fish. The chicks grow incredibly fast.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hay in the Barn

IMG_0996, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Things have gotten quite busy on the farm and my photo blog has taken a back seat lately.

I had barns on the mind yesterday after enjoying an image by photo friend John Barclay. So I grabbed this one on the way home last evening.

We had good cutting of hay this spring. The goats are set for food this winter.

iPhone capture, TrueHDR, Bleach Bypass, Snapseed apps for the old look.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lost Tulips

A couple of years ago I had visited Longwood Gardens while these tulips were in bloom. The RAW files were lost when my hard drive failed. I try to keep the backups drives current, but in this instance these tulip files were among the few that were lost. I had made some small prints and found the print files much later when upgrading my computer.

For the textured, desaturated version below, I reprocessed the discovered jpeg in Snapseed. I like the old lost look to that. I also wanted to make a SnapArt version (the featured image) as for some unknown reason the software registration code had gone wonky and I had just got that sorted with support. Computers!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


_DSC1453nxpso1nx72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

This is a volunteer flower found in last year's cut flower patch. During the time I had rented the D800 for the wedding I just had to grab a few flower shots. Yeah, it seems rather crazy to make a soft image from a 36 megapixel camera, but that's how I processed this one. A number of NIK and OnOne filters were used.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Coat

_DSC1118nxpsb72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

If memory serves, the idea of Gayle wearing Ryan's coat came from Ryan. I'm sure the thought was due to the rain starting again.

I opted for a high key look on this one. I hope I didn't push it too far, but thought the look matched the emotion. Even with some Glamor Glow added, the detail in the D800 file is remarkable.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Grandmother, my grandson: Kieron, the great-great-grandson.

_DSC0931nxpso1nx72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I'll give the lovebirds a break for today's post and share this one. I was reminded that weddings are about families too, when I saw my Grandmother holding Kieron. I had to stop and do the math- five generations of Fulks in one spot! Not your every day occurrence. Grandma gave a wonderful blessing before the meal- another of one of the many moment of the joyous day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Take a Stroll

_DSC1051nxps_Snapseed72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
I am slowly working through the captured moments. Late in the afternoon, Jo and I were able to break away from the reception with the couple for a few minutes of photo time.

I also included the color version. The B/W version was made quickly in Snapseed. I'm liking the feel of the BW and will probably go back to Silver Efex Pro for a final version.

I would like to thank Jo Habecker for assisting (that's an understatement!) with the photography. I'm looking forward to seeing her images from the wedding.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life is a Journey

_DSC1035nxpsplnx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

This is one of the first candid shots at the reception site, Eden Try. We had gotten a bit behind schedule wrapping up the formal pictures at the church and only had a few minutes for these pictures and these were the ones the couple had most wanted to get. Ryan and Gayle choose this estate for the reception largely due to the beautiful grounds. I think they will like this one as it includes the estate house.

I like the interaction between the newlyweds, juxtaposed in front of the heart shaped tree. My goal was to do less formal posing by placing the couple in scenarios where I could capture interaction and gesture between them. Naturally, my best laid plans included back lighting from a 3:30pm sun with me low on the ground. A rain shower had just passed while we were en-route to the site and the guests had been flushed into the tent early putting more pressure on the shooting timeline. Despite the very overcast conditions, the highlighting is better than I hoped for. The key is to get the subjects in front of a dark background in order for the back lighting to show. Laying on the wet ground for this shot was out too, as I still had to take part in the wedding party introductions.

We all know there are the occasional bumps, even a jarring rut or two, on the road we call life. Memories of happy times help us hang on until the next smooth part of the path just around the next bend. All the best, Ryan and Gayle.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


_DSC0852nxpsplnx72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

One of my goals for the wedding shoot was to capture a beauty shot of the bride. Between the formal family pictures following the ceremony and the reception, we took a few moments to make this one. I asked Gayle to sit on the floor by on of the windows in the sanctuary,  fitted a 85 f1.4 lens on my camera and went up two or three steps on a short ladder I had brought just for this image. Gayle related to me before leaving on their honeymoon how much she enjoyed the day. The happiness of the day is reflected in her smile.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Welcome to the family Gayle!

IMG_0765, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I have a guest blogger today- our oldest son, Caleb, shared this image with me. From the wedding Saturday as the newly weds exited the church. Gotta love the iPhone.

Everyone had a fantastic day! With five sons, we have to marry the girls in. Three down, two to go. All the best, Ryan and Gayle!

Yep, you guessed it- you'll be getting a dose of wedding pictures the next few days. I think I managed a few keepers to share. One thing I know now, the wedding photography biz is a lot like work!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gayle and Ryan

_DSC0435nxpsnx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Today is the big day! Our third son is tying the knot and Donna and I are gaining a daughter.

I grabbed this picture at the rehearsal diner last evening. Just a quick snap that I liked their interaction in. My wedding gift is to do the photography for these lovebirds.

For the gear-heads, this was captured with the new Nikon D800. I needed to rent an extra body and thought why not give this a whirl. Let me just say that all the hype you read in the press about this camera sure seems true so far. I've only fired off a few hundred frames so far and already I don't want to send it back!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Heavy Lifter

_DSC6094_DxOpsnxce 72dpi(C), originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

It is amazing how much weight these birds can carry. He must have been thinking about adding a second story to the nest with a stick this big.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fencerow Flower

_DSC7268nx2psnx 72dpi(C), originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

This wild flower is found around the farm in the fencerows. Some years I see them and some years not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Red Barn Reflected

A local barn that we drive by on the way to church. Been going by it for years. Finally stopped awhile back to make the click.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Fish Tail

_DSC5514_DxOpsnx 72dpi(C), originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

These are perilous times for fish in the river. Yesterday morning the male brought back three fish to his mate in an hour and a half. Perhaps I should say, "three half fish" as he eats the front half and she gets the back half.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Padding the Nest

_DSC5133_DxOpsnx 72dpi(C), originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

It seems like the male Osprey can't stand to sit still for long. If he isn't fishing, he is active in nest building. After bringing breakfast back to his mate yesterday morning (a big fish), he rested a couple of minutes and went to collect soft material to line the nest.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ospreys Textured

IMG_1669, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

One of my favs of the pair from last season. I shot this with my Nikon right before sunset, then applied the texture in my iPhone. Last year (2011) was the pair's first year together. they have filled out and look more mature this year, especially the male (on the left) who is now very close in size to the female. It is hard to get a shot of the male as he is much more antsy and does not seem to like sitting around for extended periods. He is a busy fellow, fishing, hauling sticks to the nest and on the go. Once the eggs are layed, he will sit on the nest for short periods to give her a break to stretch her wings. Once the chicks hatch he will be a very busy guy keeping all the hungry mouths fed.