Monday, October 16, 2017

Autumnal Shenadoah

I have this week off, but my prior plans have fallen through.  So I decided to make the drive this morning to Shenandoah, since a weather app was predicting a solid chance for a pretty sunrise.

Unfortunately, the rain and clouds did not lift in time for a pretty sunrise, but I still got to take in some pretty sites.

The leaf color has been bumped up for our enjoyment - the colors are somewhat lackluster this year.

All in all, it was a very nice drive and well worth the effort.  Have a great day!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Library of Congress

You may recall from last year that I took the kids to the Library of Congress.  The main reading room is closed to the general public (unless you are conducting research - get a card) except for two days.  The day finally came!

Since the reading room wouldn't open until 10, we were in no rush to get there.  Thankfully, Columbus Day meant that traffic was light, and parking was free.

We arrived just in time to hop in the queue and wait about 5 minutes for admission to the main reading room.

We walked around, checked out a couple of older books laying around.

We even delved into the card catalog room, where Ian wanted to look up Genghis Khan (no idea where that came from - but it did take us a bit further into the bowels of the card catalog room).

We finished up with a nice lunch at Bullfeathers, a local restaurant, and then made our way back home.  All in all, a nice day.  Cheers,


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hiking and Camping at Dolly Sods

I took Ian and Leah camping and hiking this weekend - just a quick overnighter at Dolly Sods Wilderness Area and the Nature Conservancy's Bear Rocks (abutting the northern end of Dolly Sods).  The park was PACKED!

We got there just after lunch and snagged the last camping sight - which we ended up sharing with another couple who arrived later (because that would really stink to drive all that way and have no place to sleep).  They returned the favor by sharing their campfire with us after we got back.

After setting up our tent, we drove about 4 miles to Bear Rocks, which sits at the very edge of the Allegheny plateau.  Both kids had a great time climbing on the rocks and exploring.

The leaves were just barely past prime, but it was still gorgeous.  It was a warm/hot weekend at home (and muggy), while we got to enjoy low 70's in the sun - perfect!

Looking south towards the sun, the blueberry fields were a gorgeous shade of red.

While looking for where to set up for my sunset photo, the kids found this rock which they said looked like a whale.  They were a ways ahead of me when I heard them say that, and as soon as I saw the rock, I could see the whale-resemblance.  Of course, Ian and Leah just had to climb it!

We brought our backpacks out so we could cook and eat dinner while waiting for the sunset.  Both kids brought a book/entertainment, so they sat with their backs to a rock and just enjoyed the sun and the wind.

It took me several hours to find my sunset composition.  Overall I am happy with the photo - I just wish we had had some clouds for some visual interest.

We stuck around until it got dark - we were going to take a photo of the Milky Way's galactic core setting, but surprisingly some clouds moved in and wrecked any chance of that happening.  The clouds cleared enough for us to see the Milky Way before the moon rose, so that was a treat.

It rained on us this morning, but nothing major.  Fortunately, the weather at home was dry so we could set up the tent and hammock to dry out.

Have a great day everybody!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Indoor Sky Diving

We had a small party for Ian's birthday yesterday - he chose the iFly indoor skydiving facility.  To say we had a blast is an understatement.

Both kids got to bring a friend, and we each had a couple of turns "flying".  The first time was just to learn the position and to get comfortable in the position.  Leah was first up, and she did a great job just hovering.

On the second time through, an experienced dive coach came in and grabbed our suits and took us high up and around the dive tube.  The photo below is of Ian enjoying his trip up and down the dive tube.

I was luck enough to get a trip.  I figured out the hover bit fairly easy, and my trips up and down were good fun, too!

Hope all is well out there - best wishes for friends and family who chose to ride out Irma!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Braces for a birthday boy

We are getting ready for Ian to celebrate his 13th birthday.

To celebrate, we decided to get him braces.

Just kidding!  Not about the braces - take a look at the photo above compared to the first photo.  He has had his braces for about a week and a half.  He went with the clear ones on top and regular on the bottom.

Meanwhile, Christina has come for a quick visit, and while she has been here, the kids decided to dye their hair.

Hope all is well with everyone,


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Catch Up

Last weekend Catherine, Ian, and I made the trip to Wilkes-Barre, PA to watch Leah sing with the other choristers attending the Royal School of Church Music camp at King's College.  Leah made quite a few new friends and had a great time.

We stayed a couple of blocks away from the church where the choir sang. The choristers ranged in age from 12-70+ years old, and they sounded great!

They made for a very special high mass in the morning, followed later in the day by a beautiful Evensong service.

We hadn't even had Leah packed up before she asked if she could come again next year, she really enjoys singing with the choir!

Just so we are all caught up, I got up early this morning to go scout some locations to photograph this fall. This is Difficult Run, a bit inside the Great Falls National Park, another bit upstream from the Potomac.  I had this place to myself, which was nice.

That is it for now.  Hope everyone has a great day!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Quick Portraits

It has been quite some time since I broke out the camera and portrait lights, but I was feeling the itch.

Ian starts a lacrosse camp tomorrow, so I thought it'd be fun to grab a photo of him in his helmet.

And one without the helmet.

Catherine and Leah were getting ready for a choir camp, so I grabbed an elusive photo of Catherine, too.

And finally Leah.

Nothing terribly exciting happening, just random photos.  Have a great day!