Photography close to home by Duke Miller

Blue Ridge Parkway by Duke Miller

Blue Ridge Parkway by Duke Miller

This image was made at Haywood-Jackson Overlook, Mile Marker 433-ish, Blue Ridge Pkwy. Very windy and cold –  I put camera on interval shooting, one capture per minute, and sat in car eating my McBiscuit and drinking McCafe! That’s all that was open at 5:00 a.m.

Shot with a Nikon D800e, Nikon 14mm ED lens, ISO 100, f/11 at 1/4 sec.

Duke Miller

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Chuck Coburn’s House On Fire — 2014

House On Fire by chuck Coburn

House On Fire by Chuck Coburn


I spent the month of May on the Colorado Plateau with a group of six
photographers. This is one of my favorite images - House On Fire. 

After a 1.2 mile hike in to the South Mule Canyon and a climb up the 
canyon wall we arrived at a large ledge. The ledge has a grainery 
built by the Anasazi about 1000 years ago and is unrestored. Having 
arrived we had to wait about an hour or so for the sun to hit a 
ledge and reflect up to the overhang. Once that happened it was just 
a matter of shooting the spectacular scene before our eyes.

Image was taken 5/13/2014 with Nikon d70s,at f/4.5, 22mm, 1/800 sec.

What an amazing place the Southwest is when you spent that much time
there and get to know and appreciate it.

Chuck Coburn

Ed note** This was a Don McGowan Event. For more information on the 
McGowan programs and to sign up for Don's free newsletter go to -Recommended
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Fireflies, a close by image by Chuck Dayton

Fireflies by Chuck Dayton

Fireflies by Chuck Dayton

Click on Image to make it larger

HI, Bob,

Here’s an image of fireflies, below, that may be of interest. Its near exit 100 on the road up to Laurel Ridge country club. Its done by stacking a number of images in photoshop, most are 15 seconds, although there is a longer exposure for the stars.

FYI, I did have a chance to share my photos this spring when  I gave a talk to the “Listening Point Foundation” in Minnesota, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Here’s the link to my blog.

I’ve also begun making prints and have rented a wall at the Cedar Hills gallery. As you know, I don’t expect to sell a bunch but its a way to share my work.

NIce work on the sunrise picture. Lovely.

Warm regards,

Chuck Dayton

On Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM, Bob Grytten <> wrote:

Hi all:

The can be a great place to showcase some of our work. Last one was lens lugger Duke Miller. Send in one of your images with a few details about how you shot it or why you shot it. We would like to include our talented Lens Luggers. Thanks.

Also, I posted yesterday one of the images from an early morning shoot. Go to  Enjoy.

and keep shooting,


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Photography, close to home – sort of…

If two hours through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park would qualify, this  photo by Lens Lugger Duke Miller says it all.

Middle Prong of the Little Pigeron River. Duke Miller photo

Middle Prong of the Little Pigeron River. Duke Miller photo

This is the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River, a don’t miss close to Cades Cove.

Duke writes, “Okay, just fooling around. This is where i was getting down low to the water and trying to compress the distance from the near foreground to distant falls. I’m thinking “Mayhem on the Middle Prong” might be apropos title?! 

Shot with 70-300 at 85mm, .5 sec @ f/9. I’m thinking of getting the doohickey that allows you to use your iPad as a monitor when shooting in the field, plus you can control the camera with it. Had I had that it there, I think I would have closed the lens down a bit more for greater dof. The lack thereof in this one is what makes me want to do that.”

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Close to home… Soco Falls

Soco Falls, Soco Rd. Maggie Valley, NC Bob Grytten photo

Soco Falls, Soco Rd. Maggie Valley, NC
Bob Grytten photo


After a week of sunny days, we have rain in the forecast. I’m off before daybreak, wondering if the Rhododendrons are in bloom. No bloom; but nice light.

Aperture Stopped down all the way to f/22, the water still is not as silky as I like. On goes the polarizer – better. But it takes an EV of +1 to get the look I want – 2.5 seconds shutter speed.

What a beautiful morning! I’ll be back for the Rodes.





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Photo close to home #2

Photos close to home offer some great opportunities.

Azalea - Lake Junaluska, Bob Grytten photo

Azalea – Lake Junaluska, Bob Grytten photo

This one happened during a walk around Lake Junaluska, about 5 minuets from home. I had a small pocket camera Panasonic DMC-TS20 I bought it for it waterproof feature. Obviously, I wouldn’t have chosen to be out shooting in sunny midday – BUT — That subject is what caught my attention and offers an opportunity for discussion.

First, the camera is the wrong one to be shooting this with – Why, because it does not have a RAW feature. Why? Because I can’t make the kind of adjustments needed without RAW. HUH!? Well, for one thing, in Raw, I would revisit (change) the exposure and that could really help this image. Or if I had used my head when in the field, I could have cast a shadow on the section of flower that I was shooting. That would have eliminated the hot spots that just kills this image — except for use as an example.

There is a formula we use and it still is valid today. FAST. F is the first step Focus; A is for Aperture (adjust for shallow or deep depth of field); S is for Shutter Speed. Adjust that or if shooting in Aperture Priority it will adjust automatically. T is for Think. Ya gotta do that! I didn’t. I think I was excited about finding a good background.

So what to do?

Azalea Close, Lake Junaluska, NC Bob Grytten photo

Azalea Close, Lake Junaluska, NC Bob Grytten photo

I guess I could pick out a section of the image                                                                              that does not have hot spots.

It might look like this…

Incidentally, if we keep the color wheel in mind, we might have a clue as to what photographs well in certain lighting conditions. This color photographs particularly well in mid day – -

One other thought. We might have been able to use our flash (on camera or hot shoe) to use as the main light source. I’m going to replicate that and report back…

Have a Close To Home images ? Send it on to share. Thanks.



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Photos close to home…

Photos close to home….

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HDR on Florida Beach Scene by Duke Miller

by Duke Miller

Beach Scene by Duke Miller

Beach Scene by Duke Miller

This is one of those shots that just comes along thanks to dumb luck in terms of timing.

I make it a habit after a cold front goes through, which was the case on the 28th of December, to head out to our beach and try to get some drama out of the sunset. The great clouds and a choppy Gulf of Mexico usually serve up some cool scenes. We all know great landscapes have foregrounds for depth, interest, perspective, whatever. I usually try for including some birds, couples walking, whatever.

As luck would have it, that afternoon, some artistic sand sculptors crafted this cool dragon in the sand, complete with waves. Voila! A foreground, some waves, great clouds, and a setting sun.

Dragon Beach Scene by Duke Miller - Before post production

Dragon Beach Scene by Duke Miller – Before post production

Therein was the challenge: The vagaries inherent in susets when it comes to light just didn’t do this one justice above. Cue the HDR preset in my Nikon D300, then set the lens to infinity, turn off auto focus, set the bracketing to five frames, frames, one EV apart, and pull the trigger. You never know exactly when the light is going to be just right, so I just keep firing as the sun dips behind the horizon. In post, I used Nik HDR Efex PRO plug-in for Lightroom, then threw in a dash of variable neutral density, popped the clarity and vibrance a bit, and adjusted the temperature to give the dragon that golden hour glow.

Not your everyday sunset shot, and just in time for the Chinese New Year, which happens to be the Year of the Dragon! EXIF data: Nikon D300, Nikkor 16-85mm VR lens at 16mm at f/11, ISO 100. No shutter speed since it’s an HDR.

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Photography op – on the water – Western North Carolina — Date changed

Media Attention to Photo op in Western NC

Media Attention to Photo op in Western NC

This event has been moved to May 10, 2014 – everything else is the same. Interested in this program? Send an e-mail to Bob Grytten for places to stay…




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St. Augustine is the place for Great Bird Photography

Great Egret, Breeding plumbage, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL, Bob Grytten photo

Great Egret, Breeding plumbage, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL, Bob Grytten photo

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL is a unique place to photograph nesting rookeries up close. A wooden walkway winds around areas behind the Building providing a safe area for Native wading birds to build their nests. Below is a reprint from their website to better get an idea for a visit.

All the dates will provide excellent opportunities to photograph all phases of bird behavior. However, once the doors open at 9AM be prepared for some possible movement on the walkway from the pitter patter of feet. The way to beat this problem is to buy a photo pass as you then will be let in at the side gate at 8AM. The other way is to shoot with fast lenses and higher ISO’s – although a normal lens is often all that may be required. This is a nature photographers dream… and don’t forget the Gators and Crocks!

Wading Bird Rookery

Native herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills and wood storks seek the security of our Alligator Swamp to roost and raise their young. With hundreds of alligators swimming beneath the oak branches, the birds know their young are safe from tree-climbing predators. Our wooden walkway allows for incredibly intimate views of Florida’s magnificent wading birds on their nests. Photographers achieve award-winning shots here every year. Visit from March through June to see the most nesting activity with the birds in full breeding plumage.

Click here for information about our Photo Contest >

The Rookery Blog includes status updates and natural history information about the native bird rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. The natural alligator swamp area of the park attracts hundreds of pairs of wading birds that nest literally feet away from the boardwalk. This blog contains a plethora of nesting activity data so photographers and bird watchers can best plan their visit.

Regularly recorded rookery updates are also available at (904) 824-3337 ext. 23

Typical Rookery Schedule – Arrive with the birds!

Mid February
– The first pair of Great egrets arrive around Valentine’s Day.  More are close behind and begin nest building.
Late February- Great egret pairs continue to arrive, along with some Wood storks. The Greats start to lay eggs.
Early March – Great egrets and Wood storks continue to flock in.
Mid March – Most Great egrets are incubating eggs.  The Wood storks begin to lay.
Late March – Great egrets chicks start hatching out.  Most storks incubating eggs.  A few of the Snowy egrets, Little blue herons, and Tri-colored herons start arriving.  The Snowys waste no time and immediately lay eggs.  Roseate spoonbills are nest building.
Early April – Wood stork chicks start hatching.   Great egret chicks are starting to get to a good size.  Snowys, Little blues, and Tri-coloreds are laying eggs.  Cattle egrets start showing up.
Mid April –. The Green herons start nesting within the park (not the rookery).  Still lots of displaying birds of every species.
Late April – Rookery is mass chaos.  Snowy chicks start hatching. Wood stork chicks are screaming constantly.  Great egret chicks are pretty big.  All of the smaller species have arrived.
Early May – There are chicks of every species in the rookery at this time, but still displaying from all species with the exception of the wood storks.  Green heron chicks hatching out within the park.  Spoonbill eggs due to hatch soon.
Mid May – The Great egret and stork chicks are giant.  There are chicks of every size from every species.  Many species still continuing to display.
Early June – Nothing has even fledged yet.  The displaying has started winding down but there are still birds on eggs.  Chicks everywhere.
July – Fledglings are everywhere.  Displaying is over.  Still a few nests with smaller chicks.
August- Season is over and we prepare for hurricanes.

- Komodo Dragon Exhibit
Land of Crocodiles
Python Exhibit
Red-ruffed Lemurs
Wading Bird Rookery
bobgrytten | March 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:
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Thanks for flying with

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