Spray paint artist at work on scaffold at the Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 42 mm, F/5, 1/400, ISO 320
© R C Norman Photography, June 2012
The public was welcome to pick up a brush and plate of paints to create and share its own art for the thousands of event goers at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. happening now. I spotted this young man silhouetted against the bright sun-lit day adding his touch to one of several blank wooden “canvases” under the shade trees.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 180 mm, F/11, 1/125, ISO 110
© R C Norman Photography, June 2012
Despite the heat, my kids and I spent yesterday strolling around the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall in Washington, D.C. A cultural fusion of art, crafts, music and food, the event is a treasure trove of photographic ops. The vibrant color and energy of the graffiti art caught my lens, starting with the penetrating eyes of this work by Jay Coleman. My next several posts will feature scenes from this day of eclectic delights.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 52 mm, F/6.3, 1/160, ISO 200
© R C Norman Photography, June 2012
“In My View” Hits 1,000 Likes!
Thank you so much to followers and others for your interest and feedback on my photos. Hitting 1,000 Likes is a great motivation and encouragement, and I sincerely appreciate the response.
“A Good Day’s Catch” is the name of a John Barber painting that hangs in my office. It came from the old A.H. Robins Company that was headquartered in Richmond (and is now part of the long Pfizer lineage). One of Richmond’s most notable philanthropists and patron of the Arts, E. Claiborne Robins accumulated numerous prints and paintings of Virginia artists like Barber to display for the enjoyment of his employees and visitors at the home office — still a familiar landmark along I-95 just North of Richmond. Today, however, the building sits empty and mothballed. With no signage atop the iconic executive tower and no cars in the crumbling, grass-patched parking lot, the property is barely a shadow of its former days as a giant in the pharma industry. Fortunately, much of the art that adorned its walls can still be found across the Interstate at the company’s old R&D facility that was renovated and today serves as the home for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare’s Global R&D. The Barber painting on my office wall, depicting a deadrise fishing boat unloading its catch at the dock, reminds me of scenes like this one pictured here of the Miss Diane returning from a fishing charter to her dock on Broad Creek. On lazy weekends at the river, I sit on my boat and watch these charters returning in the late afternoon and wonder if the tired fishermen had “a good day’s catch”.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 195 mm, F/5, 1/1000, ISO 100
© R C Norman Photography, June 2012
Eye See You
On Father’s Day weekend, we had a big family gathering at my brother’s home in the country, where the shade trees are tall and the pace is slow. It was the perfect June Sunday afternoon for a feast of steamed crabs and shrimp, pork barbecue, chicken, hamburgers, and every side dish imaginable. After lunch, I grabbed my Nikon and walked down to the pasture to join the boys who were taking pictures of the horses with my old Nikon D50. I was enjoying watching them have fun snapping photos and wanted to capture the moment. I hoisted up my camera, zoomed in and took this shot. So, where are the boys? Look closely, they are standing there on the fence looking at this beautiful horse. They say beauty is in the “eye” of the beholder. Indeed it is.
June 17, 2012
Specs: Nikon D7000, 105 mm, F/5.6, 1/500, ISO 320
Here’s another sunset shot I took a couple years ago when vacationing on the Albermarle Sound in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This shot was right out of the camera with no post processing other than to add my copyright. August 2, 2010.
Specs: Nikon D50, 200 mm, F/6.3, 1/2500
Here is a low resolution iPhone photo that my son took of his friend Zachary. It was not cropped. He just aimed and snapped. I adjusted the hue a bit in post processing, but that’s about it. While the photo is a bit pixilated, it still has a soft, soothing feel to it — a great depiction of the innocence of youth.
Old boat, chipped paint, barnacle encrusted underside. How can that be appealing? But it is….to me. When I paddled my kayak up for a closer look at the Shady Lady, my eye was drawn to her aft port side — telling me her story of age and neglect. I could have photographed her bow or pilot house or even her stern, which were not as revealing of her long days against sun, wind and salt water. But not this time. No. She deserved better. Her story was in her weathering. Her cracks and decay were a work of art. Her lines and shadows were pleasing in their simplicity. She was a grand old gal who was still hard at work earning an honest day’s pay. I snapped this shot, paid my respects, and paddled on. June 10, 2012.
Specs: Canon PowerShot, F/8, 1/400, ISO 80.
Recently, when Jenny and I were kayaking on Broad Creek, I photographed many of the old deadrise work boats. The Miss Carolyn is a beauty, and I liked the way she was sitting here with the dark sky and rusted tin roof of the boat shed adding some tonal variation to this sepia image. June 10, 2012.
Specs: Canon PowerShot, F/4.9, 1/500, ISO 80
The Dog and Oyster: A great place for storytelling and wine
I was recently stopped in a Deltaville coffee shop (Café by the Bay) and asked about The Dog and Oyster logo on my new, white, unstained ball cap. “Is that a new restaurant?”, the curious woman asked. “No, it’s a winery,” I said. I went on to explain how the former White Fences Winery just across the river in Irvington was recently sold and renamed, and we had just visited for a tasting the day before. My ball cap was an impulse buy when I was paying for two bottles to take home – a Chardonnay and a Merlot. Jenny and I had such a great time there that I wanted a memento of the occasion. I even gave the owner, Dudley Patterson, my old ball cap promoting a Richmond law firm where one of his attorney friends apparently worked – and I refused the quarter he was willing to pay!
So, why the name? According to Dudley, the first half of the name honors the half dozen or so rescue dogs that were offered a good home at the vineyard along with a job – protect the grapes! Deer can wreak havoc on crops, including grape vines. Larger vineyards just factor those losses into the expense of wine making. Smaller vineyards, like this one with only six acres of vines, can’t afford crops damaged by deer and other pesky animals. The dogs, mostly beagles and hounds, prevent that from happening. The second half of the name honors the bivalve mollusk considered to be one of the tastiest delicacies of the Chesapeake Bay and perhaps the greatest asset of the Northern Neck region, where The Dog and Oyster Vineyard is located.
Probably the most notable feature of this vineyard are the two 40-foot cork screws that flank the entrance. Whether they are the largest in the world is still unconfirmed, but I would love to see the bottle these could open!
The tasting room is small, but charming – a white frame building with a big screened porch that sits in the middle of the vineyard. When we arrived, Dudley was just starting a rotation with a few other couples sitting at picnic tables on the porch. He called to us through the screen to come and join them. In between tastings, he told stories. I’ve already shared the one about the dogs. He shared another story about how the region is very similar to Bordeaux, with sandy, rocky soil and a high water table that needed an underground drainage system before the vines could be planted. The tasting was friendly and relaxing, and the wines were very good.
The Dog and Oyster has partnered with Ingleside, one of Virginia’s largest wineries and likely the best known on the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail. Four of the six wines offered in the tasting were Ingleside labels – 2010 Pinot Grigio, 2008 Sangiovese, 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2007 Petit Verdot (my favorite). I like the bold wines, and this one was intense with a deep garnet red color and elegant aromas of vanilla and oak. The other two wines carried The Dog and Oyster label – a Chardonnay that was light and crisp, and a Merlot made in the European tradition with flavors of black cherry, currant and tobacco. We took home both of these.
Dudley and his wife Peggy also own the Hope and Glory Inn just up the road from the vineyard. This highly-acclaimed boutique hotel of six rooms and 10 cottages is touted as one of the best small inns in America and continues to score high marks from Fodor’s and Frommer’s Travel Guides and numerous other publications. Jenny and I have added the Hope and Glory Inn to our list of places to visit.
Dudley says future plans for The Dog and Oyster include food stands serving up – you guessed it – oysters and gourmet hot dogs, complete with wine pairings. So, if you’re in the region and want to visit a dog-friendly, Chesapeake Bay vineyard with tasty wines and good stories in a relaxing setting, check out The Dog and Oyster in Irvington, Virginia. We’ll certainly be back soon.
– Rob Norman
A Ride to the Dock
I remember when my son was small enough to ride on my shoulders. At 14, those days are long gone. I think seeing this father and son taking a stroll on the dock at Locklies Marina last weekend was a nostalgic moment for me. Jenny and I were enjoying a late lunch of roasted oysters and crab cakes, sitting at the so-called “slanted table” under a shade tree at Merrior, a casual outside restaurant with great views of Locklies Creek and the Rappahannock River. I was admiring the Charlotte D deadrise boat (in the background of this photo) that had just returned from a fishing charter and the skipper was washing her down, when this father and son crossed my view. I put down my beer, grabbed my Nikon and snapped off three shots. The first one shown here captured the moment. Maybe this little boy, still in diapers, will grow to appreciate old boats and backwater marinas as much as I do. Just maybe. June 9, 2012.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 105 mm, F/5.6, 1/800, ISO 200
Small Wooden Boat
Here’s another shot from my kayak adventures with Jenny on Broad Creek last weekend. This small wooden boat, a miniature deadrise, made the perfect subject for this somewhat symmetrical shot comprised of wood and water. While the boat is center frame, the boathouse door provided the imbalance to make this visually interesting. I’m a huge fan of the old, wooden deadrise boats, and this shiny little replica offered a stark contrast to the usual work boats I normally photograph. I enjoy shooting from my kayak, but am limited to my Canon PowerShot since I’m not inclined to take my Nikon DSLR in a one-man vessel that can easily capsize. June 10, 2012.
Specs: Canon PowerShot, F/9, 1/320, ISO 80.
Evening Sky Ablaze
One of my favorite things to do is sit on the bridge of my boat at dock on Broad Creek in the evening when the wind and the water calm and the sun rests on the horizon before vanishing into the night. This is the time I call “sweet light”. I captured this photo this past Saturday evening while Jenny and I enjoyed a glass of wine after a day of visiting consignment shops and wineries. June 9, 2012.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 80 mm, F/11, 1/500, ISO 100
I normally don’t photograph food, but these scones sitting on a baker’s tray at a recent Farmer’s Market caught my eye. For me, they were as interesting to look at as I’m sure they were Delicious to eat. Maybe next time, I’ll put away the camera and pull out my wallet. May 26, 2012.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 105 mm, F/5.6, 1/400, ISO 400
Thanks for Blogger Awards
Encouraged by my girlfriend Jenny, I recently started this little blog as a way to share some of my photos and commentary about places, people and experiences I encounter. Already, I have met some remarkable people from around the world, whose artistic and creative talents in writing, photography and art have inspired and motivated me. Recently, a couple of these people nominated me for a few blogger awards, and I was completely surprised and extremely grateful for their recognition. I would like to thank Kimberly Konkol at everlastingloveofflowers.wordpress.com who recognized me for the Versatile Blogger and Sunshine Awards. I’d also like to thank Humbled Pie at humbledpie.wordpress.com (my very first follower) for the Reader Appreciation Award.
The rules for all of these are similar. If you choose…
- Add a photo for the award you received to a blog post.
- Link back to your nominating blogger(s) in your post.
- Tell us some random stuff about yourself that might not be evident by following your blog.
- Nominate some worthy bloggers for the same award you received and leave them a note linking them back to your award post.
All of my nominations are for bloggers that I continually return to and find myself liking their posts repeatedly. They are diverse in genre and artistic style, yet each has a special way of catching my eye or attention with their unique styles. I’m sure many of them have already been recognized for some of these awards, and I hope they will indulge me to recognize them again.
My nominations for The Versatile Blogger:
My nominations for The Sunshine Award:
My nominations for the Reader Appreciation Award:
7 random things about me:
- I am a proud Dad of a teenaged son and daughter who are twins.
- I play the piano and a djembe (an African drum)
- I go to Starbucks just about every single day (an addiction yes)
- Snow skiing is my favorite winter sport
- I love being on the water and own an old motor yacht that I call my dockside condo
- I moved 8 times in my life and now live in the same neighborhood in which I grew up (just up the street)
- I’ve learned that everyone has a story worth knowing
Jenny at Prospect Hill
Here’s another photo from Prospect Hill Plantation B&B. I took this of Jenny during a stroll around the manor house in the spring of last year. I liked the way the soft light of the early evening sun captured her smile and some highlights in her hair. The subtle red in her coat compliments the red in the American flag in the distant background.
April 3, 2011.
Specs: Nikon D50, 175 mm, F/5.6, 1/500
Last year, Jenny and I spent a weekend at Prospect Hill Plantation B&B in Louisa, VA, about halfway between Richmond and Charlottesville. The manor house dates to the early 18th century and is surrounded by stately Oaks and rolling pastures, reminders of a once sprawling plantation. Strolling the grounds in the early evening before dinner, I came upon this garden cherub shushing a frog and felt I had intruded upon their private conversation. I politely snapped this photo and then moved on, careful not to disturb them again.
April 3, 2011.
Specs: Nikon D50, 165 mm, F/5.6, 1/500
Recently while kayaking on Broad Creek, I spotted an old salt-treated docking post that had a section of splintering just above the water line. I paddled over and pulled out my Canon PowerShot and captured this pic. Often times, even the most mundane objects can be a source of beauty when you notice the interplay of light and shadow, lines and texture. All you have to do is look…and see.
May 26, 2012, Deltaville, Virginia.
Specs: Canon PowerShot SD 1200, 110 mm, F/4.9, 1/800, ISO 80
Garden of Delights
A juxtaposition of exuberant youth and patient middle age — waiting for the tomatoes to grow. I liked the documentary quality of this photo I took in the summer of 2007 during a visit with my brother in upstate New York. It captures the contrast of youthful energy and a slower adult pace in a single moment.
August 14, 2007, Morris, New York.
Specs: Nikon D50, 18 mm, F/3.5, 1/20
The Mattie Joan deadrise workboat asleep at her berth on Broad Creek. I love the way the early morning light casts a shadowy blue tint on her forward port freeboard (left bow) and sparkles gold across the ripples of a gentle creek. I awoke with the sun on Memorial Day weekend to capture this shot from the opposite bank.
May 28, 2012. Deltaville, Virginia
Specs: Nikon D7000, 300 mm, F/5.6, 1/500, ISO 320