Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Hardly used, mint in box with case. Will restore to factory settings. Price negotiable. A great Christmas gift!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Nell

I have written about Nell Dickerson before here. Her photobook, Gone, is one of my favorites. Well, doggone it, Nell has done it again. Her latest photobook is Porch Dogs. Porch Dogs features my favorite subjects, dogs (of course), and would make a great Christmas gift for nearly anyone. Purchase it here or here. I get no cut either way.

With Gone and Porch Dogs, Nell is waging a one woman campaign to save Southern culture with her Southern preservation photography series. Porch Dogs works two on two levels. First, it is an engaging homage to our canine companions. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it is a photographic ode to Southern architecture and life. The book is divided into several sections by type of dog; house, yard, shop, swing & bench, top & under and dock. Each color image (thankfully Nell works in color) is accompanied by a warm and charming explanatory caption.

In addition to her photography, Nell does a lot of other things which you can read about on her website. From my perspective, though, these two books are perfect examples of the power of photography and may give you some ideas.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Caveat Emptor

Mike Johnston over at The Online Photographer has been having a rough November.  Hard to face Thanksgiving with the kind of month that he's had.  Long story short, he set up a storefront using an outfit from Texas, Volusion.  Following his last Peter Turnley print sale, Volusion decided to hang on to the money rather than passing it along to Mike and still owes some of Mike's customers refunds. 

Read all the nasty details here.

Suffice it to say that crooks abound everywhere, especially on the Internet.  Buyer beware.  Oh, and a nasty-gram to Volusion might be in order.  I'm just sayin'   

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Libby: A Portfolio

Libby died yesterday. Since she was a couple of months shy of 105, I suppose it was to be expected.  She went quietly, peacefully into that good night surrounded by the ones she loved. I held her muzzle in my hand as she died and I will never forget the soft touch of her fur. For some reason, I can’t stop crying.  As you can see, she was my favorite subject.  Goodbye old friend.

Monday, October 7, 2013

New, Improved … and Now Add Free!

You will note, I hope, the lack of ads herein.  I learned the hard way that it is very hard to turn a blog into a profit-making venture.  Only those (Mike Johnston, and I sense even he is struggling) with a unique vision and business plan can make this work.  The $3.00 I made over however many years just wasn’t worth it.  Ya got to do this for the love of it, first and foremost. 

In any event, I took those pesky ads down.   Even so, WBTL endorses B&H for all your photographic needs.  I have purchased a lot of equipment from them over the years and I have never, not ever, been disappointed.  And, their customer service is second to none.  So if you are shopping, head over to B&H.

… Or Not

Okay, so this rebooted thing didn’t go so well.  That was February and now it’s October.  I had the best of intentions, but the Muse is a fickle girl.  Sometimes she loves you and sometimes she don’t.  Our dog, Libby, passed away last night and the Muse is back in a big way.  Recently, I have been thinking a lot about photography as well.  I want to share all that with you.  But will anyone care?  In the blogging business six months is a looooong time.  Just look at all the new cameras that didn’t exist when I write that post. 

Oh well, I have only myself to blame if nobody’s listening.  But, I hope that you will.

Friday, February 1, 2013

WBTL Rebooted

A Bit of History
In the beginning, I had a grand design for this photo blog. Flush with excitement from the discovery of digital photography after a several year layoff from film, I submerged myself in the Internet. I wanted to learn everything that I could to add to add to my accumulated wisdom from nearly 30 years of film photography. Like most of you, I expect, I started with Ken Rockwell. In those days if you googled “digital photography” his site was on the top of the list. Very soon I was his disciple. If Ken said it, then it must be right. 

After a while, something deep inside of me was finding Ken’s “put it on vivid and P and go for it” approach a bit simplistic. I soon started going further afield and discovered Michael Reichmann’s The Luminous Landscape. What a breath of fresh air! Here was a real photographer. I still read LuLa to this day.

In the meantime I discovered something called a blog, which I learned was short for weblog. It was a while before I understood exactly what this blog thingee was and even more time before I discovered I could do one for free. The final push was my unearthing (based on a friend’s recommendation) of Mike Johnston’s The Online Photographer. Mike is the dean of photo bloggers and was my exemplar and, later, mentor. I was off and running.

I founded my first blog, The Illuminated Universe (now gone), in the spring of 2007. My first success was the publication of an eclipse photograph on Yahoo! News. I was floored. When I asked Mike to take a look at my blog he offered some suggestions and complimented me on my Father’s Day post. Pretty soon, I was actually writing for T.O.P. It was a rush every time he published my work. Before long, I was having email exchanges with well-known photographers and I even had lunch with Ctein. It was all pretty heady stuff and I was flying high.

Then, this past November, the WBTL plane crashed. It started with a series of severe accidents beginning in August of 2007. I was laid up for months at a time and didn’t feel like doing much of anything. There was a lack of exciting news about photography and I soon developed writers block. This was followed by a declining interest in the subject itself. In October of 2011 and 2012 I took trips to the North Shore and never took my camera out of the car. Soon after, I gave up on WBTL and have not posted since November 19, 2012. That brings us to now.

On the night of January 11th, I slipped in my bathroom and dove headfirst into the floor. I fractured a vertebra in the clavicle and am now in a neck brace for the foreseeable future. It could have been much, much worse. As a result, I have had to make some very drastic lifestyle changes, mostly for the good. I am now in the third week of my recovery and getting pretty bored. The other day, I decided to catch up on T.O.P. and read all of the older posts I missed dating from mid-January. By the time I went to bed, I decided that I wanted to start writing again.

WBTL 2.0 
We here at WBTL (i.e. me) take great pleasure in welcoming you to Written By The Light 2.0. Consider this a reboot of the original with minor improvements. Am I serious about this? You bet. So serious that I went back through all 541 posts since August 14, 2007. I removed all off topic posts and cleaned up the last couple of year’s worth with larger typeface. I got rid of old drafts, non-responsive videos and revised the template a bit. I have shut down my fliker gallery so that link is gone. I did all of this to enhance the reader’s experience. I hope that you will explore some of those older posts.

Is the new blog ad free? No, but the ads have been kept to a minimum and are from merchants that I trust. If you have decided on a piece of equipment, please consider using one of my links to make the purchase. It costs you nothing and helps me out. That said, this blog is not about generating income. I learned that lesson quite a while ago.

What’s Next? 
To be clear, this blog is about photography pure and simple. Even with that limitation, I will have lots to write about from books to equipment and from technique to exhibits. I will continue to write about the Civil War, but only insofar as it concerns Civil War photography. I believe that the Civil War witnessed the birth of photojournalism. What Matthew Brady’s team did is nothing short of amazing even by today’s standards. Hence Brady will remain our inspiration. I will also write about travel from the photographer’s angle. Are there photo opportunities? If so, where and when? I will also continue to display selections of my own work as I have in the past. When the opportunity presents itself I will post about astrophotography. I reserve the right to blog about the Olympics and the World Cup, two of the biggest photographic events on planet Earth.  I will not write about football (except indirectly), news, politics, history or astronomy. Off Topic posts will be kept to the absolute minimum and will be clearly labeled as such. Feel free to skip them. 

When I started WBTL I made the mistake of thinking that I could keep up with the full time photo bloggers and post every day. That was a mistake and I felt as though I had to apologize for it. As a result, I burned myself out. I am a derivatives attorney by trade and have been extremely busy of late due to the Dodd-Frank Act which you may have heard of. Still, I am hopeful that I can post every two weeks. That said, it may be on monthly a basis. Thanks, in advance for your understanding.

My next post will cover a summary of what’s been going on since mid-November. Not that any of it will be news to you, but it will get me current. So long for now, and please keep reading.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photographing Antietam

“Dead Horse of Confederate Colonel; both killed at Battle of Antietam,” by Alexander Gardner

"On Sept. 19, 1862, just two days after the Battle of Antietam, Alexander Gardner, an employee of the photographer Mathew Brady, began documenting the battle’s grim aftermath. One of Gardner’s photographs, titled “Dead Horse of Confederate Colonel; both killed at Battle of Antietam,” depicted a milky-white steed lying on the field in an eerily peaceful repose. Another showed a line of bloated Confederate bodies along the Hagerstown Pike. Titled “View in the Field, on the west side of Hagerstown road, after the Battle of Antietam,” it is one of the most reproduced photographs of Civil War dead."

"In October, Brady displayed Gardner’s photographs in his New York City studio. “The Dead of Antietam” both horrified and fascinated people. It was the first time in history that the general public was able to see the true carnage of war. One reporter wrote, “Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along streets, he has done something very like it.”

Read the rest of the story at The New York Times here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Myth Debunked

Bridge (Anamorphic)
from Andrew Reid on Vimeo.
According to vimeo:
Shot in anamorphic 2.35:1 with the Optex anamorphic lens and 9-18mm Olympus lens on the hacked Panasonic GH1 in AVCHD 44Mbit mode. Some close-up and telephoto shots were done on the 14-140mm kit lens without the anamorphic adapter and cropped in Final Cut Pro.

Still need the latest and greatest?  Oh, and don't miss the accompanying article here.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Civil War Photography At Cedar Mountain

The Battle of Cedar Mountain was fought on August 9, 1862, 150 years ago. The battle, between troops led by Union Maj. Gen. John Pope and Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, was ultimately won by the Confederates.

Subsequently, a Mathew Brady photographer named Timothy O'Sullivan went to Northern Virginia to photograph the aftermath of the battle. Garry Adelman and Crystal Marshall have published an article about those photographs, New Insights into Cedar Mountain Photography. If you are interested in Civil War photography you will find this research fascinating.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Panasonic GH2

This video was shot with a bargain basement camera, the Panasonic GH2 which now sells for $749 with kit lens.


land of sicilia from emeric on Vimeo.

Eat your heart out.  Better yet, buy one before they're gone.