Shooting our way south

This past week, we left New Jersey and started to meander south. (When your house has wheels, there is no reason to keep it in cold weather for the winter!) Our goal was to photograph the fall color on the way south, shooting in Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We’ve actually made several interesting stops over the past week, and I thought a visual travelogue would be more appropriate, as we’ve been taking a lot of photos! Here goes:

BenBOmuseum-smallOur first stop after leaving New Jersey was Baltimore, to visit the B&O Railroad Museum. There was a nice, streamline train I wanted to see (pictured above) but we ended up spending a lot of time exploring the museum because it is really pretty awesome… and huge. The big roundhouse holds loads of trains, many dating back to the Civil War. 

BOroundhouseThe roundhouse (where they turn train cars around) at the B&O Railroad Museum.


For two nights, we stayed in Waynesboro, VA, which is right outside Shenandoah National Park and the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We drove around Shenandoah a lot, but much of the color was already past peak. It was still nice to see though. We got some nice shots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, like the one above, but we realized we were still a little too far north for nice fall color. 

ShenandoahNP-BlueRidgePkwy-27Karen got this shot of me shooting on the Blue Ridge Parkway… literally ON the parkway!

FallRedLeavesAnother fall color shot

BenOWLmuseumOur next stop was in Roanoke, VA, where there were two places I wanted to see. The first was the O. Winston Link Museum. Link was a photographer known for his night images of the N&W (Norfolk & Western) Railway. He captured the last workings of steam-operated trains, marking the end of an era. Most of his shots were made at night, where he used dozens of flash bulbs to freeze the motion of the trains and the railroad employees. The image in the shot above is Link and his assistant with their lighting equipment. 

BenRoanokeStationMy second stop in Roanoke was this vintage Amoco station. I spent a couple minutes shooting it and then we continued on.

Karen-VTJust south of Roanoke is Blacksburg, VA, home of Virginia Tech. Karen graduated from VT back in 2002 and hasn’t been back to the campus yet, so she wanted to pay a visit on our way south.

1391692_10153886978935355_1729416661_nWe stopped and spent a night in Fancy Gap, VA, which is right near the VA/NC border and very convenient to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We spent some time exploring the Parkway in this area, but the color was past peak here too. The photo above is the “Welcome To…” sign for both Virginia and North Carolina.

BenSunrisePanoEven though the fall color wasn’t that great, we managed to find this vista for a beautiful sunrise on the Parkway. This post’s header image is from the same place. 

Continuing south, our next stop was the Great Smoky Mountains, where we are parked right near the national park entrance. We will spend a few days exploring here and then head southward to Atlanta for a bit. More to come!

Randomness in Portland

While we both really like Portland, we’re counting down until the day we can get back on the road and actually leave Oregon (we’ve been parked there for a REALLY long time). So as you can probably guess, this past week was mostly spent in Portland. We did see some new things though…like the vintage vacuum museum! No, that’s not a joke. We spent a day going out and seeing really random things, and this was the first stop. Karen didn’t know where we were going, and she looked a little confused when I took her to a back hallway inside a huge vacuum cleaner store. She knows me pretty well though, so when she started to see all the old vacuums she just shook her head and laughed.

VacuumMuseumA scene from the vintage vacuum museum.

We also went to another oddball place called the Faux Museum. I don’t even know how to describe it, but some dude (who may or may not have been on a lot of drugs) decided to create this home-made museum based on his “journey to the 7th dimension.” Yeah. It was weird…. on a whole new level. THEN, we went somewhere really cool. Portland has a classic arcade that is full of classic arcade games. You literally walk in and are taken back in time. They have full sized Asteroids, Tempest, Centipede, Joust, Dig dug, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Galaga, and many, many more, plus classic pinball! All the arcade games cost only 25¢ to play, just like the old days. To make it even better, they have a bar that opens after 5 pm. I had a blast in there!

PortlandArcadeAn iPhone shot from Ground Kontrol, the classic arcade in Portland.

This week, I also revisited a shooting location I had scouted before. It’s an old Signal Service Station that has since been turned into a pizza parlor. In order to photograph it, I had to move a lot of benches and other furniture, but hopefully, it will turn out pretty good. As soon as I process the final image, I’ll post it up here.

SignalStationiPhoneThe Signal Station I photographed in Portland.

This coming week, I’ll be spending a lot of time preparing for my creativeLIVE course on June 10-11. The class is called “Photoshop Mastery: Retouching & Collage” and is part of the Photoshop Mastery series I’ve been teaching once a month. As with all creativeLIVE classes, it’s completely free to watch while it’s live. If you like what you see, you can purchase the course to watch (and re-watch) whenever you want. As I mentioned above, the classes is June 10 and 11, and runs from 9 am to 4 om PST. I hope you can tune in!

More to come…