A Warm Saturday Evening

I made the decision yesterday morning to keep my camera by my side at all times throughout the day. My personal photographic output had decreased over the past few months so I was looking for something to jumpstart my creativity. To sum it up, the idea was a great success. I was able to capture a handful of images that I am truly proud of. Below is a sample of some of the photographs I made as the sun was setting on the lake. Some family had come over for the evening and paired them with some golden hour light. Enjoy.


A larger selection of photos from the day can be seen in my Photo Archive

 
 

Hot, With A Chance Of Storms

Hazy Afternoon

We just finished a wild week of seven straight days of rain here in the Northeast. These photographs were taken this past Tuesday when we had a small break in the rain. It was a particularly hot day, and a thick haze blanketed the area. I tried to capture that in the photos below. It was one of those afternoons where you just knew a thunderstorm was going to roll through, and sure enough it did.

What The Weather

Somehow all of my posts tend to mention the weather in one form or another. If it gets to be too much don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. My fascination with meteorology comes from the idea that you have to spend your time observing the current conditions and taking note of them. I can make a correlation between that in photography but I’ll save that for another day. I should mention that I used to watch the Weather Channel as a kid, tracking severe weather as it happened, I was borderline obsessed. I used to be afraid of storms as a child and I remember many a sleepless night as the flashes of light and cracks of thunder would keep me awake. These days I enjoy watching storms roll across the landscape from the west. It’s an interesting process that creates all kinds of atmosphere and drama, prime conditions for good photographs. We are fortunate to have a great big view of the sky from our dock, something I elaborate in greater detail here.


Foggy Mornings, Twenty Years Later

Foggy, condensation filled mornings are a common occurrence at the Pine Barren Man World Headquarters. Drenched windows make for an interesting subject, and I tend to stop and photograph them whenever the opportunity arises. I'm hoping that by the time I'm fifty I have enough misty window content to publish a photo book on them. I can see it now... Moist (Gl)ass: The Michael Mroczek Story. I know I have your interested piqued however,  the book is still a little over twenty years away so, for now, the foggy photographs below will have to suffice.


Early Spring Thursday

A few photos of the pups from this past Thursday afternoon. Everything was captured with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 + Fujifilm XF 27mm combo. 

Easter Weekend

Below are a few snapshots from Saturday afternoon. Victoria and I spent a majority of the day doing some light yard work while the pups chased each other around. The highlight of the day for me was the small 20-minute nap I was able to take on the dock around 2 o'clock. The weather was pleasant and the Sun was strong enough that I had a tiny bit of sunburn on my neck by the time we finished up. 

In regards to the images, they were all taken on a Pixel 2 by both Victoria and me. Three for her and likewise for me. On first glance it appears might I have overcooked these images in Photoshop but to be honest they just have a slight High-Pass filter over them to increase their sharpness for web viewing. The files that the Pixel produces are quite amazing, the dynamic range in some of the photos, especially the one of Jefferson in the sand is better than anything I can achieve with my trusty Fujifilm cameras. You can thank Google's machine learning software for that. 

I geeked out a little in that last paragraph, and I'm not expecting everyone to know what I'm talking about when I go on photography tangents. However, bonus points to anyone who reads those two links above and responds with something they learned in the comments below. At the very least I encourage you to read the Google Research link. It's a fascinating insight into the technology that powers the photography in our smartphones. 

Autumn Lake Winery

Last Thursday, Victoria and I visited autumn lake winery with our friends Shannon & Brandon. We're fortunate that the winery is right next to the lake we live on. We arrived around 2pm and were lucky to be the only ones there. At the present moment, Autumn Lake's tasting room is in a greenhouse on the property while they begin building a permanent building at the winery. A cool thing about the greenhouse is that during the day the plastic diffuses all of the sunlight that pours into the room. All of that soft light is a photographers dream! I had a great time sampling the wine on offer as well as taking a few photos of our afternoon.

I find it exciting that we have places to explore (and photograph) right around the corner from our house. One of the advantages of living a rural area as opposed to where I grew up is that there is a greater abundance of small farms, breweries, wineries etc. Many of these establishments take great pride in the product that they produce and there is often a deep connection to the local area. Having pride in your community and the people is a big factor in helping call a new place home, at least for me it is. We will be back to Autumn Lake in the near future, I can guarantee it.

Washington Lake Park

Yesterday we decided to brave the cold and Victoria's cold, to take the pups out for a little walk somewhere new. Tori knew of a dog run in the next town over in Washington Lake Park so we packed the dogs up in the car and set off. I brought my X-Pro2 & the Fujinon 23mm f1.4 lens to snap some photos while the dogs ran around. The park was virtually empty so the whole trip was nice and relaxing. I wasn't feeling particularly inspired but it was nice to use my camera in a different setting and capture something new.

 
 

Just a heads up for everyone... I've started selling prints of my work. They are available for purchase here.

Early Morning Work

A few images from early this morning. Victoria was putting the finishing touches on a table that she had been refurbishing over the past couple of days. She had an hour or so of time to kill before starting work for the day. I took notice of how the light was soft and pouring in through the big windows in the great room, I quickly grabbed my camera and did some work of my own. 

Let's Take A Walk

We woke up around 7 am yesterday morning and the lake was covered with a thick, dense fog. The surrounding area is usually covered in fog most mornings so by now I have become accustomed to it. At first, I had brushed off the idea of going out to take a few pictures. I even went as far as to make myself a cup of coffee. After another quick look out of the windows, I decided to drag Victoria out of bed, grab my camera, and take a walk to the dam. The second we stepped out of the door I was glad we were outside. Not only was there a thick layer of fog everywhere, but there was also a nice coating of frost on every surface from the night before. As soon as we got to the lake the sun started to peek through the clouds and create some interesting light. After ten minutes we were getting a bit chilly out on the water and decided to head back home and make a second cup of coffee.

I suppose I can't complain about not progressing as a photographer while brushing aside the opportunity to go and make something new. One of the things my brother in law Chris and I, talked about over Thanksgiving dinner was the idea of breaking through the procrastination that comes along with photography. In order to have great photos, you have to put the effort into making great photos. It also helps to capitalize on opportunities when they arise. For example, the light in any given day is just right for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Why not use that time to go out and make something instead of checking social media, playing video games, or watching TV?

10/21 Weekend Adventures

Hello friends! First, apologies for the confusing blog schedule this week. I know it's weird reading a weekend review on a Thursday, seeing as we're so close to the following weekend. Being exhausted from the eventful weekend and losing our power yesterday morning didn't make things any easier. I'm breaking some blog rules with my erratic schedule but as one of my coworkers would say: “Why do you care, on your site, you make the rules.. so don't be afraid to break them.” So with that said, let's review the weekend.

We had two new visitors to the lake house this past weekend. Tony & Jen made the long journey down from Jersey City on Saturday. They arrived in the early evening and stayed in the guest quarters until the late morning on Sunday. We tried to pack as many fun activities as we could into such a small amount of time. We went out for dinner at one of our new favorite places to eat, the Harley Dawn Diner, make a quick stop at a new brewery called Vinyl in Hammonton, and finished off the morning on Sunday with a brunch buffet at the Scotland Run golf club right here in Williamstown. Our guests also got to experience one of my favorite things here in the lakes, that early morning fog. below you can see a couple of photos that I snapped before they had woken up… to show them of course.

After the lovely couple left us on Sunday, Victoria and I spent the rest of the day doing little things around the house. She mowed the front lawn, I washed my car, and we started our long-term project of trying to grow grass in our front yard by laying down some seeds! You can read all about that fun project here. I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated as much as possible too. So now, on to the photographs. They are a mix of styles and processing techniques all taken on my trusty X-Pro 2. I’ve been trying to use the XF23mm lens more over the last couple of days. You can see some of the photos have a wider feel to them. Omit I’m happy with the weekend’s catch, and I hope you enjoy them too.

Michael

Wedding Reportage

This one is going to be quick. Yesterday, Victoria & I attended the wedding of my cousin Alyssa and her (now) husband Danny. I had the pleasure of photographing them for their “Save the Dates” back in February. You can see those photos here, on my portfolio site.  To sum it up in a few words, we had a great time. It was nice to see the extended family, especially after moving a couple of hours away. This was my second time being back up north since we moved down here... Below are a few photos I snapped yesterday in an effort to exercise my creative muscles. Enjoy!

The Door Is Always Open

7:23 - Its Saturday morning, I'm having my morning coffee, casually flipping through some photography blogs, and videos on YouTube. That's when I get the itch, that creative itch. It's this feeling of knowing that I have to have some sort of creative output today for it to be a good one. I look outside and I can just tell it's going to be a nice day, but I know that we're only going to get a couple hours of “good” light. Deep down I know that no one wants to see another photo of the lake and trees outside at high noon… I need to get more creative than that.

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7:48 - I decide it's time to grab my camera and just hang out in the living room for a bit while I finish those last few sips of coffee. The light coming through the big windows in the great room is soft, I snap some photos of my laptop and coffee cup. They are satisfactory, but not groundbreaking. It’s the kind of stuff you would expect to see on a blog whose name is play on words of the name Pioneer Woman...

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8:01 - By now I have conceded the fact that nothing is happening this morning. The Photo just isn't there, and if I try and force something, it will be to obvious. Perhaps it's time to make another cup of coffee and get on with my day. I’m sure that something come along. The day is just getting started right? As I walk over to the coffee machine something from the laundry room happens to catch my eye. The morning sun was filling the room with light and the glass on the door is completely illuminated. The door is slightly ajar and a sliver of that unobstructed light is bursting through the jam. I quickly run back into the great room and grab my camera. I began to make a series of exposures at all different types of settings. I have my photo for the day.

 
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Now I know my laundry room door is not the most exciting thing in the world. But this just goes to show that when the light is just right, something that is dull and ordinary can be transformed into something interesting. As the Earth orbits the Sun, and the seasons pass, the light is always changing. The door is always open for new ideas. 

A Reflective Morning

I'm keeping this post short today for the sake of consistency, it's an attempt to generate some blog writing inertia. I'm actually writing this post as I watch our new dog Jefferson eat his dinner. We have to feed him in a separate room at the moment because Scarlett can agressive when food is around. Who knows, maybe this 10 minute portion of the evening is what ignites my quest to write more. Anyway, here are three photos taken this morning as the sun was coming up. There are just some lovely pink and purple hues in that morning sky. All of the photographs we're taken on my trusty X-Pro2 with the XF23mm lens, using the Velvia film simulation. They're also the JPEG files straight out of the camera with a slight tone curve applied in Lightroom.

Another (Williamstown) Sunday

A quick update on this past weekend. Eric L'Heureux paid us a visit again. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great on Saturday. Laroo and I offset that by watching some of the opening games of the Premier League season and playing some FIFA. Sunday provided us with some great weather which we put to good use out on the lake. Come to think of it we've had some pretty exceptional weather over the past few weeks. It's certainly much easier to enjoy the outdoors when you're not being crushed by 100% humidity. The funny thing is as I write this it's currently hot and humid outside with moments of intermittent drizzle.... A writers curse I suppose.

Wharton State Forest Hike

 

Hmm... I think I sat down about three different times with the intention of writing some long, word filled post about the hike we took last Monday. As you can tell, that did not happen. I suppose this is the universe telling me that I I should let the photos do the talking.  I will leave you with a map and a link to learn more about the Wharton State Forest. 

I also want to encourage everyone to get out and visit your local state parks more often. Wharton recently suffered a forest fire that destroyed some 1000 acres and some of its hiking trails. It is a reminder that these places are constantly changing, and that we should enjoy them as much as possible.

Details, Minor Details

Yesterday morning I decided to take my cup of coffee outside and play with Scarlett. Mornings like this are just perfect for photography. The air is thick and humid. All of the greenery around here is covered in a layer of dew. Perfect little subjects for my camera.

Forcing myself to write on a more frequent basis has caused me to start focusing on all of the tiny details that surround me on this giant rock that orbits a ball of flaming hydrogen we call the Sun.


Slight correction to my post from Monday evening. I have no clue why I titled it as a "Wednesday Walk" when it was quite clearly a Monday.. I'm surprised no one caught that.