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Articles highlighting my photographic style, images, and techniques, photo opportunities at selected locations, with a few tips for photographers on the road.

2013 SSA Region 3 Soaring at Harris Hill

Sailplanes at Harris Hill

Sailplanes at Harris Hill

I recently spent a few days at the 2013 Soaring Society of America (SSA) Region 3 soaring contest held at the Harris Hill gliderport in Elmira, New York. Harris Hill, which overlooks the Chemung Valley, is known as the birthplace of soaring in the United States.

Below are a few of the images captured along with links to a number of video clips of some of the action.

Sailplanes are positioned on the takeoff grid waiting for their first launch of the day on day 5 of the 2013 SSA Region 3 Soaring contest at Harris Hill Gliderport in Elimira, New York. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on my Fine Art Prints website.

Sailplanes are positioned on the takeoff grid waiting for their first launch of the day on day 5 of the 2013 SSA Region 3 Soaring contest at Harris Hill Gliderport in Elimira, New York. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on my Fine Art Prints website.

The Glider Hangar at Harris Hill Gliderport, the birthplace of soaring in the United States, located in Elmira, New York. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on my Fine Art Prints website.

Click on the photos above for more information on the specific licensing/purchase options available or click here to see more images of the Harris Hill Soaring.

A number of contest participants were recorded executing aerotow take-offs, landings, and other activities. Click on the names below to see the clips:


And other clips of:


Follow this link to see all clips in the 2013 SSA Region 3 Soaring Contest clip bin on Pond5.

All images © Clarence Holmes

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New York Public Library

Rose Main Reading Room

Main Reading Room

I recently had the opportunity to photograph the historic New York Public Library in New York City. Specifically, images were captured of the exterior and interior of the Beaux-Arts Stephen A. Schwarzman building, which is the main branch located on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.

The main branch was officially opened in 1911. The building became a National Historic Landmark in 1965. Below are a few of the images captured.

The Rose Main Reading Room in the main branch of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

An elevated view of the Rose Main Reading Room. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

The book return at the center of Rose Main Reading Room. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

A book rests on a lighted reading stand in front of many reading tables equipped with brass shaded reading lamps in the Rose Main Reading Room. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Beautiful wood paneling and murals provide a wonderful surrounding for the brass lamp equipped reading tables in the New York Public Library’s DeWitt Wallace Periodicals Room. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Stacks of books and research materials across from brass lamp equipped reading tables await researchers in the New York Public Library’s Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy (Genealogy Room). Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Corinthian columns flank the main entrances to the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at the top of stairs leading from 42nd Street. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Bronze doors adorn the main entrance to the New York Public Library’s Beaux-Arts Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Click on the photos above for more information on the specific licensing/purchase options available or click here to see more images of the New York Public Library.

All images © Clarence Holmes

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Lightning Strikes the Empire State Building

Empire State Building Lightning Strike

Lightning strikes the ESB

Over the last few weeks I have spent some time trying to capture images of lightning over the New York City skyline. Those who have tried this know that it is a hit or miss proposition. You watch the weather forecast, try to put yourself in the best (safe) position to capture the image you want, and then wait and see what develops.

On Thursday, the weather forecast looked favorable for thunderstorms in the evening, so I headed to a good location with a few other photographers. During the most active part of the lightning strikes, I was focusing on some wide shots which included a nice expanse of the sky to capture strikes over the skyline.

After capturing a number of wide views, I decided to try a lower probability shot of capturing lightning in the sky somewhere behind the Empire State Building. I changed to a longer lens, changed to vertical orientation, zoomed in on a tighter shot of the building, and hoped for the best.

After less than 10 minutes, I got a great surprise when there was a lightning bolt that appeared to strike directly behind the Empire State Building. Only after checking my preview screen did I realize that the strike actually hit the antenna on top of the building! The image that I captured appears below, along with a few other images of lightning over the New York City skyline.

Lightning strikes the antenna on the top of the Empire State Building in New York City during a summer thunderstorm on Thursday, July 26, 2012. The Empire State Building, which is struck by lightning an average of just under 100 times annually, was illuminated in colors of various nations in celebration of the 2012 London Olympics. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

A large cloud to ground forked lightning bolt strikes the ground in New York City during a summer thunderstorm on Thursday, July 26, 2012. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Lightning bolts illuminate the night sky behind the skyline of New York City during a summer thunderstorm on Sunday, July 15, 2012. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Lightning bolts illuminate the night sky over the upper west side skyline of New York City during a summer thunderstorm on Sunday, July 15, 2012. Prints of this image (including a black & white version) are available on Fine Art America.

Click on the photos above for more information on the specific licensing/purchase options available or click here to see more images of lightning.

All images © Clarence Holmes

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CRRNJ Terminal

CRRNJ Terminal

CRRNJ Terminal

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal in Liberty State park in Jersey City, New Jersey. The terminal, built in 1889, is also known as Communipaw Terminal. It was at one time the CRRNJ’s passenger terminal on the Hudson River serving both passenger trains such as the Blue Comet to Atlantic City, the Royal Blue (B&O) to Washington, and ferries to New York City. Passenger trains operated out of the terminal until 1967. It is currently the New Jersey terminus for ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

A few of the images are included below.

The exterior of the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal, including the old ferry slips, located in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey. The exterior architectural design is Richardsonian Romanesque. Prints of this image are available on Fine Art America.

The main concourse of the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal. Prints of this image are available on Fine Art America.

Another view of the main councourse of the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal. Prints of this image are available on Fine Art America.

The skyline of lower Manhattan in New York City as viewed from inside the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal. Prints of this image are available on Fine Art America.

The interior roof detail of the waiting room in the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal. Prints of this image are available on Fine Art America.

Click on the photos above for more information on the specific licensing/purchase options available or click here to see more images of the CRRNJ Terminal.

All images © Clarence Holmes

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A Barred Owl Visits My Backyard

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Every spring I spend some of my photography time capturing images of insects and spiders, often in my backyard. Whenever I am outside I listen for the calls of birds, particularly any that are unusual. Last week on one of my backyard safari’s I heard what I thought was part of the call of a Barred Owl (Strix varia). I am quite familiar with the call having heard it many times while camping, but I’ve never heard it in my yard. Great Horned Owls are regular visitors every winter and I get an occasional Eastern Screech Owl, but never a Barred Owl.

Barred Owls are medium sized brownish owls that have horizontal bars of white on the breast and vertical bars of white on the belly. They are nocturnal and generally roost during the day in dense foliage on a branch close to the trunk of a tree.

A few days went by and I then heard Barred Owls calling between 12 midnight and 4am over the last three days, and the calls were loud and close. It sounded like the owls must be in the trees to the side and rear of my property. Birders may be familiar with the call of the Barred Owl, but it would be quite a shock to hear it outside your window in the middle of the night if you don’t know what it is!

I decided to look for the owls roosting during the day, but the trees are now fully leafed out so I didn’t have any luck, until ….

This evening I was once again looking for macro subjects in the backyard, walking around the edge between my yard and the surrounding woods. As I approached a Maple tree where I have some bird feeders hanging, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. There perched on a branch about 10 feet up was a Barred Owl!

I was about 20 feet away from the tree, so I slowly backed up and made my way to the deck entrance door. What followed over the next few minutes was a frantic scene to change from my macro photography equipment to my bird photography equipment. When in the field, I like to be prepared, but I really didn’t expect to be capturing bird images this evening, so it took a few minutes to pull everything together.

I made it back outside in approximately 5 minutes and to my relief the owl was still there. Below are some of the images captured.

Barred Owl roosting on the branch of a Maple tree

Barred Owl with eyes closed

Checking out the surrounding area

Checking out the surrounding area

Checking out the photographer!

Showing the blue inner nictitating eyelids

Like many other bird/nature photographers, I have traveled to many places to capture bird images, but sometimes there is no place better than your own backyard!

Click on the photos above for more information, or click here to see all stock photos of owls. To see more images of birds, visit my gallery of stock photos of birds.

All images © Clarence Holmes

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