Christopher Waggener Photography

Archive for 'Places'

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July 2, 2012 in Personal, Places

When I go down to Texas I usually get really inspired to take pictures. Well, not sitting around in Waco per say but going out to the hill country in Llano really gets me wanting to take pictures and look at things a little differently. I have a hard time doing this at the house in Richmond, maybe its because everything is familiar and I don’t look at the things around me the same way when I go to a different place like Texas. Yes texas is my second home and I have been taking pictures in Llano for many years, but every time I go down there I start seeing things differently. I am trying to get my self to do that back in VA. Sometimes in the personal work category I feel stuck or in a rut. Takeing the same pictures again and again. I need to find that spark I find in Llano TX back here in VA.

The pictures you see here are from my trip to Tx. Some were shot on my regular camera and some were shot on my iPod touch. See if you can guess which are which. There has been good amount of rain down there this spring and winter which apparently made for a great wild flower season. I caught the tail end of if and grabbed some flowers from the fields and shaped some pictures on a white background. If you haven’t seen the TX wild flower season its a must. all the fields are covered with bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes and many other different species of flowers. I missed the bluebonnets this year but seemed to find indian paint brushes and a couple of other species. The top picture is a way to over use 5 different strobe lights to light one rock at sundown. You can see the setup for the shot in the last picture. The rest of the pictures are from the actual town of Llano. If you blink you might miss it. Its city streets are a throwback to the 50’s and 60’s as seen by some of the architecture still standing. Hope you all enjoy.

Going to zoos and aquariums sometimes makes me feel like the National Geographic Photographer I have always wanted to become. However after I get all of the images onto my computer I always have this feeling that I just cheated. The REAL National Geographic Photographers spend months researching and camping out in extreme environments to get that 20 seconds with a snow leopard or almost die from eating or drinking the jungle water when living with native tribes. I feel like I cheated because I stroll up to a tank or an exhibit where animals, lighting, and scenery have all been carefully placed to make it look good. I haven’t backpacked for weeks, or been on a boat for days, I just walk around in an air-conditioned building and shoot dangerous animals through glass or fences. But I still have fun and I still get some images that I am pretty happy with. I have taken pictures at the Baltimore Aquarium before, however, this time was different. I was at a science conference all week and took one morning and went over to the aquarium. It was me and about 10 other people in the whole place. Normally when I go to this aquarium it is wall to wall people and it is very difficult to see all of the exhibits. So this time I just relaxed and really got to enjoy the exhibits and animals that this place has to offer. I don’t know why but for some reason I really liked taking pictures of the alligators and crocodiles. It must be my current obsession with the show swamp people. If you ever get a chance go see this great aquarium. Hope you enjoy.

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January 10, 2012 in Art, Personal, Places, Uncategorized

As most of you know I am originally from Texas but moved to Virginia when I was a child. I still have lots of family and relatives down there including my Father. Since I have been a child I have traveled down to this gigantic state two to three times a year and my father comes up to visit my sister and I about the same amount. Since the age of 12 or 13 my father has had a 1,400 acre place in Llano, TX where we go to deer and bird hunt. There was a lot more hunting in the beginning now we go and just sit around and drink beer, shoot guns, and take pictures. Thats right take pictures we have moved from guns to cameras. My Dad gave me my first SLR in 2001. It was a 35mm Nikon (Nikromat) that was my grandfathers from the 70’s, this metal hunk of steal was nothing fancy, no motor drives, no auto, no hot shoe, and no auto-focus, just a full manual beast of a camera even with the 70’s camera strap. I burned through countless rolls of film shooting this camera in Texas and Virginia. I still to this day love the unique sound it makes when you move the aperture ring and when the shutter opens and closes. From here there were more cameras until I have the one I have now. I am fully digital and really haven’t looked back to the film days much. I like many others have books of negatives and prints still waiting to be scanned in and transferred to a digital format. This “deer lease” in Llano has really made me a much more observant and creative photographer over the years. This place is nothing special in the way of looks. Its no Yellowstone or Florida Everglades. Its just a shrubby, cactus infested, flat place. However, this place as a unique beauty to itself and I truly love it and try to capture it on my camera when I can.

I got an iPod touch for christmas that has one of these fancy cameras on it. Yeah yeah, I know you are probably rocking the iPhone4s or some other smart phone. I am still carrying a phone that has no internet but it has a texting pad so…. this iPod touch was pretty exciting. I have really enjoyed it. This new little device has kinda jumpstarted and pushed me to be a little more creative and bold with my art. I’m not saying it has turned me into Ansel Adams or anything but it has sparked some creativity with me. A great photographer once said, the best camera is the one that is with you. I truly believe this. I am taking this little thing everywhere with me now and not lugging my big DSLR around. Don’t get me wrong I am not going to show up to your house taking your family pictures with it but this little camera has almost turned into a visual journal for me. So in this long winded post you will see pictures shot from my new iPod touch along with pictures I took with the big camera from this unique part of Texas. I hope you all enjoy and have a happy New Year.

 

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September 8, 2011 in Personal, Places, Uncategorized

My wife and I just got back from a long weekend trip to visit a couple of friends in Boston, MA. I had never been to the “bean town” before, so like a normal tourist, I grabbed my camera, forgot about all of the rules and visions of photography, and just clicked the shutter like any other Joe Schmo walking down the street. Our friends led us all around the city and different neighborhoods. We even went to the quiet, little, and beautiful town of Scituate (pronounced situate). Apparently there is a Kennedy compound somewhere in the town.  Needless to say, the houses were huge and beautiful. If I ever want to own a home there, I think my wife and I are both definitely going to need new high paying jobs. Probably my favorite part of the trip was going to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. I love baseball and as my wife can attest, I was like a 13-year-old boy being in this park watching a game. I was showing her all of the famous foul polls, seats, and other random things all game. I honestly think I took 10 to 15 different pictures of the Green Monster. As if seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway wasn’t cool enough, my favorite baseball team the Texas Rangers were playing the Red Sox.  After the game was over (Rangers won) we got to go out on the field and walk around the warning track. They were letting kids run the bases, which I totally wanted to do but didn’t meet the age restriction of 16 and under.

It was a wonderful long weekend and a great introduction to a cool city. Thanks to our wonderful friends for carting us around the entire weekend.  We had a great time and are looking forward to visiting again. Hope you all enjoy the pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OBX

July 21, 2011 in Art, Personal, Places, Uncategorized

My wife and I just made our anual trip to the Outerbanks of NC with our friends. This tradition has happened for the last 5 years. This year was no exception to the fun we have down there when we all get-together. Each year I travel down there with these huge photography goals and list of things I am going to shoot. However, every year I end up just relaxing and mostly taking pictures of the kids and families that are down there with us. This year we did something a little different. We went fishing with Captain Duke. I was a little nervous about getting sea sick before the trip but I dosed up on Dramamine and off we went. Good News no one got sick. We Caught over a hundred fish with Captain Duke and our 1st mate Bylin (not a typo, like Dylin with a B). We were fishing mostly Blue fish and Spanish Mackerel. One of the pictures below is of a large Spanish Mackerel we caught. We started off the fishing trip with some engine troubles but once we got out to the ocean we were on some fish. About every 30 seconds someone would yell ” fish on the line” and we would scramble and start reeling the line in. I was most impressed with the long fishing history of Captain Duke 4th generation fisherman with over 30 years of fishing experience himself. You can see in one of the pictures below a photo of captain duke and a large amount of fish. That is a younger Duke kneeling down. This picture was proudly displayed on his boat. The other thing that impressed me about these guys was that all of the lurers that we used and most of the ones on the boat are all hand made. I am always amazed at the craftsmanship that people take and learn for their job. I took pictures of many of these because they were all so interesting and different from one another.

I hate getting up early but I have learned if you wan to take some stellar landscape photos you need to be up early, like 5 am early. I took my camera out to Avalon Pier one morning and after waiting 20 o 30 min. for my lenses to defog (forgot about the change in humidity from inside to outside). I got some great long exposures on the beach. Most exposures were around 30 to 45 seconds. Thats enough time for the waves to make a solid white foggy look on the water. I used a 3 stop neutral density filter to aid in my longer exposures. It was really nice being the only person on the beach watching the sunrise. Well I honestly wasn’t the only person. I was accompanied by a young drunk guy passed out on the beach wrapped up in his towel. He was proudly displaying all he drank that night all around him. So other than that it was completely peaceful.

These beach trips are a highlight of our summer every year. I can’t wait till next year. Too bad I have to wait another 12 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some a few of the fireworks on the  James pictures I got the other night. Glad we went out since the 4th was rainy and fireworks at Dogwood Dell were postponed till the 5th. Hope you enjoy. I only posted a few since looking at a lot of firework pictures is like looking at 500 of your family photo’s to Disney World.

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March 25, 2011 in Personal, Places, Uncategorized

I just got back from a science meeting in St. Louis. Never having been to this city and with very limited time, I had to do the two most “touristy” things there were to do in this city. The first was to visit the Arch. This structure was massive I have rarely been next to something I can’t fit in the viewfinder on my camera with a wide angle lens. At 630 feet hight and 630 feet wide, this stainless steal arch was awesome. The angles and great perspective you get from walking around it was pretty fascinating. We even went up in the Arch. After traveling about 10min. in these 4’x4′ tram cars that hold five, yes thats right five people we were at the top. Great scenic views of the city from the top. I could even feel the Arch sway a little since it was a windy day. The park ranger at the top told us that once the arch starts swaying more than half an inch they have to shut it down because it hard to walk around in it, and makes people sick.

The Second thing we had to do was to visit the Budweiser factory. Since this is where Budweiser started, it was a must see. Let me tell you, it was worth it. I have never seen a factory with such ornate architecture and old world style. There were chandeliers in the brewing factory. The stable where they kept the Clydesdale horses were nicer than most peoples houses. And yes the horses had chandeliers too.  I was most surprised to actually see a Dalmatian in the stable with the horses. I guess the commercials are true. But one of the best parts of the FREE tour is the FREE beer at the end.  All in all, my time in St Louis was spent a science meetings and talks, but we had a good time getting out and seeing the city a little. Here are some pictures from the two places we visited.

 

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February 27, 2011 in Personal, Places, Uncategorized

Cape Charles is a quaint town on the eastern shore of VA. We have visited “The Cape” a couple of times in the past year. Every time we have totally enjoyed the laid back small town pace of this little city. I took the following image this past weekend. I love to take landscapes of places I visit but the only problem is that to get the shots that really standout you need to take them in the magic hours of the days. This magic hour happened to be at 6:00 am. Taking this picture right before the sun came up allowed me to open my shutter on my camera for about 30 sec. This long exposure is what makes the water look the way it does.  The key to getting an image like this is to use a tripod, narrow aperture (eg. f/22) and a slow shutter speed (eg. 15 to 30 sec.)

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Fog

November 22, 2010 in Art, Personal, Places, Uncategorized

I woke up and saw fog. I guess I was the only one in Richmond excited to see some fog. I ran and grabbed my camera and headed downtown before work to get some images around Byrd Park. I like the feeling that these images give. Hope you enjoy.

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October 4, 2010 in Art, Personal, Places, Uncategorized

Jennifer and I took a trip with some friends to the eastern shore. I took this picture going through the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel. I thought it was cool the way lines led into a point and the textures and contrast of the walls and lights.