Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Illusive Blue Bell

For a week or so every year, this little blue flower pops up in wet shady areas around VA. Delicate and happy to groove in the wind, these flowers are more challenging to capture in camera than one might imagine. The slightest breeze moves them about. They are low to the ground (so us folks with older knees suffer). They like wet, shady areas so hand-held images are nearly impossible. They are nearly translucent, so bright day light can blow the petals right out. And these are the reasons we go back year after year to shoot them! Now is the time folks… there may be a few good days left…


Protect Yourself

I will spare my readers a gross picture of the bane of nature photographers, the tiny Tick!  Such a small creature is a hazard to those of us who spend our time walking through the meadows and other wonderful outdoor spaces.  There are several varieties and they can spread pathogens such as Lyme, among  others.  So as we emerge from our winter hibernation, as nature and landscape photographers you should know that ticks are also more active during the warmer months of April through September.


I don’t think any of us need to become experts on the varieties of the ticks or the disease they can carry, but knowing how to minimize the risks of contact with these little creatures can help keep us healthy.  When hiking stay on established trails when possible.  This is always good advice and goes back to the “leave no trace” philosophy.  Your greatest risk is likely in tall grass where the ticks hang on waiting for a ride on the next warm blooded animal that comes along.   Wearing light colored clothing will help with seeing these little creatures if they are crawling on you.  But I think the best possible advice is to use clothing treated with Permethrin.  Denise and I favor a brand called Insect Shield.  You can buy clothes that have been treated or you can send your clothing to them for treatment.   While I have found ticks on me when wearing Insect Shield treated clothes, I have never been bitten.   On the other hand I have been bitten when not wearing clothes treated with Permethrin.   The benefit to buying clothes vs. spraying yourself is that the do it yourself method only lasts for about 2 weeks and 1 or 2 washings.  The professionally treated clothes will last for up to 70 washings or what is considered the life of the garment.


The CDC Website has additional information on the subject;



Philadelphia – A Weekend in Review

This past weekend, RRPT lead a couple of Meetups in the Philadelphia area. Together these Meetups amounted to a weekend-long tour of Philadelphia!

On Saturday, RRPT held its 3-hour Pre-public Hour Meetup of Eastern State Penitentiary. For anyone who has ever visited ESP, you know that getting shots of the cell block corridors is nearly impossible during the regular business hours. For that reason, RRPT scheduled our Meetup before the facility opened to the public. This allowed our participants the opportunity to explore the prison and its cells, unrushed to let the creative juices flow. Also, during this time, ESP was able to offer us access to areas that are generally closed off to the public. Here are a couple of images from our morning adventure. We are looking to schedule another opportunity like this one in the future. Join our Meetup to learn more.

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From ESP, our group traveled to the renowned Graffiti Underground to explore some of Philadelphia’s free-formed wall art. The Graffiti Underground is getting more difficult to access as time goes on. We were very fortunately to have a few hours to ourselves, with no hassle from security guards. Another group of photographers visiting earlier in the afternoon were not so lucky.


After the Graffiti Underground, a few of us decided on an impromptu scouting trip to try for some Philadelphia skyline shots.

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After a much needed night’s sleep, RRPT held its Historic Lansdowne Theater Meetup. The Lansdowne Theater is one of the last of the great theaters from the 1920s remaining largely unchanged in the Philadelphia area. As soon as you walk into this place, you are transported in time.

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We would like to thank everyone who participated in these adventures! We had a great time and are looking forward to our next events.

For more information on RRPT’s Meetups, click here. For information on our Photo Tours, click here.