Mountaineer Photo Excursions: Blog http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog en-us (C) Mountaineer Photo Excursions mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Sat, 11 Mar 2017 16:53:00 GMT Sat, 11 Mar 2017 16:53:00 GMT http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/img/s10/v103/u704955314-o571790355-50.jpg Mountaineer Photo Excursions: Blog http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog 120 69 A Full Year of Excursions! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2017/3/a-full-year-of-excursions A Full Year of Excursions!

 

Mountaineer Photo Excursions has kicked our game into high gear, and many of the ideas we have been developing over the past two years are beginning to develop into workshops and classes for our you!

 

We’ll be sharing some of this news in more detail in our next “Mile Markers” newsletter, I want to give you a quick update on what 2017 holds.

 

We started with our “Buffalo and the General” workshop in northern Kentucky.  This was the first time holding a workshop here, which included visits to General Butler State Resort Park, Big Bone Lick Historical Park, and Clifty Falls State Park in Indiana.  Our Workshoppers came back with some terrific sunrise photos from both inside and outside the amazing General Butler Lodge, documented a bison “stampede,” and enjoyed the trails on the way to and from the Clifty Falls overlook.

 

Ron has been working with West Virginia University at Parkersburg (WVU-P) to offer a “Digital Photography Class.”  This was a course across three weeks, which he taught during February and March.  The class was one of the most popular offered through the school’s Workforce and Economic Development department, and both offerings filled quickly.  Another class is planned for May.

 

Amanda and Ron are excited for the “Return to the Outer Banks” workshop in April, which has already sold out.  Once again, we have arranged for an expansive beach house, and have included lodging there as part of this excursion.  We’ll be revisiting some popular locations from our 2015 workshop, as well as new venues for amazing subjects!

 

In late May, we are proud to partner with the Harpers Ferry Park Association to lead a unique adventure to one of America’s most beautiful and memorable locations, the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.  Thomas Jefferson said, “The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature” after visiting in 1783.  Harpers Ferry was also the setting for the abolitionist, John Brown, when he attempted a raid on the Federal armory, in one of the actions that precipitated the American Civil War.

 

In June, we will begin a series of in-depth photography classes with West Virginia State University and their Economic Development Center in Charleston, WV.  Our first class will be “Photographing Your Art,” which will include both instruction and hands-on learning in their Capture Studio.  Additional planned classes for later in the summer include “Personal Travel Photography” and “Learning Digital Photography.”

 

We are currently accepting registrations for our summer workshop, in the “Southern Shores” of Maryland.  In the 17th century, colonists placed their faith and future in a small boat and left England for the New World, and settled in on this peninsula.  Their settlement was called St. Mary’s City, which eventually became Maryland’s first State Capitol.  Bordered on three sides by the amazing Chesapeake Bay, we’ll visit some of the state parks, along with historical sites, including the Historic St. Mary’s City.  We also have arranged for special discounted lodging at St. Mary’s College.

 

We always love to come back to “Almost Heaven,” and through special arrangement, we will be visiting Cacapon State Resort Park in Berkeley Springs, WV.  We have some interesting activities planned, and will be sharing these soon.  This will be an early autumn workshop in September, and we hope to see the beginnings of fall color, as well.

 

There are more events planned, but I’ll wait for another blog opportunity to share them.  Until then, I invite you to visit our “Workshops” page on our website, and watch for our new “Classes” page…coming soon!  We’re also on Facebook, as Mountaineer Photo Excursions and @MPExWorkshops.  If you’re on Twitter, you can follow Ron:  @RonWVphoto.

 

Ron Gaskins

March 11, 2017

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Harpers Ferry Jenny Wiley Mountaineer Photo Excursions Ron Gaskins Southern Shores St. Mary's workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2017/3/a-full-year-of-excursions Sat, 11 Mar 2017 16:51:35 GMT
What is Coming in 2017! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2017/1/what-is-coming-in-2017 January 2017 – What’s Coming! 

 

Is it too late to wish everyone a Happy 2017?  I hope not, so consider yourself “wished!”

 

2017 will be a full and exciting year for Mountaineer Photo Excursions, as well as for all our “Workshoppers” who join us in our travels.  Our first photo workshop of the year will be our “Buffalo and The General” Winter Workshop.  We’ll travel to a new location in Carrollton, KY, to the General Butler State Resort Park.  It will be our center of activities, as well as one of our photography venues.  The Lodge is a beautiful structure, and faces sunrise on winter mornings, providing a unique view both indoors and out!  We’ll also be visiting the Bison herd at Big Bone Lick Historical Site, at Union, KY.

 

In addition, we’ll be making a “run for the border,” but not for tacos!  We’ll cross into Indiana to the Clifty Falls State Park, and will photograph along some trails, overlooks, and of course, the Falls!   We’ll also be offering some instruction on black & white photography, including some infrared (IR) if there is any interest.

 

On a different turn, Ron will be teaching a Digital Photography Class through West Virginia University at Parkersburg.  The class will actually be a three-night series, covering composition, exposure, camera handling techniques, lens selection, and some basic post-processing skills.  Scheduled for February, it filled quickly.  Due to the overwhelming interest in the class, a second set of classes was also scheduled for March, which also filled in a short time.  If any other classes are scheduled, we will post them on our website, as well as on our Facebook page.

 

For our Spring Workshop, we have offered our “Return To The Outer Banks,” to be held in early April!  We first visited the island in 2015, and stayed on the beach, eight miles beyond the end of the paved road.  This year, we’ll be a little closer to the action, renting a beach house in Corolla.  We’ll pay a second visit to some venues, such as the Corolla Lighthouse, the Currituck Heritage Park, and others.

 

We’ll also be visiting some new sites, such as the Wright Brothers Memorial, Jockey’s Ridge, more lighthouses, wildlife preserves and more.  Our mornings, days, and evenings will be full…as is this workshop.  We were full before the end of January!

 

Our Summer will be hot and exciting, and Ron and Amanda have scouted a new location with lots to offer…wildlife, nature, history and stunning locations!  The “Southern Shores of Maryland” is bordered on three sides by the Chesapeake Bay, and is also home to St. Mary’s City, home to Maryland’s historic first Capitol City, and St. Mary’s College, where we will enjoy our lodging for the weekend.

 

We’ll visit Historic St. Mary’s City, where restored structures and costumes reenactors tell the story of early settlers, who placed their lives and faith in a small sailing ship to cross an ocean.  Other venues will include State Parks, lighthouses, and miles of coastline, where osprey and pelicans soar and nest.

 

As Summer turns to Fall, our travels will bring us back to where we started…Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg, KY!  Our first workshop was here in 2012, planned in just a few short weeks after we met Park Naturalist, Trinity Shepherd.  Trinity has now become our good friend, and this will be our seventh event at the Park.

 

Plans are still being made, but we are sure to include our Elk Tour and our Eagle Cruise on Dewey Lake.  So, 2017 will be a full year, and we are continuing to work on some possible additions, as well as scouting trips for next year’s workshops.  We currently have plans for events into 2020, so keep us in mind when you make your plans!

 

Ron Gaskins

January 27, 2017

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Aperturent Corolla Gaskins General Butler Jenny Wiley Mountaineer Photo Excursions OBX Outer Banks Prestonsburg Ron Gaskins Southern Shores Trinity Shepherd photography workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2017/1/what-is-coming-in-2017 Sat, 28 Jan 2017 04:03:35 GMT
Summer Edition of "Mile Markers" newsletter http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2016/8/summer-edition-of-mile-markers-newsletter "Mile Markers!"  That's what we call our newsletter from Mountaineer Photo Excursions.  If you're on our mailing list, you should have already received it in your email box.  If not, please share your email address on our Contact page, with the subject "Newsletter," and we'll add you to our contact list.  Read on for some tips on equipment, planning your own photography trips, and information on our upcoming excursions!

Refurbished Equipment: To Buy or Not To Buy?

A common question we get at Mountaineer Photo Excursions is whether to buy or not buy refurbished gear? The answer is almost always “YES! Buy Refurbished if you can.”

Manufacturers including Nikon, Canon, Sony, Sigma, and Tamron, as well as many others, give photographers the opportunity to buy factory refurbished items such as camera bodies and lenses. What exactly does refurbished mean? Refurbished means a product that has been removed from its original packaging, therefore cannot be sold as new. Refurbished items are commonly display items from tradeshows, showrooms, or stores, while others were demo items that were used by sales and tech representatives, reviewers and the like; some might have been returns resulting from something as simple as buyer’s remorse or damaged packaging, to a minor defect or some other problem that requires correction.

Actually in some ways, refurbished items are better than new! Manufacturers clean, inspect, and if necessary repair refurbished gear to new equipment specifications and they do so with a more critical eye. These products are then put through even more stringent quality control testing than they did when they were new. After being re-packaged, many companies advertise refurbished items in a special section on their website or they send them to select dealers who are allowed to sell factory refurbished products. Cosmetically, most items are in like-new condition, and some manufacturer’s offer warranty’s as long as one year to 90-days.

“Manufacturer refurbished” items are significantly different than “used” items (trade-ins from photographers) which are usually advertised with a condition scale: Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor. Make sure the item you are considering is a manufacturer refurbished item and not “used” before you buy, used equipment usually do not have the same return policy on them or warranty.

How much can you save? Most refurbished items, depending on the product, are priced somewhere between that of a new item and its used counterpart minus the wear-and-tear of the used item. Usually, the discount is about 20% less than the cost of new.

If you buy a refurbished item direct from the manufacturer or a reputable distributor, buying a manufacturer refurbished body or lens is as safe as a buying one new, except, that you can pick up ‘refurbs’ at sometimes a very substantial discount!


Refurbished Equipment - Manufacturer Websites:

Canon : http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/refurbished-products-information

Nikon:   https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-store/refurbished-cameras.page

Sigma:   http://www.sigmaphoto.com/sigma-outlet

Tamron: No refurbished listing

Reputable Dealers of Refurbished Equipment

Adorama:
http://www.adorama.com/l/?sel=FilterBy_refurbished&term=refurbished

B&H: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Refurbished/ci/15242/N/4294210519

Excursion Tips: 
No time or money for a week long summer vacation? How about a ‘daycation’ or a weekend away close to home?

-Check out your State and Local Parks. They’re usually free for a day trip! Some Parks may have a minimal “day-use” fee.  For overnight stays, “Resort” parks offer a number of different types of accommodations as well as other amenities such as on-site dining facilities. These larger parks also have a number of different programs and activities such as ranger or naturalist guided hikes. Smaller state parks may have a lodge, rentable cabins, or camping facilities. Many parks offer discount lodging and packages, especially during the weekdays and off-peak travel times, sign up for their newsletter to be the first to know about upcoming specials.

-There are plenty of free and low cost attractions from grist mills and covered bridges to caves and waterfalls. Use Google, to search a place, town, or city that you are interested in and see what sights are located nearby.

 

-Get in the car, pick a route you have never been on and just drive! You never know what unique sights you might find off the beaten path.
 

-Speaking of camping, ready to get away from it all? Are you entirely too connected? Do you need a break from cell phones, television, the internet, the kids, work, and just everyday life? Grab a tent, a sleeping bag and your honey, and spend an evening or weekend away from it all! Look for a local mountain lake, pitch your tent and after a day of hiking or exploring other attractions, you and your special someone can spend a quiet summer’s eve, looking at the milky way or counting fireflies!


-Think out of the box, see if you can find privately owned cabins or if you plan on staying at a hotel, make your travel plans for during the week. Take a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday off and runaway! Prices will definitely be cheaper and there’s more likelihood that you can find cabins and hotels with vacancies than on a Friday or Saturday night. You are likely to encounter less people at sights and attractions too!

 

What’s Ahead?

Amanda and Ron have been doing some research and some traveling, in order to find those hidden gems and familiar locations, and looking for ways to develop them into outdoor photography classrooms.  We currently have venues planned into 2019, with a few past favorites that will be making a return, and several new ones! 

 

We participated in the Mountain State Photographers’ Conference, on Saturday, July 30, in Ripley, WV.  Mountaineer Photo Excursions had a booth at the Conference, and Amanda taught “Fabulous Filters!”  Ron was the Conference Chairman, and internationally known photographers Jim Clark and Adam Jones were the featured speakers.  To stay updated on future Conference information, visit the Charleston Camera Club’s page:  http://charlestoncameraclub.com/club-news/

 

We will “Get Tucker’d” in August, and will visit Tucker County in West Virginia, for our Summer Photo Workshop at Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, WV.  Other locations will include Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and various spots in Tucker County.  We’ll be searching for wildlife, hiking down hills to see waterfalls, and waiting for sunsets in the mountains during August 26 – 28.

 

We’ve talked with our friend, Trinity Shepherd, the Naturalist at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg, KY.  You may recall, they experienced a fire that severely damaged the May Lodge, including the restaurant.  Trinity says the good news is that they are operational, while repairs continue, and the lodging areas are not affected.  We will have some exciting activities, but will definitely include our Elk Tour and the Eagle Cruise on Dewey Lake.  We’ll see you at Jenny Wiley on October 14 – 16.

 

We’ll be posting our Winter 2017 Workshop soon, as well as our plans for Spring next year.  Please make plans to join us on one or more of our fun, exciting and educational trips!  Contact us at our NEW email, MountaineerPhotoExcursions@gmail.com.  Learn more at our website, www.MountaineerPhotoExcursions.com.   Please be sure to “Like” our Mountaineer Photo Excursions page on Facebook.  If you know someone who would enjoy knowing about our Workshops, please share this blog with them!  We hope to see you soon at one of our workshops!

 

Ron Gaskins

August 10, 2016 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Blackwater Falls Jenny Wiley Mountaineer Photo Excursions Ron Gaskins photography refurbished workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2016/8/summer-edition-of-mile-markers-newsletter Wed, 10 Aug 2016 21:41:39 GMT
Summertime, and the Livin'... and Photography...Can Be Easy! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2016/5/summertime-and-the-livin-and-photography-can-be-easy Summertime, and the Livin’ (and Photography) Can Be Easy!

 

In our part of the country, this past winter wasn’t too bad, but we certainly welcomed spring!  Amanda and I had a great time during our winter workshop in Savannah, Georgia, and fell in love with Tybee Island!  We’ve just returned from a terrific workshop in Ohio’s Hocking Hills, where we enjoyed the unique scenery of the waterfalls, rock formations, and even visited a little lost gem at the Rock Mill County Park.

We’ve also been scouting for our planned 2017 photo workshops.  Some of our workshops next year will be returns to previous locations we’ve discovered, while others will be entirely new venues, with sights and experiences that will facilitate great photography!  We’re also working to develop some new teaching experiences that will be especially useful to beginner photographers. 

Right now, we’re looking toward our next workshop, which will be our summer event at Blackwater Falls State Park, in Davis, West Virginia.  Blackwater Falls has always been my personal favorite of the Mountain State’s Parks, and I’m thrilled to bring our workshop there, along with folks eager to see and preserve its beauty.  We'll be there on August 26-28, but you can get all the details on our "Workshops" page.

Blackwater Falls State Park sits in beautiful Tucker County, and shares the space with Canaan Valley Resort State Park and the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, along with many other wonderful views and locations.  We’ll be visiting as many as we can manage, as well as including opportunities to learn new photography skills.  We will learn what the Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau means when they encourage visitors to "Get Tucker'd!"

There will be plenty of wildlife, natural views, and more, as we base our weekend in an historic lodge, complete with restaurant, pool, exercise area, meeting space, and our discounted lodge rooms.  Our “Workshoppers” will have the chance to learn about photographing waterfalls, the ever present whitetail deer, mountaintop views, as well as spot metering, the histogram, controlling depth of field, use of various lenses, and more.

Summer in West Virginia, and the Livin’ ….and the Photography…. will be easy…. if you join Mountaineer Photo Excursions on this workshop.  Do you want to improve your photography?  Let us take you there!

Ron Gaskins

​May 2016

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Blackwater Canaan Davis Gaskins Haddox Mountain State Mountaineer Photo Excursions Summer Tucker County West Virginia photography workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2016/5/summertime-and-the-livin-and-photography-can-be-easy Sun, 01 May 2016 15:40:20 GMT
Merry Christmas to All! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/12/merry-christmas-to-all Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!
 

 

2015 is running into its last days, and almost everyone is scurrying about, trying to finish their shopping, or other holiday plans.  Amanda and I have been doing that, plus making last minute adjustments for our Savannah trip, as well as planning for the rest of our 2016 Workshops.

 

We’ll have them added to our Workshop page soon, and we hope you will join us on one of them…or even more!  We enjoy meeting new folks, and it is always a pleasure to have our “Workshoppers” return, as well. 

 

This year, we shared our first email newsletter, “Mile Markers.”  I hope you enjoyed it.  We included news about our recent workshop at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg, KY, as well as promoting our upcoming events.  In addition, we included some suggestions about when to purchase new gear.  If you didn’t receive “Mile Markers,” please visit our Contact page, and email us with NEWSLETTER as the subject.  We’ll be happy to add you to our mailing list!

 

We do want to take this opportunity to thank all of our family and friends for their support and encouragement throughout the year!  To do this right takes time and effort, and we want to do it right!

 

We also want to thank everyone who has been on one of our Workshops!  We enjoy the fellowship, the opportunities to teach and learn (yes, we also learn from you), and the places we visit with you.

 

Finally, we want to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Safe & Healthy New Year!

 

Ron Gaskins & Amanda Haddox
 

Mountaineer Photo Excursions
 

December 23, 2015
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Gaskins Haddox Merry Christmas Mountaineer Photo Excursions Savannah blog photography workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/12/merry-christmas-to-all Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:06:01 GMT
Peddling Fast and Trying to Catch Up! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/10/peddling-fast-and-trying-to-catch-up It's been too long since I shared some of our activities with you, so shame on me!  The summer has been very full and busy, and Amanda and I have been on the road for various purposes.  I'll give you a quick update of where we've been and what we are planning, and will try to get back in the groove of providing some regular blog entries soon!
 

This weekend, we will be returning to the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park for our FIFTH photo workshop there!  We are excited to see some "friends of long acquaintance" and get back to once of the most attractive state parks I've ever seen.  Our good friend Trinity Shepherd, Park Naturalist, will be joining us again, and intends to keep his 100% "Elk Sighting" record intact.  In addition to the Elk tour activity,  we will be adding some ideas to the weekend, as well as returning to a few favorite spots.
 

This week, we just opened registration for our Savannah & Tybee Island Winter Photo Workshop in Georgia, scheduled for January 14-17, 2016.  This will be limited to only 15 Workshoppers, and our early discounted registration is only $445.00, if you book before December 14, 2015.  So, plan your own Christmas present, and join us in the "Hostess City of the South" while the snow falls in the north!
 

In the spring, we will be visiting the Hocking Hills area of Ohio.  There are actually multiple Ohio State Parks which make up this unique geography, which contains several waterfalls, rock and cave formations, Logan Lake and beautiful scenic views.  We'll be setting the dates for this Workshop right away, as soon as we return from Kentucky.
 

Amanda and I have been scouting for new locations, and reviewing some of our past Excursions.  We have tentative plans for new workshops into 2018, and will be sharing some of these in our upcoming newsletter!  This is something we've also been working on, and when you receive it, we hope you will find it interesting and informative.  To be included in our newsletter mailing list, just go to our Contact page, and send us an email, with "Newsletter" as your message. 
 

As a hint, we're looking at a return to West Virginia very soon, with other visits planned for Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and more!  I'm using Amanda's "Gear & Clothing List," and getting packed for our Jenny Wiley Workshop.  If you're joining us, we'll see you there!  If not, we hope to see you at one of our upcoming Excursions soon!  Do you want to improve your photography?  Let us take you there!
 

Ron Gaskins
 

October 13, 2015
 

 
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Hocking Hills Jenny Wiley Mountaineer Photo Excursions Ron Gaskins Savannah Tybee Island http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/10/peddling-fast-and-trying-to-catch-up Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:14:40 GMT
Teaching ABCs in Harpers Ferry and the Trails of Battle http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/teaching-abcs-in-harpers-ferry-and-the-trails-of-battle One of the specifics tasks the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park had for the “Artist in Residence” program was to conduct a photography class.  Sam, the Park Volunteer Manager, and I had several discussions on when we could schedule a class, and what I could include in it.

 

We ultimately decided that the second Saturday, the day before Easter, would be a busy day at the Park, and probably the best opportunity to lead a group that would be interested in photography.  I decided to use a class I had done previously, on the ABCs of Better Photography, as the basis of my walking class.  Sam created a flyer, which was shared on the Park’s Facebook page, and also shared it with the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library…which created another opportunity!  (more on that later)

 

Saturday, April 4, was a beautiful day, and I met my first group at the Park Information Center.  I introduced myself, and asked the folks where they were from, and how they had heard about the class.  I had a father and daughter from Virginia, another man from Virginia, and a young man from here in Harpers Ferry.

 

We talked about ways to improve our photography, regardless of what type of camera was being used.  As I shared some of my recommendations, we made some stops on our way around the Lower Town.  We paused at the Dry Goods Store and the Provost Marshall’s office.  I even took a photo of my group near the old wagon near the theater. 

 

From the corner in town, we walked down by John Brown’s Fort, and then to the Point, from which you can observe the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.  Beyond the rivers, you also see the gap in the mountains that made this location so important to explorers, travelers, and settlers, and eventually to the canal and railroad builders.  From there, we crossed the footbridge over the Potomac, and traveled to Lock 33 of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath.

 

From the Canal, we returned to the Point, and wrapped up with a few questions.  In the afternoon, I took another group through the same locations.  Remember that other opportunity related to the local library?  When I was telling Library Director Gretchen Fry about my upcoming classes at the Park, she said she would love for me to be able to do something at the library for the local people.  So, after a little discussion on dates, we were able to schedule an evening at the library.  My last evening in Harpers Ferry would be spent at the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library, teaching the ABCs of Better Photography to a local audience!

 

Easter Sunday was somewhat cloudy, and I met Ranger David Fox in the morning.  We traveled around the Park, in order to get a good feel for the various trails.  David told me that about 40% of the visitors to the Park come to hike the trails.  There are several miles of trails within the Park, which also extend from Harpers Ferry into Maryland Heights and Loudoun Heights.

 

This gave me an excellent chance to better understand the logistics of the major battle for Harpers Ferry, which occurred in September of 1862.  The Union Army was trying to hold the town against a Confederate force, with troops in town, on Bolivar Heights, and also on Maryland Heights.  The Confederates managed to overrun the Union troops on Maryland Heights, as the Bolivar Heights troops were also pushed back.  This left the Union troops in a completely defensive position within the town, and surrounded my Confederate forces.  Want to learn more?  Visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park for the rest of the story!  Want to see more?  Visit www.WVFinePhotography.com .

 

Ron Gaskins, “Artist in Residence”

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

(events on and around April 4 & 5, 2015)
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Artist in Residence Bolivar Canal Towpath David Fox Gretchen Fry Harpers Ferry Loudoun Heights Ron Gaskins class photography http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/teaching-abcs-in-harpers-ferry-and-the-trails-of-battle Mon, 20 Apr 2015 02:03:17 GMT
Professional Photographers Scout The Park http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/professional-photographers-scout-the-park Ron and Amanda recently visited the Mill Creek MetroParks near Youngstown, Ohio, in order to scout for our upcoming photography workshop in June.  We were joined by our friends, Jack and Monnie Ryan, of nearby Niles, Ohio.  Monnie shared our weekend adventure on her blog, and has agreed to let us share it here.  So, introducing our "guest blogger," Monnie Ryan!
 

On June 12-14, West Virginia friends Amanda Haddox and Ron Gaskins, operators of Mountaineer Photo Excursions, will be leading a photography workshop at Mill Creek MetroParks. Stops are expected to include the MetroPark Farm and the wetlands on Calla Road, but the primary focus will be on the park itself.
 

This past weekend, as is their custom in planning one of their workshops, Amanda and Ron visited the park to get the lay of the land (Amanda has been here before, but it’s all new to Ron). Of course, we tagged along, pointing out places that might be of interest to the workshop participants while they took notes (and lots of photos, as did we). We started at the Visitor Center and Fellows Riverside Gardens, paying particular attention to the very photogenic Victorian Gazebo, the rose garden (no roses yet, of course, but they should be in full glory at workshop time) and other scenic areas. The rows and rows of tulips weren’t showing their colors yet, but daffodils and pansies added a touch of color here and there. Amanda and Ron climbed the observation tower to get views of Lake Glacier and the grounds below and I was happy to see the water turned on at a couple of fountains – a sure sign that spring finally is here to stay.
 

From there, we made quick stops at the Old Log Cabin and Lake Glacier waterfalls before heading on to the Parapet Bridge and the Lily Pond (we got out for a bit at the small waterfall near the Lily Pond, but since we didn’t see any signs of wildlife, we moved on for a quick look-see at Ford Nature Center (I love the old building) and the Axtmann Nature Trail for All People, which is barrier free. We decided to get in one more hot spot before lunch – historic Pioneer Pavilion and Mill Creek Furnace. The pavilion is one of the oldest structures in Youngstown, a sandstone building constructed in 1821 (it can be rented for group activities). Mill Creek Furnace, the remains of which are located behind the pavilion, was the first blast furnace in Youngstown.

Lunch was at Davidson’s in Cornersburg – a relatively short drive from the park. It’s on the suggested list for a lunch stop during the June workshop, too, so since we all were in need of a rest, it provided both delicious food and a test run. Finishing up, we got back in the cars (I rode in Ron’s and Amanda rode with Jack so there’d be no problem with getting lost) to hit the next attraction – the wetlands at Newport Lake, the largest of the three lakes in the park. We followed the walkway to the end of the observation platform. I was dismayed to see that most of the foliage surrounding the walkway has been beaten down – whether by nasty weather or human hands, I don’t know. I do know it sure changes the look of the place, and not necessarily for the better – those tall grasses and weeds really added character to the place, IMHO – but a gorgeous blue sky and big puffy clouds made for a worthwhile stop from a photography standpoint.

Our final stop was at the showpiece of the park – Lanterman’s Mill. Needless to say, we spent quite a bit of time here capturing the historic building from just about every angle. The mill was open, but we didn’t take the time to go inside (summer hours begin May 1). For the record, the mill was built in 1845-46, and it continues to operate today. The stone-ground flours and meal can be purchased in the gift shop. An observation deck overlooks Lanterman’s Falls and extends out over the river a bit.

I love the mill, but I love the covered bridge behind it even more. It’s relatively new – completed in 1989 – and designed to resemble a bridge that was used by farmers who brought their grain to the mill back in the 1800s. The weathered wood is beautiful, and walkways allow visitors to watch the river course its way under the bridge toward the mill. Visiting later in the day this time out was a first for us (virtually all of our photo outings begin in mid-morning), and we were delighted to get some photos with late-afternoon lighting.

Since a little bird told us Ron loves Italian food, we’d made reservations at one of the area’s best – Salvatore’s Italian Grill in Austintown – for dinner. Our friends from Niles, Jerry and Barb, joined us there, and we all had a great time before finally calling it a night. I love eating there, BTW, and I highly recommend the Linguini Fra Diablo – crabmeat and shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce served over linguini. It’s hot enough for most folks on its own, but I (of the cast-iron stomach) always ask for it extra-hot. Delicious warm rolls and squares of fresh-baked pizza are complementary pre-meal temptations.

On Sunday morning, Amanda and Ron made the trip to Calla Road to check out the wetlands and relatively new observation deck as well as the MetroParks Farm near Canfield. As luck would have it, this was the Sunday the park celebrates the annual Baby Animal Shower, so they were able to get photos of some newborn pigs, calves, bunnies and such (and, until we thought about how many munchkins would be there, made us jealous that we declined to go). Since both the Calla Road wetlands and farm are on the workshop itinerary, though, so a stop here was important in getting a better idea of how and when those places will fit into the schedule.

Needless to say, we’ll be tagging along at least for part of the June workshop, and if you’d like to photograph some beautiful scenes and get instruction from the experts, we encourage you to sign up. Trying to list all their accomplishments of Amanda and Ron, both of whom have won awards for their photos dozens of times over, would be impossible. I will note, though, that Amanda is president of the Charleston Camera Club and Ron recently served as artist-in-residence at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. If you’d like more information on the workshop at Mill Creek Park, here’s a link to the Facebook page with more information. This workshop is limited to 12 participants and they all tend to fill up fast, so if you’re interested, get your reservations in ASAP!
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Mill Creek Monnie Ryan Mountaineer Photo Excursions Photo workshop Ron Gaskins http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/professional-photographers-scout-the-park Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:28:59 GMT
Walking With Tigers, Hunting For Hawks! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/walking-with-tigers-hunting-for-hawks I had a phone call from Ranger Stan McGee, advising me that the kids from Harpers Ferry Middle School were going to be in the Park for a hike up to Loudoun Heights.  The Middle School mascot is the Tiger….so, I would be walking with the Tigers!  So, I was up, had my Wheaties (well, some Special K…will that do?), a cup of coffee, and I was out to meet the bus!

 

About 20 Tigers arrived at 8:30am, along with Mr. Sturgiss, their retired principal.  Apparently, he comes back for the fun stuff!  There were a couple additional teachers, plus our own Ranger Stan.  We headed out toward Virginius Island, and then crossed the tracks and walked the Appalachian Trail for a while, paralleling US Route 340, then crossing under the highway (what a cool idea!  Stairs!) and then began the climb to Loudoun Heights.

 

To make a long story short (what do you mean, it’s too late?), I never quite got to the top.  I was walking “sweep” with Mrs. White, and one or two students that weren’t quite ready to run up the mountain.  We eventually met the leaders on their way back down, before we had reached the summit.  Rather than make them wait on us to go on up and then back, we graciously decided to accompany the leaders back to the Park.  (This is MY story)

 

It was a great morning, cool but beautiful!  Ranger Stan said that this event was just the latest in a series of hikes.  They have been a joint venture among the Middle School, the Park and Shepherd University.  The goal is to provide exercise for the kids, since West Virginia has been identified as having a large percentage of overweight children. 

 

After a restful lunch (with my feet up – smile), I headed out into Harpers Ferry for some additional local photography.  I found Ranger Creighton doing an excellent job on the daily historical presentation.  He was explaining that, while visitors were, indeed, looking at the original John Brown’s Fort, it was not sitting in its original location.

As my personal photo tour continued, I found the Harper Mansion, the home built by and for Robert Harper, for whom the town is named.  Harper worked on the house several years, but died without ever having lived in it.  It became known as the Mansion, and was built on the hill above the Lower Town.

 

The following day, I headed out early, and stopped for an Internet fix at the Boliver-Harpers Ferry Public Library!  Hello to Lisa, Tess & Gretchen.  Gretchen Fry is the Director, and we talked about what I was doing at the Park.  She commented that it would be nice to have a photography program at the Library.  Well, I agreed, and before I left, we decided to do a version of my “A B Cs of Improving Your Photography” at the Library on Wednesday, April 8, at 5:30 pm!  Be there!

 

While I was on that end of town, I took the cameras out to Boliver Heights.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, there was a major battle over Harpers Ferry during the Civil War, in addition to several smaller ones.  The Union troops initially held their Boliver Heights position, but were overrun when their Maryland Heights position was taken by Confederate troops.

 

I’ll be doing a pair of photo walks on Saturday, for interested Park visitors.  It is the same theme as the one I’ll be doing next week for the Library, but will be taking the visitors through the Lower Town, out to the Point, and across the bridge to the C & O Canal Towpath.  To prepare for these walks, I did some dry runs through those areas, and also worked on what I would share.

 

Once that was done, I was ready to get out with my cameras again!  I had been told about sightings of a red-shouldered hawk.  So, once again I shouldered my Sigma 150-500 lens, and headed out.  I talked with Susan, my wife, later that evening.  I told her I had seen several flocks of small birds in the trees, a robin, a pair of Canada Geese, a blue heron, six turtles, and a squirrel…but no hawks.  You may view some new photos at www.WVFinePhotography.com .
 

 

Have I mentioned that I’ve been doing a LOT of walking?  Yes, a LOT of walking!  If I keep this up, some of those clothes in the closet may fit again!  I was walking back from my hawk-hunting excursion, and heard the train whistle.  It was growing dark, and I turned to see the great bright-eyed steel beast coming toward me!  I pulled out my trusty Nikon and was able to get off a couple shots as it churned past me on its way to the Harpers Ferry tunnel. 
 

 

No hawk, but I did catch a train!

 

Ron Gaskins, Artist in Residence

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

(written on April 3)
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Harpers Ferry Harpers Ferry Tigers Loudoun Heights birds geese heron robin squirrel turtles http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/walking-with-tigers-hunting-for-hawks Tue, 14 Apr 2015 03:16:41 GMT
Who's Who At The Park? http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/whos-who-at-the-park In 2016, the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th Birthday…a Centennial of preserving, exploring and sharing our nation’s greatest natural and historic treasures!  As part of the Centennial, the National Park Service is encouraging Staff and volunteers to “Share Your Story” by submitting written stories, or by being interviewed. 

 

NPS Staff visited Harpers Ferry NHP while I was here, and I was asked to also sit in on these interviews, and photograph the Staff as they were interviewed.  I was so excited to hear all their stories, how the Park system has played major roles in their lives, how they have met their spouses in the Park, and so much more.  Some of the folks have traveled the country in their NPS careers, while others have stayed close to home.  One thing comes through in all the voices, however.  These people love what they do, and they wouldn’t trade their experiences in the Park Service.  They are excited about where they work, and what they do, and they want Americans to come share their Park!

 

Once the interviews were over, I was off to explore on my own.  I made my way to the Harpers Ferry Train Station, operated by CSX Railroad.  Trains run every day, going to Washington, D.C., and Chicago.  Service to and from Harpers Ferry has run for over 25 years.

 

Remember St. John’s Church ruins?  I went back there near sunset, even though it was a cloudy evening.  I got a couple shots that I like, but we’ll see if I can’t do better before my “residency” is over.  You can check out some of my photos on my commercial photography website, www.WVFinePhotography.com .
 

 

The next day began with a Park Staff meeting, which turned out to have the theme of “What Can We Find For Ron To Photograph?”  This was great, as I not only got to meet more of the Staff (although I had met them briefly at the interviews), but I got to learn a little more about what each of them do for the Park.  We discussed different ideas, checked the weather forecast (indoor work for rainy days) and roughed out a schedule for the next week.  I’m going to stay busy while I’m here!

 

After the Staff Meeting, I got to meet Dale Nisbet, the Park’s Natural Resource Specialist.  He told me that a Peregrine Falcon had been sited near the Park, and he was very excited about this.  Apparently, Dale was very involved in an attempt a few years ago to restore Peregrine Falcons to this area.  He explained how they were able to “hack” PF chicks from various areas, including Baltimore, Maryland.  In Baltimore, the Falcons were making their nests beneath some of the city’s bridges, and many of the chicks were falling into the river before they were mature enough to fly.  By bringing them to Harpers Ferry, not only did it help with restoring the birds in this habitat, but it also probably saved many of their lives!

 

With some clues from Dale as to where the Falcon had been sited, I carried my trusty Sigma 150-500 mounted on my Nikon.  A little research told me that the Peregrine Falcon is usually more active later in the day, so I tried to be patient…and patience paid off!  I was watching the turkey vultures…buzzards…and realized that one of them wasn’t flying like the rest….because it wasn’t like the rest.  It was a Peregrine Falcon.  I was able to catch it in mid-air for several shots.  Then, as I watched, I was thrilled to see it land on what appeared to be a nest!

 

I made a trip to the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library that night…but all I was able to do was send emails to Dale with photos of the Falcon!  Blogs and photo uploads will have to wait!

 

Ron Gaskins, Artist in Residence

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

(written April 1; post delayed due to intermittent internet access)
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Artist in Residence Harpers Ferry Ron Gaskins train station http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/whos-who-at-the-park Fri, 10 Apr 2015 02:35:02 GMT
Meeting Peter, John and Thomas http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/meeting-peter-john-and-thomas My first assignment today was to photograph an orientation meeting between Park Administration and the Job Corp.  Four young men from Job Corp will be working here at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park for several weeks.  It was interesting to hear from the different sectors of the Park Administration, such as Landscaping, museums, volunteer coordination, safety and others regarding their specific responsibilities.  Afterward, one of the Rangers took the young men on a short tour of the Lower Town, and explained the mission of the Park. 

 

While I was out in the Lower Town, I stopped in at the Information Center, and got to say “Hello” to Ranger Chuck Dennis again, along with his volunteer, Cody.  Chuck will soon have 40 years with the National Park Service, and loves his job.

 

Later in the afternoon and evening, I climbed the stone steps from High Street, and passed one of the landmarks of Harpers Ferry…St. Peter’s Catholic Church.  It is a beautiful structure, and was built after the influx of many Irish Catholic craftsmen to the area in the 1800s.  Mass is heard every Sunday at 11:00 am.

 

Just a little further up the stairs is the site of the first church built in Harpers Ferry, and the current abandoned ruins of the St. John’s Episcopal Church.  The remains of the stone structure still have their window openings, and imagination could easily make it a fort or castle, as well.  I will be back here to take more photos!

 

A little further up those steps….(yes, I had to stop for a break….okay, two breaks)…is Jefferson Rock.  No, Thomas Jefferson didn’t carry them up here.  However, from this naturally balanced rock formation, he surveyed the view of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, and wrote “The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature…this scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.”

 

Ron Gaskins, Artist in Residence

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

(written on March 30; posts are delayed due to intermittent internet access)
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Artist in Residence Harpers Ferry Ron Gaskins St. John's St. Peter's Thomas Jefferson church http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/meeting-peter-john-and-thomas Tue, 07 Apr 2015 17:40:29 GMT
Lower Town, the C & O Canal, and Virginius Island http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/lower-town-the-c-o-canal-and-virginius-island My first Sunday as “Artist in Residence” has been a little slower than my first Saturday!  I did some additional photographs of the Living History event, “Necessity:  Mother of Invention.”  This featured several members of the Frederic Ladies Relief, the Atlantic Guard Soldiers Aid Society, and Shepherd College students.  They were portraying citizens and soldiers of Harpers Ferry, especially the role that women had in the growing industries of the time.  This time, I was able to find the ladies that were baking bread, and it did smell delicious!

 

I also had time to “hike” a short section of the Appalachian Trail!  Very short!  I walked across the footbridge adjacent to the CSX Railroad bridge that crosses the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry.  After crossing the bridge, I descended the spiral stairs down to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, another National Park.  I had also crossed from West Virginia to Maryland! 

 

While taking in the views of the old, abandoned bridge piers, and the stone walls that had formed the canal, I was glad I had brought my infrared camera along.  I took a few photos, and then returned to the “Lower Town” and walked further, and crossed another bridge to Virginius Island.  You can see some of my new infrared photos at www.WVFinePhotography.com .
 

 

Virginius Island was a site for many industry start-ups, during the industrial heyday of Harpers Ferry.  There were grain mills, firearms manufacturing, cotton mills, wood pulp mills, and others.  Entrepreneurs were able to utilize the potential water power from the Shenandoah River along the islands banks to power their machines. 

 

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is full of the history of our state and nation.  This is not just a story of the Civil War, but so much more.

 

Ron Gaskins, Artist in Residence

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, WV

(written March 29, 2015; intermittent access to internet for posting.)
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) C & O Harpers Ferry Ron Gaskins Virginius Island canal infrared photography http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/lower-town-the-c-o-canal-and-virginius-island Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:57:03 GMT
A Busy Start http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/a-busy-start My first full day at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (that's a mouthful...how about HFNHP?) was full of activities and meeting new people, and of course, working that camera! 
 

The Civil War Trust had two projects planned here for its Park Day 2015 event.  This is an annual event when members and volunteers get out and get their hands dirty....all to help maintain important Civil War battlefields and historic sites.  Here at HFNHP, one group was doing maintenance on the Appalachian Trail, where it passes through a section of historic Harpers Ferry.  Steve Lowe, the Park Landscape Architect, was the lead person, with six or seven volunteers working with him.  I photographed the group as they trimmed roots, removed old landscaping cloth, and spread a fresh layer of mulch.  It was so cold that some of the mulch had frozen overnight!
 

The former outdoor flea market, located near the Schoolhouse Ridge South Battlefield, has been purchased by the Civil War Trust.  However, there was still a lot of leftover tables and other flotsam and jetsam.  Sam Zurbuch, the Park Volunteer Coordinator, worked with several volunteers, including a group from the high school ROTC.  The grounds and grass looked great when everyone was done.
 

During the weekend, the Park was the host to a Women's History event.  Participants in the living history weekend included the Frederic Ladies Relief, the Atlantic Guard Soldiers Aid Society, and Shepherd college students.  All were "in Character," dressed in clothing and uniforms from the mid-1800s.  The Provost Marshall's office was staffed, bread was baked outdoors, shoppers were greeted at the Franken Brothers men's clothing store, a Wilcox & Gibbs sewing machine was demonstrated in the Dry Goods Shop, while ladies quilted and discussed the nature of men in the upstairs of the Stipes Boarding House.  all of these participants and settings were fantastic opportunities for photography!
 

In anticipation of summer, there is a program to develop a Fife & Drum Corp at the Park, and I was able to sit in on some of their practice.  Finally, the day wrapped up with what was billed as the "First" Annual Harpers Ferry Neighborhood Film Festival!  One of their "features" was a documentary on Storer college, a school built in Harpers Ferry for the purpose of educating former slaves after the Civil War.  This was an excellent film, and those attending overflowed the original setup of chairs.
 

I was on the run with my camera all day, but had quite a nice selection of images...which I am still reviewing!
 

Ron Gaskins, Artist in Residence, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
 

Thursday, April 2, 2015
 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Artist in Residence Civil War Frederic Ladies Harpers Ferry Mountaineer Photo Excursions Park Ron Gaskins http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/4/a-busy-start Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:31:00 GMT
Mr. Gaskins Goes To Harpers Ferry http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/3/mr-gaskins-goes-to-harpers-ferry Travel time from my home in Evans, in Jackson County, to Harpers Ferry, in Jefferson County, is over five hours, but it seemed both longer and shorter as I drove.  I will be their “Artist in Residence" this spring, and I couldn’t wait to arrive.  Other responsibilities had filled the days leading up to this occasion, and I hadn’t even had time to get excited.

I met Samantha (Sam) Zurbuch, the Park Volunteer Coordinator.  Sam is from Elkins, and has worked at the Park for seven years.  She earned her degree from Shepherd University, and was hired by the National Park Service while she was still in school.  She has also completed her Masters in Education. 

Sam got me up to speed quickly on several activities that are scheduled over the next few days, and introduced me to a few of the Park Staff, including Ranger Chuck at the information center, and Steve Lowe, Park Landscape Architect.  There were others, but it was a whirlwind trip on our way to what is known as “Lower Town.”

This is primarily where the preserved and public part of historic Harpers Ferry is located.  My room is going to be in the old clothing store, just across from the information center.  The spire of St. Peter’s Catholic Church rises from the hilltop, just behind my apartment.

I have gotten settled into the rooms, carrying my bags up the stairs, and stowing them away.  This will be my temporary home for a couple weeks.  As I sit here with my feet on the old hardwood floor, I hear a train whistle blowing.  I am typing this on my 21st Century laptop, which is sitting on a 19th Century secretary’s desk.  Truly, this is the past in the present. 

Ron Gaskins

Friday, March 27, 2015 (My postings may be a little delayed, as Internet access isn't immediately available.  Many thanks to the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Library!  You may view additional photos in the "Artist in Residence - Harpers Ferry" photo gallery at www.WVFinePhotography.com )

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Artist in Residence Gaskins Harpers Ferry NPS St. Peter WV West Virginia photography http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/3/mr-gaskins-goes-to-harpers-ferry Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:59:33 GMT
Artist In Residence! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/3/artist-in-residence Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is one of the most important historical locations in the state, if not the country. However, it is more than just a single event. While it may be best known as the site of abolitionist John Brown's attack on the Federal armory, it is the home of the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.

The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park offers an "Artist In Residence" program, and I have been fortunate to be selected. I will be photographing events, scenes, activities and the people at the Park this spring.

I will be sharing some stories during my time at the Park here in this Blog.  I will also be sharing a few photographs in a Special Gallery on my commercial photography website, www.WVFinePhotography.com .  I hope you will enjoy both my photographs and my stories.

Ron Gaskins

March 2015

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Artist in Residence Gaskins Harpers Ferry WV West Virginia photography http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/3/artist-in-residence Thu, 19 Mar 2015 01:37:57 GMT
Warmer Weather! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/3/warmer-weather Okay…are we ALL tired of the snow and cold this winter?  Sure, winter is a beautiful season, all of its own.  However, we’re a full week into March, and just getting past one of our biggest winter snow storms of this season!  I know that I am ready for some warmer weather, and more opportunities to get outside with my camera. 

 

In April, Mountaineer Photo Excursions will be hitting the beach!  This Workshop is SOLD OUT, and has been since the first of the year, but we are looking forward to making the trip, getting our toes in the sand, and experiencing the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  “Herons and Horses and Bears! Oh My!”  Indeed!

 

We juggled our schedule somewhat, because we had originally considered going to the Outer Banks in August.  However, we determined the crowds were too large for us to visit the variety of places we had in mind.  So, the Outer Banks moved to Spring, and our original Spring location has been bumped to 2016.  (No, I can’t tell you!)

 

As a result, we searched for a new Summer location, and thanks to some friends in Ohio, found a true “hidden gem!”  We’ll be heading towards Youngstown, Ohio, and will be visiting the Mill Creek Metro Parks!  Flowing water, flowers, cascades, trees, songbirds, bridges, bald eagles, ponds, lakes, beavers….and more! 

 

Our Workshoppers that join us at Mill Creek will learn about landscapes, macro, and wildlife photography.  All of this in a series of connected venues, which allows everyone to concentrate on the subjects they like, while having the chance to try something new.

 

As always, we look for these locations that have a lot to offer, and the Mill Creek Metro Parks will certainly be an exciting addition to our Mountaineer Photo Excursions list of locations.  We also try to keep our workshops priced reasonably, and we are offering this one for $219.95.  Check out our workshop page for a few more details. 

 

Ron Gaskins

March 8, 2015

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Herons and Horses and Bears Mill Creek Mountaineer Photo Excursions NC Ohio Outer Banks Ron Gaskins Youngstown photography workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/3/warmer-weather Mon, 09 Mar 2015 01:29:18 GMT
After One Year. http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/1/after-one-year It’s been one year since Mountaineer Photo Excursions was introduced to the photography public, and we (Ron Gaskins & Amanda Haddox) think we have had a great year!  “Do you want to improve your photography?  Let us take you there!”  That became our byline, when we decided to take our combined photographic experience and create a new business!  When “Country Roads Journal” wrote about our new venture last year, they described us as “…combining aspects of nature, wildlife, travel and history with photography instruction.”  We like that description, and will continue to capture those ideas in our future activities.

With Amanda’s experience in landscape and nature photography, as well as her extensive knowledge of post production software and methods, she brings a valuable set of skills to share with our clients.  Ron’s years of personal photography experience, his five years as a full-time commercial photographer (continuing part-time), and his instructor experience from his previous career combine to bring technical depth in easy to understand methods.  As Canon and Nikon shooters, respectively, Amanda and Ron complement each other’s knowledge and skills in ways that benefit our clients desire to learn.

With our three earlier Kentucky workshops, we have been to West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, and completed six workshops.  We now have our dates for four new workshops in 2015, traveling to Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and back to Kentucky in the fall.  We are also considering a West Virginia Waterfalls workshop, hopefully for this Spring.  Mountaineer Photo Excursions will also have a booth at the Mountain State Photographers’ Conference in Ripley, WV, on August 1!

Ron and Amanda are already making plans for 2016 Excursions, and have some exciting locations in mind.  We appreciate the interest that everyone has shown, and we hope you will share our website, Facebook page, and your recommendations with other photographers who are interested in improving their skills.  We’re looking at new opportunities in West Virginia, Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  If you know of a spot you would like for us to consider, share it with us!  We’ve already received suggestions for Texas and Alaska…we’ll see what we can do with those!

Most of all, thank you to each of our “Workshoppers,” who have joined us on one of our Excursions during this first year.  Your curiosity, excitement and confidence in us has both thrilled and humbled us.  We are looking forward to 2015 and beyond!

Ron Gaskins

January 26, 2015

 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/1/after-one-year Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:32:14 GMT
Outer Banks Excursion is SOLD OUT! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/1/outer-banks-excursion-is-sold-out Thanks to an overwhelming response, our Outer Banks Spring Photo Workshop in North Carolina is SOLD OUT! 

“Herons and Horses and Bears! Oh My!”  Join Ron and Amanda as we leave winter behind and get a jump on summer, as we head to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We will be visiting the communities of Manteo, Corolla, Carova and more.  While you may have heard of the Outer Banks, you haven’t seen it until you’ve done an “Excursion” with us.

Our Deep Creek Lake Winter Photo Workshop in Maryland still has a few spots remaining, as of January 3.  We are currently finalizing details on our summer workshop, and will be making the announcement on that location very soon!  In addition, we will be returning to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park on October 16-18, 2015!

Amanda and I work very hard to find locations that are visually interesting, and ways to encourage photography education during our Excursions.  We scout our locations in advance, and make contacts and arrangements that allow our clients special access to the best spots.  We hope that when you are making choices on where to go and where to learn, you will remember Mountaineer Photo Excursions!  Contact us at MountaineerPhotoExcursions@yahoo.com .

Ron Gaskins

January 3, 2015

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Banks Creek Deep Excursions Gaskins Haddox Jenny Lake Mountaineer NC Outer Wiley photo workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2015/1/outer-banks-excursion-is-sold-out Sat, 03 Jan 2015 18:00:24 GMT
Go West! Winter Workshop in Western Maryland! http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2014/10/go-west-winter-workshop-in-western-maryland DEEP CREEK LAKE / OAKLAND, MD WINTER WORKSHOP

“Go West, young man!”  Well, we’re not going where that comment suggested, but we are going as far west as possible…in Maryland!  This Winter, we will be visiting beautiful Garrett County!  We will be learning cold weather skills, as well as capturing breathtaking views of Deep Creek Lake, Swallow Falls, and historic downtown Oakland, Maryland…all part of the “Deep Creek Experience!”

 

Our Deep Creek Lake Winter Photo Workshop is scheduled for January 30, 31 & February 1, 2015 (Friday – Sunday).  This will be a unique and challenging weekend, with time spent outdoors, most likely in the snow and cold of a western Maryland Winter.  The experience and images you bring home will be worth the effort! 

 

We have made arrangements for special access at the Deep Creek Lake State Park, where we will begin our Workshop weekend at their Discovery Center. Have you seen an icy crystal waterfall?  Can you travel back in time to an historic train station?  We will!  We’ll walk out on a frozen lake and photograph ice fishermen…this will be your chance to go out in the snow and experience all the opportunities that winter photography has to offer… in the safety of a group with two experienced photographers leading the way.  We will see nature in an entirely different aspect from how it appears during the rest of the year…frozen…suspended.  Winter isn’t a dead time…it is a beautiful, white paradise!

 

The fee for this Workshop is $179 per person, and does not include meals, lodging or local travel.  Contact us at MountaineerPhotoExcursions@yahoo.com and request an invoice.   We have arranged discounted lodging with the “Inn at Deep Creek.”  You will be provided with a discount code when you register with us for the Workshop.  With your invoice, you will be given your Group Lodging Code to guarantee your discount.  We recommend reservations for the nights of January 30 & 31, 2015.

 

Our lodging at the Inn at Deep Creek includes choices of rooms with two double beds, for $119; and single king beds for $129.  The Inn management recommends early reservations, due to the popular skiing season in the area during the winter;  the first night will be charged when you make your reservation; the Inn has a 72-hour cancellation requirement.  You must provide our Group Lodging Code to receive this discounted rate.

 

We will be limiting this Workshop to 15 participants.  We are now accepting registration/invoice requests, effective on October 2, 2014.  We look forward to hearing from you, and having you join us in January!

Ron Gaskins

October 2, 2014

 

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Deep Creek Experience Deep Creek Lake Garrett County Inn at Deep Creek MD Maryland Mountaineer Photo Excursions Ron Gaskins Superior Photo aperturent cold depot frozen photo snow waterfall winter workshop http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2014/10/go-west-winter-workshop-in-western-maryland Thu, 02 Oct 2014 16:07:21 GMT
Our Return To Jenny Wiley http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2014/8/our-return-to-jenny-wiley Our Return To Jenny Wiley

 

It’s time to join Ron Gaskins & Amanda Haddox and return to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park!  This year, our fourth visit will be during the height of eastern Kentucky’s fall color.  We will rise early one morning to see the Rocky Mountain Elk herd, transplanted here and thriving on former surface mine properties.  We will also plan time for a pontoon boat cruise on Dewey Lake, where we have seen hawks, herons, and bald eagles!  During 2013, we were there in September, but this year we will return on October 17, 18, and 19.  The Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg is about 1.5 hours south of Ashland, KY.

Along with Ron Gaskins & Amanda Haddox of Mountaineer Photo Excursions, we will enjoy additional instruction from Park Naturalists Trinity Shepherd and Jayd Raines.  Travel for the field trips during the Workshop will be provided by the Park in their new bus!  Our Workshop will feature field trips, with some other activities occurring at the Park.  Workshoppers will receive photography instruction regarding exposure, lens choices, composition and more.  This Workshop is designed for novice and intermediate photographers who know the controls of their camera, but want to learn and improve.  We also welcome more experienced photographers!

This will be our least expensive Workshop during the year, and the last one of 2014.

The Workshop fee is $75, with on site lodging available at the May Lodge.  The Park is offering a Workshop & lodging package for $205; a Workshop, meals & lodging package for $233; and a “Couples Package” for $336.  To ensure your seat for all our field trips, you must register by 11:59pm on September 16.  In order to receive a full refund of your Workshop fee, you must cancel by 11:59pm on September 16, 2014.   To register for this Workshop only, contact the Park at 800-325-0142 or 606-889-1790.

Attention!  Effective on September 19, 2014, the Park is still accepting registrations for this workshop.  In addition, the Park Staff has noted that, in most cases, your credit card will not be charged in advance of the Workshop dates. (Ron G.)

Visit our Mountaineer Photo Excursions page on Facebook to see updates and more details on this workshop.

Ron Gaskins

August 29, 2014

]]>
mountaineerphotoexcursions@gmail.com (Mountaineer Photo Excursions) Amanda Haddox Jenny Wiley Jenny Wiley State Resort Park KY Kentucky Mountaineer Photo Excursions Ron Gaskins Trinity Shepherd Workshop photo photography http://www.mountaineerphotoexcursions.com/blog/2014/8/our-return-to-jenny-wiley Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:30:00 GMT