Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snow Robin

I don't usually see robins in winter. I know that they feed mostly on worms and other creepy-crawly things they find in the ground, and around here the ground can be frozen for weeks if not months. At the local nature center we spotted them eating some of the winter berries.

I am trying some digital manipulation techniques these days, making use of the down-time that usually accompanies winter. Here is one example.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter is Almost Here

The calendar says Dec. 19, but it sure feels like winter. Snow is falling heavily today in the Mid-Atlantic states, so I headed over to my local nature center to check out the bird activity. There were plenty of local bird species filling up on the bird seed and the winter berries. I think I'll be spending a fair amount of time outside this weekend, as the snowfall is supposed to last all day, and stick around for a while.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Philly Pics Added

I've added three new Philly images to my website:

Philadelphia Photos

Here's one of them:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Back to Philly

It's been a while, but I've made a trip into the city of Philadelphia to begin producing some new work from there. For the last few years I've been concentrating on more natural settings, and also of birds and other animals. But I do enjoy the more scenic parts of the city as well, especially in the right light.

During the morning when our family is preparing for our day we often have a local news channel on the TV. They usually show a shot of the city from across the Delaware River from the riverfront of Camden, NJ. Frequently there is a beautiful sunrise that casts a soft morning light across the hulking buildings, making them look almost beautiful (if you can say that about a hulking building).

So that's where I headed, across the Ben Franklin Bridge (by the way a very beautiful bridge in its own right), to the area near the Adventure Aquarium. On this morning the pre-dawn light was quite nice, and some soft distant clouds provided a subtle backdrop to the skyscrapers. I took a number of "keeper" shots, but one that stood out for me was the one below, where I include the moon that stood far above. I don't usually make a concerted attempt to extract deep meaning from my photos, but there's something about this composition that makes me reflect on how small our world is in the big scheme of things.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From the Archives

I often go back to my image files to see if there any shots I previously overlooked, or never completed processing. This image of the oft-photographed Jenne Farm in Vermont was made on a workshop trip a few years ago. In retrospect the reason I did not select this photo for my portfolio is because I didn't care for the composition in the "standard" aspect ratio. But after I cropped it for a panoramic I like it a lot.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last Show of the Year

Well it's that time of year. This weekend is my last show of 2009. I have been showing at the Archbishop Wood fall craft show for 4 years, and I a glad that many past customers stop by to take a look at the new work I bring back every year.

The show runs Friday night, 6:30-9:30, and then Saturday 10-4.

Below is one of my new prints that I'll have this weekend, one of those "instant favorites" that is hard not to like if you live in the Bucks County area.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

From Solly Brothers farm in Bucks County, Pa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Website Updates

For those frequent visitors to my site I would like to point out a few changes.

(1) I added a "Welcome" page, which for the moment is simply a photo of historic Fonthill Castle, with a link to the galleries page. I like this kind of website entry point, although I will be juicing it up a little in the near future.

Welcome Page

(2) I added a page that shows all of the framed prints that I currently have in inventory. I've done this primarily to give people a chance who have seen my work in person to take a second look. Link below:

Frames Page

(3) Finally, I've added some new prints to my galleries.

New Work

Below is one of the newly added images, which is of a babydoll lamb at the Cuttalossa Farm in Bucks County. This lamb looks so innocent and youthful against the large outline of its mother just behind it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drip Drop

On a recent trip to the Poconos I found myself at the edge of a pond below some trees. The view across the pond was nothing special, but the water dripping from the trees above created interesting patterns in the water. When printed in a larger size the disturbances in the water can bee seen in all their glory.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I've taken my nearly yearly trip up north to the Poconos. I'm usually drawn to the Delaware Water Gap area, and this year I returned to the George W. Childs State Park, just a few miles from Dingman's Falls. This area has beautiful series of waterfalls tucked in a small valley/gorge. The light was very nice on this morning, and the air was still enough to let me use a longer exposure to accentuate the waterfalls.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Golden Morning

As summer winds down we often get treated to foggy mornings. If you are prepared and put yourself in the right location to catch the sunbeams streaming through, you will have a good chance to make very nice images.

At my favorite local haunt I was fortunate to have the light fog hang around the trees while the full sun blasted from behind it.

I'm beginning to catch the fall foliage in Pennsylvania, and I hope to have some new images in time for my last two shows of the year. Stay tuned ...

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Hope Award

The New Hope Arts and Crafts Festival was a mixed bag. Saturday's great weather was followed by some rain on Sunday. As always I met a lot of fun and interesting people, with many stories to share.

I was fortunate to receive the second place award in the photography category this year. In addition to the cash award it is very gratifying to know that my body of work is impressive enough to win an award at a high-end arts festival such as New Hope.

Below is a photo of me receiving the award.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prepping for New Hope

My last outdoor show of the year is coming up, and I'm busy selecting some new images to print. I've tweaked my presentation a bit over the past few shows, in an attempt to make browsing easier (and in the end to increase sales, of course). First of all I've produced two gallery-wraps (one which sold at the Doylestown show), to try a bit of a different effect. This format has become much more popular in recent years, and for certain images the result can be really beautiful. I've added them as an option on my website.

I've also left the smaller items home, in order to give me more flexibility in arranging my print bins. I've eliminated a table, which allows more room to move around, and allows customers to get closer to the works hanging on the walls.

The image below was made a few weeks ago in a local field. The flowers have died, but the birds were busy filling up on the remaining seeds. I like the early-day lighting, as well as the color tone of this image.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Doylestown Arts Festival

We had a very nice day yesterday at the Doylestown Arts Festival. The weather was great, the crowds were overflowing, and the atmosphere was electric. After a few weather-dampened disappointing shows this year this show was a breath of fresh air.

I met a lot of new customers, and a few old ones. A few family members also took advantage of the nice day to stop by and support me (Thanks Leslie, Vince, Linda, Frank and Ellen).

This image below seemed to garner a lot of interest. Bucks County still brims with farming, despite the explosion of development over the past few decades. And our local historical connections are also well-appreciated. So this shot of sheep on a wet winter day at the Thompson-Neely farm, right across from Bowman's Hill near New Hope, resonates with a lot of people.

Next stop: New Hope Arts and Crafts Festival, Sept 26 and 27.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Young Heron

While walking around my local nature center recently, on a quiet morning where I wasn't expecting anything especially interesting, I was startled when this young heron flew from near the path to a branch not too far away. Since he didn't go too far I was thinking that he wasn't really too afraid of me, so I calmly swapped lenses on my camera and prepared the tripod.

While I snapped some initial shots he preened himself for a while. Then he moved to this branch, above the walking path. Here I was able to inch closer and capture some clean shots.

I'm not sure what variety of heron this is, as I think his color will change as he gets older. It may be a white heron.

One lesson that I have learned while walking through natural areas is to always be prepared, and be wary of what's around you. I often go walking with a destination in mind, sometimes completely oblivious to what's around me. But then I may be startled by a deer or a heron or other large bird along the water's edge. At the very least have a medium to long lens on the camera if you have one.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What's Happening

We're in the dog days of summer right now. It's been hot and humid, and frequently raining, for the past few weeks. A few nights ago we had a tremendous thunderstorm with very loud thunderclaps. No need to add water to the pool this summer, instead we're draining water out.

As far as photography goes, I'm trying to create shots of summer flowers before they wilt due to the summer heat. Some of the local fields of wildflowers have finally flowered to the point where they attract birds like goldfinches, as well as butterflies. The bird activity at my feeder has stopped almost entirely, and that's because they have moved on to more natural sources of food. Lately at my local nature center the birds are all over the wildflowers growing there. When the natural sources start to wane then I'll expect them to return to the feeder.

Below is a hawk that I discovered at a local park. He stayed on his perch atop a tall tree for awhile, apparently looking for signs of small animals for which to feed on.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Morning

I don't chase sunsets so much any more, but I do chase sunrises on occasion, or at least the post-sunrise sunlight. There are a few personal reasons for this. I believe sunsets look great with some other beautiful landscape scene for the sunset to accentuate, especially a water feature. And we don't have a lot of those in our area. Also, as beautiful as they can be, sunsets are quite common. So if I'm picking some time out of my schedule to spend photographing I'd like to work on subjects that are more unique.

As for morning light, I often find interesting things happening. Such as fog or animal activity. Also many people aren't up in the early morning hours, so the scenes I find are often very surprising to people. I like my chances of having the images being more impactive and unusual.

In the photo below the sun had been up for a while, but the fog had not yet cleared. This is the time when I find very dramatic images.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Collingswood Show

This weekend I will be at the Collingswood NJ Crafts and Fine Arts Festival. The weather doesn't look too bad, considering all the rain our region has been getting lately. Saturday looks great. Please take advantage and stop by - I have new images and 2 new gallery wraps that I'm adding into the mix.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rainy Phillies Game

Ryan and I took in a Phillies game last Friday night, against the St. Louis Cardinals. They lost the game, but we still had fun. There was a rain delay to make things a little interesting. Here are a few shots from my Canon point-and-shoot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Daylily Stamens Up Close

In our neck of the woods daylilies are just about everywhere. They are so common that I usually avoid them - that's just me. But with my new macro lens I can bring out patterns that are normally overlooked. I was able to keep these images of the stamens quite soft which makes them border on the abstract. A nice pair, I think.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I recently purchased a quality macro lens, a 90mm Tamron for my Nikon D80. I already have a 70-200mm f2.8 made by Sigma that is branded as a "macro" lens, because it has the capability of a 1:3.5 magnification ratio. I haven't really attempted much macro photography, so I didn't really "get" why this lens doesn't do a good job as a macro lens.

First of all the magnification ratio is not all that much. "True" macro lenses can go to a 1:1 ratio - maybe more, although I'm not a lens guru so I don't know for sure. In addition the 70-200 creates a lot of chromatic aberrations when used wide open at close focusing distances. What this means is that funny colors start to appear around edges, more-so at high-contrast edges. This either ruins an image, or forces me to perform some surgery using software (something I prefer not to do).

So I bit the bullet and bought the 90mm Tamron lens, based on many good reviews I've read, including those on, and I've been giving it quite a workout. I now find that my opportunities for creating compelling flower photography have multiplied greatly. The image quality is fantastic.

And now that I'm able to work at much closer distances than before I'm now seeing more of a different sort of wildlife than I'm used to, as the photo below shows.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I found a trio of fawns in a field near Council Rock High School South. They were slowly working from one side of the road across to the other. I was able to get relatively close without them getting too skittish. After a little while they became uncomfortable and ran for the safety of the trees, where I grabbed this image of one of them.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Going For a Drink

This was one of two elk we found working through some brush along a stream. This was near the Hidden Valley area of Rocky Mountain National Park. These animals do not react much to humans, even ones that get rather close. I guess that after the thousands of tourists they see each year they realize we're not really a threat.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Feeding Time

I am not seeing much variety in bird species lately at the bird feeder. But the activity is incredible right now. We always have had nests in our trees and bushes and I think there are just as many if not more this year.

The other day I saw these younger birds take their spots on the old branch I have set-up near the feeder, and sat there waiting with their little wings fluttering. A few seconds later the mommy or daddy bird came from the feeder and fed the babies. This went on for a while. Very fun to watch.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pikes Peak

14,110 feet. That's the altitude of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. The drive to the top is slow but exciting. The drive down is also slow. You absolutely must keep your car is Low gear to avoid using your breaks. There is a break-temperature check station halfway down. I felt I was going too slow, based on the speed of other drivers, but my brakes were only 119 degrees - quite low.

We had a lot of partly-cloudy days, and that often yields beautiful sunsets.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Arches National Park

First impression: Utah is a desolate place. We drove for hours and besides two or three small towns we did not come across much sign of civilization. You have to be careful to keep plenty of gas in your tank because it may be 100 miles or more before you see another gas station. (Disclaimer: We stayed in the eastern part of the state. Areas near Salt Lake City may be different).

Second impression: Utah can be very, very impressive. The drive north towards Arches National Park from the "Four Corners" area provides stunning scenery. The red rock formations were spectacular.

Arches National Park itself is pretty incredible as well. Although the arches are the main draw I was impressed more with other formations. The hikes are generally manageable, even for my family. I'll have to return some day for the 3-mile round-trip hike to Delicate Arch, preferably in cooler weather (it was near 100 degrees last week).

Below is a shot of the North Window arch. This was near sunset, but on the "dark" side of the arch. I like how the glow from the sunlight bouncing off the surrounding rocks illuminated the shadowy areas of the arch. I included the moon - hopefully it is discernible.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Moose Trio

On our drive out of Rocky Mountain National Park we were treated to a rare display - a mother moose and her two babies were grabbing a snack and getting a drink only a few yards from the road. They were easy to locate - the gathering crowd by the roadside was a clear giveaway. While swatting the mosquitoes I was able to snap a few good shots before they meandered away from the crowd.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Drama over Estes Park

We're two days into our Colorado vacation and so far it's been very enjoyable. We've spent these days driving and hiking our way through the Rocky Mountain National Park. I have a lot of great photos already, and I'll share them as time goes on.

But last night we were treated to an awesome lightning storm which rolled in suddenly just before sunset and lasted a couple of hours. Fortunately our motel provided a great vantage point for photographing this storm, which approached Estes Park from the east. It didn't seem to move much, so I had many good chances to capture the lightning.

This shot below was taken later in the storm, and since it had gotten dark I was able to stop down the shutter and make a 30-second exposure. I took many such exposures and got a few good shots.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Entering Summer

The school year is just about over, and I've gotten through my first 3 shows of the year. Peddler's Village was a fine show. The weather was great and the crowds were plentiful and friendly. My next show isn't until August, which will be in Collingswood NJ.

I'll be traveling to Colorado in a few weeks with the family. Hopefully I'll find some time to do some shooting, but our schedule is full of sightseeing and outdoor activities. Depending on the weather the wildflowers should be near their peak, so I will definitely be on the lookout for them.

I've added some newer images to my website, including the image below. It is usually a challenge to approach a flower bed full of beautiful, colorful flowers, and find the composition that will be neat, clean, and powerful. One of the tricks to making very attractive images is to reduce the clutter, either by getting closer or by using a narrow depth of field. I used both techniques here.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Peddler's Village Coming Up

Well my first 2 shows of the year were nothing to write home about. Although the crowds were OK at Ocean City the sales were not very strong. My pet theory about selling photography at the shore is that most people are looking for shore-related images. That doesn't surprise me, and I don't hold any ill will towards them. It's very natural for there to be a demand for such images from both residents and visitors.

My second show was Newtown Welcome Day, and for the second year in a row we were rained out. Not much more to say there.

Next weekend (June 6 and 7) is the Peddler's Village Fine Arts and Crafts show. Last year we had blistering heat, and I don't expect the same problem this year. Although I wouldn't be surprised if we got some rain - but don't let that keep you away. I should be in the same spot as last year.

Below is a new image of a mother and baby swan, in their nest along the Delaware and Raritan canal just south of Lambertville, NJ. I found out later that there is a second baby, probably hiding under the mother's wing. We saw this family a week later taking a swim in the canal. The father was very protective, vigilantly protecting his family by swimming along the water's edge when passerby's took an interest. We've seen enough episodes of "Funniest Home Videos" to know how aggressive swans can be, so we were careful not to agitate him.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dealing with the Gumblar virus

As the administrator of my website I occasionally have to deal with such issues as worms, viruses, and other nasty stuff. My site is relatively simple and plain, by design (although I admit it could use a little pizazz).

Over the Memorial Day weekend I discovered that my site had been infected. Some bad code had been written into my main index.htm file. After a few hours of investigation I found that my main PC had been infected and this allowed the "bad guys" to get into my website and alter my files, with the intention of spreading their badness around to anyone who visited my site.

For those who are interested here are the gory details, as best as I know them:

  • My PC was infected by some malware (i.e. "bad software") that stole the passwords to my FTP account

  • I use a free FTP program (Filezilla) that actually stores passwords in a plain text file on the hard drive. This is a very nice FTP program, but the password storage makes it ridiculously easy for a rogue program to steal the passwords (see this link)

  • The rogue program installed a scheduled task that seems to grab the password(s) and send them to the "bad guys". They would then occasionally log into my account, and modify my files.

This virus is loosely known as the Gumblar virus. A web search will quickly reveal how serious of a problem it is.

I have cleaned my machine, changed my passwords, deleted the scheduled task, and uninstalled Filezilla. I hope I have this thing licked, but until a few weeks pass without an incident I'll be keenly aware of what is going on.

Let me know if you want more information about my experience.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Recently I found some beautiful wildflowers along the Delaware-Raritan canal in NJ, between Washington Crossing and Lambertville. They were very photogenic: color, shape, simplicity, plus those "bells" hanging down. Once I identified a growth that stood out I worked the depth of field to capture the detail of this flower, while keeping the background mostly blurred. Anyone know the name of this flower?

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Backyard Visitors

There's always something new to observe out by the bird feeder. I frequently have the camera ready to go nearby in case I see something interesting happening.

The blue jays are often considered bullies, because of the way they attempt to scare off other birds. I have seen this happen a number of times. But now that the weather is warmer and worms and other insects are more plentiful some birds would rather dine on their selected menu items.

This blue jay sat for a while on our fence waiting and watching. He jumped down and plucked out a grub (or caterpillar or something) for a tasty snack.

And here are a few other colorful visitors. The first two are house finches. The yellow one is an American goldfinch..

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New visitor

We have a new visitor to our bird feeder lately. As I've said before I'm not a "bird person", so I cannot readily identify this bird. My first thought was that it looked like a woodpecker. But instead of just guess I decided to go online.

I ended up at the site to try and help me with identification. After entering the different criteria, such as bill type, color, etc., I think I narrowed it down.

It looks to me like a ladder-backed woodpecker, or possibly even a gila woodpecker.

The most interesting thing about this bird was what I caught it doing in the image below. He seems to be clearing out the smaller seeds in order to get to the bigger ones. I'm sure the smaller birds would find those smaller ones down in the grass. Quite unique behavior.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Newtown Show

I will not be attending the Newtown Welcome Day show today, because of threat of rain. We were bombarded with rain showers last year at this show, and this year the radar maps look similarly bad. If you were looking forward to coming to this show please drop me a line and I'll be glad to set something up.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Go Phils

My son and I attended our first Phillies game of the season yesterday. We had a great time - weather was great, crowd was fun, and the Phils won. I lugged my 300mm lens to the game and from the 13th row behind 3rd base I got a few nice shots.

First for the pre-game entertainment. It was the Phanatic's birthday (free t-shirts for the kids), so to celebrate they held a magic show on the field. It was kind of fun being mystified - and trying to figure out how they did the tricks.

Then the game. The pitcher was Chan Ho Park, and he had a mediocre game. By the fifth inning the Phils were down 4-0, although they were getting a few hits.

We decided to take a mid-game walk around the ballpark to get something to eat, and we found the 2008 World Series trophy on display. Too bad I wasn't thinking and stood right in front of the trophy - at least I didn't completely block it.

Here's the left-field display honoring long-time Phils announcer Harry Kalas.

Later in the game the Phils picked up the action and started scoring. Jimmy Rollins hit a late-inning pinch-hit home run that got the score to 4-3. Nice job J-Rol.

That took us to the bottom of the ninth, down by one run. After Ryan Howard got on base it was Raul Ibanez to save the game, and with a home-run shot to right field the Phils took this game 5-4. What an exciting finish.