PH&D in Black & White

I finally got around to uploading over 70 black and white images of the PH&D in black and white, and a couple of the GTW and Amtrak in Port Huron, to the galleries.

These images represent most of what is found in the Frog’s second book – “The Port Huron & Detroit Railroad in Black and White 1984“.


I struggle with admitting that I found my black and white work to be more stirring and evocative than my color work.  I still can’t explain that to myself.  Perhaps it’s the nostalgia that black and white photography brings with it.  A connotation of times past?  I don’t really know, but it stirred me as I was scanning the negatives and working on the book.  And it still does.

I spent a great deal of time working on fixing 15+ years of less than ideal negative storage.  It wasn’t until sometime around 2000 that these negatives found a home in archival plastic pages that then made their way to binders for flat storage.  They’re still not perfect.  As I mention in the gallery commentary, if you want to order a certain image, and notice that there’s something I missed, please let me know and I’ll fix it and report the image.  I just reached a point where it became apparent to me that some people really want to see these images, and they can’t do that if they’re stuck on my computer.

As I write this, I’m looking at the image above and there’s a part of me saying “get rid of that pole and the wires above the engine!”  I don’t know why that thought came to me now.  And there’s a part of me saying “but that’s not how it was – so just leave it alone!”  And that’s the part of me that’s winning.   All of that said, if there’s anyone that does want the pole removed to make this “THE” PH&D in black and white image for you – let me know and I will take it out (and add a disclaimer to the caption for the sake of being honest!).

All of that said, as I look at the picture more, it occurs to me that there is so much in this image that speaks.

The trackage itself tells a story – these are the roundhouse leads.  The wood-sided buildings.  Old naked ties where there once was a track.  The PH&D main fading off into the distance.  The Detroit Edison power plant in Marysville off in the distance (it’s gone now).  And then, there’s the main subject.  ALCo S-2 # 60 and her caboose.  There’s the last light of the day softly and evenly highlighting the details on the 60.  The pole hanging by the cab speaks of an earlier time, but the “No Foot-Board” reminders and rotary beacon on the cab pull us into the 1980’s.

I didn’t get all of what this picture said 31 years ago.  I’m not sure I get all of what it says now.  If I keep going, I might test the saying that a picture does in fact say a thousand words.  But that might bore you.

So, I’ll stop now and invite you to check out the Port Huron and Detroit in black and white as seen in 1984 on Laughing Frog Images.

Half of all profits on products from the PH&D galleries go to the Port Huron and Detroit Railroad Historical Society to support all that they do. 

For each PH&D book sold through Laughing Frog Images or our CreateSpace Store, $5.oo is donated to the PH&DRRHS.

It’s Mine! All Mine!

Did you ever wonder what goes on in a hummingbird’s mind when it approaches a full feeder and there’s no one else around?

This little one paused for a couple of seconds on approach to lunch and seemed to be pondering a nearly full feeder with no one else around when I made this image.

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Which caused me to think why it paused there and just what might be going through its’ mind…

Was it an It’s mine! All mine! moment?

Was it “gee – there’s no one else here – I wonder if the food in this joint is any good?”

Or, “Wow – I finally beat the crowd?”

Maybe it was “good, there’s no one else here – I can have seconds!”

Perhaps it was “he/she’s not here to see it, so I’ll just have one more for the road”

I think we all have those moments when we think It’s mine! All mine!

For me, it’s a brownie and about a quart of whole milk.

Did you know that since a batch of brownies is really just one big brownie before it’s cut into pieces, it’s technically just one brownie? 

Mrs. Frog doesn’t buy that logic – but think about it. Really think about it.

How can you argue against that logic? 

If they’re supposed to be called brownies, then they should be baked as brownies, not as a brownie.  But,

I digress….

It seems that the only time It’s Mine! All Mine really happens is when Mrs Frog just needs an anchovy or two out of a whole can…

The image can be found in the little winged things gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

For the photographers out there reading this, here’s a tech tip: 1/320 second shutter speed is not fast enough to freeze the wings of a hummingbird in flight.  It does, however, freeze the body and expression of the hummingbird while preserving the motion of the wings.  Which, in itself, can make for an interesting image as it did here.  Tamron 18-270mm VR zoom at 270mm, ISO 320 at 1/320 second, f6.3.


Sales are coming!

Nowadays, it seems that holiday sales start in September.  At least it seems that way.

Here at Laughing Frog Images, we’re going to be a little more traditional.

We’re going to do two big sales this year, and we’re going to wait until November to start.

First, there will be a site-wide sale starting November 1st – everything but our books will be on sale!

We’re also going to do a Cyber Monday sale on everything but our books as well.

What is “everything” you ask?

Well, thanks for asking!  Did you know that Laughing Frog Images offers 256 ways for you to take “the” image and make it your own or make it a great gift for someone else?  Click here to be taken to a basic product list that includes two videos that can help you with the basics of ordering.

Why do we do this?

Easy answer.

Is there anything worse that seeing an image you like – but being turned off by the size of the image, or the frame, or the presentation?  Yes, there are things worse in life – but if it’s “the” image, it can rise to the top of the list pretty quickly.  So, once you find “the” image, you get to choose how you get it.  If its’ in color – you can make it black and white (and sepia in some cases) with a click of your mouse or a touch of your finger.  Want it on a mug?  We’ve got you covered.  Want it on metal?  Check.  Is canvas your thing?  Got that too.  Want it so show up matted, framed and ready to hang on the wall?  Yes, we can do that too.  Need something for under $20 or $25?  Yes, that too.  Like the image, but you want to crop it?  In most cases, you can do that too.

Our prices start at under $5.00.  And yes, things can get expensive if you want something made big on paper or on metal.  It’s about empowering you to get what you want, not about me deciding what I’m going to make available for you.

Laughing Frog Images was founded with two simple premises in mind.

They are that (1) photographic art should be affordable, and (2) you should be able to get the image that you want the way that you want it.

We’re staying true to that.

Heceta Head Sunset

While I was shooting the Heceta Head Lighthouse from an overlook on the Oregon Coast highway, it was ridiculously easy to turn to my left and shoot the sunset.

At least when the clouds were being fairly cooperative, that is.

When it got to time for the sun to drop that last 15 degrees, it finally dropped below the clouds and then it was time to consume some pixels.

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The Heceta Head sunset shots were interspersed with Heceta Head Lighthouse shots – the same conditions that made a beautiful sunset gave me the killer light on the lighthouse, shore and water.

Several different images from those few minutes have made it to the sundowns, sun ups and things in the sky gallery on Laughing Frog Images for your perusal, enjoyment, and purchase.

Is there a trick to getting sunset photos like this?  I wish I could say there was, and that I’ll tell it to you for a price, but there really isn’t.

There is, however, the need to be able to adjust your aperture (bigger numbers are better) or shutter speed (higher is better) or both, which isn’t always possible on a point & shoot or smartphone or tablet.

In a nutshell – shoot a bunch, and change your aperture and shutter speed as you shoot.  You’re changing your exposure (like I did), which gives you the same subject matter in a number of different images.  If your camera/device lets you pick a point in the image for it to adjust/expose to – pick a bunch of different points and fire away.  Then, pick what you like and delete the rest.

There.  Lesson over.

Now go shop Laughing Frog Images!

Remember, we’ve got a 25%+ off sale on things associated with consuming liquids for the rest of October.  Check the blog for full details.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

On a long weekend on the Oregon coast, Mrs. Frog and I crossed one off the bucket list – we stayed in a Bed & Breakfast at the former Lightkeeper’s Quarters at Heceta Head Lighthouse.

(You don’t have to stay there to tour the Lightkeeper’s Quarters or see the lighthouse.)

You can learn more about the lighthouse itself by clicking here.

I don’t know what to say about it other than it’s one of those places that has a sense of place, and you should have it on your list, whether you stay in Florence or at the B&B.

The waves in Oregon are different from what I’m used to – and perhaps for you as well.  They’re constant – you can see that in some of the images in the gallery.

Swimming in many places along the Oregon coast can be hazardous to your health.

Don’t like the weather?  Wait five minutes – it may change!  Like the weather?  It could change in five minutes!

The wind only seems to blow about a quarter of the time.  From each of the four directions, that is.

If any of that sounds like a complaint – you’re absolutely wrong!

It’s beautiful.  It’s rugged.  It’s rainy.  It’s sunny.  It’s foggy.  It’s windy.  It’s breathtaking.

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Heceta Head Lighthouse is in the far left-center, the Lightkeeper’s Quarters are in the center, Devil’s Elbow is the rock formation in front of the Lightkeeper’s Quarters, and the waves. 

Just look at the waves.  This image was made just before the sun disappeared below the horizon, hence the “sweet” light.

Heceta Head Lighthouse is a delight for photographers of all levels and persuasions.

What I found wildly interesting was that over 90% of the people I saw photographing Heceta Head Lighthouse from along the Oregon Coast Highway were using their smartphone or their tablet.  From a snooty photographer’s perspective I was thinking to myself “why are they doing that?” and “where are their “real” cameras?”  And then, I took a breath, and realized that (1) it’s 2015, and (2) maybe they think I’m the crazy one.  Ultimately, images speak to each of us differently, and who I am to question what one sees and treasures in their images.

I made over 300 images of Heceta Head Lighthouse.  In the fog.  In the mist.  At dusk.  At night.  In the few minutes of sunshine that I had.  And then I previewed.  Then, I processed.  And I cropped.  All in, 95% of the images didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.  Mist or fog droplets on the lens.  Mist or fog that made the picture “bleah” as Snoopy would say.  Fuzzy due to the mist or fog.

Seventeen images made the cut, and they are presented for you in the Heceta Head Lighthouse gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me was that you could stand at the base of the lighthouse and see eight beams of light emerging from the Fresnel lens.  Yes, eight!  I didn’t know that was possible.  I know that when I was south of the lighthouse, I could only see one light every ten seconds – the pattern for Heceta Head Lighthouse.  I know that I could see two main beams at night from the Lightkeeper’s Quarters.  And I saw eight when standing at the base of the lighthouse.  I don’t understand it.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t know if that happens at all lighthouses.  I haven’t researched it.

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I included an image of this in the gallery and noted in the caption to order this at your own risk.  Due to the fog and mist that night, I don’t expect it to reproduce well.

I simply know one thing about the eight beams of light I saw: it’s absolutely fascinating, no, mesmerizing, no, spectacular.  Yes, spectacular.

And that make me want to go back.

And that makes me tell you that Heceta Head Lighthouse is one for your Bucket List.

I hope you enjoy this gallery as much as we did in making it!

Oktoberfest Sale

Oktoberfest is traditionally associated with drinking beer.

Well, we know that beer is not everyone’s choice for one reason or another, but we don’t want to let you feel left out of the Oktoberfest spirit!

We all have to drink – be that water, tea, coffee, milk, or, even beer!

Laughing Frog Images announces our first Oktoberfest sale!

Save 25% or more on the following products through October 31, 2015:

  • Premium Mugs
  • Travel Mugs
  • Frosted Steins
  • Water Bottles
  • Flasks

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(That’s Heceta Head Lighthouse if we’ve got your attention!)

Spoil yourself.  Start your holiday shopping early.  Make amends.  Kiss up to the boss.  Break the ice.  Practice a random act of kindness.

The reasons to shop Laughing Frog Images are endless, and your can even shop in your underwear or at work if you’d like (but we don’t need to know that…).