George L. Smith State Park: A Photo Essay

Last weekend, the Camp Granola crew set off for a camping adventure in George L. Smith State Park in central Georgia. It was one of many trips we’ve taken around the state to complete the Georgia State Parks Geocaching Challenge. Being the types inclined to head to the mountains, the challenge has forced us to step put of our comfort …

Death Valley with David Middleton and Brenda Berry

As you know, back in November I ventured out to Death Valley for the rare delight of a kidless adventure. It was a two-part trip of camping with friends and a photography workshop and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. The combination of location and people was spot on but I’ve already talked about that. Now …

Postcards from Real Life: Finding Joy

Earlier this week as I sifted through my images from 2013, something struck me. It was disappointment. It wasn’t a soul-crushing-why-do-I-even-bother-trying kind of disappointment, just an acknowledgment that I didn’t give my photography the energy and effort I used to. When I look at my body of work for 2013, I simply don’t feel like I grew artistically or improved …

Guest Post: Lost in the Dark at Crater Lake

Dear readers, help me welcome a special guest blogger to Val in Real Life. You might recognize Steve Zigler as a Friend of Camp Granola and today’s post is brought to you by his big adventure this summer. Steve came back with an epic panorama of the Milky Way over Crater Lake that he shared with us through space.com initially. …

Postcards from Real Life: Delight

My time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been sparing of late but today, in spite of the current downpour, I’m glad to be back. This weekend I’m joining my fellow photography enthusiasts for the Tremont Spring photography workshop and I’m very grateful to the people who had the foresight to preserve this place and to those who continue …

Shameless Self-Promotion…

Two things are upon us my friends… and they’re both about the fabulous Great Smoky Institute at Tremont. This week marks the beginning of their annual photo contest as well as the time for you to sign up for the Spring Workshop. Of course, I’ve only reminded you after I made sure my spot is secure. 😀 As for the …

Contrasts

Greetings from the watery world that is South Florida. Although I grew up in this sultry, soggy land, it’s always an eye-opener to return here after having been away for so long. When you spend most of your time along mountain rivers, the flat expanses of water and cypress here seem otherworldy. The mangroves, bromeliads, alligators, and cormorants of the …

Postcards from Real Life: Artistry

It’s time! Time to head back to Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance workshop. As I set forth this morning, it’s more about getting a break from the house-selling insanity than the photography but I’m hopeful by the time I get there, I’ll be in the proper mindset to focus on improving my skills and not just getting away from suburbia. …

Time to Get Your Tremont On…

In just a few short weeks I will again set off to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance Workshop with Will Clay. My thoughts… Just to refresh your memory on my love affair with this place, here’s a roundup of what I’ve written about Tremont so far… Autumn Brilliance in the Smokies Friends of Camp …

The Sunflower

For all of the magnificence of a place like the Great Sand Dunes, it’s easy to miss the details that pull the whole scene together. It’s one of the joys of macro photography to highlight those details in a way that changes your whole perspective of a place. Suddenly you see a small world in a whole new light and …