Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk

We moved into our current house back in April of 1997. About 2 blocks from the Halifax River near Daytona Beach, Florida, it wasn’t long before I began daily dog walks down to the river and discovered that you never know what you might see.

Over the years I’ve been accompanied by 2 different dogs, for a few years they overlapped and there were two dogs along for the stroll. Me and my canine friends have seen: rabbits, snakes, herons, egrets, manatees, porpoise, a gator, hurricanes, 100 degree heat, freezing, icy weather, space shuttle blast-offs, local people, tourists, dog-lovers, dog-haters, wind , rain, lightning, dark clouds, baking sun, cats, dogs, lizards, trees and flowers, majestic sailboats and grounded houseboats. Like I said, you never know what you’re going to come across on these daily outings.

So, over the years as digital photography was introduced and quality cameras became smaller and more portable, it finally dawned on me a year or two ago to carry a camera along on these walks. After all, I am a photographer by occupation! And, after 15 years, I’ve decided to start a little ongoing photo project: Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk. This gallery can be viewed by clicking here.

I’ve never bee one for organized ongoing projects, given my short attention span and lack of organizational skills, but my intent will be to add regularly to this collection, whenever I come across something that catches my eye. These pictures will be taken with everything from my iPhone, myCanon Elph 300 HS, my Panasonic Lumix GF1 and, on more ambitious days, one of my Canon EOS DSLR ’s.

So, with the assistance of my walking partner Willow and in memory of my late and sorely missed companion Layla, I present: Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk!


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The Sun, a Shuttle and I

One of the things that always fascinated me about covering a Space Shuttle Launch was the fact that once the “fuse” was lit and the shuttle lifted off the pad, you had about a minute between the time the shuttle left the ground until it was too far aloft to take much of a useful photo, except, of course, for the smoke trail left behind. There is no “pause” or “re-do” button and you can’t rewind the tape to try again, Once the shuttle is gone, it’s gone!

So on the morning of March 8, 2001 as I was preparing to photograph the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery I was especially excited after learning that the actual launch would occur right a sunrise, as the sun peaked over the Titusville, Florida, horizon.

My challenge became to find a spot where the rising sun would line up with the launch pad at Kennedy Space Cemter to create a unique image of sunrise and shuttle launch in the same frame.

I arrived on the scene plenty early and began to drive up and down US1 in Titusville looking for such a site. I was not prepared enough to have an exact location pinpointed as the spot where the sun would appear, but I studied the slowly brightening sky to try and determine an approximate location. With just a few minutes remaining before the scheduled launch, I settled on a small park along the Banana River as a likely spot for a decent photo. There was an added bonus of a group of space shuttle watchers and a stand of palm trees to add to the composition of the photo.

The final obstacle standing in the way of my photo was the possibility of a hold or delay in the countdown, which could allow the sun to rise higher in the sky, thereby eliminating the rare opportunity for a sun rise shuttle launch.

This morning, though, was one of the rare occasions when everything came together as envisioned, and I followed my one-minute game plan to capture some tight shots, wide shots, people shots, tree shots and spectacularly illuminated smoke trail shots, before the moment became a memory as the shuttle roared into orbit.

I would rank these photos as some of my favorites in the dozen years that I covered NASA’s space shuttle operations. (View the entire gallery here).


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