Laurie Roffol Photography: Blog en-us (C) Laurie Roffol Photography (Laurie Roffol Photography) Fri, 05 Nov 2021 13:27:00 GMT Fri, 05 Nov 2021 13:27:00 GMT Laurie Roffol Photography: Blog 80 120 Adventure 40: ICYMI June 2020 I spent a lot of June wandering around close to home, and thought I'd share some of the random images I captured along the way.  First some miscellaneous water photos.  At the beginning of the month we had some nice rains, and the local streams were high.

This guy played in the creek for quite some time.

I am working on a whole series of what I call 'watercolors', and this one may make it to the collection.

The Sinnemahoning Creek was gorgeous - it warrants a return trip.

And with the (rain and) warmer weather, the flowers were spectacular this year.  

Forget me nots are one of my favorites

And I finally got so spend a decent amount of time searching for the Pennsylvania state flower (Mountain Laurel).  I managed to get out as it was starting to bloom, spend a day which I think might have been the peak bloom, and then again searching for late bloomers!

We did some more landscaping, and the following two pictures are my current favorites from what we planted.

I don't know what it is about this flower, but in a huge field of wildflowers, this next one stood out to me as perfection.

And then, there were walks on trails.  This was in Sizerville State Park.

And we found this view on a 3 mile trail in one of the state forests.

I ran in to some critters in my travels.  I wasn't alone the first evening I went to look for mountain laurel.

First time seeing a Luna moth for me.  Such beautiful detail (the wingspan across was approximately 4").

I am thinking in this picture the moth was sleeping under the flower petals.

This blue heron wasn't bothered by me.  Of course I keep my distance.

We went to check out a wildlife viewing area one evening for elk (specifically looking for bulls in velvet), but all we found were deer.

I haven't gotten into identifying insects for the most part, but loved the color on this bug!

And then a few more miscellaneous finds.  There is a sculpture/arboretum garden close by, and this particular sculpture catches my attention every time I go there.  

We've had a number of great sunsets ... I'm not so great at positioning myself where I'd like to be to photograph them though.  This next photo was on an evening where dark storm clouds were rolling in in one direction, clearing where the sun was setting, and clear pastels to the east.

I rarely take moon photos anymore, but it was just so clear the evening I shot this.


I have some travel planned for July, and hoping my travel plans don't happen at the same time the wild rhododendron blooms in the local forest areas. 

All photographs were taken with a Canon or 6D or 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 DG Macro HSM

I have some travel planned for July, and hoping my travel plans don't happen at the same time the wild rhododendron blooms in the local forest areas. 
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(Laurie Roffol Photography) flowers nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography travel wildlife photographer Wed, 01 Jul 2020 19:59:12 GMT
Adventure 39: adaptability Feel free to enjoy these photographs of this gorgeous yellow field - and if you have a few extra minutes, you can read about how I came across this field below.

So here is the somewhat winded story of how I found this field.  Any one who knows me well, knows I love to explore in a haphazard fairly random manner.  But in the past couple of years, I try to start out my adventures with a topic or destination in mind (keeps me from wandering aimlessly for too long!).  This method has served me well in finding some beautiful photography material even though I'd guess that 90% of the time, the end result was not my original intention.  It's all about keeping your mind and eyes open to what you encounter along the journey!  (Adaptable!)

And this particular Saturday morning was no different.  Fog was in the forecast for the morning, and it had been a while since I had done any fog photography.  So Friday evening I checked for sunrise time, and set my alarm to be sure I'd be up.  As I set out looking f(or some good fog, a small portion of a yellow field caught my eye (yellow fields are one of the many things I'm always on the lookout for).  I made note of where it was, and continued my search for some 'good' fog.  That morning, the fog didn't materialize in the way I had hoped, and it wasn't long before any fog that had been there at daybreak was gone. As I backtracked home, I took a detour where I had caught a glimpse of the yellow field.  I turned the corner to catch a glimpse of the whole field and I was in awe.  It was huge, and beautiful, and yellow for what seemed like forever!  I would return to the field a few times hoping to catch it with some blue skies, although I do believe that Saturday, was peak bloom for the yellow field.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get there when we had some clear skies and a week later the yellow was gone.  

So while I went empty handed as far as some fog pictures on that particular Saturday, I was quite happy with my yellow field photographs.  And you can bet this field is on my radar for future trips.  

All photographs were taken with a Canon or 6D or 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 DG Macro HSM

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Clinton County farm pennsylvania photographer photography Mon, 29 Jun 2020 17:46:38 GMT
Adventure 38: Big Valley We moved to central Pennsylvania last summer, and I've spent a good deal of time exploring the general vicinity.  There is a chain of mountains that pass through the area, with valleys in between.  One of the valleys is called Big Valley, and when you look at some of the photographs I shot there I think you will see how it go its name.  Big Valley is also home to many Amish, and you will see some Amish life depicted in the photos as well.  But to start, here are some images of the valley.

The farms in Big Valley are gorgeous.

I don't know my fruit trees very well but I loved the shapes of these trees and only wish I had driven down a number of weeks ago when I suspect they were in beautiful bloom.  That would have made for some pretty pictures.

Lots of cows out grazing.  They love getting their picture taken (at least that's what I tell myself).

Saturday must be laundry day.  

I watched as they herded these sheep down the road from one field to another.

It wasn't until I explored Central Pennsylvania that I saw a yellow buggy.  It got me curious, so I looked up buggy colors and found out that yellow is the rarest of the 5 colors used on Amish buggies.  And the affiliation that it signifies is located in Big Valley.  In addition to the yellow buggy, today I saw black, white and open air buggies as well.

Saturdays in spring are also time to work the fields - I saw all kinds of contraptions.

I also made a few stops and picked up some fresh produce, homemade jams and pickles, and some bulk goods.  I also brought hoagies from the Whitehall Store home for dinner - highly recommended if you ever venture out to the Big Valley (Mifflin County) PA.  

All photographs were taken with a Canon or 6D or 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 DG Macro HSM

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) amish Big Valley Central Pennsylvania landscape Mifflin County pennsylvania photographer photography Sat, 30 May 2020 22:17:58 GMT
Adventure 37: spring semester We moved to central Pennsylvania last July - a stones throw from State College.  Spring semester not only brings beautiful flowering trees, shrubs and flowers but typically all kinds of activity on and off campus.  Except.this.year.  We all feel the impact that covid-19 has on us, the nation and the world.  Throughout the month of April, I included periodic walks on campus as a change of scenery to my typical hikes in nearby parks and walking trails.  While the PSU campus is just gorgeous (and photogenic!) in spring, this year it was also very sad.  Missing the 46,000 undergrads who should be filling the greatoutdoors of the PSU campus.   Old Main ...

Fond memories of the HUB

An empty HUB lawn

Looking down to the Arboretum from outside the Creamery

The creamery

Looking up to Pattee Library

Lion Shrine - with social distancing markings ...

More emptiness

I did see a few graduates show up for photos two weeks before what will be a virtual ? graduation

I wonder when Beaver stadium will be filled again ....

The 'bleeding hearts' may be the most appropriate spring bloom for spring 2020

All photographs were taken with a Canon or 6D or 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 DG Macro HSM

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Penn State pennsylvania photography PSU Tue, 28 Apr 2020 12:47:30 GMT
Adventure 36: Easter walk Wow, what a difference 6 weeks makes.   My last entry was from a trip I made to Black Moshannon State Park on February 29, right before things started getting really real in the US in regards to the coronavirus.  A whirlwind of change was upon us, and back on February 29 I would have never thought we'd end up where we are today.

While we are under stay at home orders, I have been exploring nearby trails and streams as places to get out, get some exercise while avoiding others.  Not far from home, I found Rhoneymeade Arboretum and Sculpture Garden.  What a find!  I learned of this last year, and they are only open on weekends from April through October.  The grounds are open this year, although they are following the same guidelines of the parks in the region with no open buildings, no restrooms etc., and guests are to following proper social distancing protocols. 

With spring just popping in central Pennsylvania, I was able to find a myriad of spring flowers and flowering trees on the grounds with interesting sculptures spread throughout the space.  And I had the place to myself so it was wonderful.  The setting was perfect for capturing some beautiful pictures of spring emerging in central PA.  

Over the years of taking many, many (too many) photographs, I do know that I am drawn to color - so needless to say this flowering (quince?) bush caught my attention for quite a while.  

The interesting sculptures in the natural setting help rejuvenate my creativity - I have been working on a number of nature abstract themed photos lately, and the ideas keep rolling now.  

A lovely stone set of stairs.

Out of all the sculptures, this one really touched me

The structure of this bush could be a sculpture on its own


While the studio wasn't open, what a beautiful setting (and beautiful lighting!) it is!

Blues always catch my eye.

Many other trees and shrubs are still budding, so I am looking forward to seeing what is next as spring unfolds!

Photographs were taken with a Canon 6DM2 with a Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 DG Macro HSM

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) flowers. nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography Rhoneymeade Mon, 13 Apr 2020 20:01:50 GMT
Adventure 35: Black Moshannon We have experienced very little snow this winter - at least at our house.  This past Saturday, I took a daytrip to Black Moshannon State Park.  As I climbed up the mountain to get to the park, I was tickled pink to see some white on the ground.  And I hadn't paid any attention to the forecast, but intermittent snow was expected (yay!)  This first image was of some geese by an opening in the ice across the lake.  It was snowing, and the effect the snow had on the trees on the other side was just beautiful.  The geese were quite a ways out, and my goal with this shot was just to try to identify what was sitting out on the lake.  Once I got home, I fell in love with the image.  


A while later, and in a different location, the snow squall intensified.  I love capturing the falling snow in pictures.  Over the years, for me I have found setting a fast shutter speed works best - I typically set mine at 1/800 if I'm using the 70-200mm lens.  It also helps to be focused on something dark to pick up the contrast.  Although I have wonderful falling snow pictures that break these rules too.

There is an old school house in the park.  I was on a photo walk in the morning, and the naturalist let us go inside the school house.  I visited the exterior at 3 different times during the day and the pictures I like best were from my last visit with snow falling.  

The interior of the school house has been renovated so it can be used, but in keeping with the original design.

I have a thing for windows, and loved the crack in the glass pane.

Ink well cover on the wooden desktop

Carvings in the desktop

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built many structures in the 1930's including cabins and pavilions.  I found these structures beautiful - many of the cabins can still be rented - they are no frills, but clearly a nod to days gone by.

There were 12 cabins lined up in this section, this is a view of the front porches.  Early in morning we almost had some sunny skies.

And this is a view down the backsides of the cabins with the chimneys (one of my favorite photos from the day)

This building is now being used for concessions

One of the pavilions built by the CCC among the tall trees.

And I'm always on the lookout for a good icicle!

Although it was a cold, snowy day I wasn't the only one out enjoying the park.  This brave soul was doing something like cross country skiing, except with shorter skis and across the ice on the lake. 

And there were a few people out ice fishing as well.  The lake wasn't completely covered in ice - I opted not to venture out to test it.

An old foundation with the chimney being the only standing remains in the woods.

And I spent a little time working on some long exposure tree shots - a technique I've been intermittently working on for a few years.  The snow and pines add some nice wintry color to these pictures.

Down the road from the park we found this stone building, it says its the Hutton Run Club, 1923.  I have always like the stacked stone look.

In the area we found the fireplace remains, we found the Star Mill Club, 1923 building.  I'm wondering if this was a 'sister' club to the Hutton Run club.  I haven't found much information on these buildings as of yet.


And one last look at the lake after the morning snow squalls.  My car doesn't do well in bad weather.  I had no issues driving around the lake area, but it was a bit of an adventure coming down off the mountain.  Time for a new ride.

Photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 70-200mm 2.8L IS II USM with Extender EF 2x III or a Canon 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM  

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Black Moshannon State Park nature photographer PADCNR pennsylvania photographer photography Tue, 03 Mar 2020 14:17:20 GMT
Adventure 34: Aspens! Photographing the aspens in peak fall color has been something on my to-do list for quite some time.  In researching when to go I found out that 1) the change season happens fast from start to end and 2) like leaves changing anywhere else it is will happen based on a number of conditions that occur throughout the year so you aren't guaranteed to hit peak when advance planning. But I identified a period of time where I thought I had a decent chance of hitting the 'peak' of color change and made my plans.  I can report that I was not disappointed in the timeframe I picked, the colors we found, the beautiful weather conditions, and the great company I had (thanks Suzie for adventuring with me!). 

I had picked an 'off the beaten path' location to make our base for 4 days while we explored the surrounding areas looking for color.  

I had a few ideas in my head of what I wanted to photograph - the first being a stand of aspens with forest floor growth that was in peak fall color as well, and this is one of the photographs I took that met that criteria (I will be looking at different ways of printing this image - from art paper to metal and possibly on wood)

A different location at a different time of day yielded a softer look

The trails were just gorgeous

Love straight tree trunks

I also wanted to take some pictures of mountain lakes reflecting the fall colors (the reflections closer up are spectacular, but the wider angle view is also magnificent!)

And the old barn just added to the overall interest

I've spent time in the Rocky Mountains before, but having the aspens in full color certainly gave more definition to these beautiful mountains

And I can never pass up a good 'back road' - you can find so many pretty things to photograph that you didn't even know you were missing. 

And getting back to some detail shots of the aspens - in this first picture I'm loving the aspen shadows on the stone.  The second picture is some picture perfect aspen leaves.


While I am still working through photographs from this trip (and others!), I am excited to say I will be back in the Rockies at the same point in time next year!  So more adventuring and exploration and photographing!  

Most photographs were taken with a Canon 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM (I used the Canon powershot sx60 hs for a few)

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) aspens nature photographer photographer photography Rocky Mountains trees Fri, 08 Nov 2019 17:14:28 GMT
Adventure 33: Sunflower fields I love sunflower fields.   I had found two sunflower fields in central Pennsylvania in previous years that I've photographed.  Unfortunately when I went out to see them this year, I found those fields were not planted with the sunflowers.  But, I did run across another one this year (thanks Maggie for the tip!) - and took a ride one evening before sunset to snap a few photographs!

I have to admit, when photographing flowers I typically get up close an personal.  I love to see the detail and intricacy in the composition.  But being respectful of the field owner, I refrain from traipsing in to the middle of the field to get what I might think would be the perfect shot.


Sunflower just look so happy, how can you not smile back.

Capturing the vastness of a sunflower field in a photo can be challenging due to the slopes of the land and the height of the flowers (the flowers tower over me, anyone watching me take these photos most likely get a chuckle out of my technique).

Doesn't this next picture look like a party in the field?

We got a later start out to the field than I had hoped, and I tried capturing the sunset colors over the field in this next photo.

And when there are old barns and structures on the property, I can't help myself but to capture those in pictures as well.

Keep me in mind if you pass by sunflower fields in peak bloom, I'd love to know the location at take a little photowalk in the field.  And if you have favorite wildflower field locations I would love to hear where those are (and the time of year they are in bloom) for future photography work. 

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Centre County flowers nature photographer Pennsylvania photography sunflowers Tue, 03 Sep 2019 21:59:59 GMT
Adventure 32: around the house We are settling in to our new home in central Pennsylvania.  Our backyard is bordered by a farm, and a little section of woods.  Since moving in, I've been walking the edge of the woods, and admiring the ongoing wildflower show.  The woods have a lot of black walnut trees, which I understand aren't great for other plants ... but I have enjoyed the wild growth that has managed to co-exist with the walnuts.  And, the bugs seem to like the flowers as much as I do.  The growth at the edge of the woods seems to change almost daily, providing me with ongoing photography material!

The bugs have prompted me to get the macro lens out.

This is a picture of the farmland behind the house.  This year the section by us has the soy beans.  We have heard from the neighbors that next year when it's corn - harvest will make a mess of our yard!

This next photograph is a picture of the pines we see out of the side windows. 

This picture is the view towards then end of the street - we have had some great cloud shows this summer too.

And I photographed this rainbow across the street after a quick summer rain.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D or 6DM2 and with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Centre County flowers nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography. Wed, 28 Aug 2019 14:27:50 GMT
Adventure 31: New chapter Wow, it's been a while!  As I referenced in my last post - we sold our house, and built a new one in Centre County Pennsylvania.  And I totally underestimated the effort that would be.  We have been living in the new house for 7+ weeks, and I am finally starting to see some daylight.  In the past 2 weeks or so I have started getting out to explore the area a little more with my camera gear.  The first little adventure to share was an impromptu stop at the Shiloh Road section of Spring Creek.  I had been on the lookout for sunflower fields and hadn't found any - but when I headed down here I was tickled pink to see the wildflowers in full bloom along the creek.  A great spot for some nature photography!

And where there are flowers, I can usually find butterflies.  Not sure I've ever seen one with this pattern on the wings before - very pretty.  I'm grateful this butterfly stood still long enough to get a picture!

I wasn't able to spend too much time here, but thoroughly enjoyed the time I did spend there, and need to get back for a longer hike next time.  The layers of summer color in this next photograph just warms me up.

The summer yellows make pretty pictures!


And the yellows (and greens) make a great backdrop for the purples!

Such a peaceful spot!  I can't wait to get back out for more photography in this location!

I am looking forward to sharing more photography as I explore Happy Valley and the surrounding Central Pennsylvania area. I also have travel plans for late summer/early fall that will let me explore past Pennsylvania and I will be sharing photos from those trips as well. 

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Centre County flowers nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography Spring Creek Fri, 23 Aug 2019 15:44:03 GMT
Adventure 30: our new project! It was about a year ago that we decided we would be putting our home up for sale, and moving somewhere - our destination wasn't decided at the time.  But we decided that it was time to downsize a bit (our current landscaped yard is just under 2 acres, and takes a lot of work to maintain!).  Much of last year was spent investigating options in the Pittsburgh and Centre County (Happy Valley!) areas.  Long story short - we bought a smaller piece of ground in Zion Pennsylvania (Happy Valley!), and signed a construction loan at the end of last October.  Nothing started on the property until after the first of January, and last week we found out the foundation was in.  Saturday came and it was time for a road trip!  (I'll share my adventure from the daytrip first, and the house update at the end).

Most of Pennsylvania was just coming out of a 3 day deep freeze, and as we drove through the higher elevations between Pittsburgh and Centre County, the trees were still caked in a heavy frost that was glistening in the sunlight (a little difficult to capture the beauty while travelling at full speed, but it  really was a beautiful ride!).

As we got closer to our property, we stopped for coffee and I noticed my resident eagles hanging out in the sun.    We would visit the area known as Fisherman's Paradise after we stopped to see the foundation - there is an eagle's nest in the area --- which was occupied (and stayed occupied the whole time we were there), so I'm thinking this may be a different pair - not sure.  Lots of investigation to do once we move!

At Fisherman's Paradise, I found the largest bird track in the snow I've ever seen.  The tracks came from the water, so we suspect it is a heron track.  I asked Dan to but his hand by the track to better show the size in the picture.

I was on the lookout for ice..

And found these cute little snow people on a picnic table

Fisherman's Paradise is a really beautiful area, as seen in this picture!  I'm currently on the lookout for scenic vantage points that I can photograph through the 4 seasons.

Our return ride home, the snow cover helped to define the rolling hills of Pennsylvania.

And we managed to be on road back home as the sun set (once again a little difficult photographing the beauty from inside a moving car!)

In case you wanted to see some of the photos from the new construction, here are a few!  Starting with a few piles of stone that had to be dug out in order to put the foundation in.  

Perspective and photos are deceiving.  This wall is about 54' in length.  

I have to say, while i was very excited to see the foundation up, I can't say it was pretty.  And the forms were all still on site all over the place.  So of course I tried to see if I could somehow create some pictures that were prettier than what it really looked like ...

This photograph shows a view of the foundation from the backyard.  The 54' wall (front to back) is to the left in this picture, and the foundation stretches 62' from side to side.

Dan has been worried about the slope of the driveway, so I attempted to capture the lay of the land from where the garage doors will be (right hand side of photo) towards the street.  I have confidence our builder will make this acceptable.

And a few snaps of some of the equipment ....

Next visit, we hope to see the walls & roof!


All photographs were taken with a Canon 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM (Eagle photographs were taken with Canon Powershot SX60 HS)

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) bird photographer nature photographer Pennsylvania photographer photography travel photography wildlife photographer Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:43:17 GMT
Adventure 29: Continued snow much fun Last week, I shared some work I did from our last getaway weekend utilizing ICM (intentional camera movement).  I wanted to share some other photographs from our weekend, as we were lucky enough to get around a foot of snow while we were away (the perfect snow!).  We stayed at the Black Bear Cabins in Cooksburg PA.  There are 4 cabins, and the grounds they sit on are picture perfect!  The majority of these photos were taken there.  There was a trail out back from our cabin, so our first jaunt was to take it down and try to find some water (which we did).  These images show the snow that was already on the ground when we arrived.


The initial snow started when we returned to the cabin ... and then let up for a bit.  When we ventured out for dinner, the snow picked up again.  A walk in the dark was in order when we returned to the cabin, as the path back was beautifully lit.

We woke up the next morning to a winter wonderland.  This next picture shows the view we had from the back porch of our cabin (showing the trail we walked the previous day).

I wonder how the curve in this tree trunk in this next picture got there ...

The path leaving the cabin to the main road

Another view of the drive out as the light was fading.  The snowflakes get me all the time!

This next picture shows the beautiful countryside we drove through to find a place for dinner.

I took this last picture on our way out on our final morning.  It was clearing, but mighty cold.  I loved the structure of this tree.  I might be crazy, but I find a warmth in this photo (which given the sub 0 temperatures that morning, is kind of crazy, no?)

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Cook Forest State Park nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography Pittsburgh photographer Mon, 28 Jan 2019 20:39:03 GMT
Adventure 28: Snow much fun Well, our adventures were sidetracked recently for a bit, but hopefully I'll be able to resume them with more frequency soon.  This past weekend we did a family getaway in the Cooksburg PA area.  While we were there, we got a nice snowfall (not too much, not too little).  I spent some time on the grounds where our cabin was to work on some ICM (intentional camera movement).  I have been sporadically working on this technique over the past few years, and recently added some filters to my equipment arsenal that allow me to expand the conditions in which I can use the technique.

All of the following photos were achieved with a 1-2 second exposure, with camera on a tripod,  still for the majority of the exposure, and intentionally moved for a small portion of the exposure.

Now I sit here hoping we have more snow on the way soon!


All photographs were taken with a Canon 6DM2 with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM with a Hoya variable neutral density filter.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) ICM intentional camera movement nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography photography techniques Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:42:27 GMT
Custom wall art This past year I partnered with another artist in developing a unique frame to display metal prints.  This piece has an abstract snow scene. 

The metal print is done on aluminum, and the frame was custom made out of aluminum as well.  The print is interchangeable, so you can update the wallart based on seasons, decor, color, hobbies - whatever you'd like.   The print measures 10x10 and the overall piece measures approximately 22x13.

Just about any photograph you find in my galleries can be square cropped.  Below I have included some images that I think would work well in the frame starting with some nature abstracts

Another snow scene

Some flowers

And a few other photographs

The custom metal frames I have are limited in number, and I'd love to customize one for your home or office!  Take a look at the galleries on this website, then contact me and we can get started creating a beautiful piece for you!



(Laurie Roffol Photography) art flowers nature photographer photographer photography Pittsburgh photographer wallart Sun, 02 Dec 2018 01:27:46 GMT
Adventure 27: Off the beaten path As I plotted our path from Lake Tahoe to the LA area there were some things I knew I'd like to do, and researched to find some other interesting places like Bodie (covered in the last blog entry).  I am a fan of exploring more obscure destinations and Mono Lake is something that caught my eye.  While we were in the area, we also did the June Lake Look drive before we headed in to Yosemite National Park.  

We headed to Mono Lake after our stop at Bodie, CA.  The drive out of Bodie gave us nice views of the Sierra Nevada range.

Mono Lake is a large, shallow salt lake formed at least 760,000 years ago.  This was our first vantage point of the lake, and it was worth a few photos!

We headed out to get down at lake level for some sunset photography.

Among the most iconic features of Mono Lake are the columns of limestone that tower over the water surface. This type of limestone rock is referred to as tufa, which is a term used for limestone that forms in low to moderate temperatures.  The tufas certainly added some visual interest to the photos.

And the skies constantly changed as the sunset, making for colorful photographs!

A beautiful sunset over the lake.

The next morning, we took the June Lake loop scenic drive which passes by 4 fresh water mountain lakes. 

I love aspen trees.  There will be a future trip dedicated to photographing these beauties in all their fall glory.  

And a nice view of the Sierra Nevada mountains as we made our way into Yosemite National Park.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or on my Samsung Galaxy S7.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) landscape photography nature photographer photographer photography travel Mon, 17 Sep 2018 16:27:44 GMT
Adventure 26: Ghost town We added the town of Bodie to our California/Nevada trip list this past August.  Bodie is a ghost town in Mono County California.  It became a boom town in 1876 with the discovery of a profitable line of gold attracting thousands to the town.  It boomed from 1877-late 1880's.  Ghost towns are of interest to both me and my husband - he loves the history of the wild west, and I love to photograph the old buildings.  

We were only able to enter a few buildings, and the floors seemed very weak, I was nervous we'd fall through the floor! We were able to peer in the windows of the buildings that aren't open.  Most have been left as-is from whenever they were deserted.  This first set of photos shows many of the buildings and layout of the town.   

The following photograph is of the mine.  It was closed off, and we weren't able to get close enough to peer in the windows.

And the next photo is a picture of the jailhouse.  I particularly like the yellow flowers as a frame for the weathered wood.

I love looking at details in old towns like this.  I thought the weathered wood was pretty.

We found spots (usually on the side or back of the buildings) they were made of metal.  As the story goes, they would pound out cans from food and use them as siding.  The weathered metal was beautiful.  (It will make some nice additions to my abstract photography collection!)

The following photographs were taken inside the one home that was open to enter.

And a few more photographs of things I found while walking around.

Gas pumps.

A safe from the bank.

This photo shows a wider section of the flattened cans used as siding.

Next blog entry will cover Mono Lake and the June Lake Loop.


All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Bodie CA California history landscape photographer photographer photography travel photograhy Tue, 11 Sep 2018 22:45:29 GMT
Adventure 25: Squaw Valley We visited Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics while we were in the Lake Tahoe area.  And although I am not a skier, I have to say I was very impressed with the resort area.  I do love snow and mountains, and I can only imagine the beauty of Squaw Valley in the winter!  In summer, it was very picturesque as well.  

You can see Lake Tahoe past the mountains in the upper right corner in the next photograph.

And you can get a glimpse of Lake Tahoe, in the center right below the furthest range in this next photot.

4 cent postage!


A nice summer oasis at 8,200 ft!

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or on my Samsung Galaxy S7.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) nature photographer photographer photography Pittsburgh photographer Squaw Valley Travel Photography Mon, 10 Sep 2018 18:07:35 GMT
Adventure 24: Lake Tahoe Our first destination on a recent west coast adventure was to Lake Tahoe.  We explored the entire circumference of the lake over 2 days, thanks to our wonderful host and tour guide Cindy (a friend who has lived there for 12+ years).  Lake Tahoe was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!  (A photographer's dreamland!) We decided it was the perfect combination of beautiful water, mountains & trees.  I have an extensive list of places I'd like to see, so rarely does a destination I do visit make my 'return visit' list.  Lake Tahoe is an exception.  I would love to see and photograph this area in all seasons.  

The first photos I'm sharing is the view we enjoyed every morning and evening.

And then we actually get down to the lake.  We are still amazed at the clarity of the water.  This first photograph is of the Truckee River, the only outflow source from Lake Tahoe.  

The clarify of the water in the lake was amazing as well.

The water color was amazing.  From emerald green to deep blues, and all hues in between those 2 colors.  Reminded me of an inland caribbean location!  (And I couldn't help myself in grabbing some abstract water photos to add to that collection!) 

Combine the beautiful water, with mountains full of evergreen trees surrounding the lake and you have my definition of paradise!

And I can't pass up a great window shot.  What I loved about this one was the lake reflection of course, but also catching the window along the other wall in here as well - another photo to add to the "Windows" collection!  

Some photographs taken from the water.

And a bonus for me was capturing these photographs of a momma and baby bear!

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) lake tahoe landscape photography nature photographer photographer photography pittsburgh photographer travel photography Thu, 06 Sep 2018 21:23:37 GMT
Adventure 23: Sunrise sunset There is something about a sunrise or sunset over the water, and I love locations where I'm able to photograph both a sunrise and sunset on the water.  We have been vacationing on the Outer Banks for the past 26 years, and in the beach town of Duck, NC I am able to photograph the sunrise over the ocean, and the sunset over the sound. And after chasing sunrises and sunsets for many years it still amazes me the color show the happens during a good sunrise or sunset.

As far as sunrise goes, the first thing I do is check the local reports on what time the sun rises.  Then I make sure I am out to the beach a minimum of a half hour prior to that (it makes for some very early days).   Some clouds are a benefit at sunrise and sunset - over time I can usually take a look at the sky & clouds if they are there and have a pretty good feel for if they will produce spectacular color or not.  On my first sunrise on my last trip the the Outer Banks - when my alarm went off I took a peek outside and it looked like we had some pretty heavy cloud cover.  But being the first day of vacation I went ahead and walked down to the beach.  When I looked to my right, this was what it looked like.  I wasn't expecting much of a color show.  Taken at 5:31am:

Off to my left, the sky looked a little more promising giving me a little more hope.  (And during this trip, I continued to experiment with longer exposure surf pictures in case you are wondering about the 'softness' you see in the surf).  Taken at 5:38am:

To the right, I started to see some breaks through the heavy cloud layer.  Taken at 5:45am

Out in front of me, the rising sun started to light up the clouds.  Taken at 5:50am:

Right before the sun broke the horizon, I was thankful for the heavy cloud cover.  What a show I was getting!  Because there was what might have been clouds at the horizon line I wasn't sure exactly when the sun was rising.  Taken at 5:55am:

But then I saw the sliver of sun, and I suppose this is what is referred to as the 'crack of dawn'!  Taken at 5:56am

So as you can see in that series of photographs, the color show really popped right at sunrise. It doesn't always happen that way - as I said I typically try to be ready at least a half hour prior to sunrise (and some times I miss the real show).  

In my years of photographing sunsets, I find the same is true, but in reverse kind of.  I typically plan to stay out for close to a half hour past sunset to see if mother nature is going to give a color show.  On my last night in the Outer Banks this past trip, we had a dinner out at a restaurant on the sound and we finished up right as the sun was getting ready to set.  I noticed some high whispy clouds in the sky so I was pretty confident a show was going to happen.  One thing I notice, particularly at water sunsets is people leave as soon as the sun sets.  Take a look at these photos to see what they are missing.  Taken at 7:50pm:

In this picture, I wanted to catch the sun reflecting off the water in line with the gazebo.  Taken at 7:52pm:

The soundside boardwalk in Duck provides some visual interest to sunset photos.  Taken at 8:16pm:

Once the sun drops to the horizon, it doesn't take long to disappear. Taken at 8:22pm

I told my family that was with me to keep checking over their shoulder as we walked in the opposite direction, that in 10-15 minutes we might get a show.  And 13 minutes later it was coming.  Taken at 8:35pm

And on this evening, we were treated to the color show for a good amount of time-about 10 minutes (my experience is typically it is very fleeting, I am pretty happy if I get 3 minutes or so of extaordinary color).  Taken at 8:39pm.

Color still strong. Taken at 8:43pm:

About over now.  Taken at 8:45pm:

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) Duck NC nature photographer Outer Banks photographer photography Pittsburgh photographer Travel Photographer Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:01:44 GMT
Adventure22: Flower power! One of my favorite passtimes in spring is seeing what different flowers are in bloom in different areas.  I love walking trails and photographing different wildflowers.  There seems to be a never ending show of different varieties of flowers, always a new variety taking over when the previous one is done.  And then there are the cultivated gardens that are just as beautiful - walks through cultivated gardens provide a mass variety of flowers in a more condensed area.   And of course there are many cross-over varieties of flowers that I can find in both settings.  

In early June during a getaway weekend, I had the opportunity to get out to enjoy a walk in the woods to photograph wildflowers.



Iris' are commonly found in gardens, but I love these yellow iris' that I find out along the banks of stream.

I then proceeded to some local gardens and was not disappointed with the varieties of flowers I had to photograph!

Wild (aka red) columbine is a beautiful flower I find out in the wild during my walks in the woods.  I don't typically see it in gardens.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with a Sigma 105mm macro lens

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) flowers nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography Sun, 24 Jun 2018 13:38:04 GMT
Adventure21: surprise finds One thing I learned early on with my photography was there is a huge world of interesting topics to capture in photos --- and not always to you end up with what you initially set out to do.  I typically have a certain subject in mind that I'm on the lookout for when I head out to take photos.   And I suspect that 90% of the time I find other interesting things along the way.  And once in a while I completely switch focus on the fly based  on what I'm finding.   But the primary learning I had was to keep my eyes open, and go with what I'm finding on any particular day.

During my trip to Annapolis and Chincoteaque in early May I was focused on the May Day flowers in Annapolis followed with the Chincoteaque ponies.  And as you saw from previous blog entries, I was able to find and photograph both of these.  But I also found other things that interested me on the way that were unplanned (like the wisteria - which was also featured in a previous blog post).  Here are some of the other finds I made:

Since Chincoteaque is an island, I was able to capture both sunset photos ...

And heading on over to Assateaque in the morning to catch sunrise. 


Assateague was also great for birding (and as a bonus got the deer crossing through the marsh).  


Lighthouses (in this case the Assateague lighthouse) always make great photo subjects.  

And as I traveled through the area I also found some interesting churches. This was the Market Street Methodist Church in Onancock VA.  

When I saw the field of yellow, I had circle around to come back and take a few photos.

And LOVE always deserves a picture! 

I spent some time on the Maryland side of Assateague Island as well ... a very serene landscape.  

All photographs were taken with a Canon 5DM2 or 6D with a Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or EF 70-200 f2.8L IS II USM +2x

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) assateague bird photographer chincoteague nature photographer photography pittsburgh photographer virginia wildlife photographer Fri, 08 Jun 2018 15:39:03 GMT
Adventure20: Wisteria A few years ago was the first I 'noticed'wisteria growing in our area (not that it is new to the area, I just hadn't really noticed it before).  Last year when I saw it in bloom, I searched all over the area to find a nice sample of wisteria (only to find out my neighbor had some planted at the corner of her yard that borders mine).  The wisteria between our yards is on a small bush - so it was great for getting close up photographs of the beautiful blooms.  But I was also interested in seeing a vine in bloom throughout a big tree.

On my recent trip to Annapolis/Chincoteague/Assateague I began to see some wisteria in bloom as I drove from Annapolis to Chincoteague.  This would be a bonus find in my travels.  So one afternoon I set out purposely to find some impressive wisteria growth to see if I could capture the photographs I was looking for.   My photographs don't necessarily depict the impressiveness of these vines, but I'm getting closer to what I have envisioned in my mind!


In retrospect, I am really glad I found this in my travels.  Because of the strange short spring we had this year (or my schedule) I missed the wisteria bloom in our area.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D and a Canon EF 70-200 f2.8L IS II USM 

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) flowers nature photographer photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Wed, 30 May 2018 19:23:30 GMT
Adventure19: Chincoteague Ponies! My latest adventure took me to the eastern shores in Maryland/Virginia. I really wanted to see the Chincoteague Ponies on Assateague Island.  It was a wonderful trip, and the ponies did not disappoint!  I hadn't realized that my timing was perfect to see the new foals - the ones you will see in the photos here were all under 1 week old at the time I photographed them.

These next two photographs were taken on the Maryland side of Assateague Island.  The ponies are managed differently here.  I was proud of myself for locating this first pony.  Once she retreated, I headed in the direction she went.  

Little did I know right around the bend was the beach & parking area where they decided was a better place to hang out. 

All photographs were taken with a Canon 5DM2 or 6D with a Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM or EF 70-200 f2.8L IS II USM +2x

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) assateague island chincoteague ponies nature photographer photographer photography pittsburgh photographer wildlife photographer Mon, 21 May 2018 16:44:49 GMT
Adventure18: May Day in Annapolis Day1 of my Maryland/Virginia adventure was spent in Annapolis MD on May 1 (May Day).  What began as a Garden Club of Old Annapolis Towne beautification project in 1956 has grown into a 60 year old tradition in which residents and business owners compete for winning ribbons and an invitation to the Garden Club's Annual Tea.   I had run across pictures of some of the baskets of flowers last year, and decided I'd like to take a ride out this year to check it out.  It was a gorgeous day, and the flowers were beautiful.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (for the most part ....).  

This next basket won it for me (take note of the ribbon used!)


All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D with a Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) annapolis annapolis may day flowers photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Mon, 07 May 2018 21:00:56 GMT
Adventure17: The yard walk I'm getting ready for my next little road trip (really excited about this one - more about that in the next week or so) and I'm afraid I might miss some of the prime spring glory that will be blooming in my yard.  But there is some to enjoy now so I spent some time yesterday photographing what blossoms we currently have.

We planted two peach trees 2 years ago.  Last year some frost got them at the wrong time, and I was left bloomless for the most part.  This year the blossoms were held back by the cold, but are coming out now (we still have the trees protected from the deer so it's a little hard to get to most of the blossoms for photographs).

The Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom at the moment.  We have one side of the yard lined with them.  It's a pretty site in the spring.  Over the years I have found I am much more inclined to do macro photographs of trees in bloom rather than full tree shots. I just don't seem to have the knack for creatively photographing blooming trees the way my mind sees them (I know that doesn't seem to make sense, but I'll keep trying!).

We just replaced a dogwood tree that just never took hold with a yellow magnolia.  I'm surprised with the amount of blossoms we are getting on that one for a newly planted tree.

My weeping cherry didn't do very well with blossoms this year.

And along the side of the yard, i found these little purple beauties hiding in the grass.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 5Dm2 and 6D with lenses Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM and a Sigma 105mm 2.8 DG Macro HSM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) flowers nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Fri, 27 Apr 2018 13:43:59 GMT
Adventure16: Spring's late arrival Our first planned camping trip of the season had us pushing winter out, and ushering spring in.  We had not anticipated leaving for our trip in the snow!  And while that wasn't ideal, it did make the drive kind of pretty.  

Even the ice buildup on the rear view mirror was kind of pretty (?).

We lost the snow about an hour before we arrived in central Pennsylvania.  And after setting up, getting some dinner and a good nights sleep, we woke up to spring.  Finally.  Only a month late.  Over the years, I have realized that one thing that draws me in when taking photographs is color. And I love spring color (in reality, these actually have me thinking summer!)

While I am out taking photos, my other half enjoys fly fishing.  The photo above and all of the remaining photographs were taken at Spring Creek (Bellefonte PA) in an area called Fisherman's Paradise.  I don't fish, but I do love this paradise.  (And lucky for us, we were able to meet up with our son on this trip!) 

While waiting for the anglers to wrap up their evening of fishing, I played with some long exposure photographs of the stream.  The longer exposure gives me a feel for the 'flow' of the water.  While the water was high and fast, the long exposure gave me the feel of tranquility on the stream.  (I have another little trip planned in the next week, and this long exposure exercise is a little practice for what's to come, stay tuned!)


I also checked in on some of the birds I've have found in recent years in the area to see if they were back.  I found the momma eagle sitting on the nest (indicating little ones either recently hatched or ready to hatch) - the distance to the nest is a bit far for decent photos though.  And last year I located some wood ducks, and they are there again this year.  Unfortunately this year, there was signage preventing me to get close to the water, but I had my little zoom scouting camera with me so was able to capture a few photos.  Such a lovely couple!

And while I find tree swallows 'easy' to photograph (they don't seem to spook as easily as most other birds), I still love their iridescent color and can't resist taking a photograph.

And any time I see a bluebird, I have to take a picture.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 5Dm2, 6D or SX60HS and lenses used were a Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM and a Sigma 105mm 2.8 DG Macro HSM.

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) bird photographer flowers nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer travel travel photography Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:43:33 GMT
Adventure15: Challenge of the daffodils Spring was delayed this year in western Pennsylvania (at least in comparison to the past 2 springs).  Daffodils may be my favorite spring bloom (not only are they beautiful, but they give me a color boost  in my photographs as winter lingers on), and boy did were they challenged this year.  February was pretty mild.  It looked like the daffodils were ready for an early showing - by the end of February I had a few starting to open.

Then came March.  In like a lion - and staying for the duration.  The blooms held tight for the month.  By the end of the month, a few more tried to open - dealing with snow, cold rain at times, and then frost.

Sheltering from the frost

While not standing tall, still beautiful!

And April we are having the crazy weather swings that are more indicative of March.

One of the benefits of spring snow, is it melts relatively quickly.  So much so, I found it pretty difficult to photograph snowflakes on the daffodils before they melted away.

I love taking macro photographs (extreme close-ups) of the beautiful lines and shapes in different flowers.  I find the daffodil ruffles really beautiful.

By mid April we finally experienced a string of warm days, and the daffodils who had been hiding emerged in full force (of course the 's' word is in the forecast for tonight - I have no doubt though they will emerge just fine!)

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D and Sigma 105mm 2.8 DG Macro HSM

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) flowers nature photographer photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:14:50 GMT
Adventure14: Spring snow is the best snow Weather forecast for last night was for a few inches of quick snow through the night.  And we woke up to a wonderland this morning.  I am guessing there was 4-5 inches of wet snow, and it was laying on the trees beautifully!  What makes these spring snows so nice is it melts on the roads so it doesn't cause any driving difficulties while it makes the landscape a wonderland.  It is already warming up, and the snow is quickly dropping from the trees, but here's a look from early this morning.  Starting with weeping willow up the street.

Some daffodils I expect to see open later this week

The red maples adding some color

Such a pretty scene

I saw two herrons in flight, with one taking a little breather


All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D and Sigma 105mm 2.8 DG Macro HSM

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer wildlife photographer Mon, 02 Apr 2018 14:16:18 GMT
Adventure13: frosty The crazy rollercoaster weather continues this year.  The last day of March started off with gorgeous blue skies but it was very cold with everything covered in ice crystals.  They glistened in the sun.  And then as the sun rose, the fog rolled in for a bit before burning off presenting us with a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the low 60's.  (Almost as nice today but a little cooler - supposedly with snow on the way!)

I am glad daffodils are pretty hardy, as they've been taking a beating this March.   They were all droopy from the frost, but by the end of the day, many recovered and finally opened.  They look even better today, we shall see how they fare if we get the snow.


Will most likely cut the tall grasses down this week, but boy do they glisten with the frost, backlit by the sun.

Loving the ice ....

Hopefully the buds aren't impacted by the ice.

Pine needles

Interesting how the crystals highlight the edge of the leaves

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6D and Sigma 105mm 2.8 DG Macro HSM

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Sun, 01 Apr 2018 21:24:56 GMT
Adventure12: Welcome spring! Mother nature decided to usher spring in with a snowstorm.  Pretty sure this was the biggest snow we've had this year.  I do love the snow, and spring snow is even better as it doesn't stick around for long!   My daffodils have been trying to bloom for a while but it just hasn't happened.  By the end of the snow, you couldn't even see them.  



Buds trying to push through the snow.

The red maples add some color 

This photograph is a contrast between the seasons

Not sure if my bird friends liked this last snow or not ... (I think not) 

All photographs were taken with a Canon 5DM2 and EF 70-200mm f2.8L

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) bird photographer birds nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Mon, 26 Mar 2018 00:45:16 GMT
Adventure11: country roads On a recent trip to the Philadelphia area it was a gorgeous day on my return to the Pittsburgh area.  I recently shared some photographs from Middle Creek Wildlife Management area that I detoured to.  On the remainder of my trip, I detoured off the Pennsylvania turnpike and opted for some back road driving.  One never knows what kind of photo opportunities await.  Here are some interesting sites that I photographed - both in the Philadelphia area as well as the back roads on my way home.  

First, these were taken in the Philadelphia area before my return.  The church is the Christ Ascention Lutheran Church (Chestnut Hill), built in 1871.  I'm not sure what the wooden door is - it is smaller than a typical door opening, my guess is maybe this was to a food cellar or cooler at one point?

And sorry, I can't just pass up a good colorful pig!

And here we pick up on the backroads home - I also can't resist larger than life roosters.

A new find for my Mail Pouch Tobacco collection.

Loved the vintage Gulf Station in Bedford PA.

And I had read about 'Vincent van Gas' pump so that was worth the stop, where I also found the Esso neon sign (would have been nice to have seen it lit up).  


I've passed this log building in the cemetery (I usually pass by it and don't bother turning around).  This time I took the time to go back.

And I don't see many bison fields in Pennsylvania so this was kind of neat.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 6d and EF 24-70mm f2.8L

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) back roads country roads pennsylvania photographer photography travel Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:56:34 GMT
Adventure10: Middle Creek On a recent trip to eastern Pennsylvania, I made an impromptu stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Management area on my way home.  I had originally scheduled this visit east to try to catch the peak of the snow geese/tundra swan migration.  Unfortunately for me, this year and last had early peaks so my timing was off.  And this year, there was a nor'easter in the mix at the time of my visit too.  So before I had left on the trip, I had decided to skip Middle Creek this year, and try to plan a more flexible itinerary for next year.  It was a gorgeous day on my return home.  I was driving across Pennsylvania on the turnpike and started to think of some detours I could take to enjoy the great weather and countryside.  I decided there really wasn't anything to lose by detouring by Middle Creek, who knows, maybe i'd catch some kind of interesting bird of some kind.  I was glad I took the detour. Since the stop was unplanned, I did not have the equipment with me that I would have wanted and didn't get the photos I would have wanted, but it was a worthwhile scouting trip.

My visit to Middle Creek in 2017 was after the peak as well.  Last year I did go at sunrise.  After sunrise and some time the birds lifted off the lake and headed out of site to fields to feed.  From everything I've read is they generally return before sunset to roost for the night.    So I was not expecting to see many birds on the lake since I was getting there mid morning.  I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a little gathering.  And for the time I was there, the birds were returning in small groups at a time, adding to the congregation on the lake.  I wasn't long before I experienced a 'lift and shift', where the birds lift up off the water, and shift themselves to another location.  (It is quite a sight to see/hear).

This happens over the course of a few minutes, and then they all settle back down on the water (but are still pretty noisy)

It was such a beautiful day, I waited around a little longer to see if it would happen again, and about 30 minutes later it did.

All photos taken with a Canon 6d and EF 24-70mm f2.8L

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) bird photographer birds nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography wildlife photographer Fri, 09 Mar 2018 17:17:28 GMT
Adventure9: Breckenridge What is winter perfection you might ask?  I say it's one day of steady snow followed by a gorgeous bluebird sky day (with some big mountains and pine trees for extra measure).  As a non-skier, I found Frisco/Breckenridge a great winter destination!

All photos taken with a Canon 6d and EF 24-70mm f2.8L 

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) breckenridge colorado landscape landscape photographer nature photographer photographer photography winter Mon, 05 Mar 2018 15:10:01 GMT
Adventure8: Rocky Mountain Snowmobiling Earlier this month we headed to Colorado to visit some great friends and enjoy a winter getaway in the mountains and snow.  On our first afternoon in the Rocky Mountains, Dan and I took a snowmobile tour up along the continental divide while our Colorado hosts got in some skiing.  It was a gorgeous day at the lower elevations, but once we were above treeline, the temperatures dropped a lot, and the wind was fierce.  But the breathtaking beauty kept your mind off the weather conditions for sure!  We had great views of the Winter Park ski area as well as the Fraser Valley.  We rode tandem so I had both hands free to take some photos along the way!


All photos taken with a Canon 6d and EF 24-70mm f2.8L 

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) colorado landscape photography photographer rocky mountains travel photography winter Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:02:51 GMT
Adventure7: Ice Castles  A mid-winter getaway took us to Colorado to visit some good friends.  We spent a few days up in Silverthorne,and one evening we ventured out to the Ice Castles in Dillon.  The ice formations and textures combined with vibrant coloring were spectacular.  

All photos taken with a Canon 6d and EF 24-70mm f2.8L 

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) ice photographer photography travel photography Wed, 14 Feb 2018 15:41:28 GMT
Adventure6: Backyard birding When the winter weather keeps me at home, the birds of winter keep me entertained in my backyard.  So much so, that I consider myself an amateur birder for at least the first 3 months of the year.  I remember years ago when I first hung birdfeeders in my trees - I was amazed at the different birds that would visit my yard.  I found a few different websites that help me identify the birds.  I do enjoy this time of year with no leaves on the trees as it makes it much easier to find my bird friends.  This is the first year that the cardinals have not stuck with me through the winter - I am sure they are close, they just must have found a better location to hang out.  These photos were visitors during January 2018.  On occasion, we have a bird party as seen in the first photo.  

Male house finch

Black capped chickadee

Tufted titmouse

Dark eyed junco (I can usually count on junco parties in the backyard ... this year there have been fewer)


Another male house finch

I am guessing a juvenile house finch (too cute!)

Female house finch

If you notice any mis-identifications, please let me know! (As I indicated, I am a amateur in this arena!)  

All photos taken with a Canon 5DM2 and EF 70-200 f2.8L IS II USM +2x

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) bird photographer birds nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer wildlife photographer Fri, 02 Feb 2018 14:43:58 GMT
Adventure5: Colors of Winter During this local adventure, I take a look at winter color on one of our favorite local trails.  While western Pennsylvania continues to enjoy a 'real' winter this year (the past 2 have been rather balmy and generally snow free) we have been getting peppered with a few warm days sprinkled in - a nice break to get out without having to bundle and layer up!  And while for the most part we've enjoyed snow on the ground for the past month or so, we haven't gotten a ton so when it does warm up, the snow disappears and the typical western Pennsylvania winter generally looks, well --- drab (no way to sugar coat that).   During the last warm up, we got out to one of our favorite trails - the Roaring Run trail along the Kiskiminetas River.  And if you take a good look, the colors of winter (without snow) are not so drab after all ... take a look!

The afternoon sun, low in the sky provided shade along most of the trail.  But blue skies reflecting on the water added some beautiful color.  

And finally a new addition to the trail, a wishing well (recently completed eagle scout project).

All photos taken with a Canon 6D and Sigma 105mm

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) apollo armstrong county nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer roaring run trail Wed, 31 Jan 2018 14:29:05 GMT
Adventure4: Ice jam This year, we've finally had a winter.  After the holidays we went in to about a 3 week freeze (along with some snow cover!), and since then we continue to get some winter weather, but with some gorgeous warm days sprinkled in for good measure.  The warm spells have caused ice jams on some of the local rivers, and the first set caused some flooding.  These are some pictures of the Kiski River in Leechburg PA.  

And on my way home I took the opportunity to stop on a back road to catch these colors behind the silhouetted trees.

All photos taken with Canon 6D with EF 24-70mm f2.8L

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:36:24 GMT
Adventure3: Allegheny National Forest We had an open day on the calendar, so decided to take a ride up to the Allegheny National Forest area.  Snow was still blanketing the region and I just love snowy woods.  We were in 'bigfoot' county again - no sightings, but saw this cute bear out in the woods

Loved the laundry colors, brightening up the gray day


Snow blanketing the evergreens

"Striped" tree trunks

This was a private driveway ... meandering back as far as we could see

Back roads

This part of our drive was spectacular - it had a real magical feel, as the clouds had lightened up and you felt as though you were driving through a snow tunnel


It was then time to head back home, and the snow moved back in.

All photos taken with Canon 6D with EF 24-70mm f2.8L

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) adventure nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh photographer travel travel photography Wed, 24 Jan 2018 13:07:50 GMT
Adventure2: frozen Allegheny The end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 put us in a deep freeze.   Lots of ice on the three rivers that converge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Towards the end of the 2nd week in January, we had a brief break from the cold, and I ventured out to see the ice on the Allegheny River in the area close to the point.  (My visit was the day before we got some substantial rain that combined with the quick melt and caused flooding in the area.)

I found the ice in the river to be quite spectacular, and was thrilled to capture a very unique look.


All of these images were taken on my cellphone (Samsung Galaxy S7) as the saying goes ... "the best camera is the one you have with you"

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) pennsylvania photographer photography pittsburgh pittsburgh photographer Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:23:14 GMT
Adventure1: Nature Inn As I continue to build my collection of imagery, I thought 2018 might be the opportune time to regularly share where my adventures take me (planning an epic adventure for 2019, so what you see this year is all just the lead-up!). (Adventures I plan on sharing may be local as well as travel destinations.)  The first weekend of 2018 found us taking a ride back to Central Pennsylvania - a regular staple in our travels in the spring/summer/fall seasons but not so much in the winter.  We spend a lot of time in Pennsylvania State Parks, and in central PA, our park of choice is Bald Eagle State Park.  A number of years ago, they built an inn overlooking the lake.  I've always wanted to stay there, so that's where headed for a quick overnight trip.

Trip highlights include:

Pretty sure Saturday January 6 was the coldest day of the season ... and probably one of the coldest days we've seen in a while.  (Yes, what you see here is a balmy 0 degrees at almost midday)  

Shortly after this we hit the mountains between Ebensburg and Altoona where blowing snow created a sheet of ice on the highway.  We had to crawl down the mountain at about 15mph hugging the berm on the righthand side of the road for traction (no photos as my hands were gripped on the grab bars).  We stopped and picked up some lunch and headed out to Black Moshannon State Park (one I have not been to in many years).  

Nice place for a picnic lunch, right? (Well we opted for the view from inside the truck - 4 degrees is out of my comfort zone)

After lunch we did a little more looking around the park before moving on.

After leaving Black Moshannon, we headed on over to Bald Eagle State Park.  I was amazed at the number of ice fishing shacks set up on the lake.  I'm told they have heaters they use inside of the shacks, but sitting on ice in single digits doesn't have much appeal to me!

The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle did not disappoint.  It was designed to blend in with the environment.  The Inn features local art by local artisans.  The staff was knowledgeable and friendly.  The rooms were comfortable and had a woodsy feel.  It was all I had hoped it would be.

We headed to the Hublersburg Inn (about a 20 minute drive) for dinner.  This is another favorite of ours.  They had one of our favorite winter seasonal beers on tap - and boy did they taste exceptionally good on this cold evening.  And the Hublersburg Inn was still decorated from the holidays making it feel festive.

I'm still hoping for a 'snowed' in winter adventure, so stay tuned!

Photos were taken with a Canon 6D, Canon Powershot SX-60, and Samsung Galaxy S7

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(Laurie Roffol Photography) bald eagle state park black moshannon state park hublersburg inn nature inn nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography travel travel photography Sat, 13 Jan 2018 19:19:03 GMT
Hickory Run Boulder Field We made our first visit to Hickory Run State Park this past weekend.  It was a gorgeous fall weekend and we saw many interesting things on our trip.  I had seen many pictures of the boulder field within the park prior to going, but I have to say that being there is person is a whole different experience.  For me it was one of those places that just takes your breath away.  If there is a word for peaceful, quiet, tranquil, awe inspiring, breathtaking, beautiful --- that is the word I'd use to describe what I saw.  

There were two other people on the field when we arrived - notice them towards the right in the following photo.  I took this shot to show scale of the field.

Many photos of the boulder field are of this lone tree in the middle.  From this angle it was being backlit from the sun.


My travel (and life!) partner ...

Had to include some of the great fall color!

I am in the process of updating all of the galleries on the website - if you are interested in purchasing any of these please contact me here!

(Laurie Roffol Photography) boulder field hickory run state park nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography Wed, 25 Oct 2017 14:03:53 GMT
Pennsylvania Elk Country One of our September trips was up to Benezette in Elk County to see the Pennsylvania Elk herd during the peak of the rut.  Our trip coincided with the heatwave that engulfed the state in mid to late September, and the elk aren't fans of the heat.  In addition, the warm days and cool nights lead to heavy fog in the mornings.  Beautifully eerie to hear the elk bugling in the mornings, but for the most part unable to see them.  Regardless of the weather conditions, the show was spectacular as always.

The following image is the first of 3 different skirmishes we saw this one evening.

I found the lines in the following image graceful

Got points?

Another skirmish (the 3rd one happened in the woods, and it's tough to see the bulls between the trees)

And one from the foggy mornings ... barely able to see the bull through the fog 

You can find more wildlife images here



(Laurie Roffol Photography) elk nature photographer pennsylvania pennsylvania elk photographer photography wildlife wildlife photographer Mon, 02 Oct 2017 16:53:39 GMT
Bigfoot, bridges, zippo & glass I recently posted about the victorian mansions in Smethport PA.  We also made a few other interesting stops on our exploration of this part of Pennsylvania.  On the top of my list for the weekend was to check out Kinzua Bridge State Park.  It is certainly one impactful  demonstration of the power of mother nature.  The skywalk overlooks the debris field, with the twisted supports that were taken down by a tornado in 2003 left undisturbed where they fell.  The bridge was constructed in 1882, and was the highest at 301 feet, and longest at 2,053 feet railway bridge in the world at that time.

I'd love to get back up here in the fall when the trees change color.  The views from the skywalk are gorgeous (even on a dreary, overcast day)

We also stopped at the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford PA - an interesting stop if you are ever out in that area.

Port Allegany is constructing a glass park and my guess it is a tribute to it's past.  From 1937 to 2016, Port Allegany was home to a factory of the Pittsburgh Corning Corporation. The "PC", as the factory was known locally, was the only producer of architectural glass building blocks in the United States.   Another spot I'd revisit next time I am up in the area.

I didn't realize we were in bigfoot country - this was a 'sighting' in Smethport

And some other blasts from the past that showed up during the day 

Click here if you missed and would like to see the post on the Victorian Mansions of Smethport!

(Laurie Roffol Photography) nature photographer pennsylvania photographer photography Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:40:29 GMT
Victorian Smethport Dan and I continue to use as many weekends as we can to see parts of the state that we haven't spent any time before, and our latest weekend trip took us to the Allegheny National Forest area where one of our stops was a town called Smethport.  Smethport was founded in 1807 by Dutch land investors and is situated in the Pennsylvania Wilds region.  From the 1870s to the early 1900s, Smethport was an important center for the hardwoods industry and enjoyed an economic boom that allowed the construction of many mansions that today make up a historic architectural district.  I find it fascinating to explore these boom towns of yesteryear in our travels.  Take a look at some of the mansions we saw on the self-guided walking tour:




(Laurie Roffol Photography) architectural photography pennsylvania photographer photography Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:59:41 GMT
Ricketts Glen State Park Can you say 'waterfalls'?  I finally made it out to Ricketts Glen State Park to photograph waterfalls!  This has been on my to do list for a number of years, and we finally made it out.   And the park did not disappoint!  Take a look at these beautiful pictures of the different falls ... I'm already thinking about my next trip out there!

Over the years I have changed my approach to photographing waterfalls a little bit.  The first four pictures are longer exposures, which 'smooth' out the water.  I originally wasn't a fan of this method - rather I preferred a quicker exposure that captures the real flow of the water.  I find myself leaning towards the longer exposures these days.  I like to see the different layers of water which I find a little more difficult to see in the quick exposures.  (and it really no longer is a problem as I typically take a few at a number of different exposure lengths.)  If you have a preference either way, I'd love to hear what it is, and why.  

You can see other waterfalls I've photographed over the years here

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pennsylvania Pittsburgh photographer Ricketts Glen State Park Ricketts Glen waterfalls nature photographer photographer photography waterfalls Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:22:42 GMT
Kwanzan cherry blossoms

Beautiful kwanzan cherry blossoms (bottom left photo looks like 'fingers crossed' to me)


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pennsylvania Pittsburgh photographer flowers nature photographer photographer photography Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:35:12 GMT
Braddock's Trail Park This is the second year I've made it out to Braddock's Trail park in the spring, and this year I've been there twice (so far) --- it is incredibly beautiful with the forest floor covered in primarily blue-eyed mary - but as you will see in these photos there are many other wildflowers blooming as well.  

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Pittsburgh photographer flowers nature photographer photographer photography Tue, 18 Apr 2017 21:25:58 GMT
Azalea study I am getting a little more deliberate with my photography.  With a recent purchase of a macro (close up) lens recently (finally!) and with spring finally here, mother nature is providing me with all kinds of subject material to work with.  These photos are taken from an azalea bush behind my house.  This first image was actually taken in mid March - on a day I was out photographing snowflakes.  I was surprised to see the color starting to pop through the bud.  And we fell in to about a 2 week freeze.  I was afraid the weather would have a negative impact on the buds, but 2 weeks later I was happy to see that they pushed through the cold and produced some beautiful flowers!  When I see the intricate details, I love these flowering shrubs even more.  

You can see more from the flower gallery here!

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pittsburgh photographer flowers nature photographer photographer photography Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:19:06 GMT
Updated Tree Gallery! I've started to work through the galleries, rotating out some photographs to make room for some newer work.  The first gallery I've worked on is the 'Trees' gallery.  This is a photograph I made this past January (can you believe this  is a January photo from western PA?  Look at all that green!!).  This was taken Cook Forest State Park - and to find this color in January made me feel as if I were in an enchanted forest.  See more here!


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pennsylvania Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:46:10 GMT
Middle Creek Middle Creek Wildlife Management area is known as a spring migration spot for snow geese and tundra swans.  I have been to the area in the past during the non-migration period.  I've been watching the migration pattern for the past few years to try to get myself out there during the peak of the migration.  So planned my trip for the first weekend in March ... which was close to peak for the past few years.  But - this year because of the mild winter, I found myself out there about 2 weeks or so past the peak.  There were no updates in terms of the migration in the week preceding my visit and I almost skipped going as we had a little winter blast of winter the day I was to go, with morning temps around 20 and a cold breeze.   Was glad I decided to go - was a good scouting trip for me and hopefully helps me be better prepared for next years migration!  I can only imagine the spectacle with 10x the birds I saw on this trip.



(Laurie Roffol Photography) Middle Creek Pennsylvania bird photographer birds nature photographer photographer photography wildlife photographer Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:44:09 GMT
Linn Run State Park Linn Run State Park has become one of my go to state parks when my travels take me out to the Laurel Highlands.  It's not a very big park, but what is there is beautiful.  I had hoped this trip was going to provide me some nice snow covered pictures, the warm weather that blew in put a bit of a damper on that.  But, the park was still gorgeous, see if you agree!

(Laurie Roffol Photography) . Linn Run State Park Pennsylvania Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography Tue, 14 Feb 2017 01:02:17 GMT

Snowflake gallery is now up on the website!  Click here to take a look! And then continue reading to see how this came to be ...  I am not quite sure when I realized the cameras I carry around were able to pick up so much more detail than my eye on it's own can't.  But I do know I have been trying to capture snowflake images for quite a few winter seasons now.  I am amazed each and every time I get a good look at the intricate detail of any given snowflake.  I experiment with different methods, but my personal favorites are those that I capture in their natural environment.  My second favorite location is on wool (the texture of wool can add some interest to the background as well).  As you can imagine, capturing these tiny gems made by mother nature is a bit tricky - and I continue to work on technique as well as experiment with camera/lens setups.  As I have been cleaning out my photo archives, I figured it was time to create a gallery for these beauties.  While these are not currently available for purchase via the website directly (due to size limitations) - if you are interested in something please get in touch with me directly and we can discuss what might be possible.  I'd love to hear your feedback on this gallery!  

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography snowflake photography snowflakes Mon, 06 Feb 2017 19:31:00 GMT
Enchanted Forest We planned a little winter getaway that we hoped would take us to a snowdrenched wonderland but turned out being a trip to an enchanted forest instead.  The snow didn't materialize and we enjoyed temperatures in the mid 50's.  As the day wore on, fog could be found in pockets as the sun warmed up the forest.  We spent our time in Cook Forest State Park, and I knew we would be wandering amongst the evergreens - so the green hues didn't surprise me.  But what did surprise me was the collective color I found throughout the forest.  It was a nice change from the drab brown that is so prevalent in western Pennsylvania in the middle of winter.  I could have spent hours wandering through what felt like an enchanted forest to me ...

And of course there were colorful details found in the forest as well ...


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Cook Forest State Park Landscape photographer Pennsylvania nature photographer photographer photography Mon, 23 Jan 2017 19:02:48 GMT
365 - Favorites from 2016 edition I did my 2nd 365 project in 2016 (because of leap year it was actually a 366 project, but what's an extra day/picture).  A 365 project is pretty simple in concept - you take and post a picture a day, every day for a year.  You can start these projects at any time, but I was working with a group that most folks started on 1/1/16 ... which is when I started as well.  (My first 365 was in 2013).  

I know I had tried blogging about my favorite shots on a periodic basis at the beginning of 2016 but never kept that up.  But wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from the project.  Each of these are favorites for different reasons --- I'll share some of that as we go ...

Litchfield Beach, SC.  Some days the payoff for getting up before sunrise on vacation is monumental.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors I got in this sunrise. 

This was from Litchfield Beach as well.  And I think it might have been my last morning there.  Prettiest shell I had found to date on a South Carolina beach.  Loved the shell, the lighting and reflection.

Then it was back to the reality of a Pittsburgh winter.  This may be the most ornate snowflake I've captured to date.  Loved the detail!

While this snowflake isn't quite as intricate as the first one, my favorite setting to capture snowflake is on evergreen branches.

While cloudless days typically lead to non-dramatic sunsets, I loved the silhouette in this shot.

I have been looking for field of flowers, and these wildflowers on the forest floor in early spring blew me away - I felt like i was in an enchanted forest

Reds are a color that I sometimes have difficulty photographing, but loved the hue in this blooming shrub.

This is an indigo bunting - and a favorite because of that fact.  And I just love the shade of blue.

While a puffed up turkey hadn't made it to my 'photography bucket list', it is something I've been trying to capture for a few years.

Wild Mustangs in Carova Beach, NC.  I would love to spend some more time there.  

This particular evening provided quite a variety color during sunset.  It is amazing to look at the series from pastels to the vibrancy that came later.

We were quite a ways in to the summer before I started chasing the butterflies.  Love the blues on the wings.

Sunflower field in central Pennsylvania.  Just amazing ...

Sunset at the Elk Visitor center in Benezette PA . vibrant colors and tree silhouettes equals a favorite for sure!


I did a lot of what I call 'watercolor' work this year.  This was the Allegheny River about an hour north of Pittsburgh on a beautiful fall day.

Fall color were strange this year - took quite a while to pop.  Always love the red leaves in the fall.


Beautiful frost on these leaves one morning.

And another beauty of a snowflake!

(Laurie Roffol Photography) 365 Pennsylvania Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography wildlife photographer Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:59:41 GMT
Nature abstracted While my blog has been a bit quiet lately - rest assured I have been busy working on some things that I will be sharing here as well in my tent at shows I attend this year.  

I've been experimenting with evolving the photographs I've been taking into something different from the photo you frame and hang on a wall (I still have lots of that, but this year there's more!).  There are several different paths I've taken with this in 2016, and you may have seen some of the trials here an on my facebook business page ("Like" it if you haven't yet, as I post links to new blog posts there LRoffolPhotography).

I've spent a good deal of time in 2016 building up what I call my 'watercolor' collection, which is reflections I've been capturing off different water sources.  I found myself drawn to the various patterns and colors that i've picked up in this work and am currently working on display methods beyond a framed print.   And while the watercolor collection is by my largest in terms of 'nature abstracts', I have also been collecting other abstracts from bark, flowers, trees, and stone/rock formations).  

I have a vision for how I see these abstracts brought to life, so as of now they cannot be ordered from the website.  But if they interest you - contact me and we can talk about the space you have to fill and what might work.  Additionally, if there is a nature subject that you have an interest in - in an abstract way - let me know and I can you let you know if it's possible to get some samples together for you.  

Feel free to browse the 'Abstracts' Gallery, and I'd love to hear your feedback!  Much much more to come!


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Abstract Abstract Photography Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography wildlife photographer Wed, 04 Jan 2017 19:30:58 GMT
365 moves on to spring! Compared to the past few years, we had a really mild winter.  And while mother nature decided to throw a little snow at us on the first day of spring, we have had 'spring like' weather for what seems like the past 6-8 weeks (a cooler day here or there to remind us we weren't quite there yet, but you'll hear no complaints from me!).   Here were my favorites to wrap up the first quarter of my 365+1 project (the second two providing the bridge from winter to spring).

Week 10, day 68:  A sunset silhouette shot.  I loved the painterly look created in the sky by the high level clouds with the sun setting behind them.


Week 11, day 73:  My daffodils started to bloom on March 12, and they've lasted a good 3 weeks.  They are starting to fade away (as of 4/1) but they were a fabulous display for those 3 weeks - best year I can remember. ever. 


Week 12, day 82:  Getting ready for an Easter celebration.  This was my pick for this week just because they were fun.  (and delicious) 


To be continued ....

(Laurie Roffol Photography) 365 Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography Fri, 01 Apr 2016 19:56:56 GMT
More 365 I have hit the stride where for the most part I don't have to think about 'doing' the 365 - it just happens.  There may be a day or two where the sun is going down and I realize I have nothing.  But those days seem to get further and further apart.  So here are my picks for weeks 7, 8 and 9.

Week 7, day 47.  I like when we get pretty snows, the kind that lays on the trees nicely and when the flakes just seem to be gently floating to the ground.

Week 8, day 52.  Ok, I also like snows when you know you're leaving town soon for warmer destinations.  This was a sunset on Ft. Myers Beach in Florida.  I love the gulf side of Florida because of the sunsets.  Clouds help sunsets (or sunrises) burst with color.  There was just a light layer of clouds at the horizon, that the sun filtered through before dropping below the horizon.  

Week 9, day 60.  the sun sets toward the front of our house, and usually that time of day we are in the rooms on the backside of the house.  But I had a hunch about the color show on this particular day, so I kept an eye out for what has happening.  Most of the time if I have a hunch like this I will jump in the car and try to find a good backdrop to capture the color show.  But on this day I decided to see what I could do with what I have in my own yard.

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography Thu, 10 Mar 2016 00:37:31 GMT
Bucket list - 2016 edition! Happy New Year all!  It is that time of year where I dust off the 'ole photography bucket list --- take stock of any progress made, and re-evaluate as necessary!  And upon reflection --- I have made very little progress against the list (maybe it's time to bring some of the project management skills in to play, and develop some kind of plan for progress!).  

1.  Northern lights - still tops the list, and still will require luck or an extended trip to the north.  (This fall we had an evening or two that were reported as possibly having a chance to see them in PA --- but no luck from my locale)

2.  Owl in the wild.  Still haven't gotten this one.  I had two instances this past year where far off in the distance I was seeing a large raptor of some kind.  One time is was a bird in flight, and the flight pattern appeared different than most hawks or eagles that I have seen.  But I was unable to identify it, and didn't have any long lenses with me to try to capture a picture.  The second instance was a large bird perched in a tree.  Huge white chest --- wasn't far from home so I ran home, grabbed my equipment but by the time I returned to the tree where it had been perched ... it was gone.  May have just been a large hawk, but really not sure.

3.  Snowflakes that are print worthy.  This is a close to perfection as I can get with the equipment I currently have for macro work.  I haven't seen how it works up in print yet but will put it on my next print order to take a look.  If this one comes off the list, it will be replaced with Antelope Canyons (that is all a matter of time & trip planning)


4.  Black bear in PA - I did have a sighting this year - on a solo trip and I was behind the wheel.  Bear crossed road in front of me, and ran up through a clearing.  I stopped when I saw him, picked up my gear, rolled down the window and slow pulled up to the clearing, by which time he was gone.

5.  Shoot with a press pass at a John Mayer concert - he went on tour this year as part of Dead & Company.  A show I'd love to shoot, but still have no idea on how to get a press pass (if I ever could --- and I need an event locally!).  Not ready to 're-evaluate' this one off the list yet ....

6.  Top of Mt. McKinley.  This is on the list because I want to go back some day (and we never saw it on our first trip even though we circled it for a week).  

7.  Massive flock of migrating birds.  As in tundra swans or snow geese.  Seemed to me that the extremely cold winter caused a late spring and affected the length of the spring migration (they area I need to get to is about a 3 hour give or take drive).  I am hoping this milder winter we are having will lead to a better migration season this coming spring and that I might be able to make it out.


8.  Aspen groves in the fall.  No trips out west this past fall, and not sure yet what 2016 travel plans will be.

9.  Pink Flamingos (just because).  Have pretty much ruled out swfl for this, have been told have a better shot as seeing them in the keys.  

10.  Cherry blossoms in DC - didn't make in 2015.  Need to find a partner in crime to do this with me :)

So all in all, I pretty much failed (again) at making progress on my photography bucket list.  But it's good to have goals, right?


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pittsburgh photographer bird photographer bucket list nature photographer photographer photography wildlife photographer Sat, 02 Jan 2016 14:43:59 GMT
Summer bloomtime Added a few potted plants to the back patio this summer, and as always mother nature just amazes me with the intricacy she builds her world.  What follows is some of the different stages of the zinnias growing in my planters.  Taken with my 50mm lens with +7 magnification filters added.


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pittsburgh photographer flowers nature photographer photographer photography Tue, 09 Jun 2015 23:54:21 GMT
Spring is coming, I am sure of it I've been making an effort to update my galleries for the upcoming show season.  I figured with the winter that just doesn't seem to want to go away for good, I'd share some new images from the flower gallery, as blooming season is just around the corner, right???  

Need some more reminders that spring is really on its way?  You can see the whole flower gallery here!


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pittsburgh photographer flowers nature photographer photographer photography Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:49:45 GMT
Backyard birding, winter edition When the weather is frightful my attention turns to our backyard (as viewed from my backdoor!)   Over the past two winters, I have noticed quite a bit of activity in the winter months with birds coming and going.  I have done my best to try to accurately identify these different visitors, and here are a few of the different species I saw from January thru mid March.

The bluejays are interesting to watch.  When they fly in, 9 times out of 10 they manage to chase all other birds away.  This particular day was rather dreary, and the blues on this jay just brightened up the scenery for me, even if just for a few moments.


I am hoping this bluebird (or one of his buddies) finds his way to our bluebird house (sparrows have been our only tenants to date). 

The tufted titmouse hangs out in the tree more than most.

The dark-eyed juncos may be fairly common, but I find their coloring pattern interesting.  I don't recall seeing these guys in the warmer months, but we had quite a few of them during the cold, snowy weather.


Northern cardinals are frequent year-round visitors

The yellowfinches are not quite as vibrant in winter as they are in summer but it's nice to see them year round as well

The red bird is a male housefinch ... along with what I think are a few sparrows and a junko ...

I believe these are female house finches

Cedar waxwing eating berries

Of course the robin, signifying the start of spring

First sighting of a red-winged blackbird in mid March - sloshing around in the winter melt




(Laurie Roffol Photography) bird photographer nature photographer photographer photography Sun, 15 Mar 2015 17:27:06 GMT
Farm country gallery It's been quite a busy summer so far. I've had a great time at the shows I've done so far, and am looking forward to more of the same!  Ordering directly from the website is now functional, and based on requests I've gotten from the shows to date, I have been doing a lot of updates to the galleries.  I created a "Farm Country" gallery - featuring anything farm related.  It isn't a complete gallery yet, and as always, if you have any specific requests, throw them my way.  I love scouting for new material!  So grab yourself a piece of apple pie and a glass of milk, and enjoy a few of the images from "Farm Country"!

Centre County-2Centre County-2 Lamb-1Lamb-1 Ohio Amish-1Ohio Amish-1

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Pittsburgh photographer nature photographer photographer photography Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:55:26 GMT
Call for inspiration! Wormsloe, Savannah GA-P1Wormsloe, Savannah GA-P1

As 2013 is coming to an end (and that means my 365 project is also coming to an end ... more on that in a future post), I am thinking about 2014.  I am pulling together a list of weekly topics that I can focus on during the week and subsequently add to my overall portfolio.  My goal would be to add (a minimum!) of 52 stellar, inspired, spectacular, unique, top-notch, must have, you-get-the-idea images to my galleries!


My list will include some staples that you've seen before (sunrise, sunset, beach, mountains, waterfalls, birds, flowers etc) but I would love to hear what topics you'd like to see on my list!  I'd like to incorporate as many suggestions that I think can feasibly do given my location and travel plans (although I'd love to shoot the northern lights-that one is nearly impossible from my location in SW PA so that happens to be on a separate list for me - my photography bucket list which I will also share in a future post!).  So help inspire me!  Help me build out my list!!!!


About the picture:  This is from Wormsloe in Savannah, Georgia.  I was in the SC and GA area in late September, and visited my niece who attends school in Savannah.  It was her suggestion that took us to Wormsloe, and it didn't disappoint!  For me, this is the quintessential image of southern plantations - and an image that was once on my photography bucket list, and is now checked off! 

(Laurie Roffol Photography) inspiration photography Thu, 05 Dec 2013 14:35:55 GMT
The times they are a changing

This is the Hulton Bridge crossing over the Allegheny River taken earlier this year, and as you can see the fog was just burning off (and yes, the bridge is painted lavender!).   The bridge was built in 1908.  In September they started constructing a replacement bridge on the upstream side of the current bridge (photo is taken looking upstream).  Now there is all kinds of barges and equipment out in the water and I realized I will never get another picture of the Hulton Bridge like this.  Looks to be a two year project with an estimated demolition of this bridge to occur in the fall of 2015.  Change is good ... right???

This photo is in the 'Western Pennsylvania' gallery - and although the photograph itself is relatively new ... given the current status of what is going on I feel like it is a historical photograph as well.  


(Laurie Roffol Photography) Hulton Bridge Pittsburgh photographer photographer photography Wed, 20 Nov 2013 00:58:03 GMT
Americana I have a new gallery on the website!  While I have never considered myself a history buff, one thing that I do enjoy on road trips is finding remnants of yesteryear.

Dinor Erie-1Dinor Erie-1

This picture is from the inside of the Lawrence Park Dinor in Erie, PA (yes, it is spelled 'Dinor' not Diner".)  Diner's were much more prevalent when I was a child growing up (you don't see many around anymore at all).   Walking in to the Dinor in Erie feels like you are stepping back in time.  The pace was relaxed, the staff was welcoming, the clientele was friendly.  Oh, and the food was good too!

Take a look at the Americana gallery I've put together and some of the other treasures I've found - I'd be interested in suggestions for additions for this collection (and where I might find them so I can get them on my travel plans!)

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Americana photography Fri, 15 Nov 2013 01:19:47 GMT
Show time! cowcow Today I participated in the 'Fine Craft & Gift Show' at the Twisted Thistle in Leechburg.  Once again, the crowd favorite appears to be the cow picture - seems I can't keep this picture in stock!   I had a lot of fun taking this picture, if you can imagine me hanging over the fence to get the straight-on perspective yet keeping the fence out of the shot (always liked a challenge!) Since this is my #1 seller figured I'd call it out in case you haven't had the chance to browse the Wildlife/Animals gallery yet.


(Laurie Roffol Photography) cow farm animals photographer photography pittsburgh photographer Mon, 11 Nov 2013 01:47:48 GMT
Trees I have found 'trees' to be another interesting subject for photographs over the years.  I am always on the lookout for what I consider 'great tree structure', but truth be told I do not have many photographs of trees with said great structure.  You see, more often then not, when I see great structure, there is something else in close proximity that detracts from the shot so I walk away.  I will hunt the grand trees down over time and build a portfolio of great tree structure - I am patient!  One other quest I am on is to shoot aspen groves in the fall - didn't make it this year, maybe next - until then you can find some of my more recent work in the Trees gallery.  (Also take a look at the Panoramics gallery as there are a number of tree images there as well!)  

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Wed, 06 Nov 2013 01:17:25 GMT

Ft. Myers-1Ft. Myers-1

I added a new 'Window Collection' gallery over the weekend.  As some who know me well know - my interests tend to migrate around over time.  One of my current fascinations is windows.  This fascination started during my first trip to Charleston SC (although looking back through my archives, am sad to say I have little to show for that) but grew exponentially after taking this picture in Ft. Myers this past February.  While this is hardly a technically good picture - every time I see this picture I see the reflection of the ending of a perfect (February) day, I see warmth, I see mother nature starting on an evening color show, and I see love (as I snapped this picture during dinner with my parents).

If you have a few minutes to spare, take a look at some of the other window images in the collection.  While few of those conjure up the same kind of memories for me, I do find my mind wandering - who lived behind these windows, and what kind of memories might be reflected through these windows.  

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Mon, 28 Oct 2013 19:27:24 GMT
What am I doing here? I have no clue what I'm doing starting a blog.  I'm not really sure what the purpose of a blog is.  I know I often run across blog posts, and typically enjoy them.  But to date, I don't follow a blog.  (This is bringing up so many more questions in my own mind - mind: maybe I should figure out the real purpose behind blogs before I start out on this journey, me: nah, don't have time or patience for research.  mind: Maybe I should figure out how to start following some blog on a consistent basis me: nah, sooner or later I'll stumble across a link or something for blog that interests me and I'll click it and like magic I'll be following it.  And the mind questions go on and on ...)


Anywho - what I think I am attempting to do here, is share some of my recent photography work. (mind: So I know I can post it here ... how I share it from there?  me: we'll stumble upon that at some point).  I would really appreciate any feedback to the work I share.  Do you like it?  Do you not like it?  What do you like, or not like?  So you have suggestions to improve it?  (Mind:  Assuming I figure out to share this blog, how can you leave feedback me: I'm sure I'll stumble upon something soon in this tool that allows me to include a feedback button or something.  And the mind questions continue to go on and on ...)


OK - getting way to distracted here with questions in my mind.  So on to share my first photograph.  Some people might know that I am currently working on a 365 project (started January 1 2013 - take & post a picture a day).  Today (October 26) is day 299.  I haven't missed taking a picture every single day up to this point (although some times it takes me a while to get them posted).  This was yesterdays picture. Yesterday was cold, rather blustery day for October.  Pretty overcast.  Had lots of work to do.  Didn't want to go outside.  The clock was ticking.  I knew if I let dark fall without getting a shot I'd be taking a picture of my beer at dinner.  So roughly around 5:55:49PM (I know this time from the metadata info) the sun peaked through a break in the clouds and I wandered out in the yard figuring I could find something that caught my eye ... a bug, a flower (believe it or not some of my summer flowers are still in bloom!), a leaf ... something, anything.   (mind:  OK stop rambling, and put up the picture!  me: i could go on and on, but i'll stop for now)


Day 298:  (just so you know - first real challenge.  Can't get linked properly to my flickr account mind: my guess is it's a setting on my flickr account that needs adjusted me: but I'll figure that out later, what I really want done immediately  is getting this blog thing going)



And there you have it!  And taking a sneak peak at my blog page, I see there are options to leave feedback etc.  I am going to attempt to share this on my fb page, for some preliminary feedback from my friends ... while I continue to work the kinks out here 


Thanks for humoring me :)

(Laurie Roffol Photography) Sat, 26 Oct 2013 13:17:59 GMT