CLCrow Photography Blog

Capturing Life At Its Best

Getting My Vote

Once the primaries are over, it will be voters like me that candidates from both parties will be trying to sway. I am a registered Republican, mostly because I come from a long line of Republicans, but the truth of the matter is that I am probably what most people would call a moderate independent, due to my positions on some of the hottest issues – especially the following:

Abortion – This is a very contraversial subject. While I do not believe there are any circumstances that I could get an abortion, I do not believe that the federal government has a right to decide what I do to my own body. I also do not believe that abortion should be used as a birth control method especially as there are many couples out there who cannot have a child and are looking to adopt.

Death Penalty – I have no issues at all with the death penalty. In fact, I believe in many cases it is warranted. Ted Bundy is the first person who comes to mind. After killing at least 30 young women, he deserved the death penalty. Another person is Timothy McVeigh. In cases such as those where there was no reasonable doubt, and the crimes are so heinous, the death penalty is just. “Let the punishment fit the crime”.

Fair Tax – The income tax was created to pay for the U.S. Civil War and has long outlived its usefulness. The Fair Tax would replace the income tax. We would only be taxed on what we buy. Those who buy more, pay more. Everyone needs things like clothes and food. It might even make April 15th a day we no longer dread.

Politicians – I am for term limits for both Senators and Representatives as long as it is federally mandated instead of state mandated. Many people in Washington have been there far too long and have lost touch with their constituents. They have become so power hungry that they could care less about the people in this country. It is time for them to step aside. The Obamacare program is a perfect example of how Washington Politicans no longer care what the American people want. If this new Heathcare Program is so great, why do they refuse to be on it? One other thing is that there should be a cap on how many attorneys could represent us at one time – a good number is probably about ten in all. Personally I believe that the Supreme Court Judges should make up 9 of the 10.

And that brings up the last issue, which is Tort Reform. We do need tort reform and if we only have a few lawyers in Washington (and fewer special interest groups) we might actually get it. Frivolous lawsuits would all but disappear if the losers had to pay the costs of the case. Tort Reform won’t happen as long as Washington is run by politicians.

In the words of President Abraham Lincoln “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”


March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Living in Iran

My first day of my Western Civilization class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Robert Porter had has go around the room and tell everyone our name, year, major, hometown and an interesting fact about ourselves.  Luckily he started with the other half of the room so I was able to think of what I was going to say.

At first I thought I would bring up that I am an avid movie fan and at the time I owned over 250 movies but then I realized that it was not interesting enough especially after one guy got up and told the class that he was in New York City on September 11, 2001.  I could have told the class that I had gone to Yosemite National Park in 1997 and took 9.5 roles of film or that I attended the games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on the two nights that Cal Ripken tied and broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak.

But I had a truly unique experience, one that probably no one in the class had ever experienced, let alone most in the class were not even born at the time this happened to me.  I stood up, gave my name, year, major, hometown  and then “my family and I were evacuated out of Iran in 1978.”  There were a few gasps around the room.

I remember bits and pieces of our time in Iran. My mother kept a journal which she recently turned into a blog:  The United States really let Iran down in the late 70s and we are all paying for it now.

An interesting twist happened a few semesters later when I took another class with the same professor.  In the class were two Iranian girls (their parents were Iranian) but they had never been to Iran.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Experiences | , , , , | Leave a comment

No Batteries or No Camera = No Shot

I always carrying extra batteries in my camera bag so if they die, I still have extras.  A few months ago I was at Huntington Beach State Park taking photos of wading birds (egrets, herons). Deciding against carrying my heavy camera bag, I just grabbed one of my cameras, my extra memory cards and headed to take more photos.  I was on the other side of the causeway from my car when my batteries died.  As I was walking back to my car  to replace my them when I heard crunching near me.  I turned to look and five feet in front of me there was an alligator facing me munching on a blue crab.  It would have been a great shot but because I hadn’t brought my extra batteries, I did not get the shot.

A few weeks later I was sitting at a light when to my right I saw a Red Tailed Hawk 10 feet away standing on the ground.  Because I was heading to a meeting I had not thought to bring my cameras with me.

No batteries or no camera = no shot.  The moral of the story, just like the boy scouts, is “always be prepared.” You never know when you perfect shot will be presented to you and you want to be ready.

March 22, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , , , , | Leave a comment

Adding the Moon in Photoshop

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  The easiest way to add the moon to your photo is to cut and paste but to do that you need to decide the size of the moon before hand.  Open both photos in photoshop.  Crop the moon to about 2″x2″ (you can change the size of it is too big or small).  If you are using a Mac, hit Command A (PC – Ctrl A) to select moon, then Command C (Ctrl C) to Copy.  Go into the skyline photo and hit Command V (Ctrl V) to paste your image.  Using the Move Tool in Photoshop, move the moon to where you want it.  Go to the Layers palette and right click and select Blending Option. Select Lighten in the drop down box in Blend Mode to.  This hides the black square around the moon from view, leaving just the moon itself visible. The key is to make sure you place the moon over a photo with a dark sky (at least as dark as the blue one shown here, or darker). Once the moon is the right size and place, go to Layer – Flatten Image to put the two layers together.  Save your image.

If you would like to see more of my photos, please visit my website:

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , | Leave a comment

Shooting A Night Skyline Shot with a Detailed Moon

Have you ever wanted to get a night skyline shot with the moon?  If you try to take a night shot with the detailed moon more than likely you will get an overexposed white circle rather than a detailed moon.  It is because night city shots need long exposures and a shot of the moon takes a very short exposure due to the moon being very bright.

The easiest way to achieve the shot that you are looking for is to take 2 different shots, on shot of the moon and the other of the night skyline and combine them in photo editing software like Photoshop.

The Night Skyline

First thing you need is to set your camera up on a tripod.  Using a wide angle lens (18mm-24mm). Set your camera to Aperture Priority Mode, chose f/11 or a larger f-stop and your camera will choose the shutter speed (which can be as little as 20 seconds or could be a few minutes depending on how dark the city is.  For this shot of the Lincoln Memorial, I used f/4 with a shutter speed of 1/2 second.

The Moon Shot

Put on your longest telephoto lens (ideally 200mm or more), put your camera on full manual mode and set your aperture to f/11 and your shutter speed to 1/250 of a second.  Zoom in as tight as you can so that there is nothing but black sky and the moon in your shot, then take the shot.

Tomorrow’s tip will be how to add the two shots together in Photoshop.

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , , , | 1 Comment

Cropping Your Photograph

Cropping Your Photograph

Do NOT overcrop no matter if you are shooting an bald eagle flying through the air, your beloved dog Max or children playing soccer.  Do not frame the subject so close that the they have no room to run or fly. As you can see in the photograph above of a snowy egret flying through the air, there is some space in front of him so it looks like he is not trapped in the photograph.

Give your subject (whether it is an animal or children running) space in front of the direction they are going. It gives the photograph a stronger composition.

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , , , | Leave a comment

Landscape Photography Composition Rules

Landscape Photography Composition Rules

1. Rule of Thirds

2. Framing an Image – add points of interest in foreground.  For example, this rocking chairs in this photograph are framed by the front of the house and the porch supports.  Another example is taking a photo of the Jefferson Memorial on the opposite side of the Tidal basin framed surrounded by cherry blossoms in the spring.

3.  Diagonal Lines – Using a diagonal line can be a very effective way to draw the eye to the main focal point.  Two converging lines coming to a single point can also be even more effective.  (I.e. Using a river or a road that leads up to a Mountain or bridge)

4. Geometric Shapes – The easiest example of this is if you have 3 different subjects.  Position them in such a way that they create a triangle.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking Rule of Thirds

Breaking the Rule of Thirds

Sometimes breaking the rule of thirds produces powerful images.  One example is a scene of real symmetry.

Next time you are out taking photos try both ways and you may find a different way of looking at things.

Tomorrow’s tip: Composition Rules for Landscape Photography.

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , , | Leave a comment

Lincoln Memorial Full Moon

March 4, Photo of the Day is Lincoln Memorial with full moon.

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most visited visited memorial in Washington DC.  It is an amazing subject to photograph especially at night.

If you would like to see more of my photos, please visit my website at:

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Photo of the Day | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rule of Thirds

The Rules of Composition – Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is one of the most basic and most important rules in photography and one of the first taught in photography classes.

Using the rule of thirds you break down an image into three parts, both horizontally and vertically.  When looking through the viewfinder of your camera, you visualize a tic tac toe board.

Place your subject where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect. See in the photograph above how the eagle’s eye is almost perfectly placed.   The idea is to give your photograph more balance.  Studies show that the intersecting lines is where people’s eyes usually go when looking at a photograph or a piece of art.  It is the natural way of viewing an image.

Just like most rules, there are exceptions.

  • If your subject takes up most of the photograph, like a flower, you don’t need to use the rule.

You can also crop the photo using photo editing software (i.e. Photoshop).

  • This is especially helpful when taking photos of wildlife.  They don’t usually stand still for very long so you don’t always have time to perfectly position your subject.

Tomorrow’s Photo Tip: Breaking the rule of thirds

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tips | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment