The End of the 2013 Season

As I look out the window, I can see how the leaves are mostly fallen from the trees and I know that the best of the 2013 landscapes and outdoor photography are behind me.  Although North Carolina does offer the occasional snow, it is really not something the average photographer here can look forward too.  This year I spent a great deal of time hiking the mountains of North Carolina and enjoyed every minute of it.  Yes, even the day it poured rain on me.   So I guess today is a good day to show my top photos of the 2013 season.

Coming in at number one is "T-6 at Sunrise."  I really enjoyed shooting on this early Friday morning back in September at the Smith-Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem, NC.  I enjoy this photo because it was the photo that almost wasn't.  The morning was rather dark and dreary and only one pilot had shown up to uncover his T-6 and hang around for interviews.  About 30 minutes before I was about to leave, the sky opened up and lit the aircraft perfectly. As a side note this appears to also be the "people's choice" on my Flickr account.
T-6 Sunrise - T-6 Texan at the Smith-Reynolds Airport - © 2013 Matt Cuda

Next at number two is "Moravian Falls." This is one of those locations that has been photographed many many times, but I believe I managed to capture the falls in a more unique way.  I arrived very early on this summer morning just as the sun rose. The lighting in this little cove was so soft and calming that it seemed like every shot spoke to me.  I chose this one as the final shot from the day as it emphasizes the cascading creek in the foreground, tapering back to the actual falls before your eyes leave the photo.  This shot was featured as a winner in a KEH photo contest and won best in show at the Stokes County Fair.

Moravian Falls - © 2013 Matt Cuda

Number three is "F-86."  I like this image first because it is an iconic aircraft from the 1950s.  It was made famous shooting down Soviet made aircraft during the Korean War over "Mig Alley".  Beyond that the aircraft is interesting in that it is in a nice knife edge set against the contrast of the clouds and blue sky.

F-86 Sabre - © 2013 Matt Cuda

Next at number four is "Titmouse."  Although the name is very odd, I find the Tufted Titmouse a very inquisitive and spirited bird.  This image seems more striking than others I have taken of the Titmouse because first, it shows the bird perching on a vertical surface, and secondly it has a spider web spread across its head. The spider web shows just how much this bird forages through underbrush to find other food sources such as insects and spiders.  The photo is not technically perfect but I really enjoy it from a journalistic perspective.

Titmouse -  © 2013 Matt Cuda

At five is another waterfall that seems to keep grabbing my attention. Maybe I am a sucker for fall color or maybe I just like the serenity of cascading water.  From a technical perspective, I do like the rushing water in the foreground and the strong yellow color of fall contrasting against the soft lighting on the falls.  This photo was featured as a KEH photo of the month for October 2013.

Triple Falls - © 2013 Matt Cuda

Water was certainly a big theme this year.  At number six is a stunning falls I found in the South Mountains of North Carolina called High Shoals Falls. Photographs cannot do this falls justice in scale and beauty. Surrounded by beautiful boulders and awesome greenery, it is a symbol of total relaxation. Forget about the horrors of life because here you enter the presence of one of God's best paintings.

High Shoals Falls - © 2013 Matt Cuda

There were several others I would like to put out here but I guess I should just end it here.  What a great year of photography.  I can't remember having this much fun with photography since I was back in college.  Special thanks to my friend Buck, who went out shooting with me a couple times this year.  Also thanks to my brother Rick and his son Thomas for some good photo ops in Pennsylvania and upstate New York. I really enjoyed it.  God's creation has been a special theme in my photography and he doesn't disappoint me with his never ending canvas of color we call nature.  It is so easy to forget just how stunning our God's artwork really is.  See how intricately the feathers of the bird are woven together. This is not only so it can stay warm and fly but so it can show God's artistic side.  The raw power of water as it drops 60 feet into a dark pool, surrounded by giant boulders. Contrast that scene of rugged beauty against the soft sounds of a babbling mountain brook.  We can never accomplish this kind of art.  All we can do is capture it on canvas or film or some other medium and hope that somehow it can be done a fraction of the justice the real scene deserves.


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