Virginia

Sister Act - Belmont Ridge Middle School by Todd Henson

This year I had the immense pleasure of supporting the arts in our schools by donating a couple of my photographs of Washington National Cathedral’s stained glass windows for use in a Summer Musical. The students of Belmont Ridge Middle School, in Leesburg, Virginia, are presenting their performance of Sister Act, a musical based on the motion picture. The show dates are Thursday, August 8th, through Saturday, August 10th, 2019.

The Musical’s production team printed the stained glass window photographs on clear vinyl and then backlit them to help give a true stained glass look. The set pieces were 10 to 12 feet high and stood in the background to help create the look and feel of a church, inside which the students put on their performance.

Below are some photographs created by their set designer during a dress rehearsal showing the students performing with the windows in the background. I was so pleased to see how well the finished set pieces turned out, and I really hope they help draw the audience into the performance.

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

I created the original photographs many years back during a tour of Washington National Cathedral. The photos are below, and depict the Labor Window and the YWCA Window.

Labor Window, a stained glass window at Washington National Cathedral

YWCA Window, a stained glass window at Washington National Cathedral

If you read this in time and have the opportunity consider purchasing tickets for Sister Act at Belmont Ridge Middle School.

And consider stopping by from time to time to see what new musicals they’ve put together.

A special thanks to Krista Salmon and Steve Rice. It was a real pleasure working with you.


Elegance of a Long-tailed Duck by Todd Henson

Elegance of a Long-tailed Duck

In early April of 2019 I had the immense pleasure of spending an entire day photographing a Long-tailed Duck that had departed from its typical migratory route to spend its days diving for food in a small lake in Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, located in Northern Virginia. I’ve written about this duck previously in On a Golden Pond, Reflecting on a Long-tailed Duck, and The Art of a Diving Duck.

Today’s image does a great job showing off the duck’s namesake long tail. I really like the pose the duck gave me, how it turned its head just slightly, looking my way, as if it were a professional model posing for the camera. Very elegant, I thought. And the water droplets show it had just recently been underwater, and was just briefly pausing up top before diving below again. Can’t get much better than that.

This photograph was created just before 5 PM with the sun behind me and having just drifted below the trees in the background. This helped provide a nice soft light on the lake and the duck. I wasn’t directly at water level, but I did have the camera and tripod down low, to photograph the bird as close to its eye level as possible. This helps us better connect with the subject and often looks much better than standing up tall and looking down at something. Give this technique a try some time. Get down to your subject’s eye level and create photographs from their perspective. See what you think of the results.

If you like this photograph please consider stopping by the shop. In addition to wall art, you can purchase greeting cards, throw pillows, and a number of other products for around the house or as gifts.


The Art of a Diving Duck by Todd Henson

The Art of a Diving Duck

When I photograph nature I’m often trying to capture interesting views of different species to share my love of nature and wildlife. But sometimes something more artistic can come out of my explorations. I’ll notice something beautiful, or something I think has the potential to become beautiful. And I begin exploring this, trying to find whatever it was that sparked my interest.

Diving Below the Glowing Surface

The 3 photographs in this post came out of one of these explorations. I had been photographing a Long-tailed Duck, a somewhat unusual species in Northern Virginia. It was very indifferent to human presence so I was able to spend a lot of time watching its behavior, and it was often close enough to fill the frame without need of cropping.

Across the Water

As I watched I kept noticing the patterns formed when the duck dove below the surface of the lake. Its long tail helped add an interesting element, either forming a fascinating pattern, or flicking droplets of water in fantastic patterns. I began watching specifically for the moments it dove, trying to capture as many variations of this as I could.

I think these 3 images best express what I was seeing and feeling as I watched this unusual duck repeatedly diving for food. I’m sure it was as indifferent to my excitement at the beautiful patterns it was creating as it was to my presence. But I’m very happy to have shared these moments with this duck, and thankful for the opportunities it gave me to explore my creative side.

All of these photographs are available for purchase through my online store, run by Fine Art America / Pixels.

Fine Art Prints by Todd Henson

Fine Art Prints by Todd Henson

Fine Art Prints by Todd Henson