THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


Rocky Gap MD – WWWP5K challenge

On Monday 10/26 we completed the WWWP 5K challenge. My wife and I hiked the Lakeside Loop trail at Rocky Gap state park. This 5.3 mile hike was certainly challenging. Walking on all those rocks and tree roots covered with leaves was a challenge itself not to come back with broken ankles.

Flight in fog. Photo by Mike Hartley

Flight in fog.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It was a wonderful hike but I walked too much that morning out shooting photographs. I woke that morning to a cool feel and when I looked out before sunrise I could see the fog rolling off the water. It was beautiful but obscured the color of the season.

But there were a few treasures out there that morning. One of them were our winged friends coming to life. Both geese and mallard ducks were taking their morning flight and searching for breakfast.

The mountains in the morning were just beginning to peak out with the sunrise but still partially covered by the mist from Lake Habeeb.

I bet I covered a few miles that morning even before thinking about the hike. I know it was too cool for the shorts I had on but walking briskly kept me warm for short burst.

Morning mist from Lake Habeeb. Photo by Mike Hartley

Morning mist from Lake Habeeb.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So while freezing my behind off I strolled over to the beach off the state park. I wandered around the Rocky Gap resort where we were staying and walked a few holes along the golf course on the south side of the lake.

It was a wonderful morning and just the exercise I needed to start my day and work up an appetite for the breakfast buffet we were going to later that morning.

I didn’t feel like I was doing too much. As a matter of fact I intended to do that Lakeside Loop trail twice that day but that thought was quickly dismissed upon returning from the first trip around it in the afternoon.

I was glad I got a chance to shoot both that morning and afternoon on the walk because Tuesday was pretty overcast and was just getting worse with rain on the way.

Fog over Lake Habeeb Photo by Mike Hartley

Fog over Lake Habeeb
Photo by Mike Hartley

I really should have done a few more miles in the morning because I don’t usually have this scenic view and weather to awe me where I’m at. So this was a treat despite the cool temps and lack of a good sunrise.

But my stomach took control and said get back to the room, wake up your better half and take me to the food distribution point. And as I have done too often in the past, I listened to that part of my body and cut the morning shoot off after an hour or two of wandering the area.

One thing I love about this place is the tranquility. I know it’s hoping during the summer season at the park but a weekday morning in fall it was quiet as could be which is what we were also looking for in a relaxing trip.


Beach at Rocky Gap State Park and fog obscuring mountains around it. Photo by Mike Hartley

When we started the walk it was pretty cool out still. I put some sweats on but by the end of the walk I was wishing I had shorts on. Also by the end of it my feet and shins were barking at me. No problem, a night of rest and I’m ready to go again.

Unfortunately we are no longer at that wonderful site. (Rocky Gap Resort and State Park which is just a few miles west of Flintstone Maryland). We took a few days to celebrate our 35th anniversary there, but are back to reality and the treadmill.

So instead of boring you with more words I’ll share some of the pictures from my afternoon stroll and sights we saw. I feel good now for having done that and I’m hoping I can keep a few good lengthy walks in my workout each week through the difficult winter season.

So I hope you enjoy the images of some of the paths, lake and wildlife.


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Friday’s return

Wow, took a few days to do some writing and sadly I didn’t keep up with my primary goal of posting here each day. So I have a lot of catching up to do here so let’s get rolling again. Went to Mt Airy for lunch and had a chance to snap a few frames. Been a decade or two since visiting old Main Street. I was such a beautiful day, I know I didn’t capture that feeling of 83 degrees with low humidity and a slight breeze. But let me tell you it was wonderful.

There was a breeze today but that wasn't what bent those walls. Photo by Mike Hartley

There was a breeze today but that wasn’t what bent those walls.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wasn’t a minute out of the parking lot after snapping the above shot when I looked over to a garage with a beautiful Chevelle SS that had a paint job that I won’t attempt to describe the color other than “stop in my tracks red.” I can’t figure if that is a 69 or 70 model. If my wife and I weren’t famished and on a mission to EAT, I would have wandered over and seen some of their work. I also saw what looked to be like a 71 Mach One pulled in front of the Chevelle. And outside across the street was a 69 Camaro. So my day was about complete. Only if I had the keys to one of them.

A beauty in the garage. Photo by Mike Hartley

A beauty in the garage.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Caution, school season again. Photo by Mike Hartley

Caution, school season again.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just a general reminder. Schools start next week in Carroll County. Get ready so see a few of these going up and down Main Street. As traffic gets worse I see more and more people not watching out for stopped buses or emergency vehicles. Lets all take our time and respect the job these people do and keep everyone safe.

Well, as we got into the downtown area we decided on a place my wife had been to before and said was good. Well it was very good today with both food and service being top-notch. It was a sunny and nice day out so we tried outside dining. This worked out well and it was a wonderful dining experience. And obviously I was too hungry to snap a shot of the beautiful pan-fried scallops with angel hair pasta with a tomato basil creme sauce. A very tasty dish with the scallops cooked perfectly and a good number of them. The mozzarella caprese was also very good. My wife’s panini was very good I’m told. So overall it was a very good meal and our waiter was excellent. And we left him a very nice tip.

Time is a gift. Photo by Mike Hartley

Time is a gift.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This day also marked the return of my Fridays with my better half. Its my favorite day of the week because I get to spend it with her. I step aside during the summer months while her and my daughter do their summer adventures. But fall, winter and spring, she is mine. Sorry didn’t mean to gloat but I’m a lucky man. And time with my family and friends is living large in my mind.

Walking this town a sunny August day without breaking a sweat was a treat you don’t get many days in this month. I’m rediscovering exercise and it feels great. I think I’ll pull the cars back tomorrow afternoon and challenge my Son to a game of basketball.

But back to the town of Mt Airy Maryland. This place is an interesting contrast of old and new in terms of its homes and businesses. It’s so close by I’m going to have to spend some time out in this area seeing if I can find some gems to photograph.

As we walked up the hill to the north end of Main Street we came upon the Elementary School and boy was it packed for new student orientation and an open house. Looks like they get a good attendance for things at this school.

Vest Pocket Park Photo by Mike Hartley

Vest Pocket Park
Photo by Mike Hartley

Right next to this school is the Vest Pocket Park. A very apt name but a nice little spot in a nice little town. I should have taken a break here but he way back to town was downhill at that point so we walked on.

This place reminds me a lot of the early Howard County grown spurt. Of course its been going on for some time here judging by the strip malls and big box stores. But you can still drive through areas that make you feel it was 40-50 years ago.

As we strolled back into town I shot a few more porches and some businesses that I’ve put below in a gallery.

And just to confirm I avoided going in the ice cream stores. It was hard, I looked two or three times as we passed them.

Sorry to bore you with the verbiage but I’m trying to see if I can do more with layout instead of the standard display I’ve had before. A few more shots around town.




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Heading out to the Bay

As I was taking this photo and a few others yesterday I got to thinking about a departed friend. One who shared his boat and time on the water with his friends. I think I might have overlooked how much that activity would pulled us together. From an all day fishing trip to a happy hour at McCormick and Schmick’s, maybe pulled up along Pier 6 listening to whomever was performing that night. Sometimes a short boat ride out past Fort McHenry or sometimes sitting and laughing together just sitting in the marina.

Large and small, they all head out to the Chesapeake Bay.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Large and small, they all head out to the Chesapeake Bay.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We all miss this person for much more than the boating experience. He was one of our brothers. A close-knit group of friends that does include one set of actual brothers. So as I look out on the water or a spot we were pulled into at the Inner Harbor I think back to both times of laughter and fun, but realize the hole left by his absence.

So today I will remember him on the bridge of his boat, wheel in one hand, a beer by his side and that Yeah Buddy grin on his face. Here’s to a great weekend ahead Dan. I know you would be leading the charge to Head out to the Bay.

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Love All

I was trying to catch the reflection of the flag in the door as they were opening the Hard Rock Cafe in Baltimore this fine Friday. But I didn’t realize I had got the words “Love All” in the other half of the open door. It was such a good day I tried to practice what I had unknowingly caught in this picture. Actually at few times in this countries history, we did Love All. Maybe each of us can do our own little part to help it along again.

Reflection of the flag and buildings in the left side of the door and words Love All on the right side.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Reflection of the flag and buildings in the left side of the door and words Love All on the right side.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And to prove I did my best today, I didn’t T-Bone the idiot who ran a red light in Catonsville late this afternoon. I also found a pair of sunglasses on the ground in City Sports. I walked them up to the front counter and told the clerk I had just found these. The guy at the counter who he just finished checking out looked up and said they were his. About 10 minutes later a couple who was in town for a wedding asked what they could do in a few hours at the Inner Harbor so I gave them some options. I held doors for people. I tipped well. I nodded hello to total strangers after making eye contact. I said “sorry” when I accidentally cut someone off. I held the elevator for people.

I also helped revitalize the local economy by taking my family out to lunch at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. A new stop for us and it was very good. Great food and service. The ladies did their part and did some shopping. I have no idea what they purchased but I saw bags.  And it looks like from these other ladies on the street below, we weren’t alone.

Harbor East Shoppers Photo by Mike Hartley

Harbor East Shoppers
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I will revel in the sunshine and breeze we were given today. And most importantly the time with family and the smiles we shared. And I got to sneak in a fair amount of shooting so I’m going to go edit away. I still haven’t finished processing all the Annapolis shots from yesterday. It’s a nice problem to have. Usually its the lack of shooting that is the problem. Such a nice change of pace to have some time for it.

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Annapolis with my Daughter

Each summer while my daughter is on break from being a teacher we spend a day or two together during the summer to just wander and talk, eat and explore, shop and sit and generally enjoy each others company and catch up just the two of us. Yesterday we picked Annapolis MD. There is nothing more gratifying to have your children want to spend time with you. There are few things better in life than to see your children happy. There are few better things than when they grow into young adults and they display traits and skills your proud of.

So below is just a few shots I got while wandering the town. What a wonderful day. Thank you Melissa.

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Had a nice dinner at Baldwin Station in Sykesville last night. Compensated for the Crème brûlée we shared for desert by taking a walk which allowed me to snap a few frames. The sun had gone below the hills surrounding Main St. for all shots but the one with the shadow on the stairs. Going to have to go back when the light is better. Will give me an excuse to go back and try Beck’s also.

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More images of Frederick MD

Had a great afternoon on Friday wandering the town. Was just the relaxing time I needed. Snapped a few images while my other half was shopping and after a great lunch at the Tasting Room. Really love the feel and seeing all the storefronts filled and doing a brisk business. Plus there is a lot more to this area that I have yet to explore and find besides the downtown area.

Think I’ll expand my state shooting more westward this year. Lots of beauty in the hilly part of Maryland.