Monday, November 28, 2016

Martian Landscape on Earth

This is a similar shot from yesterday but with fewer signs of human habitation. I am watching the Mars mini series on the National Geographic channel and this shot, to me, looks what I would think that Mars would look like, although without the blue sky in the background. Anyway, Mars on Earth looks really dry.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Up in the Air Somewhere out West

This was taken on a return trip from San Diego to Chicago, obviously out west. It looks so dry you wonder how anyone, much less the size of a small city can live there. I wish I knew the town we were flying over but I didn't have my GPS turned on.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tuscon Sunrise

An early morning wake up call last October and an hour and a half ride from Scottsdale to Tucson got me to a parking lot at a Merrill Lynch branch for a breakfast meeting. Getting out of the car, I see this scene. Normal view for those who live out west but very spectacular if you live in the midwest. So, this is a cellphone shot from a parking lot. Beauty is where you find it.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Redondo Beach Sunset

Caught a nice cellphone shot of a Redondo Beach sunset off of the Strand a week or so ago. Saw a small "green flash" as the sun set below the horizon but it was a weak one. A "green flash" is where the last touch of the sun refracts strongly into the green color spectrum and it is quite spectacular to see when the conditions are ripe. Anyway, rented a bike and got a nice ride along the beach after work.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Things to be Thankful For

Only two of the grandkids are over this morning (and only two of the kids) but it is enough to get a shot of something to be thankful for. Love having the grandkids around. Eckhart also loves his sister. His eyes follow her everywhere.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Chicago River Walk View of Marina Towers

This is a tough shot to get prior to the Chicago River Walk. You would have to go on the river in a boat to try to fit both buildings in and still include the marina. A very iconic building and the place where Clio was born!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Chicago River Walk

Shot of the Wrigley Building and the Equitable Tower from the new portion of the River Walk in downtown Chicago. This area is going to get a lot of tourist traffic come spring. Even on these cool fall days getting a lot of walkers and runners.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Shot of the Day---A Repeat and a Story

This is a shot that I previously posted probably back in the middle of 2013 since that is when I took the shot at Matthiessen State Park near Starved Rock State Park in Ottawa, Illinois. I was there for an engagement shoot for Cheryl's cousin Amber and her (now) husband Mike. They actually got engaged there but I happened to randomly suggest that as a place to meet to take pictures. Boy, was I surprised that Amber had that exact location in mind. Great minds think alike. Anyway, submitted this shot to a web site called ViewBug which hosts dozens of contest a month for excellent giveaways (for very expensive gear like free cameras) but also to get feedback to see how some of my photos rank against top flight competition. I am often surprised to see some of my favorite shots not getting many votes and others doing really well. This one did really well, beating almost 69,000 other submissions to get into the Top 10 Class rank for that contest. To win one of these things would be amazing but with something like a hundred of thousand submissions just for this one competition, it is tough to get a top rank. One reason that I think I am just an OK shooter as I sometimes make a mistake and look at the winners. Just amazing work. Shots of a lifetime kinds of things. So, I am quite happy with a Top 10 Class rank. I think this is only the second time that has happened. I had forgotten about this shot (View Bug takes photos that you submit into your folder and submits those  pictures into contests on its own---a cool feature). This was in the competition for "Shot of the Month". Anyway, so glad that Amber and Mike were game to visit the falls and I have to go back there again soon. I think both tree limbs have finally fallen so can't get this shot again--but neither can anyone else!!! Here is one of my favorites of working with Amber and Mike with that same lower falls at Matthiessen in the background. What a great couple. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Chicago River Walk Opens

My first trip down to the brand new portion of the Chicago River Walk showed some amazing views of the city. This is going to be an great part of the city experience. All kinds of people can be seen walking and running the walkway. It now goes from the lakefront to just past the Nuveen Building. Has restaurants and bars and floating pods of plants as part of the experience. Lots to love about downtown Chicago.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nashville Street Scene at Night

Street scene early in the night looking down Broadway in Nashville. Later that night the sidewalks were so crowded it was hard to walk. Fun town with great music. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nashville Colors

I always try to remind myself to take small views as well as large ones. When you go to an area a number of times, like I have with Nashville, you already have taken a good number of the classic tourist shots. You also have to remember to look for small shots too. Here, we were having dinner listening to a band and I look up and there is all this color above the bar. Grab the camera. Tilt the frame and hit the shot. Then back to Yingling and wings and the band....

Monday, November 14, 2016

Super Moon through the Trees

Got a nice view of the moon through the trees on the front lawn. This is a composite shot as I needed to shoot at a slower speed to get light in the clouds and trees and a fast shot to get the moon sharp. Fun shots.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Super Moon

Almost full moon tonight and the moon is closing in on the closest approach to earth in 69 years. Time for a close up. Well, everyone has this shot so now I have it too.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blue Bridge in Detroit

At a light in Detroit near the airport and looked up and I see this beautiful blue bridge against the deep blue sky. Had to take a shot.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A batch of yellow sitting in blue

It looks like leaves in blue water from a distance but it is just leaves against the blue sky in a nice warm setting sun. We had such a beautiful Indian Summer the past few weeks. Weather turned slightly cooler today and I was already disappointed over the weather. Didn't take long.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Taking a Picture and Making a Picture: Story of a Walk Through the Trees

Found a new favorite shot while playing with some filters. Had a wonderful walk a week or so ago at Lisle's Morton Arboretum and I took a nice picture of two walkers out ahead of us. Nice picture, but a bit boring. I started to play with it and got it to a place that I really liked. This is one of my new favorites. I thought I would turn this blog post into a show of how I did it. Click on the top picture and click through the changes. 

Here is the original shot. I liked the composition of the small people and tall trees and the back lighting which creates a silhouette

So, I have a nice shot, but a bit boring. How about making it more painterly? So, I pumped up the colors and used a paint filter to get a more interesting effect. 

That worked, but it wasn't enough. Then, the sign bothered me. The red and white of the sign distracts the eye so I took it to Photoshop to take out the two signs. 

The last step was to go to a filter with a software called Topaz Impressions to get even more or a painterly look. As I did that, I noticed that I really liked the landscape crop even more than the tall trees. The landscape view emphasized the women and brought out the colors. Here was the full shot before the final crop

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Found Another Photographer in the Family

Found another photographer in the family as Clio and I went out looking for fall colors. Here are some of her best shots:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Is this shot worth $5,000?

Stepped behind Peter Hurley's headshot light set up and asked a fellow photographer at a seminar to take a shot. You literally can't take a bad shot in this set up. Tempted to make the plunge for the light kit but then I have to take headshots and charge people to get my money back on the kit, which is not cheap. Don't know if people will pay for Facebook headshots. Love the lights, however.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A winning ticket.....or not

So, this is the story from a White Sox fan that is relieved that the Cubs have it over with. Now both sides of the city know what it is like to win a World Series. I never thought I would see a winner for the south side when we won and I am sure many Cubs fans felt that way too. Even with the over 100 wins, they had to battle and earn that win. Nothing was given from a great Cleveland team. Now the Sox have to get past both Kansas City and Cleveland with a very problematic roster. Anyway, the story of this ticket is an interesting one. When a couple of us were in Las Vegas back in March, all White Sox fans, my cousin texted me and asked me to buy a World Series ticket for the Cubs to win it all. I paid, as it turned out, $108 for the 108 years of Cubs fans to wait for a World Series win. According to the ticket, that is a $540 payout--with one problem. That ticket never made it home to Chicago. In the mess of a Vegas trip, even a calm one like we do, saw the ticket disappear. I never was able to collect the $108 from my cousin but even worse, he never got the ticket. Sad, but kind of funny as a White Sox fan. So, while I am out $108 dollars (what gets bet in Vegas stays in Vegas), I have this story which is better. Sorry, cuz, I am sorry I can't deliver a winning ticket, but your team one so good for you. I am sure you will take that trade off every time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sugar Maples going red

The sugar maples were just getting into their reds last week. Might try to get back to Morton Arboretum this weekend to see if they are still at peak color.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Wide open spaces in crowded Lisle Illinois

You never think about it but you don't get to see too many wide open spaces in suburbs like Lisle, Illinois. You do get an occasional prairie but not a cut down lawn like this view in Morton Arboretum. A wonderful place to view nature.