09 October 2017

Portfolio Image - Marquette Harbor Lighthouse

 Link to larger photo

I recently traveled to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a fall photography trip.  Unfortunately I was about 1-2 weeks ahead of peak color (the leaves in the Northern Midwest are late this year).  I stayed three nights in Munising, MI, and was surprised at the extensive selection of lighthouses, waterfalls, and coastal nooks within an hour drive.  I will definitely be returning to the UP for more photo trips!

I heard about this location while talking to a local photographer. I woke up extra early to make the hour drive to Marquette. The sunrise was spectacular! I wish I had scouted the location previously though, because it was hard to find a great composition. I was literally running around in the sand with my camera and tripod trying to find the best composition. This shot was taken from a lifeguard tower.  35mm from my 16-35mm F4L. Two exposures (one for the sky, another for everything else) individually processed and manually combined in Photoshop, and then cropped to emphasize the lighthouse.

14 September 2017

Autumn Deere Statue

Fall colors are already appearing in Eastern Iowa.  I finally decided to photograph the statue in front of my workplace.

10 August 2017

BRZ at Night

My car is one of my favorite subjects.  Not only because I like the way it looks and drives.  But there aren't many other large and interesting foreground subjects that I can freely position to suit my composition.

For this shot, I was experimenting with light painting (using the screen on my phone) and long exposures.  I went to the local park well after sunset, and took dozens of shots.  It was trial and error to get the right amount of light combined with a smooth reflection on the side of the car (from me walking with my phone screen reflecting off the car).

The final result is the result of merging three images in Photoshop.  The sky is from one frame, while the foreground, wheels, and car combine elements from two of the light painting exposures.

19 July 2017

Tracks to Mt. Elbert

My goal on a photography trip is to capture one good image every day.  To many, that may seem a trivial goal.  But the longer I practice landscape photography, the fewer shots I take.  And correspondingly, the effort per shot has gone up tremendously.  My bar for a "good" image is now quite high.  If the composition isn't pleasing or the subject isn't perfectly sharp, nobody but me will ever see the picture.

Meeting my goal of "one image a day" starts early in the morning.  The more chances I give myself, the more opportunities I have to capture that one good image.  Nevertheless, I do enjoy sleeping on my vacations!  For this particular morning, I knew I wanted stay close to the town.  That would let me get more sleep since I wouldn't need to drive an hour to a pre-selected location.  I woke up an hour before sunrise, packed my gear, and jumped in the car with no destination in mind.  The only thing I knew was I wanted a picture of Mt. Elbert, which sits prominently to the west of Leadville, CO.  I parked next to a bike path, and a short walk later, I stumbled upon these abandoned tracks.  Minutes prior to sunrise, I scrambled to find the ideal composition.

After settling on a composition I liked, it was just a matter of waiting for the sunlight to work its way down the mountain.  It's always nice when I can take a good picture at sunrise; it means all my other pictures for the day are bonus.