The photographic explorations of a former film student.

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Chicago Exploration

About a week ago, I went to Chicago. Big cities aren’t really my thing, I’m more of a table top and forest preserve kind of photographer. However, I occasionally like to explore different places, and if I’m going to go, I’m going to take photos.

The lion outside the Art Institute was a big hit. Lots of people wanted a picture of him or even with him. I had to wait awhile to get a clear shot.

Lion

LionCU

Because it’s Illinois, they planted corn in the Millennium  Park gardens. Corn and skyscrapers looks a bit funny to me. I’m used to seeing corn and barns or corn and more corn.

CornInTheCity

Metal, skyscrapers, and metal.

MetalUponMetal

The Bean. You can’t go to Chicago without seeing The Bean and having some fun with the reflections. Time was limited, or else I’d have played more.

TheBean

Columns and a fountain. This just looked cool.

ColumnsAndFountain

Ubiquitous pigeons.

bird

Old water tower. Quite the relic.

WaterTower

A shorter, but more interesting building.

ClockTower

Tall skyscraper near Navy Pier.

SkyScraper

Navy Pier itself. If you ever go, I do recommend the totally free stained glass museum. It has all kinds of lovely stained glass panels, even Tiffany. Since I wasn’t sure about copyright issues and didn’t have a tripod, I’m not posting any photos of that. Navy Pier is full of restaurants, shops, boat tours, and other attractions (including a children’s museum and an I-MAX). A tourist could spend all day at Navy Pier alone.

NavyPier

Thus ended my excursion to Chicago. I’d like to go back and visit some museums someday.

Summer Wildflowers

Happy Labor Day, otherwise known as the cultural end of Summer in the northern United States. Here are a few photos of Summer wildflowers I shot a few weeks ago. Before you know it, I’ll be posting fall scenery.

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Next Time: Either portrait, otherworldly, or abstract. I haven’t made up my mind yet.

I’m Working on a Video

I haven’t been doing as much photography as I’d like lately. One of the big reasons for that is because I’m working on a video. I now have a Nikon D7100, which allows me to rack focus and shoot in dimmer light than the little video camera I had previously did. It’s been four years since college, and I feel the need to brush off my skills and use them rather than continuing to let them get rusty. Since I work full-time, finding the time to do this is a little challenging, but I’m slowly shooting this short video on my love of cameras. I’m in a good place in my life right now to do this. Yes, it’s a learning experience, and no, it won’t be perfect, but part of learning is doing it over again if I need to – taking it slowly and letting it grow and develop as it needs to. The challenge is just making sure I keep moving along without a deadline to motivate me. Below are some stills from what I’ve shot so far.

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Japanese Garden

Several weeks ago, I took some time for quite reflection and enjoyment of harmony and nature: I visited a Japanese garden. Photography wasn’t my primary goal, but I knew I’d be frustrated if I didn’t bring a camera. Koi food is available in the gift shop. I didn’t buy any, but the Koi have learned to associate humans with food, so they surfaced anyway.

LightKoi

OrangeKoi

Also photographed the main waterfall. It’s a feature of the garden I’ve always loved.

WaterfallSingle

WaterfallTripple

Next Time: Otherworldly or Video Sneak Peek

I’m working on a video project. It’s taking a long time, but I might post a few clips if I don’t get around to shooting the stills I’m thinking of.

Birds of Prey

These photos are from a club shoot for the photo club I belong to. Apparently, one of the long-time members knows someone in raptor rescue and they arrange for the club to photograph a few non-releasable birds every year. The rescue uses these birds for educational purposes, so they were glad to tell us about all of them.

The peregrine falcon was the most vocal and energetic of all the birds. We were told she was used for hunting and retired due to a foot problem. Now she’s a favorite of school children at educational programs.

peregrine falcon

She also likes water.

WaterTheBird

This is Phoenix, so named because he barely survived a nasty high-speed collision with a truck. He’s a very impressive bird, although unfortunately mentally challenged these days.

Phonenix

This is Ulysses. I could swear he looked directly at one of the other club members who said his name.

OwlEars

I don’t know how to spell this lovely girl’s name. It means “Beautiful One” in Navajo. Very appropriate. She is a Barn Owl raised by another group for educational purposes. We were told Barn Owls are declining in number because of habitat loss. As the name implies, they tend to live in rural areas and eat mice.

BarnOwl

 

Next Time: Japanese Garden

The best place in town for calm and relaxation. Also pretty cool.

Fireworks!

A bit late for a 4th of July post, and a bit early for my schedule, but I wanted to share them. I didn’t get to a fireworks show the last two years, so I was eager to head off with my new camera and shoot them. Problem: new camera. I choose the long exposure noise reduction option when I was going through the menus. Bad idea for fireworks. I couldn’t figure out why the camera wasn’t ready to shoot again or if my exposures were even over. I had no idea what I was shooting for the first few minutes of the show. It ended up looking something like this at best:

20140704Fireworks04 - Copy

Fortunately, I figured it all out in time to get some good shots of the show:

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It’s a good thing I’d started to read the manual! So the moral is test the camera with as long of a shutter speed as you’ll actually be using. And don’t use long exposure NR unless you have time to wait for it.

 

 

Memorial Day Park Exploration

I’m working on a video project right now, so I’m sharing a few photos from my scouting trip to a nearby state park. This park is known for a major river and some large rock formation. Unfortunately, the trees and the way the steps on the trail were arranged made getting a good shot of the rock formations difficult. Light wasn’t the best either. We were warned to watch for snakes, but the only biting animals we found were mosquitos. Lot and lots of mosquitos. I had bug spray on, and I could still feel them crawling all over me when I ran my fingers through my hair.  I could hardly stop moving long enough to take a photo before they became unbearable. Walking fast didn’t completely shake them by any means, but it helped a little. There were some nice sections of the park, but Dad and I decided we would wait until after a killing frost to return. Less vegetation, fall color, and fewer mosquitos would be better.

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