Friday, January 29, 2016
I took two nice trips in May of 2015--one to St. Paul, Minnesota, to see family, and another to Boston for a friend's wedding. On the way to Boston I drove the eastern part of U.S. 6, and followed it all the way to its end at the tip of Cape Cod. The photo above is Cape Cod's Highland Light on the Atlantic side of the cape.
On the way up to Saint Paul I got off the highway to explore in northeast Iowa. I like the colors and shapes of this view of a country road under cloudy skies.
Dinkytown, next to the University of Minnesota campus, is one of my favorite spots in the Twin Cities. Railroad tracks cut diagonally through Dinkytown, and provide this nice view of downtown MInneapolis. This is an infrared shot converted to black and white.
To be honest, I'm not fully sure why I like this photo so much. It shows a stretch of U.S. 6 in Clark's Summit, Pennsylvania, near Scranton, with the I-476 overpass in the distance. I think I like the random scrum of traffic and the profusion signs and activity. It's wonderfully chaotic and yet strangely ordered at the same time.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
In May the countryside comes alive, and it's a great time to venture out. The photo above is an infrared shot of some horses enjoying the spring weather at the South Farms of the University of Illinois.
In the countryside the crops are not yet up in May, so you get a great view of the sky, and anything else, like road signs.
Above is an infrared shot of part of the old White Hall on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. White Hall at one time was the largest U.S. military building in existence, later exceeded only by the Pentagon. The building is currently being torn down, and this part no longer exists.
May means thunderstorms in the midwest. These storms are rolling in over the old Round Barns on the University of Illinois campus.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Spring is always a relief in East-Central Illinois. Last Spring I was experimenting with both infrared and motion blur photography. The photo above was taken in Crystal Lake Park in Urbana.
I love experimenting with long exposure movement in photography. It creates an abstract effect that I like, when it goes right. The photo above is actually of cars in a parking lot.
This is another infrared shot, of some trees on the grounds of Orchard Downs at the University of Illinois.
Friday, January 22, 2016
In March I got to take my first trip of the year. Over spring break I drove US 54 from where it begins in western Illinois all the way to its end in El Paso, Texas. From there I drove back along US 62, which begins in El Paso. I drove it up to Paducah, Kentucky, and then came home.
The picture above is of an old movie theater in Childress, Texas, in the panhandle.
This is a view in Texas along US 62, northeast of El Paso and just south of the New Mexico border. I live how all the horizontal lines align, almost as if you are looking at a series of layers or strata.
US 62 goes across northern Arkansas through the Ozarks. It was the first time I'd had the chance to visit there, and it was quite lovely. This view is just east of Eureka Springs on US 62.
Me and my trees in black and white. This shot was taken at the same spot as the photo above, only looking the other way.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
March is the beginning of spring in east-central Illinois, and that's always a relief. The photo above, of an old barn north of Urbana, was one of my most popular photos of the year on Flickr.
This old semi trailer lies along the railroad tracks in Champaign. I love the character of the fading paint and rust on it.
In this case I like the lines of this staircase in a parking garage on the University of Illinois campus. In black and white it makes a strong graphic statement.
Finally, another big sky photo. East-central Illinois really is flyover country, and some of the best clouds are the result of jet contrails, particularly when they mix with the existing clouds. It's a lovely effect.
Monday, January 18, 2016
Continuing my review of my photos in 2015 we come to February. Usually a dreary month, in 2015 there was plenty of sunshine, and the countryside beckoned. Above is a blasted tree trunk and some old farm buildings south of Milmine, Illinois.
As you can see, my lone tree by the side of road obsession continued in February. The one above is an infrared shot converted to black and white.
This is a beautiful old grain elevator east of Bement, Illinois. The infrared really brings out the clouds in the sky.
Lastly, another lone tree infrared shot. This one was taken on Valentine's Day.
Friday, January 15, 2016
2015 was big year for black and white in my photography, and particularly for infrared black and white. Today's post will feature some of my favorite black and white shots from January.
Above is an old church along US 150 in Mayview, Illinois. On a clear day infrared gives an absolutely black sky when rendered as black and white. I love the effect.
This shot is just standard black and white, not infrared, of two grain bins south of Rantoul, Illinois. In January the farm land can appear austerely barren, but it's only temporary.
This may be one of my favorite infrared photos of 2015. It's just a billboard and road in Champaign, Illinois, but there is something about the composition that I really like. A big part of it is the washboard-looking clouds (altocumulus, according to the Google).
My final photo from January 2015 is a classic fields-and-sky shot in infrared, rendered in black and white. Black sky, clouds, and the horizon dead in the middle of the photo, violating all the rules of composition. Just what I like.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Since I didn't post at all in 2015 I want to cover my photo highlights for the past year. I did a 365 project in 2015. This is where a photographer commits to taking at least one photo a day for the entire year. I found it grueling, which I will discuss when I cover the project itself in a later post. For now I am going to go through my best photos from each month in 2015, starting with January.
I started 2015 with a brand new camera, a Canon 6D, which is a full frame camera. This means the photos are larger, and the colors are better. It's a wonderful camera. The photo above was taken out in the countryside on January 1st using the 6D and the Canon 24-105 f4L lens that I bought with it.
January was very cold last year, with plenty of snow. One evening I went to the top of a local parking ramp to get this photo of the new tall buildings sprouting up in the Campustown area of Champaign, resulting in the photo above.
Later in the month I caught this nice sunset photo of the old round barns on the University of Illinois campus. This was shot with my "carry around" camera at the time, a Canon Powershot G16.
Finally, another photo from January 1st, of one of my favorite places, a country road with some isolated trees.
Next, some black and white and infrared photos from January.
Monday, January 11, 2016
Here are the last of my photos for my review of 2014, when I temporarily quit blogging. All midwest countryside today.
I have always been a sucker for a nice line of trees standing on the horizon. The one above is in northern Iowa, south of Cresco.
Train tracks are great photo subjects for lots of reasons. They have leading lines, strong graphic elements, a bit of natural nostalgia, and implications of travel. This set of tracks is in Chatsworth, Illinois, an old railroad town. The photo was shot in infrared and rendered in black and white.
Above is another line of trees, and another infrared shot, this time in east-central Illinois. Infrared can tend to have a fuzzy, sort of dreamy look, but I think that works with clouds in this picture.
Our final shot from 2014 is of the rise of the October full moon at the Hubbard Cemetery southeast of Urbana, Illinois. In the fall the length of the days mean that the sun will set at almost the same time as the full moon rises, resulting in a pleasing combination of warm sun glow and rising moon.
Friday, January 8, 2016
Having stopped blogging in the fall of 2014 I am catching up; first with a quick review of my favorite photos from 2014.
The photo above, of an encroaching storm, was taken in late June near the Iowa-Minnesota border west of Chester, Iowa.
This one of my favorite cemetery photos of 2014. It was shot in infrared and converted to black and white for a moody, albeit sunny, view of a beautiful grave stone and statue. This is in the cemetery of Mt. Pulaski, Illinois.
Old farm buildings have always been one of my favorite subjects for photography. This old barn, not long for this world, is located (or was) south of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on the old US 218. This is another infrared shot, and shows the softening effect that infrared can have in certain light.
We'll finish this post with a picture of the old grain elevator in Willeys, Illinois. The original photo has been rendered as a painting.
Monday, January 4, 2016
Since I quit blogging in the fall of 2014, I never did a year in review. I've decided to start out my return to blogging with a look at my favorite shots from that year.
Above is a view of the Indianapolis skyline from the highest hill in the massive Crown Hill Cemetery, taken in June of 2014.
Next is a view of the Conkey Branch of the Salt Fork River near Danville, Illinois. It has been rendered to look like an old glass negative photo.
Another old-time looking photo, although without manipulation this time. This old car and building were in Mt. Auburn, Illinois.
Finally, a classic view of flat east-central Illinois, not far from Bement.
Friday, January 1, 2016
Having taken a little over a year of from this blog I have decided to revive it. It's a lot of work, work that is seen by very few, but I find that I miss it. Although I have been posting lots of photos on my Flickr account, that account doesn't allow me to comment, or to tell a story.
So here we are. A new year, and a new stab at blogging. Some things will be different. I plan to only post twice a week on Monday and Friday, at least for now, instead of three times a week as before. Also, I plan to post more about about my artistic efforts with photography, and not just about travel. Other than that, things should be the same.
I have a lot of catching up to do. Not only did I take some interesting trips in 2015, but I successfully completed a 365 project. More about that in upcoming posts. Starting on Monday I will begin posting my favorite photos from 2015, moving chronologically through the year.
The photo above is of the sunset in northeast Mississippi along US 61, taken in late November of 2015.
I'm glad to be back.