Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Mass View

Here's a view of the Cambridge Reservoir in Waltham, Massachusetts. The photo was shot in infrared and converted to black and white.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Coast of Maine

This is a view of the Casco Bay from the southern tip of Bailey Island in Harpswell, Maine. The monument in the distance was originally built as a day beacon on Little Mark Island. Day beacons are unlighted nautical navigation aids. A light was later added to it, but it is not considered a lighthouse because there is no house and no keeper. It seems like a technical distinction to me, but I'm only repeating what I found out about it on the Internet.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ocean Blue

This is the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The photo was taken in November of 2015.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Big Sky Clouds

Spring seems to be on the way here in East-Central Illinois. I am excited by that prospect and by the chance to see the amazing clouds that spring brings here. This photo was taken southwest of Crescent City, Illinois, in May of 2014.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Look Behind You

Some people who enjoy landscape and travel photography seek to emulate great pictures they've seen. They want to take a classic photo of the Eiffel Tower or the sunset over the ocean or whatever. I'm the opposite. I want to find something new. The more famous, and in my opinion cliché, a photo is, the more I want to find something different.

One of the times that I learned this lesson resulted in the photo above. I was living in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1987 when a major gas line ruptured and exploded at a gas terminal east of the city. No one was hurt or killed, but the fire burned for over a week before it could be put out. Photographers flocked to the scene, or as close as you could get, especially at night, in order to get photos of the spectacular flames. I went one evening with a friend of mine.

Most people came away with photos like this:

This certainly shows the flames, which is the obvious subject, but it's not an interesting photo, except perhaps as a news item. However, while at the scene I took my own advice, and took a moment to look around and behind me. Sure enough, across the road were farm buildings lit up by the flames that I think no one else noticed. The result was the photo at the top of this entry.

I have had several experiences like that since. I have found myself in a famous spot, looking at a cliché view, and found that by looking around me I could find a photo that was not only beautiful, but relatively unique.

I have no objection to photographers who want to get a great version of some classic view. I'm not judging. But if, like me, you hunger to create something unique, even in a much-photographed location, remember to look behind you

Friday, March 18, 2016

Canadian Rockies

Here are a couple of panoramas from the Canadian Rockies--specifically Banff National Park. Above is a view of Lake Louise, a justifiably popular tourist spot with a spectacular view.

This is a view from the side of the Trans-Canadian Highway, just northwest of the town of Banff itself. The Canadian Rockies are not as high as in the US, but they have broader valleys and the peaks still look incredible. It's a visual feast.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An Iowa Barn

One of the things I love about the midwest is the old farm buildings. I'm especially glad to see  an old farm building being preserved, as is the case of this old barn, just outside of St. Donatus, Iowa. St Donatus is a tiny village famous for being a piece of old Luxembourg in Iowa. The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spring Rain

Here is a panoramic view of a bend of the Susquehanna River in Bradford County, Pennsylvania with rain sweeping in from the west. The photo was taken at a lookout along US 6 in northeastern PA.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I took the photo above as part of my 365 Project. There's no real significance to the date; I just happen to like the shot, and I took it a year ago today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Speaking of Capitols...

Over spring break last year I drove US 54 from its origin in western Illinois to its end in El Paso Texas. On the first day of the drive it took me through Jefferson City, Missouri, where I stopped to get this shot of the Missouri State Capitol.

This is an example of what I consider to be the proper use of HDR. In this case it controls the contrast and brings light into the otherwise harsh shadows in the bright sunlight.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Photography and Mood

Looking back at my photos from over the years, it becomes apparent that my mood and general state of mind affects the subjects I choose, even when I'm shooting something seemingly neutral, like landscapes.

I took this photo in early 1985 when my life was, as they say, in the toilet. My first marriage was falling apart, and my first grades in grad school were terrible. To take my mind off it all I went out shooting photos, and came back with this. Can you tell I was miserable?

Friday, March 4, 2016

A favorite Shot

This was one of my favorite photos from my early days when I was getting serious about photography. It was shot on Kodachrome, the late lamented incredible slide film, in early 1984 in Dubuque Iowa. I remember that my wide angle Vivitar zoom lens produced lots of flare, which could be annoying, but when the jet flew into view at the exact same angle as the flare, the picture came together flawlessly. I think I'll always remember the thrill of getting this shot.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fallow Fields

Out and about in the countryside of East-Central Illinois I came across one of those scenes I love: A T-intersection, a sign, a bare tree, flat fields to the horizon. This shot is infrared, converted to black and white.