Friday, December 30, 2011

Year in Review--2011, pt. 7 (Final)

It's time for my annual year in review, in which I pick my top 20 photos for the year. I've been posting my selections in groups of three since December 16. In this final installment, my top 2 picks for the year.

 2. Grand Tetons, WY.

 1. Stair trails and observatory, southwest of Champaign, IL.

I enjoyed reviewing my work this year and selecting the top 20, but I'm especially excited about the photographic possibilities for the coming year, and about posting some of those photos here on this blog. Thanks for reading! 

Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year in Review--2011, pt. 6

It's time for my annual year in review, in which I pick my top 20 photos for the year. I'll be posting my selections in groups of three between now and the end of the year. The first installment was posted on December 16. In this sixth installment, pictures 5 to 3.

5. Cornfield and moonrise, Mahomet, IL.

4. Elevators, Minneapolis, MN.

3. Edge of the great plains, Basin, WY.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Year in Review--2011, pt. 5

It's time for my annual year in review, in which I pick my top 20 photos for the year. I'll be posting my selections in groups of three between now and the end of the year. The first installment was posted on December 16. In this fifth installment, pictures 8 to 6.

 8. Storage barns, Tolono, IL.

 7. Yellowstone River and Absaroka Mountains, south of Livingston, MT.

 6. Minnehaha elevator district, Minneapolis, MN.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Year in Review--2011, pt. 4

It's time for my annual year in review, in which I pick my top 20 photos for the year. I'll be posting my selections in groups of three between now and the end of the year. The first installment was posted on December 16. In this fourth installment, pictures 11 to 9.

 11. Sunset Reflection, Savoy, IL.


10. Yellowstone National park, WY.

9. Old grain bin, southwest of Champaign, IL.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Year in Review--2011, pt. 3

It's time for my annual year in review, in which I pick my top 20 photos for the year. I'll be posting my selections in groups of three between now and the end of the year. The first installment was posted on December 16. In this third installment, pictures 14 to 12.

 14. Near Pinecliffe, CO

13. Momento Mori, Minneapolis, MN

12. Sunset, Philo, IL

Monday, December 19, 2011

Year in Review--2011, pt. 2

It's time for my annual year in review, in which I pick my top 20 photos for the year. I'll be posting my selections in groups of three between now and the end of the year. The first installment was posted on December 16. In this second installment, pictures 17 to 15.

 17. Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Manteo, NC

16. Infrared Sky
15. Infrared Countryside

Friday, December 16, 2011

Year in Review--2011, pt. 1

It's time for my annual year in review, in which I pick my top 20 photos for the year. I'll be posting my selections in groups of three between now and the end of the year.

2011 was a pretty good year for travel. I drove as far east as the east coast from New Jersey to South Carolina, as far west as Yellowstone, north to the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan, and south as far as north Texas. The photos that I have selected as my 20 best of the year show a lot of different parts of the country.

Today we have the first three, numbers 20 to 18.

20. Cornfields and Cloud, Champaign, IL

19. Chesapeake Bay Bridge, from Kiptopeke, Virginia

18. Abandoned farm, South Park Valley, Colorado

Monday, December 12, 2011

Southwest in Black and White


I am continuing to work on new techniques for converting color photos to black and white (I'm reading a book on the topic). Some of these techniques can really bring out the best in a photo. Here are some favorites from my work this weekend. All are from Utah, mostly southeast, and were taken during my trip there just over a year ago.

Above is a view of the moon over the buttes just outside the north entrance of Canyonlands National Park. Below is a scene from southwest of Vernal, Utah.


The last two photos are from Monument Valley. The edifice below benefited from some interesting and very transient lighting as the sun broke through the clouds. Below that is a panorama of the valley. I'm not sure how well it will appear here on the blog, so click on it to get the best possible view.




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Monterey in Black and White


I've been working on some old pictures from Monterey, California, converting them into black and white. The pictures are from November of 1997, and they have been scanned from film, which can present some technical problems. Some of them are excessively grainy, and resolution isn't great.

Here are a couple of my favorites so far. Above is a view looking out from the point of the Monterey peninsula, in Pacific Grove. Below, a shot of some roosting sea birds.


Finally, A look out to the ocean, again in Pacific Grove, using a long exposure to blur the waves a bit. Black and white seems well suited to the cloudy, moody weather under which these shots were taken.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Life Imitates Nature

Here's a scene from extreme northwest Nebraska, near Harrison. I enjoyed how the human structures were slowly beginning to look like the rock outcroppings. I'm not sure what the center structure is. It looks like a Stonehenge made of oil barrels.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photo Of The Day

Today's photo is an abandoned gas station in Gilman, Illinois, rendered as a painting.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Planning ahead


It's generally true in landscape photography that the more planning you can do, the better the results. My recent star trails photo, posted last Friday, was an example of this. I planned the shot in advance, did a test shot a week or so before hand, and used that shot to fine tune the final photo.

So I thought I'd let you in on some planning I am doing right now for another night shot. I'd like to get a night shot of the barn above, illuminated by a technique called light painting. What I'm visualizing is something close to the angle of view above, with the barn illuminated, and the surroundings dark, but with stars visible. I'm not planning on star trails, because I don't think I will be able to find a safe enough parking place to spend that kind of time. We'll see, because star trails behind the illuminated barn would be way cool.

So that's what I'm planning, hopefully in the next week or so. I'm taking a risk, announcing my plans in advance, because it may not turn out to be any good at all. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chesapeake Bay


This is a photo from my travels down the east coast last spring. I stopped at the very end of Cape Charles, just before entering the bridge and tunnel that crosses Chesapeake Bay. Out from the shore were old pilings that look like some sort of abandoned fishing apparatus. Whether or not that's the case, the various sea birds were gathering enthusiastically, implying that fish were to be had there.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Star Trails Again

I know I've been putting up a lot of star trails photos recently, but this is a shot I've been wanting to get for a long time. It was taken out in the countryside southeast of Savoy Illinois, at the observatory owned by the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society, on November 24th 2011. The final picture consists of 99 exposures taken over 90 minutes, and merged in Photoshop. The exposures were of varying lengths, but most around 20 seconds, at f5.6, using a Canon EF 10-22mm wide zoom at 10mm, on a Canon 60D camera.


Many thanks to David Leake, president of the CUAS, for permission to photograph at the observatory.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Photo Of The Day

 A view inside the Imperial palace in Kyoto, Japan.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A bit of abstract

I've been working on creating abstract photos in black and white. Here are some of my favorites of my recent efforts.


I like the picture above for its M.C. Escher-like effect. The picture below is almost pure geometric form, but with enough variation to keep it from becoming mechanical.


Finally, a close-up of an everyday object.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Star Trails at Home

On Wednesday I posted a time-lapse project, part of which involved filming the sky for an entire day from my bedroom window. In the night portion of the film you can watch the stars move across the sky. I thought I'd take those same still shots and create a star trails shot from the footage. And here it is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

11-11-11 Time Lapse



This is a time lapse video of my day on 11-11-11. It is meant to complement the "11-11-11 One Day on Earth" project, but is not affiliated with it. The film is a combination of stills shot with a Canon Rebel XTi, and video shot with a Canon 60D and Flip HD video camera. Time lapse sequences from video were prepared using QuickTime pro 7, and the project was assembled in Adobe Premier Pro CS5

Music by Vivaldi

Monday, November 14, 2011

Minneapolis Elevators Redux

Just for comparison purposes, I've decided to post the three pictures I posted on Friday, only in color this time. Which do you prefer?





Friday, November 11, 2011

Minneapolis Elevators

On my trip to Minneapolis this week I finally got the chance to spend some time exploring and shooting the old grain elevators that line Hiawatha Avenue on the south side of town. Although old, the elevators bustle with activity, and are right on top of a busy railroad switching yard. Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip.

The picture above was taken looking north from 37th Street and Dight Avenue. Below is the view along the tracks, to the north from 42nd Street.


Finally here is the majestic tower of the General Mills elevator, looking south from 37th Street.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Iowa Countryside


I had to run up to Minnesota this week to give a presentation. On the way up, driving through rural Northeast Iowa, it was a beautiful late fall day. Above is a view of farms and the rolling fields. Below is a view across the fields of Ricardsville, Iowa. On my way back down on Wednesday, there was snow on the ground. Fall is fleeting.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Photo of the Day

Playing around for the effect with some fall foliage here. I used some blur to get a gauzy effect that I like. The question is, do you like it? I find that there is often a point why my taste seems to go off the rails, and shots that I like a lot are not appreciated by others.

Is that the case here? I'll let you be the judge

Friday, November 4, 2011

Glorious Sunset


There was a beautiful sunset through the clouds on Wednesday evening. I managed to catch it behind the historic round barns on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana. The only camera I had with me was my Canon G12, and the shot above is a straight shot (no HDR), so you can see how incredible the color was. A beautiful sight, to be sure.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Foliage

Here are a few more shots from my drive on Saturday. These are presented in living color. Both were taken in the cemetery on the east side of Chenoa, Illinois. I'm not sure that I got the foliage at its peak of color, but I think I'm close.
 

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Drive on a Fall Day

Office building, Rankin, Illinois

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day. It was sunny and clear, with temperatures in the upper 50s. I had plenty of other things to do, but I found a long drive in central Illinois to be irresistible. I set out in search of fall foliage, but found myself mostly attracted to old buildings in the small towns I passed through. Above and below are some of my favorites.

Grain elevator, Forrest, Illinois

Pit-Stop Cafe, Rankin, Illinois

Vista Auto Sales, Rankin, Illinois