Streaking Down The River Of Light

This was taken while I was in Chicago. There are tour boats going up and the Chicago River doing tours that finish in Lake Michigan and then they return to their docks. Most are based at Michigan Avenue.

I shot this while I was walking towards Lake Michigan and I had 3 boats coming towards me. With it being night and the lens wide open it was still a 4 second exposure.

For editing I had to do a composite image. The first image with the boats the way I wanted them didn’t have the buildings in focus. The second image did. So a masked in the buildings from the second image. Then it was just some standard editing. Dodged the light reflections and a bit of the sky wheel. Then I masked in some preset from Intensify Pro and called it a day.



Float Along The Harbor

I have been shooting new stuff! In fact I have shot around 3000+ frames over the last 2 weekends. I have been in cities, national parks, municipal parks. I have climbed over rocks. Walked through streams. I have faced perils such as flesh eating chipmunks, carnivorous squirrels, blood sucking midges, rabid turtles, and quicksand like mud.

All of the above is true. Mostly.

This image I faced none of the above issues. I was on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. I wasn’t there to shoot landscape stuff. In fact I shot stuff completely different which I will share later. I just liked how this looked when I was walking to my next location so I took the picture.

I have been using my Nikon D810 a lot. When I travel I take the Sony A7R due to weight issues and ease of packing for flights. When I’m home I use the D810.

Normally I use zoom lenses because I mainly do landscape and travel work. It’s easier to avoid changing lenses and keeps weight down. I have owned a 50mm 1.8 for some time but never used it. With the project I was working on it was the fastest lens I had so I just put it in my bag and no other lens to keep me honest.*

*I do have a 35mm 2.0 on order.

Editing with the Nikon D810 is a whole other experience to any other camera I have owned or own. The resolution and dynamic range on it are mind blowing. I can get a lot of detail out of it giving me leeway to do a lot of things.

I used Aurora 2017 which really does a good job with single image HDR. I then mask in the HDR bits I wanted. I then added a Dynamic Contrast mask with Nik Color Efex. I then had to dodge and burn a bit more to fix some dark areas. Then I called it done.


PS – Sorry for the ramble. It adds pizzaz for an otherwise placid photo.

Floating On The Harbor


Twinkles In The Night

This is another from Chicago. I was shooting along the river walk along the Chicago River. I published the other side of this a few weeks ago. This is is slightly different as you get more of the city with its buildings behind the bridge giving it a different perspective.

I still like night shots and night photography. While you lose some details the lights in the image are so much brighter and twinkle like stars. It gives an otherwise mundane image a lot more color.

Editing wise I didn’t go too wild. I used a mask to pop the buildings and the bridge. I also used it on the water to give it a bit more clarity and make it stand out. As always I masked out the noise in the sky. Minor contrast adjustment using the Pro Contrast filter in Nik Color Efex and called it a day.


Bridge Over Chicago River

Lights On Chicago

Snapped this from the Navy Pier when I was in Chicago. I always like night shots where the buildings are all lit up and you get the long exposure effect of objects moving and they blur. Think this image was 13 seconds long.

I knew when I started to edit this I was going to mask in a bunch of different layers. Each section of the image needed it’s own look and feel to make it balance the other out.

Once I was happy with the light I focused on the first layer mask which was the buildings. I really wanted them to put so masked in a layer that bumped clarity and sharpness. Next was the sky. As with any sky when there are blues you deal with noise so I picked something that was aggressive but not that much to just turn the image into noise. Then my final mask was on the water darken it and smooth it out a bit more. Final mask was noise out of the sky. There is something about sensor noise in skies that just annoys me.


Chicago Nights

Squeezed Sunset

This is another one from Millennium Park . I am not sure what direction I was shooting towards. I have a poor sense of direction on a good day. Still, I saw the sunset squeezed between the buildings and I thought it would be a pretty cool image.

The lights in each windows in the buildings look like little sunsets themselves as some of them are building images. You get a progressive cooler to warmer feeling as you start at the top which is blue and cool and work your way down to the warmer part of the image which is all reds and yellows.

Editing I masked in bits here and there. I wanted some of the blacks to go completely black. Figured let your mind fill in what it is instead of trying to dodge out some sense or color. I did bring down the street a bit and then dodged in the people to give the image a sense of motion.


Squeezed Sunset

Stroll Down Michigan Avenue

I shot these as I had to walk to the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I bought another power adapter for my laptop and never checked it to see if it fit. So when I landed and set up my machine I discovered I didn’t have one that fit.

I figured since I was having to take a walk down I might as well bring a camera with me. So I grabbed my Sony RX100M3 and off I went.

I am a very well seasoned traveler so touts and scammers don’t bother me but I was fascinated by how many were on Michigan Avenue. I watched a “homeless” duo do a shift change. The ASPCA and the Humane Society within 20 meters of each other “collecting” donations yet strangely short of credentials except for signs asking for money. The cream of the crop was a fake monk trying to hand out prayer beads for money. Here is a hint if you aren’t familiar with Buddhism. Monk’s only collect alms in the morning and they bring a bowl with them. If a monk approached you at any other time asking for money they are fake. When I pointed out he was fake he quickly moved on.

To further illustrate my point when I was returning to the hotel with my power adapter 6 Chicago officers on bikes rolled. Suddenly the very same people started to have important business elsewhere!

Enjoy the photos.


Up on Cripple Creek

No, it’s not really Cripple Creek, I’m sure it has a real name but hell if I know it. However, if you get the reference then go you!

I took this shot as a warm up shot before I meandered off to my real destination. I hadn’t shot with my Sony A7R for a few weeks because I was in Panama using the Nikon D810. I just prefer the Sony A7R for landscape stuff because I can flip the LCD down to see what I am doing when I have to shoot at weird angles. Which in this case I did because I had the tripod set up at an angle to avoid a telecom line in the frame.

Editing wise I wanted to bring out the detail of the scene. While it was a warmup shot I didn’t want to treat it as just some b-roll stuff. So once I had things dialed in color wise I masked in some details here and there. I didn’t use a filter but did shoot at a relatively slow shutter speed to get the water to look like it did.


Up on Cripple Creek


Things Are Looking Up

I had a chance to go to the Portland Rose Garden before flying out towards Mexico. So I brought a couple cameras with me. My Sony A7R and my Sony RX100M3. I will get to the roses eventually but I did shoot this shot which I thought was cool.

To take this picture I had to flip the back LCD towards me. I discovered that the Sony RX100M3 will switch to “selfie” mode giving you a countdown to when the picture would be taken. I was rather amused by this fact.

Editing wise it’s a straight up edit in Photoshop. I hope it looks okay because editing on my 13″ Macbook is a struggle and I can’t see the finer details. I did dodge and burn the trees to get some texture into them and give them depth.

Full resolution.



Wave Crashing In

I didn’t plan on showing any of the images I shot in Portland, Oregon just yet I really liked this one so I went ahead and edited it.

This is a shot of some wake coming on on the Willamette River here in Portland. I was out doing a sunrise shoot (no sun). You get very easy access to the river and I was down right on the water. I had my Olympus TG-4 which is waterproof so I just put it down in the water and set the timer for 2 seconds and let it fire. The wave coming in is what I got!

Editing wise not much going on. You can’t do a whole lot with these images out of a small compact camera. I do have Wacom Tablet with me so I did dodge and burn the wave a bit but that was about all.


Full resolution.

Wave Income


So I will annouce that I have a new camera. This image seems to be appropriate for my thinking in purchasing it it. I was going through photography stuff on eBay and I’ll be honest, I have been considering moving to full frame again beyond my Sony A7R. So I saw a listing for a Nikon D810 that was being sold in Canadian dollars so I took a look. At the bottom the seller said he was selling all his Nikon gear and contact him about making a reasonable offer. So I did. After some haggling between the two of us we struck a deal that was mutually beneficial to both of us. I got a Nikon D810, Nikon 16-35mm 4.0, Nikon 70-200 4.0, Sigma 24-105 4.0 Art all for an insanely low price in US dollars. He got to sell it all and convert it back into Canadian so he ended up ahead as well. So it was a no-brainer in the end.

The gear got stuck in customs in San Francisco for a few weeks but it finally arrived and I took a trip to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. I have lots of images from this and it was my first time shooting with the D810 and the first time in 3 years that I used an optical viewfinder. Still I had an amazing time shooting with the camera. It has a steep learning curve but even this image shot at ISO 1600 with the lens wide up and me winging it the resolution is fantastic.

Full resolution.