Where my photography began.

This picture below is where it started for me. 11 months ago I took a trip to Yellowstone National Park, Muir Woods, LA, the Grand Canyon, and then headed home.

This is a picture of Fairy Falls. I had THAT CAMERA (a P&S Nikon P510 w/42x zoom lens). The woman in the photo left the scene not long after taking the picture and I had the entire area to myself. I took my time. There was no rush. My vacation just began!

This photo is a fresh reprocessing of a three shot bracket I took at the time. I didn’t even know how to process HDR at the time! I just knew I needed a bracket of photos! (Full disclosure, some days I still feel like I don’t know how to process HDR.)

Fairy Falls The first time

Ever since then I hadn’t stopped learning. But there’s so much more to learn. I’m really just at the beginning of this journey.

But at the time of taking this photo I do remember remarking to myself how the sun at about the time of the Summer Solstice would rise far enough north (I hope!) to light the falls directly. So far I still think I’m right. Google Earth and other tools make me think I might be right. But there aren’t many photographs of this fall at opportunistic moments.

It’s time I find out how much I really have learned about this photography thing! On Sunday morning I’ll be there.

It’s the start of a two week vacation. It will be awesome!

This also means that starting Friday, updates will be spars as I will be traveling and in very wi-fi unfriendly places.

Bonsai Water Drops

I have to say that when it comes to design and art the Japanese are often onto something. The Chicago Botanic Garden has many examples of Japanese horticulture but the Bonsai is special.

When the sun goes down and these displays are lit from underneath, they invite me to think of them as completely different displays and sometimes I think of them as completely different worlds. But this time it was a little rainy and that really made them special.

This Bonsai tree was lit from underneath at an outdoor display while it was raining.
This Bonsai tree was lit from underneath at an outdoor display while it was raining.

Chicago Botanic Garden Waterfall

This is the main waterfall at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It is displayed just before entering the Japanese gardens.

For this photo, I took a bracket of three ND filtered photos so the long exposure would help the water to look the way it does. I also experimented with layering the images so I could further limit the ghosting. It’s exciting to try these techniques. I am glad I get a chance to try this out before going to Yellowstone this Saturday.

Chicago Botanic Garden Waterfall

Indoor Displays at the Chicago Botanic Garden

At the Chicago Botanic Garden, they have the Regenstein Center and in one part of it is an indoor atrium. They really know what they’re doing.  This atrium has a skylight, it’s long and has pools of water at either end. This arrangement of color and texture was really fun to look at.

I set this as a panorama with my 50mm lens. The full resolution image is nearly 10000 pixels wide! If you click on the image the link will bring you to my smugmug page where you can see the full resolution image.

The Chicago Botanic Garden's Regenstein Center's indoor flower garden.
The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Regenstein Center’s indoor flower garden.

Dahlias open and Dahlias closed

I like Dahlias. They express their colors so dynamically. Pinks, reds, magentas, to a blazing yellow and orange fire deep inside the flower.

A Dahlia in bloom and another waiting it's turn to open up.

A Dahlia in bloom and another waiting it’s turn to open up.

I have to admit that I had to post this one because I saw Anna Ryndak (a Google+ Photographer) post her picture of one of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Dahlia’s and I just had to show mine, too.  This one was from a few days ago.

Water Fountain Sunset

fivedayquest  DAY 5. Invited by Mihoko Yamanashi .

This is my last one of the 5 day set. What better ending than a sunset? The clouds really came out. A few days ago I questioned if I’d get one last good day in this set. But this was it!

I also briefly met Anna Ryndak there. I have to admit, I thought I was going to leave right after running into her but then I saw this post-sunset blaze in the sky and new I had to take one last try!

, 20140612, DSC02034_5_6

The Chicago Botanic Garden really puts on a good display. And over these 5 days, I saw a lot of flowers come to an end and a few new ones begin. It’s constant change over there. Just because you went yesterday, doesn’t mean you’ll see the same thing today!

Who do I chose? I already mentioned her. Anna Ryndak , since I met you at the garden, you’re it! It’s always fun to meet another G+’er! Remember, just use the tag, fivedayquest  , tag me, invite a new person every day for five days.

now for a few tags of my own:

sunsetphotography   hdrphotography   waterfountain   photomatix   16×9

Ground Lit Palm Trees in HDR


What happens when I have a tripod and take my time!

fivedayquest Day 4, thanks Mihoko Yamanashi for the invite

On this fourth day at the Chicago Botanic Garden in a row, I had an initial feeling of boredome. NOT THAT! KISS OF DEATH! I dreaded my results.

I needed an idea, inspiration, a LIGHTBULB! Lucky for me the lights came on at the garden again! I knew that the green house would need the lights and this time, I had the tripod because I didn’t need to carry an umbrella.

Tropical Green House at the Chicago Botanic Garden. After the lights come on the green house shows a different character.
Tropical Green House at the Chicago Botanic Garden. After the lights come on the green house shows a different character.

This last weekend I purchased Photomatix for HDR processing. When this bracket first processed, my jaw dropped. I know there’s a few things that can be done to push the processing further, but one thing at a time! 🙂

Who do I invite?  Since I have a short attention span and I just liked Wendy Baker ‘s awesome photo of Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring… well, I pick YOU Wendy Baker .

The rules are simple, post photos for 5 days in a row. Tag me in each post, tag 1 new person to do it each day, and use the hashtag fivedayquest . You don’t have to start right away. Start whenever you want! The idea is that it’s daily life.

hdrphotography 20mmprime sonynex7 bluehourphotography palmtrees flowers gardens botanicalgarden  (it was after sunset, btw!)


Ground Lit Palm Trees at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Ground Lit Palm Trees

+Chicago Botanic Garden    #fivedayquest  Day 3.

+Mihoko Yamanashi invited me to participate in this and I accepted.

Today was rainy and crappy out. Generally not ideal conditions for photography. BUT! I am going on a vacation to several National Parks starting with Yellowstone on 6-21-2014. I am fully aware of the fact that weather could be crap there too. So, I went and bought a new pair of waterproof hiking boots and a rain jacket and they both performed excellent while walking around the Botanic Garden.

So, I went through their tropical rainforest green house. And because the sky was already so dark, all the ground lights of the garden were coming out and I saw these palm trees lit. BUT I didn’t have a tripod. This was handheld. It was noisy as heck. But I felt that it was fun to look at.
Tropical Green House gound lit

For this day, I want to invite my twin brother, +Anthony Dooley . I gave him my old camera and he’s not let go of it since. It’s a point and shoot, technically speaking, but he’s got a good eye for it.

Tony, you can start this at any time. The idea is to show daily life for five days in a row. All you need to do is tag who invited you, and use the hashtag, #fivedayquest.

Stargazer Lilly at the Chicago Botanic Garden

I really like lilies. I believe that this is a Stargazer Lilly. It’s in a central atrium at the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I was surprised by the dynamic range of the setting! So many rich colors and dark tones that I had to use multiple exposures.

I hope you enjoy this one. It’s just nice to look at.

Stargazer Lilly CBG