Category Archives: Night Photography

Happy Memorial Day

Today’s picture is from the WWII Memorial in Washington DC. If you are an American or just live in the USA, please keep those that have died in wars past in your thoughts and prayers.

This is the WWII Memorial at night in Washington DC. The only state not lit up that night was Nebraska.
This is the WWII Memorial at night in Washington DC. The only state not lit up that night was Nebraska.

This is an incredible display and memorial. Everyone should visit this memorial at some point.

Thank you and prayers to our fallen soldiers.

Calder’s Reflection, Chicago.

Calder’s Flamingo in Chicago Federal Plaza is a really dynamic piece of art. In Chicago, if it weren’t for pieces like this all the harsh and imposing lines of the city would overwhelm you. But the amazing curves of the “Flamingo” with the shock of red in the midst of these black steel and glass buildings let’s you relax. Even the name of the location, Federal Plaza makes you stiffen up until you see this piece of art!

Calder's Flamingo in Chicago's Federal Plaza has a reflection in the US Post Office.
Calder’s Flamingo in Chicago’s Federal Plaza has a reflection in the US Post Office.

How did I shoot this photo? It was really formed with 7×2 HDR frames. That’s 14 frames with three photos each! (That’s 42 exposures combined.) I used Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor to stitch the photos together after I did the HDR processing in Photomatix.

How did I get rid of all the people? I waited! I was very patient this evening. Since not every shot took up the whole width of the display, it’s not as if I had to wait for everyone to be gone from the whole plaza all the time, either.

I used Photoshop and Lightroom for standard edits and corrections to paralaxing. (Paralaxing is what happens when you try to do a panorama and one item is split twice in the scene. If you put your finger in front of your face and look at it with one eye closed, and then switch eyes and the finger has a slightly different background.)

I hope you enjoy!

The L Runs Through It

This was taken from the near north side / River North neighborhood of Chicago from on top of a parking garage. It’s basically 3 blocks north of the Chicago River and about 2 blocks east of the north branch of the Chicago River.

The L Runs through it
The “L” going through the near north side before it runs into and becomes the Chicago Loop.


When I posted this photo, I used the moment to introduce my new photography page on Facebook.  Please follow me there, too! I have to say that Facebook is an entirely different social media animal compared to all the others. The connection with Google +, WordPress, Instagram, and Flickr is so far centered on people who just love to look at photos. But even with just a few likes in, on Facebook, I can already sense that there’s just more opportunity to expand your reach to people who aren’t just trying to improve their own photography or people who aren’t that focused on art. And that’s a good thing.

Also, personal facebook pages are much more closed sharing places. But a public photography page allows me to reach more people that aren’t really interested in being my personal facebook friend. Let’s face it, I don’t want everyone’s information on my personal feed, either.


Workplace reflections

My usual drill when I get to the city is I leave the Ogilvie train station and half the time I wind up walking north of the river past this building. I almost always take a good look at it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just how the river reflects it?

An office building reflection on the Chicago river just south of the Dearborn bridge.
An office building reflection on the Chicago river just south of the Dearborn bridge.

This time I decided to do a wide panorama of it. I just liked the reflections too much! I actually tried to process this one in black and white. By the time I thought it looked pretty good, something told me to see what it looks like in color… click.. Definitely staying with color! 🙂

I hope you enjoy.

Blue Hour The Grant Luxury Condos

These high-rise homes really are striking. They create great book ends to the skyline.  But when you walk over the bridge from the museum campus past the Metra Electric Line, into the south Loop, you see these high rises to your left (south). They get great light and the buildings are lit up dramatically. The glass and structure is curved at times too.

The Metra Electric line runs in front of the building (down the left side of the frame, here).

Blue hour does a great job in the city of Chicago. It’s a great contrast with the yellow lighting of the street.

I hope you enjoy!

Blue Hour The Grant Luxury Condos
Blue Hour The Grant Luxury Condos


You can also view this on G+ and you can view this on my SmugMug page, too.

The L Runs Through It

The L runs beneath the Chicago Skyline

I shot this from the top floor of a parking garage. It’s actually a single frame of a much larger panorama I’m still working on. I was really hoping I’d get an L train here. This is an hdr processed photo and of the three photos I took to process this photo, the L train arrived in time for the final shot, a long exposure.

The L beneath the Chicago Skyline at night.

The L beneath the Chicago Skyline at night.

Prints can be purchased at my Smugmug page by clicking on the photo. You can also view a full res version by going to my Google Plus page.

Garrett Popcorn

Popcorn can be an incredible treat in Chicago especially if it’s from Garrett! I used to loooove popcorn. I can’t really have it anymore. But this place makes it so well that you can’t resist! Lucky for me, they were closed at this location.

When you pass this store you always want popcorn! They just are not always open.
When you pass this store you always want popcorn! They just are not always open.

But I couldn’t resist the rich colors going on here. I was on my way back to the station and I was running just a hair later than I usually like to be for the train. I didn’t take too much time with the set up. I just stopped, squared myself with the corner, opened up the aperture, and click! I had enough distance where my depth of field wouldn’t be too shallow.

When I processed this, I new I had to play up the colors! I hope you enjoy.

For prints you can click on the photo to view my smugmug page or go to

To zoom all the way in you can also view my photos on G+ at


Chicago Skyline on liquid lights at night. (Redone)

I redid my Chicago Skyline photo from the Planetarium! This was, in my opinion, a significant improvement on the first one I did for many reasons. Not the least of which was the feedback and new skills learned in The Arcanum. This photo was taken on a relatively cool evening and Lake Michigan was still shaking off the last vestiges of ice on March 20, 2014. The thin sheen of flexible and floating ice is primarily the reason why the reflection looks like this. This was also the weekend after Saint Patrick’s Day. That’s the reason why some of the lights are green.


Chicago on Liquid Lights


I wish I was posting more to the blog lately. I’ve been getting a lot more information about photography while in the Arcanum. It is certainly informing my artistic choices. I recently had a review with my Mentor (they call it a “Master”, but I think to those not part of The Arcanum, it’s better understood as a Mentor).


I’ve basically learned that if I’m going to continue down this road of the ultra large panorama that I have to be committed to examining a lot more detail. I think this will give me a larger hurdle to jump than I previously thought. But it won’t keep me from trying! I’ve got a few more ideas to photograph. I got a couple in the works. There will be more to come. I know I keep saying that. But there will be.


Further processing notes about the photo:


This particular photo was stitched from 4 (but mostly 3) landscape positioned frames of the City. They were all 10 second exposures. I rotate the camera about one third through the frame for better stitching. When I processed the photos, the first thing I did was cool the color temperature down a bit so that I can bring out all the different colors of the lights. Then I used Microsoft Image Composite Editor to stitch the frames but to also save as a layered PSD file. Before I saved it though, I changed the stitching method and made the horizon level. (The original had a curved horizon!) I brought it into Photoshop and from there I did my final edits.


Please click on the photo to view it in Smugmug in super high resolution! This photo was made to be printed large on a 3×1 print. I recently changed printers with Smugmug to Bay Photo to accommodate this.

Chicago’s Skyline in oils

Today I wanted to do an altered repost of a recent photo I did of the Chicago Skyline. The wavy effects of the reflection on water was so strong that I just had to attempt something that would soften the normally hard lines of Chicago’s skyline. Thankfully Photoshop has an oils filter that allows me to give an effect like it’s been painted with a brush! I think this looks pretty good, but you tell me!

You might need to click on the photo and view the version I have on to get a truely good feel for the effect!

Yes, this one has a Photoshop filter on top that gives an oil painting effect on the light. This was inspired by the water's own patterns!
Yes, this one has a Photoshop filter on top that gives an oil painting effect on the light. This was inspired by the water’s own patterns!

Suburban Light in Arlington Heights, IL

So much has been happening over the last few weeks!  I have finally moved and just today I re-established my internet connection. It has been too long! Today’s photo is a panorama of the fountain in Arlington Height’s downtown district. They actually have a decent night life.

But these last three weeks has not just been about moving, but also about gearing up! I’ve been wanting to commit myself more and more to photography. I’ve had some successes here and there. It feels like I’m gathering more traction and slowly coming to realize an actual style of my own.

As part of this ‘gearing up’, I purchased a lens. This is the Sony E-mount 50mm lens for my NEX-7. It has been rated as the second sharpest *native* lens for this camera. I got it used for $200. New it’s worth $350. Many have said that it’s worth hundreds more compared to its competition.

So, I went on a walk in my new home town, hoping for some interesting things. I have to say that this fountain struck me. I knew that the water would come out looking real nice with a long exposure and I don’t think that the colored lights disappointed, either.

I hope you enjoy!

Color Fountain