Category Archives: Landscape

December Photos

As December got to a start, I felt like I had to go out and shoot. I hadn’t seen the sunrise in a while. Winter performs a wonderful miracle in letting the sun come up late.

Morning in Chicago

I hadn’t done that much shooting with a tripod on my new camera so I went to one of the areas of the city made for tripod photography, the Adler Planetarium. I took a few pictures of the Chicago Skyline. I wasn’t able to stay long, so I wasn’t able to do a true bracketed shot. But this is good enough. 🙂

The skyline, contrasty and black and white:

black and white skyline
The Chicago Skyline done in a contrasty black and white fashion from the Adler Planetarium.

I highly recommend finding a group of people that meet up every month to do a local photowalk. Drink and Click is just one such group. They have a monthly theme and sponsors for prizes for the best photos of the month. This group is worldwide with chapters in every continent and many major cities. Look them up! I gave you the link.

From a “Drink and Click” outing in Chicago. December’s theme was “selfie” but… not all my pics were selfies.


After the Drink and Click event and another photowalk with Out of I hung around the Cloud Gate for a few images. It was a wet night in Millennium Park.

wet cloudgate at night

This next image was from the same night. I took a few shots from the lake side of the Pritzker Pavilion. I have to give props to my friend, John O’Neill who lent me his tripod bracket between shots. He’s a really smart photographer, btw. He takes his time, looks for the lines, and really makes an image.

Pritzker Night

And finally, there was Christmas. So I have a few pictures from my maternal grandmother’s tree.

OK, so that was December! I hope you enjoyed. We’ll see how 2016 turns out. I’ve got some ideas. When I really feel strong about a resolution, I don’t really talk about it. And I feel it this year. All I can say is that I’m going to work real hard on my photography!

Take Care and Have Fun this year,

Adam Dooley

The Shard and The Arcanum

This shard of ice was on Lake Superior by the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. The sun’s warm light had almost disappeared completely from the sky. When I saw this shard of ice in the snow reflecting the last of this warm light against the deep blues reflected from the coming night sky, I had to capture this. Please see this image as large as possible! (Click the image!)

This shard of ice was on Lake Superior by the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. The sun's warm light had almost disapeared completely from the sky. When I saw this shard of ice in the snow reflecting the last of this warm light against the deep blues reflected from the comming night sky, I had to capture this.
A shard of ice on Lake Superior, after sunset.


I have to thank my experience in The Arcanum for processing this image. Everything from the fire to go and run up to Lake Superior for a day, to brave the elements, to see the sights, camera in hand, and then, as light was about to fade away completely, there is this shard asking for my attention. It was a little bit more of a scream. I tried to make ice look as sharp as I could. (Ice is never really sharp, you know that?)

When I brought it back into Adobe Lightroom I knew I had something worth sharing. But I also knew I wasn’t done with it! It was explained to me that I needed to “purify the colors”. I never knew what that meant. Then, one of my cohort members, Kyle VanEttan showed me how in a video critique.  It wasn’t just his critique that helped. There were others too.

I learned a lot. And when I get another chance to shoot such an interesting landscape, I’ll know a little more to make even better captures. There will be better pictures in my future. More fuel for the processing fire. There will be more fuel to share with you. And the connections that I’ve made in The Arcanum will provide trusted resources to improve each other for years to come.

That is just the first 10 levels of learning with The Arcanum. I’ve learned a lot about my style when I didn’t think I had any style. I’ve learned about where I want to take this. I’ve gained… a compass. The next 10 levels, I suspect I’ll learn to chart my course.

Thanks for reading.  If you’re interested in The Arcanum, you know what to do.

Thanks again,


Yellowstone June 2014.

Tower Falls -20140625Memories of good times begin to fade. What remains is what want to keep most. We keep some contrasts, let some go. We keep parts in focus and let other details fade. Colors can be lost, but the structure revealed.

Yellowstone doesn’t solve any questions for me but reveals new challenges, too. I don’t know if Yellowstone as a vacation can ever be considered a “success”. It is the complete essence of the frase “it isn’t the destination but the journey.” The problem is that it is so vast that it always presents new journeys and challenges.

I probably won’t back there this year, but I hope to make it happen next year. More of my memories of this amazing landscape will probably fade in a similar way to this.

Frozen Waterfall in St. Louis Canyon

St. Louis Canyon in Starved Rock State Park, IL is probably about as interesting as geology gets in northern Illinois. There are sand stone canyons here with little waterfalls that eventually feed into the Illinois River. In the winter, they freeze over, of course. This makes for a really interesting contrast of textures between the rock and the ice.

This is an impressive state park and I hope to return several times this year.

St Louis Canyon water fall freezes in the winter to form a majestic frozen wall.
St Louis Canyon water fall freezes in the winter to form a majestic frozen wall.

In this photo I did a lot of texture enhancement with photoshop and ON1 Perfect Effects 8. I also added a little bit of a glow with that program, too. When I took the photo, I tried to get as high and to the left as possible and I was hoping to capture the lines and details in the rock.

I hope you enjoy!

Grand Tetons

In the middle of the day from the north end of the range. I spent two nights in the Tetons this summer. The first night, the clouds were good and thick. There were also good and thick in the morning, but I did get a rainbow. I was headed back to my campsite for the afternoon because I was up since 4 am. But as I got back I saw that the clouds were beginning to break up and become more interesting.

Grand Tetons

Yellowstone’s Tower Falls River

In Yellowstone, particularly along the north side of their “Grand Loop” you can almost get tired of seeing all the waterfalls that this park has! It really is an amazing place to be. This photo I got when I was photographing the river that feeds into the Tower Falls. It’s a great waterfall to see and I highly recommend it. But when I was there, one of the main lookouts was damaged and in the midst of repairs. But the river that feeds into the water falls can be seen from the road. 

I explored the area just a little bit. I also took a long exposure of this same river from the bridge. I’ll probably share that in the future, too. But I wasn’t satisfied with that so I looked for a way to get closer to the river. Sure enough, there was a “little” rain wash gutter for rain water that hits the road to find its way into the river. I walked in (it wasn’t really that little if I could fit!) and set up my tripod at the last possible stable spot before I’d be taking a trip over the waterfall, too. 

This is a cascade as it reaches it's water fall at the Tower Falls in Yellowstone National Park
This is a cascade as it reaches it’s water fall at the Tower Falls in Yellowstone National Park

But on the other side of the river, I could make out what looked like an opening that would be perfect for some hoofed animal to come up to and drink from the river. I took a bracket of photos and got on my way. There were some mosquitoes there that were too happy to have me around. 

I was pretty happy with this view. I cropped it down to focus on the other side of the river. I hope you enjoy.


North Window Arch (My gateway to The Arcanum)

This is another photo that I had redone after getting more knowledge from The Arcanum. This is a recent photo. In fact, I had taken this photo ONE DAY before I got the e-mail telling me that my mentor / master, had chosen me. It was also among the first photos I processed from my vacation. I was very excited to have this photo when I first posted it. I still am proud of the photo. But I know that I would have been far more effective taking another photo like this in the future!


At the intersection of stone, horizon, sky, and sunrise: The North Window Arch at Arches National Park
At the intersection of stone, horizon, sky, and sunrise: The North Window Arch at Arches National Park

What did I do differently? Well, in the original, the sky was getting a tonal shift. In this one, the sky is much smoother. The rest is finer detail work that increased the detail of the stones. I can honestly say it is an improvement! 

Sandstone Arch

The Sandstone Arch in Arches National Park is a really neat site. It is about three quarters of the way through the park on their main roadway. I highly recommend seeing it. It’s not along trail but it is a very unique one. The previous picture I released showed one of the ‘fins’ you have to walk between in order to get here.

As you can see, the colors of the sandstone is quite impressive. There are many variations of magenta, reds, oranges, and purples in these stone layers.

You have to walk past this cotton wood tree to get here, btw. But you still have to have water with you! When I got to this I knew I was already a bit dehydrated, but I also knew that it was a very short walk. If I knew the water spigot was not too far away, I think I would have stopped for that, first.

Why do I bring that up? I made a mistake in some of my shots here. I left my tripod in a scene. I wouldn’t have done that if I was thinking clearly. I would have been thinking clearly if I was hydrated.

Why did it take so long for me to post this? I’ve been learning a lot in The Arcanum. I put several new techniques into processing this. It’s funny, what I would have done two months ago would have been to just get it to where I’m ‘ok’ with it. But what did that feel like to me back then? It felt like I was turning in my homework incomplete but passable. Even now, I feel that there are a few small things I could do better, but I’m much more confident that these things that could have been done are minutia to most people.

I’m learning more and more every day. I only learn by doing. I’ve done a lot that I’m sitting on until after I’ve gone through a critique with my master/teacher in about a week.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks & more to come, swear.

Inside the Fins of Arches National Park

The geology is very interesting at Arches National Park. I highly recommend watching the video in the visitors center. I will try to summarize it in three sentences. The video was like 45 minutes long. So, don’t hold me to this!

Basically, there was a big salt dome that formed under ground that pushed all the ground above it up. The dome that formed cracked and created ‘fins’ and arches. Once the salt left, the dome collapsed and the fins came back together, leaving little slits that you can sometimes walk through.

What you see here is just one such fin that you have to walk through to see the “sandstone arch”. They are all made of sandstone, btw. But this one is actually called the sandstone arch. I think this has to do with the fact that there is a lot of loose sand here.

Walking inside a 'fin' on the way to see the 'Sandstone Arch'
Walking inside a ‘fin’ on the way to see the ‘Sandstone Arch’


With this photo, I took my rented 10-18 mm lens and took a bracket. But! I found out that I didn’t really need all of them. this was taken from a single raw file.

I hope my processing is coming around. I’m sorry I haven’t posted too much lately. I usually slow down my art when I’m learning more skills. Away from photography, I’ve also been working more overtime, too.

I am hopeful to get more up soon. Tomorrow, I will actually show you the Sandstone Arch, though!

Also posted to:

One Way out

Sunrise on the Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park.

This was another photo from the first morning I had in Yellowstone National Park this year. The fog in this photo is really steam from the hot springs that feed the Firehole River. There is a wolf in the distance catching it’s breakfast, too.

This proved to be perhaps the best morning of the whole trip. The clouds were great, it wasn’t raining when I woke up, and the wild life was really participating in the show, without having to run into a bear. Take advantage of what you get, because you never know when the show will come to an end!

Sunrise on the firehole river