The skyline of the Chicago Loop is often photographed from this point, the Adler Planetarium. On this late January morning, however, I was looking for something different. All of this ice had recently built itself up on the cement wall separating the museum campus from Lake Michigan. The soft predawn sunlight was only beginning to brighten up the city. The smooth curves of the ice also was interesting. I found that if I lay down on the ice, I could place it under Lake Shore Drive with the skyline coming up and out of the ice. The street lights also added a little interesting bokeh, too. The only hard contrasting line in the image is the line separating the city from the ice.
Here is another photo of when I went to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin. The sun was making it’s last goodbye and people were getting the message that it was probably time to leave the ice. These people were running so fast that in my bracket of photos I took, this was the only frame their silhouettes appeared in.
I learned quite a bit from being up there. I hope we are lucky enough next winter, but something tells me that it won’t happen again for a while.
This archway at the Apostle Islands National Lake Shore was really cool. There were several photographers lined up here to take pictures of the coming sunset. It was a lot of fun being there. I hope to get there again some day.
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!)
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.
So, this is what I do during Valentines Day. Oh? Was it cold? Yep. Was the wind whipping past 30 mph? yep. Could the waves kill you if you slip into the lake? You betchya! So, I figured it was just the thing to go and take a picture of before sunset.
Basically, I knew that the wind was really strong and usually when that happens there are strong waves somewhere along the Chicago shoreline. I wasn’t sure though if the waves would be in action or where they would be in action. I asked a friend on Facebook who was down by the Shedd Aquarium and the waves looked pretty calm. This helped me stay by Lincoln Park where this picture was taken. More specifically it was between Fullerton and North Avenue.
I’m not sure if they allow people to be there, btw. Not that anyone complained, but as I mentioned at the top of the blog, it is NOT SAFE! Please be careful when going out in such conditions. The water freezes on contact when it lands. If you get yourself wet, DO NOT WASTE TIME! Get yourself somewhere safe as soon as possible and change your clothes if possible. There was not a part of my body besides my face that had less than three layers of clothing. Do not mess around in dangerous conditions.
In my home suburb, Arlington Heights, they display holiday lights and scenes. This year they put up toy soldiers that made you think of The Nutcracker.
This was shot a few weeks ago during the morning blue hour and while it was snowing lightly. I really enjoyed these guys. They didn’t display them last year. The textures on his face is cool, and the glittery garland compared to the snow is a nice touch.
Just a word on editing. Some photographers insist on making snow always look white. I agree to this up to a point. In this case it really was blue hour. Where the sky is blue, and everything gets a blue tint to it. So, yes, the snow really does look blue in some cases. The soldiers are the subject, anyways, not the snow.
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.
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!
There was snow once…
What a difference a year makes. A year ago, we were moaning and groaning about the terrible winter we were having. Now, we don’t seem to be living that badly. This picture is from a few weeks ago when we did get snow. It seemed winter could still be WINTER.
But I am going to Starved Rock in Utica, IL this weekend. I’m hoping to get some ice waterfalls. The warm weather makes me doubt…
I plan on traveling there with my mom. We’ll be leaving from her house waaaay before sunrise.
I also hope to record some video, too. We’ll see how that experiment goes.
I’m also rethinking this blog, it’s format, purpose, and reach. I think I’ll be adding a we bit more to it over the next month.
My new computer is up and running!
I signed a lease on a new home!
I’m getting exhausted!
Anyway, I finally installed Photoshop and Lightroom on my new machine. I’m definitely pleased with it’s performance. But I’m working on speeding it up even more!
That said, I now have a better screen too. And after I combine that with what I’ve learned about photography so far, I put together this vertorama of Washington Street in Chicago. I took these photos in January but I was just so unsure of the processing I needed for it ever since I took the photos!
But a new machine with much shorter wait times for processing and a much better screen cure a lot of ills in digital creativity!
I’ll also combine this with the fact that winter is solidly in the rear view mirror! And I am now able to view it with a little more fondness.
This was taken as I was leaving the Museum Campus downtown and walking into the University Campus of Chicago’s South Loop.
Almost Sunset in Chicago
With this photo, I processed just a single frame in aperture priority mode at 0 EV with f8 and ISO100. I played with the color values and adjusted the tone. I was prepared to process this with HDR techniques, but I don’t think I needed to.