Long Exposure Sunrise



Last weekend Nancy and I decided to get up early and head over to the lake to test out some neutral density filters that I recently acquired. I wanted to see about getting a sunrise image with the lake, some rocky foreground and some kind of a pier (or something in the water) all in a shot. I knew where to go, had an idea of what time to get up and leave and I had all the tools I would need. The only problem was that I just had never done this before.

It wasn’t hard or anything it’s more that I didn’t realize just how bright and overpowering the sun would be at 5:10 am with some slight cloud cover. It was rough but I overcame. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to get my shutter speed as low as I wanted so I started doing some filter stacking and eventually came out with some photos that were good. I don’t necessarily love them but I think they are good for a first attempt. Next time I will be trying for a sunset image. I’ll probably set up at the same place and try it all again.

Hit the jump to see some color and black & white shots. Click the photo to see a larger version.

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Bluesfest 2014 Portrait



Nancy and I went to Chicago Bluesfest again this year and as always it was a good time. I went specifically to see one band (photos of which I will post later) and after their set I saw this fine gentleman and asked to take his portrait. He politely obliged my request and I snapped off two frames. The above photo is one of those shots.

This dude had one of those faces that I love taking photos of. A little bit of lines, some nice features and a face that relaxed when the camera was pointed at him. Good stuff.

Hit the jump for a black & white version.

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Recent Photos



Up above is a little collection of recent photos I have taken and edited. Nothing fancy. None are for any clients. Just stuff for fun. That’s the way I like it. All of them were taken around my office in the West Loop area.

I am a big fan of graffiti by Amuse (the one at the top). Even the simple stuff from him is killer.

Friday Favorites: You Lookin’ At Me?



Pigeons are nasty. I am aware of this. The poop, the skanky feathers, the general walking around all day in filth. It’s gross. But for some reason I LOVE looking at them. I don’t want to keep any or race them or something like that. I just really enjoy watching them walk about, giving weird looks to things and just be odd birds.

This photo came about as I was walking around the city one morning (same morning as the other two Friday Favorites photos) and while waiting for the sun to peek through some buildings I noticed this little gathering of pigeons on a slab of concrete by the river. I managed to snap a few photos of them before they became completely disinterested in anything I had to offer them, which was absolutely nothing, and we both moved on.

The reason I like this photo is the look on their faces. It’s not just the bird in the foreground that I love. The one right behind it is also looking towards me, and I like to believe it’s like a big brother and it’s watching the other guy’s back. Then dropping back further into the frame is some other bird not even aware of my presence and finally a fourth bird standing guard in the distant background. I look at this and see a group of friends that are just hanging out, giving passersby the stink-eye and then laughing about it afterward.

The photo was meant to be a quick snapshot and not even something I looked at ever again but it quickly became one of my favorite photos from this city.

You Lookin’ At Me? on Empty Seats

Vinyl Wednesday: Record Store Day 2014



This past Saturday (April 19) was Record Store Day 2014. Some people like to save up all year and buy a bunch of special releases and whatnot. To me, it’s just another weekend day at the record store only this time I spent more than normal. Luckily I like Metal music. Also lucky for me is that not a lot of other people do. Sure, the releases that really grab my attention are few and far between but I honestly walked away with everything I wanted this year and that has NEVER happened before.

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Friday Favorites: On The Job



I love black & white photography of construction scenes. I just realized this as I sat down to remember when I took this but this photo was taken the same day as my first Friday Favorite except they were about 4 hours apart and felt like completely different days by the time this was taken. To quickly recap, I was out shooting some city scenes for a freelance gig and I shot the previous photo around 7:30-8 in the morning. Maybe earlier, maybe later… I can’t really remember. Anyway, after shooting some photos of the stuff they actually wanted I grabbed some lunch and went about getting more photos. This was the last location I visited. I was tasked with shooting a condo building in the process of being built. It was odd but the photo came out well.

The location was a bit further away than the other spots so I wandered over toward the locale and just snapped some pictures as I went. This was a scene that I spotted from across the street and I just hunkered down and waited for some guys to appear. I really wish that there were one or two more guys in the photo or at the least have the guys interacting with each other but it is what it is and I like it despite what I consider to be shortcomings.

I’ve always been very fascinated by industry and the rugged types of people that work with the heavy equipment and perform back-breaking labor. To capture just a little bit of that here is pretty neat. I also love the detail in the image. There’s a lot going on in the scene. Lots of materials (fence, concrete, wood, steel bar), soft edges and hard edges, roundness and softness, lights and darks and even the people are slightly different.

On The Job at Empty Seats photoblog