More Landmarks of Chicago

A Great View From the Hotel Indigo

This past weekend we were not in town for very long. We basically got our room at the Hotel Indigo to rest a while after RiotFest was over. It was then back in the car in order to get back to West Lafayette. We have stayed at the Indigo in the past, and I love the neighborhood and the easy access to the lake. In the short time that we had at the hotel in the morning I made this photo from our window. It was a great view of the city. I would love to have this window again with some time on my hands. This could have been a great night scene.

The Landmarks of Chicago

I have posted with this title in the past, but I meant it on a smaller scale. In this one shot you have the Hancock Building, the Trump Tower, and the Willis (Sears) Tower. They are the high rise landmarks of this great city. Maybe it has something to  do with my small town roots, but I love visiting the big city. There is so much going on around every corner. I think that it would be great just to spend a few days in the city just photographing the little things. They all have a great backdrop behind them.

Day Two of RiotFest

Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric perform at RiotFest in Chicago

Some of the Artists of Day Two of RiotFest

We only made it to one day of RiotFest in Chicago. Our goal was to see The National who closed on the Riot Stage, but we had some other bands in mind as well. I am notorious for just listening to what is on the radio. SiriusXMU has opened my mind a bit, but I have a long way to go. Two bands that really stuck out for me were Tokyo Police Club and The Afghan Whigs. They were both great in different ways. I don’t think that you can listen to Tokyo Police Club without smiling. They are very infectious. The Afghan Whigs came out with four guitars and just blew the crowd away for 45 minutes. I love a heavy guitar, and they brought it. I don’t know what rock I have been living under, but that rock did not have The Afghan Whigs on the radio. By the time Metric took the Riot Stage I was fairly close to it. I was still about eight rows back, but I was able to make some photos that I did not earlier in the day. That shows in the fact that there are many more than any other show represented here.

Making the Photos

With just a point and shoot and no access most of these photos are just snapshots. I really do like a couple of shots that I made of Metric as I found my way a little closer to the stage. The photo at the top of the post might be one of my favorites of the day. Here are a few shots of the bands that we saw Saturday.

The Orwells perform at RiotFest in Chicago
Tokyo Police Club performs at RiotFest in Chicago
Tokyo Police Club performs at RiotFest in Chicago
The Dandy Warhols perform at RiotFest in Chicago

The Afghan Whigs perform at RiotFest in Chicago

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More on The National at RiotFest

The National Performs at RiotFest

I had a great time at RiotFest. I knew that it would be fun, but I had no idea that I would find a couple of bands that I really liked. I will have more on them tomorrow. Today I would like to share a couple more photos of The National as they closed out the evening. It is weird how a festival works. All day long you enjoy each session of a particular artist. When the artist that you came to see is up next though you start to wish for the set to end. I have nothing against the Flaming Lips. In fact I think that they put on a great show. The National was next though so I couldn’t wait for them to get off of the stage. Even after they went long The National still did not get up on stage. It turns out that they were racing to the event after getting stuck in Ottawa. They did not perform the whole set that they intended to perform, but they did put on a great show while they were on stage. We really need to go out and see them when they have their own show. Rumor is that they will be working on a new album soon so maybe we will see them when they tour for that one.

The Setlist

When I see a show I don’t write down every song that is sung by the artist. I don’t even really try and group them in order in my head. You remember the highs and the lows of the show. Thanks to a fan who posted an Instagram photo of the setlist that she got after the show I can show you exactly what they performed that night. The songs with the line through them were cut from the show.

  • Don’t Swallow the Cap
  • I should live in Salt
  • Blood Buzz
  • Afraid of Everyone
  • Squalor Victoria
  • I Need My Girl
  • This is the Last Time
  • Ada
  • Slow Show
  • Pink Rabbits
  • England
  • Graceless
  • Fake Empire
  • Mr. November
  • Terrible Love

More on Photographing the Show

As I said earlier I had my Canon G16 with me at the show. It is a great camera, but at the end of the day it is still a point and shoot. I could adjust my settings though so I was in control of the exposure. This is a big deal with the wide range of lights at a rock show. You don’t want the camera to expose for the bright spotlights. You want to balance the light yourself. Most of the shots here were taken during the song England as the show was winding down. For most of the show I tried to enjoy it, but at some point the photographer in me comes out, and I have to make some photos. Most of the photos are also of the lead singer Matt Berninger. For the most part he was the closest to me, and I was really at the mercy of my small zoom. I made a few photos of Aaron Dessner who was in front of me, but he was so close to the mic, that from my angle you could not see his face very well. I would love to photograph the band with my 5D and my L lenses. Anyway here are a couple of bonus photos from the show.

The National performs their song England at RiotFest

Standing On History

A Ten Year Anniversary

Ten years ago today I was at Wrigley Field for my brother’s 21st birthday. As we were leaving the game to get back home I stopped and paused on this spot. It was here in September of 2003 that Sammy hit a home run. It had to be the longest that I have seen in person. A spot of the road clued us in to where the ball landed. This is just a simple snap shot made with a point and shoot camera. It is one of my favorites though for a few reasons. One of them is that it is a memory of a great day. It is hard to believe that it was ten years ago. I had taken the week off of work, and drove back home from Iowa to be there. Another reason is the small scene that was captured. While ballhawking a father and two sons have a small baseball game outside of the Major League game. With what I know now I wish that I had found a way to capture that small scene a little better.

The National at RiotFest


Seeing Matt, Aaron, Bryce, Scott, and Bryan Live

Last night the National put on an amazing show. We have wanted to see the National for a long time now, but things kept getting in the way. When we saw that they were on the bill for RiotFest we bought a Saturday ticket right away. They did not disappoint. They put no a great show despite spending the whole day trying to get out of Canada. They started a little late which I thought had something to do with the previous band on the twin stage going long. It turns out that they barely made it to the festival. We did not get the whole show, but we will when we see them play again.
The highlight of the night had to be when Matt jumped into the crowd right in front of my wife and I. He had just spent the previous song in the crowd on the other side of the middle barrier. I thought that we missed our chance. Of course he then jumps in and sings right in front of me. I was busy making pictures of course, and when he moves over a bit I hear my wife say to me “I touched him!” That moment made the day, and the long wait trying to get to the front of the crowd. It was a great birthday present for my wife so thank you Matt.

Shooting a Concert with the Canon G16

They do not allow you to bring pro gear into RiotFest. I don’t know that I would want to carry a couple of camera bodies around the entire day anyway. Using them in the packed front rows would not be too easy either. I just brought my little Canon G16 point and shoot camera. I have come to expect a lot from the camera, and it does not usually disappoint. I was happy overall with the performance of the camera, but there were a couple of issues to overcome. The first is the shutter lag. On my pro gear when you press the shutter it makes the photo. With the G16 you have a slight delay. That is not good for capturing the moment. Once I factored that in during the Metric show just before the National I was able to try and anticipate the moment. That being said while I guessed right sometimes I also have some pictures of the back of the band.

More Photos of RiotFest

I am currently on the road, but I will have a couple of posts up this week with some photos from RiotFest. I did not have pit access to the shows, but that is okay because I was able to stay for more than three songs. I can say that after one day at the festival that I want to shoot a lot more concerts. If you are a band local to Lafayette or passing through let me know. The lighting is amazing, and you don’t even have to set it up. Concert photography is something that I want to try a lot more of.

The Wilson Dam

The Wilson Dam in Florence, Alabama

In 2006 while in Florence, Alabama for the Division II National Title game we stopped at this very well lit dam. I did not have a tripod or the real knowledge of how to use my camera at the time. I would just shoot in shutter priority mode because I had some previous success with that. I did that here not knowing about the noise that it would introduce. This actually was a pretty cool site though as this dam holds back the waters of Wilson Lake. I am glad that it can finally see the light of day now.

Getting Rid of Noise With Topaz DeNoise 5

As I said before this photo had some noise in it. I wanted to bring out some of the detail, but the jpeg was already pushed pretty far. By using Topaz DeNoise I was able to rescue the photo. There is still some noise in the photo, but I think that it looks much better after running it through the program.

Meet Gina in a Throttle

See Roller Derby in Person

Tomorrow night the Brawlin’ Dolls return to action at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. It has been a few months since they last took to the track at home. You can find out more info about the bout here, but all that you really need to know is that you can get in at six. If you have not caught a bout in person then you need to go. This is an exciting sport, and the skaters work very hard to make sure that you get your moneys worth. This will be the first home bout that I have missed in three years. I won’t be there in person, but I will be following along online.

 More Roller Derby Portraits

Above is another of the portraits that I made last week at the Brawl House. I was matching previous portraits so I had to leave the block wall background in the shot. I would love to start fresh with these girls with a proper background. The costumes and personalities would make the shots themselves.

A Purdue Vs. Notre Dame Panoramic

A general view of Ross Ade Stadium as Purdue takes on Notre Dame in 2013

A Panoramic View of Ross Ade Stadium

A year ago I made my $70 gamble and bought a seat very high up in Ross Ade Stadium. I went up to the ticket window about an hour before the game and requested the exact seat that you see this view from. I made the picture here that went viral the next day. I still thought that I had a few more pictures to make on the day. This was a big game with Notre Dame coming off of the national title game, and Purdue looking to get the Darrell Hazell era off to a great start. Purdue was off to a good start when this picture was made, and if I remember right Akeem Hunt scored shortly after I made the photos here. I have always thought that the photo of the team coming out onto the field could have been better. I was using a crop sensor camera at the time, and I truly think that if I had used a full frame camera I would have had a result much like this one. At the end of the day this is a fun picture that reminds me of a great night.

End of a Rivalry

This weekend will mark the last time that Purdue and Notre Dame play until 2020 at least. That is sad that money has gotten in the way of a lot of college football rivalries. Part of what made me enjoy college football over pro football was the rivalries and passion of the game. The college game is turning into a pro sport more and more. This series was first played in 1896, and has been a yearly affair since 1946. Greed has stepped in to halt the series for a few years at least. I will not have a chance to photograph this great series from the sidelines for now. If they play in 2020 you can bet that I will be there with my camera. The series will end in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. In 1984 both teams played the first game in the Hoosier Dome with Purdue coming out on top. Can the Boilers use a little luck of their own to win the final game? We will see Saturday.

Merging Photos Into a Panoramic in Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud 2014

This was actually a very easy process. I exported my six files into a folder on my desktop. From there I opened them up in Adobe Bridge which comes in the Creative Cloud for Photographers package. I only open them in Bridge because with one click it sends all six photos to Photoshop ready to merge. I am sure that there is a way to do this in Photoshop, but this is the easiest way that I know how to do it. For this project I used six source images to make the pano. Photoshop has to think for a while while it merges the photos, but then you are presented with the final result. I have used other programs to make panos, but this is by far the best way that I have seen to do it so far. I used the crop function in Lightroom to crop the photo down a bit. I wanted a bit more balance in the photo.

The Say Hey Kid

The Willie Mays Statue Outside of AT&T Park

During my short stay in San Francisco I wanted to do a couple of things. One of them was to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. The other was to see a game inside of AT&T Park. I think that they have done a great thing with the construction of the park. They made  beautiful park with some great statues around it. If you click on the San Francisco link here you can see some of my other shots of the park. My favorite view outside of the stadium though was this view of Willie Mays at the entrance. You have a lot to look at here. A bronzed young Willie Mays watching a home run leave the stadium goes right along with the exterior of this new park. I will never get to photograph Willie Mays playing baseball so this is as close as I will get. I would love to see that swing in person though.

Walking Around Town with the Canon 24-70mm

Not long before my trip out west in 2013 I picked up my 24-70mm lens. It was a very fast moving transaction that came about in less than 24 hours. A fellow photographer mentioned that he was selling it, and I brought him a check the next day. I have never regretted that purchase. From the first day I was making images that I loved with it. Good glass really helps a photographer make the images that they have in mind. With the 24-70 I have made many images that I love. Now that I have it on a full frame sensor I can see the real power of the lens. It will be in my bag for a long time to come.

What the iPhone 6 Plus Means for Photographers


10 Points From the Apple Event in Cupertino, California

For the last few years I have looked forward to what the new iPhone design would be. I don’t always purchase the unit, but I really wonder what they have come up with next. After reading a bit about the phone early thanks to some leaks I had a feeling that this new iPhone would be amazing for photographers. Here are a few bullet points showing some of the new features of the phone as it pertains to photographers.

  • 5.5″ Display – This is huge for me. I now carry my iPhone and the iPad on the sidelines to quickly send a few images to a client during an event. With the bigger display I think that I can now just carry the phone on the sideline with me
  • 8mp camera
  • Aperture of f/2.2 on the main camera
  • Burst mode of 10 fps. After the 10 frames are made you pick the best one.
  • New “focus pixels” to help gain autofocus quicker. Phase detection auto focus
  • Optical image stabilization. The lens can move to adjust with you to ensure a crisp photo in low light
  • Time lapse capabilities
  • The front FaceTime camera has also been improved to act more like the back camera on the older phones.
  • 1080p video that can even do 240 frames per second for slow motion.
  • Ability to have a 128gb phone in your pocket for $500. That is a killer price for what you are getting.

Apple and the Other Phone Companies Are Killing the Point and Shoot Market

With everything on this phone you have to wonder who will carry a point and shoot anymore? I use my Canon G16 so that I can manually adjust my settings, but with these new phones I may be trading the camera in shortly. I will probably have more on this phone in a couple of weeks hopefully when mine shows up at my door.

Apple Live Event Steaming Trouble

I was one of many people today that had troubling with the live stream of the event. I tried on three different Apple platforms to watch the event before finally giving up. I waited for the event to show up after the event on Apple TV to watch it without issue. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing the price points coming up for the new phone, and then the stream reverts back ten minutes. I hope that they fix this issue before the October stream.