Finding Beauty On Gameday

Taking A Moment To Appreciate Where You Are

It is a lot of fun to travel with a team. You get to see who they are, and you also get to go to a new place. The problem with that at times is that you are with the team and often staying far away from anything interesting. When you can find a place that looks cool and interesting it is a bonus. We got to the stadium way before the game would start so I had some time to walk around and see what was going on. Looking off the second deck you had a great view into the distance. This stadium is in the middle of some great scenery, and it was fun to make some images of that.

Taking The Color Out Of The Scene

This photo was a good photo in color. The clouds though were amazing in the way that they were all different. I thought that the dark clouds would look great as more of a black. I never was much of a fan of black and white photography early on. I like color. Bright vibrant color. A photo like this one though just seems to need to have the color taken away from it. I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do. This just has a dreamy quality this way. What do you think?


More At The Michigan City Lighthouse

Flying Over Lake Michigan and the Ice Shelf

I lived next to Lake Michigan for many years of my life, and I never stopped to see the ice shelf that can develop. Saturday I was up north packing up some things in LaPorte, Indiana when I decided to take a break. I talk a little more about that in yesterday’s post. I had some ideas when I was walking up to the lighthouses, and as funny as it sounds none of them were what I ended up shooting. You can imagine the scene from the air, but you really have to fly to know what you are looking at. In a way it becomes improvisational photography which is pretty cool.

From The Ground

My brother went out with me to shoot, and while he was in the air with his drone I made a couple of pictures from the ground. Most of them were just for me to see the ice shelf. This one above though was one that I knew could turn into something cool. So many elements that are not normally in play here. I would have to be in a boat nearly hitting the rocks along the pier to get this shot. With the ice out there I could walk out to get it. The late afternoon light really gave me the color that this photo needed.

Over the Cliff

One thing that I wanted to try out was to fly over the ice shelf to show just how cool this thing is. The problem with that is the sense of scale is lost this way. This could be the length of a football field, or it could be me hovering just above the ground. This is where a boat coming by would have been amazing.

The Week In Photos

Last week was a fun week for me in a way. Although I finished the week a little under the weather I had a good week shooting. I was able to photograph some wildlife, sports, and then this cool location. If every week could be like that it would be perfect. I had another location lined up for Friday on my way to Indiana State, but that did not work out. I have the photography bug so when the conditions are right I think I can make some pretty cool editions of the Photos of the Week coming up. This is one of my favorites from the recent batch that I have made. You can see my weekly edition of my favorite photos by clicking here.

Flying Over The Michigan City Lighthouse

A Cool Flight Over Lake Michigan

Yesterday I was up in LaPorte as my parents are moving out of their house. I took a break from packing up boxes of my stuff to go out and make a photo. I was not feeling well yesterday so my shoot was cancelled. I was feeling the need to create. I still was not at 100%, but I had an idea for a photo. The photo above was not it. The ice that was around the lighthouse had moved out into the lake. The light was great though so I spent some time flying around the lighthouse.

The Shadow Rules

When I started flying I had some ideas of what I wanted to do. When I saw the shadow of the Lighthouse growing longer and longer I threw all of those ideas out of the window. The shadow was what was then driving my photos. I found a bunch of views that I liked, but right now this is my favorite photo from the day. I will have more tomorrow when I have had a little time to go through them all. Sometimes you just need to stop what you are doing and have a little fun.

Cross This Bridge At A Walk

The Best Of All Worlds

I love to photograph barns, and I love to photograph bridges. The worlds collide so to speak when you come across a covered bridge. It looks like a barn, and it spans a body of water. These things are great to photograph. Last year I made it a point to get out and photograph as few of these great barns on my drive to Indiana State. I thought that I was doing a good job until I came across the Bridgeton covered bridge. This bridge is amazing, and it has the old mill there as well. I need to stop here a lot more in the future. A little snow would make this scene look pretty good this time of year.

The Vintage Look

For this photo I took a film preset and changed it up a little. I liked the more subdued look of the photo with the preset, but I thought the sky looked a little dirty. I cranked up the saturation on just the blues to sky looking good again. It did not take much to make this a photo that I really liked. This is an example of why I hold some photos back. I wait until I am inspired to do something different with it. That worked out well here.

Catching A Train

Sometimes You Get Lucky…Other Times…

One thing that I realize every time that I drive north to see the snowy owl is how lucky I was early on. My first encounter was amazing with the owl just across the street from me. Then I had a couple of occasions seeing the owl in flight coming right at me. In fact it happened enough that I just expect it every time that I drive out to see the owl. Today was the fourth day this week where I was in a way skunked. I saw the owl, but it was too far away to capture in flight when it did fly. I did manage to get close to the owl near the end, but it was just sitting there. I ask for too much at times, but if it was easy it wouldn’t be fun.

Ready For My Close Up

As I was getting ready to leave the owl fly off away from me, but this time near another road. I drove over towards him and placed my camera out the window. I was able to make the photo above from there. This owl will be here for a while, but I want to capture him while the snow is on the ground. I am sure this weekend when the weather warms up the owl will be more active. Prey will be out and about. It should be a good time to make some photos of him in flight. For now though I will take these snowy photos.

The Reality Of Photography

When I tell people that I am a photographer they always so how cool it must be. It really is. There is no doubt about that. Above is what my view was for about two hours yesterday. Actually this image was taken on a crop frame body at 150mm so it is zoomed in a bit from what I was actually watching. I thought I would make it a little bigger so that you could at least make out the owl on the computer screen. I sat for over two hours staring at this little white blip on top of the hill. It didn’t move and neither did I. This is not the sexy part. I am still waiting for that. The fun begins though when the owl takes flight. I was not lucky yesterday. My luck could change tomorrow though. I hear photographers all of the time tell me in the photo wells how much they hate baseball because it is such a slow sport. I love photographing baseball. It will seem like the Indy 500 after waiting on this owl all winter.

Waiting On An Owl

Waiting On The Owl

For the past two days I have spent part of my day searching for the snowy owl. The good news is that I found him both days. The bad news is that the owl never came close to where I could photograph it. You can see it sitting in the field, but then it just sits there, and I eventually have to leave to do something else. Yesterday I spent over two hours watching it sit in a field. During that time you start to get a little stir crazy. I started making some pictures of what was close to me. I thought that from the car this looked like a mountain range in miniature. Maybe it does, or maybe my exhaust fumes were getting into the car.

Testing a New Toy

My 400mm f/2.8 lens has been stuck at f/2.8 for a while now. That works just fine for sports. Most of the time it works just fine for anything. At any moment though I expect that thing to just give up on me. That would leave me without a long lens. I bought a Tamron 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 lens with that in mind. I know that I will not get the same results that I would with the Canon 600mm f/4 lens. That is a given. With the current climate of the sports photography market though I cannot see spending that much money on a lens. I have used Tamron glass in the past. In fact I have made some of my most seen photographs with Tamron glass. I really want a good test with this new lens. If you are listening snowy owl could you give me at least one flyby in the morning? Thanks in advance.

The #3 Purdue Boilermakers Defeat Wisconsin

Purdue Basketball Wins Big On T-Shirt Night

Last night was the annual t-shirt game for Purdue basketball. It is one of my favorite nights to make images of Mackey Arena. The pattern is well thought out, and looks great. The photo above was actually a miracle in the making. I left for the stadium twenty minutes before game time. Somehow I made it from the girls dance class in Lafayette, parked, and walked down the hill to Mackey Arena in very good time. Instead of using the media entrance I ran in the fans entrance because I could hear the home team being announced. I pulled out my camera in time to photograph the final introduction, and I was able to get into position to photograph the tip. I would have liked to have picked a better place to be, but those are the breaks sometimes. I still like the image for what it is.

Going For Simplicity

Last night I only used one camera and three lenses. For me that is some kind of a miracle. The wide shots from pregame were made with my Canon 11-24mm lens. I have been wanting to try this lens out at Mackey for a while now, and I finally made time to do it. I have one other idea for it, but that will have to be done at another time. For most of the first half I found a baseline seat on the Wisconsin side to photograph from. I just used my Canon 24-105mm lens for those shots. It is not as fast as I have been shooting this year, but it gave me a wide range. Near the end of the first half I moved to the side of the court and shot with my 70-200mm lens. It gave me some nice close ups of the action. In the second half I used my 11-24mm lens the entire time that I was there. I was going for a picture, and since I was not shooting for anyone I could gamble a bit. It was nice not to have too much gear on me for once. Of course that will all change again this weekend when I travel back down to Indiana State.


During one of the TV timeouts the Purdue Cheer squad was recognized for their recent National Championship win. It was nice to see them recognized for their accomplishment. They put in just as much work as the athletes, and this time it paid off big time for them.

At The Half

I stayed on the court at the half with the intention of editing some photos to get that out of the way. I ended up watching most of the halftime show. As this man stood there with a six foot ladder on his chin while at the top of another large ladder I decided that it needed a photo made of the moment. I have a high ceiling fan in our living room. I know exactly who we are going to call when the light bulbs need changed!

From The Side

I really don’t have a floor spot at Purdue games so I usually end up on the side of the action. I really think that the best spot to shoot a game from is just under the basket out to the free throw line. The game really opens up to you there, and you can make some great shots. With that not an option I like to just play with my location. Most plays that happen here you get a mass of bodies in between you and the ball. At times like this though you get a nice photo. I have one idea for this spot that I have been thinking about for a while now. I will have to give it a try next season when Purdue is playing a lesser opponent.

Get Low

While I was on the baseline I was having some fun putting my camera on the ground. I was still using it, but from that level. After you use a camera for a while you know exactly where you are pointing it (most of the time!) so this seems to work out well. I really like this shot of Vince Edwards shooting from the other end of the court. You get the great t-shirt design in the photo as well as a cool reflection on the floor. I would do this more during the season, but it works best with fans in the stands.

Smoke On The Tundra

Stopping For a Quick Photo

I made this photo a few weeks ago on the way home from Indiana State. The night before I noticed how cool this smoke was coming out of the smoke stack. I should have stopped that night for a long exposure. I did not because it was below zero out, and I was just trying to get home. I regretted that so on my way home the next day I was aware of the area during golden hour. I knew that no matter how cold it was I would stop to make a photo.

Playing With The Scene

Even though the temperature was around zero I still made a few photos of the scene. The first was the one that you see at the top of the post. The second composition was the one above. I was trying to use that blue sky as much as I could in one, and then in the photo that I knew would be converted to black and white I used the sky even more. For this second composition I wanted to leave the source of the smoke up for grabs. I intentionally only put the tip of the stack in the photo and let the dead space fill the frame. Which one of these is your favorite?

Icebergs On The Wabash

Photographing Ice On The Wabash

Saturday afternoon while coming back from the zoo I noticed some ice floating down the Wabash River. It looked so cool making its trip down the river that I decided that I would pack up the drone when we got home to head down there. I parked in a wide open parking lot and took my quadcopter up over the Wabash. This really is a cool view of the river if you ever get the chance. I played around for a while trying to find a good place to make my photo. I didn’t want any distractions in the photo, but rather just the ice coming by. I found a good spot, and then I waited for something interesting to pass under me. I tried to hunt down the good compositions, but I realized that if I just waited they would come to me. If this cold spell last for much longer the river will become filled with more and more ice until it closes off some portions of it if not all of it. I may re-visit this idea later in the week. No matter what it was fun to get the quadcopter out for the first time this year.

Two Ways To Edit

I had two thoughts with my river photos. One was to take all of the color out like I did above with the first photo of the post. The second idea was to use a filter to give the water a more tropical look. Just by taking out most of the color and then adjusting the white balance you can make the water a little more blue. If you have never seen the Wabash River then I must tell you that it is an ugly brown. The name actually means ‘clear river’, but it is far from clear. There are times when I refrain from photographing it because of the color. Here I knew that I would be able to mess around with it in post. At first I liked this edit more, but as time went on I liked the Ansel Adams type black and white photo the best. What do you think?

The Week In Photos

Last week was a light week for me as far as photography goes. Weather stepped in and cancelled a couple of shoots for me on the sports side, but I spent more time at home which is always good. Here is my weekly look back at my favorite photos that I made last week.

More Time With The Snowy Owl

An Unexpected Trip To See The Snowy Owl

Yesterday I left the house to make some photos of the Wabash River from overhead. On the way home from the zoo with my daughter I noticed that the ice was flowing pretty heavy down the river. I thought that I could look great from directly overhead. I will have more on that tomorrow. When I had made my picture I jumped in the car to warm up a little. I decided to check on the snowy owl sightings to see if our friend up north was still there. There were recent sightings so I happily made the drive up there to see it. I had my 400mm lens in the car in case I came across any bald eagles. When I pulled up to the area I saw one familiar car driving away, and a new car parked with someone looking into a field with some big glass. It turned out that it was a 1200mm lens pointed right at a snowy owl. The owl was too far away to do anything with so I waited…and waited…and waited. After about and hour and half the owl took off and flew to the barn near where I was parked. The photo above was one that I captured during that flight. I have plenty of static photos of the bird, but now I had some behavior! I am an action sports kind of guy so I like it when I get to track something. Tracking a bird this small at f/2.8 is a chore, but a fun one.

A Second Chance

The flight was over almost before it began, and the bird was now resting on top of a barn. I moved down the road a little to photograph it there, but it was too far behind the barn. I drove down a side road near the area to see where it went, and I watched it fly the other way off of the barn. I then sat for over an hour again in a spot where I had the light working with me and waited for the bird to take off again. Right about when I was ready to give up it took flight again. I flew right by me and landed on top of a telephone pole. A little patience on the day resulted in two great opportunities to get some shots of the owl in action. At this point the light was almost gone, but the timing was perfect.

Having Fun In The Wild

I love shooting sports. There is no doubt about that. On a weekend like this one where nothing was going on though I had a void to fill. Photographing wildlife is a great way to fill that void. In sports you get excited when you make ‘the shot’. In wildlife photography you wait a lot longer for moments so when you get them it is even more exciting. This was a fun way to spend a couple of hours out in the middle of nowhere. Soon the owls will go back north, and this opportunity will be gone.

A Bonus Photo

As I was heading home I saw a couple of deer out near me in a field. I grabbed my 400mm again and made this picture out of my window. It will never win any awards, but it was fun to make.