Seeing Paul McCartney Live For the First Time

Last summer I was lucky enough to see Paul McCartney play live when he stopped in Indianapolis. He may have started his career in the United States over 50 years ago, but he still puts on a great show. I made this image as I was waiting to get into Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. I was standing in line, and I noticed that they had replaced all of the normal banners with something more fitting for a member of Rock Royalty. I love the way that this entryway is decorated anyway, so when it is done up special it is really amazing. I think that I have mentioned this before, but if you get the chance to see Paul McCartney play live do it. It is a bit expensive, but the show is worth it.

Editing This Photo in Lightroom 5

For this photo I used the HDR Look (light) preset that I downloaded for free from Matt Kloskowski. Matt has some great presets on his site that help get you started. I usually use a preset to see the start of the look that I want, and then edit from there. For this photo though I applied the preset, and then exported the photo to SmugMug. I love it when they are this easy.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review

Earlier in the week I did a short review of the camera used here the Nikon Coolpix S9500. This concert here really showed me that the photos that come out of the camera really can be all over. I had to take way too many of the actual concert just to get a couple usable images. You can read the full review here.

Photo Sale!

This image and all of my others on my website here are now 50% off until Labor Day. I thought that after the long winter that we endured a photo sale was in order. If you like the photo above just click on it, and you will be taken directly to the image on SmugMug. If you just want to browse my online portfolio you can click on the link below.

50% Off


The Bamboo Forest and some great Twitter Lists to follow

Inspiring Image

I started this portion of the blog during the Purdue Sports season when my mind was really solely on sports. I started showing off some images that really inspired me to try new things other than just capture the obvious action. Those images come with a price though. They are usual copyright protected, and the owners could come after even a little blog like this one. That never happened, but to be on the safe side I shelved the column. For some reason I never thought about going back over to the landscape side of things. There are a lot of photographers there that can see the value of having their work shared. For my landscape work I operate under Creative Commons (non commercial) which means that you can use my image as long as it is not for monetary gain. The artist that I learned about this from made the photo above. His name is Trey Ratcliff.

Like most photographers who hear the term HDR the first person that I found when I searched for it on the internet was Trey. After seeing his stuff I went out to make similar images. Of course mine were over processed with many halos off the bat. I actually have watched hours of video by Trey where he shows exactly how he makes his images look the way that they do. Just hearing his philosophy on photography is very interesting. We come from the same photography background which is no formal training. Early on in studying Trey I found the photo above which was taken in Kyoto, Japan. For some reason it has always stuck with me as my favorite work of his. He makes fantastic images, and continues to post one a day at least. For some reason though this image has always stuck out to me. The lines all lead you down the path, and your mind can wonder what is at the end of it. It is simple and beautiful to look at.

I owe a lot to Trey. I had already started this blog when I first heard of him. He has shaped how it looks though. When I started I had no idea that I could make a header for my posts. I learned that from Trey. When my photo 365 project was complete I kept the blog going and still posting a photo a day because of the great model that Trey has. When I found his work I was still very impressionable as an artist. The slight dreamy quality that he gives his photos really spoke to me, and inspired the look that I have taken on. Watching his tutorials inspired me to show how I have made some of my photos. While the quality of the videos is not as good the idea is still there.

How to Find Trey

See that header? That is header three on WordPress. They now have a convenient drop down menu with which you can select it, but before they did I learned the simple code from watching a video of Trey’s. If you want to see more of his work you can click here to be taken to his SmugMug site with his portfolio. You will see a familiar image very quickly as you scroll through the photos. His blog can be found at As I mentioned above he posts a new photo everyday with a little background behind the photo. From his blog you can find his tutorials which are well worth the money.

A Taxi Drives Down Michigan Avenue in Chicago

Earlier in the year I was in Chicago for a few days to see the sights. I was having a blast making images of the landmarks as well as some of the other things that make Chicago great. As we were walking through the Magnificent Mile we were witnessing the city under the beautiful light of the blue hour. I really wanted something to show off in this great light, and the Crate and Barrel  store did just that for me. The yellow lights of the building really look great against the blue nature of the photo. I think that the yellow in the photo is what makes it.

Using The HDR Look Preset by Matt Kloskowski

This photo was edited using the HDR Look (strong) preset by Matt Kloskowski. This preset is one of my favorites if you haven’t guessed that yet. It really brings out the look that I like in my photos. After applying the preset I tweaked the sliders a bit to make it more my own photo. The main slider that I concentrated on was the temperature slider. The camera was pretty close here in picking the white balance, but I wanted it to look just as it did that night. I also really worked on the sky to get a few stray spots out of it using the healing brush in Lightroom.

Photo Sale!

This image and all of my others on my website here are now 50% off until Labor Day. I thought that after the long winter that we endured a photo sale was in order. If you like the photo above just click on it, and you will be taken directly to the image on SmugMug. If you just want to browse my online portfolio you can click on the link below.

50% Off

Jimmy Buffett in Concert

Before I get into the review let me tell you a little about the Jimmy Buffett concert. This is the second year in a row that I have attended a concert of Jimmy’s, and I have not walked away disappointed. Part of what makes the concerts so great is the fact that the concert is more than just about the band on the stage. The fans really make it a unique experience. During the day I saw many people going all out for the show. When the music starts they are part of the band helping Jimmy sing backup. Maybe it is the fact that summer is just starting, but this show makes me want to wear flip flops the rest of the year.

Canon G16 Review

As I have stated in the previous reviews I am not a professional reviewer. A great site like Cameralabs has the charts and the data to get really deep on many different cameras. I am more concerned about how the camera works for me. I do not shoot charts with my cameras so lab tests don’t do it for me. I like to see what the camera can do in the situations that I like to shoot in. I don’t attend many concerts, but to me this was a great test of this camera. All throughout the day I had chances to make pictures of my family which is why I own this camera. I needed something to replace my Nikon S9500. The camera was good in very good light, but faded just as quickly as the light did. This past winter I was lucky enough to use the Canon G15 camera for a couple of weeks. I loved the performance that I was able to get out of a small point and shoot. The G16 is the next step in the G series for Canon. Here are a few thoughts that I have on the camera.  Continue reading “Reviewing the Canon Powershot G16 at a Jimmy Buffett Concert”

Airbrushing Memories in Ocean City, Maryland

Last year while in Ocean City, Maryland I tried to focus on some of the smaller aspects of the resort town. On the first trip in 2012 I was trying to get all of the large landmarks that make Ocean City the town that it is. I still had a couple of those on my list, but I wanted to also dig into the details of a town like this. Custom printed t-shirt stands can be found all along the boardwalk. While my wife and step-daughter were picking out a shirt I was watching one being made. I decided to capture a small moment of this process.

Processing in Lightroom 5 With a Trey Ratcliff Preset

For this photo I wanted to do something different. It was just a snapshot so I wanted to use my processing to tell the story. For this photo I used a Trey Ratcliff preset called Dramatically Hairy Chippy. It gives photos a look that I really like. It is not for every photo, but it does have its place. After applying the preset I increased the highlights and blacks a bit. I also slightly increased the vibrance as the preset cranks both the saturation and vibrance way down. I wanted the colors on the shirts to pop a bit more. After those small adjustments the photos were ready to post to SmugMug.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review

This photo was made with my old Nikon Coolpix camera. Yesterday I wrote up a small review on the camera if you want to see my thoughts on it. You can read the full review here.

Photo Sale!

This image and all of my others on my website here are now 50% off until Labor Day. I thought that after the long winter that we endured a photo sale was in order. If you like the photo above just click on it, and you will be taken directly to the image on SmugMug. If you just want to browse my online portfolio you can click on the link below.

50% Off

Steamboat Barn Mavica

Sony Mavica MVC-FD88 Review Below

Is it too late to review a camera if it has been 15 years since it came out? As part of a new way to look at Throwback Thursday I have been looking back at some of my older work. I thought that to start things off I would look back at the camera that really started it all for me. The Sony Mavica FD-88 was a great camera in the year 2000. By today’s standards it does not really hold up, but it was amazing for it’s time. After the jump I will have some more thoughts on this game changing camera.

The Steamboat Barn

If you have ever visited or looked up Steamboat Springs, Colorado you have seen this iconic barn. It is probably the most photographed landmark at the resort. When this photo was made you only had a narrow walkway between some trailers to get this view. Now they have put a subdivision behind the barn with lots that are still available at a very good price. I have photographed this barn many times, but this first time is still my favorite. It was a shot that I really wanted, and I was very happy to get it.

Photo Sale!

This image and all of my others on my website here are now 50% off until Labor Day. I thought that after the long winter that we endured a photo sale was in order. If you like the photo above just click on it, and you will be taken directly to the image on SmugMug. If you just want to browse my online portfolio you can click on the link below.

50% Off

Continue reading “The Steamboat Barn with the Sony Mavica FD-88”

Using Lightroom Mobile to Edit Photos

Yesterday I finally made the jump and I joined the Creative Cloud. I have been very happy with what I currently use without the need to be in the cloud. I think that I just thought that the $9.99 a month price for the photography plan. I think that I could use the video features in the cloud, but I don’t use them enough to justify spending $40 more a month for the full suite. During the Adobe Event last week they mentioned that the cloud pricing for the photography plan was frozen where it was. That is something that I have been waiting to hear. What finally tipped the scales for me was the fact that Lightroom Mobile was thrown into the mix. I like the idea of having some of my collection available to me. Say I am on a plane coming home from a trip. Having the photos from the trip in the cloud to edit is great. It would make editing a bit easier. I don’t think that it is feasible for my sports photography workflow, but it might help make weeding through my vacation photos a bit easier. Just for fun I went through and took a photo from my last trip and edited it from start to finish on the Lightroom Mobile app. I took screenshots along the way, and then uploaded them right into Lightroom from the app. I don’t think that for most photos I will get my final photo from this process, but it is a way to see what you have quickly. I will probably revisit this idea in the future to see what I think as time goes by.

Editing My Vacation Photo on the Lightroom Mobile App

Continue reading “Using Lightroom Mobile On The Go”

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review

I am not a professional reviewer. I can only speak to what I have seen with the camera using it for everyday images. This is a camera that I thought would solve a lot of problems when I bought it. I wanted a camera that I could take to concerts, or just have in my pocket so that I wouldn’t have to lug my dSLR around in everyday situations. I went to Best Buy with a couple of cameras in mind, but a sales rep talked me into this Nikon. My main concern was that I wanted a camera with manual controls, and the person in charge stated that it did have them in the menu system. Of course the camera could not turn on for me to see the controls. When I pulled the camera out and charged it I realized that I had been lied to. The camera performed very well though in good light so I thought that maybe it was a keeper after all. When I took it to my first concert I realized that I was very wrong. The camera would hit on an image every now and then, but for the most part it would give me a terrible blown out image.

The first day that I had the camera I made an image of a diner just south of town that I really liked. I can’t say this enough that if you have good light this camera can do some great things. The problem with that is that most situations that I wanted to use it in that involved family are inside where the camera did not perform very well. The smart setting on the camera would do its best though, and was very useful. It made candid moments easy to photograph. You didn’t have to worry about the settings, you could just point and shoot. I took this camera into the delivery room when my daughter was born last year. I had it in the smart mode, and it helped me make some of my favorite photos. Of course the room is well lit because of the operation in progress.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Pros and Cons


  • Size of camera
  • Long zoom capability (550mm)
  • Smart mode is great
  • GPS
  • 18 megapixels in a point and shoot
  • Pop up flash is very powerful for a small light
  • Wi-fi capable
  • If you are into filters there are options in camera


  • Picture quality fades quickly as the light does
  • Charging problems early in life
  • No manual controls
  • GPS continuously searches for your location killing your battery

Sample Images with the Nikon s9500

Here are a few images that I have made with the camera Continue reading “Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review”

Wilky Orelien (18) chases down the blocked punt during the college football game on September 7th, 2013 at Alumni Stadium. the St. Joseph's Puma's won 34-31 over the Valparaiso Crusaders

Canon EF 300mm Review

Last fall I rented a Canon 300mm lens and a camera for an early football weekend. I wanted to see what I could get with one of these prime lenses. Would the results be different than putting a teleconverter on my 70-200mm lens? The answer was yes. I loved the creamy bokeh in the background, and it seemed as if I was really making some great pictures with this lens. I borrowed it from, and I really did not want to give it back when my time was up. It felt great shooting several sports, and it did not take long to get used to shooting with a monopod.

This is not a review where I get out charts and see what the lens can do in a lab. I borrowed the lens, and shot the heck out of it for several days to see what it could do in certain situations. The first day that I had the lens I was not actually planning on shooting with it very much. I was out using the 5D Mark III that I had rented making some pictures of windmills. I saw a hawk on a telephone pole, and I knew that I had a chance to try out this lens. I pulled it out of the back of the car to try it out. I was very happy with the photo of the hawk that I was able to make. That night I took it to soccer mounted on my Canon 60D with the 1.4x teleconverter attached. I quickly realized that I was too close to the action, and I ended up just shooting the 300mm on the Canon 5D Mark III. Once again I was getting great results, and I knew that I was in real trouble. I wanted one of these very badly.

The next night I found myself on the Purdue soccer pitch. The combination of the 5D Mark III and the 300mm lens at f/2.8 was giving me results that I had not seen come from a camera of mine yet. I was able to really reach out into the dark night to make some great photos. Before this combination I would have to get what I could while the light was still good, and then just shoot close to the goal with my 70-200mm lens. Now I had the power to really reach out and make some images. I was now really in trouble as I wanted the lens and the 5D Mark III.

Saturday was a doubleheader for me. At noon I had a college football game to shoot, and then roller derby back in Lafayette that night. I was very excited to try the lens out at the football game. This was what I had rented it for in the first place. I tried every combination that I could there with great success. It worked well with the 1.4x extender and without it. It also gave me some great photos on the 60D as well as the 5D Mark III. I made some portfolio images that day that still remain in my portfolio. There was something about the quick focus combined with the creamy bokeh that really made for some great photos. I had such a good time shooting with it that I decided to try it at the roller derby bout that night. I was great for close ups, but it really did not work well to capture the action of roller derby. I like to get more than a trading card shot in roller derby, and that is all that I could really get there.

Sunday found me at another Purdue soccer match. Now that I knew what I had I could perfect my technique a bit. I was able to reach in very close and make the images that I wanted to make. One final soccer game on Monday confirmed what I knew early on in this process. I needed to have a longer lens. For most sports you can get in close, but when you are dealing with field sports you need to get in on the action. You cannot zoom with your feet like you can on a landscape shoot. You need the glass to reach out to where the action is. In most cases this lens could do that for me.

Pros and Cons


  • Great bokeh
  • Image stabilization
  • Solid Construction
  • Weather Sealed
  • Pulled me in closer to the action then I was used to getting.
  • 420mm with a 1.4x tele on the full frame
  • 480mm on my Canon without a tele, 672mm with the 1.4x tele


  • Price tag ($7,300)
  • Size of lens compared to my 70-200mm
  • Weight of the lens for extended periods of time
  • Sometimes came up short shooting soccer and football. A 400mm or a 600mm would be ideal.

Sample Images

Here are a few images that I have made with the Canon 300mm lens Continue reading “Lens Review: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM”