Off To Space

I have been to see Purdue play in the postseason a few times. Twice now those trips have taken me near a NASA facility. In 2006 while seeing Purdue play football in the Champs Sports Bowl I stopped to see some history at Cape Canaveral. Five years ago we travelled to Houston to see the Purdue basketball team in the Sweet 16. On that trip we went to the Houston Space Center. I think that my knowledge of the Space Program was early on when the bulk of the work was done at the Kennedy Space Center. Lyndon Johnson had a big hand in the program though, and placing a second hub in Houston was a bonus for him. The trip to the Johnson Space Center did not have the deep history of the Kennedy Center, but it still was very cool. I never get tired of seeing the history of what sent man into space. The Mercury Redstone rocket above is a great example of that. It was on this rocket that Alan Shepard became the first American in space. I can’t even begin to understand the science and math that it took to send the men into space. That is why it is so amazing to me. We strapped men on top of missiles to send them into space. It took amazing courage to get on top of the missile, yet we found men who did it. Both space centers have a rocket garden where you can walk through the history of the methods of sending men into space.

Photographing With Your Phone

This was during the period where I made most of my photos with my old Blackberry. I badmouth the phone any chance that I get, but it did make some okay photos. With the right conditions you could get a nice image. Here the lack of a wide angle lens helped me frame an interesting photo. If I remember right though I was on the ground to make this image. I would like to get back to both of these facilities with my current camera gear.


Looking Back On My 2010 Trip to Laporte, Texas and the San Jacinto Monument

It is hard to believe that it has been almost five years since I followed the Purdue run through the NCAA Tournament. That trip started off in the Pacific Northwest, but then a week later I found myself in Houston, Texas. The result was not one that I wanted, but such is the case for most teams that attend these types of events. Three of the four teams that came to town would go away unhappy. When I make a trip like this I like to see some of the historic locations where I am. I visited both the George Bush and Lyndon Johnson Presidential Museums, and on the last day I made the trip to LaPorte, Texas for a couple of reasons. One is that my hometown is LaPorte, Indiana. I have always wanted to visit the twin city to my hometown. The other reason was to see this monument. The San Jacinto Monument was erected to commemorate the Battle of San Jacinto. It is the world’s tallest masonry column so why wouldn’t I want to go to the top of it? One of those photos from the top has appeared on this website in the past. This was a very cool monument, and I wish that I had gotten out my dSLR to photograph it.

Having Your Phone Replace Your dSLR

When I made this picture I was convinced that my phone was just as good as my dSLR. I think at the time for what I was doing with my photos it was just as good. If all that you are going to do is to place your photos on Facebook, then the best camera for you is the one in your hand. In some of the situations on that trip I wish that I had made a photo in RAW with a dSLR. The information in that RAW file is so powerful. You can recapture the data that your eyes could see, but that camera cannot. The iPhone gives you the jpeg, but you also get the edits that your phone thought that you would like. It dictated how your photo would look. I still make photos with my phone, but I know that if I want all of the data that I must get out something that shoots in RAW.

Shooting at an Iconic Stadium

When I made it to Lambeau Field in 2009 it was part of a great weekend road trip. I saw Purdue play at Wisconsin the day before, and then the Packers play a guy named Favre in Lambeau. Neither of my teams won that weekend, but sometimes it is just about the journey. With football season back I thought that it would be fitting to post a quick picture that I made on my way into the stadium. There are a few stadiums that it would be a dream to shoot from on the field. Lambeau would have to be near the top of that list. The appearance of the stadium has changed a bit, but the history of the field remains. Guys like Lombardi, Bart Starr, Max McGee, Jerry Kramer just to name a few from the old days. Then you have players that I remember wearing the Green and Gold like Lynn Dickey, James Lofton, Brett Favre, Sterling Sharpe, and Leroy Butler. You know the current group is pretty good as well. The game day atmosphere seems like it has not changed much over the years. They have a band and cheerleaders, and a great atmosphere. I would love to get back to Lambeau for another game on the field or not.

Shooting With Your Phone

In the right conditions your phone can be used to make very usable photos. I shot this with my old Blackberry Storm. If you have read this blog for very long you will know that I had a bad relationship with that phone. On a trip like this where I was sneaking in a camera and a long lens, I would use my phone for the wider angles that I wanted to take. Here it worked quite nicely.


Photographing the Arch With My Phone

In August of 2009 I went to St. Louis for my birthday. I had my dSLR, but I was also using my phone to make many pictures. For some reason at the time I thought that for wider shots it was just as good. I cringe to think of that now, but that was how I thought back then. I would love to take a short trip back to downtown St. Louis just to photograph a few of the sites again. It is a beautiful downtown for sure.

Using the Blackberry Storm

This photo was made with my Blackberry Storm. I really never had any luck with the Storm. It spent more time locked up than working. It was the first generation phone though, but I never really gave it a chance, and I made my move to the iPhone. 

Photo of the Day

This is a photo that I made in Austin, Texas in 2010. This was part of the LBJ museum that had an animatronic former President talking to the guests. I was having some fun with my phone trying to make a photo of the moving man in the dim light. This was one that worked out. In a time when I didn’t take my dSLR with me I like some of the images that I was able to make.

Technical Data

While watching an episode of the Grid I saw a demo of a program by Nik Software called Analog Efex Pro 2. I didn’t have the new version yet, but I did take this photo into the original program. They have some great filters that mimic old film types. I used one called Wet Plate 9. This was a snapshot taken with my phone at the time. I wanted to try and simulate a look from a camera at the time. When I saw this look though I just decided to use it.

Photo Sale!

Over at my SmugMug site I have cut the price on all of my photos for the summer. If you visit my site at you can order any item that I sell for 50% off from now until Labor Day. Just use the coupon code ‘summer’ at the checkout.

50% Off

iPhone Photo

Over the past couple of weeks I have watched many of the shows about the death of President Kennedy. I have been to many Presidential Libraries, but the Kennedy Library in Boston has eluded me. I have seen the libraries of Lincoln, Hoover, Truman, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Bush 1, and Clinton. It has always amazed me how some of these men came to be the most powerful men in the world. The picture above was taken at the Johnson Library in Austin, Texas. As you stand and take in the archives on the fourth floor of the museum you can see some great art just below it. Johnson is featured with former Presidents Kennedy and Truman along with a relief of Johnson by himself. I liked the above relief because of the complex issue that it depicts. LBJ really was not a man to play second fiddle. He had to though as the Vice President. Things were not going well for him in November of 1963. One day in Dallas changed his fortunes though. It is a shame that his moment of triumph had to be clouded in death.

Technical Data

This was a photo taken with my Blackberry Storm. That being said I could not do much to it without the picture falling apart. I did bring it into Lightroom 5 to try a couple of things though. I tried a couple of presets on it to see what would happen. I liked the overall look that the strong sports game day preset gave me. I did not like the vignette though so I got rid of that.

Throwback Photo

I have not done one of these in a few weeks. I guess that life has kind of gotten in the way a bit. I have had some ideas for a different feature on the blog, but every now and then I would like to get back to this feature that used to be a regular one on the blog. This was a picture that I made in 2010 while visiting the George H.W. Bush Presidential Museum in College Station, Texas. This is a cool museum that had a great section on wine when we were there. We were just starting to make wine at the time so it was very interesting to me. ’41’ as he is called celebrated his 89th birthday yesterday. I really had not thought of that when I scheduled this post, but it is a nice coincidence.

I have seen portions of the Berlin Wall at many Presidential Museums now. They are usually all the same stand alone section. I loved the way that the Bush museum made the portion of the wall into a piece of art. I tried a couple of compositions with my iPhone, but this was the one that I liked the best.

Why Was This Taken With a Phone?

For some reason in 2010 I really hit a spot in my photography when I felt my work was not very good. It seemed as if I was missing something, and I could take just as good of a picture with my phone. What it was in fact was my lack of understanding of the camera, but I didn’t know that at the time. I just walked around taking pictures with my phone thinking they were great. In July of 2011 I had an awakening with my camera, and I have really dove in since then to learn all that I can about it. I wish that I hadn’t lost those years in between though. I have learned so much in the last two years that I wonder what I could be doing now had I kept shooting. In the end I am happy with my images, and I had a lightweight camera for a couple of years.

Technical Data

As I mentioned above this was taken with my Blackberry Storm. I never really liked the phone, but I was locked into it contractually. I hated the phone so much though that I ended up buying out of my contract to switch over to the iPhone 4. These old Blackberry shots are not bad though, and some have found their way onto this blog.

I used one of Trey Ratcliff’s new presets in Lightroom to make this image possible. It is one called Sunday Alone Time, and it really does make this image for me. I love the old look of the photo along with the painterly quality of it. Without this new preset I don’t think that I would have published this photo.

universal globe

Throwback Photo

I took this picture in 2009 while in Florida to see part of speedweeks. We spent one day touring the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando. Just as you walk in you see this spinning globe which is very similar to the one that starts every Universal movie. This was one of my first lessons in patience while photographing. The globe was spinning so I had to wait for just the right moment to take this shot. With a camera phone I also had to adjust for lag. It seemed as if when it was timed right someone would walk right in my way. After a few tries I was able to make this picture.

Technical Data

This was a very good picture, but I thought that it could use some help. I applied one of Matt Kloskowski’s presets in Lightroom. This one is the HDR Look (medium) preset. It really seemed to pump it up a bit, and I liked the end result.

tiger statue

Throwback Photo

A couple of weeks ago when I found Instagram I decided that my old Blackberry photos would be destined for this throwback section of the blog. This was one of the first pictures that I thought of. In 2010 I made my second trip to Comerica Park. This one was a Labor Day affair against the White Sox. I was not using my Canon Rebel much at the time thinking that my camera phone was good enough. It was a foolish endeavor, but the past is the past. Now in this section I have an outlet to show some of those images. I really like this one of one of the tigers that guards the front gate. I wanted a view of the tiger that made it look foreboding.

Technical Data

This was taken with my Blackberry Storm. Over the course of this blog I have chronicled the way that this phone used to crash on me. The poor performance was the reason that I switched over to the iPhone. I tried something here by opening the picture up in Lightroom. I used an HDR preset to try and give the picture a bit more life. It is a bit overdone, but so are most phone pictures nowadays.