Four Years Ago My Life Changed Forever

It is hard to believe that at just after seven in the morning four years ago I became a father. The time really has flown by. The birth of my daughter has really changed everything for me. Kids will do that. That change has been all for the good though. I still remember how dusty the room got when I was first able to hear her heartbeat in the womb. How excited I was when I saw her for the first time during the ultrasound. How indescribably happy I was when she was born. She still makes me a proud dad all of the time. I can’t wait to see what is in store for her as she grows into a woman which seems to be happening very quickly. For now though she is still my little girl, and she lets me sing along to Beauty and the Beast with her. What more could you want?

Keeping You Grounded

In the age of the internet a photo can blow up and you can get a lot of attention and all that comes with that. The head can start to grow a little which is never good. Kids have a great way of bringing you back down to Earth. I remember thinking I was on top of the world after a shoot only to have my daughter have an accident in the middle of the night and pee all over me. No matter how big you think you are nothing brings you back down quite like that.

My Favorite Photo

Four years ago today I also made my favorite photo that I have made so far. I took my little Nikon Coolpix S9500 into the delivery room with my under my gown. I of course was going to sneak a few photos. The anesthesiologist asked if I had anything to make photos with, and I sheepishly said yes. He encouraged me to get it out and make a few photos of my newly born girl. The photo above of her is the first photo that I made of her. Of course that number has grown as exponentially as she has since then, but this one is by far my favorite. I could shoot the final out of the White Sox winning the World Series or the Super Bowl winning touchdown for the Green Bay Packers and that photo would not get close to this one.


A Miracle Born Three Years Ago

Three years ago today my daughter was born. You never really know how you are going to react until the moment comes. From square one holding my daughter I knew that thins had changed dramatically. My life would take a turn in a new direction, but it would be a great direction. This has been a great three years. It really does not seem like three years looking back on it. It is fun to think of just how much things have changed in that time. My photography career started its current trajectory right around the time that Lanie was born. I had my first real success just before her birth. Since then I have had a good run, and started to find some success there. That is all really good, but nothing compares to the success that I have achieved with Lanie. Some of my favorite photos that I make involve her. It really is amazing just how much one person can change your life.

My Best Picture

Of course I had a camera that I took into the delivery room. At the time I had a little Nikon point and shoot. As the nurses were checking out my little girl I made the photo above. I was not really thinking as I made the photo, but I did some really good things here. Just the nature of the photo will make it my favorite photo that I have ever made. No matter what I do, and what I photograph from here on out this will be the photo that I look to as being my favorite. A moment in time that forever changed my life.

One Year As A Father

One year ago today my little girl was born. It has been a great year filled with joy that I could not imagine. The photo above was the first photo that I made of my little girl. She was just a few minutes old, and I was already in love. Over the past year I have not slept as much as I would like, and I also have cut back on my photography a bit. I would not trade a second that I spend with my girls for anything. The little moments make up for any lack of sleep. I can catch up on that later. Over the past year I have made many photos of the girls. The one above is still my favorite. Below is a photo of Lanie on the Purdue Baseball field that I made this past summer. It is amazing how fast this past year has gone by. Everyone tells you how fast time flies with your child, and they are all right. It won’t be long before I will be celebrating her second birthday I think. In the meantime I have a more memories to make. No matter what photo I make anywhere else it is these photos of family that mean the most to me.

The Brickhead Statues Outside of The Yue-Kong Pao Hall at Purdue

Last year I went to Pao Hall for the first time to see a play. As we were waiting to go inside the sun started to set. It really made the statues look more beautiful than they already were. I had my Nikon point and shoot with me at the time so I made a few pictures with the sun at my back. I wanted to try one into the sun, but the dynamic range of the scene was just too much for the point and shoot. This was one of the days that I wished that I had manual mode in the point and shoot, which led me to buying the Canon G16. I really need to head back over to Pao Hall to make some more photos of these statues. 

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

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

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”

Photo of the Day

Over the last couple of days I have posted some of my favorite pictures of 2013. There is one picture that stands above all of the rest in my mind though. This photo of my daughter just after delivery is by far my favorite. I was not going to take pictures in the delivery room. They actually talked me into taking my camera in there. When I saw this scene I reached inside of my hazmat suit and pulled out my point and shoot. I knew that there was a reason that I bought a Nikon, and this was it. On just its smart mode this camera made a great exposure. This was a very well lit room though. This was a year filled with some truly great moments for me. This one though is far above them all. I can only hope to have the feeling of a few of the great moments that I experienced in 2013 next year.

With the year winding down it is a good time to reflect on the year that was. I was fortunate enough to visit some pretty great places in the past year. Most of my travel was near the beginning of the year this year. Here are a few photos that I like that remind me how fortunate I was in 2013.

13.) The first picture on the countdown was taken from my hotel windows in Sacramento this past May. The Tower Bridge is an interesting structure, and the sun setting behind it makes for an even more interesting structure. The boat went through the frame at just the right time. This was one of those photos where everything seemed to fall into place. 

Sand Mountain in the morning

12.) Here is the first of a few photos from my Colorado trip last year. I really love the landscape out there, and I think that I could have filled up this countdown with a photos from the trip. This photo was taken on my last full day out there as I was eating breakfast. I kept seeing this scene out the window while I was eating. I excused myself from the table, grabbed my camera, and then walked out to make the picture. I then went back to my breakfast. I am sure that most people on the outside think that my behavior was pretty weird. I just saw it as a time to capture the scene while it was there.

11.) This is the first of three pictures taken in one morning at the Marin Headlands. I had a great time photographing the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise. I decided to see what was on the backside of the hill that I was shooting from. You have to walk through an old bunker to get there. Once through though a small clearing appeared. I thought this was a nice little scene. Something about what man has done to a great landscape. The beauty combined with the ugliness made this one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

10.) This picture was made just for the family that we were staying with in Colorado. I thought that the street sign in the middle of nowhere was pretty neat. Something about the picture spoke to me though, and it is one of my favorites from the trip.

9.) Here is another picture from my morning at the Golden Gate Bridge. After the sun had come up I moved over to the battery to make this image of the bridge. It is an iconic shot of the bridge so I used a little processing to make it more by own. This really is a beautiful structure, and the pictures just take themselves.

8.) Every trip to Steamboat, Colorado had to have this iconic barn in it while I was a kid. I was very excited to see the barn now as an adult with my current camera gear. The roof of the barn does not show it, but the snow was very deep that day. I was sinking in up to my hips with every step, but I made my way out to where I wanted to be to get this shot of the barn with the ski resort in the background.

7.) In February we went to Milwaukee to see some roller derby. To start our trip though we went to the Milwaukee art museum. This bridge connects the two buildings, and it is very photogenic. When the building is ‘open’ it is even more so, but I never saw that while I was there.

6.) This is the most recent photo in this countdown. I helped my brother move into his new house this past August, and decided to stop by Cataract Falls on my way home. The sky was very high, and I didn’t think that I would get any good pictures out of the trip, but at least I could scout the location. I ended up making some nice pictures that I was proud of. I really need to get back here again.

5.) This shot may not really be in my best 50 shots of the year as far as landscapes go. It was taken by me just after getting married though so the emotion of the picture vaults it into the list here. I was on a bridge in downtown Columbus, Ohio viewing art of all kinds. I saw the skyline reflecting off of the water, and I wanted to make a picture. I moved in between two photo tents to do so. It is a nice memory of a great weekend.

4.) While on our yearly trip to Ocean City this year I woke up early a couple of days to try and capture the sunrise on the famous pier. My first day I was shut out, but I made some interesting long exposures of the water. The next day though I was rewarded with a glorious sunrise. The interesting fact about this picture is that it was made with my point and shoot camera. While my main camera was taking a bracketed series on a tripod I went down to the water with the point and shoot to see how that view looked. This ‘test shot’ ended up being my favorite.

3.) This photo happened more by accident than anything else. I was out trying to capture the Milky Way with a camera that I had rented. I drove away from the city to have a better chance. The only problem with that is the fact that I didn’t know any of the ground I was now surrounded by. I had a few decent pictures, but nothing that I would publish. I decided to try a different way home, and that is when I came across this barn. The fact that you could see through it seemed to make it the perfect object to place in the foreground. I made my exposure, and I was thrilled with what I accomplished.

2.) Watching the stars out in Colorado is really something. I had never really tried an extremely long exposure photography before. The above picture was a half hour long exposure. I love the way that the stars circle my favorite mountain in Colorado. The cabin we stayed in also looks great off to the side. This was a trip to remember, and I would love to give it a try again.

1.) The Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise was probably the highlight of my year as far as shooting a landscape was concerned. In just a short period of time I was able to capture many images of this iconic bridge. This image though taken just after I arrived is by far my favorite. All of the colors seemed to blend together in a really fantastic way. When I thought of this list I immediately thought of this photo as #1.