High Over Cincinnati

Flying Over the Queen City

During my trip to Cincinnati I only had a couple of hours in the morning to make some photos of the city. I knew that I wanted to see the new Pete Rose statue so I made the trip down the riverwalk to the stadium. On my way I took the DJI Phantom 4 Pro up for a quick flight. I had this shot in mind from the second that I crossed over the bridge into Cincinnati. You have an idea of how it can look, but you never know until you are actually in position. I was very pleased with how my photo turned out.

The Phantom 4 Pro Goes Crazy

When I first launched my drone I went through my checklist before taking off. Being in a new place it is always important to make sure that everything is working properly. The take off went well, but then for some reason about 20 feet away from me the drone started to go haywire. I wanted to just spin in circles and more importantly head into the Ohio River. I quickly gained some control of the drone, and put it down in an open grassy field just off to the side of where I was. With a lot of space around me I took the drone back up to see if it would do it again. It did not, and I still do not know what the heck was going on when I first took off. Luckily I kept my wits about me, and found a way to get the quadcopter to the ground. Has anyone had this issue before? It had plenty of time to warm up, and it gave me my location as the home point which to me means we were good. I had 13 satellites when I took off which is plenty as well. Let me know in the comments if you have ever experienced this.

The Week In Photos

A couple of my shots over the Ohio River show up in this weeks edition of my favorite photos. The Queen City is a fun town to explore, and in just a couple of hours I made a few photos that I really liked. You can see some of my favorites in my weekly collection here.

Jimmy Buffett Plays His 50th Show at the Riverbend Music Center

Jimmy Buffett Plays His 50th Show at the Riverbend Music Center

When we were getting ready to head to Cincinnati to see Jimmy Buffett play I did some reading up on the concert. I was trying to see who the opening act was. He has had some interesting ones in past shows so I was wondering who I would see here. I couldn’t find anything so I kept digging. That digging helped me come to some cool information. The show we were going to see was the 50th that Jimmy would play at the Riverbend Music Center. That is quite an impressive feat to play 50 shows in one venue. With the age of the disposable venue and the move to playing in ballparks who knows if this will be done again. It was cool to see that we were going to the home of the Parrothead reference and to the site of many good shows.

Seeing Jimmy Buffett Play Live Again

Until 2012 I had never seen Jimmy Buffett play live. My wife went with some friends on a yearly trip to see him, and in that year I tagged along. I did it mainly to just see what it was all about. I figured there would be some good photos in it for me as well. Fast forward to 2017 and I am seeing my sixth show in a row. The last four years we have seen four shows in four states. I don’t know that it was planned, but it was just how all of our schedules worked out. Next year I am pushing to see him play in Hawaii. No matter where we see him play next year I am sure that it will be a good show. One great thing about how the schedule worked out is that I was able to hear ‘A Pirate At Forty’ twice while I was forty. One of my favorite Buffett songs that I always thought would be cool to hear when I am forty. At the time though that seemed like it was so far away. Next summer I will have to change the words to forty-one I guess.


What a Difference RAW Can Make

The photo above was one of my favorites from the show at first glance. It was put into a folder to edit when I had time. When I started editing the photo something was off. I then realized that for some reason my camera only saved jpegs for a short span of the concert. It is not a one button push to switch modes so I am curious as to what happened. Without all of that RAW data this photo was not quite what I thought it should be. The G16 is a good camera, and it can make photos that are good enough for me at these concerts. When I am not in RAW mode though I don’t know that I can trust it. This looks a bit like an old cell phone picture. Something had to be off during this song. I only pulled the camera out a few times, and who knows what happened this time. Continue reading

Boating on the 4th of July

Heading to Lake Freeman Around the Fourth of July

Every year it seems like we end up at Lake Freeman at some point around the 4th of July. This year we spent most of the 3rd up at the lake. We had a great time tubing and swimming at the lake. Being at the lake means spending time with family which is always good anyway. The lake is packed, but it is big enough that you still have some room to do your thing.

Making A Photo Of The Day

Late in the day I grabbed my dSLR to make a photo from the end of the deck. I had the 11-24mm with me, and I wanted to capture the scene with the awesome cloud overhead. Of course a rain shower started to come through, and the busy lake suddenly went pretty quiet. Instead of picking which boat I wanted in my frame I was left to rooting for any boat to show up. At the end of the day it worked out, and I was able to make something that I had in my head.

The Week In Photos

Last week was the end of a three week whirlwind that saw us doing quite a bit of traveling. It has been fun from a photo perspective though. In this week’s favorite photos you get to see a little travel, concert, and aerial photography. Pretty soon they will go back to being more sports related, but for now I am really enjoying this. Maybe the sports will just have to take a backseat. You can see my favorite photos from last week here.

Going Wide At the Purdue Engineering Fountain

Testing Out the Canon 11-24mm f/4 Lens at the Purdue Engineering Fountain

Sometimes things work out for the best. Prior to the 4th of July holiday I saw an ad for LensRentals.com offering two free days on any rental over the holiday. With a couple of trips planned I knew that I would use the 11-24 and get to test it out. From the first couple of shots I knew that I was not going to send the lens back. Lens Rentals is the only company that I rent from, and they have this great keeper program. If you fall in love with a lens you can just keep it. I was mostly joking around about keeping the lens until I walked the campus of Purdue with it. It was during that trip that I looked up the keeper price, and made the choice to keep it. This wide angle view of the engineering fountain was one of the reasons I decided to keep the lens. You will hear much more about this lens in the future I am sure.

Which Way To Go?

Sometimes with a photo I have different versions that I chose from when I post on here. This was one where I had two versions that I really liked. I started off making this into the photo directly above. I liked the look that I created here, and I was thinking about posting it right away. Then I realized the it could make a cool photo with no color as well. I then set out to create that photo. Both of them now made the post. Which one do you like better? I used to always love color. I never knew why you would make a photo in black and white. Now I find that I probably convert about 1/3 of my non sports photos into black and white. It is an interesting change that I have made.

The Week In Photos

Last week was the end of a three week whirlwind that saw us doing quite a bit of traveling. It has been fun from a photo perspective though. In this week’s favorite photos you get to see a little travel, concert, and aerial photography. Pretty soon they will go back to being more sports related, but for now I am really enjoying this. Maybe the sports will just have to take a backseat. You can see my favorite photos from last week here.

A Room With a View

A Great View of the Bridgeton Covered Bridge

While visiting the Bridgeton mill and covered bridge I made a few photos all around the scene. I really wanted to work the scene. You never know what you will find when you are open to anything. I made one horizontal image at this window that was in another post here. I used HDR to have both the inside and outside look just as they did to me that day. Here for this photo I was happy with just having a little light spill onto the frame. Just enough light comes in to show you that you are indeed looking through a window. What a cool view this is.

Keeping Fresh With Side Projects

This year I have made many trips to Indiana State. The two hour drive can get boring at times. I started leaving a little early to find something interesting to photograph on the way to see the Sycamores. The covered bridges of Parke County are not too far away, and they provided a great way to make something out of the trip as well. I would have a blog post for whatever I was covering that day, and then another post or two based on what I saw on the way down. When I am posting everyday it is important to keep the content coming.

The St. Joseph Lighthouse

Fun at the St. Joseph Lighthouse

Earlier this spring I went to the St. Joseph lighthouse with my friend Trevor Mahlmann. Right now he is in the middle of a project that will see him visit every lighthouse around Lake Michigan. You can see some of those photos on his website here. We heard about some big waves on the lake so we went up to watch them crash into the lighthouse. It was a fun day watching the power of nature when it is in full swing.

By Air and By Ground

Heading out to the lighthouse I knew that I wanted to fly my DJI Phantom 4 Pro over and around the lighthouses. It is a fun and easy way to get a different look for something that has been photographed so much. I also took my Canon 7D Mark II and my Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens to photograph it from the ground. Having a couple of different ideas for a site allows you to really make some different pictures and tell the whole story. I would have been happy with either the ground or the air shots, but I was very pleased to have all of them.

The Golden Man At Golden Hour

The Golden Man of Ocean City Performing on the Boardwalk

One of the fun things to see as you walk along the boardwalk in Ocean City are the different performers. Maybe it is the fact that I don’t like crowds so I want to stop and see what everyone is doing. It might also be the fact that I think they all are great to photograph. Nobody is as good as the golden man though. On our first night in town he was performing just down from our condo in some beautiful golden light. I knew that this was my chance to make an interesting photo of him. I have made shots at high noon at at blue hour, but he had never been on this side of the street with the light in his face before. This was a great chance to make an interesting photo with the Atlantic Ocean in the background.

Working the Photo

I made three photos in all on the scene that night. The first is the photo directly above. I went in tight to capture the face of the golden man as he performs his trick. If you wait around long enough he will repeat things that he does. By hanging around a bit I was able to capture the same trick from three different focal lengths. I worked my way all the way out to the ultra wide shot that leads off the post. Once I saw the shadows that looked like they were creeping up on him I knew that wide was the way to go. I go back and forth on which one that I like the best, but that is why you make multiple shots on the scene. Think about which one you like better later.

The Canon 24-105mm Lens

This is the third trip that I have made to Ocean City with the Canon 24-105mm lens on my camera. It really is the perfect walk around lens while traveling. Without switching lenses I was able to make photos at 24mm, 35mm, and 75mm. I could have gone even closer if I wanted to. I have other lenses I like to walk around with, but the 24-105mm is on my camera 95% of most road trips I go on. I still have the version I of the lens. I need to upgrade to see what the version II has to offer.

Sunset Over St. Mary Star of the Sea

Another Year With a Great View of the Sunset

Last year when we first got to our condo I saw this cross just off of our balcony. It was across the street, but right in line with the sunset. Our first night in Ocean City I started making photos of the church at sunset. Back when we did not stay on the boardwalk I would always park and get a photo of the this church from ground level. It is cool to always have a great view of it from our condo. Each sunset seemed to be different giving me plenty of opportunities to try something new.

Making the Same Photo Again

Like I said at the top of this post, this was the first photo that I made in 2016 when we got to Ocean City. Why would I keep making the same photo from the same spot? Each night or opportunity that I had to make a photo the scene seemed to change. It was always a different photo, and a chance to make a better photo than the last time I did. In the end this one might be one of my favorites because of the cloud that was coming in. It gave me the chance to get the blue sky and the orange reflection on the cloud in one shot. I am sure that at least one more photo of the St. Mary Star of the Sea will find its way onto this blog before it is all said and done.

Fireworks Over Purdue University

Fireworks Over the Campus of Purdue University

I really was having some trouble coming up with a place to make a fireworks photo this year. With the construction in Lafayette nothing there was really going to look good. I looked around at other towns and ideas before finally coming up with something that I thought would work. I went up to Slayter Hill on the campus of Purdue to go through my idea in my head. I was not sure exactly where the fireworks for Lafayette and West Lafayette would be set off, but if they were where I thought they were I would have a cool shot. Of course they were not where I thought they would be so I had to scramble west of get a better shot of them. They didn’t line up the way that I thought they would, and I was not impressed with what I came away with. Last year I liked what I came away with on the 4th. This year I made some nice images, but nothing that I would scream and shout about. That is okay as it gives me the fuel that I need to do something really cool next year.

Setting Your Expectations Too High

One thing that I do all of the time is to set my expectations too high. I came up with my idea for this photo at around noon. By one I was up on campus to scout things out. I spent the rest of the idea thinking that I had found something cool. Of course that was not the case. One thing that saved my butt though was getting to the scene early in the night. I was able to photograph some of the local fireworks before the big show. It is from that time that everything that made the blog today came from. I think that I may have something from the real show, but I want to try something with that before I show it to the world. The photo directly above is not photoshopped at all. It is a look at what was going up in the air over an eight second span just after sunset. Playing around early really paid off in the end as it gave me some options when the main idea did not pan out.

Having A Backup Plan

Earlier in the day I made sure that I had a visual on the bell tower up and down the top of Slayter in case I needed it. I never dreamt I would have to move so far west, but that is what I had to do. In the end this was the best that I could frame the situation. It is not the epic shot that I had in mind, but I was able to come away with something. As soon as I saw that I was way out of position, I grabbed my tripod and made a beeline to the furthest point I could shoot from. I took the 1.4x tele off of my lens and started making photos. I made this one shortly after setting up in my new spot. Knowing where I had to go if things went bad helped me when I needed to move quickly. At this point I have shot these fireworks from a couple of angles. I should be able to figure out where I need to be for sure next year. I just need a way to shoot from a great height then.

The Birthplace of Liberty

A Look At Independence Hall on Independence Day

Today is a special day for our country. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved on this day. Two days earlier the congress had voted to form their own government. In fact John Adams sent his wife a message saying that from that day on July 2nd would forever be remembered in America. We took to calling July 4th our Independence Day though. It is a day when we celebrate the heroes that risked their lives for something that they believed in. In a time when most politicians care only for themselves it is refreshing to look back at those who dared to do what was right. As I stood there thinking about what those men could have lost by signing the Declaration of Independence I couldn’t help but wonder who in our present time would come forward as our hero.

Fun In Post Processing

On site I had an idea for a photo. I wanted to have a photo with equal space on each side of the bell tower. In post I would have a little fun making a red, white, and blue photo using the graduated filter tool in Lightroom. For some reason I usually use my preset which has the red (or orange) on the left side of the photo. With the blue sky on the left though I changed things up a bit, and had the left side blue with the right side fading in with red. Using the graduated filter to add color is a fun way to go a little crazy on a photo. A little artistic freedom is a great way to celebrate the freedom of our country today.