Category Archives: Nature

Maine Sunset Through the Trees

I’ve been working hard getting through my pictures from South Africa and Namibia, but had to make a pit-stop in my pictures from Maine for something else. While I was quickly scouring through images from the week I spent there, I passed this one and said, “Hey, I like that.”

While in Maine, a friend and I wandered down to the break water to watch the sunset.  He let me borrow his 80-200mm f/2.8 and it was a pretty sexy lens.  Heavy, but sexy.

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Big Mama Sand Dune

Alisha and I happily survived our wedding and honeymoon.  We had a pretty spectacular evening of celebrating with our close friends and family, and then we whisked ourselves away to Namibia and South Africa.

Namibia was a strange choice for a honeymoon location, but we saw a picture on the front cover of a magazine that caught our attention.  Both Alisha and I said “I want to go there!” and so while we were in the neighborhood of South Africa, we also went to Namibia.

The picture above is taken from the Big Daddy dune at sunrise, looking over at the Big Mama dune (Big Daddy is the highest dune in the Sossusvlei area, towering over 1,300-feet high).

For this picture, the wind was so fierce!  In the foreground, you can see the sand blast over the ridge of Big Daddy, barely making out our footprints from ten minutes prior.

I’ll post more pictures in the coming months, but right now I just wanted to get a picture up online since it has been awhile since I posted.

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Tulip Close-Up

I’ve been enjoying the macro lens when I go out and shoot pictures.

It’s a hearty piece of glass and I like the images it produces.  I also like get super close on worlds one doesn’t normally see.  This is from inside a tulip.

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Full Moon and Seagull

I feel like I have so many pictures from 2009 on my photoblog. I feel like I haven’t made it out of the house at all this summer, save for a day at the Chicago Botanic Garden this spring. (I did get a boatload of pictures that day, but how many flower pictures can one post to a blog?)

This picture is another “ho-hum” picture; nothing really too spectacular. Strangely, I have no recollection of it being taken however. I thought I took it during the summer when I also took a picture of the Chicago skyline, however, the metadata says this image was captured in November of 2009. Clearly I took a boatload of pictures if I can’t remember when I took them.

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Single White Rose

There isn’t much thought behind this picture.

I sell greeting cards at a few local stores and wanted something simple for a sympathy card. Nothing in the handful of sunset pictures I have felt right, so I went out and bought a simple white rose. It’s not a picture that has seen the light of day (except as a greeting card), but it’s one of my biggest sellers.

Most sympathy cards have a deeply religious statement inside or some profound poem that makes one reflect on life. I don’t need either of those. For me, and I’m not making this up, I’ve written “Sorry about your dad. That sucks.” in a card. I’ve been told it was the best card they’ve received. Point being, I think this card is one of my biggest sellers because it’s simple.

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More Water Droplets

This is another picture from the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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Anna Ruby Falls

Falling under the category of “Eh.” pictures, this is Anna Ruby Falls, near Helen, Georgia.

Alisha and I were visiting the area for a friend’s wedding and I, of course, brought my gear along.  Anna Ruby Falls is a really pretty area about two hours Northeast of Atlanta.  The actual falls are quite dramatic, and this is just a small stream coming from the area.  (I’ll post a picture of the actual Anna Ruby Falls later.)

Being from the flat lands of Chicago, it’s rare to see an elevation change such as the one in the image above, so I had to capture it.  The reason I think this is an “Eh.” picture is because I think it’s pretty, but it needs more.  Perhaps bright reds and oranges from the trees changing would be a nice touch.  Too bad for me it was a very mild Fall in the Southeast back in 2007, so the leaves held their green color for quite some time.

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Small Flowering Plant

Since the last couple of days worth of pictures have been somewhat “dark,” I wanted to do something a little lighter today.

This picture comes from the Chicago Botanic Garden and I have no idea what kind of flower it is.  The Botanic Garden is very good at making sure every plant, flower and tree is labeled with a little sign (both the common name and scientific names are displayed). This flowering plant, however, had no label because I think it wasn’t a complete plan for it to go.  There weren’t many of them around, but the one’s that were are small and pretty.

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Yellow Flower and Bee

On my desktop are a boatload of flower pictures that I need to decide what to do with: upload them to Facebook, put them on this blog, dump them to Flickr, etc.  This spring I feel like I have been obsessed with flower photography, moreso I feel like I’m obsessed with getting shots of bees pollinating flowers.

It’s a basic principle of life we learned about in grade school.  The flower creates pollen, and bees carry that pollen from one flower to another, thus allowing the flower to reproduce itself.  When I bought my macro lens, I saw — for the first time with my own eyes — pollen on the legs of a fly about to be carried to another flower.  There was something about that small world that I was intrigued by.

Last weekend I was up visiting my mom and staked out some nearby flowers.  On the sunny day of my visit, the flowers had opened to the sunshine and bees were working their magic.  This particular bee doesn’t have as much pollen on its body, but I still like all of the detail visible in the little guy.

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Tulip in the Round

I have been posting the occasional picture on my Facebook page each morning when I update the website, as well.  It’s nice to actually be getting my pictures out for a change, instead of them sitting on my hard-drive for no one to see (although, I am cycling them through as my screen saver).  This was the picture I randomly posted yesterday on Facebook.

Monday morning I woke up early to swing by the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Their spring flowers are in full bloom!  Arriving early to the Botanic Garden was nice because it was only me and a few other people, but by the time I left, school buses and mom’s with their kids where everywhere.  I don’t wake up early often, but it paid off, as it was nice to get a parking spot right out in front of the doors, then have cars trolling the lot looking for any open parking space as I left!

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Spring Tulips

It’s finally Spring in Chicago! The weather is (slowly) getting warmer and, as a result, flowers are starting to climb skyward.

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Nose-Deep in Flowers

I’m getting pretty antsy for the weather to clear up and get nicer.  As I write this, it’s currently 36 degrees out — 30 degrees below normal.  I’m eager to get out and use the macro lens on some flowers, but right now it seems like that will be August or September.

Luckily Chicago has a plethora of things to shoot on cloudy and overcast days, because we have plenty of those days right now.

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Giraffe

Comfortable in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a giraffe takes in a snack.

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Mushrooms

Taken the same day as yesterday’s picture, this is a close-up picture of mushrooms growing on a tree in Lincoln Park.

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Squirrely Fellow

My friend Danny and I were out taking pictures one day and as we walked through Lincoln Park we realized the squirrels in the area were quite fearless.  When I stopped to get a closer look, they would assume I had food to give them and would also lean in for a closer look.

Oddly enough, that’s also the case with squirrels in my backyard.  The woman who lived here before us would feed the squirrels and birds twice a day with an enormous bucket of seeds.  As a result, we have a lot of birds and such hanging out around our house, and when Alisha and I have a picnic in the backyard, we have quite the audience joining us.  It’s cute as much as it’s annoying.

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Wisconsin Wildflowers

Wisconsin Wildflowers

Some time back a friend asked me what my favorite picture I’ve ever taken was.

I didn’t really have an answer.

After a bunch of thinking, I may have to vote this picture, which is funny because it doesn’t really register on the “awesome-meter”. The reason I’m voting this picture is because photography has taught me A LOT about patience … because I have none. Photography forces me to sit in mittens, a hat, and snow pants while underneath my tripod, waiting for that one small break in the clouds to get just the right picture. I’m really learning that photography is a lot of timing and preparation to capture that single moment in time.

So, back to the above picture.

While at my dad’s farm in rural Wisconsin, I took a picture. The sun was in a terrible spot and the shadows were awful.  The next morning, with the sun in a better position, I took a handful of shots and something was always missing. Then I realized the clouds were really adding to the mix, but I had to wait until the right clouds. So, I waited. And waited.

And then waited some more.

Eventually I saw the right clouds come over the distant hills, and after seeing the potential composition for a picture, it was about twelve hours of waiting to get the sun, clouds and flowers into the right spot. Is this the best picture I’ve ever taken? No, but it is one of my favorites, because I learned a lot about timing, preparation and patience.

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Prepare for Lift-Off

Ready for Lift-Off

While in Quito, Ecuador, my wife got hit with a pretty swiftly moving bout of travelers sickness. Unfortunately for her, we also had a four-hour car ride on our schedule that we couldn’t re-book. Being the trooper she is, my wife gritted her teeth and hopped in the car for the drive to Otavalo.

We had no real agenda when we arrived; the equatorial sun was hot and bright, and the mountainous air wasn’t muggy and hot as other parts of Ecuador. It was perfect for her to lay in the sun under a blanket and rest. Between the hummingbirds, butterflies, flowers and llamas “cutting the grass,” I kept myself pretty busy while she was recovering.

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