The Wings are up 3 – 1 after last nights win. What a rush! Living in Chicago and having to deal with all the bandwagon fans has been torture. Still need to get that last one but so far so good. Not counting the series as over though until they are shaking hands. I’ve seen enough hockey to know 3 – 1 isn’t impossible to overcome especially for a deeply talented Blackhawks team.
I took this shot from my hotel room because it was raining and I didn’t feel like going down to the waterfront. On a clear day (and when it isn’t pitch black out) you can see Mount Olympus from this room. I picked the room out (and paid extra for it) months in advance but it was all for naught. The mountain was hidden by fog all three of the nights I spent here.
Photo of the Day – Snapshots
As digital cameras get better even the quick snapshots look good. This was shot at a pretty high ISO and I used the window sill to balance the camera. I wanted to catch the motion of the ferris wheel but was happy that a ferry happened to come by just as I shot a few shots. You can see the motion of the ferry behind the Public Market sign.
Heading back to Dearborn unexpectedly this weekend. Seems the past few times I’ve visited haven’t really been under the best circumstances but it will still be good to see my family. Back in November when we were in Dearborn for Thanksgiving I got up early one morning and my Dad and I went downtown to take pictures of Detroit. T.O.M (Tom is my dad’s name but he likes to put periods in between the letters so it can stand for the ‘The Old Man’) is a really big supporter of my photography and I wanted to get some pictures of the older buildings and areas that I am just not all that familiar with. Growing up outside of Detroit you’d think I would know the city a little better than I do but considering the state the city has been for the past thirty years maybe it shouldn’t be all that surprising that each time I go downtown I notice something new. Detroit used to be a nice little city (or so I’m told) but then the wheels came off and those in charge of putting it back together have just been tearing it down more and more as the years go by. Recently the city garnered some new hope when former NBA and Piston legend Dave Bing took over as Mayor. His experience was limited but given the old croonie capitalism run by the previous mayor(s) that was seen as good thing – a fresh start really. Well a few days ago he (sadly) announced he’d be relinquishing the Mayor job at the completion of his term and cited an inability to really get anything done because all the alderman and other ‘croonies’ in the system are still around with their hands out but nothing to show for it.
Photo of the Day – Where Legends were Born
Sadly this is ‘old’ Tiger Stadium. The fences are missing, there are no concession stands or even a plaque noting it was there from what I could tell. All that remains is a baseball field that is kept up by some locals who just didn’t want to see the area become as overgrown and dilapidated as the rest of the area. Over 100 million people visited ‘the Corner’ to catch a ball game during the stadium’s life. Professional baseball was first played here in 1895 and last played here in 1999 (I was on of the fortunate to be there for that game – with my father and uncles). Tiger greats Ty Cobb, Al Kaline,
Cecil Fielder, Willie Horton, Charlie Gehringer and many others spent the best years of their life standing right where I crouched to take this picture. I spent alot of the best years of my life at ‘the Corner’ and I can fondly remember the smell of the old ballpark – the fresh grass, boiled hot dogs and stale beer. Every summer I looked forward to going to ball games with T.O.M and occasionally keeping score throughout the game.
I certainly appreciate all that those who keep the field in working order have done but when you think of all the history that happened here I think it is a damn shame that the city of Detroit couldn’t get their stuff together and provide for a more respectful memorial.
Tags: Baseball, Detroit, Detroit Michigan, HDR, Michigan, Old Tiger Stadium, Photograph, Photography, Photography HDR, Tiger Stadium, Tigers, travel, Travel Photography
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
― Narcotics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous
There comes a time in all of our lives when everyone on the outside sees a flaw in us but we are too blind to recognize the damage our behaviors are having on ourselves. It is extremely frustrating being on the outside. You want to shake these people and tell them to wake up to recognize what they are doing is harmful and make them stop. Life is a precious gift and why throw it away! Yell at them and explain to them that if they continue on the same path they are going to miss alot of memories – grandkids, baseball games, birthdays, etc… All the while mostly they will turn a deaf ear to us because addiction is something that those who aren’t addicted just can’t fully understand or comprehend. We are sad for those people but for whatever reason they are happy with the choices they’ve made and satisfied to live their lives on ‘their terms’. It pisses all of us on the outside of because in our mind it is selfish and it is a waste of such a precious gift but we are all free to make our own choices and others (including myself) need to learn to accept it.
I highlighted a quote from a book I read a few years back because it angered me so much because I think addicts truly feel this way. They accept their fate as if there is no ability to change it. Their addiction ultimately will likely become self-serving and will be lead to their cause of death at which time they’ll be able to think ‘told so’.
“I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He’s taken some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of his death from being a total surprise.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
It doesn’t have to be this way of course. For example, a recent study showed that people who quit smoking by age 40 extend their lives by 10 years. That is ten extra years of wonderful memories spent with family and friends – hopefully enjoying the ‘golden years’ of your life. Now, the effects may not be as extreme for older smokers but I guarantee that the effects of quitting no matter what the age are extensive in terms of your lifespan. For those of us on outside we don’t understand what the hurry to the grave is.
Photo of the Day – Uffizi Gallery
Sorry for the somber post today but had to get some things off my chest. This is the narrow courtyard between the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. The street leads out to the River Arno and probably extends another 100 yards or so behind where I took this shot from. Unfortunately, they were doing construction to the majority of the wing on the right side so I wasn’t able to capture the full extent of the courtyard. Usually this place is jammed – you must buy tickets weeks, if not months in advance, just to get in (the David statue is the most famous of several historically important Renaissance works) – but at 6:30 in the morning, shortly after sunrise there was barely anyone around. The silence was magical. Except for a few policeman guarding the historic structure and some street vendors setting up in the courtyard at my back the place was a ghost town. Yet another advantage to loving life and squeezing each second out of the day – serenity in what is often a chaotic space. I just wish my mind would be able to go on sabbatical once in awhile.
Categories: Florence, HDR, Italy
Tags: Arno River, Europe, Florence, Gallery Uffizi, HDR, HDR Italy, HDR photography, Italy, Italy HDR, Photograph, Photography, River Arno, travel, Travel Photography, Uffizi, Uffizi Florence, Uffizi Gallery
My most popular post of all time on this blog was one that I titled ‘Seven Steps for Improvement in 2013′ and in it I recapped an episode of the Grid that I watched earlier that week titled the same – Seven Steps for Improvement in 2013. One of the seven steps was to do whatever it takes to get the shots you need. Since I live in Chicago and there aren’t any mountains nearby I need to take trips to photograph them if I really want to get some good landscape pictures. Luckily, I have a client in the Denver area that I visit quarterly so I can typically get away, take a PTO day and hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. This past weekend I did just that and I knew that I wanted to get sunrise over Dream Lake just like I did back in February 2012 when the lake was frozen solid.
The sun comes up at around 5:40 this time of year and the hike is a 40 – 60 minute brisk walk with several hundred feet of elevation gain. In order to get their for sunrise and pre-dawn light I had to be on the trail by 4:15 (which meant a 3:17 wake up) since I wanted to get there by 5:15. It isn’t ideal of course to have to wake up so early but in order to capture the orange light hitting Hallett Peak it’s necessary. I was exhausted but slammed a couple Starbucks espressos and hit the trail. I arrived with plenty of time and was wondering if I could have slept just a bit longer but once the light show started I wasn’t disappointed. The reflection coming off the lake was fantastic as well since the wind for the most part was fairly calm.
Photo of the Day – Dream Lake Reflection
It was a great morning and unlike the next day when I woke up for sunrise at Sprague Lake (which is just at the trailhead so much more accessible) I had the entire world to myself. The solitude was great – listening to the birds come alive, hearing a elk in the distance – until a few other hikers arrived about an hour later.
If you aren’t using Flickr to store and share your photos the time to get on board is now. Yahoo! made big news today (in addition to the Tumblr purchase) by announcing some new and improved features for what was a slowly dying dinosaur of a website – Flickr. I, and a few other people still used it, but for the most part the more serious photographers were moving to 500px, Google+ and/or SmugMug. I use all the sites and I have to say the changes that Flickr made today would make this my recommended site for someone starting out to start sharing photos with others.
Some of new benefits/perks of the free account:
1) One Terabyte of data…yes one terabyte. That is ALOT of data and most users won’t ever fill that which is what Yahoo! is banking on. For comparison sake at Google the charge to store 1 TB of data is $50/month. This is a major shot over the data storage bow – as files get bigger this will come in handy so might as well get on board now.
2) I’m not an Android user but if you are there is a new app release coming up soon and the pre-reviews are all positive. I do use the iPhone app but this to me isn’t as big of a deal as the storage.
3) The new display to photos is a major upgrade from what they’ve been using for years. I joined Flickr in 2010 and it hadn’t changed since then. Essentially, now the photos are the stars (as they should be) rather than filling up a bunch of space with titles and descriptions you can now see the photos and click on them for all that information if you are interested. Sites like 500px and Google have been doing this for sometime of course but nice Flickr getting in the game here.
This is certainly a step in the right direction for Flickr and with the Tumblr purchase they are getting back into the social media game which is where they really struggled prior to the hiring of Marissa Mayer as CEO. She’s been very aggressive in her acquisitions and combined with the changes at Flickr I expect the Tumblr purchase to lead Yahoo! into a new and more relevant age. That makes me feel good since I’m probably the only one still using Yahoo.com as my email address so now I have some added street cred for keeping that archaic email.
Photo of the Day – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Speaking of archaic – this is the first shopping mall ever built. It is in Milan, Italy and is named the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It was built in the 1860s and the designs and architecture – like most things in Europe is very grand and ornate. The structure connects the Duomo with the La Scala Opera house by glass roofs stretching out in a cross formation. In the center of the mall is a tile depiction of a bull from a famous Italian coat of arms – legend has it that if you put your right heel on the bulls genitals and spin yourself three times you will have good luck. You can see the crowd gathered on the left hand side of this photo – each person taking their turn spinning on the bulls genitals. Of course this type of attention causes pretty severe damage to the tile and the bull needs to be replaced every two to three years.
Lastly, my heart goes out to all of those who are or know someone impacted by the tornadoes ripping across Oklahoma.
Categories: Italy, Milan
Tags: Flickr, Galerria, Galleria Vittorio, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, HDR, HDR photography, Il Duomo, Italy, Malls, Milan, Milan Mall, travel, Travel Photography
The Chapel of St. Peter is located in the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is a side chapel but is gorgeous. I spent time here during my visit to the church because of the wedding that was going on in the main chapel.
Photo of the Day – Side Altar
Off to watch Game of Thrones on tape delay so a short post tonight.
Tags: Cathedral of St Paul Minnesota, Church, Churches, HDR, HDR photography, Minnesota, Paul, Peter, Photo, Photography, St Paul, St Peter, travel, travel photo, Travel Photography
I had a great morning today in RMNP catching first light on the Continental Divide. There was little pre-dawn excitement as I nearly got attacked by a mother moose protecting her calves. Because of the darkness I didn’t see her until I was almost nose to nose with her. I slowly backed away and re-routed around the lake going the other way. Moose can be very violent – particularly this time of year – especially when they have young calves. Fortunately, the calves in this case weren’t newborns or I probably would have still been in an ER someplace.
I had to hustle to get back to my spot for the sunrise but I still had enough time to catch the first light on the mountain. The colors were nice but cloud cover over top of the mountains was sparse. Sprague lake was very calm though and the reflections should turn out very nicely. After the colors of the sunrise faded and I packed up my gear to head home the female moose wanted to make amends for scaring me so she hopped in the water and spent some time posing for some pictures for me. I’m looking forward to getting them home on the computer tomorrow.
Photo of the Day – Darkness on Castle Mountain
In Banff the moose are like the elk in RMNP. They are everywhere – I even saw them walking down the streets (waiting on the walk signal before crossing too – seriously. I’m sure it was timing but the moose was still until the walk sign turned on and then sauntered across the street making it to the other side before the light changed). In Banff, people don’t even blink an eye when they see moose but this morning everyone that was still there from shooting sunrise was giddy as she drank from the lake and swam around.
I took this picture during my trip to the Canadian Rockies (Banff National Park) in March. This was the shot that I was sprinting to take when I fell five or six times face first in the snow (as described in ‘things you won’t see about the glamorous side of landscape photography‘). The pink cloud above the bridge in the left hand side of this image didn’t turn out as magical as I hoped. I can’t help but think if I didn’t trip and fall numerous times the cloud would have looked a little prettier but probably not. Chalk the whole near encounter with the moose and my near heart attack when I realized how close I was as another ‘not so great moment’ but something that certainly adds to the experience.
Castle Mountain is aptly named since it has the shape of a castle. It was also used (not so romantically of course) as an internment camp during WWI to suspected enemies and/or enemy sympathizers during the war.
Tags: Alberta, Banff, Banff National Park, Bow Valley Parkway, Bridge, Calgary, Castle, Castle Mountain, Castle Mountain Banff, Castle Mountain Bridge, Castle Mountain Junction, Castles, HDR, Mountain, Mountain sunset, Photography, Sunset, sunset picture, travel, Travel Photography
Seeing as I’m staying at the Coyote Inn in Estes Park (Rocky Mountain National Park) right now I figured a picture I took of a Coyote in Joshua Tree National Park last summer was appropriate. This coyote seemed to be stalking me for a few minutes until I caught on to it and started to walk back in its direction. Once I started doing that the coyote turned and scuttled off in the other direction but not before I took a few pictures of him.
Photo of the Day – Stalker
Almost didn’t get this one in because the wifi here isn’t too solid but after multiple upload attempts it seems to have finally worked. I had a long day today that started with a 3:15 wakeup and then hiking up to Dream Lake to take sunrise pictures. I hiked a few other places before coming back to the hotel at noon for a brief nap before going back out this afternoon and evening for pictures. I get to sleep in tomorrow (4:15) though as Sprague Lake is much easier to get to since it is right at the trailhead so I won’t need to hike too far to be in position to catch the morning light.
Solitude is not the absence of company, but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life….If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself. And if you do not know yourself you will begin to fear the void. But the void does not exist. A vast world lies hidden in our soul, waiting to be discovered…..Woe to those who prefer to spend their lives saying: “I never had any opportunities!” Because with each day that passes they will sink deeper into the well of their own limitations.
- Manuscript Found in Accra; Paulo Coelho
I started reading a new book on the plane to my meetings in Denver last night. It should be no surprise now that I read alot of Paulo Coelho’s books. His positive messages about life and the way he intertwines varying stories with those messages is always entertaining. I left quite a bit out from the quote above and just referenced the pieces that I highlighted. I find that most people are afraid of being ‘alone’ and don’t enjoy spending time in solitude.
Maybe I’m different but that is one of the things that I enjoy most about landscape photography. I enjoy having time to myself hiking and observing the world around me. The solitude adds to the experience for me because you are forced to look within yourself and if something is bothering you – no matter how minor – you have to deal with it. Unlike when you are at work, out with friends, or washing dishes at home there are often external demands on your attention that don’t exist in solitude when it is just you and your thoughts. There is a great article in this month’s Backpacker magazine called “All Quiet on the Western Front – Can You Walk Off A War?” by Brian Mockenhaupt. It talks about an Iraq war veteran who thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail to help himself deal with coming home and trying to reintegrate into civilian life. It also talks alot about a program called ‘Warrior Hike: Walk of the War’ which is aimed at helping current and future veterans. A big part of this program is learning to embrace the solitude which will allow time for reflecting on what is angering you. In the words of the veteran from the article:
You’re thinking this is stupid or It’s my fault. At some point, you realize you’ve been made about it so often that it’s making you grumpy and sad. You have to leave it alone and drop it. You can’t carry it forever
Photo of the Day – Breaking down Fences
I thought this was an appropriate photo given the message above which has to do with solitude and breaking down the barriers that prevent individuals from exceeding their own expectations. I took it while we were in New Orleans (Jackson Square) for Christmas and I love the ornate details in the fleur di lis.
We were in the Grand Canyon and spent some time at the Desert View Watchtower. The Watchtower stands at the eastern end of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Standing at 70 feet, with a 30-foot base, the tower is unique in having a concrete foundation and a steel framework well hidden in the stones of the tower. The ground level of the tower is a large, round observation room with a spectacular view of the Grand Canyon. Upstairs the Hopi Room presents paintings by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie, who took the room’s theme from the Hopi Snake Dance. An outdoor observation deck is directly above the observation room.
I took this picture from one of the observation rooms through a window. I had to hold my camera steady and bump up the ISO level to get the outline of the external tower window opening and the canyon and clouds in the distance all in focus. I really liked how the view point framed the Canyon in the distance. The bonus was that it was a rather stormy sky – it rained later in the day – so that added some intensity to the shot that a clear blue sky would have missed.
Photo of the Day – Window to the Grand Canyon
I’m off to Denver for meetings over the next couple of days and then will be spending some time in my favorite national park – Rocky Mountain National Park. It has such a diverse beauty and I’m really looking forward to some of the hikes I have planned. The weather looks good so I’m going to get up at 3:00 AM on Friday and hike up to Dream Lake for sunrise. The last time I did this the lake was completely frozen over but I expect some of the ice to be melted now and I’m hoping I can pick up some reflections of Hallett Peak in the water. I love the picture I took last year but really hope that I get a shot with the water still and a nice reflection prevalent.