River in Glacier National Park (Montana)

I’m not sure exactly what river this was but it was only a short hike off of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. The time of year that I went (September 2013) there was a lot of bear activity so seeing that I was a solo hiker I was wary of getting too far off by myself in case I stumbled across a hungry grizzly or something like that.

It was a rainy day and as I always do on days like that I look for places with water where I can try and capture the motion of it given the overcast skies. All you need is a tripod, a delayed shutter click and let the camera do its work.

River in Glacier National Park (Montana)

River in Glacier National Park (Montana)

This year we decided to take an October trip out to the Smoky Mountains in October to catch the changing of the seasons. Between my wife working nights at the hospital and all the moving, packing/unpacking we’ve been doing we haven’t had a chance to be together too much so it will be a nice trip for the both of us and we are really looking forward to it (even though the cold, harsh Chicago winter will come shortly after that).

Sunset from Camelback Mountain (Phoenix, Arizona)

A few years back before heading out to Grand Canyon National Park for a few days I went hiking up on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a nice hike – although HOT – and more challenging than I expected given it was a local hike right outside of the city. Maybe it was because I wasn’t in solid shape because I’m a city guy but man it was harder than I expected – the elevation change, the heat, etc… I felt silly that locals were jogging up it like it was nothing but I eventually made it up to the top where I ate a protein bar, drank some water and watched the sunset over the city of Phoenix. It was a nice view from up there and well worth the hike but just be warned if you aren’t from there – the hike is no joke and will kick your ass if you aren’t prepared.

Sunset from Camelback Mountain

Sunset from Camelback Mountain (Phoenix, Arizona)

I’ve been a little preoccupied lately between moving and a new role at work so posting is a little sporadic over the past few weeks. However, I hope to catch up this weekend and be back to semi-normal by next week. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Dream Lake at Midnight (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.

~Inception

Dream Lake at Midnight (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Dream Lake at Midnight (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Over the winter I spent a long night out taking pictures on a windy and freezing night in Rocky Mountain National Park. I shivered most of the night and at times couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes but damn it was pretty. There is really something about the stars that brings a peace over me. I don’t know what it is but it has a real calming affect on my soul.

Arteries of Paris (Paris, France)

If you look at Paris, France on a map the one thing that will immediately stick out is how the city seems to be perfectly planned around a central point (Arc De Triomphe). The long, wide boulevards spread out in all directions allowing access to the various points around the town. Of all the cities we’ve visited this makes it extremely easy to find your way around – which is one of the reasons I enjoy my time there so much. Less time with my head in a map, means more time for exploring the sights.

Arteries of Paris (Paris, France)

Beacon of Paris (Paris, France)

This shot was taken just after sunset at the top of the Arc De Triomphe. They don’t let you set tripods up on the top which makes getting super long exposures nearly impossible. To get this shot (which if you look closely does have a smidge of blur to it) I wrapped a GorillaPod around a piece of the barrier preventing you from climbing on the structure and pulled the barrier hard towards me – people were shaking the fence a bit so by holding it tight against me I was able to keep it reasonably sharp while the exposure was taken. It isn’t how I pictured it in my head but all in all it worked out pretty well.

Duomo – Florence, Italy

Walking out into the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, Italy is an amazing scene. The tourists naturally attracted to the main church in the city flock around it. The locals, knowing what a zoo it will be, avoid the area at all costs but entertainers, hustlers and street vendors swarm to make their wages for the day. However, at sunrise, the square is quiet and peaceful – likely as it was before travel became so easy and affordable. Old men and women – probably lifelong Florentine residents – read the daily news, feed the pigeons and gather around cafes drinking espressos before moving on to start their day.

Duomo – Florence, Italy

Duomo (Florence, Italy)

I love sitting on the benches taking in the mornings. It is peaceful and about as a ‘real’ an experience in “old” Florence you can experience.

Palais Garnier Grand Staircase (Paris, France)

The Palais Garnier is probably the most famous opera house in the world and is an iconic symbol of Paris, France. It was the setting for the historical novel – The Phantom of the Opera – which has since gone on to become one of the most popular musicals on Broadway in the world.

While we took a tour of the opera house I patiently waited for the staircase to be clear – it took about five minutes of waiting – but once it was I fired off a single picture before another rush of tour goers poured in to marvel at the architecture all around it.

Palais Garnier Grand Staircase (Paris, France)

Palais Garnier Grand Staircase (Paris, France)

My wife and I moved yesterday so its been a few weeks of packing and cleaning. However, now that we are at least partially moved in I hope to get back to a normal schedule of posting and answering comments.

Lonely Bush at the Mesquite Sand Dunes (Death Valley National Park)

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.

— Henry David Thoreau

Lonely Bush at the Mesquite Sand Dunes (Death Valley National Park)

Isolation at Mesquite Dunes (Death Valley National Park)

After a long night out in Death Valley National Park as I stood atop the Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley National Park I noticed this lone bush in the distance sitting amongst the large dunes all around it. It stood out in my mind since it was surviving where very little else does. In the Mesquite Dunes area there are some trees – nearer to the road – but amongst the dunes there isn’t much life existing. Thus, it seemed a little remarkable to me that this little bush was staying strong. As I framed it up I tried to isolate the bush against the dunes in the background – and the texture of those windswept dunes really started to standout. The low sun hanging in the air also cast a long shadow which interested me as well so I tried to frame it so the shadow extended into the foreground.