Late Light in Banff National Park

The peacefulness of Banff National Park in March. Here in the Vermillion Lakes area where in the summer months throngs of other photographers or sightseers would be hanging out was completely devoid of people for almost a full day. I hiked across the (mostly) frozen lakes – broke through twice and got my feet wet – and tundra all day and only ran into one other person near sunset. Otherwise this great area of one of the world’s most beautiful locations was mine for a full day. There is nothing better to me than this peace – I work in a job where the understanding (especially with technology) is that you will always be responsive so when I can get away for hours on end and am completely unreachable it is pretty amazing.

Photo of the Day – Late Light in Banff National Park

Banff National Park

The Peacefulness of Banff National Park

I’m heading off to San Francisco for a day or so tomorrow before carrying onto Seattle for the early part of next week for work. However, the highlight of my month is going to be at the end of the month when I’m going to make the drive from LA to Death Valley and spend three or four nights there. My client in LA was originally trying to set the meeting on the 22nd which would have required me to fly back to Chicago the same day because I have meetings the 23rd and 24th…however, given the weather recently in Chicago he gave me a call and tried to find a meeting date that would allow me to stay out west for a few days and enjoy some warmer weather. There are some days I have a lot of complaints about the ‘day-to-day’ grind but when I stand in Banff National Park, Death Valley, Glacier National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, etc…. the perks of my job far outweigh any negatives I may deal with throughout the busier seasons.

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Scale in Photography

One of the hardest thing to do with landscape photography is to provide the viewer with a sense of scale. This is because while I’m on the scene seeing everything develop in front of me – I can see (in the example of the Grand Canyon) the shadows, the sky, the length of the canyon and the vastness of it as it stretches out in front of me. Of course, the photograph only shows what I’ve captured within the frame. I learned early on while studying landscape photography that placing an item in the foreground – a rock, boulder, tree, etc… – provided a sense of scale to say mountains in the background. This is because inherently as the person viewing the photograph your reference point (i.e the foreground element) makes sense to you. You can imagine yourself standing near that item and viewing the object in the distance.

Photo of the Day – Scale of the Grand Canyon

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In the lower left hand corner of this photograph – you can see a small figure which looks like a GI Joe from this angle. As I photographed the Grand Canyon from Yaki Point on this particular morning I noticed a man who climbed down onto one of the jutting points to get a better view down the canyon. While I tend to not like putting people in the photograph I knew when I saw him down there that he could instantly provide the photograph with a sense of size and scale because we all know what an ‘average’ man’s size is – yet the canyon completely envelopes him and makes him look so miniature (even while if you took him out of this picture it may not look as vast).

A Beautiful Blip on the Mediterrean

A negative mind will never give you a positive life

In Cinque Terre, the path that winds along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea was closed (temporarily) to tourists due to a mudslide that occurred in 2010. Therefore, we weren’t able to take the relaxing route that was created for us to hike along the sea and take in the views. Instead you have to go up into the hills – a pretty steep hike and then head back down to the next town. There were a number of fences setup to prevent people from getting out to this spot but given that it was nearing sunset there wasn’t a lot of traffic on the trails. I slid my camera equipment under the fence and then climbed up a tree and jumped over the fence. Nervously, I quickly moved away from the fence and snuck over to this spot which looked back onto the town of Monterosso. This gives a good perspective of just how tiny the town is – only around 1,500 permanent residents – in relation to the hills in the distance.

Photo of the Day – A Beautiful Blip

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Just a tiny blip in the upper right hand corner of this picture but a much larger part of my heart. One of the most relaxing and peaceful places that I’ve been too. The seafood was so fresh – most caught right that day – and the wine was (mostly) local as well. We visited our share of wineries (there was only two in town) and drank a lot of the local wines.

Daybreak in Joshua Tree

The sun rose on the horizon behind a large Joshua Tree in the middle of the dessert. I’ll be heading back to California next month and am considering making the drive to Joshua Tree again. I feel like the last time I was out there I missed a few photo opportunities because I had a call the next morning which forced me to hit the road shortly after I took this photo.

Photo of the Day – Joshua Tree Sunrise

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30,000 Point Sign-up is Back!

I signed up for this last year just before it went away but if you don’t have this card and want to get a solid reward just for accessing some credit check out the Starwood Amex card which is offering 30,000 points for the signup. With those points we are going to stay a couple of nights at a five star hotel in Hawaii next April – there is a pretty low spend requirement and thus should be easy to access. Even if you aren’t interested in Hawaii there are plenty of other Westin’s the points will be good.

The Beach Path

Unseasonably cool here in Chicago today. Not that I’m complaining after how warm it was last week before the cold front came in. It was actually nice to not have to wake up super early to go running this morning.

Photo of the Day – The Beach Path

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I headed down to the beach a few weeks ago to take some pictures of the sunset – this was the view from the beach path as I got down there. I liked how the angle of the railing directed my eye into the picture and then turned left around the corner back towards the setting sun.

I’m off to Banff next weekend for the second time. Looking forward to early morning sunrises and a couple of days of hiking in the pristine Canadian Rockies.

Daybreak in the Grand Canyon

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

― Pablo Picasso

If I didn’t see it I wouldn’t believe it existed. A simply amazing place.

Photo of the Day – Daybreak Grand Canyon

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Step into a Dream

This morning on my way to work I was reading through some news on Twitter when I came across a Tweet from Buster Olney that made me think:

150 years ago at this moment, Robert E. Lee plans to attack the center of the Union line — which is where George Meade expects him to hit.

Now there isn’t anything necessarily earth shattering with this comment of course, but the concept of 150 years doesn’t seem so long but to think about how much different the world is today versus 1863. So much has changed in such a little amount of time. It just struck me as being pretty amazing that holy cow we as humans have come so far in the past decade and a half. Amazing! Don’t wake me up if I’m dreaming!

Photo of the Day – Stepping into a Dream

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A short boat ride away from Cinque Terre is a small, seaside town named Portovenere. While Portovenere isn’t actually part of the Cinque Terre it is a stop on the ferry ride that takes you from one end of the Cinque Terre to the other. In the town of Portovenere there is a castle called the Doria Castle that you can walk up to and walk around. We got there too late to go inside but we were still able to walk around the grounds. One of the gates was open that led out to the cliffs that dropped off into the sea. Another set of rocks led into the distance and I thought it made an interesting composition. It seemed very dreamy to me like you could step through the door and enter into a different world, filled with water and mystery.

I’m heading downtown to take pictures of the Chicago fireworks this evening. I hope everyone has a nice holiday!