Category Archives: nature photography

Back in the saddle…

| currently listening to: Divine Invasion, Trans Am, Liberation, 2004 | LINK

the photography:

It’s been exactly 3 years, 3 months, and 1 day since I left my position as Staff Photographer and Staff Photo Editor at Cars.com. A lot has happened in that amount of time. I will try to list them briefly here in no particular order:

– Archibald (Archie) Brian Fitzsimmons Merritt was born
– I’ve helped launch 4 new vehicles for Subaru of America while traveling to Iceland & England
– My photography helped launch a ton of Sharpie Products since 2012
– Hefty and Reynolds Consumer Products have used my lifestyle photography extensively
– I shot multiple photographs that were included in Doug Sohn’s Hot Doug’s The Book
– I’ve discovered less hair on my head and more gray hairs within the amount that is left

I guess it could be worse.

I started this blog as an outlet years ago to broadcast the work I was creating that did not have a place to live. It was a landing for any photo projects, fine art, and non-Cars.com photography that I started and wanted to show off. I named it “I am a working artist…” because I wanted to relate to people that being an artist in the real world meant that many times your creativity needed to take a back seat to your production and technical expertise.

Unless, of course, that you are being bankrolled. That would be awesome.

I strive to reopen this part of my career. This blog will once again stand as a creative outlet, a portal, a creative abyss, a photo dump…

Make art. Make Art. Make. ART.

the music:

TRANS AM.
I have followed this band’s career since the late 90’s when two musician friend’s introduced them to me during my last few years of college. The bass, guitar, synth, drums, midi-triggers attack of this three piece intrigued me to no end. I have always want to make as much noise as possible with other musicians in the same way that these three friends do it. Sebastian is also one of the best drummers I have ever seen. Period.

Farnsworth House II

| currently listening to: Panic Switch, Silversun Pickups, Swoon, 2009 | LINK

the photography:

As I mentioned in the last post, The Farnsworth House is an architectural legend. Designed and built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the house is, simply, an icon.

In my last post I showed off images from the interior of the Farnsworth House. Today’s images are a mixture of exterior shots of the house and photos from the set of the Japanese commercial shoot. It was a rather prolific shoot for me as there was always something to look at and different angles to decipher. It was such a great experience as a whole and the amount of excellent photos = many.

Not only did I get to hang inside and outside of said icon, I also got to see a RED camera up close and personal. Combined with a SuperTechno 50 crane, the TV commercial side of the shoot was amazing. What a crazy combination of cool devices. A tip of the hat to A.J. Rickert-Epstein (featured at the helm of the RED controls). He’s a fantastic Director of Photography with an impressive aesthetic eye.

This entire experience was splendid to say the least.

the music:

Alright. Silversun Pickups is one of my guilty guilty guilty pleasures. They have picked up where various ‘Oceans of Guitars’ styled bands left off. One that comes to mind as far as sonic intensity is the Champaign, Illinois indie greats, Hum.

While garnering quality radio play with this single, SSPU has solidified themselves to have at least a couple more records paid for and released by the underdogs at Dangerbird Records. Hook laden shoegaze is hard to come by but this quartet really knows how to put the elements together.

In most shoe gaze bands, a two guitar drone would lead the attack but the SSPU’s employ a keyboardist who fills in the gaps with gigantic blips and chords. But the secret weapon in SSPU arsenal is their bass player, Nikki Monninger. My god. She belongs in the ‘Female Vocal Hall of Fame’ right next to Kim Deal. Right around the 4:29 mark Nikki’s voice overpowers this song and wrestles it to the ground. She really ties the room together.

Perspective

| currently listening to: Take The Skinheads Bowling, Camper Van Beethoven, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, 1985 | LINK

the photography:
there is something very tangible about learning a trade from someone with deep insight, years of experience, and an updated knowledge of the industry you are studying. the learning process is best described as an open dialog between student and teacher. great learning opportunities arise when both sides bring a desire to be in such a relationship.

as i look back at my schooling it seems funny (read: depressing) that many of my relationships with my teachers were fairly cordial but bordering on the ‘politely frigid’, especially in college. i blame myself for these relationships as i tried my damnedest to put in a solid effort in many courses but the subject matter wasn’t always what i wanted to learn at the time. the story of my life will inevitably read something like this: blah blah blah wasn’t what i wanted to do at the time blah blah blah blah ironically blah blah blah.

coincidentally i didn’t major in art in college. my American Studies BA is doing me a ton of good right now but i digress. even though i focused my work on american history through the eyes of sociologists, anthropologists, musicians, and artists, my real love was art and the study of photography and design. when i received my degree, i was 4 credits shy of an art minor. i never wanted to take those 4 credits because they were only offered for Art History 101. so what was the first thing i did in the 3 semesters after graduation? i went out and took an art history course, a color photography course, and a 20×24 polaroid course. lordy… i feel like people should go to college when they are 24 instead of 18. that way they would appreciate the academics a bit more.

but there was one professor i liked. and i liked him because he liked me and i liked him because he hated me. come to think of it, i think he liked/hated all the kids. he was my photography teacher. we would spend hours in class arguing over aesthetics and arguing over processing film and arguing over the great photographers of the 21st century, it never stopped. now, bear in mind that this was a time before the consumer digital age and DSLR’s were still $10K for the cheap ones. out of all of our (i use our as a collective because discussions in class would involve the entire class) yellings and name callings (oh yes, that happened on many occasions), one of the greatest things he ever taught me was thus:

CHOOSE YOUR PERSPECTIVE. if you don’t like what you see through your lens, move your feet and try again. words of wisdom. to this day, this statement is one of the reasons i love using prime lens’. primes won’t let me cheat on the perspective by zooming in and out. find the perspective you want by putting yourself in the right space to take the photograph you want to take. if you set yourself up right the first time, you’ll never second guess that you should have been three feet to the right, or six inches down. creating your own perspective before you take the photo also allows for less time in the editing process. if you move your feet and and find the right balance through your viewfinder before you take the photo, you won’t have to crop your photos after the fact.

and amazingly, if you take the time to practice taking photographs with a specific camera and a specific lens you will actually get to know the differences between what your eye sees and what it will look like through your camera. you will instinctively know where to plant yourself to get the right perspective. it’s a great feeling knowing that you didn’t spend the day walking around in circles zooming in and out just to get the three photos you wanted. think ahead, move your feet, click the shutter three times, viola. next location.

the music:
camper van beethoven is one of the great american art house bands. misunderstood and hard to classify, they spent much of their time making great albums and creating a niche following of diehard fans. and once they broke up (only slightly), their leader went on to have commercial success with his follow up band, Cracker.

like their contemporaries R.E.M., CVB turned out more genre bending music in the 80’s. a quarter of this record is instrumental ska-ditties that show off the brilliance of the up-strum on the guitar. but this track, which takes a mighty swing at the lameness that had become the mid-80’s punk rock cliche, hammers home the humor, the tight musicianship, and the pop sensibilities of this rollicking crew.

instead of fighting? let’s just take the skinheads bowling. awesome… listen for the call and response hilarity that follows.

got big lanes.

desolate

| currently listening to: Wake Up!, Les Savy Fav, The Cat and the Cobra, 1999 | LINK

the photography:
as a photographer i am subconsciously looking at the scenery around me and setting up photographs in my head. ok. so maybe it’s subconscious half the time. during the other half of the time i’m wondering to myself, ‘how quickly can i run and grab my camera and take this photo?’ or ‘this is the place for that fine art shoot that i want to pull off with the knives and the gorilla?’ or ‘oh my god, if everyone took off their clothes and danced around, i could be the next David LaChappelle. now all i need are some feathers, face paint, and Lady Gaga’.

ok… so that last one only happens in my dreams. but seriously. as a photographer, it’s hard to turn your inner camera off. every angle of a sunrise, every room, every snippet of light through a window shade, every piece of furniture can trigger my creative side. if i really like something i see, i will place a mental check mark next to the memory so i can dial it up and use it at a later date. this inevitably long checklist becomes a deep dark internet exercise into the depths of ‘DIY’ to recreate what i remember. somehow i keep my mind satisfied.

if you are invested in the idea of creating the image you see in your head then you will (hopefully) be constantly invested in finding out how to do something you don’t know how to do. a perfect example? lighting. i ask myself a dozen times a day, how can i get that lighting? ‘how do i recreate that thin line of light around that girl’s hair on the train platform?’ well… i could come back tomorrow with my camera and put my friend in the exact same spot at the exact same time of day and hope that it’s not cloudy so i can take the photo. or i could learn how to do it myself whenever i wanted to with a couple of standard light setup’s and maybe a few off-camera flash units. sometimes getting the results you want involves some serious effort which may or may not include lengthy lighting rig diagrams and at least two different 8 armed assistants. even if this effort involves reading a handbook (gasp), taking a class, or asking for help, so be it. make it happen. finish what you started. take the shot.

obviously the problems arise when recreating what you see in your head involves illegal activities (trespassing, real vs. fake blood, and stealing a helicopter). this happens a lot. i mean… A LOT. but don’t be deterred. if you think that you can only create beautiful images with certain pieces of technology that you don’t own (lights, cameras, lens’, helicopters) than you are truly missing out on creating beautiful images all together.

for me? i like desolate man-made places. spaces that should be used but are currently vacant. large rooms with patterned carpet and tables arranged, empty airport terminals, empty bus station benches, empty parking garages, and empty closets with lots of clothes. i’ve found one thing to be certain while trying to capture these spaces and their emptiness. there is always one place that will most likely be empty and contain some really decent lighting and interesting subject matter. the bathroom. yup. bathrooms. the bigger, the better. check it next time.

i’ve covered this a little bit before in my post on diptychs FOUND HERE. it really is all about perspective.

the music:
“this house is a freight train
and it’s mine it’s mine it’s mine.
back in 1989
they found my body on the Morris Essex line”
– Tim Harrington

man… i love this band. my friend brad turned me onto them in the summer of 2000 when we were traveling across the country in my old subaru legacy station wagon. back then i was still smoking cigarettes, driving ridiculously fast (especially in wyoming where i set the cruise control at 84mph during that trip, completely legal BTW…), and listening to The Get-Up Kids, Nirvana, Wilco, The Tragically Hip, Nerf Herder, The Dropkick Murphy’s, and The Pogues religiously.

Les Savy Fav came on the stereo and blew my mind. Tim Harrington and crew showed me how rock and roll my life was even though i felt like it was mundane. Les Savy Fav showed us how living in the city didn’t have to define us but how living life the way we did helped us define the city we were in.

does that make sense? they weren’t a NYC band… they were a Williamsburg band. i wasn’t living in Boston, i was living in N. Cambridge. i discovered Les Savy Fav at a moment in my life where i was proud to be where i was, i was proud to be where i was from, and i was proud to be a little insane. Harrington showed us all that putting your heart into your work was what life was all about. if i ever need a creative pick-me-up… i look no further than Les Savy Fav and i crank it up.

disco beats, eighties new wave guitars, math rock jumps, impeccable musicianship, arena hooks, and a crazy bald man at the helm of a sinking ship. fucking epic.

killer fog is better than the blob

Exposure: 1/13 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
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28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: My Coco, Stellastarr*, Stellastarr*, 2003 | LINK

the photography:
there was a small break in the gorgeous spring weather here in chicago. yesterday and on into this morning, fog blanketed the north side of the city making for some awesome pictures and some wonky traffic jams. only in chicago would drivers be distracted by low lying clouds.

to set the tone of just how creepy it was outside, i also took some indoor shots of our back stairs and of our kitchen. my wife and i love to watch the CTA workers do their nightly rounds which include walking down the tracks past our house. once they hit a specific spot, they turn around and walk back up to the platform in an awkward single file line. we always joke that it’s the ‘Others’ from the the TV show Lost. last night, we were so entrenched in the cinematic quality of the weather that we actually got spooked by the whole ordeal. thus no photos of people walking on the train tracks in the fog. we were too busy hugging each other and laughing… oh well…

with the baby on it’s way any day now (holy crap i don’t know if i can wait any longer!!!!!) my blog posts have slowed to a trickle. i will make sure to post as much as i possibly can… when fog like this rolls in, i can’t help myself. i also have a good 6 blog posts (or so) containing my-trip-to-china photos waiting to be published… photos are with the 5D and the 28mm f1.8. no tripods were used. everything here is handheld. i’m still like that. enjoy.

the music:
stellastarr* channel not only the great 80’s rock gods, flock of seagulls, duran duran, but also the 70’s new wave bands that bred them, blondie, the cars, the knack, etc..

this ode to the nose candy is one of the best radio hits that never made it on to anything but college radio. it should be a dance club favorite, it should be on everyone’s ipod, it should be the cornerstone for post 80’s revival that’s been brewing and overflowing for the last 10 years but alas… this band just never got high enough off the ground. me thinks they tried to be too much like rainer maria and not enough like the ting tings. sigh.

north east kingdom, 100th post

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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Keep the Car Running, Arcade Fire, Neon Bible, 2007, | LINK

the photography:
i’m still sorting through all of the photographs i took during the thanksgiving holiday. the sad thing is that it’s literally almost christmas. whoops… i’m a bit of a slowpoke sometimes but hey, i got a ton of stuff on my plate. the detroit auto show is in january, the chicago auto show is in february, the new baby arrives in march, and i’m still shooting about 3 cars a week at work. wowsers. busy.

after spending our first thanksgiving dinner with my side of the family down in rhode island, my wife, my parents, and i hopped in the car and drove to my wife’s cabin in the north east kingdom area of vermont (it’s where canada, vermont, maine, and new hampshire meet… maine is technically 60 miles to the east, you can thank my father for the edit). it’s one of the more remote parts of the state, gorgeous, and virtually untouched for a long time. the accents are so thick on the natives that most vermonters don’t even understand what people are talking about. its a special place.

the funny thing about our trip up to the cabin is that thanksgiving falls right in the heart of deer hunting season. when we decided to go for a walk, we needed to wear as much “i’m-not-a-deer-orange” as we could pile on. we actually came prepared with bright colored jackets of our own as my mom always packs extra bright clothes in the back of the car during hunting season. i can’t say that people in chicago are worried about being mistaken for deer during the fall but who knows.

the cabin is where my wife and i got married. it’s a special place that holds a lot of meaning to not only her family (it’s been a place of refuge for 40 plus years) but also to me and my family. photos are from the woods surrounding the cabin and the players are cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, and parents. it helped that it was brisk and sunny. perfect for walking with the 5D and my trusty 28mm. vermont’s pretty pretty. it’s no joke.

dinner that night was stupendous. back to back thanksgivings is pretty awesome. did i mention that this is my 100th post? that’s right. check out the archives. i got a lot of stuff to look through.

the music:
out of the handful of indie bands to garner national attention in the last 10 years, the arcade fire have backed up their hype by putting on some of the best live shows and have released two of the century’s best studio records. this was the first single off of the second record and it is one of the catchiest tunes around. i’m a sucker for some mandolin. i saw the arcade fire for the first time back in the day at Merge Fest 15 (Merge Fest XX was this year) when they played a free show opening up for lou barlow (of sebadoh and dinosaur jr. fame). i’m pretty sure no one remembers his set…

the show was at the “local 506”, a small club on the main drag in chapel hill, north carolina that doesn’t fit a lot of people. needless to say, it was the most packed show i have ever been a part of. i like it when artists step up and live up to the hype that others put upon them. i hate being disappointed. pitchfork disappoints me a lot. thank god someone else broke these guys. it was a great time to live in the triangle area (raleigh, durham, chapel hill, located in *gasp* a triangle). there was a lot going on five years ago…

leaf peepers have all gone home

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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Anchored, Starlight Conspiracy, Sounds Like Silver Hollar, 1997, | LINK

the photography:
i have always wanted to make a t-shirt and bumper sticker campaign featuring the phrase, “Real Vermonters don’t vacation in Jersey” complete with some huge Cooper font lettering scheme (think old iron on letters) and with some line art of the two states fighting. now, if you didn’t grow up in or attend college in the north east, you probably won’t get the reference. let me lay it out for you…

now we all like to pick fun at the expense of the fine state of new jersey. everyone does it. chemical plants, swamplands, the jersey shore, even the Boss is fair game. but in it’s defense, north eastern new jersey, near the Penn border, is absolutely stunning. the terrain is all rolling mountains, cow pastures, and beautiful river valleys. anywho, that specific region does not save the rest of the state.

as a child growing up in vermont, sometime around late august, the influx of new york and new jersey license plates started to roll into town in search of some late summer delights such as leaf peeping (a legitimate money maker in vermont), maple syrup purchasing, ski-lodge renting, and golfing. these cars would then stay through the winter only to disappear sometime around february. now granted, these people are spending money and keeping the economy running long after the cheese and milk industry have run out of ideas but most vermonters, and i mean most vermonters, would let you know that they cringe when they see those license plates.

it comes down to this: vermonters love peace and quite. that’s the main reason why families settle there. they enjoy the outdoors, the mountains, the lakes, the farms, the wildlife, the skiing, and winter driving. there is a reason it is illegal to put up billboards in vermont and there is a reason it is the only state without a McDonalds in the capitol city. what most vermonters can’t stand is brash, loud, obnoxious, demanding, and downright contentious crowds from the garden state who own time shares in Killington and thus think that they own everything in vermont. undoubtedly, these same people are probably wearing some sort of gaudy fuschia ski parka complete with gold lamé patches and a fake fur collar so they are easy to spot. just don’t mistake them for canadians. canadians wear the full fuschia snow suits to cover up their denim on denim ensembles, not just the jackets (i kid…).

people who grew up in upstate new york (and yes that means north of albany as more than 2/3’s of the fine state of new york is located north of albany!!!) feel my pain. so when i go home, i tend to judge people by their license plates. it makes me feel better. i guess every state has at least one mortal enemy… unfortunately, most of new england despises new jersey. and let’s be honest, the hippies in vermont would never let hypodermic needles and dirty diapers wash up on their shores.

photos are from thanksgiving weekend from my parents backyard in charlotte, vermont. for some perspective, the house is located an hour and a half, door to door, from Montreal, Canada. on that fine mid-morning it was raining and brown and a bit on the cold side. 28mm lens again. i just can’t quit you. to be in the state of vermont is relaxing. i take deep breathes when i go home. i love it and i miss it from time to time. but this mid-west city is where i need to be. mid-west for life? possibly… vermonter at heart? most definitely.

the music:
with pictures of vermont running through my head, i figured i would tap into the deep and vast musical cd’s from said fair state that reside on my ipod. for a small area with a small population, some really good art is made in burlington vermont. back in 1997, one of the best bands in chittenden county was the shoe-gazing noise makers Starlight Conspiracy. the band was lead by the guitar genius of Denny Donovan and highlighted by the softest/sweetest female vocals this side of Kim Deal. this record is a diamond in the rough that was the mid-90’s wasteland of crappy grunge rip-offs and bad rap rock. Starlight’s music fits more with 1991 britain and My Bloody Valentine or on the mean streets of washington d.c and Fugazi than it does in the hippie mountains of phish.

Starlight Conspiracy’s entire catalog can be downloaded here: Starlight MP3’s

on a side note: god bless marshall amplification.

photo crew or posse or something

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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: We’ve Got a File On You, Blur, Think Tank, 2003, | LINK

the photography:
so i’ve got this posse. and in this posse are two dudes who know how to use their cameras. and let’s just say it’s not really my posse. it’s probably more joe’s posse. moe and i are more privates than lieutenants. i digress. there’s three of us and for the first time, we went on some sort of photo/manny’s deli/chinatown/south loop walk about with our cameras. it was rad. here are their flickr sites. check em out. MOE and JOE

the only reason i think it’s joe’s posse is because he’s tougher than moe and i. it’s true. he was air force, moe was navy, and i, well, i played long stick defense on a mediocre public high school lacrosse team which is to say, i’ve really never been to boot camp. so for lack of a better hierarchy, the posse is joe’s. we went out with one thing in mind, to photograph the bejesus out of the south loop. we ended up talking as much as we took photos so i guess we kinda succeeded and kinda failed. either way, it was awesome.

photos here are with the 28mm again (i just can’t quit you!) and most of them were taken down in an abandoned, filled-in basement of a building that had been destroyed. it was probably the coolest urban destruction site i’ve ever found. if i ever wanted to film a post apocalyptic thriller about the decline of rice production and it’s affects on the shanty towns that relied on the it set in downtown chicago, i would film it there.

SIDE NOTE: have you been to manny’s deli before? you should really go if you haven’t and you live in chicago (or if you would like to go when you are visiting chicago, please call me. i am always ready for manny’s). it’s pure corned beef fantastic with a side of love and latkes. mmmmmmmmmmm. visit their website HERE.

the music:
blur’s last studio album (and first without graham coxon) is spotty at best. there is one song from a jeans commercial, one from a car commercial, and then there is this beautifully spun, one minute and two second punk ditty on the atrocities of government and it’s over arching power-hungry secret service/big brother policies and polices. it’s awesomeness bottled into jangled fuzzed out guitars that get to the point right away. crank it. sit back. be blown away.

what is the difference between jam and jelly?

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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Honestly, Zwan, Mary Star of the Sea, 2002, | LINK

the photography:
making jam is so awesome. this is the second time we’ve ventured into the realm of doing things “like grandma” and after going two for two (the first being an awesome batch of applesauce in the fall of 2005), i think we might just go ahead and start marketing our jam, canning, and apple sauce services as Merritt’s World Famous. it definitely has a nice ring to it.

with a bun in the oven (well, technically, my wife’s oven), i have been reminiscing more and more about the days of yore when my brother and i were little munchkins and the things my own mother offered up to us as alternatives to playing video games (in all honesty, she did this because we didn’t own a video game console). as kids we did a lot in the kitchen. we were always spending hours making our own play-doh, baking cookies, making brownies, canning jelly, smushing apples into apple sauce, etc. as i approach my own impending fatherhood, these activities seem excitedly and amazingly eminent.

in many ways, i am amazed at how crafty i have become in my young adult years. as a kid, i never thought that years later i would be appreciating the skills my parents taught us (my brother and i) in that kitchen. it just seems natural now that i make lamps for fun and that i can dismantle a computer in no time flat. i think my wife is psyched i never learned how to rebuild a car engine.

the weird part is just after i wrote the last paragraph (^^^^ above ^^^^), i went outside to help fix my friend’s ’81 Corvette. we installed a new headlamp. it took 10 minutes. that stuff feels pretty good. now if only i can pass it on to the next generation… i think my wife might kill me if the kid starts taking apart the lawnmower with a screwdriver.

Q. is McGuyver out on DVD yet?

A. yes. yes it is.

photos are from south eastern michigan and from our kitchen in chicago. we (my parents and the wifey and i) spent the day picking raspberries and buying blueberries in the hopes of making lots and lots of jam. and we did. the blood of the fruit was on our hands that day and to top it all off, i bought new kicks at the outlets. it was awesome.

the music:
i’m pretty sure that billy corgan is a dick. i have never met him. but i know his story: everyone who has ever played in a band with him has hated him. now, don’t get me wrong, this could be said about a lot of rock’n’rollers but with billy it seems like his genius is what draws people to him and it is his cockiness and controlling nature that push people away. the only interaction i have ever had with the man (other than standing 400 people deep in the audience at one of his shows) is when he sped by me in his lamborghini in the wicker park neighborhood in chicago. he just looked smug. and rich.

but oh my god this song is so good. i mean saturday-morning-driving-to-wisconsin-to-buy-spotted-cow-beer-because-they-don’t-sell-it-in-illinois-super-sweet-awesome-being-pumped-out-of-your-corvette’s-speakers good.

i think corgan gives bald genius’ and fender strats a bad name.

you’ll always be mini golf to me.

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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/4000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Bells, Hey Mercedes, Hey Mercedes EP, 2001, | LINK

the photography:
it is called a few different things across the world. putt putt, miniature golf, mini golf… but no matter how you slice it; the smaller than real life golf course is one of the greatest places to relax on the planet. 1 father-in-law, 1 wifey, a dozen life-sized paper-maché animals, 1 waterfall, 1 not so close to scale replica of the great wall of china, and 1 gorgeously sunny afternoon in illinois = THE perfect labor day.

here’s a fun perspective/take of a miniature golf course in skokie, illinois. we snuggled our round in between a rather quick threesome of daughter, son, and dad who sat quietly behind us while we putted, and four twentysomethigns who were trying not to curse too loudly when they missed their 4th and 5th shots. it was awesome. did i mention the weather? gorgeous. i also love that mini golf courses have their own little alien-like ecosystems that may or may not survive on rain and sun (they might just grow on dreams and luck). these environments offer up some pretty radical angles. everything was shot using the 28mm 1.8 that was slung around my neck while i putt-putt putted to the head of the leader board after 17 holes (we never did play the first hole).

for a historical look back at golf de mini, check our this link.

the music:
sometimes i just want to hear melodic rock and roll so i can set myself afloat in my office chair. this song does just that. spinning and spinning and spinning i forget just how boring work can be sometimes. thank god for Panodora.com.

nature photography (i’m new at this…)

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Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: the two camps in my head | LINK

the photography:
as a photographer, i love the wham bam thank you ma’am moments. i adore walking around with a camera around my neck, shooting from the hip, taking it all in, a click here, a click there, you know, real fast like. i would even describe my style as being slightly gung ho. i have very little patience when it comes to the time consuming slow process photos that take four days to set up in the studio. how david lachapelle does it? i will never know. but what i have learned about nature photography might surprise you.

in all honesty? eff ansel adams. eff ansel adams for making nature look perfect. eff ansel adams for taking the time to hike through the world and shoot photos of it. eff ansel adams for living during a time of less man and more nature. eff ansel adams for being a perfectionist. eff ansel adams for leading the general public to think that they can take photos like he could. and most of all, eff ansel adams for making it look easy.

nature photography is hard. very hard. it takes time. you must be in the right place, at the right time, with the right light, during the right season, and with the right angle. every time i take photos of nature i curse my own eyes as false. what i see without my camera and what i see through my camera are totally different things, this i already know. but nature photography widens this disparaging gap. widens. yuck. it drives me nuts that i can’t sit nature down and chat with it for a little while. once we got to know each other a little better, i would take funny, yet unalarming portraits of nature. THAT is never gonna happen.

photos taken with the 24mm-105mm lens. when i’m shooting nature, i’m keeping it wide open. but sometimes you just want a touch of zoom to get those pesky electric lines out of the frame. god i wish i had a helicopter. every angle of the mountains that i want to photograph starts with me, 100 feet off the ground. i’m just saying… (i threw a car in there for good luck measure)

the music:
so again, i am left with very little music to listen to. so gratefully, my inner psyche has divided my brain into two camps. camp #1: chatty cathy. my head keeps yacking on at the speed of light about nothing and everything. someday i’ll draw a map of how my thoughts progress. it will look like someone threw up on the page. camp #2: let’s get rocked by def leppard. someone, please kill me.