What's New at Lightscapes Nature Photography
May 31, 2018
Cataract Falls Images Posted
Cataract Falls State Recreation Area is located along Mill Creek in west-central Indiana, less than 10 miles south of the town of Cloverdale. In late May, I made a day trip to Cataract Falls for the fourth time--but for the first time in nearly six years. I've added new images to the Cataract Falls gallery where its clustered with photographs made on earlier visits, under the Indiana Gallery portal. To easily view only the new work, check out the Cataract Falls sub-gallery that's embedded within the What's New Gallery Portal.
I've had a gallery devoted to portfolio images in place for quite some time, but due to presentation limitations, only horizontal images were included. That's always bothered me as I feel that much of my best work is represented by vertical images. Early this year I created a parallel collection of vertical portfolio images and that collection is now publicly accessible. Please have a look.
May 9, 2018
Trillium Ravine Images Posted
On May 6 I spent part of a day at Trillium Ravine Preserve near the town of Niles, Michigan. The preserve, protected under the auspices of the Michigan Nature Association, is a small--but beautiful--woodland tract near a residential development about four miles west of Niles. My friend (and highly accomplished South Bend, Indiana-based nature photographer) Danny Burk told me about the site last year; he found out about it himself after the peak spring wildflower bloom but we decided that, if at all possible, we'd visit this year and so we did. Due to a very, very cold early spring, wildflower development was delayed significantly but once the temperatures warmed up things started to develop very quickly. We caught the trillium bloom more or less at peak and the results are available for your perusal in a new gallery dedicated to the preserve. For the time being, the images can also be accessed via the What's New Gallery portal.
February 9, 2018
Colorado Images Posted
It took even longer than I expected, but I finally completed processing all of the images from my trip to Colorado last autumn. I spent my time in the San Juan and Elk Mountain Ranges in southwest and west-central parts of the state respectively, covering the final week of September and the first week of October. I'd hoped to catch peak fall color in both regions and I was in fact lucky enough to do so.
I had pretty much the full gamut of weather during the trip; temperatures skewed toward the cold side of the continuum (there was frost virtually every morning) and I was consistently treated to a nice blanket of snow on the peaks (and, occasionally, at somewhat lower elevations as well). While the weather wasn't perfect (it never is), it was, on balance, pretty good, and I think that's reflected in the images I brought back home.
You can have a look at the Colorado photographs by accessing either the What's New Gallery portal or the newly formed permanent Colorado Gallery. Either way, there are 640 images distributed across 26 new Colorado sub-galleries. I hope you'll have a look.
I've been blogging about the trip regularly; if you're interested in a chronological blow-by-blow, as well as some thematic thoughts, I encourage you to check out my blog.
In addition, a new Kansas Gallery has been created; I drove to southwest Colorado from the Midwest and spent the first night--by design--in western Kansas, which allowed me to spend an evening at the fascinating Monument Rocks site in Logan County. Images from that shoot, as well as a few photos from rural Kansas scenes, can be found there, as well as through the What's New Gallery.
Finally, a few new images from an October day trip I made to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois have also been posted. They can most easily be viewed through the appropriate sub-gallery in What's New, though they can also be found in their permanent home--the relevant sub-galleries accessible from the Illinois Gallery portal.
2017 was a very busy photo year for me--unprecedented, in fact, in that I took three distinct photo trips--to Florida, California and Colorado. 2018 will be quieter. While I'm currently hoping to take a brief (about four days) trip to central Wisconsin in time for the spring bloom there, that remains in the planning stages. The only firm plans I have are for something that, by my standards, is truly exotic--a long-planned trip of about 12 days to Alaska's interior. I'll have more to say about the specifics of that trip later this year, so stay tuned.
September 12, 2017
California Images Posted
In the second half of May I spent about two weeks in California--Yosemite National Park, the Eastern Sierra and the coastal redwoods in the far northern part of the state. It was a great trip; the heavy winter snows produced tremendous spring runoff, so all of Yosemite's waterfalls--and the Merced River, which winds its way through Yosemite Valley--were flying. While access was limited in the Eastern Sierra (due to snow at the high elevations) I was treated to some tremendous conditions at Mono Lake and in and around the lakes and canyons just below the snowy peaks. I wrapped up the journey with exceptional conditions in the redwoods. After missing virtually all of the rhododendron bloom when I was in the area in the spring of 2015, I caught it pretty much at peak at Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Add in some foggy conditions and...well, it was all I could ask for. I covered a lot of ground and made a lot of images.
You can see the fruits of the excursion via the What's New Gallery portal, which can be accessed here or through the extensively updated California Gallery portal, which you'll find here. It took me 3 1/2 months to process all of the images from the trip; I hope you'll have a look.
I've been blogging about the experience in California since late May, with roughly one new entry per week. Check it out here.
In little more than a week I depart for a trip to southwest Colorado where I hope to capture the peak of the (aspen) fall color in the Elk and San Juan Mountains during the last week of September and the first week of October. I will, no doubt, spend most of the winter processing what I hope will be a trove of images.
May 12, 2017
Illinois, Indiana Spring Day Trips
Just a quick update: I managed to make three day trips this spring: to Bendix Woods County Park in northwest Indiana, to the Morton Arboretum in DuPage County, Illinois and to Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Parks in north-central Illinois. Bendix Woods is the home to one of the most impressive white trillium blooms anywhere; this was my second opportunity to photograph large-flowered trillium at Bendix (the first time was in April, 2016) and I wasn't disappointed. I went to the Morton Arboretum, a frequent photography spot for me, during the peak of the redbud bloom in April. And I hit Starved Rock and Matthiessen after four days of heavy rain, all the better for the numerous waterfalls in the park, early in May.
Material from all of these sessions has been cross-posted, in the permanent galleries devoted to these locations and in special "What's New" sub-galleries, along with all of the material from February's trip to Florida.
You can access the What's New Gallery portal here.
April 13, 2017
Florida Images Posted
I took an unexpected trip to South Florida in mid-February. Unlike most of my photo trips, this one didn't have a lot of planning behind it; the trip itself was only formalized about a month before I departed. Another difference compared to all of my other photo trips is that a significant amount of time during the eight full days I was in Florida was spent photographing birds. Landscapes were, as always, my principal focus but this was the first time I anticipated devoting a meaningful amount of time to wildlife photography. I spent the majority of my time in the Everglades, but also spent a day in the Keys, the better part of two full days at Big Cypress National Preserve and a couple of days in Palm Beach County, both at the beach at Coral Cove Park and in the river environs of River Bend Park. Over all, I felt the trip went extremely well, but you can judge for yourself. I've created a new Florida Gallery as the permanent host to all the new material. All of the images can also be accessed via the What's New Gallery and all of the many wildlife images are cross-listed via a portal contained within the Flora & Fauna Gallery devoted specifically to Florida Wildlife.
Please have a look and let me know what you think.
I'm in the process of blogging about my Florida adventures; you can real all about it here.
The long-awaited trip to California--Yosemite National Park, the Eastern Sierra and a return to the coastal redwoods in the northern part of the state--is scheduled for the second half of May. This trip has been on the docket for years and was planned for last spring, but had to be postponed. Now it's going to happen, finally. I'm really looking forward to it. Images from that trip will presumably be posted here some time this coming summer. Stay tuned.
December 28, 2016
New England Autumn Images Posted
In late September/early October I spent two weeks in northern New England, continuing this year's "back east" theme. My time in the region was split more or less evenly between Maine (the Rangeley Lakes region), Vermont (the Northeast Kingdom) and New Hampshire (the White Mountains), with my visit laid out in the order listed above. I was, as anticipated, a bit early for peak color in Maine but I caught it pretty much full on in both Vermont and New Hampshire and all three areas had more than enough to keep me very busy. In fact, despite the full two weeks on the ground, I really didn't have nearly enough time to photograph everything on my wish list and I would dearly love to do it again at some point in the future. But at the very least, I finally had the opportunity to (partially) scratch a longstanding itch by visiting New England in the fall.
It took me more than two months to go through all of the material that returned with me to the Midwest, but now that I've finally done so this website has been updated accordingly. A new Maine Gallery has been created, which groups all of the new material in eight new sub-galleries along with an Acadia National Park sub-gallery from a ten-year-old visit there. Brand new Vermont and New Hampshire galleries have also been created with a plethora of images grouped in 10 sub-galleries each. I've also created a new gallery that houses some wildlife imagery from the trip.
All of the new images can also be accessed from the What's New gallery portal along some new material from Letchworth State Park in New York (I stopped there, briefly, on the drive back from New England) and some work from local late October day shoots at the Morton Arboretum in Illinois and Ft. Harrison State Park in Indiana.
Please have a look and let me know what you think.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I've been blogging about the trip; you can read all about that by accessing this link.
That's still up in the air. Watch this space for an update, hopefully in the near future.
July 6, 2016
Pennsylvania/New York Images Posted
I spent parts of 10 days in the second half of May photographing at Ricketts Glen State Park, in northeast Pennsylvania, in the western Fingers Lakes region of New York and in the area around Letchworth State Park in northwest New York. The principle focus in terms of subject matter was waterfalls, and I photographed lots of them, in all three places. But there was other subject matter available as well, particularly at Letchworth. These were beautiful places and the combination of relatively high water flow and tree leaf out showed them at their best. Maybe. I kept thinking, as I was wandering around, how amazing many of these spots would appear at the peak of the fall color season.
Regardless, I finished post-processing the images and have updated this website accordingly. As is always the case, I've created collections of the new images and posted them in the What's New Gallery. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Gallery, which had contained groupings of images from a shoot I did in the western part of the state a number of years ago, has had four new sub-galleries permanently added to accommodate the Ricketts Glen imagery. Finally, a brand new New York Gallery has been created, containing all the images from Letchworth, Watkins Glen, Stony Brook, Buttermilk Falls, Robert H. Treman and Taughannock State Parks, as well as other locations around Schuyler and Tompkins Counties. Please have a look.
And, I've been blogging at some length about the trip. The entries can be found here.
TBD. A hoped for trip to southern Utah this fall has been scuttled, due to an unavoidable timing conflict. I'm scrambling, trying to set something up for earlier in the fall--northern New England, a long-time holder of a coveted spot on my fall photography to-do list, remains a possibility--but things are still up in the air.
May 1, 2016
Early Spring Update
I had the opportunity to photograph at four different locations in April of this year: Turkey Run State Park and Bendix Woods County Park in Indiana and Starved Rock State Park and the Morton Arboretum in Illinois.
I've been to Starved Rock and the Morton Arboretum many times in the past, but they never fail to impress. The bluebells were in bloom in Illinois Canyon and the water was flowing in LaSalle, Kaskaskia and Ottawa Canyons at Starved Rock. At the Arb, the bluebells in the East Woods were thicker and more extensive than I've ever seen them (and I've been checking on them each spring for the last six or seven years).
This was my third visit to Turkey Run, but my first time with accessible spring water flow. And this was my second visit to Bendix Woods, but my first in nearly 15 years...and my very first when the remarkable white trillium display was at peak. All of this material can be accessed from the What's New Gallery portal. All of these images have also been deposited in their permanent gallery homes, the gateway for which lies here.
Next on the Agenda
In mid-May I'll be headed to eastern Pennsylvania and western New York State for about 10 days of (mostly) waterfall photography. The principal focus is on Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania and Watkins Glen and Letchworth State Parks in New York, but I'll also be visiting other spots in the western Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. I've never photographed at any of these places so I'm quite excited to visit these areas. I'll return to the Midwest shortly before Memorial Day weekend and, once I've had the opportunity to post-process all of the material, I'll be updating the website again.
April 4, 2016
Photographer's Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula Now Available
Photographing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is now available for purchase as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. This guide has been in development for more than 2 1/2 years, so you can imagine how excited I am to announce its publication.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula consists of more than 16,000 square miles of very lightly settled, mostly undeveloped land that is an absolute treasure trove for outdoor photographers, particularly during the fall color season (typically from the end of September through the middle of October, varying by specific location and the vagaries of each year’s timing). Undeveloped forest lakes, gushing waterfalls, unspoiled Great Lakes coastlines, lighthouses, wetlands, rivers and seemingly infinite tracts of forest as part of a true North Woods environment; the UP holds all of this and much, much more. For the outdoor photographer, this is about as good as it gets.
Creating a truly comprehensive guide to a place this large and this rich in photographic opportunities would be impossible, even after a full lifetime of exploring, and my co-author Andy Richards and I make no claim to have done so. What we have done is create a guide covering dozens of our favorite locations as a means to assisting other photographers in their attempts to find locations that will get their creative juices flowing.
Included in all of our listing are comprehensive driving directions, GPS coordinates, suggestions for the best times to visit and, where appropriate, detailed individual locations notes based on our personal experiences. Years in the making, the book runs 177 total pages and covers locations across the Upper Peninsula.
If you have any questions about the guide, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.
February 9, 2016
The New Look
After much consideration over many years, I finally decided to face reality and update the look of this website. The change was made, in fact, more for administrative reasons than aesthetic ones. The last incremental update--incorporating imagery from my trip to the Canadian Rockies last fall, as well as autumn shoots in Illinois and Indiana--took nearly two full weeks to implement. That's ridiculous, and was largely a function of the outmoded, orphaned tools I was using to manage the site. With new tools, I built out the new version of the website in about a week, and future updates should take a fraction of the time I have been spending. Even the most recent adjustment--the largest incremental update ever in terms of new galleries and the raw number of images--would take less than a day with the new tools at my disposal, I'd estimate.
A fringe benefit of the changeover is that I think it displays my work in a far more appealing manner than was the case with the, admittedly, dowdy presentation of the old site. I also think the new version is easier for visitors to navigate and should do a much better job of adapting visuals to the different viewing devices that people are using.
Please have a look around and let me know what you think. You can get in touch with me via the Contact link in the menu bar or simply go through this e-mail link.
January 21, 2016
Canadian Rockies Images Posted
As noted in my last update, I returned to the Canadian Rockies this past September, for a total of two weeks. If anything, the trip was even more productive than my 2014 experience in Alberta and British Columbia--a function of better knowledge of the reagion, a different apportionment of time on the ground and, in at least a few instances, more favorable weather conditions. I spent roughly 2 1/2 solid months post-processing the fruit of that labor and took a fair amount of additional time to update this website. I added images to many galleries that were established last year and created a slew of new venues as well. Additionally, as usual, I've been blogging extensively about the trip. You can check that out by visiting my blog: Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog.
During October, I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time exploring places considerably closer to my home base(s) in northeast Illinois and central Indiana. I dipped my toe, figuratively speaking, into the Morton Arboretum (DuPage County, Illinois) on a few brief occasions during October. I've spent more days photographing in the Arboretum over the years than anywhere else and, despite the resulting familiarity, I almost always stumble across something new.
I also had the chance to spend part of two days, separated by nearly a week, at Brown County State Park in south-central Indiana. Highly regarded by locals as the place in the region to go to experience fall color, I'd been to Brown County once before--more than 10 years ago. Subsequent attempts to return had been repeatedly foiled, by one thing or another, but I finally made it work. The first day there, in mid-October, was in advance of peak color--by about a week, I judged--but was extremely helpful from a scouting point of view. (And I didn't entirely eschew photography, despite the less than entirely optimal conditions.) The timing of the return trip was predicated on the experience of the initial jaunt and turned out to be pretty much dead on in terms of timing.
Briefly put, TBA. I've done some noodling about a trip to Yosemite National Park and the Eastern Sierra region of California more generally in late spring, with a possible side trip back to the coastal redwoods region (better timed for the likelihood of catching rhododendron in bloom this time around), but that remains a nascent concept at this time.
August 25, 2015
New Jersey Gallery Established
Just a quick update. Earlier this month I was in New Jersey for a few days--this wasn't a photo excursion per se but I managed to squeeze in a few hours of photography over a couple of evenings. New Jersey is stereotyped as a place with few--if any--landscape photo opportunities. Locals know that this is nonsense and it took virtually no time for me to corroborate this fact. I was in northern New Jersey--less than 20 miles as the crow flies from Manhattan--and I could see at a glance that there were opportunities galore, despite this being a less than ideal time of the year for landscape photography in the mid-Atlantic region. The area I was visiting is very hilly, heavily wooded and dotted with numerous lakes, streams and rivers. It would undoubtedly be a terrific place to photograph in the fall and spring and it was no slouch in mid-August. I had precious little time for exploration and confined myself largely to Ramapo Mountain State Forest and Terhune Memorial Park in Passaic County.
As I mentioned last time, I'm off to the Canadian Rockies for the second consecutive fall. I leave three weeks from the date of this posting and will return to the Midwest on September 30. Images from this trip will begin to appear in October at my Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog.
August 5, 2015
Oregon/California Images Posted
Since my last update, nearly six months ago, I took an extended trip. As I speculated in my February update, a trip to the West Coast was in the offing. During the first half of May I spent roughly 12 days in Oregon and northern California. I was on the spectacular southern Oregon coast for a week, in the redwoods area of northern California for parts of four days and wrapped up with a day-plus at Silver Falls State Park in northern Oregon before heading back to the Midwest.
This was my second time on the Oregon coast, but unlike my previous visit, six years ago, I concentrated my efforts on a relatively select area (essentially between Bandon and Brookings) of the shore and was based in a single location (Gold Beach) for the entire week (twice as much time as I devoted to the coast in 2009). Not surprisingly, the experience this time around was far better. It was my first time at Silver Falls State Park and I was suitably impressed. If you like waterfalls you'd greatly enjoy the park and its iconic Trail of Ten Falls.
I'd seen redwood groves before--at Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County--on several occasions prior to this trip, but this was my first visit to the magnificent coastal redwoods region of far northern California--Del Norte and Humboldt counties, essentially. And while I was--expectedly--a bit early for the rhododendron bloom and--unexpectedly--saw almost no fog while in the groves, it was still a phenomenal experience. (I'm already doing some noodling about returning to the region when the rhododendron are in bloom,) In addition to photographing in the redwood groves of the four state and national parks in the area, I had some very good luck doing some coastal shooting in Del Norte County.
If you're interested in reading more about the experience of this trip, I've been blogging about it extensively. Please have a look: Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog.
Other New Images
While the Oregon and California images are the main attraction, some other new material has been posted on the site, all of it from a variety of sites in Indiana. Some of these images were made as long ago as a year, and some as recently as this past spring. All of it was processed ages ago, but simply slipped through the cracks.
On Tap Next
Ever since returning from the Canadian Rockies in the first half of October last year I've been hoping to return again this fall and I'm thrilled to announce that it will happen. I'll be there for roughly two weeks covering the second half of September which should be during the peak period when aspens and larch turn gold. I can't wait.
February 14, 2015
Canadian Rockies Images Posted
It took a very, very long time to go through my images from my two-week trip to the Canadian Rockies last fall...because there were many, many images to review. The trip was a phenomenal experience--surely the best photo trip I've ever taken (and I've been taking them regularly, once or twice a year, since 2002). Please have a look; I think this is some of the best photography I've posted to date.
As I mentioned in the previous update, which was posted roughly six weeks before I departed, this was my first trip to the Canadian Rockies and I certainly hope it isn't my last. In fact, I was so enthralled with the region I'm hoping to get back this coming fall. It remains to be seen if that can be worked out, but I'm quite hopeful. There are a number of spots that I'd like to revisit and many more that I didn't have the opportunity to experience on the first go-round. Suffice to say, the area is home to virtually limitless natural beauty and is undoubtedly the most spectacularly beautiful area I've had the pleasure of visiting. In addition to spending time in Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Parks, I also spent parts of six days as part of a photo tour based in David Thompson Country, in the Eastern Front Range of the Rockies. The latter isn't as well known as the parks, but, in my opinion, is every bit as a beautiful. A large subset of the Canadian Rockies galleries I've created contains images from this sub-region.
I returned from my trip to the Rockies in early October and haven't been anywhere since. What's next on my agenda?
I'm not sure. As I mentioned above, I do hope to return to the Canadian Rockies in the autumn, but I'd like to go somewhere else before then, perhaps this spring. I've been entertaining the idea of a return to the Oregon Coast for better than a year and I may still be able to pull that off, but it remains an uncertainty at this point. I don't really have a Plan B at this stage, but I'll have to come up with one if things don't come together swiftly. In any event, my next update on this site will contain relevant news on these matters.
August 8, 2014
Hocking Hills Images Posted
There's a tremendous amount of news to share during this update, so let's get started. All of the imagery from my relatively brief but extremely successful trip to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio has been posted to the site. It was my first trip to Hocking Hills but I did give myself enough time for thorough exploration. Because spring was so late this year, the greenery was fresh in the second half of May and all of the ephemeral waterfalls were flowing very nicely. Please have a look.
Additionally, a few other shots from the spring--from Starved Rock State Park in Illinois--have been posted as well.
Site Rework Update
Essentially immediately after posting the prior update (see below) on May 26, I threw myself completely into the task of overhauling the images on the entire site. I finished that task--after something on the order of 500 hours of work--last night. A huge number of images pre-dating 2012 have been removed, uniform image sizing has been restored and a large percentage of images have been reprocessed from scratch. It was that last task that made the entire project so grueling. I realized some time ago that I have access to much better postprocessing tools today than was the case when I originally worked up many of these images and I'm also far more knowledgeable about and skilled at utilizing the digital darkroom for the purposes of image optimization, so I gritted my teeth and reprocessed every image that had been processed prior to 2012 that was to remain on the site. 10 weeks of intense daily work allowed me to complete that task and you can see the results in all of this website's galleries. I think the result was well worth the considerable effort involved, but I'd be lying if I said I thought it was likely that I'll ever do anything like this again.
I will note that I do expect some further, less obvious tweaks to site presentation in the weeks and months ahead, but these operations won't involve any image reprocessing and should be far less onerous to implement.
Second Camera Body
About a month ago I had the opportunity to purchase a used D800E body to serve as my second camera at about half the price of a new one and I jumped at the chance. When I was still shooting with the D200 (2006-08) I had two of them and loved the flexibility that this provided me. I had a mid-range zoon on one body and a telephoto zoom on the other and only rarely had to change lenses--it was terrific, but the cost of my next two cameras (the D700 and D800E) made that arrangement impossible until last month. The ability to return to my preferred m.o. will be a huge asset on my next trip.
So About that Next Trip...
Two weeks (almost) in the Canadian Rockies covering the last week of September and the first week of October. This will be the most exotic photo trip I've ever taken and I can scarcely wait. Most of my time will be spent in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park in Alberta but I will also be dipping into Yoho National Park in British Columbia, including a day at Lake O'Hara. This will be my first trip to the Canadian Rockies and my first time doing extensive photography in an alpine region. I've spent time hiking in the Rockies in Colorado and Montana, but that was nearly 25 years ago. Needless to say, the imagery will appear on this site at some point after my return, but it will surely begin appearing in dribs and drabs on my blog before that.
May 26, 2014
Fall Images Posted, Site Rework is Ongoing
It took quite a bit of doing but material from my autumn trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has been posted. It's worth noting that the Michigan galleries have been redesigned and reworked, as you'll see if you head over there. Some older images have been culled and the images that remain have been better organized. This is part of an ongoing site re-design that began with the Smokies galleries last fall. The plan is to gradually apply this redesign to the entire site.
In that vein, new images have been posted from brief fall day trips to the Morton Arboretum in Illinois and Fall Creek Gorge Preserve and McCormick's Creek State Park in Indiana, as have a few winter shots from Churchill Woods Forest Preserve in Illinois. Those images can be accessed from either the What's New Gallery portal or the relevant state gallery portal. The Indiana gallery has been reorganized and is in the middle stages of culling and redesign. (Part of the re-design with all galleries has been to increase the size of the images themselves, a process that began several years ago.) The Illinois gallery was reorganized last year and the redesign process continues.
Hocking Hills State Park
I recently returned from a short trip to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. It was my first time there and it was a very successful shoot. Those images will be the next set posted on this site, probably over the coming summer, so stay tuned. If you can't wait for the site to be updated, some of the imagery will appear, beginning in the next few weeks, on my blog.
In early March I finally acquired the new(ish) version of Nikon's 80-400 mm lens. I've been using the earlier version for 10 years; the new edition is significantly better optically, so when Nikon announced a large instant rebate in the late winter, I made the plunge. It's my first new lens acquisition in more than five years and the last one I intend to make for the foreseeable future.
September 19, 2013
Spring Images Posted
Images from this past spring's excursion to Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been posted in the appropriate place. If you check out the Smokies gallery you'll see that the images have been better organized and quite a few older images have been culled. As always, my experience in the Smokies (this was my fourth extended shoot there) was a fruitful one and hopefully the new imagery reflects that fact. A small number of additional images from day shoots in Illinois and Indiana have also been added to the site.
The experience of removing some of the older material from the Smokies galleries reminded me that culling is something that would benefit the majority of the image galleries on this site, and it's something that I will likely be slowly implementing this coming winter.
In the first week of October I'll be heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for what will hopefully be the peak of the fall color season. The UP is one of my absolute favorite places to shoot and 2013 will represent my fifth extended autumn shoot in the region, but my first in five years. I am, I believe, a better photographer now than I was when I was last in the UP and I'm hopeful that the images I return with will reflect this. Early indications are that this will be an excellent year for color in the North Woods of the Upper Peninsula, so I'm really looking forward to heading up there.
I also hope to do at least a bit of photography, as time permits, in Illinois and Indiana this autumn.
As has long been the case, while this website is only updated episodically, my blog (Lightscapes Nature Photography blog) is typically updated several times each and every month and I encourage you to check it out and, if you like what you see, sign up to follow the blog and receive regular notices of updated postings.
April 2, 2013
Rumors of this Site's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
Okay, so it's been a little while since this site was updated...roughly 19 months, in fact. Oops. I don't really have a good excuse; as the backlog of images grew, the task of updating the site grew along with it and I just...couldn't motivate myself to take on the task...which of course simply got worse with each passing shoot. With yet another extended trip (this one to the Smokies--more on that below) on the horizon, I simply knuckled down to eliminate the backlog once and for all. It took essentially every free moment of time I had over a 12-day span to complete the work, but it's finally done. The update process was...let's just say it was less than entirely enjoyable. I will not wait so long to update the site again. I promise.
So, what's new? A lot. When I last posted a message here, in the summer of 2011, I was planning a weeklong trip to West Virginia in early October of that year. The trip was a great success. In May of 2012, I spent about 10 days in Utah and Nevada, shooting primarily at Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Valley of Fire State Park. In late August of 2012 I spent about a week in Arizona. I was very happy with all of these trips and, hopefully, you'll see why when you peruse the galleries.
I've also done some much-needed delineating of some existing galleries. Plenty of new material from a variety of day trips in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio can be found in some new places. Please check it out.
Coming This Spring
Later this month--beginning April 15--I'll be at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee/North Carolina) for about a week. I've shot extensively in the Smokies before, but haven't been to the area in five years. I'm looking forward to my first extended "field trip" in nearly eight months. I will be updating this site as soon as I've sorted through and post-processed the images from that trip.
Since I last updated the site, I've purchased a new camera--the Nikon D800E. I began shooting with the camera in July of 2012. I discussed my experiences with the camera in an entry on my blog; you can read about it here.
While the site has now been updated for the first time in 19 months, the Lightscapes Nature Photography blog is updated regularly--typically two or three times a month.
August 8, 2011
Spring and Summer Images Posted
It took a bit longer than I had planned, but I finally got around to finishing the task of processing images from this spring and the first half of the summer. There are a few images from a couple of brief forays to the Morton Arboretum in northeast Illinois back in mid-April, but the main share of the spring update involves imagery from a nearly weeklong trip to the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky during the last full week of April. It was my first trip to the area and it was a fruitful one. The Gorge covers part of the Daniel Boone National Forest and Natural Bridge State Park and is an area of breathtaking (often mist-strewn) overlooks, intricate arches and natural bridges and, in the spring, abundant wildflowers. The Gorge is just under four hours from Indianapolis and roughly 7 1/2 hours from Chicago.
All of the summer material, thus far, comes from a couple of trips to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in northeast Illinois. On the site of the old Joliet Proving Grounds, the area was deeded to the National Forest Service in the mid-1990s and, after being off-limits for years due to ordinance removal and cleanup, has been partially open to the public for approximately eight years. The Forest Service's goal is to restore the area to a true prairie ecosystem via the dissemination of native species, a project that is already well underway. Trips there in June and July were firsts for me.
During the first week of October I'll be in West Virginia's Canaan Valley area. I was there for less than two full days--in far less than ideal conditions--last fall and immediately saw the location's photographic promise. This autumn I hope to turn potential into reality.
April 16, 2011
Winter Images Posted
A relatively small number of winter images, from forays into a variety of spots in Illinois and Indiana, have been posted. A clear majority of the new imagery is of the black & white variety.
Late in the fall of last year, shortly before I needed to do a significant amount of printing for a solo exhibit (more on that below), the print head on my venerable Epson 2200 bit the dust. I'd been noodling about the possibility of purchasing a new printer for years--one with an embedded neutral black & white printing mode, one that would allow for the possibility of printing on larger pieces of paper, etc. Now I was in a position where I had to do something and do it quickly. I settled on the Epson 3880, which was available at a steep discount at the time, due to relatively low pricing and a large manufacturer's rebate. I've been using the new printer for about four months now and I'm very pleased with its performance. The ability to feel confident about printing black & white is a major step forward. Additionally, I anticipate offering standard prints up to 16x24"--significantly larger than my present largest offering of 12x18"--very soon.
I was fortunate enough to have a solo exhibit of my work at Gallery II of the DuPage Art League in Wheaton, IL, during the month of March. An opening reception was held on the afternoon of March 6 and was attended by roughly four dozen people. Approximately three dozen framed pieces were on display and for the duration of the month of March. I've included some photos of the exhibit below:
Next on Tap
A trip to the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky at the end of April. Stay tuned for images.
December 2, 2010
Fall Images Posted
My mid-October trip to points east--in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio--was a fruitful one. Despite some extremely difficult photographic conditions during parts of three days in the West Virginia Highlands (in the form of early leaf drop, high winds and blue skies) I came away with numerous images with which I'm pleased. The same was true for my foray into western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio. It took me weeks to sift through and post-process all of the material, then convert it for Web site posting. The site has been updated and all of the new material has been deposited into a total of seven new galleries. The West Virginia images have been collected into one gallery; the Pennsylvania material has been divided into two; the Ohio work has been dispersed in four galleries. Please have a look.
October 6, 2010
Summer Images Posted
As I have mentioned in the past, summer is typically a very slow time for me photographically. Last year was a notable exception due to the anomalous summer trip to the Pacific Northwest. In the American Midwest, however, summer time is probably the least interesting and fruitful time of the year for landscape photography. Still, I managed to get out to a few spots--including some new ones--in Indiana (Fall Creek Gorge, DePauw Nature Park) and Illinois (Franklin Creek State Recreation Area. Please have a look.
The Coming Fall
For the first time in more than 15 months I'll have the opportunity to make a photographic pilgrimage outside of Illinois and Indiana when I head to West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio for a week during the fall color season beginning in mid-October. I'll be visiting a variety of spots in all three states--all of them new to me--including the Canaan Valley and Dolly Sods areas of West Virginia, a series of state parks (Ohiopyle, Laurel Hill and McConnells Mill) in western Pennsylvania and Cuyahoga Valley National Park in eastern Ohio. I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity to photograph in all of these spots. Look for images from this trip when I next update the site later this fall.
May 31, 2010
Spring Images Posted
For reasons I won't detail here, the winter of 2009-2010 was a shutout for me. (If you're interested in more insight on this matter you can check out this blog entry.) I was finally able to get out and get some shooting in during the spring, beginning in early April and continuing through early May, at a variety of spots including Cataract Falls State Recreation Area and Big Walnut Preserve in Indiana and Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks in Illinois .
November 12, 2009
Fall Images Posted
For a variety of reasons, this autumn's shooting season was an abbreviated one for me. I was limited to a single day trip to Matthiessen State Park in Illinois and individual half-day outings to Fort Harrison and Turkey Run State Parks (both in Indiana). While shooting opportunities were drastically reduced, I still managed to come back with a few keepers. The advantage--and this is really a case of seeing the glass as 10% full rather than 90% empty--is that fewer shots means less time needed to post process the material. As a result, the fall material is now on the Web site.
Site Procedural Matters
Some minor organizational tweaking of the site's gallery structure has been completed as part of this update.
All the Pacific Northwest material has been moved to a series of permanent galleries with a new portal on the Galleries menu page. Each of the individual PNW galleries can be accessed directly from the Pacific Northwest Gallery menu page. The PNW panoramas have been folded into the general Panorama Gallery--much as the Smokies panos were earlier--but a link to the pano gallery has been established on the PNW gallery page.
The summer imagery from the Nachusa Grasslands has been folded into the Illinois State Parks and Conservation Areas Gallery and the Flora Gallery, as appropriate.
In an attempt to keep things from becoming completely unwieldy, Indiana landscape images have been sub-divided into three galleries, all of which are accessible from the Indiana Landscapes Gallery menu page.
The Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog is up and running. I've received some very gracious remarks about the content, quality of writing and presentation; thanks to those of you who've commented. Please have a look if you haven't already. Thus far I've posted a couple of new installments per month and, if anything, I anticipate that rate to increase.
September 28, 2009
After much consideration, I've started the new Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog. I'll muse on whatever's on my mind, as it pertains to nature photography. Two installments are already in place: a brief "Why Blog?" semi-explanation of my initiation of the blog in the first place; and a second piece dealing with my thoughts about return engagements to nearby spots versus seeking out new destinations.
I plan to update the blog with regularity--far more regularly than this page--and I hope you'll take a look and make it a habit to check in there from time to time.
September 12, 2009
Pacific Northwest Images Posted
In July I spent nearly 2 1/2 weeks in Washington and Oregon, and the vast majority of that time was devoted to photography. I spent parts of seven days photographing in various spots in Olympic National Park and parts of eight days in the Columbia River Gorge, the Mt. Hood National Forest and on the Oregon coast. It took me roughly seven weeks to sift through and digitally process all the material I brought home, but I've finally completed the task and updated the Web site in the process.
The trip to the Northwest was an amazing experience. For one thing it was, by far, the longest photo excursion I've ever taken (the previous longest trip was nine days). For another, the locales were just incredible, whether it was the Olympic high country of the Hurricane Ridge area, the forests and waterfalls of the Marymere, Lake Crescent, Sol Duc and Hoh Rainforest regions of Olympic National Park, the wild beaches of the Washington Pacific Coast, Mt. Hood, the gushing waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge or the seastacks and lighthouses of the Oregon coast. Ultimately I came away--as I invariably do after visiting beautiful spots--counting the moments until I can return and explore the area again, camera and tripod in tow, of course. Please have a look at my PNW galleries for a small taste of what I experienced: the beauty and variety of the Pacific Northwest.
Several people have asked about my Pacifc Northwest itinerary. It can be viewed here.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to express my sincere thanks to outstanding professional photographer Jack Graham for taking the time to show me around the Mt. Hood area and the Columbia River Gorge and for all the helpful suggestions and support he provided me during my time in Oregon. My visit wouldn't have been nearly as successful as it was without Jack's assistance and hospitality.
I've been strongly encouraged by a number of people to write a photography-oriented blog and I'm giving the idea serious consideration. Part of me--make that most of me--has a difficult time believing that I have enough to say--that anyone would care to hear--to warrant the effort, but I'm being told otherwise. I'm presently weighing whether these people are being serious or merely polite. In any event, if I do start a blog, I'll announce it here and definitely link it prominently on the Lightscapes home page and associated administrative pages. Stay tuned.
May 19, 2009
Hey, not even four months since the last site update! Things are looking up.
Winter/Spring Images Posted
A handful of images from this past winter and good number of additional shots from the spring have been added to the site. The winter material is limited, as usual, to a few brief forays to Ft. Harrison State Park in Indiana and the Morton Arboretum in Illinois. The spring images are more numerous and varied. Material is included from Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks in Illinois, Big Walnut Preserve in Indiana, Cumberland Falls State Park in Kentucky and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee/North Carolina.
From approximately noon until 3 PM on Saturday, June 27 I'll be exhibiting (and selling) my work at an individual trunk show at the Visitor's Center of the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. I'll be perched in the foyer just outside the Arboretum gift shop. If you're in the area, please stop by and say hello.
January 26, 2009
Another nearly five-month stint between updates. Despite my best intentions, this appears to be the way it's going to be, barring some unforeseeable change in pattern.
Fall Images Posted
A good number of new images have been placed on the site, the function of a busy shooting schedule this past fall. I didn't even finish processing all my fall work until well into December, and from there it took more than a month to prep the images for the Web...then additional time to actually go through the rigors of organizing them in a site-friendly way.
September 7, 2008
Article Published On-line
An article that I wrote entitled "Non-Photographers Say the Darndest Things" has been published on the Nature Photographers Online Magazine site. You can check it out here.
August 27, 2008
Summer Images Posted
Less than three months between updates--I must be doing something right.
The summer photo season is essentially over and I'm beginning to gear up for fall. Summer shooting tends to be pretty slow for me, but autumn's another matter entirely. I've spent the past few days working on the site--I've done some reorganizing of a couple of the galleries (they were becoming unwieldy in terms of size) and have added the fairly meager images from this summer.
It was a wet spring and first half of the summer in northern Illinois and that led to an exceptionally good summer wildflower season. I had the opportunity to do some shooting at the Danada Forest Preserve in DuPage County, where the prairie wildflower crop was spectacular, and in north-central Illinois at the Nature Conservancy's Nachusa Grasslands property. I was a bit late for the best of the purple coneflowers at Nachusa, but other opportunities there beckoned. The gallery also includes a few shots from an early summer trip to Shades State Park in east-central Indiana and from the Great Falls of the Potomac area of the C&O National Historic Park in Maryland. The trip to Great Falls was a brief one, designed mostly for scouting, but I saw enough to whet my appetite for a future visit (hopefully) to both the Maryland and Virginia sides of the Potomac.
September and October will be filled with exhibitions that will include my images.
The Images of Nature Photography Exhibit and Competition at the Earth Discovery Center of Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis will be held Sept. 20-28; 9-5 except Sunday (which is 1-5). I'll have three images hanging in this exhibit.
The Danada Nature Photo Show will be held at Danada House at the Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton, Illinois, Fri.- Sat. Oct. 10-11 from 1-4 and Sun. Oct. 12 from 1-5. I'll have two images hanging in this show.
The University of Michigan Club of Greater Chicago's Fifth Annual Alumni Art Show will be held at the Madron Gallery (100 W. North Avenue, Third Floor, Chicago). The show's opening reception is open to all and will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23 from 6-9 PM. The show will also be open to the public from Oct. 20-24 during the gallery's regular daytime hours.
There are several other autumn venues that I'm considering; information regarding these exhibits will be posted here as it becomes available.
May 31, 2008
An as yet undetermined number of my images--something on the order of a dozen or more--will be hanging in the Glen Ellyn Public Library, on the second floor, in Glen Ellyn Illinois beginning June 1. The work will remain in place throughout the month of June. The library is located on the corner of Duane and Prospect in Glen Ellyn and is open seven days a week. If you're in the area and you have time, stop in and take a look.
May 22, 2008
After a delay of absurd proportions, it's well past time for another update to this page. It's only been 5 1/2 months. Ugh. I've done a fair amount of shooting since the start of the year and, ironically, it's photo activity that plays a role in delaying the update of a photo Web site. Go figure.
I did more shooting this winter than normal--probably because winter itself here in the Midwest seemed to last longer than usual.
In the second half of April I spent a full week in the Smokies. It was, almost certainly, my most productive photo trip to date. I'd been to the area once before--in the fall of 2004--as part of a photo workshop, but this time I was on my own (though I ran into some familiar faces on a number of occasions). Many thanks to Danny Burk, for making some terrific location suggestions, taking the time to show me some great spots in person and leading me to the rare Painted Trillium; to Lori Kincaid for encouraging me to visit Cades Cove on this trip (something I hadn't planned to do, but luckily reconsidered on Lori's advice); to Jason Templin, who I had the great fortune to meet for the first time by pure chance at Greenbrier and whose first rate naturalist abilities helped me properly identify some flower images; and to Bernie Kasper, who I also ran into by chance at Roaring Fork and pointed me in the direction of some rich trillium stands. Thanks to all of you for helping to make this such a fruitful trip!
I've done a bit of minor reorganizing of the site as part of this update--nothing exceptional: a consolidating of the front page, for instance, and a few other procedural things. Poke around a bit. Hopefully the changes will be seamless.
There's more to catch up on--things that have taken place in the past few months that are worth a mention--but I'll have to wait on that until a future installment--one that will come much sooner than the last one. I promise.
January 4, 2008
All three of my images have cleared the jury process and will be hanging in a photography exhibition at the Bloomingdale Park District Museum in Bloomingdale, Illinois beginning January 19. The exhibition remains open through February 23. I'll post additional information as it becomes available right here.
December 2, 2007
New Mexico and Midwest Fall Images Posted--At Last!
It took a lot longer than I had initially hoped--and expected, for that matter--but I finally finished processing and converting all of my New Mexico images. There's a lot to view; take a look and experience my take on the incredible, beautiful variety that New Mexico has to offer.
My apologies for the delay in getting all of these images posted.
October 15, 2007
In late September my wife and I spent a bit more than a week in New Mexico. It was my first trip to "The Land of Enchantment" and I came away very impressed and with a great number of images from White Sands National Monument, the Bisti Badlands, the Jemez National Recreation Area and Bandelier National Monument. I've been back for a bit more than two weeks and have only managed to post-process about half of the material.
My submission has passed a difficult jury process and will be hanging in a mixed media exhibition and competition at the Norris Gallery in St. Charles, Illinois throughout the month of November. The image I submitted was a black and white conversion of a shot I took while at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico in September. The image has not yet appeared on this site, but will soon. I'm slowly making my way through a wealth of material from New Mexico.
September 13, 2007
I have a series of exhibitions on tap over the next few months.
Beginning Wednesday, September 19, several of my images will be displayed as part of the annual juried University of Michigan Alumni Association of Greater Chicago's Art Show at the Madron Gallery at 1000 West North Avenue in Chicago (corner of North and Sheffield). There will be a reception on the evening of the 19th between 6 and 9 PM; I'll be there. Everyone's welcome, so if you're in the area and you have time, stop by, say hi and have a look. The exhibit runs through Tuesday, Sept. 25; after the opening night reception, the gallery is open M-F, 9 AM to 5 PM.
I will have an image hanging at the DuPage Art League's "Paint DuPage" juried competition in October. The league is located at 218 West Front Street in Wheaton, Illinois. The exhibit will be viewable throughout October during the League gallery's regular hours. E-mail me for further information.
Two of my images will be hanging in the juried Danada Nature Photo Show at Danada House, Danada Equestrian Center, Danada Forest Preserve on Naperville Road (3S501 Naperville Road) in Wheaton, IL. The show runs from Friday, October 12 through Sunday, October 14. Exhibition hours are 1 PM to 4 PM on Friday and Saturday and 11 AM to 5 PM on Sunday.
Three of my images will be hanging in the Images of Nature juried photo exhibition at the Earth Discovery Center at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. The show will be open to the public beginning Saturday, October 27 through Saturday, November 3. Exhibition hours are Monday through Saturday 9-5 and Sundays 1-5.
I will have ten images hanging as part of an exclusive display at the La Spiaza Cafe, 114 North Main Street in Wheaton, IL beginning Saturday, Oct. 29 through the entire month of November. The cafe is open Monday through Thursday from 7 AM to 10 PM; Friday and Saturday 7 AM to 10:30 PM; Sunday from 9 AM to 8:30 PM. The images are viewable any time the cafe is open.
Five of my images will be hanging throughout the month of December at a venue in Glen Ellyn, IL; details to be announced.
July 5, 2007
Lightscapes Photography Site Goes On-line
After many months--nay, years--of teeth gnashing and weeks of mind-numbing rote work, the Lightscapes Nature Photography Web site debuted on-line on June 30, 2007...though almost no one knew about it because I didn't give the URL out to anyone for several days as I feverishly endeavored to seek out and repair bad links.
The site is, by its very nature (oh, what a miserable pun), a perpetual work in progress. It will be updated...well, as often as there's reason to do so and time with which to complete the task. Check back regularly for--it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway--more substantive and interesting updates.