Well it’s been an interesting, tumultuous and ultimately rewarding last 2 weeks.  I have decided to leave the (very large) company I’ve been working at for many years and move to a new job at a small company starting this next week.  The process of resigning and actually leaving has been quite an experience, and I’ve had some wonderful and humbling interactions.  Many people have expressed their happiness for me even while noting they are sad to see me go.  So many good people that I have worked with – thank you to each and every one.  And now I’m ready to move on to the new role and a whole new set of responsibilities and experiences.  I chose the photograph posted below because I think it captures a small part of how the last few weeks, and really the last month has felt.  I’m tempted to describe in more detail, but I think I’ll just let the photo speak for itself – any transitions or emotions you find in this image have probably applied at some point in the last few weeks!

Breaking Clouds ~ Lake Michigan


Storm Light

I recently posted a couple of images from a trip to the Lake Michigan area, both of which were shots along the Lake Michigan shoreline (see here and here).  I wanted to post another shot I took on the same trip that I was very pleased with, that was taken in my favorite type of light.  I absolutely love the light you get at the end of the day when it has been cloudy and stormy all day and the clouds start to clear just at sunset.  The light is so warm and contrasts beautifully with the remaining clouds, which give a wonderfully moody feeling.  During the trip I got a fabulous example of storm light at the end of my last full day in Michigan.  This image was taken just a few minutes earlier than the second image I linked to above.  I was actually at Duck Lake State Park along Lake Michigan when I saw that the clouds were breaking at the horizon.  I raced back to PJ Hoffmaster State Park because I had scouted these trees along the edge of the dunes a couple of days earlier and I hoped to get some storm light to photograph them.  Good thing I headed south when I did – I had only been in the area about 15 minutes when this light broke through, and I had about 20 minutes before the sun disappeared behind the horizon.  I photographed madly for those few minutes….

Storm Light - Dunes

A single tree

I love trees.  I love big trees, small trees, winter-spring-summer-fall trees.  (I especially love old growth forest trees, but that’s another post.)  Today’s topic is my love of trees that can be isolated to show a single example.  I always enjoy the chance to find, oh, say a small maple tree in fall color clinging to the side of a large sandstone wall.  Particularly if I can find one somewhere that many folks don’t really anticipate a tree like that would occur – say, Giant City State Park in southern Illinois.  You know, just hypothetically.  Oh wait, look what I found last fall….

Giant City Fall Maple


Our family took a spring break trip to New York last spring, including a couple of nights in New York City and a couple of nights in the Catskills.  We had a wonderful time and got to see and experience lots of new things.  During our short time in the Catskills we hiked to the base of the tallest waterfall in New York as a family.  It was a pleasant surprise to find that there is also another waterfall right at the beginning of the hike that is not as high but is actual quite pretty in it’s own right.  The morning after we hiked as a family, I went back to the same place and did some photography of both waterfalls.  Just before I finished I climbed down next to the base of the smaller falls and took three shots that I envisioned stitching together to make a panoramic image.  I enjoy times when I can do this, as I find extracting a portion of a larger scene feels much more personal to me.  Even though the trip was last spring I had not yet done the stitching and image work up until today….

Catskills Pano

One of my favorite images of the year….

I wanted to post one of my favorite images of the year, from one of my favorite photographic experiences of the year.  I was privileged to be invited by a dear friend to attend opening day of the NFL season at Soldier Field in Chicago to watch my two favorites teams (Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears) play each other.  [Thanks T.B. – it was a great time!] I decided to drive up to the Indiana Dunes area the day before and photograph along the lakeshore Saturday night and Sunday morning.  I had good light that Sat evening, and woke the next day feeling that any images I got would be a bonus.  When I arrived at the lakeshore it was raining lightly, though it stopped fairly quickly.  There was a break in the clouds, with some beautiful sunrise color coming through.  I started photographing the colors with a reflection in a small pool of water in the sand, thinking how glad I was that I went ahead and got up early.  After about 5-10 minutes, I happened to look to my left out over Lake Michigan and my jaw dropped to see this gorgeous rainbow over the water.  I shouted something not fit for a family blog (cue sheepish smile) and sprinted to the shore.  I spent a ridiculously enjoyable 20-30 minutes shooting this rainbow as many different ways as I could think of – it was amazingly long lasting and at one point spread a full 180 degrees above the lake and across to the shore.  I have a number of shots I like, but for now I’m calling this one my favorite. I think I’ve only seen a rainbow one other time when I was out seriously photographing – have seen them when driving or when I was otherwise occupied but this was the first time I was able to seriously photograph one.  It was fantastic….way better than the “bonus” I was prepared to happily accept.

This past year has been quite a roller coaster for our family.  To those of you reading this who played a part in helping us through the rough spots – many thanks.  For 2013, I wish everyone reading this the same experience I had in photographing this rainbow – may your new year turn out much better than you ever expected.

Lake Michigan Rainbow

Lake Michigan Twilight

Thought I’d share another image from my recent trip up to west central Michigan.  I took this shot well after sunset my last evening of the trip.  It was so dark I had trouble focusing the image, and you can tell from the water that it’s a lengthy exposure, but I really liked the mood of this one.  It wasn’t until I started to post this one that I realized how similar the lines of this image are to my previous post.  You’d think the image was taken by the same photographer or something….!  Curious to hear thoughts on this one versus the previous image.  I promise I’ll post something completely different in my next post….

Lake Michigan Twilight

Love the Lakes

I am such a fan of the Great Lakes – they can have such varied moods and feelings and between the Lakes themselves and the parks and National Lakeshores that surround them there is an incredible range of potential experiences and photographs to be discovered.  I am spending a long weekend photographing along the west coast of Michigan and spent this morning right down on the shore of Lake Michigan.  The clouds and atmosphere were quite moody, but I was pleased to get this image.  I only had time to get about 4-5 versions of this shot, and in fact if you look closely the edge of the water you can see the motion as it advances up onto the shore.  That particular flow ended up completely washing out the interesting lines in the foreground, so that was it for this location!  By then I was cold from the wind anyway, so I took a few more images and then headed to warm up.  Note to self – add another layer tomorrow morning….

Lake Mighigan Beach