Moonrise blends through misty clouds

Not everything we do as commercial photographers is actually thrilling or stunning. Sometimes, we just have to do simple things like this tripod stabilization and exposure sequence testing of the moon rising through the misty clouds to see how a sequence will look. As you can see from the results, there is no "right" exposure for anything – it's always about the intended look we want to achieve in the final imagery.


In the course of my commercial photography work, I have to scout out locations for shoots. Usually, this entails either simply scouting a location that a client wants me to cover for them, or finding the right place, time of day, and weather to shoot people, or even products. Often, I find it helpful to simply get out of the car or off the scooter, and just walk about – often for blocks, sometimes for miles. I always find it refreshing to discover a new perspective of a subject by simply spending some time walking around it, past it, and then coming back to it again another day. Other times I just find interesting opportunities in light's patterns or rhythms to just keep honing my vision. While not necessarily portfolio quality work, I enjoy sharing a few examples from my meanderings here. Click on the image below to see more...

Stop the moonI must have walked by this stop sign dozens of times before I found the light that would bring out its crinkled & cracked painted surface against the crescent moon high in the blue twilight.

New U.S. Federal Courthouse Project

Here, I was scouting a possible POV for a series of new timelapse & wide architectural views of the new Stanley J. Roszkowski U.S. Courthouse in downtown Rockford, Illinois. What I'm most intrigued with about this project are the facts that it has won Gold Certification as a LEED development ("green" buildings initiative) and that it incorporates a new initiative of "Art In Architecture". With its round glass vestibule, reflecting pool below the facade's concrete columns, and artist Tony Feher's 100+ crab apple tree orchard installation, this is going to be a beautiful project to shoot.

Iceland 1999 - Dawn of my digital age

In the fall of 1998, my friend Stefán Águstsson asked me if I'd like to go on a photo safari with him. I instantly agreed with visions of the American West, Tanzania, or New Zealand dancing through my head. Once I asked him what destination he had in mind, he asked if I'd ever seen any photos of Iceland. "Iceland? Who ever goes to Iceland?" I asked. "Well, my family's from Iceland, so that's who." Once he showed me Páll Stefánsson's book, LAND I was hooked immediately, and couldn't wait to leave. Here are a few of the first outtakes I've shown in a long, long while - but rest assured, there are more to come. Click on the image below to see more...

Fog decending upon the seaIceland is known for its wild swings in weather. Just a little while before it was sunny, and then this bank of fog started rolling in down off the mountains towards the sea. The smooth stones you see here are actually the result of thousands of years of tidal action.

While I had a great 35mm still film camera setup all throughout the 90s, I knew the writing was on the wall when Kodak announced their DCS (Digital Camera Science) SLR cameras in the mid-90s. When I first discovered that a Canon EF lens mount model was available, it was maybe 1998, and the Canon D2000 was about $25,000. This was obviously still a camera meant for high volume news and catalog photographers, and not really for me. But early also in 1998-99, Kodak started to release consumer model digital cameras that actually made sense. They had good Kodak sensors in them, decent lenses, used CF (Compact Flash) memory cards, and even had LCD screens on the back for playback and review of photos. My friend Stefan Águstsson got one, and I remember really wanting to get one for myself. But, they were still kind of insanely expensive – on the order of $900 or something like that. Well, one day, my own mom surprised me with a gift of one to me, and I was in absolute heaven! For once, I could finally take photos whenever I felt like it, and not worry about the cost of film & processing, let alone scanning, slide storage, etc. In fact, even though I took 50 rolls of 135-36 exposure Fuji Velvia film with me for this trip to Iceland, I took over 600 shots with this new digital camera alone. The funny thing? I maybe shot 10 rolls of 3 exposure film – less total frames than all the digital shots I took. I was hooked; it was seriously the dawn of my digital age.