Wednesday, March 27, 2013


My latest assignment was 'Urban.'  My goal was to head to Detroit so I talked to Ken who took the day off work and we headed downtown early.  I was hoping to get shots of people, but it was pretty cold and there weren't many people out and about.

We parked at Greektown Casino and hotel.  I think this is a pretty nice looking building.

We headed towards the RenCen. 

I was struck by contrast of the old water tower against the modern construction of the Renaissance Center.

I liked the pattern in the construction of this building.

We made it to the Renaissance Center and headed inside.  It was nice and warm after the cold.  I'd only been inside once before when I had dinner there about 14 years ago.  That was in the evening and I really don't remember much about it except the view.  This glass walkway circles the center tower and provides easy access to the four surrounding towers.

From inside the Winter Garden on the river side.

Another view from the Winter Garden.  The bottom floor holds a bunch of tables and there is a food court in the area.

The Detroit River Princess.  She does cruises of the Detroit River in the summer.  I'm not sure when she'll start sailing this year.

The RenCen from Hart Plaza.  I don't recall ever being there before.  It was nice and I'd like to see it some day when it isn't so cold out.

The inside of the Guardian Building.  This is amazing.

Another shot of the interior.   They certainly don't make them like this anymore.  I wonder how many treasures like this have been lost with decay of Detroit.

Just walking around.  I'm not sure what this building is.

I liked the angles here.

We headed back to the RenCen for the free tour.  The big draw to this was the trip to the top of the center tower.  Looking north to Belle Isle and Lake Saint Clair.

Looking south.  The Detroit River Princess is docked in the foreground and the Ambassador Bridge connects Detroit to Windsor on the left.

I like the high crosswalk, but it doesn't seem to mesh well with the Guardian Building.

This church is across the street from Greektown Casino.  It is a beautiful building, but it is hard to get a good shot of it because of the buildings around it.

The front of the church.

A shot of the side of the chuch, though it is a bit distorted.

This is the only building left from a shipbuilder.  I don't recall what the company was, but just off the image to the right is a slip where ships were constructed.  I think steam engines were built here before being transferred across the street and installed in the hull.

A view back to Detroit.

Shot a little differently.

And a view from the street.

Which brings us to my final three images.  I haven't just sipped the post processing Kool-Aid, I've drunk the entire pitcher.  These have been edited somewhat.  I haven't done a lot of work with them, but I think they are superior to the images as they came out of the camera.  I'm still learning, but I really like the results. 

The Detroit skyline.

The Renaissance Center.

Perhaps my favorite shot of the day.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Bridges of Kent County

In early March, just a couple of days after I put insurance on my Charger, I decided to take it for a drive.  I'd heard about the covered bridges in Kent County, so I called Ken and headed over.  It was a good trip and the car ate up the miles.

First up was the Fallasburg Bridge.  You can still drive over the bridge, but the sign warns that your speed must be no faster than a walk.

The 100 foot bridge spans the Flat River.  There is a little parking area near the south end of the bridge.

I shot this image just before getting back into the car.  There are a number of flaws with this picture.  It is too light with the foreground completely washed out.  A large number of dust spots are also visible, especially in the upper left.  (Multiple attempts at cleaning the sensor did not solve the problem and I was unwilling to physically clean the sensor.  This necessitated a trip to Huron Camera in Dexter to get it cleaned.  They were able to get the camera cleaned the day I dropped it off.)

Here you can see the results some very quick, simple post processing.  I cropped the image to make it a little tighter.  This also enabled me to not have to deal with the dust spots in the sky.  It still isn't great, but I think this make the image better. 

Next up was White's Bridge.  This bridge also crosses the Flat River and is 120 in length.  There is no real good place to take a picture of the bridge.

The Ada Bridge is 125 feet long and crosses the Thornapple River.  It is located in Ada, Michigan and is closed to vehicle traffic.

There are a couple of vantage points, but they're partially obscured by growing trees.  I was thinking of climbing down and getting to a better place, but the snow and ice deterred me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Still adjusting to Light Room

I'm still adjusting to Light Room.  I've run into a snag with some pictures and am working to resolve the problem.  I hope to have have this rectified and be back to updating soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Not that I have a high traffic site, but given that I've started getting tools posting spam, everyone will now have to be a registered user.  That probably won't stop it, but I hope it will slow it down.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Up to this point, everything I have posted has been straight out of the camera with the exception of straightening the horizons in some pictures.

On my photo excursion last week I once again noticed that I had dust spots on the image.  I first noticed them when Ken and I went up north a few weeks ago, but thought I had managed to clean them up.  I did not.  Despite repeated attempts at cleaning by both Ken and myself we were unable to get the sensor clean.  This led to a trip to Huron Camera to get the sensor cleaned.  That set me back $65, but the camera was ready to go the same day I dropped it off.

While there I purchased a polarizing filter which I plan on putting to good use.

My next images will have some mild editing to get rid of the dust spots.  Going forward, I expect that my images will be edited somewhat.  Whether a little or a lot, I can't say at this point.

For a long time I have resisted editing photos.  In part this was because I didn't want to 'cheat.' But I read something awhile back that made me rethink that.  Another photographer had explained his use of editing as a way, not to cheat, but to capture what he saw.

The camera, while an amazing piece of equipment capable of capturing amazing images, is imperfect.  Many times the image can be adjusted to create the mood that the photographer was experiencing or felt, but doesn't translate well to the way the camera the captured image.  

So with that in mind,  going forward, my images may not be straight out of the camera as they have been up to this point.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Parker Mill Park

Over the night of February 26th we received several inches of snow.  For years I've wanted to have the opportunity to get out and shoot on the morning after a good snow.  I was fortunate enough to have the 27th off and I decided to head down to Parker Mill Park. 

One of the overlooks along the river.

I climbed down off the platform and made my way down to the river's edge.

Then I moved out into the water a bit.

Finally, I moved out into the stream. 

Parker Mill.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shallow depth of field

In case the butterflies didn't work out, my backup plan for shallow depth of field was using a car. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but was unable to accomplish it with my car.  I pulled out some die-cast cars I have and took some pics.  There isn't much to say about them.  I really liked how some of them turned out and some a couple made the finals, but when it came down to it, a couple of the images in my previous post were favorites.

So I'll just leave you with some images.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Shallow Depth of Field and the Detroit Zoo

When I got the assignment for Shallow Depth of Field, I knew immediately what I wanted to do.  Actually, I had two ideas, the second of which will be covered in the next post.  I wanted to go to the Detroit Zoo and take pictures in the butterfly house.

To that end I called up Ken since I knew he enjoys going to the zoo.  He was up for the trip so off we went.

Upon arriving, our first stop was the butterfly house and Aviary.  It had been awhile since I'd been there and when I walked in and looked to the left I saw something that surprised me. 

The butterfly house is part of a larger building.  This part of the building used to house the aquarium.  It developed a leak so the fish were sent to the Aquarium on Belle Isle and this theater was installed.  The screen is a globe in the center of the room. 

A number of different images appeared on the screen, but this was the most captivating.  What you don't see here is that the image was slowly rotating.

After a bit in the theater, I headed in for my quarry.  I don't recall the species of butterflies, so I'll leave you to enjoy them.

This was the largest butterfly they had.  Although rather plain here, when in flight, the tops of the wings were a beautiful sky blue that is just a bit visible on the far wing.

Flowers in winter.

I've got to say that some of my recent subjects have been pretty challenging.  Birds on Ken's hand.  Bouncing dice.  And now butterflies.

Trying to catch a butterfly was pretty difficult.  The brown one above was the easiest as it sat there for quite some time.  These were almost constantly in motion.  Even when they would alight to drink, it would only be a momentary stop before they were off again.

One of the flowers they seemed to enjoy.

A quick rest.

Stopping for a drink.

I spent of my time at the zoo trying to get pictures of butterflies.  After leaving, I hooked up with Ken again and met near the eagles.  The eagles here are unable to fly, but still look pretty majestic.

We stopped by the arctic exhibit.  The polar bears were pretty active, but I wasn't able to get very many good shots.