I traveled to the Washington DC area in February 2020 for a ZERO Prostate Cancer conference at National Harbor, MD and to visit Wisconsin Senators and Congresspersons (their staffs, anyway) to advocate for funding the Prostate Cancer Research Program and other initiatives in the fight against this man’s cancer. [All these images were made with my iPhone XR and post-processed in Lightroom and ON1 Camera Raw 2020.]
Susan and I traveled to California in mid-February 2020 to visit relatives and friends. The weather was beautiful—and compared to and actual Wisconsin winter, it was basically already spring. Took my Mom on a ride t and visited old Port Costa, once a prosperous port along the Carquinez Strait in the 19th century… Early one morning Dennis Ashlock and I drove up to Rock City high in Mt. Diablo State Park. It’s an infamous location and well-known to every teenager in the area, who over the years have left their marks there.
During 2019 Susan and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary pretty much all over the United States. And I made images in many different places, including our home here in Wisconsin, our summer home in Massachusetts. We drove through 29 states between Massachusetts and California and then back to Wisconsin. This collection, in chronological order, is my favorite images from many different places. [Roll over image for title, double click for enlarged image.]
In early November 2019, my friends Dennis, Jerry, and I spent the day in and around Point Reyes National Seashore at the far western edge of Marin County. It’s an unmatched juxtaposition of dairy farms, tule elk, and the wild Pacific Ocean.
Many of these sights are popular photography locations, so the challenge was to try and do something original. I think sometimes we succeeded; other times less so.
New Englanders tend to think they have a lock on fall colors, but the Midwest—at least Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin—are also chockablock with color during October’s second half. Here are galleries from Indiana, Wisconsin and bonus images from Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, which features fairly impressive sandstone canyons. Keep scrolling down to see all three galleries.
Starved Rock State Park, Illinois:
To learn my way around my new Nikon D850 camera and to improve my Photoshop skills, I’ve been trying my hand at still life photography. The main subjects have been pots from our collection of Native American pottery. Also, I’ve collected a few old objects that we own and trying some arrangement of antiques centered around my Dad’s old typewriter. The idea is to suggest someone is actually using them.
Technical: I’ve used the “focus shift” feature of the D850 mounted on a tripod to take 14 images at different focal planes and then blend those together in Photoshop using “auto-blend mode” into a single in-focus image. Then, I used various textures and using Photoshop layers blend them with the original image to create an “antiqued” look. I also experimented with compositing by removing the background from the image and substituting a new image as background.
road trip was to arrive in California and be with our family to celebrate Susan’s and my 50th wedding anniversary in our favorite vacation spot: the Monterey area. All nine of us (Susan, Craig, Geoff, Roxanne, Elisabeth, Jacob and grandkids: Ivan, Lydia, and Jens) hung out for four days at the Monterey Plaza visiting the Aquarium, the seashore, kayaking, and enjoying ourselves immensely.
After the Monterey gathering was over, Geoff and his family headed to the Sonoma coast, and Elisabeth and her family headed north to Washington. Susan and I drove a couple hundred miles to the cabin at Pinecrest belonging to our dear friends, the Seiberts. A night there and it was back on the road headed home to Wisconsin.
Of course all this included making some photographs in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Point Lobos and Pinecrest.
Point Lobos State Reserve
Pinecrest Lake: Stars and Sunrise
Early on July 12, 2019, Susan and I drove away from the beach house in Massachusetts (in a downpour) and headed west to the Monterey area in California where we met up with our family to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We’ve completed many cross-country road trips since 2001 and decided we had one more in us. We traveled across 13 states arriving in California 8 days later—making photographs along the way. After a week in the Walnut Creek area and four days in Monterey, we headed east, home to Madison. Here are a few photos taken along the way.
Color vs. Black & White
Often, black and white can be more powerful than color. This gallery shows the same photo in color and B&W. Which do you prefer? Why?
Santa Fe, NM
We arrived in Santa Fe on Tuesday July 16 and I went out early on the 17th to capture Santa Fe before it really woke up.
Arches National Park
Leaving Santa Fe, we headed north on a beautiful drive through the Rockies into southern Colorado, past Mesa Verde National Park, and then northward to Moab, Utah. On the actual day—July 19th—of our 50th anniversary, I got up early and caught dawn and the full moon in Arches National Park.
Scotts Bluff, Nebraska
From Utah, we drove north to Salt Lake City and then west to California. [Photos I made in California are the subject of a separate post.] After a fabulous visit with friends and a great family celebration in Monterey, we headed east to Wisconsin along Interstate 80, deviating slightly north to Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, a famous landmark along the Oregon Trail—and proof that the Midwest is a more interesting place geographically than just its traditional role as “flyover country.” All-in-all we covered more than 6000 miles and 17 states. And not once did we have to go to an airport!
As a photographer, I’ve been pretty dedicated to achieving an image that accurately reflects the scene as I remember it when making the original image—and I’m still pretty dedicated to that goal. But sometimes it’s fun to experiment with effects using Photoshop to create a different mood and perhaps a different response to the image. This gallery includes recent images I’ve made here at Hamilton Beach, as well as a couple from the Foulkeways campus in suburban Philadelphia, two from the Wing Fort House in Sandwich, MA, and a few made one morning driving to Keene, New Hampshire for a meeting.
Why go to an official fireworks show when you can have one right across the street from our house here at Hamilton Beach? Even though private fireworks like these are illegal here in Massachusetts, this show went for more than 20 minutes with impressive effects shooting high in the sky. Fireworks happen on the 4th of July all over the various beaches here on the South Coast. This must be a vestige of the revolutionary spirit that started that war here in Massachusetts some 243 years ago…
In early April, my Mom and I drove down the “River Road” (CA 160) that parallels the Sacramento River between Sacramento and Antioch. Locke is a small town founded by Chinese in 1915 with a current population of about 80 (and only about 10 people of Chinese descent). The main street was built in 1920 and not much has been built (or even painted) since then. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. I’ve post-processed these images to give them a time-worn and somewhat antique feel.
It was a beautiful spring day and Susan, our 7-year-old grandson, Jens, and I headed out to Indian Lake State Park, about 10 miles northwest of Middleton. Jens and I hiked to the top of the hill and found a small Catholic chapel built in 1857 and still maintained as a chapel. We also explored the remains of an old stone farmhouse built during the Civil War.
Wisconsin weather is a jokester. Just when you think spring is finally here, there’s one “last-gasp” snowstorm—this time on April 28, 2019. This “snow event” gave me an opportunity to use my Tamron 100mm macro lens right outside my back door—in other words, photography without not too much personal discomfort!
My grandson, Ivan, and I spent a warmish day in late March on a photography outing touring the countryside west and north of Madison. We visited Blue Mound State Park and then on an official back road—County Highway T— up to Spring Green, then northeast on County Highway C to Natural Bridge State Park. (Who knew?) This collection includes photos made along the way.
Technical note: Several images were made with my new Sigma f2.8, 14mm to 24mm zoom.
Well, I think Susan and I are now officially Midwesterners—having survived the cold, snowy winter of 2019. With snowfall measured by the foot and temperatures as low as -26ºF, it’s been a challenge to get out and walk every morning. But walk I was able to do most mornings. As a result, with the exception of the Red Barn image, all the images were made within 1/4 mile of our house.
This gallery is unique in that all 10 images posted here were shot on my iPhoneXR. (After all, who wants to lug around a big old DSLR in the bitter cold?) They’ve all been post-processed in Lightroom and ON1 2019.
2018 included our first actual Wisconsin winter. As usual, we spent a couple of months at our beach house at Hamilton Beach in Wareham, Massachusetts. I also made several trips back to California to visit my mother, brother and sister, and friends—and was usually able to do a bit of photography. In October, my brother Ward and I made a two day trip over to the Sonoma coast, where I was able to do quite a bit of photography. More shots from this trip are at The Wild Sonoma Coast.
While Big Sur may be more famous, the Sonoma Coast, some 80 miles north of San Francisco is just as wild. To my mind, there is no more dramatic meeting of land and sea. Plus there are redwood groves just a few miles inland along the Russian River.
I took a day trip with a group from St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton. We rode the bus through pouring rain for a while and two and a half hours later arrived at the autumnal beauty of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Happily, the rain had ended. Under broken clouds we visited the grounds of the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe, located just outside LaCrosse. Following lunch we boarded a small sternwheeler for a ride on the Mississippi River. Returning to land, we traveled up to Grandad Bluff Park, 600 feet above LaCrosse and the Mississippi River for a satisfying view before returning home.