Happy Thanksgiving from Ashland, Montana!

Happy Thanksgiving From the Top of the World!


Which is apparently, Ashland, Montana…

This year, I am thankful to be able to spend my Thanksgiving with my brother and my oldest sister in Ashland, Montana (which is about 2 hrs away from Billings, and far away from just about anywhere else in the US).  We were looking to get out and shoot some more photos tonight, but it ended up being under cloud cover, so here I am, updating my blog.



All Along the Water Tower…

A couple years ago, I came to visit my brother, and he took me up to this water tower during the day, and I thought it’d be a good spot to take photos. So, my brother took me back here, and we shot some photos. I set up my camera for a timelapse, which I will hopefully be sharing sometime when I get back home, but here’s one of the shots below.


Hopefully you area all having a wonderful time with family and friends! And maybe taking some wonderful photographs!

My Top Four Reasons to go Camping…

Stars over Mesa Verde…

Reason #4: Mesa Verde National Park

Light Shows over Bluffs

Reason #3: The campsite outside of Arches National Park

Fresh Air

Reason #2: The Campsite at the Calf Creek Campground

Taking Photos of Your Tent Instead of Sleeping In It

Reason #1: The Sunset Campground at Bryce Canyon National Park

More on Star Trails…

Wacousta Time Lapse Stacked



A few weeks ago, I went back to visit my parents in Michigan for a weekend, and spend some quality time with them for the Lunar New Year (a.k.a. Tet). In addition to the good food, and the spending time with the parents, another one of the benefits of leaving Chicago is the ability to get away from the light pollution. Granted, it’s great living in a big city, where street lights allow you to see where you are going, and give you some feeling of security at night, but if you’re trying to look up and see the stars, it’s no bueno, as they say. All those bright lights reflect back into the sky, and diffract in the atmosphere, making it much more difficult for the already dim star light to find it’s way to our peepers (a.k.a. eyeballs). In any case, using the Photographer’s Ephemeris app, I was able to find the times of the sunset and the moonset, and then using the Star Walk app, figured out which direction to point my camera. After getting the settings dialed in, I set up my camera to manual, using a remote timer to take 99 shots. 16mm, F/5.6, 20s at ISO 1600. And just like with a RonCo rotisserie cooker, I just set it and… FORGET IT! Well, not quite, I still hung around out in the cold for about 40 minutes trying to stay warm as my camera fired away.

The eventual shots I took, converted to jpeg, and imported into Adobe Premiere Pro to turn into this 9 second timelapse (Best viewed in 1080p, fullscreen, if possible).

It’s kind of crazy how many shots you need to take to turn into a timelapse video of a respectable length.

So now, you’re probably wondering, what does this video have to do with star trails? Well, I’m glad you asked. Previously, I would shoot with low ISO, small aperture, and a long shutter speed to get the star trails. This time, I went with a different method. Taking a large number of discrete shots, and then stacking them in photoshop. There are pros and cons to each method, especially since this method takes a whole lot more effort to get the final star trail photo. I’m lookign to do a little camping this summer, so hopefully I can do some more star trail photos. That’s it for now! So, how are you doing?

OCF: Off Camera “Flash”

Happy Belated Halloween!

I’m not sure if you are all big fans of Halloween like I am, but I love it, because it gives me the excuse to be creative and put together a funny costume.  Unfortunately, the photo I took above isn’t of me, but of my cousin, who also decided to join the superhero fun, and dress as… you guessed it, the Flash!  I’m pretty sure he copied my theme, as I dressed as another DC universe superhero, Robin.  (As seen below)

Lemme show you the costume, and I’ll be back in a Flash!

Holy Red Undies, Batman!

So, I definitely got a few cheers and laughs as I hopped from bar to bar looking for my friends.  Nothing like walking the streets of Chicago, in neon green tights!

I even got a few questions like: “Where’s Batman?!” and even one, “Nice costume, Robin Hood!” (Unfortunately, I had to correct him…)

I eventually ran into my other friends, as seen below, and had a great first Halloween in Chicago:

How about you? What did you dress up as Halloween?

I’m always curious about people’s costumes, and like to judge people based on their creativity! 😛  And, I could always use some ideas for next year!

Continue reading

Photos from Hard Drive Purgatory: 2011 Roadtrip – Las Vegas & Red Rock Canyon

Rock Hopping in Red Rock Canyon, August 2011

What happened last night?!

That was the first thought that crossed my mind last Thursday.  After my last blog post, I gave my teeth a bristling rubdown, and I promptly zonked out on my friend’s couch.  During the night, as I was busy sawin’ logs, people were busy readin’  blogs.  I awoke to my regular morning routine (well, as regular of a routine as you can have for only being in existance for about 6 business days at that point), to find that I had 30 unread emails.  Which isn’t necessarily unusual, but these all came from the same source… Some inbox-clogging spammer who goes by the name “WordPress” was probably trying to get me to help out his rich uncle with an unclaimed inheritance… But wait a second.  WordPress?  I rubbed my eyes.  Is this real life?  Well, let me back up a bit…

What’s my “regular morning routine?” (Which, I realize, is redundant to say regular, in regards to a routine.)

Well, the first thing I do when I wake up, is to promptly hit the snooze button on my alarm.  I’m trying to sleep, dang it!  Once I’ve done that a couple times, and I’m ready to wake up, the first thing I do is check email on my phone.  People might think that’s weird that I might be tethered to my phone, or addicted to internet or something.  And while those things may be true, the real reason I do it, is because I find that forcing myself to read something really helps arouse my mental faculties.  Sorry if it weirds you out that I’m talking about arousing myself early in the morning, but am I the only one who does this? (To clarify, I’m talking about checking emails first thing in the morning…)

In any case, it took me a moment to figure out that my blog was busy getting some action last night, and didn’t even think to leave a sock on the doorknob.

Blogs would be terrible roommates, wouldn’t they?

Not only don’t they tell you before hand that they’ll be getting action, they are the kind to brag about it later and let you know every time a sexy blogger is giving them some love.

Anyway, come to find out that I was…

Freshly Pressed

As I’m sure you all know by now.  I mean, that’s how you found my blog, most likely.  Either that, or you are typing in some really specific google searches right now.  Of course, I was as surprised as could be.

How did they find me?

It’s not like I’m going out of my way to not be read, but I don’t really blog too often, and I don’t really promote my blog to people.  But, for some reason, I feel the need to update periodically, as if I only do it out of some strange, innate and primal urge to document something in my life.  And I wouldn’t say I’m that prolific or proficient of a writer.  I usually start off a blog post with an idea of how to start it, and the intent of sharing some photos, but rarely do I ever know where I’m going, and when I’m going to stop.  Usually, I get bored of my own ramblings, and then end up posting photos without ever really fully getting through what I thought I’d say.  But, in any case, thanks for reading my blog anyway!  I appreciate those who read, liked, commented, or followed my blog.  I obviously made some grandiose claims in the last blog post about me posting more frequently or something, but if I were you, I wouldn’t put any money on it.  And, it’s not too soon, is it?  I mean, I know in some cultures, there is typically a 2 day waiting period where you gotta try and play it cool, or you’ll seem really needy.  But with what seems like an audience now, I may feel the need to update more regularly.

But I will add, if I get nervous, and have writer’s block or something, be warned that I’m probably picturing you naked.

Just sayin’… I mean, it works for public speaking, right?  So, it’ll work for some public writing too, right? 😛  It’s just science.

Anyway, as promised in my last blog post, here’s an update with some photos from…

Las Vegas & Red Rock Canyon

These photos were taken in August of 2011, when my brother, Jimmy (the dude in the pictures), and I went on a 6 week roadtrip from Michigan, all the way to Seattle, then down the coast of Cali, through Nevada, Colorado, and then back to Michigan.  Las Vegas was actually the last stop for my brother though, as he was flying out of Vegas to start his new job in Montana, and I would continue on the rest of my roadtrip  solo (although, I met up with a lot of friends in various places on the way back).  In any case, we spent the night wandering the strip, and the day in Red Rock Canyon, hiking around, climbing on, and jumping off of stuff.  It was truly a wonderful time with my brother… And here are the pictures to prove it (all taken with my Nikon d700, in case you’re curious.  🙂

Okay, so that’s it! My next post will probably be sometime between next week, and 6 weeks from now. Just to give a timeframe equivalent to what the cable companies provide. 🙂 Have a good one, everyone! And thanks again for reading, liking, commenting, or following!