London Chinatown at Night

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Shoreditch Street Art 2

More street art photos from another business trip to London in October.  Once again, I only had the Canon S95 with me and not as much time to shoot as before in May, but still managed to find some new street art.  Many of the pieces I had seen in May were gone and replaced with new art.

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Sweetland Orchard

Last weekend we went apple-picking at Sweetland Orchard.  We’ve been to several orchards in the area and Sweetland is our favorite because it’s just apples, nothing else.  There are no hay rides, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, playgrounds, etc.  While those things can be fun, they sort of take away from the experience in a way.  We like Sweetland because the people are friendly, the apples are plentiful and they have a great dog named Fletcher who always wants to play.  This year they also had some tame chickens & turkeys that were hanging around looking for food.  It was a perfect fall day to pick apples.


Minnesota State Fair at Night

The Minnesota State Fair was open for the last 2 weeks in August as usual and it was the hottest 2 weeks of the entire year.  When the weather finally cooled down for the last couple of days of the fair, they set an attendance record for the highest single-day attendance.  I went twice this year, once when it was so hot you could hardly stand it, and once in the evening when it was a little bit more bearable.  I was there in the evening to try to get some good night shots of the lights, the rides on the Midway, and anything else that looked interesting.  While I didn’t get to stay as long as I’d hoped due to the fact that my daughter was coming down with a sinus infection and didn’t feel well, I did get some nice shots.  Plus I ended up with my first pictures of our local “Captain Jack Sparrow”,

thanks to my friend Craig who often shoots photos of Captain Jack and always knows where to find him.

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Kansas in Summer

Made the annual trip down to Kansas in August.  Although often very hot at that time, it’s always nice to go down when the weather is good and we don’t have to worry about driving in snow and bad roads.  Plus we end up having a better visit with family since we’re not all too busy with holiday activities.  And when we go in the summer we end up doing things we wouldn’t normally do in the winter or during the holidays.  This trip we went back to the Old Cowtown Museum, Tanganyika Wildlife Park and also visited the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center for the first time.  So it was quite a wide variety of experiences and I was happy to get some more photos of some of our favorite places in Kansas.

Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center - Hutchinson, KS

Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center – Hutchinson, KS

Old Cowtown Museum

Old Cowtown Museum

Scenes from around Wichita, southern Kansas and just over the border into Oklahoma

Scenes from around Wichita, southern Kansas and just over the border into Oklahoma

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

How Do You Make a Pile of Rocks Look Interesting?

While I was in the UK I got to visit Stonehenge so I can cross that one off the bucket list now. I learned that Stonehenge is merely one of 900 henges in all of England. Did you know that? I certainly didn’t.

We had an hour to walk around Stonehenge (since 1978 visitors are no longer allowed to walk amongst the stones and touch them), and I managed to get way too many photos as usual. When I started editing them, I found that I couldn’t do much to make any image very interesting. I blame Stonehenge and the mysterious people (aliens?) who built it – it’s definitely *interesting* but not very visually exciting. So I tried a variety of tactics, both while shooting and later in editing. Here are a few of the results.

The basic shot.  Was happy to capture the flying bird in this one.

The basic shot. Was happy to capture the flying bird in this one.












Let's try a far off view - does it help?

Let’s try a far off view – does it help?










I know - how about off-center and black & white?

I know – how about off-center and black & white?













Ironic sign perspective - still not really happening.

Ironic sign perspective – still not really happening.


















When all else fails, show some people in there for scale.

When all else fails, show some people in there for scale.












Or just give up and turn around to shoot the sheep passing behind you.

Or just give up and turn around to shoot the sheep passing behind you.

Giant Blobs of Ice

This winter, the Mall of America is hosting an outdoor exhibit called “Ice Castles“.  The word “castle” is fairly misleading as it is really less of a castle, and more of a group of structured blobs of ice built in a circular pattern.  For the fairly steep price of $10, people can walk around and through the giant blobs and at night they add colored lights.  I went last week with my daughter and tried to get some interesting photos, even though we had gray skies and it was too cold to stick around for full dark. I liked the alien-looking landscape aspect of it and also got some interesting abstract images when I went in closer.

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A Day at the Magic Kingdom

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because I was on vacation for over a week and since I’ve been back I’ve been spending all my free time editing my vacation photos.  My family and I, along with our friends/neighbors, spent 9 days in Orlando, FL going to various Disney World parks, Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, and the Star Wars Celebration VI convention.  It was a fun-filled, jam-packed vacation and while I took a lot of photos, I could’ve easily taken thousands more.  There just wasn’t a lot of time with 7 people to keep up with and getting everything we wanted to do in.  I’ll be working on a few vacation-related posts in the near future so bear with me and I’ll try not to be too boring with the travel photos. 🙂

We spent 12 hours at the Magic Kingdom and in that time experienced full sun, pouring downpours and total darkness.  As I went through my pictures I realized I got several pictures of Cinderella’s castle, which is of course the main iconic symbol in the park.  This is mainly due to the fact that we stayed for the late night fireworks show, despite the fact that it kept pouring down rain off and on right as the show was starting.  Here are some of the pictures I got during the course of the 12 hours we were there.

Mid-morning: sunny skies, clear day, great view.

Mid-afternoon: rain clouds moving in.

Late evening: lit up before the night-time show, in between rain showers.

Full dark: show started with many different colors & images projected onto the castle like a giant shaped screen.

Fireworks – the castle changed colors several times as the fireworks went off

The castle was even multi-colored at different points.

At the end of the show, the castle went mostly dark as the fireworks and white smoke lit up the sky.







Collage of the Week: Evening by the Lake

Summer evenings are great because the light lasts for such a long time and we’ve been having some very nice ones lately.  Last night I took my camera down to Como Lake and walked the entire 2 miles around it, shooting some photos as the sun was going down.  Even though it was near sunset, the sun was still pretty strong so I applied some presets in Lightroom to soften the images a bit.  I didn’t use the same presets for each photo so it doesn’t look completely uniform, but I tend to treat each image separately when I’m editing, even if part of a larger collection.  This is probably why I don’t feel like I have a very strong signature look or style like many photographers do.  To me it seems to make more sense to treat each photo completely independently and edit it in a way that enhances that particular image.

Collage of the Week: Park Waterfall

This week’s collage has photos that I recently took of the Hamm Memorial Waterfall over at Como Park.  It’s a man-made waterfall that is only active for a few short months in the summer.

Leinenkugel Brewery Field Trip

A few months ago I went on a photo club field trip to Chippewa Falls, WI to tour the Leinenkugel Brewery.  I’d never been there before so was looking forward to getting some new photos.  While the tour was very interesting, unfortunately we weren’t allowed to photograph anything inside the brewery.  We were limited to shooting in the Leinie Lodge (otherwise known as the gift shop) and outside on the grounds.  It was kind of a bummer, because when we got to the bottling line there were thousands of bottles of Summer Shandy whizzing by, Laverne & Shirley-style, that would’ve been awesome to shoot.  Oh well, I still got a few good shots.

Here is the outside of the main brew house building.  I like the red brick.Another red barn-like building.  We didn’t go in this one but love the texture on the outside.

Look, it’s smoke!  When that came whistling out, we all snapped away like mad.  The employees thought it was hilarious.  Hey, there wasn’t much else to keep us busy.

From inside the Leinie Lodge – taps full of free sample beer.

Finally, I just took some photos of the glasses for sale in the gift shop window.

And now for something completely different – while in town, my family & I visited a local park where we found some small frozen waterfalls.  We had a mild winter this year so these ice sculptures were the only real evidence that it was actually February.

Summer Fun

June is here and it feels like summer has officially begun.  Looking forward to having a lot of fun and taking a lot of photos this summer!