Great Lakes Waterfall Tour

For our wedding anniversary this year we went of a tour of waterfalls between Neenah and the Minnesota / Canada border.  I had 33 on my list and we managed to visit 26.  The good news was the heavy rains lately made for spectacular water falls!  The bad news was the heavy rains lately made for lots of mud and some of the falls were unaccessable.   Oh well, that is life.  Enjoy a few of the falls below.

Coming soon – a water fall tutorial!

Posted in Blog, Landscapes Tagged |

Confirmation – 2017

Again this year I did the pictures for St. Mark’s confirmation. 

Such a nice group of young adults! 

Group pictures can be a challenge especially at St. Mark’s where there is a lot of back light from the windows at the front of the church.  The natural light has to be balanced with the flash on the people to turn out correctly.  I used 2 Alien Bees B800 strobes with 64 in white shoot through umbrellas.  The strobes were placed just behind and above me to the left and the right.

Everything was shot in manual.  Knowing I wanted most everything in focus I set my EF 24-105 lens to f/11.  I then did a few shots without strobe to get the background reasonably bright.  It worked out that 1/50 sec at ISO 400 gave me a good background.  I then set the strobes at about 1/8 power and did a few test shots.  The goal here is to get a good exposure without blowing out any of the details – I specifically looked at the white gowns to make sure they were properly exposed.  

So the recipe here is:

  1. Set the camera in manual
  2. Set the aperture for the depth of field you desire
  3. Set the shutter speed and ISO to get a reasonable background exposure with the flash off
  4. Turn on the flash and set the flash power to light your group being careful not to over expose the highlights


Canon 5d mkIII | Canon EF24-105 f/4 L | 1/50s at f/11 | 2 Alien Bees B800 strobes at 1/8 power



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How to Photograph a Sunset – Part IV

I love sunsets!  There is just something so stirring about the end of the day.  It is almost magical for me.  Of course I also love sunrises.  I just don’t love getting up in time for the sunrise.

So, how do you capture a sunset?  First find a good place where you can see the sunset.  Then find out when the sunset is going to happen ( and get there early enough .  I usually try and arrive 30-60 minutes early as sometimes you need time to find the best spot – also some nice pictures can be had before the sun hits it’s peak. Also plan on sticking around 30-60 minutes after sunset – the blue hour – because the light is just amazing.  

Gear – well anything will work but you do need a solid tripod or some sort of support.  Why?  well the light is dropping and you will need a longer exposure time if you are going to keep the ISO noise down in you pictures.  

So last night I decided that the sunset would be perfect with the nice clouds and all so keeping with my advice above I jumped in the car 45 minutes before sunset and raced to High Cliff State Park – which is 30 minutes away!  Don’t worry, I followed all posted speed limits, kind of, at least when I was stuck behind slow poke Jones!

I went up the cliff to my favorite spot – and the lake flies were enough to block the sun out!  So I raced to the lake shore where there was enough wind to keep them at bay!  I set up my tripod, grabbed my trusty Canon 5d mkIII and Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 lens.  Set the ISO to 100 in manual mode, set the aperture to 7.1 which I knew was a good depth of field but still very sharp.  I used the camera’s meter to set the shutter speed for 1/125 seconds.  I set the shutter button to 2 second delay – to make sure the camera stopped vibrating after I pushed the button.  I pushed the button and 2 seconds later I captured the picture above! 

350 shots later with a variety of lenses and exposures and I was done.  And my first shot (above) was probably the best of the night!

Below are a few more shots – see if you can figure out the focal lengths and exposure times…





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Easter Morning

A beautiful young lady on a beautiful Easter Morning!  A special portrait with the wonderful light streaming in from behind.


Canon 5d mkIII | Canon 135mm f/2 | 1/60s f/2.8

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Working Photographer

Somewhere in Death Valley, California, the not so young man captures his next masterpiece!

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A Face in The Crowd

Weddings are so much fun!  Too much work. maybe!  Just a fast portrait at my last wedding – so much joy in her face!

Canon 5d mkIII | Canon 24-105 f/4 L | 58mm | 1/50s at f/4

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Somewhere in Death Valley

Matt enjoys Death Valley – I don’t remember where!


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The Bottom of The World

A 360 degree panorama from Badwash Basin, Death Valley.  The lowest point in North America – 282 feet below sea level.  This picture was taken by setting up a perfectly level tripod and taking a series of photos with about 1/3 overlap.  The pictures are then stitched together to form a panorama.  Next you need to carefully crop so that each end perfectly matches – including the horizon.  Then the polar filter is used to make the little planet.

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Dante’s View

5,500 Feet up and hard to catch my breath!  Matt doesn’t seem to have any issues perched on the edge – so maybe I should learn to relax!


Canon 5d mkIII | Canon 135mm f/2 | 1/320s f/11

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Water and the Spirit.  A young girl receives a precious gift!

While the picture looks so peaceful in fact the baby cried the whole time!  No matter – still was a beautiful ceremony.  Taken with Canon 135mm f/2  and is a crop of a much larger scene.  With the 135 I find I need a shutter speed of at least 1/200 to avoid motion blur – fortunately f/2 is totally great with this lens.  You can see how much detail is in focus even wide open.

Canon 5d mkIII | Canon EF 135 f/2 L | 1/200 at f/2 500 ISO

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It’s your birthday!  Just a spontaneous portrait of the birthday girl.  Taken with my new Canon 135mm f/2 lens.  Actually this was a mistake that turned out.  I did not do a good job balancing my ambient with my flash and the shutter speed dropped too low.  This was taken at 1/20 sec and I am amazed that it turned out.  Typically I would not even think about a shutter speed below 1/100 sec for this lens and preferably 1/200.  All’s well that ends well I guess.

Technical – the flash was flagged to avoid any direct light and bounced off the wall to my left.  Good light I think.  Edited in Lightroom with a touch of color adjustment in Photoshop.

Canon 5d mkIII | Canon 135mm f/2 | 1/20sec at f/2.2 | ISO 400

Posted in Blog, Portrait Tagged |

First Full Moon of Winter

Moon rise over Lake Winnebago

The first full moon of 2017 and Winter.  It was a cold and windy night.  I was thinking I must me either dedicated or crazy (of course, both could be true).  To properly expose both the moon (which is very bright) and the light house I used a 5 step bracket, set for +/- 3 stops.  I then used 2 photos to make the picture – one of the moon and the other for the lighthouse.  Below is another taken at 400mm.

First Full Moon of Winter II


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Staring at the supermoon

The supermoon rises over Lake Winnebago full of mystery and beauty! 

Lighting, composition, compression, exposure – all part of the tool kit for any photographer.  The moon is one of the hardest things to photograph properly.  Never had a camera that could expose the moon properly – the contrast between the bright moon and the dark sky always causes an over exposure.  The moon is really bright and you have to adjust the exposure downward much more than you would expect!

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 70-200 f/2.8 + 2x teleconverter | 400mm | 1/200s at f/5.6

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Keep The Fire Burning


Even on the coldest nights you can still find a fire to keep warm.   The fire is in you and you have to keep it going.  I know, its hard sometimes.  The world seems out to get you and everything seems wrong, or bent, or even sinister.  That is when you need to look deep and find that something that burns inside of you.  God put it there.  All you need to do is open your heart and you will find it!

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La Jolla Sunsets

La Jolla Sunsets from Jalanlee on Vimeo.

Vacation is over – back to work!

But the memories persist.

A warm beach, God’s paintbrush splashing colors you can only imagine!

Is Winter over yet!




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