Category Archives: Landscapes

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!

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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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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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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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Sunset in Neenah


The mild Fall weather has given us some beautiful days – and beautiful sunsets!

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Snyder Park


Traveling traveling traveling!  All I have been doing is traveling.  Well, I am back now and time to catch up with my life.

I took this shot in Springfield, Ohio, in Snyder Park.  Its funny how you can find an interesting scene just by looking around.  Not much of a park but it does have some nice spots. Probably a good thing to do more often – slow down and look for good things.  Beauty is all around us if we only look.  Seems like only the ugly draws our attention, there is nothing like a car wreck to make us slow down and stare. We need to look harder.  See the beauty!


The challenge with this photo was balancing the dark areas with the bright sky through the trees at the top.  I spot metered off the steps (my focal point) and shot in aperture priority.  I set f/14 to get a good depth of field (everything in focus) and that worked out to 1/40 of a second at ISO 400.

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 24-105 f/4 L | 24mm | 1/40s at f/14



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Foggy Morning on Doty Island


October is here and the mornings are starting to feel like Fall.  I have been out and about the past few weeks on a variety of assignments for my day job.  The next few weeks will be about the same.  This shot was taken on Doty Island as the fog started to clear.  I only had my 100mm lens with me so I had to take 5 shots and stitch them together into a panorama.

With the 100mm I set my shutter speed at 1/100 sec (about as slow as I dared to avoid camera shake).  At a f/9 aperture, to get good depth of field and sharpness, I had to set the ISO to 640.  Why 640?  While there is a lot of discussion on the internet I have found that the lowest noise ISO settings for my 5D III are in multiples of 160.  Now, with a foggy morning and ISO this low it probably does not make a difference!

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8 L | 1/100sec at f/9.0

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Pewit’s Nest – Baraboo


Road Trip(!) Saturday.  Went down to Pewit’s Nest natural area.  Very pretty – maybe more people than I would expect for a late Saturday afternoon in September…

Late afternoon and it was relatively dark in the woods.  So the problem is too high ISO sensitivity which equals noise.  So I set the ISO to 640 – pretty low noise on my 5d – and the shutter speed and aperture on manual.  From past experience I can handhold this lens at 1/15seconds so set the speed there and then the aperture to get a reasonable exposure.

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 16-36 f/4 L | 16mm | 1/15s at f/5.6


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Storm in September

September Thunderstorm - Neenah

A storm comes in from the West.  It is September but really hot and humid the past few days.  I caught this in the early evening as the front came in – perfect timing.  A few minutes later and it was heavy rain with boring grey overhead.  I did not have my widest lens with me so I shot this as a panorama and stitched together 5 shots.


Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 25-105 f/4 | 24mm | 1/40s at f/9.0

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Max and Saurab at High Cliff

Max and Saurab at High Cliff Sunset

Site seeing with some friends from Grenoble, France.

We watched a beautiful sunset at High Cliff State Park and really enjoyed the colors.

This is a technically difficult picture to pull off for several reasons.  The first is the backlight from the sunset will fool your camera into making their faces really dark.  However, if you expose for their faces the sunset will be too bright and all the color will be lost.  The second is the high depth of field requires a small aperture which will drive the shutter speed down and the ISO up.  Low shutter speed – motion blur and the high ISO means noise.  I love my Panasonic LX7 camera but it is not low noise at high ISO.

So how to overcome, adapt, improvise?  Two solutions.  First you can bracket 3 shots and combine in Photoshop.  Essentially one picture gets the sunset right, one picture gets the guys right and one picture is in the middle.  The second solution is to add a bit of fill flash.  You set the in manual to expose for the sunset and you add some flash so the people are lit.

Can you guess which one I used?


Panasonic Lumix LX7 | 4.7mm | 1/100sec at f/5.6 ISO 80

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Another Sunset

Sara at SunsetAnother sunset picture.  The light was so beautiful and made everything so special.

When you look around the world it is so easy to worry about the future – the news is all bad news!  But, if you step away you see that there is so much beauty in the world.  Yes, the news is bad, but it has always been bad!  Always some crisis or flood or war or law and order issue.  We live in this world and and we care so we want thing to be better.  That is a good thing and we should never stop caring. But we should also not let all the bad blind us to all the love and beauty.  In the end the beauty will win out; the bad will fade and all that will be left is the joy and the love.  If we endure to that time we will be there too!

This photo was a challenge!  Have to balance the relatively bright sky with the dark areas.  Too far away for fill flash to be effective so I set everything in manual and did a 3-stop bracket.  As luck would have it this was the middle shot – so I got it right!   Minimal processing with Topaz Clarity to bring out some of the sky details.

Canon 5d Mk III | 24-105 f/4 L  |  1/80s at f/5.0

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Another Sunset

Sunset Over The Fox River

Another beautiful sunset in Neenah.  This is from the Friendship trial on the Fox River.  A cold front was moving in and created beautiful clouds, colors and light.  This is a composite of 10 photos stitched together in Photoshop CS6.  The challenge here was to keep the ISO down to prevent noise while getting a low blue shutter speed and sufficient depth of field.

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 24-105 f/4 L | 24mm | 1/25s at f/6.3


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Top of The World

Sunset on Top The World

Sunset in beautiful downtown Neenah!

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 24-105 f/4 L | 105mm | 1/60s at f/5.6

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A Busy Beautiful Day

Rolling Sky

Busy day – busy week.  It seems like Summer has just been, so far, just a whirlwind of activity!

I feel blessed that so much is in my life! I also feel a bit overwhelmed that so much is in my life!

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  Between storms I had a shoot with an old friend and a new friend (getting ready for my photo class this Fall).  It was hot and muggy but it was also so much fun working together.  While I was winding down my wife noticed the sunset.  Like a shot I was out the door and heading for my favorite local “sunset” spots.  I caught some wonderful sunset pictures! What a blessing to have so much beauty surrounding us!

The picture above is in the Town of Neenah.  While the orange sky was interesting I also think this screams out “black and white” with the dynamic range and contrast!

Canon 5d MkIII | Canon 24-105 f/4 | 24mm | 1/80sec at f/9.0

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Life is Tough

Life is Tough

Poor tree!  You grow for years on the side of the mountain and just mind your own business.  Then one day along comes the insects.  The tunnel under your skin and eat away.  Nothing you can do.  Then one day along comes an elk.  Beautiful animal!  Majestic animal!  Itchy animal!  Just walks up and scrapes off you bark!  At least it got rid of the insects…

Canon 5d Mk III | Canon 35mm f/2 II | 1/320s at f/5.6

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