Tag: Street Photography

Photographing with the Canon 1DX and Why Megapixels Don’t Matter

Photographing with the Canon 1DX and Why Megapixels Don’t Matter

These days it’s almost impossible to be interested in photography and equipment and not end up down the rabbit hole that is the camera forum. Talk of DxO scores, sharpness, aberration and, of course, megapixels, dominate the subject matter. None of that matters. My first 

Tips for Photographing in the Midday Sun

Tips for Photographing in the Midday Sun

As photographers, we obviously would like to photography when the light is optimum. The golden hour, the blue hour, sunsets, sunrises—these are all times of day when the light can turn gorgeous and can result in exquisite images. But, what do you do when the 

Why You Should Put Yourself on Assignment

Why You Should Put Yourself on Assignment

When you open your email’s ‘Inbox’ to find that an editor has reached out for you to take photos, it’s exhilarating. Making pictures, being creative, having access to photograph interesting people, places, things, etc., and making money—it all can be as thrilling as it sounds.

The reality for many though (me included), is that there can be significant gaps in time when these wonderful photographic opportunities take place. When you aren’t receiving photo commissions, it can be difficult.

Chicago, Il

This, my friends, is where the self assignment comes in.

You’ve probably seen some visually arresting and/or gripping humanitarian photo stories. Instead of waiting and hoping that interesting photographic subject matter finds its way to you, seek out your own interesting photographic story ideas.

Many times I’ve photographed something on my own time and on my own dime, then approached afterward to photograph a similar story, but as a paying gig.

Making images that are your own idea usually results in fantastic photos because you’re able to photograph what you think is interesting. And, the photographs can usually be made without a deadline. You have complete freedom to follow through with your vision.

Chicago, Il

Photographing regularly and with purpose will also result in improvements to your photography since you’ll be advancing your experience.

You don’t have a photographic vision? Absolutely fine.

If you enjoy being creative with your photography, set aside a weekend every once in a while and simply photograph for the sake of photographing.

You can head off to the big city or just travel to a small area in the middle of the country. The important focus here is that you’re committing time for yourself and your craft that allows you to focus on creativity and producing art.

Chicago, Il

Architectural photography has been deeply fulfilling for me lately, so recently I spent a weekend in Chicago photographing nothing but architecture. I made it a priority (and I always make this a priority) to plan a trip that would be as budget-friendly—without compromising safety—as possible.

The days were long, with photos being made from dawn until dusk. Creative time is not to be squandered, at least by me, so it’s always important to me to maximize whatever time I have.

Chicago, Il

My days and photographic locations were my own to plan and decide.

When my photographic weekend in Chicago was finished, I’d walked away with tired legs, but also a fantastic body of work that was new and exciting to photograph.

Make time for yourself and your creativity and you’ll find that the rewards are many.

Voyaging: A Quick Morning Photo Walk in Denver, Colorado

Voyaging: A Quick Morning Photo Walk in Denver, Colorado

On our most recent trip to Denver, Colorado, we stayed in the recently-opened Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver. The rooms are beautiful and it’s within walking distance of Union Station, which is where we depart the train after arriving from the airport. Downtown Denver is fantastic 

How to Boost Your Creativity in Your Own Town

How to Boost Your Creativity in Your Own Town

It can be the most difficult surrounding to photograph. Out of nowhere, you may find yourself stopped in the tracks of creativity before you even know what hit you. Or, it may hit you right away. You may walk, or drive, for hours looking for 

How to Spend 48 (Incredible!) Hours in Detroit (Oct. 2022)

How to Spend 48 (Incredible!) Hours in Detroit (Oct. 2022)

Detroit has stolen our hearts…again. With its history, character (and characters), food and architecture, it won’t be the last time, without a doubt. And, that’s ok. Steal away Detroit, steal away.

After visiting there for a weekend earlier this year, I wrote a post here covering what we’d done during that magical short trip. I revisited the post and it still holds true. All of it.

But, the Motor City offers way more than can possibly be visited in 48 hours, so we couldn’t wait to head back to the D and check out some new (to us) places and spaces. Plus, even though Detroit can be beautiful during the winter, the prospects of visiting the city in milder temperatures was highly appealing.

The catalyst for our most recent trip was the purchase of concert tickets to see The Killers at Little Caesars Arena. Their catalog of songs and depth of talent are wonderful to experience at home, but we love live music and we’d never visited Little Caesars Arena so it was an easy decision to go.

After deciding to visit Detroit, our next step was to find a place to stay. The thought process for finding where to kick your boots off shouldn’t be taken lightly. Where you slumber can turn a good trip into an incredible one, and our decision to call The Caterpillar “home” for a bit was perfect.

The Caterpillar is a modern piece of architecture situated about two miles outside of downtown Detroit. The pictures of it looked pretty good, but as soon as we parked our car in front of it, we knew we were in for a lodging experience like no other. Staying in a Quonset hut doesn’t seem like a great place to stay, however, this is not your average Quonset hut.

The Caterpillar. Detroit, Michigan

This particular Quonset hut was 192 feet long, surrounded by trees, and divided into eight living spaces, with the owners of our particular space doing a knock-out job of creating a welcoming and comfortable place. The overall design of the space was simple, clean and creative. The ceilings were 23 feet high and upon walking inside, the first characteristic I noticed was the beautiful amount of natural light.

It was a divine place to stay. Everything was comfortable, the shower was hot and there was a record player. What more does anyone need?

The Caterpillar. Detroit, Michigan

Music was a theme of this trip since we do enjoy it in many forms. Since we had some free time on Friday afternoon, we made our way to the historic Motown Museum at Hitsville U.S.A. for a tour and some sightseeing. The vision of Berry Gordy and the influence of Motown music is undeniable, so we couldn’t wait to see the historic spot where it all took place.

Tickets for the tours here can only be purchased on-site, so prepare to wait a bit, depending on when you go. The tour is about an hour long and our tour guide was extremely informative and personable. One of my favorite aspects of the tour and the museum was having a chance to visit the actual studio where musicians performed. The room, instruments, control board and even reception office were exactly as they were when iconic musicians made musical history there.

Motown Museum. Detroit, Michigan

With our dwelling established and our music-fan souls filled, we looked forward to grabbing some food. The culinary options in Detroit are seemingly endless and ever-changing. On our last trip there, though, we’d walked past a fun place but we’d already had a reservation at a different restaurant. So, this time, we were looking forward to trying it out.

The restaurant was the Grey Ghost and it was delicious. Lively music was playing inside and it was a lively Friday-evening scene. The menu is brilliant and includes some clever drink combinations, so I’d definitely recommend those. For food, we had sea scallops, potato croquettes and cauliflower.

Each dish was fantastic. The ingredients were thoughtful and fresh with everything being prepared perfectly, without—and this is important—an excessive reliance on butter and salt for flavor. I’d wholeheartedly recommend eating here.

Saturday had arrived and after a comfortable sleep and coffee in our veins, we were anticipating the day ahead. We knew we had the concert to enjoy in the evening, but there were also some parts of Detroit that we were looking forward to in the day. Everyone’s travel style is different. We like to strike a balance between planning some things, but not too much.

The only thing we had planned for Saturday was to explore the Eastern Market. There’s a lot to see and do at the Eastern Market so the amount of time you spend here can be adjusted. The weather was nice though and we were in the exploring mood, so we did Eastern Market right.

Starting out with hot cider—this is a must-drink beverage if you’re in Michigan during the fall—we were ready to check it out. The Eastern Market is like a super farmer’s market. If you come hungry you won’t be hungry long. The space is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.

Numerous shops and establishments have taken up spaces surrounding the Eastern Market. Signal Return is a letterpress operation nearby so we browsed some artfully and beautifully-designed prints in the historic space.

The Detroit City Distillery was nearby and since our hot cider had worn off, we thought it’d be a good idea to warm our insides with bourbon. And, it was.

Across the street from the Eastern Market is one of our favorite record stores—Peoples Records. The staff here are friendly, welcoming and super knowledgeable with all things Detroit (and beyond) music. We successfully walked out of Peoples Records with vinyl from Rare Earth, The Temptations and…

Poeples Records. Detroit, Michigan

The concert was nearing so we decided to order Pie-Sci Pizza to nourish ourselves prior to rocking out. The pizza was excellent and the menu is out of this world. Each pizza offered sounded great and I’d love to try each one.

Our anticipation for watching the Killers was at it’s peak so thankfully the time had arrived. Our Lyft driver dropped us off in front of Little Caesars Arena and we walked inside. I wasn’t sure what to expect when exploring the venue, but I was pleasantly surprised. The arena was built in 2017 and it was gorgeous. The shops and restaurants inside were aesthetically pleasing and there were numerous nods to Detroit’s historic sports teams of the past.

After selecting some adult beverages, we could hear the opening band begin. We briskly walked to our seats and once we landed our bottoms in them we couldn’t believe the opener was the supremely talented Johnny Marr. Johnny finished his set and we, along with the crowd, could’ve gone home happy right then and there. Luckily, we still had The Killers.

The Killers kicked in and did a fantastic job. I’ve always enjoyed there music on the radio, but live, they’re a rock ‘n roll beast on a whole other level. Brandon Flowers’s voice carried through the arena and seemingly beyond, it was so good. Ronnie Vannucci held the whole thing together with masterful percussion as guitarist Dave Keuning supplemented it all with six-string superiority.

The Killers-Little Caesars Arena. Detroit, Michigan

We took a Lyft back to The Caterpillar and turned in for the night.

It was a reminder, especially on this trip, how nice it is to have a place to stay that isn’t far away from everything. It’s especially important if you’re doing a weekend trip in a place like Detroit. After all, the goal is to have fun instead of spending a lot of time traveling.

Detroit is a special place and it’s one that we can’t wait to spend time in again. Thanks Detroit!

Voyaging: Lake Linden, Michigan

Voyaging: Lake Linden, Michigan

Few things are as enjoyable as loading some film into a camera and exploring a small, unfamiliar town. It’s the basis for how I came upon the name ‘Village Voyager’, after all. The, often, slow and methodical approach to composition and the new elements of 

Voyaging: White Cloud, Michigan

Voyaging: White Cloud, Michigan

There are times when the need to create burns inside. If that need, that feeling, wasn’t there, life would be so much easier. But, life wouldn’t be as beautiful and fulfilling. I suppose this is the artist’s dilemma. One of them anyway. If I haven’t 

Voyaging: Houghton, Michigan

Voyaging: Houghton, Michigan

To drive into Houghton, Michigan—a small college (Michigan Technological University) town in Michigan’s upper peninsula (U.P.)—is to be welcomed by a tidy, small-business-filled-main-street downtown. It had been years since I’d been there. It didn’t look like a lot had changed, but that’s a good thing. Change is too frequent for me and a lack of it is a welcomed surprise.

My most recent trip there was a few weeks back during our annual U.P. week-long excursion. This year, it was Dollar Bay that received the nod as our destination.

Being a photographer, it’s difficult to drive through a new and interesting place and not check it out. I knew I’d return as soon as I could. The mornings are a perfect time to sneak out the door of our lodging and get creative for a quick bit, and that’s exactly what I did.

Houghton isn’t an easy town to explore. The downtown is flat, but around that everything is seemingly on a hill. It’s a picturesque place that holds heaps of history, much of it mining history. In the realm of fun facts, photographer Edward Steichen lived in Hancock, which is just across Portage Lake via the Houghton Hancock Bridge.

Driving west through Houghton and just before arriving at the Houghton Hancock Bridge, is a place of respite called The Downtowner. There’s an inn and lounge so feel free to respite wherever you’d like. To see it though, with its bright colors and mid-century architecture, is like stepping back into a different era—I’ll say the 1970s.

Across the street from The Downtowner is a parking deck which is perfect. My photographic adventures often result in images made at street level. To have the option of an elevated parking deck appealed to me mightily. So it was, that on a morning outing of picture taking, I would seek this parking deck and make a image.

After parking on a hill, I walked toward the parking deck to look for a good vantage point for my photo. The parking deck couldn’t have been more perfect. Having the higher perspective, and photographing with a 28mm lens, allowed me to have a better overall sense of place of the town, as oppose to the viewpoint I would’ve had if I was at street level.

Being a photojournalist, I’m often trying to include people in my pictures, no matter where I’m at. So, for this shot, I knew my scene was good, all I had to do was wait. As luck, and patience, would have it, a person walked into the frame. Shutter button clicked, I was pleased with my photo and left the spot.

Houghton, Michigan

One important takeaway from this is that to visualize a photo can be really helpful. Having a plan of what you’d like to achieve photographically is a good practice. Either you’ll achieve your expected results, or you’ll receive a happy accident. You might take a picture that you don’t like very much. A good thing to do here is to analyze what you don’t like about the picture and try to make it better the next time.

Critiquing images is a great way to become a better photographer.

The May 2022 Gaylord, Michigan Tornado

The May 2022 Gaylord, Michigan Tornado

A little more than one week ago, on Friday, May 20, 2022, an EF3 category tornado touched down in Gaylord, Michigan. It caused two fatalities, numerous injuries and widespread destruction due to the 150 mph wind speed it reached. It’s extremely rare that such a