It was December 24, 2022. Our plan, by way of yearly tradition, was to travel north and visit family for the holidays. Nature’s plan, though, was to make the Michigan roads as undriveable as possible through a weather assault of wind, snow, cold and ice. …
Tell someone you’re going away for a weekend to Saginaw, Michigan to take photos, and you may receive puzzling expressions—I certainly did. The responses of wonderment I received were mostly from the people I encountered in Saginaw, too. Saginaw is often on lists, but they’re …
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 internship after graduating with a degree in photojournalism was at the Monroe Evening News. At that time, it was a newspaper that cared deeply about capturing the best images to tell the story.
The camera gear I was issued was a Nikon D1, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, and a flash.
It was perfect.
One day, upon noticing the camera I was using, someone asked,” How many megapixels is that?” I had no idea. I was so busy navigating the nuances that are required to visually document a story, day in and day out, that I never cared to look at the specs.
Immediately after receiving that question, I went back to the newspaper and looked up “How many megapixels does the Nikon D1 have?”
The answer? It has 2.74 megapixels.
So, fast forward to recently. My Canon 6D has been a faithful companion and tool for many years. Seriously, this is one incredible photographic tool. I’ve photographed numerous assignments and personal work using this camera and it has never let me down.
However, when working as a freelance photographer, it’s important to have an adequate backup camera. While looking for one, I knew I needed to buy a Canon (this is only because I have a lot of great Canon lenses. There are lots of fantastic camera brands out there).
Canon 1-series cameras are built like tanks so that’s the direction I headed. After doing a lot of research, I landed on the Canon 1DX. It’s full frame and weather sealed, which is really important. But, one of the most important specifications of this camera, to me at least, is that it’s shutter is rated for 400,000 cycles. This is incredible.
This number tells me that some serious research has been done on making this a tough camera. The next most important thing to me is autofocus. After using other Canon 1-series digital cameras, I was confident that the autofocus of the Canon 1DX would be just fine.
Recently, I was commissioned by downtown Traverse City to make some images of downtown Traverse City. I’m really looking forward to this since I’m usually walking the streets of downtown Traverse City anyway, as it’s one of my favorite areas for street photography.
Walking downtown with the Canon 1DX recently has proven to me that this camera is a more-than-capable camera. It’s autofocus locks on blazingly fast and the files have been wonderful.
Since, Michigan has all kinds of crazy weather, I’m confident this camera will hold up to whatever weather it encounters since it’s weather sealed.
So, I’ve brought up weather sealing a couple of times now. Why? Here’s why. One day while on assignment for the Traverse City Record-Eagle, I was supposed to make winter photos of downtown scenes. It wasn’t just winter weather that day though. It was rain, quickly turning to ice.
While walking downtown and making photos, there was a layer of ice on my camera and lens. It was so much ice that I said to myself, “If this camera still works after this day, I’ll commit myself to Canon cameras.” The camera worked flawlessly, so I stand by them to this day.
Just because the Canon 1-series cameras work great for me, obviously doesn’t mean that they’re right for you. The purpose of this post is to explain why this camera can be amazing and why it’s the right one for me.
When I’m looking for a camera that I know won’t impede my ability to get a photo, I’m reaching for this one.
And, it has 18 megapixels. But, that doesn’t matter.
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 …
In the span of only a few days, I went from receiving a photo assignment from The Wall Street Journal, to feeling Lake Huron spray hit my face as we sped toward shipwreck Pewabic, trying to beat inclement weather. As a freelance photographer, when I’m …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Call it foolish, or maybe it’s the result of being raised to be humble—I think it’s a Midwestern thing, but it took me far longer than it should have for me to consider myself a photographer. As I was exploring the craft of photography, I …
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 …
If you’re looking for a foodie destination like no other, it’s time to make Denver your stop. We travel there every year, in November, and spend a day and a night downtown before heading to Estes Park for Thanksgiving. Spending some time in the Mile-High City gives us a chance to acclimate after our flight and, more importantly, it lets us experience this amazing city.
We’ve eaten at a number of restaurants there, and our most recent trip did not disappoint. Pay attention to this post and your taste buds will thank you.
After landing at the Denver International Airport, find the train and take it to downtown Denver. The train is such a convenient, pleasurable and economical way to travel. It cost around $10.50 per person and you’ll be at Union Station in about 40 minutes, not having to worry about white-knuckling through traffic on an unfamiliar highway.
Once you’re at Union Station, take some time to check it out. There are great shops and restaurants right inside. Last year, we spotted a breakfast/brunch place called Snooze, but our flight time wouldn’t let us stop to eat. This year, we stopped and I’m so glad we did. It’s so good that it’s almost worth a missed flight. Almost.
The menu is diverse and the dishes are varied. Since we weren’t driving, we each imbibed on a Morning Marg to sip on. It was wonderful and perfectly crafted with salt and a lime. To eat, Meg had the Huevos Tostada and I had the Pork Chile Verde Benny—I added an avocado, of course. Both dishes caused us to glance at one another upon first bite, to confirm that each other’s dishes were as delicious as our own.
The food and drink far exceeded what we ever could’ve hoped for and the service was second to none. We left Snooze ready to take on a day of exploration in Denver.
This is a post about food, so I’ll keep our Denver exploration information short. For fun, we walked to Larimer Square in the early afternoon and did some window shopping. This is a lively and historic street in Denver and we can’t wait to check it out at night. After Larimer Square, we walked to the REI Flagship store. Our jaws dropped to the floor when we saw how big the store was. Anything you’d ever need for outdoor pursuits is inside. One of my favorite spots was a white board near the entrance where staff members had listed favorite places to hike, bike, ski, etc. We remembered the recommended hike—Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park—and did it because of the suggestion. It was breath taking.
We walked everywhere, so we were getting hungry and couldn’t wait for dinner. Meg had surprised me with reservations to El Five, a tapas-style restaurant with an unbelievable view of downtown Denver. The vibe was lively and the space was perfectly decorated for lighting and ambiance.
The drinks are creative and delicious. We tried the Pasarela (rosemary infused tequila/ cinnamon/ lemon/ ginger beer) and it was one of my top drinks ever tried anywhere.
Twice it was suggested that we order the eggplant fries. We did and they were impossible to stop eating, so we didn’t stop. The European sea bass was our entree and it was small—they are tapas, after all—but so good. The dish was presented like a work of art and the taste solidified the art as ‘fine’.
We took a Lyft back to our hotel and turned in.
When morning arrived, we were excited to eat breakfast. The best part is that there’s a restaurant in the hotel called Apple Blossom. Take some time to look at the menu. It’s beautiful. It was our second time eating here and it was just as good, if not more so, than the first time.
The menu changes frequently with the seasons. But, I had shrimp and grits that blew my mind and Meg ordered a grapefruit bruleé along with eggs and potatoes. The ingredients were fresh and again, the service was impeccable.
If you find yourself in Denver, or you make it a destination for whatever reason, I can’t suggest these restaurants enough. If you try them, you’ll have varied and tasty dining experiences at each location.
It was a Friday afternoon and we drove north after shortened work days, which are the best work days. We traversed the Straits of Mackinac via the 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge. Our stomachs were rumbling so we decided to stop at the Village Inn in …