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How to turn this… into THIS

I just got back from Turks and Caicos and while I didn’t take many photos there, I did manage to capture this:   This is one of only two tourist scenes I shot in Turks and Caicos. It’s a photo I’ve always wanted to take, and while it’s admittedly not the most original out there, I […]

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Lofoten Islands Days 2 and 3

The idea was to sleep in, and leisurely wake up mid-morning before sunrise. I could have breakfast as the glow of dawn slowly emerged, then go out and shoot some photos during blue hour. While a mere 2hrs of daylight per day might sound awful to most, to me it sounds like a photographer’s paradise. Sunrise happens […]

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Take your sharpest pictures

The 50 megapixel Canon 5DSR, the 43 megapixel Sony A7RII, and the 36 megapixel Nikon D810 – these and other cameras are megapixel behemoths that can capture every last ounce of detail present in a scene. Unfortunately, much of the resolution (and money you spent) is wasted unless you know how to push your camera to its limit. […]

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Photography and Travel in 2016

Happy New Year! Let’s take a look at the state of photography and travel today, and what we can expect in 2016: Camera technology has plateaued Camera technology won’t get any better in 2016. Instead we’ll see the same technology get smaller. In lieu of big DSLRs, you’ll be able to carry cameras half the weight and size while […]

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Emotive Travel Photography

There are really two kinds of travel pictures. The first are the quick snaps which don’t require much thought or planning. These pictures make up the vast majority of travel photographs, yet they do little more than prove that we were in a place. The second kind of travel pictures are emotive. These are the shots that photographers take time […]

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Switching from Canon to Nikon

When you buy a DSLR you aren’t just buying a camera. You’re buying into a camera system full of lenses, flashes, batteries, and accessories. It’s a costly investment for which the camera is only the tip of the financial iceberg.   I started my investment in Canon 15 years ago I gathered an impressive collection of Canon gear well suited to my needs. […]

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Photographing Iceland in Winter

For once I might have gone somewhere warm and tropical this winter. I had my eye on Lake Toba in Indonesia, which for some reason has fallen out of the travelers’ eye in recent years. It’d have been perfect for me, I think. I am continually in search of off the beaten path type places, the ones that feel new […]

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Is this the most beautiful waterfall on Earth?

Despite its namesake, Iceland doesn’t get all that cold even in the dead of winter. Temperatures hover just below freezing throughout the season, and the water flowing through Godafoss never has the chance to freeze over. Instead a multitude of icicles are formed by way of wind driven mist and water splashes. The end result is a gorgeous, half frozen piece of natural artwork. […]

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5 essential tips for shooting in cold weather

Taking great pictures in the cold It’s January. Half the planet is in a deep freeze and I’m gearing up for what will be my first major trip in a long, long while. In what is becoming an oddly typical routine, my trip will likely be to somewhere cold. This has me remembering all sorts of ways to […]

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Scenes from Goslar, Germany at Christmas

Over the last year of staying in the USA I’ve tried to make the most of my time at home, but “the itch” for travel never went away. I wish I could say exploring Christmas markets in Goslar, Germany for a few days was enough to satiate my hunger for travel, but the trip went by faster than a car ride on […]

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Travel vs. Wedding photography

I shot my first wedding this month. Admittedly I was a bit apprehensive beforehand: these would be memories the couple will share together with their friends and families for the rest of their lives. More than cell phone snaps and Instagrams, I wanted to capture something timeless, something that would do justice to one of the most important days […]

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Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road: The North

A most moderate pace   Speeding is a terribly bad idea in Iceland. There are the safety implications of course, but more immediately concerning is the near certainty of receiving a ticket. Paid on the spot and starting at hundreds of dollars, speeding tickets are no exception to the general rule that everything is expensive in Iceland. So […]

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Fall Colors in Chicago and the Upper Midwest

October is a really beautiful time to experience the American Midwest. Temperatures are cool and pleasant and weather is generally good as the area transitions from summer to winter. Landscapes burst with color as trees shed their leaves in advance of the cold. Chicago has mostly yellows with some reds and late season greens scattered about. You’ll need to […]

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Christmas in Belgium with a Holga

A crap camera that’s …true The leaves are falling with vigor and we are again rapidly approaching my favorite time of the year. After taking some time today to look through pictures from past Christmas markets, I found a few of last year’s markets in Belgium that were still hiding on my hard drive. I never published most of […]

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Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road Part 2: The Westfjords

Leaving Snæfellsnes “I could stay here,” I think. “I could live here.” But rarely do I contemplate the reality of such grand ideas because it’s always a one way road back to reality.     Instead I imagine, purely and without complication of critical thought. I imagine my single idyllic night here was representative of a lifetime, as surely a lifetime could be […]

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11 photo editing tips from Nepal

We were fully immersed in the experience from the moment we set foot in Nepal. Often mesmerizing, sometimes trying, there were days of walking Kathmandu’s dusty, crowded streets, trying not to get hit by a car before we could get our paperwork sorted. Then there was starting out on the Annapurna Circuit when we realized the trek was going to be much […]

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The most beautiful lake in the world

The Pearl of Siberia It’s known as The Pearl of Siberia. Really, it’s the pearl of planet Earth. As much as I’ve traveled and as much as I’ve seen, only a handful of places have struck such a lasting chord with me. Lake Baikal, or “Ozero Baikal” as the Russians pronounce it, is one of those places. Holding 20% […]

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Traveling with the Swarovski CL Pocket Binoculars

Nepal: My first trip with Swarovski’s CL Pocket Binoculars Hiking the Nepalese Himalayas is no easy task – one of my trekking poles snapped, a camera lens cracked, the hand grip detached from my camera, and my girlfriend lost a pair of shoes when the soles more or less disintegrated as she was hiking. My binoculars, though? They did […]

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Fall Photo Tips

Fall is my favorite time of year – the temperature is pleasant and the air is refreshing. The sun is lower on the horizon during the day, leading to more opportunities to shoot in dramatic light, and the leaves turn to brilliant hues of red and gold. Fall is also a great time to travel as summer […]

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Some trips stick with you.

How long does a vacation really last? There have been several articles which claim that the benefits of a vacation fade quickly after it’s over. While I’ve found that to be true for short, easy trips, I’ve also found longer and more challenging trips stick with me for far longer after I return home. I think that’s because the more difficult trips force us to […]

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Exploring Hawaii with Film

Hawaii was the first trip I’ve done while shooting exclusively on film, and I loved it. I like film because of it’s simplicity and because it makes me think. Shooting film is like playing a game of chess or playing a musical instrument: anybody can learn the basics, but dig deeper and it becomes as […]

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4 ways to keep your sanity in India

When people ask me, “did you like India?” I answer honestly: I say no. No, I did not like India. I did not like the dirt and the grime, I did not like smelling rivers from blocks away, I did not like seeing piles of trash accumulating on the corners of city streets, and the […]

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Shooting Medium Format Film

It’s nearly the size of a cinder block and it weighs about as much, and it eats film at the rate of 15 shots a roll. It’s a Mamiya 645 1000s medium format film camera, and it’s the perfect compromise between 35mm’s portability and large format quality. And if you’re not a film shooter, none […]

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You Don’t Need a New Camera

I totally get it. You’ve saved some serious cash for your next big international trip, and you want to take pictures of it all. That means you need a new camera, right? Er, probably not. Digital photography is mature, just as it has been for the last 8 years when the 10 megapixel barrier was […]

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Why you should Shoot Film (at least once)

In a great demonstration of coming full circle, popular edits these days are sporting decidedly lo-fi looks. Maybe this is a backlash against the hyper realism of formerly-popular HDR, or maybe it’s just the natural progression of things. In any case, one look at Instagram proves that film inspired edits are here to stay.  There’s […]

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How to Create Your Own Photography Website

There are a million reasons why you might want to create your own photography website. Maybe you’re looking beyond Facebook, Flickr, and 500px for ways to showcase your photography to friends and family. Perhaps you want to attract new clients for your photography business. Or maybe you need a professional online gallery to gain more […]

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Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road: Part 1

I scan the landscape as I pull out of Keflavik Airport. Customs was quick and easy, and I’m happy to already be at the wheel of my newly acquired rental car. Green moss covers dark volcanic rocks in all directions. Small yellow posts line the highway before me, providing the only real contrast to speak […]

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Memories from Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit

Finishing I remember reading about trekking the Annapurna Circuit online last year. “Trekking? Pfft,” I thought, “trekking’s just another word for walking. Anybody can walk, right?” But as Bill Walker bluntly puts it in his book Getting High: The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, “You simply can’t fuck around with the Himalayas.” I should have taken that advice to […]

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New Gallery: Belgium

I really love Belgium. The people, the scenery, the fact that it’s not super touristy (relative to some places in Europe), and of course the beer. Seeing that I’ve been to Belgium twice now, it’s about time I added a gallery. Head on over to my Belgium Gallery to check it out. Belgium Gallery For more writing […]

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Dramatic Light Photography

One of the best ways to improve any photo is to use dramatic light. Sunrises and sunsets provide the best and most reliable opportunities for good photographs in dramatic light. I always get a rush when I see a beautiful sunset or sunrise on the road. Experiencing a new location under beautiful light is just as important to […]

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Top 56 Shots of 2013

I’ll keep this short and sweet: Here are my personal top 56 photos from 2013. Presented in no particular order…         This was an early morning shot of climbers hiking up to Thorong La Pass in Nepal. Altitude was approx. 16,500 feet.   This shot was included because I think it says […]

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Taking Pictures in Brussels

I already wrote a good bit about Brussels (and why I love it) at my friend Michael Hodson’s website Go See Write: A Photographic Journey Through Belgium’s Christmas Markets Rather than say the same thing here, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Last in my series of Belgium Christmas Market posts,  here’s Brussels in all […]

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A Very Belgian Christmas: Glorious Ghent

I spent most of last week in Belgium exploring the markets of Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels. This is the second post of three in my Belgium Christmas Market series. Exceeding Expectations I had a feeling I was going to like Ghent, but I had no idea I would like it this much.     Ghent began […]

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A Very Belgian Christmas: Beautiful Bruges

Last week I visited Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels. I loved it, and needless to say I think you should go there too. I’m going to feature stories and photos from each of these places over the course of this week. That way you can see the Belgian markets for yourself, whether you can get there […]

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Why You Should Go to Siberia This Year

A Winter’s Journey to… Siberia? While most of your traveler friends count the days to their tropical island getaways this winter, you might consider bucking the trend and heading somewhere that’s completely off the beaten path. Siberia might not top anybody’s list of winter travel destinations, but it holds untold rewards for those willing to […]

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Understanding Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO

Your Camera Needs Light Like that prissy little Goldilocks and her porridge, your camera needs just the right amount of light to capture a good exposure. Too much light and your photos will be washed out, overly bright, and lacking detail. Too little light and your photos will be too dark to see anything. Between […]

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Taking Pictures in My City

We try to make our homes as comfortable as possible. To me, “comfort” is another way of saying “neutral”. After all, it wouldn’t be much of a home if our senses were always on alert, constantly excited by stimuli. We can’t help but make our homes into neutral, inoffensive places in which we can feel […]

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The Fascinating Towns of the Himalayas

Teahouse Trekking Although the terrain is at times harsh and unforgiving, trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal is not exactly “roughing it”.  Towns are scattered throughout this area, and it only takes a few hours of walking to pass from one town to the next. The towns themselves are as varied as the terrain, but […]

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Three Steps to Your Best Pictures

Once you’ve found the photographic elements that are important to you, it’s time to take your picture. Don’t over think it! There are just three steps which reliably lead to great photographs. Previsualize Wait for your moment Put it all together Previsualize It took me years to figure out how to previsualize. Turns out it’s […]

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The Elements of a Great Photograph

A Thought Experiment Photography is a very subjective and personal thing, so let’s try a brief thought experiment to find out what’s important to you. I want you to close your eyes and think about one great photograph that you’ve seen recently. Think about what you like about the photo and why you remember it. […]

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Why Good Travel Photography Enhances the Travel Experience

Do you use Twitter, where the 140 character limit makes every communication feel choppy? How about hurriedly scrolling through Facebook statuses, rushing past anything you don’t find immediately interesting? Good travel photography is a perfect antidote to today’s fast paced world. It takes a lot of time and thought to put together a successful image. […]

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This is The Visual Guide to Travel Photography

Here’s one of my earliest travel pictures. It was shot in Amsterdam with my then- new and very fancy DSLR. Pretty “amazing” stuff, right? At the time I thought it was. I used a polarizer – that’s a photo filter which helped darken the blue and reduce reflections in the water. I tried to create balance […]

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