Review: Forever Thine Wedding Workflows by Sleeklens

A wedding photographer’s job is just getting started when the wedding ends. With hundreds or even thousands of shots captured at a wedding, there needs to be a way to edit all those pictures in a quality way. Sleeklens asked me to review their Forever Thine Wedding Workflow package, which offers 112 Lightroom Presets and 23 Brushes for […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Unbelievable Beauty of Nepal

Navigating harsh, high altitude terrain; occasionally soaked from rain, at other times sweating from exertion only to end up shivering from cold soon after; exhausted from walking for hours on end, heavy packs on our shoulders and with one bad knee in tow. None of that mattered. The challenges of the Himalayas were muted and […]

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A Photowalk Through Zurich in Wintertime

It’s Almost Here Winter is fast approaching and I can hardly contain my excitement. Maybe it’s the crisp, refreshing air, maybe it’s the holidays, or maybe it’s the way the sun lingers low on the horizon throughout the day. If the name of this website doesn’t already give it away, I love winter. Last year I fully embraced […]

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Facebook Cover Pictures

Is the old Facebook profile getting a bit stagnant? Is your cover shot in need of a facelift? Introducing The Polar Route’s collection of Facebook Cover Shots. Facebook cover shots are a total pain. You can’t just find any old picture, put it up as your cover shot, and have it looking good right away. […]

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All About Neutral Density Filters

Several months back, I received this question on Twitter from @HusbandInTow: Would love to see basic stuff for photo novices, like how to use a filter, how to slow shutter speed, etc Thanks for the question @HusbandInTow. The best way to slow your shutter speed is by using Neutral Density Filters. To make the most […]

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Using Jet Lag to Your Advantage

 Fast Planes and Big Oceans. Why You Can’t Beat Jet Lag. Humans have been around for a couple hundred thousand years, and only within the last 70 have we begun flying big planes across big oceans. The idea that 16 hours is a “long” time to travel between Chicago and Hong Kong, or San Francisco […]

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Enter the Night Photography Contest!

Want to shoot some incredible night scenes this week? Perfect! I’m running this week’s photo contest over at Currys PC World, and I’d LOVE to have you enter. I’m looking for images that inspire, motivate, and show the world something new.   Why You Should Enter You might actually win the thing! For night shooting […]

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Battle of The 50s: A Bokeh Comparison

This is a totally unscientific, just for fun bokeh comparison between three (four?) of Canon’s 50mm lenses.   What Makes Good Bokeh? What’s attractive to you may not be the same for everyone else, but in general the more rounded the out of focus elements the more pleasing the bokeh. Good bokeh shows the background […]

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Finding Your Photographic Style

It’s all about STYLE, baby The other day I was thinking about developing your own photographic style, and the famous Ted Grant quote popped into my head. Like so many great photographers, Ted has a style that’s all his own: “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in […]

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You Should Go To Sri Lanka.

Just go there. It’s cheaper, more exotic, prettier, more laid back, and better than just about every other beach destination on Earth (yeah, even Thailand). Have your doubts? I’ll prove it to you.   It’s cheap Where else can you stay at a “Hilten” hotel for $9 USD a night? Okay, so it’s not THE Hilton, […]

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New Destination Gallery: RUSSIA

Twelve Cities, Six Weeks Worth of Travel The new Russia gallery is the culmination of about six weeks of travel through Russia on two separate trips. Cities included St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Tomsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Listvyanka and Lake Baikal, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok. Travel between each city involved a cumulative 16 days worth […]

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Review: Canon 50mm f1.0L. Yeah, 1.0!

A Big Old Heaping Pile of Glass… The first thing you notice about this lens is the glass. This lens is all glass with a little bit of that nice “L” series black plastic wrapped around it. This thing weighs 2lbs – it’s even heavier than the 5D Mark III camera it was attached to for […]

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