Pali Lookout Sunrise


I have a hard time getting up before dawn, but it almost never fails that I wake up when I should. I have this strange built in alarm clock that rarely lets me sleep in these days. I always expect jet lag to throw it off, but somehow, I always wake up about the right time. One of the great things about Hawaii is that you can stay up really late and you end up waking up REALLY early. Since I am up I usually can talk myself into a sunrise or two…after all, photography is why I travel. This was one of the many wonderful weather days I had while on Oahu and sunrise was a sight to see!

Gaudi Schoolhouse

Design School

On the grounds of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain sits a simple building. It was originally conceived as a schoolhouse for the children of those working to build the (minor) Basilica. I found this work to be more beautiful than the temple itself. La Sagrada Familia is overwhelming, busy, almost ostentatious. I haven’t worked on any of my photos of this treasure of architecture because I found myself so conflicted. I am not sure how I felt visiting. I expected to be in awe, and perhaps that word is accurate, but there was more…there is a harsh difference between Gaudi’s church and the other earlier work. The schoolhouse is simple, practical, elegant. It is in many ways opposite from the site in which it sits. My only regret was it wasn’t open the day I visited the church.

San Francisco Sunrise


We looked out the window of our hotel room and were greeted with two amazing sites of contrast. One was the amazing city of San Francisco. It’s a wonder! A city built on the most inhospitable geography. The City has burned, flooded been destroyed by earthquake…it is a wonder of modern construction and civil engineering. The other amazing site was the sunrise. Despite all we have and will do as a people, I am always most struck by the awesome power, majesty and beauty of the natural world. It is these two contrasts, both the natural and the man-made wonder that had me grabbing for my camera.

Barcelona to Home


I have been spending quite a bit of time in airports as of late. I am a bit fortunate because most of the the time I have access to a variety of lounges. This adds just a bit of comfort to your travels and will generally get you a free drink or two (additionally adding to your perceived comfort). Truth be told I actually like airports…well really modern ones like BCN. There are a variety of exciting things to look at and do and I love experiencing other countries everyday places. You never know what amazing things you will see or find!

Sunrise at Navy Pier

Good Morning

Some of the best light imaginable is at sunrise. There is another great thing about sunrise special to us photographers…you can get a shot without people. Almost everywhere I go, this is the secret to shots without throngs of tourists. Just get up at 4am, get to your location, wait for the sun to come up…BAM great photo. The only problem with this is much like everyone else in the world, I have a horrible time getting up early enough to be present for the sunrise. On the day I took this photo, I was up at 4am, rode the train into the city for an hour and braved a pretty blustery Chicago AM all without coffee for the first two hours. Of course I was rewarded with this view. Maybe I need to work on becoming more of a morning person.

Volcanic Sunrise

Inferno in the Sky

It was the most glorious sunrise I have every witnessed. If you visit Maui, the Haleakalā National Park visit is at the top of my recommended list. It’s an extremely early trip. We were staying in Kihei, so it was about a two hour drive to the summit of the volcano. As we neared the time of sunrise, we continued to wind forever up, up the road. The sky continued to change ever more interesting colors and hues and I had a hard time not watching the specical, but rather keeping my eyes on the dangerous road.

Ranger Blocked

As we neared the top, a ranger stopped everyone saying the summit was full. Were were told we couldn’t go to the summit and instead would have to stop at the Kalahaku Overlook. I was terribly distraught by this at first, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The summit would have been terribly crowded and I would have been very restricted as to where I could put my tripod. At the overlook, no one seemed to care. I actually hiked way out to the rim of the volcano. This photo was at the very start of sunrise, from the official overlook. Get up even earlier then you think you need to, the sky changes wonderful colors WAY before the official sunrise time.


This is a three shot bracket (-2, 0, +2) combined in Photomatix. I then did some exposure blending in Photoshop to really bring back in the blackness of the sky. I love sky gradients where there is a change in light (or an absence in this case). I then used the Nik Suite to add contract and clarity, and perform sharpening. The final exits were done in Lightroom.

Dawn at the U.S. Capitol Building

Impressing Sites

I love traveling and I find myself awake at some crazy times trying to get photos. Dawn at the U.S. Capitol was no different. For whatever reason Starbucks in D.C. didnt open at first light and I was down a coffee. I showed up to the Capitol Building grounds with my camera and tripod certain I would beat everyone and get in a bit of time with three legs of contraband camera support before I was shooed off. I was right about no one being around. With the exception of one or two joggers and a gaggle of Capitol Guard it was just me. I hate it when people cite safety as a concern when NO ONE is around, but that is exactly what happened. Sir, you cant use a tripod here, its not safe for the other guests. I think she even realized I pay her salary.


This was a handheld 3 bracket (-2, 0, +2) combined in Photomatix, edited in Photoshop and Nik, finished in Lightroom 4.