A Colorful Sunset in Southern Illinois

Garden of the Gods, Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois

It’s hard to believe these rocky cliffs are located in Southern Illinois. The Shawnee National Forest has lots of beautiful areas, but the Garden of the Gods region has to be near the top of anyone’s list.

When I teach photography I like to spend some time talking about sunsets and sunrises. I think a lot of people miss the best part, and the evening I took this photo was a good example. There were quite a few people gathered on the rocks watching the sun go down. But, as soon as the sun dropped below the horizon, 90 percent of the people packed up and left – and they missed the dramatic light show that happens about 20 minutes after sunset.

The same goes for sunrise, but then the best time may be 20 minutes before sunrise. Those periods before sunrise and after sunset are called “civil twilight” and that’s the time when the most dramatic colors develop.

The next time you’re watching a sunset, stick around a little while and enjoy the show.

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Photographing a Figure of Speech

Colder than a witch's tit

With the approach of another cold Illinois winter I thought I’d revisit one of my fine art photos from 2013.  There’s a saying about how cold it gets around here along the lines of, “It’s colder than a witch’s …” Well, you know the rest.

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Getting the Best from my Images

Sunset at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge shown before and after processing in Lightroom

I always want to get the best results possible for my fine art landscape photography so I always have the camera set in RAW mode. RAW mode records the raw, unprocessed data just as it’s captured by the sensor so I can process the image myself. Digital cameras are great, but my camera doesn’t know what I want from the scene.

This is a good example of a typical scene. The photo on the left shows before processing and represents what you’d get if you’re not shooting in RAW mode. The version on the right shows how much can be done with just basic editing in Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom program. The result is a good representation of the scene I experienced when I was there.

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Strong Diaganol Lines

Boardwalk at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

I’m spending more time looking for abstract shapes and forms in my landscape fine art photography. I was immediately drawn to the reflections and the wonderful quality of light in this almost completely still pond.


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New Work for an Upcoming Exhibit

Silhouette of nude female

I’m continuing to get more new work ready for the upcoming November show at Studios on Sheridan in Peoria, Illinois.  I’m always drawn to ways to create an abstract image out of something real.


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