Tagged: photography

Photography Cheat Sheet

If you have a DSLR camera, hopefully you’re not like me and use it mostly on the AUTO setting. While this is a decent place to take pictures, there are near unlimited possibilities to discover using the manual mode of your camera.

If you ARE like me, then the manual mode of your camera intimidates the heck out of you and every time you mess with the dial, you take pictures that wouldn’t be worthy of gracing the bottom of the bird cage.

LivingInTheStills has created a great cheat sheet for using the manual options on your digital camera.

From exposure to ISO settings, the chart below is pretty easy to follow if you want to take better pictures.

I plan on printing this one out and dropping a copy or two in my camera bag.

Click on the image for a larger version.


Image courtesy of http://livinginthestills.com/cheatsheet

Centennial Trail Ride



With Sarah and the kids gone for two weeks, I have some time on my hands to fill.

Friday I went to the gym. Saturday was golfing with Dad and an unpleasant run due to my knee/IT band acting up. Sunday was a church at SouthField and an open afternoon. It was 61 out on December 2nd (NOT typical for Chicago), so I had two options.

Door #1 – Get on the roof and clean out the gutters before the compost heap therein freezes into a solid mass of organic material that won’t budge until spring


Door #2 – Get one last bike ride in before the eternal winter blankets Chicago.



You bet I chose door #2. Now where do I ride?

My parents like to walk the Centennial Trail at the Schneider’s Passage trail head in Romeoville. I’ve been on this path before, but I bet it was the better part of 10 years ago, so I decided to head out and give it a shot.

Sarah took the van to Texas, so I was stuck with my 1999 Mazda 626 as my bike hauler. Needless to say, my 29er mountain bike actually fit in quite well if I folded the back seats down.

I figured the path would be pretty busy as it was an unusually gorgeous day out. I was correct. There are only about half a dozen parking spots, and they were full, so I had to pull over on the shoulder of the frontage road. After a quick re-assemble of my front tire, I was off.

I started at a slow pace. My plan was to do an easy couple miles to keep the legs stretched out and enjoy the scenery. By mile 2, though, I was feeling great. My legs felt strong and there was no knee pain, so I went for it. Full on cardio. I kept close to a 4 minute mile pace. Nice and zippy for me.

The Will and Cook County Forest Preserves have done a great job with this section of the trail. I highly recommend it for any walking/running/biking you do. It’s fully paved, very clean and in great condition.

What I didn’t expect from this ride was an awesome iphonography session. Below are a few of the shots I took along the way.

This is a bridge that crosses the Des Plaines River near where the path goes under the 355 tollway. It’s an offshoot that leads to Bluff Road, but the path ends there.

Bridge over Des Plaines River near I-355

Across the bridge, you can get right under the tollway and stand next to the pylons.

photo 6

A little further up the path, is the end of the offshoot. It looks like plans are in the works to extend this all the way to International Parkway in 2013/14.

I didn’t crop this picture at all and love the fact that in the upper right the only words I caught were “Cross Does”.

photo 7

There was an old train bridge in Lemont near my turn around point that screamed to be photographed. I can’t decide which I like better… Color or B&W.

photo 2

photo 3

And finally at the trail head off of 135th Street, there is the old swing bridge that used to cross the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. It was replaced with a 4 lane, high level bridge in the late 90’s. Now it serves as the entrance to the north leg of the Centennial trail.

I remember going over this bridge a lot as a child. I also remember waiting for it when barges would pass…

photo 8

Radioactive Lighthouse

I have a thing for interesting photography. I’m not any good myself, but I like getting inspired by looking at other people’s work… Wishing I had something to shoot… more time to go out and shoot…

A couple sites I visit with regularity are Daily Dose of Imagery and Kwerfeldein Photography .  These guys are amazing with a camera – usually taking abstract pictures of life around us…

I’ve posted a few times about abandoned places. Two that come to mind are an amusement park somewhere in Korea/China/Japan? and a book depository in Detroit

I don’t know what it is… There is something eerie and amazing about “urban decay”.

Something just left there… Forgotten forever. Life around it is running full steam, but the location of the images are stuck in a time warp.

I came upon a new set of photos this morning. These are from Russia – Far northern Russia. Communist Russia.

There are lighthouses along the Arctic circle that were once used to steer ships away from the rocky cliffs during the 100 days of darkness and at night. These lighthouses are so far from civilization, they were run by tiny nuclear reactors so they’d be autonomous.

The description and images speak far better than I ever could.

Here are a few of the pictures… Click here for the full page.

And try not to click on the Russian mail-order bride advertisements…