You Are There (for Those Who Weren’t)

My “You Are There” exhibit at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois was so much fun, to see family and friends who live locally, and to show 23 prints of my art and a fast-paced 6-minute video of my most dramatic images.

Now, for those of you who were not there, here’s 15 images you missed!

Water Color

“Water Color”, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, OR, June 28, 2010

My wife Marti made me take this picture. I was sleep-deprived, discouraged, and defeated by the cloud cover of the previous 36 hours. I really deserved a nap. “If you take a nap now, you’ll miss what you came here for, honey.” God bless her!


Warm Creek Gold

Warm Creek Gold
Warm Creek Gold, Lake Powell, UT, August 15, 2011

My Cub Scout uniform had colors of blue and gold.  In scouting I learned to love the freedom and beauty of the outdoors.  Now in this new age of digital photography, I get outdoors early for serenity, solitude, and to capture some stunning sunlit beauty.


Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, February 18, 2012

Architect Frank Gehry’s design glows under colored lights and a trellis supporting speakers over the Great Lawn – a giant shiny ornament, a surprising sight during a Chicago February, while nature sleeps in the cold and dark, preparing for Spring.


Majesty Doubled

Majesty Doubled, Owen’s Valley, near Bishop, CA, October 29, 2013

I usually look up to see mountains. Looking down and also seeing them mirrored at my feet took my breath away.  You can learn more about this location in my blog post Majesty Doubled.


Tufa Transition

Mono Lake Tufa Transition
Tufa Transition, Mono Lake, Lee Vining, CA, October 30, 2013

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”


Reinhold Niebuhr

Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL, June 26, 2015

Many architectural details adorn the Chicago Riverwalk.  A soaking rain lets their surfaces gleam and sparkle under an electric rainbow.  Reflections dance on the water to amplify the gaiety.  (Bring a tripod, a poncho or umbrella, and a friend.)


LaSalle Street Lights

LaSalle Street Lights, Chicago, IL, June 26, 2015

The city at night needs neither sun nor clouds – it makes its own light.  These unlit street lights form a parade of silhouetted posts, marching to the golden grain face of the Board of Trade Building.  A little rain is the frosting on this golden cake!


A Band of Light

A Band of Light
A Band of Light, East Beckwith Mountain, Crested Butte, CO, September 30, 2015

Our timing was perfect – the yellowest aspens I had ever seen! And the clouds were a photographer’s best friend, letting a little sliver of sun shine through.  The beavers were still sleeping and missed this sight.


Aspen Stepping Stones
Aspen Stepping Stones, Maroon Bells, Snowmass, CO, October 1, 2015

I love capturing mountains and fall color reflected in water.  This string of stones was a welcoming path into nature’s Fall Fantasy Land!


Mossy Little River

Mossy Little River
Mossy Little River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, October 27, 2015

Moss means no direct sunlight. But the golden reflected sunlight bouncing from a canyon wall signaled me to trek down the side of this river bank to capture the glow seen by these mossy rocks.


Little River Light

Little River Sunrise
Little River Light, Great Smoky Mountains NP, October 30, 2015

“It’s all about the light!” AND the shapes AND the colors AND the perspective AND the time of year AND getting out of bed AND … the eyes and persistence to see what you might have driven past!


Beaver Marsh Dawn

Dawn at Beaver Marsh
Beaver Marsh Dawn, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH,

This calm scene was truly worth getting up early for!  Hints of color of the sunrise to come, a lone twiggy tree stretching across the beaver pond to meet the lily pads, the fog creeping in the horizon – all combine here to calm my frenzied urge to get the shot!


Saturday Night Pacific

Saturday Night Pacific, Cape Perpetua, Yachats, OR

On this Oregon Coast trip, 55 MPH winds and rain kept me in my car photographing seagulls who had hunkered down in the grass. But if you wait long enough, the day will come when the seagulls fly, the light is perfect, and all the scenes are above average.


Wabash Avenue Magic

Wabash Avenue Magic, Wabash Avenue Bridge, Chicago, IL, September 13, 2018

I once visited Disneyland and was awed by the Parade of Lights – magical floats covered in thousands of tiny lights.  Now, seeing the City at Night, I light up with an even bigger Magical Feeling than that 27-year-old father felt back then.

Under the Bridge R&B

Under the Bridge R&B, State Street Bridge, Chicago, IL October 30, 2013

I played with Red and Blue for this image.  The bridge and I were born in 1949, and we’ll be 70 years old in 2019.  Google does not know how many rivets it holds, nor do we know how many breaths are left for each of us to enjoy it.   Both matter – for now!


I will include the video a later post.

Timelessness

“What did you do as a child that created timelessness, that made you forget time? There lies the myth to live by.”

Joseph Campbell

As a child, I had a feeling of timelessness when I was engulfed in Nature.

Watching a sunrise on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, its sandy stretch of crushed seashells and pebbles tickled by an ever-lapping lick of the lake water on the land.

green tree photo

Exploring a corner sandlot, undeveloped, unconstrained by concrete and buildings, with tall trees and half-exposed roots stretched around and over me.

cornstalk-kimmy-williams-549051-unsplash

Nature was there even riding in the car with my father to the country to get fresh sweet corn, the window open and the air streaming over my upturned little face, watching the vastness of the cloud-spattered blue sky streaking by.

To me, this was the timelessness that Campbell speaks of—the type that was infinite and that exposed the beauty and secret corners of nature.

Another kind of timelessness is a blanking out of time—a numbness to time. It was solving problems, and being paid to do so. A job. Perhaps not always as much fun as being out in nature, but a nice way to pass the time and get paid for it. Raise a family from it. Take my own kids on a vacation in nature.

Working in information technology, I was the magician, taming the machine to do what the client needed, to save that user profile or lookup an insurance claim payment.

Now, I am retired from corporate life, no longer bound to solve those problems. I seek more and more of the first kind of timelessness. And I will create more photographs along the way that remind me of those timeless times.

Note: Corn and tree root Images on this post are courtesy of Pexel.com

Change the Way You Look at Things

Milky Way Arch (a composite by Harry H. Hitzeman Jr., created from free images found on Unsplash.com

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”


Michael Michalko

In my last post, I ruminated on how my history of shooting photographs in which I was limited by striving to eliminate “hand of man” may have hampered my creativity.  I was going to go back over my images and see what I could find that did have hand of man that I would be excited to show you. These images are primarily photographs of cityscapes, and can be seen in my flickr album of Chicago.  I have also enjoyed photographing architectural interiors, such as the Milwaukee Art Museum ( The Calatrava ), the Chicago Cultural Center, and a few churches, namely the Church of the Transfiguration, St.Peter and Paul Church in Naperville, IL, and St. Volodymyr and Olha Church in Chicago, IL.

Another area of creativity, involving photography and some proficiency in using editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, is the creation of composites.  I had been noticing online several photos of the Milky Way, with some artificially lit geological formations in the earth portion of the photo. I wanted to see bigger arches, more well-lit, and a centering of the Milky Way through the arch.  I realized this could be achieved by a composite of a Milky Way photo and an arch photo. The “Milky Way Arch” was born!

My thanks go to the photographers Tom Gainor and David Becker for donating their images to unsplash.com.

And deep thanks to my imagination for helping me change the way I look at things! 🙂

Why Do We Like an Image?

Gone the Sun

Gone the Sun – Ontonagon, Michigan

Since the beginning …

Since the beginning of my “pro” digital photography life (back in 2009) ,  I wanted to get some outside confirmation that my photography was any good.  So I chose to compete in the local camera club competitions.

The camera club only allowed nature photographs.  The club defined a nature photograph as a photograph of nature that did not have evidence of hand of man, as defined below. So, I have looked mostly to create nature images, eliminating such hand of man images from my own artistic consideration.

“Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict observations from all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well informed person will be able to identify the subject material and to certify as to its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality. Human elements shall not be present, except on the rare occasion where those human elements enhance the nature story. The presence of scientific bands on wild animals is acceptable. Photographs of artificially produced hybrid plants or animals, mounted specimens, or obviously set arrangements, are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation, manual or digital, that alters the truth of the photographic statement.”

— The Hand of Man as defined by the Photographic Society of America

Until now!

What changed my mind? In the voting for my top photographs of 2017, the image above was in the top four, and, there were two people (that I know of) who liked this image the best.  Is there a problem?  Yes, the fire on the beach is definitely hand of man!

I have essentially been keeping most of my hand of man images unpublished.

So now, I am going to go through my hard drive inventory of nature type images that contain hand of man, and I will share that collection with you.

Thank you for you support over the years, and for the voting for a campfire that has given me a new thought.

I hope you will enjoy whatever comes next!   🙂