Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From the Window Seat...revisited


Heaven help you if you're sitting next to me on an airplane. As far as I'm concerned, there are few photo ops better than sitting in a padded chair at 35,000 feet, goin' 500 mph. I'll be glued to the window - standing, sitting, kneeling, leaning, standing again, crouching, like a 4-year-old with too much sugar. I'm certain the people around me think I'm nuts, yet they never seem to ask me what I'm doing. They're usually corporate types with more important things to do like spreadsheets, databases, and reports.

If they ever did ask me something, it would probably be, “Did you run with scissors as a child?” (Yes I did, thank you very much. Still do. Now, would you like to pull my finger?)


This image appears exactly the way I saw it. No photoshop manipulation. A magnificent sunrise flight from Michigan to Texas.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Fork in the Road

Praying copy

As I approach my 100th blog post (this is #98), I find myself at a crossroads. I would have never dreamed back in October that I would have posted nearly 100 times in six short months. Who knew? I sure didn't. I'd been thinking about it for months, but it took my good friend, Ron, to give me a shove. That's what friends are for sometimes. This photo journal idea has been a fun adventure. I've met many people through blog "comments" that I now consider friends.

My original motivation to blog was to keep me thinking, doing, & creating. If there is one thing I've been good at over the years, it has been giving myself assignments to keep the momentum going. I've always felt that is important for me. As a commercial photographer, I'm usually shooting stuff my clients want and that can be unfulfilling.

I've discovered during this journey that some of the things I shoot for myself end up being very personal and not necessarily for public consumption. Therefore, many of the things I shoot never make it to the blog...yet they tend to be the shots that are the most meaningful to me. I'm making an exception with the photo above. I'm not sure why. I guess I just feel like it today. I'm posting it before I change my mind.

I had to fight back tears after I captured this early today. I knew this fellow was in "desperation mode". I could see it clearly written on his face. He needed help...and he needed it right now. He sat down to pray with a clergyman. He had tears in his eyes. They joined hands. I chose not to shoot their faces. It wasn't necessary and they needed their privacy and anonymity. The simplicity of their hands tells enough of the story. From a distance, I clicked one frame and moved away...and I tried to choke down the lump in my throat.

There is an age-old question that photojournalists have to rationalize:  Is their work somehow benefited by the despair of others? The flip side of that question is: Can society be benefited by exposing the human condition to the light of day? I've never really considered myself a photojournalist -- at least not a good one. And if I put myself in the role of a photojournalist at times, I struggle mightily with those questions.

Maybe what I saw today put me in a reflective mood. One hundred posts seems like a good time to examine, adjust, re-jigger, or maybe just look back. I'm not sure where I go from here. Maybe it's time for a new and different self-assignment...maybe not. Time will tell. In any case, thanks to YOU for participating.

I appreciate it more than you know.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Crop Duster


This was the view from my back porch a couple weekends ago. We live on the edge of a farm field and this dude was doing his thing. He was amazing to watch...a very skilled pilot. I understand that he is a Vietnam vet.

The image above is NOT enlarged. I was using a 50mm lens, which sees about the same magnification as your eyes. In other words, I thought I might be able to grab on and go wing-walking with this guy. He's actually so close on this pass that I could not get the whole plane in my viewfinder! It was a hoot!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From the Window Seat


(Blogger note - This text was added after the original post. Thanks, Jay.)

These "amber waves of grain" are in a typical Michigan farm field. This wheat field is very near my home in the flatlands of central Michigan. I shot this from a commercial airplane on final approach to a local airfield. The beauty of this land goes mostly unnoticed. Thankfully, I had an aerial perspective that revealed its true beauty.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Waiting for the Long Ball

Long Ball

When I was 10-years-old, there was nothin' better than taking my glove to the ballpark. Never caught a thing with it, but a kid's gotta have a dream. I'm glad to see kids are still dreaming the dream.

Sunday, April 19, 2009



Silas:  "Dan, why do you have that big smile on your face?

Dan:  "Because every time I look at you, Silas, you have a big smile on YOUR face.  Your smile makes me smile!

Silas:  "We have a lot to smile about, don't we, Dan?"

Dan:  "Amen, Silas."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

We Love U, too


The following words are copied from a hand-written note sent to us by this little fellow:

Miss Kay and Uncle Dan,

Thank you for the cross. I wish you were here because I love you so so so much.


(name withheld)

I'm booking my flight tomorrow. Really.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Blessing and Curse


As a photographer, having a quirky sense of vision has played in my favor over the years.  I tend to see things a bit differently than other people. That's not good or bad, just different.

As a kid, my quirky sense of vision was a curse at times. The photo above looks like a face to me - and it's an evil face.  I would have nightmares if I had seen this as a kid.

I know. I'm weird. Over the years I've learned to embrace my weirdness.  It is what it is...(-:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Delicate Beauty


Spring has sprung in Michigan. I love watching things come back to life this time of year. This photo reveals a world within our world. This is the inside of a tulip explosion of color and life.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter


The photos in these last two posts are actual stained glass windows. This one is probably twenty-five feet tall. My photo does not do it justice. This window is on the east wall of the church. When the sun rises, the stained glass in this window lights up and comes alive -- it is really quite a magnificent depiction of the resurrection.

I shot this from a "scissor lift" to bring me up to the level of the center of the window. In fact, I shot all 35 of the stained glass windows in our Church this day to illustrate a book that is currently being written. The book tells the story of each of the windows.  Each window gives a visual depiction of something in the New Testament. The windows are placed in chronological order. It's really quite a special place.

Happy Easter, my friends.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good Friday

Good Friday

May Peace be with you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chicago's Marina City


I have always thought these towers were amazing. The Marina City apartment complex was designed in 1959 and was completed in 1964. When finished, the two towers were both the tallest residential buildings and the tallest reinforced concrete structures in the world. The complex was billed as a "city within a city", featuring numerous on-site facilities including a theatre, gym, swimming pool, ice rink, bowling alley, several stores and restaurants, and of course, a marina on the Chicago River. Notice that the bottom 19 floors form an exposed spiral parking ramp.

Marina City apartments are unique in containing almost no interior right angles. Every single living room and bedroom in Marina City has a balcony overlooking one of the most magnificent cities in North America (in my humble opinion).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Boston Ladder 15


I have always had a soft spot in my heart for firefighters. These are two of Boston's finest. Firefighters put their lives on the line for us and they earn peanuts.

It just occurred to me that I snapped this photo on Patriot's Day 2008. How cool is that?

This is my spin on what is commonly known as HDR (High Dynamic Range). I used a method of my own creation. No special super-de-duper HDR software or plug-ins, just Photoshop and patience.

Thursday, April 2, 2009