Chicago Food and Travel Photographer

Morton Aboretum

Every year I find myself returning to Morton Aboretum inevitably in the fall. There aren't a lot of areas to hike around Chicago and in the fall I find it nice to spend a few hours in nature walking and talking with a good friend. It always helps if they are a photographer too. This time I had the pleasure of spending time with one of my budding photographer friends Alex.

Alex and I spent almost 3 hours walking, talking and trying to capture some morning light in the Aboretum. It was perfect timing because the trees were already shedding their leaves and many  were covered with red and orange leaves.

We got there around 7 am so we had over an hour with nice soft light. It was a relaxing and fun time out with a great old friend. I look forward to my next adventure with him and my camera. 

Surprise Engagement!

Surprise engagement shoots are a lot of fun because of the energy and excitement of the soon to be engaged couple. I had the pleasure of shooting the engagement of Vince and Aarti in the fall. 

The setting was classic; Millennium Park. Their closest friends were invited and the weather couldn't have been better. Since it was a public venue, I was able to blend into the surroundings as if I was just another photographer in the park.

As the moment approached I could tell Vince was excited and a little nervous. He had a box on a bench waiting for her with a card and a fake ring box. She was sent on a scavenger hunt all day so she was looking for the next clue when she came upon the box. 

Vince was hiding around the corner and after she had a chance to read everything he came out and got down on one knee. It was a magical moment and one I was glad to capture for them. Of course she said yes and is now soon to be a Mrs. 

If you or your friends are getting engaged and would like to capture the moment, give me a call and let's talk through the details. I'd love to help make your day that much more magical.

Street Photography with an 85mm Lens

For a long time I shot with zoom lenses. The good ones are versatile, easy to shoot with, you can zoom without moving and numerous other reasons. But more recently I've switched to all prime lenses and I'm loving it. 

A prime lens is a fixed length lens. It does not zoom at all unlike many other types of lenses (including your iPhone). The advantage of prime lenses is that they are lighter, faster (lower f-stop) and are sharper than zoom lenses. The other factor I love about only owning zoom lenses is that they force me to be more creative. 

On this particular shoot I decided to leave the house with nothing but an 85mm Zeiss Batis 1.8 to shoot street photography. 85mm is traditionally a portrait lens so this was a challenge. What I found by bringing only one prime lens with me was that my brain shifted and I started thinking about the types of shots I could create. 

The limitations of the lens actually helped me to think more creatively instead of zooming out and shooting a shot wide or using my zoom to get in close. It actually limited what I could do therefore made me think harder on the types of shots I could achieve and how to execute those shots. 

I find that since I've moved to all prime lenses I'm having more fun shooting and my abilities are growing by leaps and bounds. I also am in love with the Zeiss lenses I've bought. I never really believed that Zeiss had a look until I started shooting with them. I hate to say it but now I'm a believer.

Brookfield Zoo

I've lived in Chicago for a very long time and for some reason I've never been over to Brookfield Zoo. It may have been because Lincoln Park Zoo is free and it has always given me my zoo fix or it may have been that I didn't have kids and didn't need something to keep them engaged 24/7. Either way, over the summer I spent some time at Brookfield Zoo and was very impressed with the attractions and the animals they have.


The longest lens currently in my bag is a manual focus 135mm f2.0 lens. It's great for portraits but it was a little short for zoo animals. Luckily I have enough resolution on my camera to crop in without loosing too much detail. I would love to buy a 300mm lens to shoot animals and sports but I don't shoot those subjects too often right now. One day I will definitely take the plunge. In the meantime enjoy the shots from the zoo. 

Art Wolfe: "Photographs from the Edge" | Talks at Google

Art Wolfe is a great teacher and a world class photographer. It's great to hear him talk about his adventures during his career and his perspective on the world. Most of us are afraid to crank the ISO up but Art shoots at ISO 5000 all the time. Makes me rethink how crazy I get with my settings.