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Chicago Food and Travel Photographer

I'm Going to Iceland!

As the years go on, my travel list seems to grow rather than shrink. I’m 37 and in the last few years I’ve realized that I really need to make it a point to get out and travel the world each year otherwise I won’t come close to seeing all the places I want to see in this life. The last few years I’ve focused on the United States Southwest and West Coast. I was in Yosemite, Zion National park and Moab Utah (Arches National Park & Canyonlands National Park). Below is my current destination map not including all the locations I want to go to that are too small for a full pin.

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My 2019 trip is set for Iceland. Myself and three friends are off on a 9 day adventure. We rented an amazing camper van that will sleep all four of us for the trip. In my normal fashion, I’ve over researched this trip and even bought a photography specific map. Below is the route we’ve agreed upon for the trip. I’m always excited to see the world and interact with new cultures. I’ve been around a lot of Western Europe and have loved every minute of it but this trip will definitely be different. We’ve timed the trip with the hopes of getting a glimpse of the northern lights. There is no guarantee that we will get to witness this amazing phenomenon but I sure hope we get lucky. I’m truly blessed that my wife has given me the green light to leave her home with our two boys and set off on this adventure. I’m still a few months away from this trip but I’m so excited to set off on this journey. If you’ve been to Iceland and have any suggestions of places I’ve missed. Please drop me a line and let me know what I should add to this route. Thanks for your support and cheers!

How to Support My Site

I love photography and giving back to the community. If you like this site and want to support it I would greatly appreciate using the links to purchase any of the products in my posts. I also sell a book "The Photographer's Guide to Capturing Chicago". If you want an easier way to replicate the shots in this post please consider purchasing my Lightroom and Snapseed presets using the link below. Don’t need the pre-sets? Consider buying me a cup of coffee using the donate button below. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my work!

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The Photographer's Guide to Capturing Chicago

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I've Come a Long Way

When I look as my journey as a photographer I occasionally reflect on my work from years ago and sometimes I’m thrilled with it and other times I see how far I’ve come. I think we are all on a journey of some sort in our life. I’m a big proponent of the constant improvement philosophy. I find myself trying new methods to shoot and edit my images. Many times I fail but the constant struggle for improvement is what helps us get better as people and in our craft. I recently listened to a podcast in which a scientist said that the struggle is what produces the most important and nutrient rich portion of the plants we eat. I feel that this is similar for us as humans as well. Although the struggle is not easy, it is important for us to evolve and grow. I think it is this perspective while not easy, that helps us make it through to the other side and grow.

The image below is one of my portfolio shots from Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre Italy. At the time I shot this and edited it I was at a certain stage of my progression as a photographer. But after nearly 5 years of growing and learning I was able to revisit this image and make what I consider to be a drastic improvement. This growth has me appreciating the daily struggle to learn and grow throughout the years.

How to Support My Site

I love photography and giving back to the community. If you like this site and want to support it I would greatly appreciate using the links to purchase any of the products in my posts. I also sell a book "The Photographer's Guide to Capturing Chicago". If you want an easier way to replicate the shots in this post please consider purchasing my Lightroom and Snapseed presets using the link below. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my work!

Lightroom Presets

Snapseed Looks

The Photographer's Guide to Capturing Chicago

Moab Utah

I recently took a trip to Moab Utah with the Out of Chicago crew. They put on their second annual travel workshop and Moab Utah was on my long list of bucket list travel locations. The drive from Salt Lake was long but extremely scenic. Leaving Salt Lake and heading into the mountains of Utah reminds me of how much I miss the mountainous terrain.

When I left Chicago it was 70 degrees and sunny. As I headed to Utah the forecast was for rain all week. Not good. The day I arrived was perfect desert weather. Dry, clear and perfect. I had a night shoot scheduled for my first night in Moab. This was lining up to be a perfect night for star shooting.

For those of you who don’t know Moab is home to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Both parks are just minutes from downtown Moab. As I bundled up for my night out the weather looked like it would be perfect. Clear skies, cold and no light pollution. Moab is out in the middle of nowhere, the skies are pitch black but apparently there are darker areas of the country. I really can’t imagine darker skies that what I experienced in Moab.

As we got out of the car our guide told us to look up. “See that?” he asked as we all looked up. “That’s the Milky Way. Give it a few more minutes and your eyes will adjust and you’ll see it as clear as day”. He wasn’t wrong. I don’t remember ever seeing the Milky Way in my life but it was soon as clear as day.

As we walked through the arches I have only seen stars like that in Monument Valley. But in Monument Valley I didn’t get to see the Milky Way. Being out there was like sitting in a planetarium. So vast, and so many stars. It really gives you some perspective of how small we are in this world and how incredible this world is.

I left that night with some incredible shots of the Milky Way and left even more in love with the beauty of the southwest.

How to Support My Site

I love photography and giving back to the community. If you like this site and want to support it I would greatly appreciate using the links to purchase any of the products in my posts. I also sell a book "The Photographer's Guide to Capturing Chicago". If you want an easier way to replicate the shots in this post please consider purchasing my Lightroom presets using the link below. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my work!

Lightroom Presets

The Photographer's Guide to Capturing Chicago

Arizona Adventures

I grew up mostly on the east coast and southeastern portion of the US. While growing up I saw some of the landscapes that the eastern seaboard had to offer but my travels were relegated to the coast I grew up on. I've recently started to travel out west. Particularly to the southwestern portion of our country.  In the past 12 months I've been to Sedona, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park. I've quickly realized that I'm falling in love with this portion of the country for a lot of different reasons.

Since my childhood I haven't been much of that outdoor adventurer. When I was a kid I used to play outside and would camp with the Boyscouts but much of that left me as I grew up. I now find myself attracted to the natural beauty of the outdoors, especially America's amazing national parks. 

I've always had an affinity for the national park system but it wasn't until I visited Arizona last year that the desire kicked up a notch. I was so blown away with Monument Valley because of how far it was from everything else, the beauty and the unforgettable stars that I was able to see. It had a feeling of another planet and it rekindled the adventurous feelings I had as a boy. 

Capturing images in these types of locations is an amazing experience. The reason I was drawn to the camera was to capture images that I wanted to hang in my house and visiting these locations inspires me to do just that. Even though I sell my work, the guiding principle of all my images is if I would hang it in my house. If I've accomplished that goal then all the others don't really matter. 

Since my travels to Arizona and Utah my thirst for the southwest and the national parks has grown dramatically. I'm currently working on the edits from my Zion National Park trip and you will see them when they are ready for public consumption. If you get a chance I can't recommend taking some time to wander the state of Arizona and Utah for their natural beauty and the relaxation. And by the way the stargazing isn't bad either.