When a Short Trip Gets Extended

Fall on a Mountain

Last week, I mentioned visiting Kentucky and touring Bourbon Distilleries. Well, our trip didn’t end there. After visiting Wild Turkey on Saturday, our car started making a clunking sound when the steering wheel was turned. We planned on visiting Natural Bridge State Park, but with our car in this state, we decided we would have to skip it. Luckily, our friends drove us around Lexington on Sunday when the Kia Dealer was closed. First thing Monday, we headed to Car City Kia. We waited for awhile, when finally the service manager came out and told us that our car was not drive-able and they wouldn’t have the parts to fix it until Tuesday. We were supposed to go back to work on Tuesday, so this put a bit of a wrench in our plans. Luckily, she explained, this was related to a recall that we had repaired this summer, so through Kia’s trip interruption coverage, they would cover our rental car, our hotel, and food for the night. So, we got an extra day in Lexington on Kia’s dime, they fixed the car, and we were able to make it to Natural Bridge after all!

About this Photo:
The hike to the Natural Bridge involves climbing an elevation of 420 feet. This photo was taken about a quarter of the way up on the Balanced Rock Trail (which is the steepest trail in the park and a reminder that research is important before any photography adventure) looking back over where we had come from. Even though it was the beginning of November, fall colors seemed to be at their peak this past week in Kentucky.

Camera Gear
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 Kit Lens, handheld

Date Taken
October 31, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your visit to The Natural Bridge, visit Kentucky State Parks.

Taking a Photo a Day

Chipmunk #11

Once again, I am embarking on a Photo a Day Project this summer. I enjoy this because it forces me to look for interesting subjects in the every day. Also, I like to use this project to learn new techniques and editing styles. Back in 2011 I tried a Project 365 (where you take a photo a day for a year) and that was just too much for me. First off, it is very hard to start a project like this in the winter. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find all white landscapes very inspiring. Not to mention, I really don’t enjoy spending time outside when its below zero. If you’re looking to try something new and get some inspiration, I highly recommend trying a photo a day project, whether you have the dedication for a 365, that’s up to you.

About the Photo:
This guy comes by my house all the time but I’ve had a hard time capturing him. I know how fast he moves, so I knew I fast shutter speed was in order, so I used my 50mm lens because it is the fastest in my arsenal. Because Mr. Chippy was sitting in the shade, I upped the ISO to 800 and got a shutter speed of 1/500. The D3100 doesn’t have great noise performance so I had to do some noise reduction in Lightroom to smooth out the green.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 50.0 mm f/1.8

Date Taken:
June 8, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page.  To make sure you don’t miss any of my photos during the summer, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see what’s in my camera bag, check out my gear page!

Butterflies & Sculptures

Butterfly on Leaf

Every spring, butterflies abound at the Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids! I’ve always wanted to visit during Butterflies are Blooming! In the caterpillar room, you can see caterpillars crawling and forming their chrysalides. Then, walk into the tropical greenhouse where 50 different species of butterflies soar high and stop on the flowers for a quick drink. You could see Monarchs, Golden Birdwings, and Common Morpho who is tan on the outside and bright blue on the inside. In the gardens, the flowers weren’t yet blooming, but it was a good time to explore the sculptures without the heat and the crowds.

About the Photo:
Shooting butterflies is a great learning experience for photographers. If you want to learn to shoot in manual, small, fast moving subjects are a great way to learn! A zoom lens with fast shutter speeds and high ISO are needed to freeze the motion and capture the tiniest details. This was a single RAW exposure, with basic edits done in Lightroom. This was shot at ISO 3200, which with my entry-level DSLR is quite noisy, so I did a lot of noise reduction as well.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens handheld.

Date Taken:
March 28, 2016

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French Mountain Memories

Sun in the Mountains

When I was in High School I had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Europe for a month with a group of musicians with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. We traveled around France, Germany, and Belgium in a double-decker bus pulling a trailer that must have just screamed “American Tourists!” That trip was 10 years ago this summer and I think it sparked that travel bug in me. I can’t wait to get back to Europe!

This photo was taken at a park in the French Alps with a disposable camera. While this may not be the best photo I’ve ever taken, it proves that you don’t have the nicest camera to take good pictures. I believe that a good photographer in a beautiful location will give you a stunning picture.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!