Last summer while attending Skip’s Summer School, I ventured out onto the strip to get some photos of the lights of Las Vegas.  I was having fun with my zoom lens on my camera.

My choice of exposure was such that I had 1 second to move the zoom from one end of its range to the other. If you look closely, you can tell that it only took a portion of that time to rack the zoom, as some of the buildings are very much in focus and still.

Next time you are out, try some not so normal techniques and see what you get.


Here is an image of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, taken obviously at night.

Next time you are visiting a city, head out at after the sun goes down and try your hand at capturing some very dynamic images.  I like this one best after converting it to black and white.

Don’t forget your tripod.



We were awakened several times during the night to the sound of rain hitting the hatches on the boat.  This kept up for a large portion of the day.  But, it is supposed to be a bit better tomorrow as we sail back into US waters.

Our new acquaintance, David, his wife and a guest took off into the rain for places unknown. He mentioned the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, so they will be putting some miles under the keel.  Maybe we’ll get to chat with them again someday.  I hope so.

The architecture around Victoria is amazing. There are several buildings built a little over 100 years ago that have great lines.  The Empress hotel is covered in vines that are probably about as old as the building.  At night several buildings in the area are lit with some beautiful lights.

Because of the rain, we limited ourselves to a couple quick tours of The Empress Hotel and the Legislative building. Other than that, we sipped coffee and tea, chatted , played cards and pretended it was like a rainy day like anywhere else. Only here, we were on our home away from home.

2009-12-10This shot was captured during an earlier trip to Chicago.  In a big city there are many great studies of architecture and this particular image shows the repeating patterns of a high rise office building.

Even though the pattern is very repetitive in nature, I like the contrast between the sunny and shady side of the building.

Watch your exposure on something like this, because the light meter in the camera can be fooled if it pays too much attention to either the light side or dark side of the frame being captured.

Check the histogram of the image to make sure you haven’t “blown out” the hightlights or shadows.

This photo was taken underground in the Chicago subway system. Being from a smaller town out west, sites like this don’t show up in my portfolio very often. I liked the symmetry and the converging lines which gives the image depth.












Capitol RotundaA few years ago my wife and I were visiting Austin, the state capitol of Texas. It is always fun to go into capitol buildings because it seems like no expense has been saved in their design and construction.This image was taken by standing directly in the middle of the rotunda and pointing the camera skyward. I was looking for a very symmetrical pattern and I was not disappointed.Every state has a capitol building. Next time you are near one, stop by and try some different angles shooting the rotunda. Try some centered like my example, other standing off to the side for a more asymmetrical shot.Canon 20D, Canon 24-70 f2.8 L at 24mm, 1/80 at f4.5, ISO 400

Architecture PhotographyArchitecture photography is fun for some, very boring for others. This can be the case from both the photographer’s and viewer’s perspective.  I happen to like it and I always have my eyes open for interesting subjects. I especially like light fixtures that hang on a wall. When the sun is shining it can make for some great shadows that add to the photograph.

Don’t feel like you have to take a picture of the entire structure. Zoom in and get what interests you the most. Try taking some at different angles to add some diagonal lines to your composition.

Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS at 90mm, 1/800 at f8, ISO 100

Spiral StairsMy wife and I were shopping in a small mall in Sandpoint, Idaho when I spotted these stairs.  Actually, they were right under my feet.  I had my camera with me so I told her that “I would be just a minute.”  I did try to keep it short, but it was probably over a minute.  🙂

I like the pattern on the steps along with the pattern of the steps.  Your eye is drawn down the stairs to a point that is about 1/3 from the top and 1/3 from the right side which helps with the composition.

I converted this image to black and white in Photoshop, then added a slight blue tint to make the metal seem cold for added effect.

Canon 10D, Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS at 30mm, 1/8 at f8, ISO 400

Orcas MarketOn the same trip to the San Juan Islands I wrote about a couple of days ago, about a stones throw away from the Orcas Hotel is the Orcas Market. I spied the cool lights on the market’s sign and thought it would make an interesting photograph. I like the curves of the light poles taking your eyes back down to the sign. I also like the vibrant colors of the sign and the sky.

If I would have had more time on that particular day, it would have been fun to shoot this photograph at dusk, when the sky still had a lot of color to it, but the sign was being illuminated by the lights. I see it in my head. We recently visited this island again and this sign is no longer.

Take the time to get the shot that is in your head. You may never have the opportunity to do it again.

Olympus E-10, 27mm, 1/320 @ f8, ISO 80

Orcas HotelOn the same trip that I wrote about in the last update we visited a different part of the island.  Actually, this place is hard to miss, because it is very close to the ferry dock which everyone coming to the island by car uses.

There was a great blue sky out that day which gave some nice color to the photo.  Exposure was watched very closely as the bright white fence was fooling the light meter just a bit.

I used the picket fence as the lead-in line to the house. 

If you are ever on Orcas Island, look for this nice looking hotel and make you own photograph of it.

Olympus E-10, 9mm, 1/160 at f8, ISO 80