Custom, Modern Lake House – Exteriors (Lake Bloomington, IL)

It’s always a great honor and compliment when a former commercial photography client commissions additional work. So, I was thrilled to shoot again on behalf of architect and structural engineer Steve Kibler, of Kibler AE, LLC. This time, his design is situated further away from Bloomington Normal area, on the shore of Lake Bloomington in Hudson, IL.

Sitting on a wedge shaped lot, the street view is compact, modest, and private (above), but it’s replete with large windows on the lake side, where the lot opens up with a balcony and patio offering beautiful views of the water – perfect for entertaining.

The lower level (walk-out basement) sports a garage-like door for easy access to the water with SUP boards and other water toys (below).

The home’s many horizontal and vertical lines made creating technically clean images a challenge, as did rapidly changing light on a mostly cloudy day. The lake side also has a relatively steep grade down to the dock, the only place from which I could shoot the back of the house due to the curve of the shore and property lines. So, I was looking “up” at the house rather than directly at it (see below). A lift would have leveled the view, but we kept things simple. And, despite the challenges, the results are still lovely – but how could they not be, with such a gorgeous design?

It was a pleasure to make images there while the sun sank on a beautiful summer evening. Thank you for the opportunity, Steve!

And thank you to the owners, as well, for accommodating the shoot and sharing views of their beautiful weekend nest. – H

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Chicago Skyline at Sunset – River Cruise (Architectural Photography)

Last week, I checked off a bucket list item: taking a sunset architectural boat cruise through downtown Chicago. We launched as the sun began to set, just after a rain shower. The boat deck and chairs were wet, so most people were hiding in the cabin below. As a result, I got to claim prime real estate: against the rail, in the very back row of chairs. This meant no one was standing in front of me or next to me the entire time! Perfect!

As the rain cleared, the clouds began to reflect reds and oranges, and the lights started twinkling all over the city. It was pretty magical.

I was not shooting with a tripod, so you may notice some blur and noise due to me increasingly cranking the ISO as the light diminished. So while these aren’t gallery worthy, I hope you still enjoy them! I highly recommend the river cruise experience if you have the opportunity. – H

Below is “Goose Island,” which may ring a bell with beer drinkers:

The building on the right below was built in between the river and existing train tracks, and the lot is only 80 feet deep. They engineered a solution…

The “You Are Here” building (see the bright light in the middle of the river graphic):

The tall building mid-right, below, was the tallest building in Chicago when it was built…for two weeks.

The railroad draw-bridge below no longer functions and is kept in a raised position. However, it is historically protected and lowered annually for inspection. To right, when you are on a boat passing the bridge, you can still see a tunnel that goes under all of the existing buildings out to Lake Michigan, where the tracks used to run.

Chicago is a stunning, diverse, fun, living history museum. I hope you get the chance to enjoy it as much as I do! – H

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Extended Family Portrait Session at Constitution Trail’s Camelback Bridge (Normal Family Photographer)

We recently had the honor of creating portraits for our brother-in-law’s extended family. Shooting a large group in the summer can be challenging (heat, bright sun, etc.), but the newly created public patio under the Camelback Bridge in Normal was perfect. We had tree cover, filtered natural light, shade, shelter, and foliage. Nathan assisted me (Holly) with wrangling children and everyone was pleased with the results. Catch a glimpse of some favorites below. And remember, the holiday portrait season is coming soon (eek)! Don’t forget to schedule your session soon…whether with me, or another local photographer.

Thank you to this beautiful and loving family for the opportunity. Love you all! – H

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Shooting with Medium Format Camera / Film inside US National Parks (Landscape Photography)

Since we drove on on our long summer trip, I was able to pack a lot of camera gear. I shot intermittently with my iPhone 7s, my DSLR (Nikon D700), and my medium-format film camera, a Rolleicord (see below). My mom found the Rollei at a garage sale years ago for about $5! I keep it in an antique leather case that I bought at a camera store in Switzerland. The camera still makes gorgeous images with striking texture, depth, resolution, and wide dynamic range. I use Richard Photo Lab to develop and scan my film, and buy 120 film like this.

I believe that shooting with film periodically is important if you want to really understand photography and hone your skills and technique. If you are a film skeptic, or are afraid to shoot with film, then consider the side-by-side comparisons below. I’d love to hear your opinion! Comment below this post to let me know which format you prefer! In each of the comparisons below, you will see the digital version on the left, and the film version on the right.

Left: Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8. Right: Rolleicord, Kodak 120 film, ISO 400

Notice the differences in tonal range, detail, difference between areas of highlight and shadow, white balance, sharpness, and texture. (In some of the film images, you can see some streaks that are likely the result of the camera being somewhat damaged internally and scratching the film as I wind it.)

Left: Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8. Right: Rolleicord, Kodak 120 film, ISO 400

 

Left: Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8. Right: Rolleicord, Kodak 120 film, ISO 400

Below, the image on the left was shot with iPhone 7s in “Portrait mode,” which is the same thing as shooting with a shallow depth of field on a DSLR or with film (in other words, with a wide aperture). In my opinion, this particular comparison clearly demonstrates the continued superiority of film. But what do you think?

Left: iPhone 7s in Portrait mode. Right: Rolleicord, Kodak 120 film, ISO 400

 

Left: Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8. Right: Rolleicord, Kodak 120 film, ISO 400

There’s something special about shooting with medium format inside the national parks, where Ansel Adams once created film images so iconic, that they almost singlehandedly caused the nation to fall in love with, and decide to forever protect, its parks.

Scroll below to view the film images that are partially shown in the comparisons above, along with a few others. At the end, you’ll see a couple from four years ago taken at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. These were on the first roll I shot on this summer’s road trip…when I mailed in the film, I’d totally forgotten what was on the beginning of the roll! That’s one of the beauties of film…it basically lasts forever if stored properly.

Which is your favorite?

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Grand Teton National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Grand Teton National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Jackson Hole Ski Resort, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Grand Teton National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Grand Teton National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Grand Teton National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Grand Teton National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Glacier National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Grand Teton National Park, 2017

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Arches National Park, 2013

 

Rolleicord, 120 film/400 ISO; Arches National Park, 2013

Find Your Park! – H

Note: I always size my blog images for the web; they aren’t print quality. If you’d ever like a Print of any of any of my images, just contact me and I’d be happy to help. High resolution digital images are also available for licensure.

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Grand Tetons National Park + Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Landscape Photography)

The second half of our Epic Road Trip in July was spent exploring the Grand Tetons National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, and Jackson Hole Ski Resort. We drove into the Hole over Teton Pass from the Idaho side at about 11:30pm, after spending the day winding down scenic roads from Glacier National Park via Helena and Bozeman. As we drove over the pass, we entered a crazy thunderstorm, with steam rising from the ground obscuring visibility, and mudslides throwing debris over half of the road. It was an intense welcome to an intense region known for it’s unpredictable weather. While Jackson (the city) is touristy and busy, we enjoyed having access to good food and drinks, and gawked at 360 degree vistas on the Jackson Hole Tram. And, Nathan decided to add Corbet’s Couloir to his ski-bucket-list. It was a gorgeous week. All the tourists that stay in Jackson and drive right by the Grand Tetons as they head to Yellowstone miss out on a truly amazing place. Don’t make that mistake if you ever go to this region! – H

Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

View of the Grand Teton from Inspiration Point, West Side of Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Hike to Inspiration Point, West Side of Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Hike to Hidden Falls, West Side of Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, near main park entrance,(Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

View from Jackson Lake Lodge deck, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming,(Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

View from Jackson Lake Lodge deck, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming,(Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

View into Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Near Two Oceans Lake, Grand Teton National Park (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Wildflowers along remote dirt-road drive to Two Oceans Lake, Grand Teton National Park (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Remote dirt-road drive to Two Oceans Lake, Grand Teton National Park (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Turnout on north side of Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

View from Jackson Lake Lodge deck, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming,(Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Here are a few more images from this area that I posted on Instagram.

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Glacier National Park, Montana and Waterton Park, Alberta, CANADA (Landscape Photography)

Getting to Glacier required 4 days of driving, via Madison, Minneapolis, Fargo, Bismarck, Medora, Glasgow, and Coram. We stayed in a cozy 1930s little cabin in Coram, near Glacier Distillery, West Glacier, and Whitefish (which we adored so much we started looking at real estate on Zillow). I’ve wanted to make the trek to Glacier for a long, long time. And it most certainly didn’t disappoint! (You may also view other images from this majestic place in my previous post that includes pictures of my family in all three parks.)

People: the glaciers inside this national park will be GONE by 2025.

GONE.

While the parkland will still be magnificent and snowy without real “Glaciers,” I still find it heartbreaking that this inevitability exists. They are melting at an alarming rate in Glacier, specifically, for some reason. (When we were there, in early July, it was 95+ degrees! In Northern Montana!)

If you have a chance to visit this park…please go. It will just blow you away, and more likely than not, make you care more than you already do about taking good care of this beautiful world in which we live.

Glacier National Park, near Sprague Creek, west entrance (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Glacier National Park, near Weeping Wall, Going to the Sun Road (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Glacier National Park, near Weeping Wall, Going to the Sun Road (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Glacier National Park, near Many Glacier Lodge, Many Glacier entrance (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

We crossed the US border into Canada for one night to experience the other half of the world’s first International Peace Park, in Waterton Park, Alberta. As shown on my Instagram account in additional images (see embedded, below), it was a magical place filled with wildlife, stunning lake views, and sunbathing boat tour guides. 🙂

Waterton Lake, inside Waterton Park, Alberta, Canada; World’s 1st International Peace Park, north of Glacier National Park (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

US Port of Entry on Waterton Lake, inside the Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

 

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park (Medora, North Dakota)

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is home to wild horses and free range bison; it’s a beautiful place (and the least visited National Park)! On our long road trip this summer, we approached the park from Medora, which is a charming little town in western North Dakota. If you have the opportunity, it’s worth a visit! You may also see some images from Fargo and Bismarck, which were surprisingly cool, on my Instagram account. – H

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, 7/2/17 (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, 7/2/17 (Nikon D700, 24-70mm/f2.8)

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