Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Fountain at the Bellagio

I could stake out this fountain every time I come to Las Vegas. Despite the cold temps, I still did a little walking around this part of the strip. If you haven't seen this, you really need to add it to your bucket list. It's amazing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Neon Museum of Las Vegas #wpbt

Heading back to Vegas sure fires up the creative juices! Today we visited the Neon Museum of Las Vegas and The Pinball Hall of Fame. Between the two, I took 200 photos. Yikes! That's gonna be a lot of post processing. I found this one and didn't think it need much for post processing, so here it is. Lot's more to come!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The story of 3 bags and a broken clock

Here they are, 3 bags. My suitcase, camera bag and the bag I'll take to work with a change of clothes.

I'm updating all my blogs with this post because a trip to Las Vegas is when all 3 cross paths. I have poker, photography and fun all planned! The only thing missing will be my bride at my side. This will be my first trip to Vegas without her. Some parts won't be the same without her.

Have fun in Minnesota! While it's not warm this time of year, Vegas is also not 3 degrees. I won't be jealous. Promise!

Many updates to come! Laters!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Harvest Pumpkins

It's almost Halloween...these will soon be carved and lit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hello Fall

We took the kids to the pumpkin patch today. Happy fun times. You've got to enjoy these days while you can. I've heard the teenagers aren't quite as excited to go as my girls were today.

The personal blog will probably get the lion's share of overly cute kid pictures. I'll try to share some of the more fun happy fall pictures here.

Here's one I spotted in this huge sandbox filled with corn. Getting you in the mood for fall.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fill the Frame: no peoples

My favorite shot of the summer.

When you hear the phrase, "Fill the Frame," I think this is what they mean. Thank Mr. Owl. You made me love photography again :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Photos with peoples and raptors

The last shot, I did waffle back and forth about the blown out light, I do tend to agree with Astin about it being a little distracting. I like the capture from the perspective I think I got the bird and the girl looking like I hope I can get my people shots to look, just a bit blown out on the light in the background, although I don't think it makes it a horrible shot, just not, um, perfect.

This shot was at the same event, this time, no blown out spot, just a capture of a trainer with her bird. Again, it contains a people, and I liked how I captured them. I think in the future, all of my people shots will need to be with people holding birds of pray.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Using Light As a Background

I've really struggled photographing humans. Probably one of the biggest reasons I've never really pursued doing portraits in the past. Sure, I've succeed and taken some nice shots, but call it an irrational fear, but people suck. They aren't symetrical and they rarely for nice lines...well. I might just be afraid and that it.

This next shot was from our trip out to Oxbow Park I keep talking about. I dang near filled up a 4 GB card.

We took the kids to see the keepers of the zoo do a demo about birds of prey that were on exhibit here. When I saw this one at home, I got a nice smil in my heart. I took a picture of a human and I liked it!

I used the the bright light in the background to take care of the horrible background. I gotta say, the bird turned out pretty well too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Second Chances

Back in September of 2007, I went to Oxbow Park in Byron, MN on a Photo Safari with Community Ed. If you go back to that set, I took a picture very similar to this one, but this time, the lighting was very much different. I've also changed how look through my lens.

Not sure I nailed it this time, but I do like second chances. Thoughts?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Americana Flag

This is another shot from our friends house taken July 4th.

Not sure what it was about this decoration they had, but I really enjoyed studying it.

I'm sure about a million of these are probably in circulation, but the hand crafted look is kinda cool.

This particular one has a nice weathered look.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flowers are fun

I really need to figure out what kind of flowers these are, they are just fun to shoot.

I took this shot the weekend of the 4th of July at our friends house. As I've said, the Mrs of the house has quite the green thumb and one of my recurrent tasks for the weekend is to photograph her lovely flowers.

As shot, natural light, nothing fancy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to the Arch of St. Louis

I'm still working my way through the summer of photography. I found this one in the photos I took in St. Louis of the Arch.

You can tell by the haze that it was nearing a billion degrees that weekend and the humidity was, um, a bit high.

Unfortunately, I don't get to St. Louis but once ever 40 years, so, unless that changes, I got what I got.

As usual, this is as shot, right out of the camera.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grey Wolf

Originally uploaded by OhCaptain1
We took the kids back to Oxbow Park and Hollman Zoo a week ago. Shooting this zoo can be a challenge. All the animals are kept in cages with chain linked fences. Not really fun to shoot through.

I did manage to capture this wolf looking off to the distance. What a beautiful animal.

Just before the crack

While out on the Scott Kelby Photo Walk, I discovered a reflection that I had never seen before. This is the Plummer Building reflected in the window of the University Square shopping and U of M campus.

Moments after taking this camera, I heard a sound that no photographer ever wants to hear. I picked my camera bag up off a park bench and felt it suddenly get lighter. This was followed by the sickest sound I've ever heard. My 70-300mm lens had fallen from my bag and landed on the sidewalk.

We went for beer, I cried a little.

But I'm here to tell you...Canon support ROCKS! Within a week, they had returned my lens with the auto focus and image stabilizing fixed! Woot! Woot!

Thankfully, I had a UV filter on the end which protected the glass from damage. For a little less then $100, my baby was back in my bag. Anyone know of a good case for these?

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Plummer Building: in the details again

Like I said in the last post, the Plummer Building was built with an eye on the details.

This shot is of the one of the figures on the huge brass doors that make up the entrance to the building.

As the story goes, these doors never close to symbolize one of the core principles of the Mayo Clinic and that is "the patient comes first."

This organization strives and demonstrates every day this philosophy.

This photo is as shot and the camera was hand held.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Plummer Building: in the details

Here in Rochester, MN, it's hard to find much that wasn't touched by the history of the Mayo Clinic. Go figure, right?

One of the prominent features of the Rochester skyline is the Plummer Building. While out on the World Wide Photo Walk, it was hard to escape the draw of this building.

One of it's many curiousities is in the details that went into building it. I tried very hard not to spend all of my time shooting the standard from the sidewalk on a tripod looking up photo, but instead, look into these magnificant details.

This is a pillar near the main front door of the building. The textures and the incandecent light produced some fascinating shadows.

This shot is as shot right from the camera. I was hand holding the camera, no tripod was used.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nature Bridge

Here's the second shot from the Scott Kelby 2nd Annual Photo Walk I'll be sharing with you.

This is under one of the bridges in downtown Rochester MN over the Zumbro River.

Back to what I love, I composed this frame to show the converging lines with the reflections in calm water. I hopefully hit the symmetry right.

The lighting, as you might guess, is natural. The camera was sitting on a tripod at this point.

I've been kicking around the idea of making this one black and white...thoughts?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Night Shots:

I shot this one while out on Scott Kelby's 2nd Annual Photo Walk.

This shot was an attempt to capture the mood of our surrounding on this night. This shot was done freehand using a tree to steady it.

I'm not sure I like how it is cropped or it's general composition. What are you thoughts? I was captivated by the glow of the camera and the red hue of the ambient light.

It's definitely a departure from what I'm used to shooting. The night out was fun and I met a lot of really amazing people, but I struggled most of the night to see my subjects and pull of my visions. Probably from this photo funk I've been in lately.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Changing the lighting

These are the same type of flowers as the last post only they were lit completely different.

These were in the shade and had shadows from the stuff around them. I got a real sense of texture from these and loved the changes in the lighting.

You like them bright and bold or deep and quiet?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Been a while

This summer has been a blast. I've taken hundreds of photographs, but apparently, I've not been sharing them here.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to unclog the stream and let out some of the images I've captured over the last 3 months. This may not even be chronological, I really just need to get the out.

Besides not having a computer to post process on, I've been having a serious case of "I hate my photos" this year. I've lacked any sense of confidence and frankly, I'm not sure how to get it back. Just seems like I click the frame, open it up and just scream, "Yuck!"

Let's just see where these take us.

This first photo was taken over 4th of July weekend at our friend's house. We've been going there for the that weekend now for 2 years. It's always a great time. The Mrs of the household has quite the green thumb.

I'm not a flower guy, but these have just always captured my attention.

Monday, July 13, 2009

St. Louis Arch: Another View

I probably should have done my good photographer's job and taken better notes, but the temp was somewhere just south of a billion degrees that day. We were tired and dehydrated.

I found myself using the Arch as a back drop quite frequently. It was too hard to make the only subject from where we were.

Not really sure what this church is called, but it's glow and the subtle hues of the arch were really cool to me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The St. Louis Arch

When we got to St. Louis a little over a week ago, I was excited to see the Arch for the first time. Since this weekend was sprung on me as a complete surprise, I didn't do any research before getting there. Sure, I'd seen the arch in pictures before, but I really didn't know what to expect or take any time to think about just how I was going to shoot it.

This was one of the first shots I got. I really struggle sometimes to find ideas I like in creating new views of common things. This is a very popular subject.

This is the first a several different shots I got. The vignetting you see in the corners is an artifact created by the 17-85mm lens I was using.

As always, this shot is right out of the camera.

How do you get through the struggle of shooting very common scenes? Do you research your shoot locations? I'd love to hear what you think!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Tunnel

Summer is hitting me head on this year. I've actually been taking tons of pictures this summer, I have unfortunately not had any time for post processing and the quest to convince the better half of the need for a new computer continues.

I got this shot while waiting for the train in St. Louis on my recent road trip.

I thought this photo did a great job of demonstrating a cool concept in photography. Converging lines. The way the entrance frames the shot was really cool for me as well.

Hope everyone is having a great Independence Day weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Twins Win!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Burning River

Memorial weekend, I took some 450 pictures. Not quite a personal best, but still, that's a lot of frames. A great many of these shots were at my niece's first birthday. She's sooo cute!

The picture on the right, is a shot I caught in Zumbrota Minnesota at Covered Bridge Park. In fact, this picture was taken from the covered bridge out one of it's windows.

The Zumbro River looks like it's on fire, that's actually just the reflection of a street light. It was a pretty long exposure, 6 seconds.

I'm still processing the pictures from the weekend and will be posting them as I finish going through them.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rusted Machine

I had shot this piece of machine before, but like the weathered barn, I had wanted to take a crack at this.

I was hoping to get a better angle and different play on the depth of field. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I just loved this weathered barn at Oxbow Park. Each time we are here, I find something else about it I find interesting. These windows with the siding made for some interesting know me...and lines.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back At Oxbow Park

This past Saturday, I took the kids out Oxbow Park, in Byron MN. They were celebrating their SpringFest. The kids loved it and I was looking forward to filling up a memory card or two. I've been here before for shooting and had a blast!

The first shot I wanted to share leaves me with questions about finding the right white balance.

This first shot is as shot with AWB (auto white balance). It was shot indoors with only a UV filter using my Canon 17-85mm IS lens. The white looks true, but the floor seems to have a bluer cast to it. I like the cool shift for everything but the floor. I would have liked this to have a harsher shadow, but with only a 5 and 9 year old as assistants and their attention drawn to the other things in the room, I took a shot at composing the shot and getting it before I was over run with questions about how people of the 1930's lived.

In post processing, I shifted the white balance to "Shade" in Photoshop Elements. The floor looks right to me, but there seems to be a bit more orange to the rest of the scene then normal.
Besides the obvious of setting the white balance better in the field...what are your thoughts? Warm, cool or something else?

Back to the scene of crime...

Back to Oxbow park! More coming soon.

This one shot with my iPhone.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not my best photo...

This blog is all about photos of me. I love taking pictures of me. Har har! So funny! PG from Annoyingly Boring seems to have tagged me in this blog for a meme. Maybe the world was curious to see the real OhCaptain. This happens to also be the first time this blog has been tagged for a meme.

Here are da rules:
The rule is that as soon as you learn you have been tagged to play, you take a photo right away, no cleaning up, no primping, no preening. Just grab the camera and shoot. No cleaning up the photo in post either.

I was tagged yesterday...I got the tag at work. I was supposed to shoot it right away, but you see, I was at work AND busy. Then I forgot about it for a little while. Then I remembered it but was tired and went to bed. Then I got back to work and remembered it again.
There it is. As taken with my phone for all it's glory. Who's getting tagged? Drum roll please...

Marshall @ FXMixer

Oh the joy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Toronto from CN Tower

It was a little disappointing that it had to be hazy while I was there. I'm sure, when it's clear, I could see for miles.

This shot did turn out pretty cool though. It was taken from the observation level of CN Tower. I'm told this is the tallest structure in the western hemisphere. It sure seems like we are a long way up in the air.

At the very bottom of the picture, you can see the roof of Rogers Center, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. Gives you a little perspective.

This was taken with my 17-85mm at the 17 mm focal length. One thing about this lens is you can see a little vignetting in the corners. Some times I actually like that and others, not so much.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Falls at Twighlight

Next time I go, I really hope to spend a few hours hanging out here from this moment to into full night fall. Hopefully on a night with a new moon. I don't know, maybe moonlight would be cool.

That's the visitor center on the right. You can see the lights in the windows. This really reminded me of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Twighlight can be such a cool time of day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Niagara Falls

Well, here it is. Niagara Falls as shot from the Canadian side. I had travelled very light on this journey. Choosing to fit everything I needed for a weekend in a single bag. I had packed my camera bag and most of the my lenses and various other camera stuff in the carry-on bag as well. I like to move quickly through the airports.

The one piece I didn't bring was my tripod. The one I have doesn't pack all the small and can do some damage if it isn't done correctly. I had borrowed one while here in Canada but at this location, chose not to set it up. We were travelling with other people and I was trying to keep up. We photographers tend to move slowly, I hear.

The reflections on the water are really beautiful.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Neon, neon, neon

It doesn't take long to realize that you've entered a tourist area when you are in Niagara Falls.

Walking down the street, you are surrounded by neon sign after neon sign only interrupted by the occassional incandecent sign.

Neon has always fascinated me with it's color saturation. This exposure is as shot.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Seeing the inner child

This trip for Toronto was for me, an adventure. We explored many places and shared countless laughs.

At the visitor center at Niagara Falls, there was a Zoltar machine. Very much similar to the one in the movie Big.

I snapped this shot of one of my friends enjoying the experience of having her fortune told by the amazing Zoltar.

The angle I chose was an effort to capture her experience interacting with the machine. Her expression is priceless.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Niagara Falls Ferris Wheel: Redux

Here's the ferris wheel I shared with you a few weeks ago. This time, I chose to place a neon sign in front. Niagara Falls is quite, shall we say, touristy.

The striking contrast and the saturation of the colors from the neon just made this shot irresistable to me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's wet near the falls in Niagara Falls

I took this shot free hand. The reflections in the water just make for a great story. The little boy blurring out just happened to be pretty cool.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Toronto's Distillery District

I'm finally done going through all the pictures I took on the trip to Toronto last month. This picture was taken down in the Distillery District in downtown Toronto. I've never seen a city use this much colored light.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Niagara Falls Ferris Wheel

The stark contrast of the intense white Ferris Wheel against the pitch black sky was just awesome.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Ferris Wheel at Niagara Falls

This past weekend, I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Toronto to hang out with friends. On Sunday, we ventured down to Niagara Falls for a bit of sightseeing. This Ferris Wheel overlooks the falls but is actually quite beautiful itself. The park near by provided the beautiful green glow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where are they now?

This time of year, well, it's not my favorite time of year to practice my photography. Our family is busy. It's either cold or its muddy, it's never in between. My camera has been pretty still. I know, it saddens me too.

But there is hope on the horizon. On March 13, I'm traveling to the Great White North for a get-a-way by myself. There is a poker blogger gathering going on and I'll be joining them!

So, why am I posting that here? I'm traveling by myself. That means there will be no one with me that has to go potty or doesn't have any idea why I find that ceiling fascinating and can we PLEASE not stand here any more. My family is usually pretty good about my taking a few shots now and then, but it does slow me down a bit.

A few of the bloggers in Toronto are also into photography. I plan on shooting a few memory cards worth while I'm there and as always, you will see them here.

What I've got for you below is a little something I threw together from our trip to Las Vegas in December. It's not the best of videos because it's just me hitting the shutter button a few times in a row. What this video did do for me was help me understand a bit more how to photograph this fountain. I think I'll be heading back and trying this shot again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Photos Displayed Here - As shot

I kinda quit mentioning this a while ago because it was true on almost every picture I'm sharing here. They are as shot unless previously mentioned. Why would someone, in the digital age, do such a crazy thing? Because my computer SUCKED!

I gave up editing my photo a couple of years ago. I'm a professional IT guy. I work on computers all day. The computer I used for editing photo was named PC03. The 03 was in memory of the year I built it (January to be exact - Happy Birthday). Photoshop Elements no long runs in a timely fashion. A few minutes to start, a couple of minutes waiting for it to scroll and even longer to open the RAW images I shoot. I'm 39 years old and have no patience.

While I think the discipline I've learned shooting camera ready photos helps to make you a better photographer, I know there is so much more in my archives that just need a nudge. Even some of the pictures here are just a tweak away from even more.

So why am I ranting on a photoblog? Because this weekend, my wife gave the OK on the capital investment in a new puter! So why not just wait until I get the things and the yell, "Surprise!"? I really want a Mac and Lightroom. All the cool kids have'em. I have no idea what to get.

This blog attracts millions several readers every day and I know there a several of you that subscribe in a reader...I'm askin...what do I get? What are the extras I need? How do I get to keep using Quicken?!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I was really enjoying my 50mm prime lens. Since I bought it, I've never really taken many photos with it that I liked. This is a lens I really needed to learn how to use.

It's narrow depth of field is something I'm just not really used to. Photography is an art that we need to learn by doing or even reading.

The most recent issue of Popular Photography, there is an article about getting the most out of your 50mm lens. Dang good read. It made me think about what a narrow depth of field means.

This shot is of the centerpiece of our table. Sure, I was bored, but I found it a good exercise in thinking about what an out of focus back ground can mean. I used this and the light on the table to provide me a most subtle background.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Dance

While at this memorial concert, I tried to capture the event itself, not just people. For me, this picture captures what this show is about.

Monday, January 12, 2009

POST No 54

This was a taken at the American Legion Post in Red Wing, Minnesota. It sits behind the bar.

I found it's soft glow intriguing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Portraits - sometimes all you need is luck

Today, we spent part of the day at a memorial reunion of my wife's stepfather's band. In the 70's and 80's, her stepfather played the drums for a band name Conbrio.

We brought the kids to dance and enjoying playing with family and new friends. Of course, waiting for a bit to eat is tough for our younger generation.

This is a shot I got of my youngest daughter waiting for the pizza to be served.

You'll never get this in a staged shot. Enjoy!