Travel by Any Means Necessary

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Wordless Wednesday: Superior Beach

Superior Beach B&W

Grand Traverse Commons

The Mercato

During our recent visit to Traverse City, I was excited to check out The Grand Traverse Commons which is home to many unique shops and restaurants. You can tell from this photo that The Grand Traverse Commons is not your typical shopping center. It used to be the Northern Michigan Asylum. Many of the hospital’s old buildings have been demolished, but a few of them remain and have been preserved and revitalized into the Grand Traverse Commons. The former building 50 is the centerpiece of the complex and houses The Mercato in the basement. It is fascinating navigating the twists and turns of the old building to see it all. The architecture is fascinating! We really need to get back to making buildings like this! The old hospital is said to be haunted and you can even take a ghost tour.

Grand Traverse Commons

Both of these photos were single RAW exposures taken with my iPhone 7 and edited in Lightroom Mobile. I believe the bottom, exterior photo was taken with the new HDR function. At first I couldn’t find HDR mode, but its not in pro mode. It is now a third option: Pro, Auto, and HDR.

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about Grand Traverse Commons visit, 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.

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Wordless Wednesday: Electric Abstract

Power Line Abstract

Wordless Wednesday: Fog in the Woods

Fog in the Woods

A Foggy Winter Day

Tree and FogWe recently had an unseasonably warm January day here in Michigan. It was so warm that I went out shooting without a coat! It was crazy. Because it was so warm we had several days of pure fog! You don’t often get fog in the middle of the day here, so I had to take advantage! We went to a local park because I was worried if we drove too far the fog would dissipate. I got some very cool, almost spooky images that day. I am very glad we decided to venture out and enjoy a warm, foggy day. It is now back to freezing temperatures and snow. How many days until spring?

About the Photo:
This was a single RAW exposure with basic edits and black and white conversion done in Lightroom. Shooting in fog is interesting because it takes out a lot of the distractions from the scene making it a much more minimalist image.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
January 21, 2017

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.

Wordless Wednesday: Fishtown Black & White

Fishtown B&W

Touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Bottles at Buffalo Trace

This past weekend, Chris and I decided to take a little last-minute trip down to Kentucky. Chris has been talking about going to a Bourbon distillery for quite some time, so I knew we would spend some time on the Bourbon Trail. First, we stopped at Chris’ favorite, Buffalo Trace. They offer a free tour that tells the story of Kentucky Bourbon at the longest continually operating distillery. I really enjoyed that this tour wasn’t all about Bourbon, it also gave a nice history of the area. Afterwards, we headed to Wild Turkey. For $10 per person, we rode a shuttle around the modern distillery and learned about the bourbon making process. I recommend both tours. Both of them included samples, although you do get more at Turkey Hill and the Turkey Hill Tour also included a rocks glass.

About the Photo:
This shot was actually taken with my iPhone 7 in HDR mode. I did basic edits and converted it to black and white in Lightroom Mobile. I uploaded it to Instagram and it blew up quickly. Before we even started the next tour, it had already received over 200 likes, making it my most popular picture on Instagram. It was taken in the hand bottling room at Buffalo Trace.

Camera Gear:
iPhone 7 in HDR mode. I meant to shoot in RAW but I forgot to open Lightroom ahead of time and with how fast this part of the tour was going, I was worried I’d miss my shot if I tried to open it. Apple, if you’re reading this, thank you for adding RAW photography to iOS 10. For the next step, please add RAW functionality to the native camera app. Thanks in advance!

Date Taken:
October 29, 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 Kentucky Bourbon Tour, visit

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Wordless Wednesday: Electric


Pere Marquette 1225

1225During the Howell Melonfest, the Pere Marquetee 1225, the train The Polar Express was based on, was giving rides through the scenic Livingston County countryside. Chris is excited to experience any kind of transportation, so we got our tickets. The train is operated by the Steam Railroading Institute and the operate train rides around the state. I am thinking about borrowing some kids to take with me on the “North Pole Express” which recreates the experience from The Polar Express. My only question is whether Tom Hanks will sing to me about Hot Chocolate…

The inside of the train isn’t that photogenic so the next day we made a point to be what the volunteers who work on the train call “foamers” (people who get so excited to see the train that they begin to foam at the mouth) and try to get some shots of the historic engine in action.

About this Photo:
Photographing a train requires a fast shutter speed and a small aperture to maintain sharpness. I don’t know that ever really appreciated how fast a train goes until this. I only got 3 or 4 shots before I was photographing the cars. After the train passed us at the first crossing we went to another railroad crossing and waited for it to come back to the depot. This gave me a chance to improve the shots I got the first time around.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
August 21, 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 learn more about the Steam Railroading Institute and get your tickets for the North Pole Express visit

Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly?

Swimming Penguin #7

Last summer I visited the Detroit Zoo for the first time in 13 years (and wrote an article about my experience, which can be read here). While I was there, I saw a new building being erected with the sign saying “Future Home of the Polk Penguin Coservation Center” and I could not wait to check it out! I literally checked the zoo’s website monthly, waiting for an opening date! Penguins are one of my favorite animals to photograph and it was so hard to do in the old penguin house (which was the first ever building built for specifically for penguins) because the glass was so smudged and it was so dark (not to mention the smell). I finally got to check it out and I was impressed! It was a much more immersive experience; you don’t just look at penguins, you are transported to Antarctica. And the coolest part, you go in a glass tunnel at the bottom of the tank (I don’t feel like I’m describing this well, photo below) and you can see the penguins zoom around above you!

About the Photos:
This was a single RAW exposure edited in Lightroom with the Improve Photography 2016 preset B&W Light. While the new exhibit seems lighter with all the blue lighting, it is still pretty dark from a photography perspective, meaning you’re going to have to open up your aperture and push your ISO to be able to get fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the penguins’ motion. I had my kit lens as fast as it will go at f/4.5, my ISO at 800 (I know my camera does not have great noise performance any higher than that), and I was able to get the shutter at 1/125, which was fast enough to make the penguin look like he was flying! Also, by converting the shot from the blue color cast, that no amount of editing was able to tone down, it almost looks like he’s not flying through water, but through the air.

The bottom photo was a JPEG taken with my iphone and uploaded to Instagram. This is not an art photo, I just want you to understand this exhibit.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 3, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page.  I have started my summer photo a day project again this year. To make sure you don’t miss a single day, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To plan your visit to see the penguins, visit

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