What a year!! Glad that 2020 is in the rear view mirror and hope 2021 is better.

Photographically however, 2020 was much better than the prior years. While my intent was to significantly increase my street photography work, the pandemic took care of that. So, I utilized my indoor time to learn new processing techniques and software. Additionally, I participated for the full year in 52Frames, a weekly photo challenge. In total, I posted 138 photos in 2020 to this blog, however quality is more important that quantity. From a processing perspective, improvement is happening. Creatively, not being able to get out and shoot the way I like, a bit of stagnation has occurred, IMHO.

In 2021, I intend to continue for another year of 52Frames and join another weekly challenge called C.London 52 Weeks. Different from prior years, I may update this narrative on occasion depending upon how & where the photographic journey is heading during the course of the year.

And, as in all past years, for those of you who have followed this photo blog for a long time, thanks much for sticking with me; my hope is the images & stories will be interesting as I experiment (and struggle) with content and processing. For those who are new, welcome. As always, comments, critiques and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Jeff

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Two Right Hands

Two Right Hands
Discovered this on a neighborhood walk. Why? How? Those are the questions that came to mind.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro @ f1.6 1/800 4.2mm ISO32

Photographed 1/18/20

Monday, January 18, 2021

Wall O' Boots

Wall O' Boots
C.London52w3 - One Room

From the C. London website: "Similar to last week, we’re going to explore a space which is maybe overlooked on any given day. Choose a room in your home and try and show its personality in one photo. This doesn’t need to be a sweeping wide-angle view of the entire space - maybe it’s one corner of the space that sums it up entirely. Want to play this one on hard mode? Choose a less-lived in space, something like the bathroom or kitchen, where maybe there are fewer bits of decoration."

Hallway Closet. It was an empty room when when we bought the place and custom designed it to house my wife's boot collection.  I don't complain about her boots...she doesn't complain about my cameras.  To capture this image, I pulled out my 12 year old D90 and fisheye lens.

Nikon D90 @ f5.6 1/40 10.5mm (15.75mm equiv) ISO200
Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye

Photographed 1/15/21

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sweet Moment

Sweet Moment
Chicago, IL

I was just making random candid shots and was fortunate to catch this one of mama and son.

Sony A6600 @ f2.4 1/60 35mm (52.5mm equiv) ISO2500 
Sony 35mm f1.8 OSS

Photographed 1/10/21

Friday, January 15, 2021

Eyeball to Eyeball

Eyeball to Eyeball
52Frames-Week 3-Get Low (Extra Credit: Leading Lines)

It’s been 68 years since I’ve viewed the world from the perspective of this little guy.  I try to “get low” with our grandson as much as I can whenever he comes to Camp Mimi and Pops.

I’m taking the 52Frames extra credit for the orange lines in the carpet leading to the orange patch on his coat.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro @ f1.6 1/60 4.2mm (26mm equiv) ISO500

Photographed 1/13/21 #52Frames, #52Frames_GetLow

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A Frown Runs Through

A Frown Runs Through
Wright Woods
Mettawa, IL

My summer photo was made from a different angle; hence a different title.  A contrast in seasons.  https://jeffm211-p52.blogspot.com/2020/10/a-smile-runs-through.html

DJI Mavic Mini @ f2.8 1/240 4.5mm (24mm equiv) ISO100

Photographed 1/9/21

Monday, January 11, 2021

Winter Trail

Winter Trail
Mettawa, IL

Forest Preserve trail on a beautiful winter afternoon.

DJI Mavic Mini @ f2.8 1/320 4.5mm (24mm equiv) ISO100

Photographed 1/9/21

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Six Days a Week

Six Days a Week
C.London52w2 - One Object

From the C. London website: "We’re going to start by recalibrating a bit. So, for this week, I’d like you to choose an every day object - something you see regularly, but maybe don’t put a lot of thought into. Take that object and photograph it in a way which showcases its unseen importance. You can go as far as to stage it entirely, or just take a photo of it in its natural habitat. The main goal here is to look at it with fresh eyes."

The Mailbox.  It holds joy, sorrow, news, packages and junk.  Checking it is automatic; never really thinking about why & how it works.  For as long as I can remember, it's been reliable...until 2020 when the USPS was thrust into political manipulation.  In 2021, normalcy will return.

Sony A6600 @ f8  1/60  24mm (36mm equiv)  ISO2000
Sony E 24mm f1.8 ZA

Photographed 1/9/21

Friday, January 8, 2021

Transmission

Transmission52Frames - Week 2 - Leading Lines

The original idea for this shot was much different; focusing entirely on the tower itself.  When I saw the poles lying on the ground and changed my perspective, I knew the original idea was history.

I'm also claiming the extra credit for 4 or more leading lines: 1) poles, 2-4) wires left, center & right, and although subtle, 5) brighter clouds following the line of towers.

Sony A6600 @ f8 1/90 10mm (15mm equiv) ISO50
Sony E 10-18mm f4 OSS

Photographed 1/7/21

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Afternoon Boost

Afternoon BoostChicago, IL

On the way to pick up my grandson, I stopped for a strong cup of coffee knowing the caffeine hit was needed to keep up with him the rest of the day.

Sony A6600 @ f8 1/60 24mm (36mm equiv) ISO125
Sony E 24mm f1.8 ZA

Photographed 1/5/21

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade
I am excited about joining the C.London 52 Week Photo Challenge community.  Many thanks to Chelsea for providing this platform.

C.London52w1 - Setting Goals

From the C.London website, “In the next year we will challenge ourselves as photographers and artists. Setting goals is the first step in that journey. Right now in this moment think about what you’d like to achieve. Are you hoping to get better at portraits? Maybe you want to be able to document your travels more coherently? Maybe you just want to give yourself a new hobby and artistic outlet.  

For our first week, set a goal and make a photograph which shares and documents that goal. We will revisit this midway through and at the end of the year.”

My photography goal in 2021 is to become a better visual storyteller.  Every picture has a story.  It may be factual.  It may be fictional.  It may be intentional.  It may be accidental.  It may be superficial or it may be deep.  But it’s there, somewhere.  I hope that my photos evoke questions about and/or connections with the stories.

So here we go!  2021 tools are ready, but is the creative eye ready?  Time will tell…and your comments and critiques will be most helpful.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro @ f1.6 1/13 4.2mm ISO125
Flash fired

Photographed 1/1/21

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year, New Gear

New Year, New Gear
52Frames - Week 1 - Self-Portrait

Here we go with Year 2 of 52Frames.  Last year, I did a street selfie for Week 1 since street photography is my genre of choice.  With Covid surging, that was not an option for me this year.

So instead, I decided to try something I'd never done before with a new tripod, flash and wireless trigger.  Here's the first attempt at a high contrast portrait with off camera flash; #22 of 27 taken.

Sony A6600 @ f4.0 1/60 35mm (52.5mm equiv) ISO100
Sony E 35mm f1.8 OSS
Photographed 12/30/20

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Clean Before the Storm

Clean Before the Storm
Vernon Hills, IL

Snow and ice storm coming in tonight so getting a wash with underbelly protection.

A new local car wash was giving away free memberships in November for 2 months of unlimited washes. Weather has been so good; this is only my 3rd one.

Taken 12/29/20

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Engrossed - Plate XII

Car Text
Buffalo Grove, IL

While waiting in the car for my wife to finish her grocery shopping, this car parked next to me and the woman talked and texted for 15 minutes before heading in to shop. I daringly got off a couple of shots without being noticed.

Taken 12/26/20

Friday, December 25, 2020

Not Magic

Magic
Chicago, IL

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall there is ALWAYS a line down the street to get Garrett's popcorn.  It's not  magic that you could get right in.  Unfortunate sign of the times.

Taken 12/17/20

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Boy

The Boy
52Frames - Week 52 - 2020 in a Photo

Despite all the challenges of 2020, this little guy kept me smiling.

Yes, he gave himself an applesauce facial.

Claiming 52Frames extra credit for this week: 1) using a new LR preset from the Contrastly Desaturated Cinematic collection, and 2) using new software Luminar AI.

This is my 52nd consecutive week - feels good to complete a full year.  While my technical processing skills have grown some, the creative side has remained stagnant.  Will have to figure out how to change that in 2021.

Taken 12/22/20

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Stairwell to Hell

Stairwell to Hell
Chicago, IL

Riding the elevator in a parking structure during Covid was not a viable choice so I opted to hoof it.

Taken 12/17/20

Monday, December 21, 2020

Coach

Coach
Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL

The coaches at Coach had no one to coach.  Sign of the times.

Taken 12/17/20

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Escape

Escape
Chicago, IL

Fire escapes such as this are a common sight on older buildings in Chicago.  I cannot imagine the emergency emptying of a building in this manner.  Fire safety in buildings has come a long way since this era.

Taken 12/17/20

Friday, December 18, 2020

Anger

Anger
52Frames - Week 51 - Black and White Minimalism

Covid, Inequity, Violence, Hate, Trump...plenty of things to be angry about this year.

Now with two vaccines approved and some leadership entering the White House, I'm confident we can turn a new page on January 20th.

Taken 12/15/20

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Willie

Willie
I haven’t made a $2 Portrait in a long time…largely due to Covid.  While in downtown Chicago today for a doctor appointment, I met Willie along Michigan Avenue.  He was hunkered down, trying to stay warm in the falling temperatures and light snow showers.  He agreed to let me take his picture for $2 Portraits.  Willie’s sign said “PLEASE HELP. I NEED CLOTHES THANK YOU ALSO MONEY FOR A ROOM THANK YOU MAY GOD BLESS”.  It must have worked because he was sporting a fairly new Ralph Lauren (Polo) parka.

Being out of $2 Portrait practice, I didn’t get Willie’s whole story.  I did learn he is 69 years old, was born in Mississippi and has been in Chicago for 50 years.  It sounded as if he doesn’t have a permanent place to live and was hoping to collect enough in order to get a room for the night.  I gave Willie $2; he smiled and reached out to bump elbows.

Taken 12/17/20

Monday, December 14, 2020

Needle River

Needle River
52Frames - Week 50 - Alternate (Texture)

I saw these clumps of pine needles for this week's Texture challenge.  Fortunately, had a sunny day to catch good color and bokeh, and got to use the new macro lens.

However, this shot dropped to second place when I found the previously posted shot of the cigarette butt.

Taken 12/9/20

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Avoiding This

Avoiding This
Libertyville, IL

Miserable day out but we needed groceries for our Hanukkah celebration on Sunday.  So, I drove my wife to the store and waited in the car, camera in hand hoping to get some rain shots.  Here's what we avoided by my staying in the car and being able to drive up right to the door to load up.

Taken 12/12/20

Friday, December 11, 2020

Marlboro

Marlboro
52Frames - Week 50 - Texture

On a walk last week, I saw clumps of pine needles that would be a good subject for this week's Texture challenge. When scoping out shots, this butt became a convenient subject for the new macro lens (extra credit).

Processed with LR and Luminar AI.

Taken 12/9/20

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Name This Plant...Please!

Name This Plant...Please!
Another macro shot.  This one was a challenge due to the wind.   Processed in LR and Luminar AI.

Taken 12/9/20

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Barren

Barren
Lost its leaves...winter's coming.

Out on a walk in pursuit of a photo for this week's 52Frames challenge, I had great opportunity to shoot with the new macro lens.   Upon return home, I discovered a new software I program pre-ordered in September was available for download.

This image was taken in broad daylight and hot off the digital press, processed in Luminar AI.

Taken 12/9/20

Sunday, December 6, 2020

He Bee Dead

He Bee Dead
Spotted during a walk in our underground garage.   Another opportunity to try out the new macro lens.  Since he be dead, I was able to shoot it handheld.

Taken 12/5/20

Saturday, December 5, 2020

First Attempt

First Attempt
I haven't photographed with a macro lens in many years.  I finally ordered one for my Sony mirrorless (50mm f2.8) and it came on Friday.

This image is my first attempt at a handheld macro...which was lucky because subsequent ones weren't nearly as sharp.  Next purchase...a small tripod. 

 Taken 12/4/20

Friday, December 4, 2020

Another World

Another World
52Frames - Week 49 - Choose a Color

I had a plan to shoot this week's challenge with backlighting from my iPhone using a new macro lens scheduled for delivery today (12/4).

Fortunately, the lens showed up as planned.   Unfortunately, getting used to it, I was unable to pull off the extra credit of One Click.

Taken 12/4/20

Friday, November 27, 2020

Worm's Eye View

Worm's Eye View
52Frames - Week 48 - Nature

Last week while on a bike ride, I saw a stand of trees along the Des Plaines River trail that I thought would make a good shot for Nature week. Had planned on using my wide angle zoom with some intentional camera movement to get vertical stripes.

When that failed miserably, I went to Plan B; zoomed out to 10mm and shot with various PoV's. Processed in LR and Silver Efex Pro 2.

Taken 11/27/20

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Water's Edge

Independence Grove
Independence Grove
Libertyville, IL

Mid-40's in mid-November and little wind; good recipe for a bike ride.  Peaceful.

Taken 11/22/20

Saturday, November 21, 2020

USS Covid

USS Covid
52Frames - Week 47 - Circle

The helm is empty while the virus rages on.  Who is steering the ship?  Not Comrade Minus who has chosen to ignore this reality and chase his fantasy of a rigged election instead.  Also, golf instead of a  G20 Summit on the pandemic?!?!

Meanwhile, perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine trial results announced by Pfizer and Moderna. And not soon enough, the helm will be manned by someone who gives a damn.

Taken 11/17/20

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Two Elections

Two Elections
Landslides...both of them. The first in 2016 declared as such by Comrade Minus (a name coined by Obama's White House photographer Pete Souza) notwithstanding a popular vote loss of ~3M votes.  Since the 2020 electoral count is the same and the popular vote over 5M in the winning direction, one can only conclude the same characterization of a landslide.

The left landslide depicts the Comrade Minus administration inheriting the country at a high level and driving its descent to our current state of chaos, indecency and division.

The gap between the landslides represents the selfishness of Comrade Minus and his minions’ refusal to facilitate the transition of power to the legitimately elected administration.  America First…what a joke…it’s simply not in CM's vocabulary.

The right landslide represents the uphill climb #46 will have to restore health, truth, dignity, unity and respect to our country and national dialog.

I sincerely hope with the A-HOLE out of the White House, all Americans can move towards a civil dialog...myself included.  It will be great to be rid of that despicable excuse for a president.  I'm not proud of myself for thinking this way, but to quote, "It is what it is".

Taken 11/17/20

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Rainbow Ahead!

Rainbow Ahead!
Kauai, Hawaii (from the archive)

Playing around with some painting effects from Photoshop.

Taken 3/7/19

Friday, November 13, 2020

Ready For More

Ready For More
52Frames - Week 46 - Mobile Phone

My grandson enjoys mealtime.  When he's on a roll, we need to make sure there isn't too much in his mouth at a time.  In this instance, he was ready for that next piece of waffle.

Taken 11/11/20

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Still Uncertain?

Still Uncertain?
52Frames - Week 45 - Signs

It struck me as funny that so many campaign signs line the path to polling places.  Are folks really uncertain at that point?  Or would their mind be changed by the mere appearance of a sign?

Taken 11/3/20

Monday, November 2, 2020

Out of Control

DSC01640
52Frames - Week 44 - Abstract [Alternate]

Another alternate shot for the 52Frames challenge last week and another commentary on today's politics.

I experimented with rotational camera movement and long exposure to capture this image.

Taken 10/29/20

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Switch

Switch
52Frames - Week 44 - Abstract [Alternate]

An alternate shot for the 52Frames challenge this week.

I called this "Switch" because when looking at it long enough, the foreground and background switch depending on what color I'm focusing on. I experimented with intentional camera movement and long exposure to capture this image.

Taken 10/29/20

Friday, October 30, 2020

Blue Wave of Decency

Blue Wave of Decency
52Frames - Week 44 - Abstract

It is my sincere hope that Tuesday will usher in a new wave of decency in the USA.  Politically, I've always been an Independent, voting person over party.  This year, I am so thoroughly disgusted by the indecency & dishonesty of Trump and the spinelessness of Pence, Giuliani, McConnell, Graham and all the other non-leaders who have supported him in tearing this country apart.  The Dems are far from perfect, but a far better alternative this year than what we've endured for the last 4 years.

Time for a change; time for healing; time for humanity in our leadership.

Taken 10/29/20

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Puffer

Puffer
52Frames - Week 43 - Reflections [Alternate]

This was an alternate shot for my 52F submission. The major reflection reminded me of a puffer fish so I wanted to process highlighting that subject.

Taken 10/19/20

Monday, October 26, 2020

First of the Season

First of the Season
Lincolnshire, IL

So much for Monday morning golf! Nothing was sticking, but it was ugly out.

Taken 10/26/20

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Rorschach

Rorschah
52 Frames - Week 43 - Reflections

A cliche reflections photo taken with LR camera, processed in LrC, PS and Silver Efex Pro 2 using a solarization filter.

After attending some Adobe Max sessions this week, I got into the mindset of visual art rather than my default of documenting reality.

Taken 10/19/20

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Many Heads

Many Heads
Wright Woods
Mettawa, IL

Another drone shot over the forest preserve.

Why is this image entitled "Many Heads" you might be asking?  It was after downloading the file that I noticed the head-shaped end of the pond and the many heads of cauliflower formed by the tree tops.

Taken 10/18/20

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Smile Runs Through

A Smile Runs Through
Wright Woods
Mettawa, IL

Another drone shot over a different area of the forest preserve.  This one straight down at 394' above ground.  I wanted to go higher, but the legal limit is 400'.

Taken 10/18/20

Monday, October 19, 2020

Wright Woods

Wright Woods
Mettawa, IL

Peak color for our area was predicted late last week. I waited all week for the winds to die down in order to fly the drone, which can sustain maximum gusts of 18mph. With gusts all week in the range of 25-40mph, I thought for sure I'd miss getting fall color drone shots.

On Sunday afternoon, the winds died down, so 90 minutes before sunset, I headed for Wright Woods. It was overcast, however there was some clearing in the west which allowed the setting sun to cast light across the tree tops that wasn't visible from the ground.

I had low expectations going in, but am super-pleased with the results. I will post several plates over the next few days. Enjoy.

Taken 10/18/20

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Olde Madrid

Olde Madrid
Racine, WI

Would be terribly remiss if I didn't give props to my favorite restaurant of all time.

When taking photos in Racine a couple of weeks ago with a friend from Milwaukee, I stopped in and grabbed some takeout for dinner. We have not been to Olde Madrid since early 2020 and not sure when we will dine there next. But for sure, we'll be back for takeout...despite the 2 hours of driving.

In addition to amazing food, the owners, Manny & Natalie are wonderful people. Was glad to see they are getting by during the pandemic.

Check them out; you won't be disappointed.

Taken 10/6/20

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hands Full

Hands Full
Evanston, IL

Taken 10/12/20

Friday, October 16, 2020

Steelhead

Steelhead
52Frames - Week 42 - Food Photography

Costco steelhead trout is a grilling favorite. Medium flame, 6 minutes on the bottom, 4 minutes on the top, rare in the middle.

Before grilling on the left; after grilling on the right. Delicious on the palate.

Two image composite processed in LR, PS and Nik Color Efex Pro.

Taken 10/15/20

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Morning Stroll

Morning Stroll
Evanston, IL

Taken 10/12/20

Monday, October 12, 2020

Surprise Attack!

Surprise Attack!
Evanston, IL

Scouting out some areas for a future photo shoot, I witnessed the unfolding events.

Taken 10/12/20

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Greene Glass

Greene Glass
52Frames - Week 41 - Alternate [Shoot Through]

Photo shoot this week with my buddy Sid; we met in Racine, WI, the midpoint between where we each live.

In a small park along the Root River, there was a piece of sculpture that served as a good object to "shoot through". This would also have qualified for extra credit - Candid on the Street.

Taken 10/6/20