A Taste Of The Big Easy

A Taste Of The Big Easy

In one of life’s moments of spontaneity, my wife asked me if I would like to visit New Orleans for a long weekend. She was traveling to Biloxi, MS for work and thought it would be fun to take some extra time to stop in NOLA since it’s only an hour from Biloxi. 

It didn’t take much convincing to get me on board with the plan, so on May 4th we hit the road! 

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Illuminating Your Vision: Light, Shadow, and Your Photography

Illuminating Your Vision: Light, Shadow, and Your Photography

From it’s very conception photography has been all about light. When it was first invented, Joseph Niepce was looking for a way to create accurate copies of lithographs by "drawing with light". He accomplished this by creating a light sensitive compound that when properly processed created a perfect black and white duplicate.  

From the very beginning light was at the heart of photography. Today, despite all of the advances photography has made since Niepce's time, light still has the greatest impact on how a photograph turns out: not only in a physical sense, but in an artistic one as well. 

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Canyons and Waterfalls

Canyons and Waterfalls

I recently had the opportunity to explore Hickory Canyon Natural Area near Ste. Genevieve, MO with my friend Jason Gray. It has been on my list of places to visit for a long time, but I have constantly passed it over for places with longer trails. So when Jason suggested checking the area out, I quickly agreed. 

The day we went ended up being rainy (which seems to be a trend with our hikes), so I was feeling hesitant to go: but man am I glad I did! 

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What The Heck Are Shooting Modes

What The Heck Are Shooting Modes

Up to this point I have been approaching photography strictly from an artistic perspective, but as important as the art of photography is, it is good practice to understand the technical aspects as well. Knowing how to fully utilize your equipment, and understanding its limitations, will only help you create your ideal images. That being the case, I will start sharing intermittent articles dedicated to learning how to use the tools of photography. 

First up is camera shooting modes. Whether it be on a dslr, mirrorless, or point and shoot, almost every mode selection dial will have these five options: full auto, program ….

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The Truth About Composition

The Truth About Composition

At its most basic, composition is simply the arrangement of elements in an image. It may have a simple definition, but it is by no means a simple subject. Artist, critics, and scholars have argued about what constitutes a "good" composition for centuries. 

A successful composition not only communicates the artists intention, but it also draws the viewer in and encourages them to spend time exploring the image. In this post I will cover a few common misconceptions everyone (including myself) has made, and then I will share 5 basic elements I have found to make up all compositions. 

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Understanding Subject: The Heart Of Your Photograph

Understanding Subject: The Heart Of Your Photograph

How often do you find yourself excited to take a photograph of something amazing, only for the photo to turn out weak and not even close to what you expected? This happened to me countless times as I started out, and it still does occasionally.

More often than not, the problem with these photographs is a lack of a clear subject. the good news is that this is a fairly easy problem to fix by taking the time to consciously define your subject before making your photograph.

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Exploring The Ozark Trail: The Little Known Wonders Of Rocky Creek

Exploring The Ozark Trail: The Little Known Wonders Of Rocky Creek

If you have been following my adventures for the last few months, you’ll know I have working on a series exploring Missouri's State Parks. With the imminent release of the first part of that series, I wanted to do something different. 

Thanks to a post on Instagram, I found that something in the form of a short section of the Ozark Trail along Rocky Creek. After experiencing this hidden gem in Southern Missouri, I think it might be my new favorite place in the whole state! Click through below to find out why.

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What Makes A Photograph Good

What Makes A Photograph Good

As I alluded to in my previous post, in order to improve as a photographer it is important to understand what makes a photograph work. A photograph can be broken down into various components (composition, subject, lighting, etc), and how well these elements work together will dictate how good the final image is. In the best images this balance is directed by the photographers vision.

Implementing this simple step into your photography will help guide your decisions as a photographer, and will increase the success of your images.  

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What You Need To Create Great Photographs

What You Need To Create Great Photographs

Last week I shared my own winding journey to becoming a better photographer. The starting point is different for everybody, which is evident if you’ve ever Googled how to improve your photography. You’ll likely find numerous versions of “5 tips to take better photos now”. These posts can have good advice, but their suggestions typically only scratch the surface of what you really need to begin growing as a photographer. 

Regardless of what your journey looks like, in the end all photographers gain a similar set of knowledge and skills (not including specialties). In this post I will be outlining what I have found to be essential requirements for making great photographs. 

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How I Became A Better Photographer

How I Became A Better Photographer

Like many people, I had my first experience with photography as a child. I took snapshots of school trips and family events using disposable cameras, and early digital cameras. It was fun, but it wasn’t until I took a formal photography class in high school that I saw that photography could be more than that: It was a way to create. 

 

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Getting My Feet Wet at the Devil’s Icebox

Getting My Feet Wet at the Devil’s Icebox

As I have been learning, Missouri is more than farmland and forests. From the rocky mountains of the Ozark Plateau to the rolling fields of the north, every section has a unique and interesting landscape. For my second State park visit of the year, I picked a region I haven't spent much time in: Central Missouri.

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Lake Wappapello State Park

Lake Wappapello State Park

My first hike of 2018 was one of the coldest I have ever done. During the two and a half hour drive to Lake Wappapello State Park the temperature fluctuated between -4° and 3° F, finally settling at 5° by the time I arrived. It warmed up a little while I was there, but not by much. 

Before going to the State Park I planned out my trip using the park map and Google Earth. While considering the longest trail at the park, I found that it travels near  a spot called Chaonia (shaw-nee) Landing. It looked interesting so I decided to make it my first stop on the trip. The landing is actually a resort with cabins, camp sites, and a small marina you can rent boats from.

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Michigan: Sleeping Bear Point, and Grand Traverse Bay

Michigan: Sleeping Bear Point, and Grand Traverse Bay

The advent of a new year brings with it the desire to reflect on the past year, and to make resolutions to make the next year even better. I decided to do this by revisiting some areas I have not photographed in quite some time: Sleeping Bear Point, a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and downtown Traverse City. Mostly I chose these locations because I thought it would be fun, but I also wanted to see how my photography has improved since my last time visiting the locations.

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Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

As I work my way through the State Park System, I find myself having to travel further from home to visit new areas. It is hard to make day trips to some of the parks when I have to drive three plus hours. The best part of the day is spent driving, and I have a hard time enjoying the experience because how long it will take to drive home is always in the back of my mind. 

One of the parks that falls within this category is the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. You may be familiar with the area if you have watched Netflix’s show *Ozark*. I can’t comment on the accuracy of the show, but I can state for a fact that it is an incredible area. 

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Trail of Tears State Park

Trail of Tears State Park

With only enough time left to visit a handful of parks this year, I wanted to visit areas that were unlike the parks I have been to up until now. While researching parks that would be interesting to visit I stumbled across the Trail of Tears State Park. It is a 3,415 acre preserve with some of the most rugged land along the Mississippi River, featuring steep ravines and towering bluffs. As it’s name indicates, The park is a memorial site along the Trail of Tears. One of the parks that falls within this category is the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. You may be familiar with the area if you have watched Netflix’s show *Ozark*. I can’t comment on the accuracy of the show, but I can state for a fact that it is an incredible area. 

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Washington State Park

Washington State Park

Generally I prefer to hike in the morning; the light is nice, I’m not rushing to finish before the sun sets, and there is something special about enjoying the silence of morning in nature. That being said, my trip to Washington State Park was not like my normal trips.

Washington SP was one of the last four parks I planed to visit this year. I chose it because my wife and I camped there last year and we didn’t get the chance to hike any of the trails. It seemed like a cool park, and it is only an hour away from Saint Louis, so I wanted to go back.

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Wakonda State Park

Wakonda State Park

Sometimes you visit a place for the first time, and it feels like you have been there before. That’s how my visit to Wakonda State Park was. The park is a couple hours north of Saint Louis, and is the furthest north I have traveled in Missouri. It is a cool park that was created through a combination of natural processes and human involvement.

Ancient glaciers carved the land, and deposited large amounts of gravelly rock as they receded. These deposits ran very deep, and were mined as a source of road surfacing material throughout the 1900s. As the deposits became exhausted the land was given to the Missouri State Park Board. The six gravel excavation sites turned into lakes, and the Sand that was moved early on in the mining became a natural habitat for many plants that are rare in Missouri today.

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Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park

Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park

It was a Thursday morning, and I had plans to hike. I knew I needed to make it count because it was the only free day I had that week. The problem was, when I woke up I did not want to go. 

The sky that morning was cloudy, which is exactly how I felt. I had no motivation to be creative. I wrestled with the idea of just not going, but the knowledge that I wouldn’t have another chance to go for a week gave me the push I needed. Optimistic that I would feel better when I got started I grabbed some coffee and drove to Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park. 

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Sam A. Baker State Park

Sam A. Baker State Park

The St. Francis Mountains are an ancient range rising from the Ozark plateau. Millions of years of erosion carved away at the volcanic rock creating the many valleys, bluffs, and shut-ins that can be found there today. The land is a beautiful rugged wilderness: hiking through these mountains can feel like you are going back to a time before humans. Sam A. Baker State Park perfectly captures the essence of this area.

At the heart of the park is Mudlick Mountain, one of the significant domes within the St. Francis Mountains. The mountain is surrounded by the largest wilderness preserve in the Missouri state park system. The park features an extensive network of trails that allow visitors to experience the untouched beauty of the Precambrian mountains. There are also many options for backcountry camping, including three shelters built in 1930 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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