Playing With Light

 Hi everyone, this is a quick post of some images that I took on my resent stay in Kansas City. This was not any sort of intentional light study, however, the way that we see and perceive light, color, and shadow shape our vision in incredible ways. I think that those notions are on display in these three separate examples...what do you think? Which image is your favorite?


Black and White HDR Night Photography...at the Museum!

Hi everyone! On our way back through Kansas City after visiting the Ozarks this past week, we spent some time with my family exploring some of the cool stuff that "KC" has to offer. One such thing was the incredible Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This free art museum is absolutely massive and I had the privilege of visiting it twice: once, during the morning and early afternoon exploring the exhibits, and later on returning once the sun had set to photograph the "Modern Art" wing of the museum after dark. This stunning building has an extraordinary facade not unlike portions of the University of Minnesota's own Rapson Hall (where I basically live during the school year). 

These images are a bit different than what I normally shoot as they are 1. Black and White, and 2. High Dynamic Range. Both of these factors play into interesting images that I feel helps bring out the character that the stunning building had over the surrounding landscape. HDR Photography entails taking several images of the same composition, each at different exposures. Merging these images together later on in the post-processing stage allows for most everything in a photo to be properly exposed, rather than just the focal point of an image. I will do a post just on HDR Photography later on. Thanks for looking!


Blanchard Springs Caverns Adventure!

Is this earth??? In Blanchard Springs Caverns, expect breathtaking rock formations.

Last week I had the privilege of exploring the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. I visited many incredible places, however one of the most beautiful was the Blanchard Springs Caverns. This incredible three-level cave system is called a "living cave" due to its continuous evolution at the mercy of water. I went on the most popular cave tour offered, the "Dripstone Tour". The guide took us through two massive rooms within the first level of the cave system.

 As you can guess, it was incredibly dark within the cave and without permission to use a tripod many of these images turned out grainier than I would have liked. Maybe I am just being overly-critical of my own work...regardless, I hope that this post can act as a snippet of what you can expect to see in this incredible underground world. If you are ever near Arkansas, head over to the Ozarks and to the phenomenal Blanchard Springs Caverns!

This is a photograph of my favorite space in the cave that our guide took us to. Those formations along the ceiling are known as "Soda Straws" - young stalactites. These inconceivably fragile formations covered the room...beautiful, yes?

A crazy flowstone formation! I wish that I could somehow show how enormous so many of these formations are. This one absolutely dwarfed me!

The main room, the "Cathedral Room". The sheer scale of this space was difficult to fathom at first.

Um, I am pretty sure that this is something from that "Avatar" movie. But its not, just some amazing consequences of water gushing underground.

Another image within the Cathedral Room. The handrailing centered near the bottom of the photograph gives a sense of scale of the enormity of these formations.

Frozen smoke? Nope. Water did this; H2o continues to make the cave evolve.

Is that Jaws gaping mouth?

This marshmellowy looking stuff is a rock-solid flowstone formation. 
Overall I cannot recommend the Blanchard Springs Caverns enough. It was something that I will never forget and I hope that you will have the opportunity to visit this spectacular place as well! The Visitor Center and Museum were beautiful and the staff and guides were all fantastic. Two thumbs up!


Returning from the Ozarks was a Difficult Thing to do...

As I attempt to get back into the swing of normal everyday life again it is all too easy to get caught up  in reflecting on the wonderful trip that I just had over my Spring Break. Rather than running off to some tropical beach, I spent the week exploring and photographing the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. I cannot wait to share the many stories and photographs that I gathered while I was there. 

The image above is of the Glory Hole, a remote waterfall located off of the beaten path in the forest. It surprisingly is not advertised and is not visible on the National Forest's maps and directions, despite being one of the most beautiful spots there (in my opinion). A mountain stream flowing over the rocky hillside eroded a circular "portal" into a cave beneath it, creating a stunning waterfall through the ceiling.

Shout out to Alyssa for letting me use her as my human scale figure in this image as she was testing the temperature of the chilly mountain water with her hand. I will be doing a more in depth post or two on this waterfall and its surroundings when I have more time (hopefully later this week), including how to find it if you are to ever visit the Ozarks and want to visit a remote-yet-beautiful landmark.


Some Buildings at Night

Happy Pi Day Everyone! I am currently on my way down to the Ozarks and stopped off in Des Moines last night. Alyssa and I will continue on later today and will spend the night in Kansas City tonight to spend some time with my family. Then it will be on to the Ozarks for the week!

As for the photographs in this post, let me say that I absolutely love shooting at night. Photographing in incredible low-light situations is a challenging experience that can result in rewarding captures. These were all taken on the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus within the past two weeks. Which one is your favorite?

Have a good weekend everyone!


Packing up my Gear...for a Trip to the Ozarks!

Right after publishing this post I will continue the long process of packing for my upcoming week-long adventure in Ozark National Forest in Arkansas! While most people in college flock to the beaches of Florida or California for a "crazy" spring break, I am going to a much more secluded spot in the world. I have never been to the Ozarks and am very excited to photograph the incredible land. With everything from waterfalls to caves, Ozark National Forest has something for everyone. I cannot wait to share my photographs with you when I get back!

P.S. With this said, do not expect any posts from me from this upcoming Sunday (3/15) though the following Saturday (3/21).