Viewpoints: My {First Snow} View

It's time for another Viewpoints blog post!  This month I am sharing images from our first snowfall here in the Midwest which happened way back in early December.  There is something magical about the first snow, isn't there?  The temperature was still relatively warm which resulted in that wonderful wet, heavy snow that clings to absolutely everything creating the most gorgeous winter wonderland.  Given our warm autumn, there were even a few leaves on the trees leaving bits of beautiful color in the snowy scene.  I'm so glad I made the time to get out and shoot soon after it fell as it didn't last long. Much of the snow on the trees dropped to the ground in the following days and by Christmas the majority of it was completely gone.  Now we've gone nearly the entire month of January without another significant snowfall.  I hope Mother Nature has at least one more planned before winter gives way to spring.

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see more beautiful landscape imagery from across the country.  The talented Amy Miller is next.  You can see her January view by clicking HERE. 

Viewpoints: My {Holland, Michigan} View

Well it's certainly been awhile but I'm back to share a Viewpoints blog post with some of my very favorite photographers.  I've had many adventures since I last posted in May so it was hard to choose which view to share.  Since the leaves are falling and we've officially said goodbye to sumer, I decided to return to some images from a Lake Michigan sunset one August night when I was visiting Holland, Michigan.  A dear friend and I met for dinner and then made our way to the beach to soak in the beauty of Lake Michigan.  The first thing we captured was the lighthouse.  I love how the red color makes it stand out in the scene.

As the sun began to sink beneath the horizon, I was able to capture a starburst among the wispy clouds. 

The pink color that appeared in the sky after the sun sank beneath the horizon was beautiful.

And once the sun had gone, I turned to capture a different angle resulting in a simple image yet one of my favorite captures from the evening.

Seascapes are so relaxing and I am looking forward to capturing more in 2017.  Don't forget to follow the circle to see some amazing imagery!  My friend Kathy Roberts who I finally met in person is up next!  Click here to see her view for the month of October.

Viewpoints: My {Chicago Skyline} View

It's time for another viewpoints blog circle!  This time I am sharing some cityscapes.  My landscape shooting partner in crime, Kristen Ryan of Kristen Ryan Photography, and I spent a night in Chicago in late April shooting the sunset and the nighttime skyline.  Neither of us had been to the Adler Planetarium for the view of the city but upon doing some research we couldn't pass it up as most photographers agree it's the best view of the skyline from land.  Everyone was right, the view was magnificent.  Even though there were no clouds in the sky, the view as the sun went down was absolutely beautiful.

Blue hour is a rare time for me to shoot but as the sun sank further below the horizon and the city began to light up, the colors were incredible.

Finally, we got to capture the magic of the city lit up at night.

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see more incredible landscapes from my talented friends!  Gina Yeo is up next and her landscapes never disappoint.  A visit to her mountains is definitely on my bucket list.  Click here to see her viewpoint for the month of May.

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see more incredible landscapes from my talented friends!  Gina Yeo is up next and her landscapes never disappoint.  A visit to her mountains is definitely on my bucket list.  Click here to see her viewpoint for the month of May.

Viewpoints: My {Sanibel Island} View

It's time for another Viewpoints blog post and I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of landscape shooting and editing this past month.  In late March, my family headed south for spring break in Sanibel Island, Florida.  The weather was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed capturing some sunshine, sand and palm trees.

I dragged myself out of bed for a couple of sunrises and even had the opportunity to meet up with another Clickin Mom to shoot together.

I also had the opportunity to capture this incredible sunset.  Mother nature really put on a show that night.

Finally, the dramatic clouds of an incoming storm could not be ignored and I was able to capture this image before the rain started.

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see the incredible work of my talented friends.  Jennifer Carr is up next and you can see her beautiful work by clicking here.

Viewpoints: My {Punta Cana} View

Things have been brown and dreary here in Chicagoland.  It's hard to complain about a mild winter but the beauty of fresh fallen snow was definitely missed from a landscape shooting perspective.  However, things are beginning to bud and spring will be here before we know it.  In the meantime, I was fortunate to spend four days at a resort in Punta Cana on the Dominican Republic in February.  It was fuel for the landscape photographer's soul with blue skies, puffy clouds and clear blue water to capture.     

And with a sunrise time of 7am, it wasn't too hard to drag myself out of bed on vacation to witness the magic and peacefulness of the sunrise.

We did have one cloudy day where in rained on and off but even that provided some beauty to capture.

Finally, during the day, I took the time to capture the palm trees and a starburst here and there in the absence of the golden hour color.

If you haven't visited the Dominican Republic, definitely put it on your list for a winter getaway.  It didn't disappoint!  

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see some beauty from the other Viewpoints photographers!  My friend, Nadeen Flynn, is up next.  Click here to see her view for March. 

Viewpoints: My {Jackson Hole} View - Part 2

After taking the month of December off, I'm excited that we are back in action with the Viewpoints blog circle!  January in Chicago is not proving to be such a great time for landscape shooting so far.  As a result, I've been spending the majority of the month catching up on some of my editing from late 2015.  Back in September, I shared a few images here from my trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Since then I've been slowing going through and editing the multitude of images I shot during that trip.  So this month I thought we would take a journey back to the fall colors of the Tetons while we wait for spring or at least some pretty snow to grace the Chicago area.

Sunrise at Oxbow Bend

Sunrise at Oxbow Bend

Taggart Lake

Taggart Lake

Taggart Lake

Taggart Lake

Leigh Lake

Leigh Lake

Schwabacher's Landing

Schwabacher's Landing

Sunset looking south from Blacktail Ponds Overlook

Sunset looking south from Blacktail Ponds Overlook

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see what everyone has been up to lately.  My talented friend Kathy Roberts is up next.  I know that she has been working on an amazing waterfall project lately.  Make sure to click here and check out the beauty she's sharing this month.

Viewpoints: My {Autumn Sunrise} View

It's time for another Viewpoints blog post!  I love taking time to look at all of the gorgeous landscape images my friends have been shooting lately.  Last month I shared my fall foliage view. This month I'd like to share some of the sunrise images I captured during the peak of the fall season.  Let's face it, getting up for sunrise is no easy task.  So I adore when nature is in it's peak of fall splendor at the end of October right before the time changes.  Sunrises are typically around 7am that time of year and I was able to get some amazing color even at 7:30am or 7:45am!   So after my kids left for school at 7am, I'd jump in the car day after day and rush to a local park to take in the sunrise splendor as well as the fall color.

This was taken at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Wheaton, IL on a beautiful cloud-filled day:

A short time later, the sunrise colors had dissipated but the clouds still provided a magnificent view:

There were also beautiful, interesting clouds the day this was taken at Herrick Lake in Wheaton, IL:

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Finally, there were no clouds in the sky on this cold morning at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL but the steam over the water, the color and the wildlife more than made up for it.

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see more beautiful landscapes.  My friend Nadeen Flynn is up next.  You can see what she's been up to by clicking here.

Viewpoints: My {Fall Foliage} View

This month I am sharing images from my absolute favorite season in the Midwest, fall.  The color has just been spectacular this year and I've spent hours these past couple of weeks exploring local parks and taking it all in.  I find it so sad that it lasts for such a short period of time.  I just can't get enough of those brilliant colors.  I took many, many pictures knowing that I'll have some dreary months ahead with plenty of time to spend on editing.  Here are some of my favorites so far:

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see the amazing landscapes my talented friend, Jennifer Carr, shot last month.  You can see her post by clicking here

Viewpoints: My {Jackson Hole} View

A week and a half ago, I had the good fortune of spending a long weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with a few dear friends and talented photographers, Kristen Ryan, Lisa Benemelis and Allison McSorley .  We spent some quality time hiking, shooting landscapes and kicking back with a glass or two of wine.  We even got to meet up and shoot with another friend from the Clickin Moms forum, Bianca Klein.  I had an absolutely wonderful time and came home with many, many images.  I have only gotten through a handful but here are some of my favorites so far:

Sunrise at Oxbow Bend

Taggart Lake

Late afternoon at Schwabacher's Landing

Milky Way over the Tetons

A Bull Moose

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see some more beautiful landscape images!  The talented Nadeen Flynn is up next.  Click HERE to see what she has been up to this month.

Viewpoints: My {Vail Valley} View

After a month off, I'm back in action participating in the Viewpoints blog circle.  During the month of August, my family took a vacation to Vail Valley in Colorado.  It was absolutely wonderful and I was reminded how incredibly peaceful the mountains can be.  I spent the week soaking in the fabulous views.  Mid-week my eleven year old son turned to my husband and I and asked "WHY do we live in Illinois??".  Illinois can definitely be beautiful but there is just something about the mountains that can't be replicated.  We spent the week doing lots of outdoor activities like hiking and horseback riding.  And the benefit of staying at a ski resort is that you can take the gondola to the top of the mountain for some amazing views without climbing a mountain at high altitudes with young children in tow.  I took many, many images and am still working through editing some of them.  But I am pleased to share some of my favorites here.

 

We stayed on Beaver Creek Mountain and I had fun shooting the village and the valley below.

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see more beautiful landscapes!  The talented Lindsey Pedey of Lindsey Pedey Photography is up next!  I know she lives out west and has some beautiful scenery around her.  Click here to see her viewpoint this month.

Viewpoints: My {Lake Michigan Sunrise} View

It's my favorite post of the month!  It's time for another trip around our Viewpoints blog circle.  Last month I shared my Chicago at night view from a trip to downtown Chicago with my good friend, Kristen Ryan of Kristen Ryan Photography.  We trekked around the city that night shooting nighttime cityscapes.  After sleeping for a few hours at the Drake Hotel, we got up at 5am to catch the Lake Michigan sunrise.  There were no clouds which is definitely a disappointment for us landscape photographers but the colors were beautiful.  If I can drag myself out of bed, I usually find that sunrise is my favorite and most peaceful time of the day.  This was no exception and despite getting splashed by an extremely cold and aggressive wave, it was the perfect way to end our shooting trip in the city.  Here are a few of my favorites from that morning:

Don't forget to follow the circle to see more beautiful landscapes.  My friend, Nadeen Flynn is up next!  Click here to view what she has been shooting this past month.

Mindful Nourishment Photo Shoot

This past weekend I had the opportunity to team up with my sister, Allyson Straka of Mindful Nourishment, to photograph a whole lot of colorful, healthy food for her business.  She is a holistic health coach and created a wonderful company that helps people learn to make healthy food choices.  She brought along her friend, fellow health coach and talented food stager, Ellyn Vogel, and we got right to work.  I haven't had many opportunities to shoot food but it was definitely a fun and challenging experience.  Here are some of my favorites.  Doesn't it all look delicious? 

Viewpoints: My {Chicago At Night} View

It's time for another Viewpoints blog post!  Last month I had the incredible fortune of spending a night in the city of Chicago shooting images with my dear friend, the talented Kristen Ryan of Kristen Ryan Photography.  She is an amazing landscape photographer and has taught me so much about creating landscape images.  Despite the cold weather, we had such an amazing time and I learned so much about night shooting, long exposures, multiple exposures and keeping my hands warm while shivering in the cold, harsh wind whipping off of Lake Michigan.  We got very little sleep but came home with a CF card full of images and I spent the next few weeks editing them.  Here are some of my favorites:

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see some more amazing landscapes.  The talented Nadeen Flynn is up next!  I know for a fact that she has spent the last month shooting some fabulous landscape images.  Be sure to click here and view her post!

Viewpoints: My {Captiva Island} View

It's time for another Viewpoints blog post!  This month I am sharing images from my recent trip to Captiva Island, FL.  If you aren't familiar with Captiva, it's a little island just west of Fort Myers that juts into the Gulf of Mexico and it is known for it's amazing sunsets!  I spent 7 days trying to capture those very sunsets and loved every minute of it.  After a long, cold midwest winter, the sunshine state was just what I needed to rejuvenate.  Here are some of my favorites from the trip.

Don't forget to follow the circle around for some more amazing landscape images!  The crazy talented Jennifer Carr is up next!  Her work blows me away every time.  Be sure not to miss it!

Viewpoints: My {Snowy} View

It's time for another Viewpoints blog post!  The month of March marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring here in Chicagoland.  I'm thrilled to be seeing more signs of spring each and every day, even with the occasional reminder that winter is not officially behind us quite yet.  I can't say that I'll be sorry to see the season of winter and it's frigid temperatures go but I'm thankful I took the time to appreciate it's beauty while it was here.  There is something so incredibly peaceful about the view of freshly fallen snow.  So before we say goodbye for good, here are a few of my snowy Chicagoland views from the past couple of months.

Image 1 - 16mm, f/22, 1/160, ISO400
Image 2 - Lensbaby Edge 80, f/22, 1/320, ISO800
Image 3 - 16mm, f/22, 1/320, ISO320

Don't forget to follow the circle around to see what everyone has been working on this past month.   The talented Jana O'Flaherty of Photography 2204 is up next!  You can see her view for the month of March here.


VOICE Competition

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that one of my images was selected as a semifinalist in the Details category of the Clickin Mom’s VOICE digital print competition! It is such an honor to be included alongside so many incredible images by such talented photographers. You can view the entire collection as well as the winners here.