John

I bought a new Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E zoom lens, and decided to test it out by going to the Detroit Zoo and shooting some pictures of animals. I spent most of my time hanging around the polar bear pen. This female polar bear is a new addition to the Detroit Zoo, and part of a three-way trade between three zoos. She spent most of her time pacing back and forth, occasionally frolicking in what little snow was left. Photo shot with a Nikon D7200 and 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.

I bought a new Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E zoom lens, and decided to test it out by going to the Detroit Zoo and shooting some pictures of animals. I spent most of my time hanging around the polar bear pen, of which the pen for the Arctic foxes were right next door. I like this shot of two of the Arctic foxes interacting after a lazy nap in the sun. Photo shot with a Nikon D7200 and 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.

I went to the Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village with a group of friends. We stopped by a fire ring circled with benches to take a break and warm up, when a jovial old man in a brown coat and black hat approached us. Before we knew it, several other folks had joined us at the fire, and the old man began telling the story A Visit from St. Nicholas, reciting it from memory for all of us to hear. He was one of many storytellers dispersed around the village, and told the story with great gusto and warmth, as one might imagine such stories being told to young ones back in the 19th century. Photo shot with a Nikon D7200 and a 24mm f/1.4 lens.

I was asked to shoot the Ann Arbor Valentines Dance. I split my time between the white seamless photo studio downstairs and the dance floor upstairs. I’m not really all that great a portrait photographer; what I usually do is ask my subjects to do increasingly sillier things until everyone’s concentration breaks and we all laugh at ourselves. That’s one nice thing about shooting dancers — we’re all inherently silly and not serious anyway. After these two did a bunch of silly poses, they had a laugh and an embrace before leaving the set — all I did was keep shooting away. Funnily enough, I liked this picture more than any of the “posed” pictures they did earlier in this sequence. Photo shot with a Nikon D7200 and a 60mm f/2.8 lens, triggering a pair of Flashpoint R2 speedlights and a single Flashpoint Streaklight 360.

I was asked to shoot the Ann Arbor Valentines Dance. I split my time between the white seamless photo studio downstairs and the dance floor upstairs. Composition wise, this photo is a bit of a mess, having accidentally cut off limbs while trying to capture this photo. I certainly wasn’t expecting this dip, and judging by the expression on the follow’s face, neither was she. Not only that, it appears that the lead was surprised by the follow’s surprise, resulting in a cascade of hilarity that makes this one of my favorite social dance images of the night. Photo shot with a Nikon D7200 equipped with a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and a Nikon SB-900 speedlight.

Pictures at Mission Point Lighthouse

I traveled north to Traverse City to check out the Mission Point Lighthouse under night skies. I wasn’t racing that weekend, and it was a new moon, so I took […]

I took my favorite medium format camera to Autorama and spent nearly four hours ogling the forms and colors of all of the hot rods and rat rods there on the show floor. I really liked the etched details in the headlight lens of the early V8 Ford hot rod, one of the Great 8 finalists, highlighted with LEDs around the perimeter of the headlamp. Also, with its shiny black paint, you can see its Oldsmobile hot rod neighbor, another Great 8 finalist, in the reflection. (And if you look closely, you can see me too.) Photo shot with a Mamiya C220 TLR and an 80mm f/2.8 lens on Kodak Portra 400.

I took my favorite medium format camera to Autorama and spent nearly four hours ogling the forms and colors of all of the hot rods and rat rods there on the show floor. I spotted this hood ornament sitting on the radiator shell of a Model A Ford, and I had to take a photo of it. The man who made the hood ornament also turned out to be the fellow who made most of the trophies for this year’s Autorama. Photo shot with a Mamiya C220 TLR and an 80mm f/2.8 lens on Kodak Portra 400.

I took my favorite medium format camera to Autorama and spent nearly four hours ogling the forms and colors of all of the hot rods and rat rods there on the show floor. While many cars there are primarily concerned with looking good, with speed taking secondary importance, this Mercedes 300 SL is primarily concerned with speed, it being a Bonneville Salt Flats car and all. So while looking good for this car was of secondary importance, it looks fantastic because… well, it’s a Gullwing. Photo shot with a Mamiya C220 TLR and an 80mm f/2.8 lens on Kodak Portra 400.

Step 1: Leave home at 6:30pm, arrive in Grand Rapids at 9pm to pick up a friend.
Step 2: Head north to Traverse City, continue north until you reach the Mission Point Lighthouse on the lake shore at 11:30pm.
Step 3: Take pictures and stargaze in the cold for 1.5 hours.
Step 4: Depart for Grand Rapids at 1am in the morning. Drop off friend at 4:30am.
Step 5: Turn east towards home, arrive at home at 6:30am.

650 miles in 12 hours to go see stars. The trip wasn’t an absolute success; I had never been to Mission Point Lighthouse before, and didn’t know if it was too close to Traverse City — it was, and the light pollution, while low, was still noticeable — and if the lighthouse was dark — it wasn’t, as there was a street light right outside the lighthouse on the street that I wish was turned off — so I rolled the dice on shooting at a location that I hadn’t scouted out before and hoped for the best. Still, the clouds eventually cleared up and I spent about an hour looking for shots. Another pair of photographers showed up, and we bumbled around for a while talking gear, stars, and the fact that we both decided to arrive at this lighthouse at the exact same time to shoot stars. This was the nicest shot I took of the lighthouse under the night sky. Photo taken with a Nikon D7200 and a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, lighthouse was light painted with a video light.