Tuesday, July 8, 2014

07/06/14 Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Park

 A dramatic waterfall at Matthiessen State Park east of Oglesby, IL

On July 6th, I ended my holiday weekend checking out a couple state parks in central Illinois along the Illinois River east of Oglesby, IL. I headed out as soon as sunrise began to make the drive from Peoria, IL to check out Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Park. This short trip was a chance for myself to photograph some waterfalls in these parks which is something I've never photographed up to this point. I didn't take too many photos at Starved Rock as most of the trails were still closed due to recent wind damage. With that being said, I was able to hike up into two canyons on this morning since just a trail or two were still opened. I ended up checking out Ottawa canyon and Kaskaskia canyon. I photographed these two waterfalls and then quickly began to head to Matthiessen State Park as they still had all their trails open and cleared. It was a grueling hike as usual especially with camera-gear on your back and a tripod as well. The biggest mistake people make when photographing waterfalls is not a bringing a tripod as it's essential along with a remote trigger to capture "blurred motion". You have to be able to adjust shutter speeds as well which is hard to do without a good DSLR camera, tripod, and remote trigger at your disposal. Matthiessen State Park is well worth checking out this fall and I'll be back I'm sure at some point as I was very impressed with this state park as well. It was my first time hiking in this particular park. By midday, my shoes and socks had already been obliterated and I was already worn out from hiking the trails so I drove back to Peoria, IL. I've added several photos below of some of the waterfalls I photographed with my Canon 5D Mark III below:

 Trying my best to "walk on water" on this morning (note-to-self bring a second pair of shoes)!
 Starved Rock statue!
 Just an idea of the storm damage in this area which was quite impressive...
 "Canyon walls"
 A good wide-angle lens is very important for this type of photography!
 Recent heavy rain bringing a waterfall to "life"!
 Another angle!
 "A waterfall from the heavens"
 I shot this image with my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens and created a sunstar by stopping down the aperture to f/16 when shooting directly into the sun! A great review of this lens can be found by a well-known photographer here...
 Depth of field, quite important when shooting with a wide-angle lens!
 Matthiessen State Park and an amazing waterfall!
 The bridge above the waterfall was flooded which made it a chore to get across and down into this canyon to see cascade falls...
 My favorite!
 Another waterfall in the park!
 "Water-in-motion" at this dam...
A great park to visit if you haven't seen the waterfalls!
 One more shot as I begin to hike back out of the park...

This was another successful day of photography. It's very hard to hike though both of these parks in one day since some of the trails can be grueling. I'm sure I'll be back at a later date to photograph portions of these parks I couldn't get to on this particular day. I'll update once again if I find some more time for photography in the coming weeks.

Monday, July 7, 2014

07/04/14 4th of July Fireworks: Galva, IL

 The 4th of July firework display begins at dusk on this evening in Galva, IL

On July 4th, I shot another firework display, but this time I attended the celebration (Galva Freedom Fest) in Galva, IL. For a small town Galva, IL tends to put on a good show every July 4th. The fireworks were shot off at the Galva Park District at dusk. By 9:30pm, I had my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens, and tripod already set-up to photograph the show. Here's a cool article illustrating the making of a firework and how specific compounds create the colors we see light-up the sky seen here. I've added photos I shot from this particular firework show below:

 "A crowd favorite"
 "Colors at dusk"
 Multi-color arrangement!
 "Sparks fly"
 "Ignite"
 "Bursting with color"
 "Reach for the sky"
 "I'm counting on Red, White, and Blue"
 "A shot across the sky"
 More firework fun!
 The grand finale begins....
 "Boom, boom, boom"
 "I still got a shot in the dark"
 A favorite!
 A quite colorful ending to the show...
 "The end of the celebration"

That concludes this post. If I find some more down time I'll be sure to find some more places or events to photograph over the summer months. Until then...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

07/03/14 Wyoming, IL Fireworks

 July 3rd firework display at dusk in Wyoming, IL

On July 3rd, I photographed a firework display in Wyoming, IL to begin the holiday weekend. The fireworks were shot off at Gary Johnson's Field (formerly Rebels Field) which is home to the Stark County Rebels football team. The show began at 9:30pm and I had already set up my camera-gear and tripod at that point. This year I shot the fireworks using my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens which was a first since purchasing that camera last fall and the lens this spring. Fireworks are always fun to photograph and I "try" every year to attend at least one event during the 4th of July festivities. I've added some of my photos I shot of the firework display below:

 Dusk and fireworks!
 I found a decent spot to enjoy the show that wasn't too far from the action!
 A classic firework and one of my favorites!
 The show just starting to get going...
 "Up, up, and away"
 An interesting shot at dusk!
 Love the colors!
 A traditional shot!
 Another favorite!
 "Kaboom"
 Another neat shot!
 A favorite from the night!
 Another nice close-up!
 "A firework filling up my lens"
 Another nice arrangement...
 "Red, white & boom"
 "The beginning to the end"
 "Grand finale"

I also attended a firework display in Galva, IL on July 4th and I'll update with more photos from that particular event at a later date as well.