Part 2: Pics from Leica Akademie Workshop – Chicago

As I mentioned yesterday, I really enjoyed the Leica Akademie workshop and also meeting with the participants.  Here are a few more pics taken during the workshop. The first one I was trying to focus in on the gal sitting but I think what makes the picture is actually the 3 people all trying to take pictures. The second pic was taken while waiting to cross the street. I usually wouldn’t find this interesting but I like how the crowd of people are so content in looking in different directions. The last pic was taken of a guy near our hotel street corner who was attempting to entertain the crowd with his multiple musical abilities.

Old Xavier Church

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography has gained a lot of interest in photography.  HDR Photography is where you take multiple exposures of a image and then stack them on top of one another to create one picture.  By doing this you create an image that often times is very similar to what our eyes see.  Most digital cameras can do this by using the auto bracketing function.  For best results you need to use at least 3 exposures.  If you are shooting in very bright or low light then you often times need to use 5, 7, or 9 exposures.  Unfortunately, you typically need a semi-pro or pro dSLR to do this.

After you take the pictures, you then need software to stack the pictures on one another.  The best way I’ve found is using Photomatix or you can use Photoshop CS 5.  If you want to see some great HDR pictures you need to check out Trey Ratcliff at Stuck in Customs.  He does phenomenal work and has many tutorials.

My wife grew up outside a very small town in Southern Illinois called St. Francisville (well known for the scariest bridge to cross in Southern Illinois/Indiana).  In March, we were there for my wife’s baby shower.  There is a very old Catholic church that sits down town.  I decided to take a 7 exposure HDR pic using my Leica M9.  Most of the time when shooting in HDR you want to create a color image, I think in this case monochrome works very well.


Up until our move last year to Fort Wayne we would make the trip from Cleveland to Illinois a couple times a year to visit family. We always took a shortcut on US Highway 20 that would allows us get on I-69 in Angola, IN. I must have never paid much attention to my surroundings because on each of these trips we would pass this old white church that set off the main road about 1/4 of a mile. One afternoon, while driving back to Cleveland after preparing for our move to Fort Wayne, I noticed the large white church. I pulled over and liked its simple architecture and its weathered look.

Recently, the caretakers found me and commented on a picture I took of Powers Church on flickr (they said it was one of their favorites). Anyway, I never realized the importance of this church to the local community until I read a few articles about it. It was built around 1875 for less than $2000 by one of the original settlers in the area, the Powers family. At one time it set unused for over 20 years.

If you want to read more information about the church, you can find great articles in the USA Today and the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Also, there is information on wikipedia.

Below are a few pictures I took, including the picture the caretakers liked.

Red Door

Last fall a friend of mine asked for me to take a few family pics of them at a local park.  As I was leaving I came upon a large red barn.  The barn was sitting on a 7 foot stone block base.  The doors were weathered and really stood out because of the surrounding stone.  Here is one of those doors.

P.S.  Recently, I got invited to google+, a new social networking site by google.  I think most would agree there is a lot of potential.  You can see more about google+ here.  Also, you can find my google profile here.


Last week when I traveled through South Whitley, looking for picture opportunities I came across this old beat up car at a local service store.  The car was a dark ugly color and definitely wouldn’t make for a good “color” pic.

Using my 35mm summicron, I was able to easily blur the background and focus in on the car (that’s why I love Leica lenses).  Converting the image to black and white using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2 allowed me to bring more detail out in the car and made for a better pic.

Carol’s Corner

Yesterday, I was driving through South Whitley.  It’s a typical small Indiana town with just a few downtown buildings.  For a small town and historic looking downtown, it was busy with patrons at the local bars and restaurants.  As I was making my way through town I came across a corner ice cream parlor.  It definitely had a retro look and was a great picture opportunity.  Maybe next time I’ll stop and get some food.