Annual Enactus “Roundtable” at Graceland University

Students and faculty are welcomed to the Entrepreneurial Roundtable.

The Enactus program at Graceland University does the “Entrepreneurial Roundtable” event yearly in the spring.  Thursday, March 30, Graceland students gathered for the day to hear remarkable stories from Graceland Grads who shared their life experiences.  At the banquet, business school faculty presented awards.

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Portraits: Patterned Cloth As A Backdrop

Candy Poses

I was in a fabric store looking for lightweight (thin), white cloth with a pattern that I could use as a backdrop. My plan was to put a studio light behind the cloth and shoot through the cloth at my subject. The light would wrap around my subject. I had to experiment with the output of the studio light to get the look that I wanted. I was pleased with the final result.

Painting People with Light

Rachel painted with light.

Painting with light is an interesting technique that gives you a different kind of look from using a flash unit or ambient light. As with other kinds of light you can make your subject as light or dark as you want. For these images I went with a darker, low key look. Inanimate objects are the usual subjects for painting with light because they do not move during the long exposures, but I wanted to try it with a live human being so I asked a friend to be my subject.

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POTD: Sabrina


This Picture of the Day was created with a simple one light set up. The studio flash was directly in front of Sabrina’s face to camera right. I usually have my main light above the subject’s face and bounced out of an umbrella which creates a more appealing image, but there are times the rules need to be broken. For this image it worked best for the direct light of the flash (no umbrella) to be level with her face.

Sami Lynn, A Valentine Portrait

Sami Lynn with rose petals.
Sami Lynn with rose petals.

It was a week and a half after Valentine’s Day and most of the dozen Valentine’s Day roses in a vase on the dining room table were done and had been thrown away, but a few were still looking good. I asked Sami to lay on the floor, handed her a long stemmed rose, and I carefully arranged her hair. Then I stood up and pulled the best looking petals off of more roses and randomly dropped them on her. Some didn’t land quite right so I re-positioned a couple of them.

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Violinist in the Snow

Beth playing her violin in the snow. February 12, 2020.

It was three years ago today, but it started two months earlier in December with a plan to do portraits of Beth with her violin. Back then she was the principal violinist and concertmaster of the Graceland University Orchestra. (Today she is doing graduate studies in violin performance.) When I asked her to send me examples of the kind of portraits she liked, some of the photos she sent me had a violinist outside in the snow. I asked her if she wanted to shoot in the snow and she said yes. So we waited for snow and on a cold, snowy day in January we did portraits in the snow.

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How To Series: Winter Photography

Last Light on El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Last Light on El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

In addition to all of the usual photographic challenges, winter provides some extra complications, especially in terms of metering. So I began this series of articles on winter photography. Check out the links below. The articles will help you meet the unique challenges of winter photography. So get out there, have fun, and create some great winter images!

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Experiment: Canada Geese at 380 Yards with a Focal Length of 400mm

Canada Geese at Home Lake. 100mm focal length.

After photographing our rare Tundra Swan, I was getting ready to leave Home Lake when I had an opportunity to test the kind of results I could get photographing distant geese with a 100-400mm lens. I was on the dam at Home Lake so I positioned myself so I was in line with the water facility apparatus in the lake and some distant geese. I did a reference photo at 100mm.

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Trumpeter Swan and Tundra Swan

Trumpeter Swan landing at Home Lake.

A Trumpeter Swan and Tundra Swan have been spending time together at one of our local lakes. Tundra Swans don’t usually get this far south and I wanted some photos. This is our second rare bird visitor this winter. In December we had a very rare Tundra Bean-Goose that spent a couple of weeks with our Canada Geese before moving on (links below). The Tundra Bean-Goose was supposed to be in far Northern Europe or Russia.

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Andromeda Galaxy and its Satellite Galaxies

Andromeda and its satellite galaxies.

For me, December is not only the month for Christmas Season photos and portraits, on reasonably pleasant December nights with no wind it is the time of year to photograph the night sky. Winter has better night sky “seeing” than the other three seasons. Cold air holds less moisture to there is more visual clarity of the night sky. Unfortunately, where many of us live winter is also very cold so I do most of my winter night sky photography in December since it is usually more tolerable.

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Tundra Bean-Goose, Part 2

Tundra Bean-Goose, The Razz soccer field, Graceland University.

I went looking for the Tundra Bean-Goose again this afternoon (see the prior article), along with one of my young grandsons. The light was much better than yesterday which meant a lower ISO setting on the camera and a lot less digital noise than at ISO 6400 late yesterday afternoon. That would mean better photos.

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Rare Event: Tundra Bean-Goose in Iowa

Tundra Bean Goose and Canada Geese, Big G Lake, Lamoni Iowa. Cropped from the original photo.

This is not a great photo, but it is a photo! For the last week a single Tundra Bean-Goose has been hanging out with Canada Geese at the lakes, farm ponds, and corn fields around Lamoni Iowa. This week is the first time ever this goose has been spotted in the state of Iowa. It should be in Northern Europe or Northern Russia so it is thousands of miles away from home. I finally spotted it yesterday.

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Autumn Shoot with Beth

Beth, Slip Bluff Lake.

Fall is my favorite season for nature photography as you can tell by the number of photos I take per season. But I also love fall for outdoor portrait photography. The colors of fall make a nice backdrop for photographing people. These photo are from a favorite autumn photo shoot with Beth. I hope you take advantage of the colors of the season to do some portrait photography of your own. If you want to improve your portrait photography skills, check out the books at the last link below.

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Colorado Fall Color Photography and Travel Guide – 2022

Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.

Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.

Headed for Colorado this fall? Welcome to my complete Colorado fall color photography and travel guide with 131 photos, 18 maps, and over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out). I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is not widely known to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from two days to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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Images That Move Me

Mary McHugh mourns her dead fiance James Regan at Section 60 in the Arlington National Cemetery on 27 May 2007. Photograph © John Moore

John Moore was at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, 2007. He had visited with Mary McHugh earlier in the day. She had come to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the grave of her fiance, James Regan, who had stepped on a roadside bomb a few months earlier in Afghanistan. Later on he saw her laying in the grass and talking to the marble headstone. He captured this image. The whole story is here.