Another image of Bandalonie from the 2015 Busker Fest in Lawrence, KS. Who’s ready for the 2016 fest?

Processed with VSCO Film: Kodak Tri-X.

#α6000 #explore #kansas #kansasphotography #photography #sonya6000 #sonyalpha #sonyimages #travel #lawrenceks #busker #buskerfest #streetperformer #douglascoks #downtown #downtownlawrence #face #lfk #street #streetphotography #guitar #corneract #bandalonie #cajun #VSCOfilm #kodaktri-x #sel55210 #peoplescape

Sony a6000 | sel55210 | f/5 | 1/320 sec. | iso400 | 55mm


Frozen, On the Rocks

This photo was taken at sunrise on the Coon Creek boat ramp, which is along the northern side of Clinton Lake. The road to the boat ramp isn't in the best of conditions, but it's worth the view. I plan to explore this area more thoroughly when it gets warmer out.  


Tree on the Hill

The sun peeks from behind a tree on the Hill leading down to Memorial Stadium at the University of Kansas. This photo was an experiment in HDR, as well as an experiment with the recently re-released Oil Pain filter in Photoshop. I really like how the bright sunlight played off the dark, shadowed side of the tree in this image. 



Cool Morning

The sun glows on the hillside as it rises on a cool, Kansas morning. I used an ICE 10 stop ND filter in order to drag the exposure for 15 seconds. I like how it gives the water a nice, smooth look. I especially like the color the newly risen sun casts along the banks.



Best of 2015 (Part 2 of 2)

Although I manipulated the cooler hues, some sunrises in Kansas can be very colorful!

As 2015 went on, I continued to shoot as often as I could. I purchased a subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography package. For a low monthly rate, this ensured I'd always have access to the most up-to-date versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. I still have a lot to learn of the basics of Photoshop, but I've gotten somewhat decent using Lightroom. I probably do 85% of my post production in Lightroom. Our local library has granted all card holders free access to Lynda.com, which is a great site to learn all kinds of different thing, including some exceptional photography courses. At the end of the year, I joined The Arcanum, which is a mentor/apprentice style of teaching modernized for today's world. I can't recommend it enough; it is awesome. Let me know if you are interested; I can get you a free month!


Early in the year, I had the opportunity to photograph one of my favorite bands (Railroad Earth) at a small venue in town. I really wasn't supposed to have a DSLR in there, but the band didn't seem to mind. I only took in the Canon 50mm f/1.8, as it was the fasted lens I owned and would be necessary in the dark lighting.

Fun with motion blur.

I'm not really into street photography so much, but Lawrence does seem like a good place to hone those skills. We have on average about 10 parades a year and they usually are much more than parade floats going down the street. Our town has a unique mix of people and we seem to attract transients, especially during the summer months. We are one of Kansas's most liberal towns, and it is pretty apparent once you visit.

The Love Garage, located across from Memorial Stadium.

Ten way different expressions in one split second.

Luthier and musician Steve Mason, of the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band. I love their song 'I Miss Pluto'.

Bandalonie performing (by himself) at the 2015 Busker Festival.

Brightly dressed guy at the Reggae Fest down by the river.

Perhaps one of the funnest events I photographed this year (and my first time experiencing it) was the Lawrence Zombie Walk. Hundreds of men, women and children dressed up and bloodied up to roam Mass St. in downtown Lawrence. For these photos, I was using a vintage Pentax lens, adapted for use with my Sony mirrorless camera. This lens is faster than my other E Mount lenses and is a great focal length, as I wanted to get portrait-type street shots. This isn't he sharpest lens I own, but with the processing I was planning to do with the zombie photos, that really didn't matter.

Zombies roam the streets one night a year...and then drink beer afterwards!

A Zombie Nurse Junkie

One thing I've really started to work on is to develop my own post-processing style. I still put most of my focus (no pun intended) on composition, but I still want my photos to look like they came from me. I do like bold, striking colors and rich blacks, but I also like photos that look a little washed out with a little split-toning thrown in. Lightroom is such an unbelievably powerful application, that experimenting is almost ALWAYS happening. 

After the harvest.

A small pond sits under a very weird-colored, midday sky.

Lawrence in the distance; taken from Well's Overlook.
The newly opened Baker Wetlands Discovery Center (and the wetlands) is only a mile from my new home!
Besides the Zombie Walk, the end of the year is guaranteed to bring large fields of huge sunflowers and lots of holiday photo opportunities. This was my first year visiting Grinter's Farm, which displays thousands of large sunflowers in September of every year. I was a little overwhelmed and can't wait to photograph it again this year. The fall colors are also really fun to photograph. I enjoy seeking compositions that are unique, as we all get flooded with fall color photos every October. The holiday season is always a fun time to photograph family members. My daughter doesn't like to pose often, but she was very easy to work with while putting up the Christmas tree.

Sunflower at Grinter's Farm. I really want to work on processing black and white photos more effectively.

Fall colors at Mary's Lake.

Hannah hanging ornaments.


As I stated in the first part of this two-part post, 2015 was a really fun and great year for my photography. I've learned a lot, but perhaps more importantly, I've learned where to seek the opinion's of my peers and when to listen. As with many things, success follows practice. In 2016, I hope to practice everyday, in some way or another, whether it be shooting or working on a blog post or working on processing the backlog of photos I have. I'll leave with one of my favorites from the year, the obligatory SuperBloodHarvest Moon sequence. Enjoy!

On a clear night in September....


Best of 2015 (Part 1 of 2)

A pano shot taken as a storm was moving into the area. I like how the crisp clouds are being engulfed by the bleak and formless sky to the left.

The past year has been a really fun one for me in regards to photography. I bought a great new camera (as well as winning a duplicate one from 500px) and I got to travel a little with my family. In February, my wife Becky and I took our daughter on her first plane ride to visit my mother-in-law in southern Texas. There were some great photo opportunities on South Padre Island as well as the Rio Grande Valley, so many neat birds! Back home, I even had the chance to do a small maternity shoot for a friend; we really didn't have a game plan, but I managed to capture a few cool photos. I also purchased a fast, very wide lens to attempt night, and more specifically, Milky Way photos.

My second attempt at photographing the Milky Way. This was taken not far outside of Lawrence, KS. I'd like to travel a hundred miles south, to darker skies, as to avoid the light pollution coming from Baldwin City.


Oftentimes, I do not have an agenda when I go out to shoot; I'll travel the back roads in search of an interesting composition. Sometimes, they'll fall from the sky and land right in front of me.

I saw this as I was going to pick up my daughter from daycare one afternoon. The sun rays were enormous!

Farmland and grass pastures are abundant in my part of the country. I like to find large, expansive fields to photograph.

Our trip to Texas was met with excitement and a little bit of the unknown, especially for our daughter who had never traveled before. We spent the first few days on South Padre Island and Hannah got to experience the ocean for the first time; priceless. Though the weather wasn't ideal for swimming, leaving for a few weeks from Kansas, in February, is always a good thing. After pretending to be beach bums for a few days, we heading inland, to my mother-in-law's house for a great visit. Our week there was filled with golf cart rides around the community, lots of card games, a little swimming and the best damn tamales I've ever had!

My daughter looks out to the airplane that is about to board.

Sea gull on South Padre Island; photo enhanced by adding a background texture.

Sunrise on the beach with my wife!

If there is no agenda for shooting when I go out, I'll typically end up near Clinton Lake outside of Lawrence, KS. There are many park areas all around the lake to explore. There is a decent sized marina, bike/walking trails, a couple disc golf courses and lots of camp grounds. I've started a list of the different spots I've seen but haven't had the chance to shoot from; there are just too many. The lake is also a great spot for wildlife photography, especially for birders. I do not have a real long lens for this type of shooting, but I make due with what I have. 

A foggy morning near Eagle Bend golf course, which is located at Clinton Lake.

This is one of my favorites from Clinton Lake, not because it is a super-impressive landscape shot or anything, but because of the lesson I learned from it. I got a tip from a well-known photographer to take time to look behind you when you're out on a shoot. I was taking sunrise photos, remembered to look behind me and saw this awesome light covering the lake shore.

Freedom Rings, located on the west side of Clinton Lake

Chicken Creek Bridge, located near Clinton Lake.

I'll end the photos for this post with my two favorite bird shots taken in 2015. Both of these were captured at Clinton Lake with two different cameras. My trusty old Canon photographed the pelican, while my new Sony captured (the heavily cropped) hawk. I love the colors that my Sony produces, but there is something about the simplicity of the pelican shot that makes it my favorite bird photo.

American Pelican

Red-tailed Hawk
And so ends the first half of my 2015 year-in-review post. These photos are not posted in chronological order. Since I didn't take the time to write more often, or at least keep some sort of photo journal, my year end thoughts are kind of all over the place, trying to remember random details. Because I have so many photos I wanted to include in this post, I will be expanding it into two posts. Look out for Part Two, coming up next...