astrophotography

StarSense Auto Align

14 Apr

My initial impressions of the Celestron StarSense Auto Align Camera I've been looking into options for improving my polar alignment and tracking during astrophotography, so as a first step I decided to get a Celestron StarSense Auto Align camera. I didn't want to jump all the way to a full auto-guide camera + laptop, so I figured this would be...

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Coopers Hawk

26 Feb

Warning: The following images are slightly graphic, if you feel some nature photos are upsetting then you may want to skip this post. So last weekend my wife and I were cleaning the house and doing our usual routine when all of a sudden she gasped and told me to look out the back window. She said a giant bird...

astrophotography

Lunar Eclipse

22 Jan

This past weekend I was able to get out and somewhat enjoy the most recent total lunar eclipse. Despite my better judgement knowing that it was going to be in the single digits I packed up my gear and headed down to Peck Farm Park in Geneva where the Fox Valley Astronomical Society was hosting a viewing party. I've been...

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My top 10 images of 2018

09 Jan

It's become a tradition that at the end of every calendar year I look back and choose the top 10 photographs I have taken over the past twelve months. While it certainly hasn't been one of my more active years I did create some of my best work. To find my top shots I create a smart gallery in Lightroom...

astrophotography

Capturing the ISS again

26 Dec

Back in June I was able to photograph the ISS transiting the moon for the first time, and while I was generally happy with it, I knew I could do better. So ever since I have been keeping an eye on transit-finder.com to see when I could get another chance to try again. Just a few days before Christmas I...

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15 Years

12 Dec

Exactly fifteen years ago, on December 12th, 2003, I launched Gorilla-Studios Photography as my online photography portfolio. I had been shooting since the mid 1990's, but had not gotten serious about my work until August of 2003. It was then that I purchased a 6.1MP Canon EOS 10D DSLR and fell in love with photography. I have been lucky enough...

travelogue

New England Scramble

04 Oct

I was in Boston this past weekend for work and had a little bit of time to explore afterwards. I've had the Portland Head Light on my photography bucket list for years, so I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity. Also since the fall colors were just starting to pop I jumped in the car and headed up to...

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Loupedeck+ First Impressions

06 Sep

I've had my eye on the Loupedeck console for quite some time so last week I finally pulled the trigger and ordered their new + version. It was originally a Kickstarter project designed for editing photos in Lightroom using dedicated physical buttons, dials, and sliders. Recently Loupedeck released an updated version called the Loupedeck+. The console works with Lightroom Classic...

astrophotography

Chasing a bullet

01 Jun

For as long as I can remember I've always been fascinated by everything to do with space. Recently, I tore through Mike Massimino's book Spaceman and now am reading The Interstellar Age, which is about NASA's Voyager 1 & 2 missions. My daughter delights in watching Commander Chris Hadfield's videos from the International Space Station so much that we've seen...

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My top 10 images of 2017

31 Dec

Another year has come and gone which means again it's time to look back and choose my best shots from the 2017 calendar year. I've done this exercise for the past few years and find it to be a wonderful learning experience as well as extremely rewarding. To find my best work I have a smart gallery in Lightroom to...

travelogue

Venice Beach Pier

28 Oct

Once a year I head out to Los Angeles for work, and if possible I take an evening to take the camera out somewhere new. In 2015 I drove up to Leo Carillo Beach, last year I went for a photo walk around downtown, and this year I planned on heading down to Venice Beach to watch the sunset at...

astrophotography

The Solar Eclipse

12 Aug

The North American Solar Eclipse has been on my calendar for about two years, so now that it's past I am incredibly relieved everything went smoothly. The long build up allowed me to be as ready as I could be, however nothing could have prepared me for actually experiencing it first hand. I had mapped out where we were going...

astrophotography

New Telescope Mount

11 Mar

My Celestron Ultima 11" Schmidt Cassegrain telescope was originally built in 1995, and while the optical tube was in great shape, the original fork mount was getting pretty out-dated. It was difficult to assemble and almost unmanageable by one person alone. On top of that, it only had a simple clock drive for star tracking. While thats fine for basic...

astrophotography

Schmidt Cassegrain Maintenance

24 Feb

After impatiently waiting a month for clear skies I finally got my 'new' Celestron Ultima 11" Schmidt Cassegrain out for a test run. I couldn't get tack sharp focus so I knew a collimation was in order and looking closely at the corrector plate I found some mold or mildew had built up on the inside of the glass. This...

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My top 10 images of 2016

31 Dec

I am continuing my tradition of taking the end of the year to review my photographs over the last 365 days and create a selection of 10 images that represent my best work over that time period. This year was mostly focused on family and work so I didn't get the chance to shoot as much as possible, but I...

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Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve

05 Dec

Northern Illinois got it's first snow of the season when a few inches came down just before lunch yesterday. I hadn't taken the camera out for a while so I decided to head over to Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve here in St. Charles to see if I could capture some of the magic. It's a wonderful park just west of...

astrophotography

Star Trails - A Success

23 Sep

Last month I went out and performed a test run for shooting star trails. It was a wonderful learning experience and despite the full moon along with the clouds rolling in halfway through I felt the end result was a great start. Star trails test run Taking a few reminder notes I checked the calendar for the next new moon...

astrophotography

Star Trails Test Run

18 Aug

Last week a number of people started messaging me on the 11th asking if I was going to go out that night and shoot the Perseid Meteor Shower which was forecasted to have the most activity in recent history. I hadn't planned on it but after humming and hawing for a minute I decided to get my gear together and...

gear

Arca-Swiss Tripod Mount + L Bracket

07 Jun

During my recent trip to Portland the quick release plate on my Manfrotto ball head malfunctioned - the pin that holds the release lever open and ready for the camera to mount seized shut, meaning the latch doesn't stay open. Im pretty sure the combination of salty air and a small amount of sea water are the culprit. After a...

travelogue

Oregon Travelogue

28 May

Last week I flew out to Portland Oregon to attend the WebVisions design conference and while I was there I had some free time to explore. Scouring Google Maps and various online resources I put together a small list of places I wanted to see and things to shoot. On my list were Cannon Beach, Saddle Mountain, Pittock Mansion, and...

travelogue

London Travelogue

01 Apr

This past week I flew over to London for work and while I was there I had a few nights to go out and explore a bit. I fly out of O'Hare airport and knowing this I have a good idea as to what the flight path will be. With this knowledge I try to get a window seat on...

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My top 10 images of 2015

15 Jan

After dragging my feet for a long time I decided that 2016 would be the year I took the plunge and switched my workflow over to Adobe Lightroom. Inspired by Martin Bailey's Photography Blogcast, I kicked things off by following a yearly tradition where he goes through and shares his top 10 images from the last calendar year. This is...

travelogue

Leo Carillo Beach

08 Nov

This past weekend I flew out to Los Angeles for a conference, and had a small amount of free time the night before so I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Leo Carillo State Beach. Having scouted this location on Google Maps weeks before flying out I had a very good idea of the shots I wanted to get,...

astrophotography

The 20 Year Photo

01 Oct

The first time I picked up an SLR camera was some time in early 1995. To this day I can't really explain what drew me to photography, but I think it has to do with the intersection between art and technology. I was fascinated at how this bulky metal box stuffed with a mirror, prism, mechanical shutter, and a little...

photo

Campton Hills Road

09 Jun

Over the past few weeks I have been cataloging all my photos on my website in order to dynamically create galleries sorted by category, and in doing so I have dug up quote a few old photographs from my archive. This photo was taken back in 2006 on my trusty old EOS 10D - a 6.1MP DSLR that I bought...

travelogue

Sedona

19 Dec

1/500th, f/8, ISO100 In early December we flew out to visit family down in Sedona, Arizona, where I have never actually been before. I have heard lots of great things about the landscape out there, especially the rock formations and valleys surrounding Sedona proper. We would only be there for a few days, but I wanted to try to get...

travelogue

Weekend in New York

23 Jun

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to NYC for Generate Conference, a Web Design gathering in the heart of Manhattan. Of course I jumped at the chance and spent all my free time exploring the city with my new 5D MkIII. After a long weekend I am exhausted but heading home with full memory cards and some...

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Quote - Ira Glass

27 Dec

I am reading The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great by Steve Simon and came across a quote from Ira Glass about honing your skills that I had heard a few years ago which hit me like a truck... "You've got to get rid of a lot of crap before you're going to get anything that's special. You don't...