Apr 14 2019

StarSense Auto Align

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...

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Feb 26 2019

Coopers Hawk

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...

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Jan 22 2019

Lunar Eclipse

My experience of the Jan 20th lunar eclipse

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...

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Jan 09 2019

My top 10 images of 2018

A 10 shot collection of my best work in 2018

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...

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Dec 26 2018

Capturing the ISS again

Capturing the ISS again

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...

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Older Posts

Dec 12 2018

15 Years

Celebrating 15 years of photography

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...

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Oct 04 2018

New England Scramble

A quick trip through New England

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...

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Sep 06 2018

Loupedeck+ First Impressions

Loupedeck+ Editing Console

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...

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Jun 01 2018

Chasing a bullet

Catching a lunar ISS transit

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...

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Jan 29 2018

52 Book Challenge - Exhibitions & Adams

Two books while recovering from the flu

I'm keeping up with my reading challenge, but was side tracked by getting the flu which knocked me out for almost a week. During the down time I was able to tear through two books. First up was in preparation...

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Jan 08 2018

52 Book Challenge - Soul of the Camera

Starting my 52 book challenge

Despite not being a fan of New Years resolutions, I have always enjoyed a good long-term photography challenge. I've done a Photo 365, a Photo 52, and a number of other challenges throughout the years. For the 2018 calendar year...

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Dec 31 2017

My top 10 images of 2017

A 10 shot collection of my best work in 2017

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...

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Oct 28 2017

Venice Beach Pier

Watching the sunset on Venice Beach

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...

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Aug 12 2017

The Solar Eclipse

My experience shooting the Solar Eclipse

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,...

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Mar 11 2017

New Telescope Mount

De-forking my Ultima for a new CGEM mount

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...

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Feb 24 2017

Schmidt Cassegrain Maintenance

My Ultima 11" SCT needed a good bath, so I gave it one

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...

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Jan 08 2017

Preparing for the Solar Eclipse

Getting ready for the North American Solar Eclipse on August 21st

On August 21st of this year there will be a full solar eclipse passing over the central United States, with the center line cutting through southern Illinois. Since this will only be a few hours south of me, I will...

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Dec 31 2016

My top 10 images of 2016

A 10 shot collection of my best work in 2016

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...

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Dec 10 2016

My Lightroom workflow

Here are my thoughts after switching to using Lightroom fulltime

I finally made the jump this fall and switched my photography workflow to Lightroom 5 full-time. Since at least 2003 I was using Bridge + Photoshop which I knew was not the most efficient way to do it, but it...

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Dec 05 2016

Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve

First snowfall of the year at Leroy Oakes

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...

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Sep 23 2016

Star Trails - A Success

A successful attempt at star trails

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...

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Aug 18 2016

Star Trails Test Run

My first attempt at shooting star trails

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...

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Jun 07 2016

Arca-Swiss Tripod Mount + L Bracket

Upgrading my Manfrotto with a new Arca-Swiss mount

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....

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May 28 2016

Oregon Travelogue

A travelogue from my quick to Portland, Oregon

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...

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Apr 01 2016

London Travelogue

A travelogue from my quick stop over in London

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...

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Jan 15 2016

My top 10 images of 2015

A 10 shot collection of my best work in 2015

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...

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Nov 08 2015

Leo Carillo Beach

California sunset from Leo Carillo Beach

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...

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Oct 14 2015

A starry night in DeKalb

A rural starscape taken in DeKalb during a New Moon

A few months ago I was heading back from downstate IL when my GPS took me a different route than I was used to, and on the way I stumbled across this old weather-stripped barn on one of the backroads...

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Oct 01 2015

The 20 Year Photo

My journey as a photographer over the last 20 years

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...

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Aug 10 2015

Bigfoot Bandcamp

My shots from the Bigfoot Bandcamp Festival in central IL

This weekend I headed down to Cedar Point IL and had a blast photographing the Bigfoot Bandcamp music festival. If you are looking for a truly unique, laid back and intimate atmosphere, this was the place to be. The festival...

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Jun 27 2015

Morning on the L

A quick snapshot from my iPhone on the L

This weekend I was in the city and had to take the Orange line of the L down to the South Loop and because I didn't plan on doing any shooting, my 5D was packed in my camera bag at...

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Jun 09 2015

Campton Hills Road

From the archives - a night exposure from Campton Hills Road

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....

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May 15 2015

James Thompson Center

Panorama inside the Thompson building

Today on my walk to the train station after work I took a quick detour and randomly stopped into the James Thompson government center on Randolph and Clark in the Loop. It's the kind of place you could walk by...

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Apr 22 2015

Natural Light Portrait

Using natural light for a high-contrast portrait

In most situations nothing beats natural light. This morning I was playing with my daughter in front of our large picture window when I noticed the light fall-off on the side of her face as she gazed outside. I knew...

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Mar 04 2015

Wabash Ave

Scouting the L stop at Wabash & Adams

While downtown I don't typically ride the L, and when I do it's usually work related so I am heading to client offices. Late last year I happened to get off of the brown line at Wabash & Adams where...

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Feb 07 2015

Selective Sharpening

Simple use of high-pass filter with a layer mask to selectively sharpen images

This month has been exclusively shooting portraits of my daughter as we play in the morning, so my portrait editing skills have been getting better and better lately. Here is a sharpening technique that I have been working on recently....

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Dec 19 2014


A quick weekend getaway to beautiful Sedona Arizona

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...

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Dec 09 2014

Week 49 - Sedona Panorama

Nine shot panorama of a large rock formation in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona Arizona panorama9 shot panorama This past weekend was spent down in Sedona Arizona, just a quick trip down to see family and get some quick photos. I had never been down before so I wasn't sure exactly what to...

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Dec 02 2014

Week 48 - Family Portrait Shoot

This weeks photo project was a family portrait session on Masons Island, Stonington Connecticut

Candid portrait1/125th, f/5, ISO100 For our last week on the east coast my wife wanted to do a quick family portrait session for our Christmas cards, needless to say I couldn't say no. We headed down to Mason's Island where...

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Nov 24 2014

Week 47 - Starry Night at Watch Hill

A trek out to Watch Hill for some stargazing for this weeks photo project

Starry night at Watch Hill15s, f/4, ISO4000 This weeks shot is one I have had in my head for a number of years. I've always wanted to capture a sandy beach with the tall grass and slat fence, but I...

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Nov 16 2014

Week 46 - Sunset at Masons Island

This week I headed down to Masons Island in Stonington to capture a serene fall sunset

Sunset on Mason's Island8s, f/22, ISO50 Being out in Connecticut, specifically right down on the coast, one thing we get here is spectacular sunsets. I have been going out every few days and photographing the sun as it dips below...

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Nov 08 2014

Week 45 - Mystic River Bascule Bridge

Morning in downtown Mystic, Connecticut, watching the sunrise at the Mystic River Bascule Bridge

Mystic River Bascule Bridge - 5 shot panorama I have always wanted to photograph one of my childhood favorites - the Mystic River bascule bridge - and since we are staying in Connecticut for the month I finally have the...

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Oct 28 2014

Week 43 - Fall Panorama

This weeks project was taken during a company retreat to Eagle Ridge in Galena IL

Three image stitched panorama This weeks photo was taken from a hiking trail overlooking Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena, IL. My company held a corporate retreat over the weekend, so I had to bring along my camera gear to capture...

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Oct 10 2014

Week 41 - Off Camera Flash

Simple one-light on a softbox portrait with my beautiful daughter produced some wonderful results

Off camera flash & 24" softbox1/160th, f/2.8, ISO1250 Obviously I have been rather busy the past six weeks, although I would never complain about the work. The baby has been growing like crazy and things are going very well. While...

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Oct 01 2014

Phottix Ares Trigger

Quick review for a pair of Phottix Ares Wireless Triggers I purchased recently

Phottix Ares Wireless Transmitter So a year or two ago I started playing around with off-camera flash, and knowing I couldn't afford a set of Pocket Wizards I went down to a local camera store and picked up a cheap...

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Sep 06 2014

Week 36 - Alison Noel

Alison Noel1/50th, f/2.8, ISO1600 Last week was rather hectic, and now I am proud to post why: I am proud to introduce Alison Noel. My wife and I welcomed her into the world August 30th at 11:05am. After an amazing...

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Aug 26 2014

Week 34 - Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels Band - CD & Me August 22nd1/250th, f/2.8, ISO3200 This week proved that you can't give up and hard work eventually pays off. I have been reaching out to bands, venues, and promoters trying to get into a...

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Aug 19 2014

Week 33 - Kodiak

Kodiak Last week I went out with Kodiak, a local folk trio who just love playing music. They asked to go out and get a few promo shots, as well as some fun candids of them playing. We walked down...

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Aug 15 2014

NMOS14 - Chicago

Last night a rally was held at Daley Plaza here in Chicago to show solidarity with the people of Ferguson, MO. The demonstration centered around a moment of silence at 6:20pm. Here are some of my photographs presented without comment....

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Aug 12 2014

Week 32 - Porsche Speedster

Porsche Speedster1/100, f/2.8, ISO400 This week my father and I finally got around to pulling his Porsche Speedster replica out of the back of the garage, blowing off the dust and firing it up. We spent the afternoon tinkering around...

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Aug 11 2014

Rolliflex Kit

Recesky 35mm TLR Camera Kit I've always wanted an original Rolliflex Twin Lens Reflex camera but could never pull the trigger due to the cost of one in good condition. I was poking around Amazon a few weeks ago and...

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Aug 04 2014

Week 31 - Meadow Saxifrage

Meadow Saxifrage1/125, f/2.8, ISO50 This week I wanted to mix it up a little bit and try practicing macro work again. Years ago I bought a Quantaray 50mm macro, and from time to time I like to photograph flowers and...

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Jul 28 2014

Week 30 - Millenium Park Busts

Head Sculptures, Millenium Park3.2s, f/8, ISO50 This week I headed back down to Millenium Park in the heart of the Loop to check out a new art installation just across the pavilion with The Bean. Artist Jaume Plensa has created...

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Jul 22 2014

Week 29 - Archways

A few months ago while working at a client's office downtown, I used to go for walks at lunch to explore the neighborhood and one day stumbled across Mary Bartelme Park. Located just west of the loop it's a wonderful...

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Jul 17 2014

Week 28 - Sears Tower

July 14th - Sears Tower skyboxes1/400, f/9, ISO100 No matter what I do I can't stop taking photos of the Sears Tower, I've probably surpassed the thousand mark a while ago. It doesn't help that I work just a few...

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Jul 05 2014

Week 27 - Fireworks

July 5th - Fireworks with the family5s, f/5.6, ISO1000 I already wrote a long post about my 4th of July weekend, so I want to keep this one brief. I selected another shot from our family fireworks display in Indiana...

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Jul 05 2014

Fourth Of July

Another great 4th of July is now in the books. My wife and I were again lucky enough to watch the Chicago fireworks over Navy Pier from a high rise on Lake Shore Drive. It's a large building of condominiums...

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Jun 29 2014

Week 26 - Bald Eagle

June 29th - Adult Bald Eagle1/320, f/4.5, ISO100 Taking a break from cityscapes and architecture, this week I packed up my gear and headed back out into nature. A friend and I went out for a morning shoot around the...

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Jun 27 2014

Week 25 - Manhattan

June 19th - Manhattan80s, f/9, ISO400 This weeks Photo52 challenge was, obviously, taken during my trip to NYC last weekend. This shot was from the first night down in Brooklyn, just across from the southern tip of Manhattan. Brooklyn Bridge...

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Jun 23 2014

Weekend in New York

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...

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Jun 16 2014

Week 24 - Union Station

June 16th - Union Station1/30, f/8, ISO160 Since I have found it difficult to keep up with the Photo52 project over the past few weeks I have been using my iPhone to try to get at least a photo a...

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May 30 2014

Map Room, Chicago

Map Room, Chicago1/125, f/5.0, ISO1000

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May 29 2014

Week 22 - Chicago Sunset

May 29th - Chicago Sunset1/160, f/8, ISO50 Well, after a long hiatus I am finally back into the swing of things. Lately we have been getting some spectacular sunsets here in Chicago so I decided to head out and see...

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Apr 24 2014

Canon 70-300mm IS L

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Canon 70-300mm IS L lens to play around with, and I had to share my initial impressions. I took a quick trip down to Navy Pier to play around with...

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Mar 06 2014

The Exposure Triangle

This past Friday I gave a 5 minute lightning talk at my work about the basics of photography and how you can get out of Auto mode. Instead of sharing the slides I want to expand on the talk I...

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Feb 24 2014

Week 8 - Chicago By Train

February 24th - Chicago By Train1/100, f/16, ISO100 I have been taking a series of photos during my morning commute into the city from the train, and this weeks entry is my favorite from the past few days. While very...

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Feb 17 2014

Week 7 - Snowy Bean

February 17th - The Bean1/250, f/5, ISO160 I love to take photos nobody else has or would, which means putting myself through some uncomfortable situations at times. When another 5-8 inches of snow was forecast I saw a great opportunity...

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Feb 09 2014

Week 6 - Bald Eagle

February 9th - Juvenile Bald Eagle1/2000, f/6, ISO2000 My trek in week 6 was spent along the frozen banks of the Fox River in Montgomery, IL. Bald Eagles have made a reappearance along the Fox in recent years, coming to...

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Jan 29 2014

Week 5 - Pritzker Pavilion

January 29th - Pritzker Pavilion10s, f/9, ISO50 Another chilly evening in Chicago, but this time I went down to Millenium Park. While there are ropes around Pritzker Pavilion I didn't feel too bad stepping over since there were already tracks...

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Jan 24 2014

Week 4 - Wrigley Building

January 24th - Wrigley Building13s, f/10, ISO50 While trying to determine my next lens purchase I decided to rent Canon's 17-40mm f/4 wide-angle zoom lens this week to test it out in the field. I went for an extremely cold...

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Jan 15 2014

Week 3 - Picasso

January 15th - Picasso15s, f/13, ISO100 Week 3 was the coldest photo I think I have taken in a long time due to the fact that we are in the middle of another cold snap in Chicago. Despite the weather...

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Jan 13 2014

Week 2 - Sears Tower

January 13th - Sears Tower60s, f/20, ISO100 This week I ventured out after work to one of my all time favorite Chicago subjects, The Sears Tower. I love how every angle presents a different look at the tower allowing you...

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Jan 07 2014

Sears Tower Sunburst

As previously mentioned I have recently been taking a few photos every morning during my commute into the city trying to get a certain shot which I haven't posted until now. The window to get the shot was literally around...

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Jan 05 2014

Photo 365 Review

Here are my 12 'Photo of the Month' selections for my Photo365 Challenge in 2013. Looking back at the selections I realize only February and August were roughly planned shots taken when I specifically went out for a shoot, otherwise...

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Jan 03 2014

Week 1 - Watertower

January 3rd - Forest Park Watertower1/1000, f/5.6, ISO100 Week 1 was a continuation of my series of silhouette shots I was getting from my train ride into the city every morning. My primary goal was the Sears Tower shot I...

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Jan 01 2014

Hello 2014!

What a busy year it's been and yet I know for certain that 2014 will be even busier. In 2013 I got to travel a bit - London for a week and San Fransisco for a few days, I finished...

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Dec 10 2013

Why I Don't Machine Gun

Over the weekend read an article on some random photo site about bad habits photographers make. I won't cite the article because when I went back to find it, it popped up word for word on 3 different sites so...

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Oct 28 2013

Nine Months With The Kata Bag

It has been over nine months since I bought my Kata 3N1-33 Sling Backpack so lets take a look at the bag and how it's held up through daily usage so far... Kata 3N1-33 Sling Backpack Initially I made the...

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Sep 10 2013

Hofner Guitars Used My Photo

Over the weekend I got to shoot Just Enuff playing the Monee Fall Festival, and had a great time. I provided the band with the best photos from the day which they used on their site and their Facebook page....

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Aug 30 2013

Retiring The EOS 10D

Back in June I finally retired my first digital SLR - an extremely trustworthy Canon EOS 10D which I purchased brand-new in the summer of 2003. Despite being so old, I continued to shoot with the 6.3MP crop-sensor DSLR when...

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Aug 07 2013

Parade Of Sails

The Parade Of Sail encounters a sudden downpour, from Navy Pier Chicago.1/320, f/5.6, ISO100 A sudden downpour came in during the parade of sails in Chicago, but that didn't ruin our day. More photos to come. Update: I was contacted...

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Apr 20 2013

Quick Tip

Here's a quick and free tip for cable organization - take those toilet paper tubes that you usually throw away and use them to keep your camera bag cables from tangling up. I always carry a USB sync cable and...

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Dec 30 2012

Practice Swapping Lenses

Any craftsman will practice his skills, working on them over and over. Any photographer worth their salt will practice not only taking photos, but working with their equipment as well. I have seen on many blogs posts talking about swapping...

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Dec 30 2011

Whats In The Bag? Black Rapid RS 7

The newest addition to my setup is a brand new Black Rapid RS-7 sling camera strap. Prior to finding this one under the Christmas tree this year I was using a homemade setup that consisted of a guitar strap secured...

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Dec 27 2011

Quote - Ira Glass

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......

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