This set of images is from the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. We went with another family to the indoor water park in Dubuque last winter. The museum was next to our hotel. When you’re hauling around a couple of three year olds, they make for great photographic subjects, but it’s tough to exercise those other photographic muscles sometimes. So when we spotted this guy in his tank doing his thing, we knew that we’d be coming back during nap time.

Many photographers wait for that one week during the year that they take a photo trip or go on a workshop. Or they don’t put the effort into a shot unless they’re at Arches National Park. But you can find amazing subjects all around you. In this case, I was drawn to the colors in the room, the lines of the hand rails, and, of course, the presence of “Oscar” the Octopus.

Today’s technology allows you to get shots that you would not have been able to capture 10 years ago. These images were all taken at ISO 6400. And the reason they have the pop that they do is through HDR software and Nik plugins. Some people may say that you’re cheating using this software, but without it, it would be very difficult to convey the feeling of this amazing creature through photography.

Don’t wait for that trip to Moab. Get out there this weekend and look for that subject to turn into your own “masterpiece”. And if you’re looking for a little push in the right direction, don’t forget that I will be leading a walk tomorrow where you will have plenty of opportunities to work your magic. You can sign up at the Best of Chicago Walking Tour page






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When I’m not staying up all night figuring out the details of our next Out of Chicago Conference, you’ll find me at the park with our son and daughter, playing my guitar, out on the golf course, or following my favorite (Detroit) sports teams. I love Chicago, but I’ll always root for my Tigers, Red Wings, Lions, Michigan sports, and Pistons.

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