Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Big Giveaway!

I promised to give a print away after hitting 2000+ fans on facebook.
Now with the help of ThinkTank Photo,  I am giving away a free ThinkTank Photo CityWalker 20 Blue/Slate Messenger bag with the 20×30 print of my image “4 Minutes at Temperance”. $325 combined value.
Enter to win on Facebook here –

**fine print - I am an affiliate with ThinkTank Photo. Clicking on a link on this website and making a purchase on ThinkTank's   website results in me receiving a small percentage of the transaction. This doesn't affect your purchase price in any way.


November 2012 Desktop Wallpaper

My November 2012 Desktop Wallpaper is ready for download and as usual it is offered for free.
This is the Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Check it out by clicking the image below.

Ragin’ Rivers and Creeks

I spent some time this weekend, exploring some local creeks and rivers.
With the amount of rain we have received over the past week, the streams are
really flowing .
Here are a few images, two from Kingsbury Creek and one from Jay Cooke.

Prints may be purchased here.

Film Elitists, Chill Out…

It’s funny how EVERY style of film distorts reality.
Some films add high contrast, some over-saturate, some create subdued colors and some even remove all color, GASP!!.
Every image lies to some degree whether it was shot with an 8×10 field camera or a Digital SLR or even an Iphone with a processing app (OMG, not a camera phone!!!!).
Yet, elitist film shooters feel their medium is best, it’s pure, but I have news, it’s not. Not even close. It may be YOUR preferred medium, but it isn’t the best and it isn’t pure.
You still process it to some degree, whether it’s in the darkroom or by scanning the negative and tweaking it in Photoshop, GimP, or whatever program you choose.
So, get off your high horses and relax a bit when your cousin’s father’s mother’s daughter takes a photo with their camera phone and processes it with an app.

The moral to this is that you should use the medium that suits you best. Maybe that’s film, maybe it’s digital or maybe it’s your phone. Hell, maybe it’s all three and a bread truck that was custom made to shoot Massive wet plates, like Ian Ruhter Photography is doing. (
Whatever you choose, try not to be so snobby about it and open up your eyes to what is happening around you.

How This Shot Was Made – Mixing City Lights With Ambient

There is a brief window, just before sunrise and just after sunset where city lights and ambient light mix together to make colorful and interesting images.
In the case of this image, I wanted to shoot it after sunset when the huge Bentleyville Christmas display was completely lit up in front of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.
I arrived right around sunset and waited for the park lights to turn on. I wanted them to turn on while there was still a little bit of ambient light left so I would still see some definition in the clouds. Luckily on this night, there was a near full moon directly overhead which added an awesome spotlight effect.

Just after sunset and you can see the light was pretty flat and boring. This is where you might pack it up and head home. But, sometimes it pays to wait.

5-10 minutes later and the color is getting a little better. The city lights are starting to come on and are adding some
interesting elements, but the overall scene is still fairly boring.

5 minutes more and the color is getting better and more city lights are coming on.

Another 5 minutes passes and everything is starting to jive, the city lights are looking great and mixing well
with the ambient light.

Another few minutes pass and everything is getting dialed in, the city lights are looking pretty awesome with the
glow of the remaining ambient light. You can still see some detail in the sky. Now  if only they would they would light
up the park before the last bit of ambient light is gone…

Then a couple minutes later, the park lights up, there is still a bit of ambient light allowing a faint view of the clouds
on the horizon and the 3/4 full moon shines down like a spotlight on the Aerial Lift Bridge Bridge and Lake Superior
adding a bit of drama to the scene.

If I had packed it up and went home just after sunset I would have missed the best light of the day. Something to
think about next time you are out shooting. Even if you aren’t anywhere near city lights, the afterglow can leave you
with some amazing light to shoot with. When you see other photographers packing it up after seeing a nice sunset,
stick around for another 30 minutes, you might be surprised at what you see.

A Tripod, Cable Release and a 70-200mm Lens were used to make this shot.
Tech details are embedded for all images.
The last image was captured with the following settings – F/11 – 13 seconds – ISO160

Also posted in How To, Lake Superior, Landscape, tutorial, Winter

2011 – A Photographic Year in Review

2011 was an amazing year for me. I had three trip opportunities arise and rather than worry that I didn’t have the money or that I could use the money for other things, like paying off bills sooner, I seized the opportunities. This year “tomorrow isn’t promised” really hit home when several people I knew passed away and my father had a heart attack (he is doing great now). I decided that I wasn’t going to make excuses anymore and I was going to make the effort to actually go on a trip when the opportunity comes up in the future.
In March, I traveled to The Southwest with fellow outdoor photographers Jeff Swanson and Lonnie Shull. We visited Zion national Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
Several months later, Jeff Swanson invited me along on an epic trip he had planned. I packed my suitcase with some clothes, a sleeping bag, a tent and I caught a plane to Oakland, CA. We drove from Oakland to as far north as Mt. St. Helens in Washington. We spent the majority of our time in the Columbia River Gorge, but also made overnight stops at Crater Lake, Sparks Lake, Proxy Falls, and a few others. All in all we put on approximately 2400 miles.
My last trip brought me to Rhode Island in the fall for‘s NSOPgiving annual party. I spend a fair amount of time on NSOP’s online photo forum and have come to know many of the people on that site pretty well. I stayed with Ben Jacobsen (the owner of NSOP) and his family. I got an awesome tour of Rhode Island, was able to photograph a couple sunrises on the Atlantic ocean with Ben Jacobsen, Jeff Swanson, David Simms, Will Strauss, and Josh Sweeney. I ate amazing food and drank some terrific beers while meeting and talking to a lot of talented photographers and Ken Gilbert (he’s a real hack…  😉
All in all, this year was pretty epic photographically for me. I managed to get photos all over the U.S. and I even captured some of my best work on lake Superior.
Here are a bunch of my favorite photos from this past year.

I hope you all have a wonderful year in 2012, take lots of photos and seize the moment whenever you get a chance.

Thanks for reading this post, looking at my photos and your overall support,
– Shawn


My Photography Equipment List

Often I am asked “What gear do you use?”
I thought I would compile a list with links here on my blog for others to use as a reference.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40mm F/4  Ultra Wide Angle Lens

Canon 70-200mm F/4 Telephoto Lens

Canon 85mm F/1.8 EF USM Prime lens

Bogen/Manfrotto 190xprob Tripod Legs

Bogen/Manfrotto 488rc4 Ballhead

Converted to Arca Swiss Mount to accommodate a Kirk L Bracket

Follow this LINK to read up and see examples of the filters listed below.

HiTech 3 stop 4×5 Hard Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter

HiTech 3 stop 4×5 Soft Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter

HiTech 2 stop 4×5 Hard Edge graduated Neutral Density Filter

HiTech 2 Stop 4×5 Soft Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter

B+W #110 77mm 10 Stop Solid Neutral Density Filter

Adorama Slinger 4×5 Filter Pouch

Hoya 77mm 3 stop Solid Neutral Density Filter

Sigma 77mm EX DG Slim Multi-Coated Circular Polarizing Filter

Canon Shutter Release Cable

Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack

ThinkTank Streetwalker Backpack

3M Micro Fiber Towels for Lens Cleaning

Small LED Flashlight

Sandisk Compact Flash Cards

Transcend Flash Cards

Sunrise/Set App for iPhone

**disclaimer – I do have an affiliate program setup and will receive a small percentage of any purchase made through these links. All links point to the TOP, Most reliable retailers in the industry. All of the gear listed above is the gear that I use on a daily basis. If you choose to click through and make your purchase, I thank you. If you would rather not, I completely understand and want to thank you for looking at my list.


Fall Hiking in My Backyard

The other day I took a short hike behind my house up Kingsbury Creek to I-35 and back down. The water flow was really low so I decided to look for some detail shots and abstract images. Here are a couple shots I came home with.


Highlights from 2010 – A Year of imagery

I went through and picked out my favorite images from 2010 and put them into one post so you could see them all at a quick glance.
I hope you enjoy looking at these images and may you have an amazing year in 2011.

I discovered this image that I originally captured in 2006 and never processed until this year.

I shot this image in 2008 and originally processed it in Black and White and in 2010 I re-processed it for color.

This image was originally captured and processed in 2007 and I re-processed it in 2010 using the techniques I have learned over the past few years.

Re-Processed an Old Image

Last night I was going through old images and came across an old favorite of mine. An image named “Shattered” that I captured on the St. Louis river in Billings Park, Superior, Wi on 11-25-2007
This shot stands out for me because it is one of the first images I took that I think was a Keeper, a printable image. It was also the first time “exposing to the right” clicked in my head.

I used the processing techniques I have learned since 2007 and used them to re-process this shot from the original RAW file.

Adjusting White balance, tweaking curves, pumping clarity into the ice and contrast adjustments really made this stand out over the old processing in my opinion. I may have to go over some of my other images from years past and see if they can be improved as well.

Here is the image, old and new.

Click the image below to see the clear,  higher resolution image.

You can buy a print of the newly processed image here.