Red Sky in Morning

“Man starts over again everyday, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.”

  • Emil Cioran

I was at work yesterday January 30th and was setting things up and going through photos and I had opened up the blinds and saw this hint of red as the sun was starting to rise. I was hoping that the clouds and sun would be in the right position. I could not go far as I was on duty at the ambulance. So knowing and paying attention to your surroundings and remembering where there are interesting things to incorporate in your photographs. A bit of corn stubble, some distant trees, snow, and some rolling clouds come together for this image. There is a nice red glow that reflected off the snow and the corn stubble on the ground giving it a tinge of pink.

It was as if the sky was on fire, the colors getting more bold and brilliant with each passing minute. The nice thing is that I have a locking timer, set the focus manually, and lock the release button and it will keep going. Of course aiming and focusing and setting the camera and periodically checking it as it is firing is all important.  The image finds me and I just capture it. I saw several posts yesterday about the red sky. As a child my old Neighbor John, who was kind of a grandpa figure, always said Red sky in morning sailors take warning. When I would ask him what that means, he would just say bad weather, rain, storms, danger were all potential for the day. I hardly paid attention to it until I got older and remembered the other part of that statement he would make. Red Sky at night, sailors delight. Meaning fair weather ahead he would say or sit back and watch the sun set. Something I did quite a bit with him over the years. I blame him for me being a Cubs fan by the way, and would not have it any other way. Enjoy the sunrises as much as the sunsets and stop and find the beauty in the every day.




Starry Night

“No sight that human eyes can look upon is more provocative of awe than is the night sky scattered thick with stars.”

  • Llewelyn Powys

This time of year is so great for photographing the night sky. The air is crisp and clear and allows more stars to show through on a moonless night. Unfortunately this time of year has been colder than ever which requires more preparation, quite a bit more. Batteries have to be fully charged, lenses need to be cleaned, layers have to be worn, LOTS of layers, tripod has to be ready, and camera needs to be set with locking settable timer attached to do photographs that require the bulb setting or exposures longer than 30 seconds.

I settled on this old barn and homestead that is falling into disrepair and got out and set up. The house is all falling in and the barn leans and every photographer knows, you always need interesting foreground to go with your interesting background. I was inspired to do another night photo after the results I received from the photo taken over the river the night before. Something not as dramatic yet still inspiring at least for me. I have to set up a photo trek this summer to a certified dark sky area on a moonless night so I can get the Milky Way in some photos. More research on that, and I am thinking with my photo of the day project, the chances of it happening are pretty high this year.

I love looking at this photo and checking out the various constellations that are visible, various Zodiacs, Orion, even Jupiter is on display. Night photography is something I rarely ever did. Digital has made it all so much easier. If you know the difference between F11 and 30 second exposure and F11 and 60 or even 90 second exposures, you got it all figured out. I also Could have shot these at F4 for about 8 seconds. Or F2.8 for about 4 seconds. Figure that out and you have learned something today! Enjoy!


The River

“Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.”

  • Mortimer Adler

I always look at the Riverfront area for our town as I am crossing the Bridge.  There is quite a bit of history in the blink of the eye that Hennepin has been in existence. History that includes Lincoln, an underground railroad stop, industry, trade, and hunting to name a few. The river has played a vital part in the history of countless cities and towns throughout history. Feeding us, watering us, providing a means of travel and trade and not to mention recreation.

Yesterday on the way home from a meeting in Princeton with Doc, I remarked at all the tow boats on the river in here in Hennepin, we counted 8, all seemed to be working on a frigid river. We both commented at almost the same time about it being to cold for that. Yet there they were tow boats pushing lines of barges up and down the Illinois River. I soon forgot about it and went on my way, meetings, lunch, working on cleaning my room. Which is something I do not like to do nor have ever liked to do, but realize it is WAY past time. People would think I was a pig if they saw the current state of my room.

Last night at yet another meeting, I commented to a fellow firefighter who works on the river providing some of the land based services those guys really need. I told Frank about all the tow boats we saw earlier in the day, and he mentioned that he thought they all stopped for fresh water among other things. He also mentioned that some of them were still out there working even now. Too cold for me I said and the conversation moved on. As I walked out of the station after the meeting and looked up at a moonless sky and the stars and remembering my photo of the day that I had not taken and it suddenly hit me as to what to photograph.

I grabbed a camera, an appropriate lens, set it up as closely as I thought I would need for the picture, bundled up, and headed out of the house. I drove to the I-180 river bridge, made the turn around and thankfully traffic was very light. I stopped on the bridge, set the flashers, wrapped the strap tightly around my wrist, set it on the guardrail and fired off the first shot. Digital has made it easy to correct on the fly with the preview screen and I made a correction and fired off another shot. A couple more and I was in my car and back on my way home. I did not want to linger on the bridge to long.

I am happy with the results of my inspiration, a starry night, ice, snow, a long exposure and a working river all came together for what you see here.Quentin-365-1

Sun Dogs…

“Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how blessed you are. Complaining won’t change the outcome, but a positive attitude will. Life is too short to spend at war with yourself. Practice acceptance and forgiveness. Don’t let dumb little things break your happiness.”

  • Melchor Lim

I am hoping to get this figured out so that my posts of the day are posted by a certain time of the morning the day after they are taken. It is hard to believe 28 days have elapsed with this project, although still a long long way to go. There are no clouds in this, it is all snow blown up by the wind. It was cold, freezing cold and the wind was brutal. The sun dogs are minimal but present, but it was all the textures that caught my eye in this image. Textures provided by wind and plow and highlighted by the low winter sun.

I do love this area, as I was stopped taking this photo, and due to the snow, unable to pull completely off the road, I had several people stop to ask if I needed help not realizing that I was taking photos. They smiled and moved on and I thanked them for their concern. That is why I love to live here, people care about their neighbors, about strangers, about those in need.

This to me is not anything spectacular as far as photos go, but it reminded me of the wonderful giving nature of the people in this area. Enjoy!Quentin-365-1


“I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing.”

  • Johnny Carson

I am pretty sure every photographer from the Midwest has a barn photo of some type somewhere. This past fall I had the perfecta of barns for a senior photos. I think almost all of the High School Seniors I photographed had a barn of some type as a background. I do love the textures and faded colors and rustic Americana of them. Maybe because I am from the Midwest and it has been such a common theme. They dot the landscape, their placement seems almost sporadic and happenstance. Clustered at times with the farmhouse, at times standing alone and proud on an empty road, faded with the memory of a thousand seasons. They stand strong against the wind, and rain, fed the masses, sheltered any and all and have a mysticism that is all their own.

I am saddened when I see a barn that has fallen into disrepair or destroyed by any means. I cringe at the cheap ugly metal boxes we build in their place so utilitarian and so just blah. Back in the day Craftsmen built barns and they built them all by hand. They were built strong and of solid wood and stone. It is why I prefer to live in my drafty old house that was built by the same kind of craftsmen, although it was not built to hold all the things we accumulate these days. We have a few weight issues with all the “furniture”.  This house has dovetails and pegs and notches and oddly few nails. Oh and actual dimensional lumber. Sometimes I hate this house and the trouble it brings when doing work on it. But I am reminded part of it is around 170 years, another part is around 150 yrs old, a third addition is about 100 years old, and there is even a fourth addition that is about 60 years old. That last one was when they added that fancy indoor plumbing to the house.

I look at this house as I look at the barns, and see the stories, and hear the history whispering in the creaks and groans and all I can think to do is be happy I like my house and promise to preserve it!



We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

  • Native American Proverb

I say icy because it was icy in spots on my hike. Steps, trails, water, the ice was everywhere. I have never hiked in this area in winter. It was too mild the last few years, or it was closed for hunting or there were a million reasons. I spent 3 hours hiking, it was cold, it was sunny, but most of all it was peaceful. Hardly anyone until the end when some kids improperly dressed for the weather and carrying on ruined the serenity. I was dressed warm enough and once I got going, there were times I was too warm.

I took way to many photos. One of those times that had I been shooting film I would be sending it off in batches to save money. Digital has made a world of difference. I try to shoot as I remember, from my film days, setting to over-expose here and under-expose there. Look at the image on the screen and then adjust and shoot. If you have to check the screen after every shot, you do not have confidence in your ability and you need to practice some more. And while I shot a little over 200 images, I could have fired off 10 times that and thought nothing of it. Except the editing part, that is why I am doing this project. Do better by relearning and concentrating on better images, saving time and becoming a better photographer.

I kept going back to this image, in the distance there are some hikers, and the play of light and footsteps on the snow just seemed like a great combination showing you all that the area has to offer, inviting you in and making you want to wander around. Three hours hiking and the image I kept going back to is this one I took at the very end of my hike before I headed back up that huge ass staircase and to my car to come home. You know I also thought of all the talk of sand mining and just wondered how you could want to destroy a place like this. That is all I am going to say about that. The scenery we have in our backyard is breathtaking. Take time and enjoy it!


Windmills and Prairies

“The Prairie skies can always make you see more than what you believe.”

  • Jackson Burnett

I do enjoy a sunrise on our rolling and beautiful Illinois Prairie. The Sun chases away the Moon and Stars. Changing the inky black of night to ever lighter shades of blue. Light dancing on the clouds as the Sun gets higher and higher. Starting off with shades of violet and pink, working into peach and orange and red before changing to a brilliant yellow and then yielding to a sometimes cold winter sky. Add in some snow and it reflects those colors and creates a painted landscape we should all stop and watch. This light show can be over in a matter of minutes. To prove that, on this particular day the sky was grey and cold all in the blink of an eye. The sun slipped behind the walls of those clouds and the light show was over.

The trick to getting the best photo is to wait until just that moment that the sun is almost up, causing that glow in the center, and painting the bottom of the clouds. From late fall to about the middle of spring, we are treated with long warm beams of light in the morning and the evening. Coloring our world unlike any other time of year. We get those long shadows, and the light just dances.

Nothing like an old fence an old barn, an old windmill, the essential prairie. I understand what inspired the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright who looked at the landscape and the way light and shadow played played on its low rolling hills and gave us a style that was truly all American. Enjoy!





“Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.”

– Tom Barrett

Personally I am not a very organized person. I spent all day Thursday with the help of my partner at work, going through and organizing things. I have lots of files and folders and papers and committees and it goes on and on. I have gotten older, nothing I can do about that. I used to be able to keep track of quite a lot of information in my head. It is still all in there and the hard drive is still accessible. I just needed to “improve” my filing system. My partner at work, Alicia, she is a machine in organization. The boxes and files in this photo represent all the various things I need to keep track of. Business papers, personal papers, village items, fire dept items, as well as EMA and others.

Next tasks are budgets and taxes and insurances and fine tuning my organization. I want to go more paperless so there are going to be some more items needed for that. I am using a recent experience as a life learning lesson in better organization, and better preparedness. We must use the lessons in life to become better people, and take responsibility for our actions and use all of it to improve.

Short and sweet!Quentin-365-1

The Red Door

“Winter is the time for stories, staying fast by the glow of fire. And outside, in the darkness, the stars are brighter than you can possibly imagine.”

  • Isabel Greenberg

Sunrises or in this case a Sunset and water, always make a great combination for a photograph. I apologize for not having this photo posted yesterday. Although I am considering setting up the posts to publish the next day at around 8am or so. I feel this would prevent it from getting lost in the news feed from the late hour I post them to the morning when everyone starts checking Facebook. Have to see what the future brings. There are no real rules to this, just that I promised myself a photo a day and to post them. It has been a long day, my partner at work at the Ambulance helped me organize and file. I found some cash money and I found some checks. It is either I am more distracted, more forgetful, or I am not sure.

I was lucky enough on Wednesday to have a day off in between the errands I drove around looking for a photo. I ended up on Water Street in front of the Red Door. For years a beacon of good food and good taste in the Illinois Valley. My Mom worked there for years, my Grandfather and Uncle would help Victor and I know I never had a bad meal there. The wind had caused the cloud cover that was plaguing the afternoon and was stirring up the dusty snow. Late afternoon sun this time of year seems so much warmer in color. It photographs very well. I took a few photos and noticed some concrete chunks leading down to a larger pile of concrete on the shore of the river. I cautiously made my way down, knowing full well if I slipped in, it would not be good. Perched myself on the concrete outcropping and with that great wide angle I have, captured this image. Climbing up was much more fun.

I do not like winter. I am sitting here layered up praying for hot and steamy summer days. I get hot, I get cold, it is craziness. If this is what it is like for women of a certain age, then holy heck do I feel sorry for you because this is goofy, I cannot get comfortable. I put on and take off layers and then put them back on again.

As I was checking the photos in my warm truck, I thought of the Red Door and how I would ask for a table near the window, so I could look outside. I did it so I could watch people, and I did it so I could look out as day turned to night. A photo should take you somewhere, and this one took me back and around the bend. Enjoy the moments, we only have so many!



“When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts.”

  • Mary Baker Eddy

I have been a photographer for a long long time. I have seen dust in photos from dirty lenses, and dirty sensors. I have seen dust on negatives, I have photographed in the rain and seen the how it can make whitish blobs. So today I spent so much time trying to figure out the orb in this photo, I finally settled on an other explanation. Other worldly to say the least. It had to be my Grandpa visiting my Mom at her birthday party. I looked for glares, I looked for reflections. I searched every other photo enlarged for signs it was dust or something on my sensor. I doubted the dust on the sensor since I had it cleaned on the 17th and had not used that camera to take photos since that date. I enlarged the photos 300% then 500% then 800% slowly looking to see if the item was repeated anywhere.

This did not act like dust floating in the air. It stayed in the same spot for a few photos then moved for a few then was gone for a bit, then came back. I was using a broad flash diffuser, so no direct lighting. I checked for reflections from glasses or clothing and could not find a link. I looked at this orb and noticed it had a shape was dimensional. I remembered people talking of orbs and how they are paranormal and other saying they are just reflections of atmospheric anomalies.

I recall once in a series of photos of a home where a child had died, that above his favorite toy, no matter what angle it was photographed, there was a light green orb above that toy. Dust did not explain that! I have been an EMT and Fireman to long to dismiss things. There is a story with my Grandpa and the paranormal. Long after he had died, I was at my Noni’s house putting a ceiling fan in her sewing room. My cousin June was standing a few feet away looking into the room, my Great Aunt Eda sitting in the chair she would always sit in when she was there and me on a step stool in the room putting the fan up. My Noni was gone at the time. So I took down the old light fixture and commented on my Grandfathers dangerous wiring using a colorful metaphor. I was facing away from the door, and was suddenly hit in the back with something. I figured it was my Aunt Eda due to my language. I commented out asking them who threw something at me. I turned and saw a blue plastic hanger on the floor and leaned out and looked out the door. I saw pale faces and eyes as big as saucers. June just said you made Uncle John mad and turned and said I am out of here. Aunt Eda just started mumbling and pointing. I stopped Cousin June and got out of her that right after I said what I said, they both witnessed said hanger fly out of the closet and that they heard it hit me and of course me saying owe. Cousin June will still swear to this to this day. And I swear this story is true and I have retold it countless times. There are other things, a dog sitting and staring and acting like someone is petting it. My sisters swearing that they were in danger and that something made them feel safe. It goes on and on.

I know how much my Grandpa loved my Mom. And I know he has been here watching over our family on many an occasion. My sisters have talked of an older man who they would see in their rooms. They would describe what he looked like and I have always known it was not some random Ghost, but Grandpa checking in on them.

I am sorry no actual photo of the day. But this really had me going all day and it is what I had to share because this made me remember so many other things so I had to share this and the memories it induced.

Let me know what you think!


Mom's 60th