I figured enough of shooting indoors and decided to get some fresh air, along with the fall colors. Unlucky me, the fall just drew itself away way too soon and too quick from Chicago. I’m a big sucker to see and capture the fall colors in n around Chicago. Where else would I wanna shoot other than my most favorite spot in Chicago, the Millennium Park.

I decided to have the shoot early and thanks to Chicago’s unpredictable weather, it was super cold and the sun didn’t raise till 7.30am on the day we choose for the shoot. Did I say super cold already? coz it was really cold that day. One of those days, the end of fall and we don’t expect it to be cold..There it is.. 😉

Alina: A great model. Very easy going, fun and super friendly. She had lots of ideas on posing. I had a handful of poses to create and once we had them in the bag, her posing ideas started flowing. I enjoyed working with her. We started our shoot in Millennium park and worked our way to the upper Wacker Drive. Was a fun shoot overall and would have been even more fun if the weather would have been the same as it was forecasted..But Heyy.. It’s Chicago.. What am I new here? 🙂

Nothing very fancy for the shoot. Single light with an umbrella usually in front of Alina or to the right or depending on how her hair was positioned. I love this setup so much because I can depend on it, it is simple and super easy to create that soft light. A light stand and an umbrella is usually a big ‘’ to security guards and cops but we kept moving, didn’t stay in a spot for more than 10-15minutes.

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III & Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Flash: Canon 580 EX II
Other accessories: Light stand and Wescott 43-inch shoot through umbrella

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  • Oh! Was the shoot today? Sorry, I’m still in bed. I don’t think I can come.
  • I got really sick today morning. Got into an emergency room and going through treatment now. nd by the way, my sister is texting for me.
  • My boyfriend told me not to go to the photo-shoot.
  • Sorry, I’m running late coz I didn’t know there was the Chicago marathon and I’m stuck in the middle of it.
  • I got called into another shoot. Can yours be rescheduled?
  • There was a collapse in the space-time continuum right inside my apartment and looks like I’m stuck in a different parallel universe, nothing looks familiar here. Help!.

Fine… The last one, I made it up. The rest of them are the most frequently used among the many many other reasons that my models have given me right before the hours (sometimes minutes before!) of a photo-shoot. I’ve worked with nearly 4 dozen models so far, over the years. By saying any of these, I’m not pointing fingers towards anyone in specific. I’m also aware this happens to most photographers from time to time and also to models where the photographers don’t show-up the last minute.

I do realize that it’s a messy world out there.

But When I put time, energy and money (yes, in that same order) in organizing a photo-shoot, telling any reason at the last minute, doesn’t really help. I deal with it so much, more than I want to admit to. I do understand that last minute mishaps are inevitable and I also know that it cannot be really a last minute thing if you really put some effort in communicating it.

It would help me and the people who help me in putting together the photo-shoot in a great manner, if we are given a 12 hour minimum heads-up. This will help us in making other arrangements or stay home and queue up Netflix… 😉

I also have to point out that there were instances in which the models have called ahead the previous day and either cancelled or rescheduled the shoot, which is a great deal for me considering the time they give me to start making calls.

Anyway, why am I venting all these here?

I’m getting to it… 🙂

The way I roll.. The day before the photo-shoot, I make sure everything I needed to carry to the location., be it a studio or an outdoor venue is all packed and set to ‘ready to be carried out’ mode. I usually arrive at the location, 15-30 minutes early to make sure everything is intact and also start preparing for the shoot by setting up the equipment and such.

Never once, I had a model arrive at a location before I did.

The model: Ingrid. She was there at least 15 minutes before the mentioned time. I walked into the studio, she was there already. I was pleasantly, surprised and shocked because it has never happened before. Hence all the venting above (See my point here?). This might not be a big deal to a lot of people but to me it is. In a way, she made me look bad because I had to setup the equipment and made her wait till I finished it.. **awkward**

I kid 😉 , she was cool about the whole deal and she was also very understanding. This was shot in a studio environment. Even though I had enough control over the lights, I had to run around to change the light positions. She had lot of ideas for posing which you would see in some of the pictures below. She is very open-minded and a down to earth girl. Overall, not only she was on time for the shoot, she as very fun to hang out with.

Light Setup: Two lights, one to her left and the other to her right. The third right behind her to illuminate the background. All lights triggered wireless-ly using PocketWizard Flex TT5 & Mini TT1 combo.

Model: Ingrid Burton
Lights: 3 x Canon 580 EX II
Cameras: Canon 5D Mark III & Canon 5D Mark II
Lenses: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II L and Canon 100mm f2.8 L
Wireless triggers: Pocketwizard Flex TT5 & Mini TT1, controlled with a AC3 ZoneController

Here are the pictures from the shoot.
Warning before you scroll down: Some or all of the pictures below are NSFW.


Thanks for stopping by.. 🙂


Here is another shoot which I did over the last few weeks. This is another indoor shoot with a simple three light setup with a white background. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get tired of shooting against a white background.. 😉 Time will tell.

The Model: Ashley. Was super cool to work with and was very patient through out the shoot. Nothing short of professionalism and she very quickly picked up my vaguely described pose ideas. Like I’ve mentioned in several of my previous posts, I suck at guiding the model with the pose ideas in my mind. The last picture in this series was a fun one and took a while for us to achieve. The setup was simple but it didn’t work as I thought. But we decided to make do with what we had. Ashley posing on the bed, covered with a white sheet. With one flash light from behind her and the other one to my left, facing her. I held the camera in one hand and the white sheet in other. Me being more concentrated on how the picture came out after clicking, I kept dropping the sheet on Ashley’s face and didn’t even realize it. I was amazed to see how cool she handled it. I don’t encounter models who are usually this patient.

The light setup, One light from above Ashley. Two lights behind her to illuminate the background. And a reflector in front to light the shadows. All lights triggered wireless-ly with PocketWizards and zone controlled with AC3 ZoneController.

Model: Ashley Wilke
Lights: 3 x Canon 580 EX II
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II L and Canon 100mm f2.8 L
Wireless triggers: Pocketwizard Flex TT5 & Mini TT1, controlled with a AC3 ZoneController

Here are the pictures from the shoot.
Warning before you scroll down: Some or all of the pictures below are NSFW.

Thanks for stopping by.. 🙂


As much as I love shooting portraits outdoors, I love the control over light while shooting indoors. This shoot came together when I started discussing my ideas with Andrea. I figured, I’d do the whole shoot in my home studio setup.

Nothing fancy, a simple three light setup. Two of them right behind Andrea from the right and left to illuminate the background and give my favorite seamless white background. The third main light with a 580ExII in a 30 inch octagonal soft-box, front of her from above.

All these lights triggered wireless-ly with PocketWizard TT1 & TT5 combo.

Andrea was absolute fun to work with and is very open-minded on at that too. As I was the lone ranger in this shoot, she was very cool and patient throughout the shoot while I was moving around the tiny space which we had to position the lights & such. Would love to work with her again.

Model: Andrea
Lights: 3 x Canon 580 EX II
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II
Wireless triggers: Pocketwizard Flex TT5 & Mini TT1, controlled with a AC3 ZoneController

Here are the pictures from the shoot.
Warning before you scroll down: Some or all of the pictures below are NSFW (You’ve been warned!)






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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Pictured Rocks Lakeshore was on my places to visit list in my previous trip to Michigan but I knew it wouldn’t be practical to get there along with the other places I had on the list already. And later I figured it would be a prefect road trip during the Labor Day weekend.

Based on my homework about this place, I decided to setup shop in Munising,MI. A small city on the Lake Superior’s southern shore. My reading also educated me, the word Munising was derived from ‘Ojibwe’, A North American indigenous language. When loosely translated, means ‘near the island‘.

I left Chicago a bit early on Friday to beat the weekend traffic around Milwaukee. The 7 hour drive(remember that I lose an hour in the transition) from Chicago to Munising with a couple pit stops wasn’t that bad but it’s the detours due to road constructions sort of slowed down the traffic now and then. It’s very scenic, as the route runs a lot along the Lake Michigan.

Before I started, the weather guys forecast-ed a good percentage of rainfall on all the 3 days I was planning to be there. The explorer in me whispered, ‘What do they know? That’s how they get the bonus money… Let’s roll….
Boy… Was I(he!) wrong! It started to rain when I pulled into my campground and didn’t stop till the time when I left from there Monday afternoon… Moral: Listen to the weather guys! (Maybe…!)

But it wasn’t that bad after all. There were times when it only drizzled and that Sunday(Aug 31st) had a truly beautiful afternoon in terms of weather. The good thing about the rains, all those waterfalls were flowing nicely. I always like the slow and steady flowing ones. The ones with rapid gushing waters bring out the Potamophobia in me and I start to summon Tethys to come save me! 🙂

Coming to details on the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, it’s on the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Extends approximately 42miles, starts at Munising, Michigan and ends at Grand Marais, Michigan. And these 42ish miles is nothing but spectacular scenery.

Mineral-stained sandstone, Waterfalls, Sand-dunes, beaches, natural archways, streams, lighthouse and more.

Waterfalls are a must-see when you get here. They are in every variety. Tall, Short, wide…But each of them is nothing short of the words, breath-taking. There are 17 waterfalls in and around this region of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Some of them really hard to get to but a whole lot of them within easy walking distance.

If you are into hiking, the ‘North Country Trail’ covers all the 42 miles along the lake shore with lots of amazing viewpoints all along the route but there are also a handful of day hiking trails which leads to waterfalls and beaches with little effort to no effort.
One of the places which is really easy to get to and is also worth spending time is the Miners castle. Has a well maintained pathway, rest-rooms, a souvenir shop and a couple of park rangers, in case you need help. There is also a beach close by which was really crowded when I was there on Sunday.

Another ‘not-to-miss’ experience when you are up there is, seeing the Multi-colored sandstone cliffs or the pictured rocks from up-close. There are a couple places based in Munising which do a variety of cruises during the high season, I took the ‘Pictured Rocks Cruises‘ which was reasonably priced and the crew were very friendly, they also offer pop for a dollar each. Trust me, the cruise experience is well worth the money spent if you decide to take this cruise.

The week(Starting Aug 24th), When I was researching on this place there were lot of chatter on solar activity on the websites I follow and I kept my fingers crossed thinking I’d get to see the Aurora Borealis(The ‘Northern Lights’ for those of you, who got C in physics) But when I saw the rain and clouds after reaching Munising, I lost hope.

But as I said earlier, Sunday afternoon was beautiful. I spent most of my time at the Miners beach…Blue sky and turquoise waters… Sounds great… Doesn’t it?

It’s one of those places that you have to be there to see how beautiful it is.

My hopes got up a little, as I saw the blue skies and I’m also aware the skies are really dark up here as there is very little to no light pollution. So, I stayed late at the beach near the AuSable lighthouse to see the night sky light with a gazillion stars and the milky-way rising. Right around midnight, while I almost lost track of time looking at the Milky-Way…I happened to look north-west and there it was. I’m not sure how long it’s been there for. The green/purple and bluish green lights just floating in the sky. The picture below from that scene doesn’t do justice though.

If you are on a budget and have the desire to see the Aurora Borealis, if the trip to Iceland seem a little far-fetched… Check the NOAA website for the forecast and if it’s around new moon days, even better.. Make a trip here. The Upper Peninsula, Michigan is one of the few places in CON-US where you can see the Aurora Borealis. Winters will probably have more clear skies and less humidity which raises the chances of seeing the Milky-Way and if you the lucky enough, even the northern lights.

It was a fun trip overall.
In my view, I’d take a whole week to explore this region in leisure but oh. Well… 😉

The shots from the trip are below. Enjoy.

Picture 1: Lower Mosquito Falls
Picture 2: Upper Mosquito Falls
Picture 3: Sable Falls
Picture 4: Wagner Falls
Picture 5: Milky-Way raising over Hurricane River Campground near Au Sable Point Lighthouse
Picture 6: Milky-Way and the Northern Lights near Au Sable Point Lighthouse
Picture 7: Bridalveil Falls from the cruise
Picture 8: Pictured rocks on the bottom of the cliffs
Picture 9: Kayakers on Lake superior with the Pictured rocks in the background

Gear Used: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 5D MII, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, Manfrotto 055MF3 MagFiber Tripod + Manfrotto Q5 054 Magnesium Ball Head.









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F o l l o w   M e !