Best in Show

Last summer I took part in my first fine art photography show in over ten years– the Bar Harbor “Art in the Park” show in Maine. This annual fair at the gateway to Acadia National Park is a showcase for painters and photographers to show and sell their art.

The most popular print at the show- a 40×60″ metal print

I custom printed over forty-five large (16×20 to the large 40×60-inch metal print above) limited edition prints for the show, as well as over 120 open edition 8×10’s, a new Acadia Centennial poster, and sold several copies of my book. It was my first time participating in the show, but the response to my work was very gratifying. The icing on the cake came a few days later when I was surprised to learn my photography had been awarded “Best in Show.” I’ll definitely be back next year to do it all again.

Luxury Apartment Shoot

New lobby at Elmhurst 255

I love shooting interiors and exteriors. There’s an art to making a room look inviting enough that someone would want to live there. Unlike shooting portraits, where you shoot lots of pictures to get a range of expressions, in architectural photography you spend a lot of time setting it up and getting the room looking just right; then you only take a few pictures.

I hooked up with Morningside USA about three or four years ago when they opened a 306-unit complex in my town and I shot all their marketing pictures (see here). A few months ago I shot their newest project, a 192-unit luxury apartment building in Elmhurst.

I always use a medium format camera for these jobs. My smaller D-SLR cameras just don’t cut it for this kind of work. The quality of the finished images is unbeatable, and the dynamic range (the amount of detail you can see in both the shadows and highlights) is superb. The larger file size also gives me more room to tweak the images by straightening out converging verticals and making sure the walls don’t look like they’re leaning in or out (a common problem with all wide angle lenses).

To see how the pictures are used on the client’s website, have a look at Elmhurst 255. And if you’re looking for a great place to live, close to the Metra station and only thirty minutes from downtown, check them out.

The Chief Executive Portrait

Centegra Health President and CEO

For the last several years, I’ve been privileged to meet and photograph several top CEOs in the Chicago area. Some of them have been CEOs of new startups, not yet making any money. Two or three of them have been billionaires. Several are in the tech industry, some are in well known utility corporations while others are in the food industry. Some oversee large hospitals while one even operates an airport. Some corporations have replaced their CEOs often enough to have me come back two or three times. All of them have been successful in their fields, whether it’s a new software venture, a thriving non-profit or a Fortune 500 corporation.

Almost all the CEO’s have been down to earth, friendly people who I’ve enjoyed getting to know. Most are comfortable having their picture taken- they’ve done it all before for magazines or TV spots.

Occasionally, I’ve been given free product from some of them, like the CEO of Girls Scouts of America who gave me a couple boxes of cookies! Or the CEO of Office Max who gave me a couple of their trademark rubber band balls you saw on the side of their trucks.

CEO of Allant Group

CEO of Trust Company of Illinois

CEO of Inland Group

CEO of Morris Hospital

CEO of Micro Dynamics Group

President of Pivotal Home Solutions AGL Resources

CEO of Swap.com

CEO of L Street Collaborative

President of Nicor Gas/ AGL Resources

CEO of AST

Founder and CEO of Calamos Investments

CEO of ATI Physical Therapy

CEO of Clow Bolingbrook International Airport

CEO of Nicor Gas/ AGL Resources

CEO of Office Max

CEO of PhysIQ

CEO of Edward Hospital

CEO and Founder of BCKSTGR

CEO of Oberweis Dairy

CEO of DuPage Medical Group

Founder and CEO of Thomas Interior

The Most Beautiful Camera in the World

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

This past weekend, I gave my fifteen year old son a photography lesson. He’s interested in video more than photography (he’s actually really good at video production), but he still didn’t know the basics of exposure- aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, etc. So I brought out my old Zone VI 4×5″ large format field camera, with its Schneider lens, to show him what it’s all about. It’s a lot easier to teach someone how a lens works when you can see the aperture opening up and set the shutter and aperture right on the lens, like you can on a large format lens. I haven’t taken a picture with the camera for a few years, but every time I get it out, I’m struck by how beautiful it is. I’ve owned more than thirty cameras and the Zone VI tops them all for sheer good looks. It even has gold plated fittings (a little tarnished now), and is made from Honduras Mahogany. And it was made in the USA (Vermont).

I bought the camera brand new in 1993; most people seem to think it’s a relic from the 1920’s or older. It’s a large format camera, which uses 4×5-inch sheet film. That’s twenty square inches of film. As a comparison, 35mm film measures a little over one square inch. Most consumer digital cameras have sensors measuring less than an inch. With a large format camera, you can make images with incredible resolution and sharpness. Ansel Adams often used 8×10 or even 11×14-inch large format cameras. There’s a 20×24-inch Polaroid camera you can still rent in NYC or SF, with film costing $200 a shot.

But film was never cheap, and it took some time to set up a large format camera like the Zone VI, so you had to plan your photography before you ran out and shot off your camera like a machine gun. If you planned well though, and conditions were right, you could create some of the sharpest prints you’ve ever seen. I first used this one on a trip to Colorado in June 1993, then brought it to England a year later. The last time I used it was for black and white portraits a few years ago. I have a box of 4×5 black and white film in the freezer; I’d love to shoot some more portraits again soon.

I had a digital camera lying around when I brought out the Zone VI this weekend, so I started taking pictures of the camera itself. Some were taken with a Canon 5DMk2, others with a Pentax 645Z medium format digital camera (with a macro lens). Hope you like the pics.

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

My Zone VI 4x5 Honduras Mahogany Camera

 

The Adventures of Mike’s Camera is the blog of freelance photographer, Mike Hudson. He is available for commercial photography assignments– marketing, corporate, editorial, annual reports, lifestyle, web page photography, and events. His clients have included many regional and national magazines and newspapers, several healthcare providers, colleges, hotels, architectural firms, small businesses and more. Visit MichaelHudsonPhotography.com to check out his portfolio or contact him via email.

Personal Work- Acadia National Park

Sunrise, Hunters Head, 2014

Sunrise, Hunters Head, 2014

I love my job; it’s what I’ve done for the last 25 years. But every once in a while, I need to get away from it all and find some peace and fulfillment doing something other than commercial jobs. For the last nine years, I’ve spent one week every Autumn in Acadia National Park, off the coast of Maine. From the moment I wake up at 5am (4am my time), until after midnight, all I do is photography, searching for the most beautiful light, color and locations. After dark, back in my hotel room, I review the day’s work and make plans for the next day. It’s strenuous, tiring, emotional… and I love it.

In 2014, I self published an e-book, The Photographer’s Guide to Acadia, which sold moderately well. In 2015, I’m hoping to publish my first hard cover coffee table book of images from Acadia. A couple of my pictures have been sold as posters in the national park’s gift shop for several years. I never went to Acadia with the idea that I would try to profit from my trips, but it’s been nice to have a small demand for prints, which helps cover the cost of my travel to Maine each October.

In 2014, I created almost all my images with a new camera, the Pentax 645Z, a 51-megapixel camera with superb sharpness, wide dynamic range and great handling. This is possibly the best camera I’ve ever used. I’m looking forward to making some very large prints with the images from this camera.

I have over five hundred prints available for purchase; visit my website, Images of Acadia, to find out more.

Incoming Waves, Otter Point, 2014

Incoming Waves, Otter Point, 2014

Swirling Pine Needles, Whitecap Stream, 2013

Swirling Pine Needles, Whitecap Stream, 2013

Dusk, Jordan Pond

Dusk, Jordan Pond, 2013

Rocky Coastline, Hunters Head

Rocky Coast Panorama, Hunters Head, 2014

Birch Trees

Birch Trees, 2014

Ocean Runoff at 1/1600 Second, 2014

Ocean Runoff at 1/1600 Second, 2014

Acadia Coastline, Otter Cliff, 2013

Acadia Coastline, Otter Cliff, 2013

Small Pond, Canon Brook Trail, 2013

Small Pond, Canon Brook Trail, 2013

Early Morning on the Coast, 2014

Early Morning on the Coast, 2014

Rippled Reflections, 2013

Rippled Reflections, 2013

 

The Adventures of Mike’s Camera is the blog of freelance photographer, Mike Hudson. He is available for commercial photography assignments– marketing, corporate, editorial, annual reports, lifestyle, web page photography, and events. His clients have included many regional and national magazines and newspapers, several healthcare providers, colleges, hotels, architectural firms, small businesses and more. Visit MichaelHudsonPhotography.com to check out his portfolio or contact him via email.