Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Naperville Illinois lights tour

The trolley that we were in.
Christmas eve of 2013, we decided to go on a trolley tour in Naperville Illinois. Naperville is a suburban city of Chicago. Voted as one of the best places to retire in the United States, it is a really neat place full of restaurants, shops and a lot of places to go.

Very nice light display with a very nice message.
My wife saw an online ad for trolley tours and decided that we should do it with her family.  It was a very smart idea to do a tour a couple of hours before Christmas day. It was cold, but it was pretty worth it.

The brightest part was the deer.
For this tour I decided to bring 2 bodies and 2 lenses. I brought my Canon 5D MK2 and my 6D, together with my trusty Canon 24-105 f/4 and my 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. I was going to use the fisheye lens to take a photo inside the trolley with the family but I ended up using the lens in the entire tour. I let my wife use the 5D with the 24-105 installed.

Very nice display in this neighborhood.
The 15mm f/2.8 was excellent for the tour. Being very dark, the lens allowed me to shoot in low light without setting my ISO too high. The best thing about it is that it gave me a weird point of view in all of my shots.
Looked like the owner spent a lot of time decorating this house.
Christmas lights are always mesmerizing. A lot of houses in Naperville were decorated nicely for the holidays. It was indeed a very nice place to go during the holiday season.

One of the more colorful light displays on the tour.

Nice capture on the side of the house.
Being inside the trolley was kind of a challenge for me because the widows were fogging up and I had to wipe my window clean each and every time I took a shot. I also had to watch out for the glare coming from the window. Other than that, the tour was fun, and I was able to get a lot of interesting shots.
My best shot of the night.
The trolley tour was great. The tour ended up giving all of us smiles in our faces. I was just glad to experience the nice lights in Naperville this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon bay WI.

Ship models everywhere
As we were going around Sturgeon bay in Door County Wisconsin, we saw the maritime museum near downtown Sturgeon bay and decided to check it out. This is one pretty neat museum. A lot of interesting things to see and watch.

The museum is big. 
The museum has 2 floors. The bottom floor houses a lot of naval history, models, and much more. The second floor has a pirate exhibit as well as a pirate painting gallery. A lot of stuff to see.

The dioramas are very fun to look at.
The bottom floor has never ending displays of model boats. From tugboats to warships...this museum has everything. The dioramas as so entertaining to look at. I was so glued looking at a diorama of an old building with excellent detail on it. Even the water was detailed.  I probably spent around 30 minutes just looking at it.

Those are tools that are attached to the wall.
There was a display of old ship building tools and there was a story on the wall telling how those tools aren't used anymore because of the way modern ships are built that those tolls weren't used anymore. It was kinda sad but it is what it is.

A real working periscope.
One of the most awesome display is an actual working periscope. You take a peek at it and you can see around downtown Sturgeon Bay. Being photographer, I was surprised how sharp the periscope was. The range of it was pretty good too. It was awesome to see one in real life.

This room displays engines used in boats.

A captains office.

A real decompression chamber for divers.
One of the most unique displays in the museum was an actual decompression chamber for divers. It was kinda freaky looking inside but it's nice to see a real one in front of you. Inside it was a mannequin of a diver being decompressed.

One of the fancier boats in the museum.
Being in a museum, I know my 15mm/f2.8 fisheye is a good lens choice to use. it is so wide that it gives you a very weird point of view. I love it...especially when I can shoot wide open at f/2.8 when there is very low light.

Another fancier boat.

Gauges in the engine section of the museum.
The pirate section of the museum.
The pirate section of the museum is actually pretty neat too. They have a miniature town with lots to see. There is actually a fake prison where you can go in and have your pictures taken. It also has a pirate dressing room where you can dress up as a pirate and have your picture taken.

Another part of the pirate section of the museum.

The front of a pirate ship.
The pirate ship display has a video game in it where you try to fire canons at a pirate ship to try to sink it. The controls are in the canons itself. I probably had about 6 tries until I destroyed the pirate ship.
The pirate ship equipped with a video game.

More boat models.
When visiting Door County Wisconsin, the maritime museum is one place you shouldn't miss. There is plenty of displays here which makes the museum really interesting.