Todd Higgins: Blog en-us (C) Todd Higgins (Todd Higgins) Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:09:00 GMT Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:09:00 GMT Todd Higgins: Blog 120 120 When Plans Change untitled-15-2untitled-15-2photo by Todd Higgins (

Things don't always go as planned; sometimes it’s better that way. On Monday some friends and I planned to take the ferry out to Catalina Island for a day of hiking and maybe some photos at sunset. Well, that didn’t happen. We could get out to the island without any problem, but there were no ferries coming back after 3:30 pm, so we’d only have had about two hours on the island. That didn’t sound worthwhile, so on a whim we opted for a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway instead. We pulled out Google Maps and aimed for the green spots. We found a beach with fantastic rock formations and beautiful views of the ocean, and lots of little crabs running around all over the place. It was a great, relaxing place to spend an afternoon.Then we found a good rib joint in Naples, California (Naples Rib Company, if you ever find yourself there), and had a delicious (and enormous) dinner. At the end of the day not one of us was sorry we didn’t get out to Catalina. It just goes to show that staying flexible and keeping an open mind is always the best plan a person can have.

(Todd Higgins) Sat, 19 Aug 2017 16:09:27 GMT
Dinosaur Valley Paluxy River#76Paluxy River#76photo by Todd Higgins (


  DINOSAURS! I was headed for Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas; excited to get out of Dallas and hunt for some landscape photos. I chose Dinosaur Valley because there are dinosaur footprints in the riverbed of the Paluxy River, and I thought they’d make a great foreground for a photo. Unfortunately, it had rained the night before, pushing the water level too high to see the tracks. In fact, the water level in the river made it impossible even to get to the trails on the other side. When I arrived at the park entrance, the ranger told me all the trails were closed, and the only open trail was the paved one that circles the park and connects the parking lots. For a split second, I thought about packing it in and going back. But the easiest thing to do is to give up, so I decided to see what I could find.

  It was the right decision. The park ranger gave me some tips on places I could access the river that day. She also told me about a great lunch spot (check out the Green Pickle if you ever find yourself in Glen Rose) and some local attractions in town. I had a terrific day. I did not, at all, get the photo I went there to get, but I did walk away happy with a couple. And it was leaps and bounds better than being cooped up in a hotel room. It always is.

(Todd Higgins) Sun, 29 Jan 2017 07:03:39 GMT
"What did you Create Today? Tischer Creek #40Tischer Creek #40Photo by Todd Higgins (

This question was posed to me in the form of an email subject line. An email from one of the many online training sites that are available to all of us these days. This one struck a chord with me, though. (The subject line did, at least. I have to admit I did not read the entire email.) “What did you create today?” My answer was “Nothing.” Why hadn’t I? I consider myself a “creative.” I work in a creative industry, I pursue creative outlets in my free time -- there was simply no reason for me not to have done something creative that day, or any day for that matter. I know full well that it is not possible to create something fantastic on a daily basis, or even weekly, or maybe even monthly. But it’s possible to create some small thing every day, right? Even if no other person ever sees it, or even knows that I did it, it will still resonate with me and have value. It could be a simple experiment -- something to try, to learn from, something that may prove useful in some unforeseen way, in the future. I may simply learn that something doesn’t work. This can be just as valuable. So I have taken to asking myself this question every day; using it as a mantra, or a call to battle. Either way, motivation to create one small, simple thing, each day.


enjoy~ TH

(Todd Higgins) Sun, 08 May 2016 15:12:06 GMT
Water over Rocks Water over RocksWater over RocksPhoto by Todd Higgins (

Water over rocks, that is how my photography has been described to me. I do take a lot of photographs of water flowing over rocks, so it is not an unfair description. I was on my way home last night (after taking some photos of water over rocks) and got to thinking about why this is such an interesting subject for me. There are so many emotions that can manifest themselves around water. Calm, panic, fear, joy. I think that is part of the attraction for me. Water is such a powerful force of nature, it can be a calming babbling brook or a raging torrent that threatens to take you with it. Either way it commands respect. It is this duality of water that intrigues me so much, it draws you in but keeps you at a distance all at the same time. It has literally forged the landscape around us. There is a feeling of insignificance and a sense of wonder when face to face with an ocean or one of the great lakes; or the pleasure of a quiet stream gently flowing through the woods. It is these feelings, these moments that I enjoy so much, and that is what draws me to the water and the rocks.


enjoy~ TH


(Todd Higgins) Canon Duluth Lake Superior Landscape Minnesota water Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:00:00 GMT
potato #44 potato #44potato #44Photo by Todd Higgins (

Kevin Abosch just sold a photo of a potato for over $1,000,000.00. It may not sound like it would be an interesting photograph -- it’s a potato! But it’s great! (you can see it here). One might not give much thought to a potato, and I suppose that’s what makes this such an interesting subject. I knew as soon as I saw this image, I was going to try and imitate it. Sure, I hope it will sell for a million dollars (just make me an offer), but I’m not going to hold my breath. I will say, it was really fun to try and replicate Abosch’s photograph. To play with the light, and to suddenly be made aware of the intricate detail of a potato (a sweet potato, in my case) made this an exciting exercise. My experiment gave me a greater appreciation for the original photo, and for the intricacy of a seemingly simple subject.


~enjoy TH


(Todd Higgins) Sun, 24 Jan 2016 15:51:40 GMT
Magic Places Multnomah Falls

I’ve had a poster of Multnomah Falls for as long as I can remember. It’s a black and white photo of the iconic falls, and I remember thinking that it was such an exotic-looking place. I wasn't even sure if it was a real place. I would look at that poster and just wish I could be there. That very same poster still hangs in my house, and I still look at it with a sense of awe.


I visited the falls once when I was in Portland for work. I made a quick morning trip out to see the place of my childhood dreams. I remember the feeling of excitement as the falls came into view from around the bend. I had very little time there, on that trip. A quick power hike to the top and back again. I had little time to take pictures on that trip, and the ones I did take weren't good. I knew I’d have to return some day.


Fast forward, 8 years later, my girlfriend and I were going on a vacation to Portland to see the sights and visit friends. I knew I had to go back to Multnomah Falls. This time there was no rush, no place I had to be, we took our time, and hiked to the top of the falls and beyond. We hiked one of the loop trails, and wandered the park for a good portion of the day. Around every corner was another beautiful scene. And there at the end of the loop was Multnomah again. These falls will always be magic for me; they will forever live in my head as a far-off, exotic place. My adult self knows that they’re easily accessible, and not really all that far off, but my inner child will always look at them with a sense of wonder. Oh, who am I kidding? So will my adult self.


(Todd Higgins) Falls Landscape Multnomah Photography falls memories travel water Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:00:00 GMT
The Little Moments Bay FrontBay Front

I’ve fallen behind with my blog. Again. It has been a busy few weeks at work, with 16 hour days for the last two weeks. Endless meetings followed by long rehearsals. By the time I am finished at work all I really wanted to do is go to bed. I was tired at the end of the day, yes, but it was not as if I didn’t manage to find little bits of time to take for myself. I did get home for lunch a few times, or just got out of the office for 30 minutes or an hour before the evening rehearsals began. In fact, it was during one of those evening breaks that I noticed a different perspective of a familiar spot. I’ve seen Bayfront Park many times, but this time I saw it differently. It is in these small windows of time that I am free to just take things in; to look at the same things I see every day and try and imagine them in a different way. I need to remind myself that these small moments, these brief interludes, are mine, to get my photographs, collect my thoughts, and reboot my brain. I just need to remind myself that it is the little moments that matter the most. 

(Todd Higgins) Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:00:00 GMT
Four Legged Assistant  

Single White FlowerSingle White Flower

Four-legged photo assistant.


   I have been making an effort to get out and take more pictures. To that end, I’ve started taking my camera with me on the daily dog walk. This sounds like a great idea at first. I can get out into the woods and explore a little bit, take in the beauty, and get some great pictures -- right? Problem is, the things I find interesting and the things the dog finds interesting are not at all the same things. A beautiful flowering plant in a single ray of sunlight beaming through the canopy…? The dog couldn't care less, and she sure as heck does not want to stop for it. Now, a fresh pile of animal scat -- THAT is worth stopping for. And the pace? Forget it. I’m way too slow for the dog; she just wants to chase after the squirrel that ran up a tree a quarter mile in the distance. And of course she’s way too fast for my purposes. There will be no stopping to look at angles, or to think about the light. As soon as I get my subject into focus, the dog will pull on the leash. So this idea of getting better pictures while on the dog walk may not be the best-laid plan. It is, however, a great way to spend some time outside with my best friend.

(Todd Higgins) Sat, 20 Jun 2015 05:48:36 GMT
What to Do Jack in the PulpitJack in the Pulpit

This day job thing really cuts into the hours I’d like to spend out hiking around, taking photos. How am I supposed to bring home new images when I don’t have time to get out and capture them?! I have to keep reminding myself to make shorter trips. It literally only takes 30 seconds to walk into the back yard, after all. Do some close up work of a flower, or the dog pointing at those noisy freaking crows. I could experiment with product photography using that can of Campbell's soup I just bought at the grocery store. I’ve been watching videos on portrait photography -- why not annoy my girlfriend with that? There’s always something to shoot. The chances I’ll share this work with others or use it in a portfolio are small, but hey, I’ll be working on my craft. I will be getting better, more familiar with equipment, conditions, lighting set ups, learning what does and does not work. The important thing is that I’ll be photographing something, and let’s face it -- that’s always better than sitting at my desk fretting that I don’t have time to photograph something. 

(Todd Higgins) Flower Inspiration Jack in the Pulpit Macro motivation photography Fri, 12 Jun 2015 12:23:58 GMT
Day 5 of 5 Lake Superior SunsetLake Superior Sunset

Day 5 of 5


I have come to the end of the five day challenge. For the last photo in this series I went back to good ol' reliable Kitchi Gammi park. I was hoping for the dramatic clouds I didn't get yesterday but, as often happens, the sky didn't quite cooperate, so I switched my focus to the landscape. I found a tiny little inlet that hadn't frozen over yet, and waited for the sun to get lower in the sky so I could capture the movement of the water and the few clouds there were with a long exposure.

I hope you've enjoyed the photos. It was great to get outside every day and look at things in a slightly different way. Thanks for tagging along. I hope to have more up soon.

(Todd Higgins) Sun, 01 Feb 2015 04:37:27 GMT
Day 4 of 5 Beached TreeBeached Tree

Day 4 of 5


Today, or more accurately this morning, there was a break in the clouds. THERE WAS SUNLIGHT! I naturally headed straight for the beach. I was thinking I would get a nice long exposure, with the clouds streaking through the frame. By the time I got to where I was going and found a subject for my photo, the clouds had once again overtaken the day. If I were to make a long exposure now the sky would just be a solid expanse of gray. Time to rethink the photo. I decided to bracket the shot and capture some more of the detail in the fallen tree. This worked out perfectly. By blending three short exposures together I was able to show detail in the tree trunk, and just a hint of motion in the clouds.


(Todd Higgins) Sat, 31 Jan 2015 02:24:58 GMT
Day 3 of 5 Lone TreeLone Tree

Day 3 of 5


The inspiration for today’s entry came from Thai food. I was on my way to pick up dinner last night, and made my usual right turn. As I was doing so I thought, “One day I should go straight and see where that road leads.” Today I did just that. I had no preconceived idea for a photo, just the desire to explore. It was great to see part of the city I live in, that I had not seen before. As I drove further out and started to look around I saw many items that would have made for great photos. I even stopped and took a few. But it was on my way back home that I spotted this tree. It looked as though it had been left behind by its herd and was trying to catch up. That notion combined with the gray clouds rolling in made for a real feeling of desperation. I'm tempted to go back and see if it's still there...



(Todd Higgins) Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:10:49 GMT
Day 2 of 5 Stacked ShardsStacked Shards

Day Two of Five


Today I went to one of my favorite nearby places, Kitchi Gammi Park. There's always something to photograph here; the landscape is always changing along the lakeshore, especially in the winter. It's eerie to stand on the edge of the lake and listen to the ice shifting and creaking around you.

I found a thin sheet of ice that had broken up over a rock jutting out into the lake. I thought this would be a perfect chance to try a technique called focus stacking. This is a blending of several images with different points of focus from foreground to background. Commonly used in macro photography, focus stacking produces a detailed image with sharp focus from front to back. I used 12 different exposures used to make this photo.  

(Todd Higgins) Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:09:22 GMT
The Challenge  

The Challenge

A friend of mine challenged me to a Facebook photo contest today: to take one black-and-white photo a day for five days. I thought, I can do that! Everyone has heard of the “one photo a day for 365 days” challenge, but I know myself – I'd never finish that. A five-day challenge seems reasonable to me. Even I can do something for five days!

To add to to the challenge is the fact that it was a call out from a friend – someone I see on a regular basis. A person who would look me in the eye and say HA! You didn't finish! So there's some accountability involved, here. The internet will never notice if you don't follow through. But your friends? They'll ridicule you endlessly.

As an additional motivator, I figured I'd make a daily blog post with each photo, along with the story behind, the motivation for, or just the dumb luck involved in making them.

So. The first photo in this challenge is a Duluth landmark, “Uncle Harvey's Mausoleum,” also know as The Cribs. Found in the water just off the Lakewalk in Canal Park, this structure was built in 1919 as a sand and gravel hopper. Constructed by Harvey Whitney, it was a risky project. Harvey was hoping that the city of Duluth would expand the breakwater, and that he'd have the upper hand in providing building materials for the project. Unfortunately for him, the breakwater project was scrapped, and The Cribs were abandoned in 1922. It now serves as home to some nesting ducks, and as a diving platform for teenagers in the summer months.


The CribbThe Cribb

(Todd Higgins) Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:59:31 GMT
Just Shoot I took this picture the other day. Not a great picture, but I took it, and that's the point. It has been difficult to get out and do any shooting recently, what with The Day Job and all the rest of the Real Life Grown-up Responsibilities. But I found some time to go outside and take this photograph. I had a break between regular office hours and an evening meeting, so I went for a short walk with my camera and made this quick three shot pano. There was time. I need to remember this -- to find whatever quick moments I can; to set aside a weekend now and then; to give it some thought and plan a shoot. There is time, Todd. Take it.  



(Todd Higgins) Fri, 07 Nov 2014 21:43:42 GMT
One From the Road (Miami) One from the road.....Miami


Miami, Florida! A city of luxury, fashion, fabulous restaurants, and culture. So what should I do while I'm here? Head off into a pitch-black swamp to watch the sun rise…what else? I thought I'd escape the fast pace of Miami for a few hours and get a different perspective on the day. What could be more different from downtown Miami than the Everglades? Florida's Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres, so to say I barely scratched the surface on my hike is an understatement. The diversity of this ecosystem is amazing, and while it may feel inhospitable at times (I was swarmed by mosquitos and barked at by a committee of black vultures) there is no denying the beauty of this magnificent park. 

(Todd Higgins) Sat, 15 Feb 2014 05:08:35 GMT
One From The Road (Cleveland) One from the Road (Cleveland)

I was just in Cleveland, Ohio for a two-week sit. Of course at some point you find yourself outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is, to say the least, an interesting piece of architecture. Designed by I.M. Pei, it's a large glass pyramid with what I call geometric growths spurting from the sides. You could probably spend a whole day photographing the thing. This photo, or at least this angle, is one I keep coming back to. I shot a similar photo a couple of years ago, but it just never did anything for me.

This time out I walked right past the Hall of Fame, thinking "I tried that once and I didn't like it." I decided I'd shoot Lake Erie, instead, but the day was gray and cloudy, and Lake Erie didn't look so Great. Eventually I called it quits and headed for the hotel, but as I circled back around the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there it was -- the shot I had tried before. But this time there were clouds. It needed CLOUDS (and maybe a little split toning), but there it was! And this time I liked it.

Lesson learned. If at first you don't succeed…wait for some clouds.

















(Todd Higgins) Sat, 15 Feb 2014 05:05:57 GMT
One From the Road (Chicago) One from the Road (Chicago)


A sunny day here in Chicago, and out on a little walk. The weather is starting to cool off and the foot traffic at the Navy Pier is slowing down. I was out in my effort to be a little more productive with my photography, and while “inspiration” was not really giving me much to work with, I kept at it.

I found this great wall and it had some good light hitting it, so I stood there and I waited. Sometimes it is better to wait for the moment to come to you, rather than chase after the moment. Sure enough the moment came walking down the street. A group of sailors walked right through the scene. They were quick of pace and were not in frame for long, but I managed to get this photo as they passed by.







(Todd Higgins) Sat, 15 Feb 2014 05:02:21 GMT
One From the Road I am out on the road again. This time I have decided to be a little more diligent about my photography. So, this is the first of what I hope will become a regular installation here at the ol' blog. I call this "One from the Road". Simply put, I hope to post one photo every month from a variety of different city's. This one I took while in Manhattan. This all glass building had a patio section; but from the street the trees seemed to grow out of the building. With the blue sky and puffy clouds it looked like a painting on the side of a building. 


(Todd Higgins) Sat, 15 Feb 2014 05:00:08 GMT
Get To It Today was a cold, windy, rainy day. I decided it wasn't a good day to walk around and shoot, so I did what I imagine many of us do on a day like this. I settled in to watch a Kelby Training video. I chose Moose Peterson's "Master Black and White Landscape Photography" for my viewing pleasure. And what is one of the first things he says? "Some of the best pictures are made in the worst weather." Well, there goes my excuse. So I grabbed my bag and out the door I went. I did get a couple of good shots, and as a bonus I found a place that serves a great cheese steak. The moral of this story: Get out there and get to it. You will feel better for the effort, and who knows? Maybe you'll find some delicious food along the way!
































(Todd Higgins) Sat, 15 Feb 2014 04:50:55 GMT