...on Monica - Winter

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010


Here's a short "Before & After" video (with a quick run through of the
steps in between!) for the image above..

...from the clouds

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Monday, September 06, 2010


Well it's Labour day in the USA which marks the end of summer :( and right on cue we were delivered a gold old fashion mid-west thunder storm!

sunrise over Lake Michigan - calm before the storm...
but if you just turn and point the camera in the opposite direction..
the storm!

...on balloons

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010


Hartford is a small township of approx 14,000 in SE Wisconsin, each summer the town hosts a free-to-attend Balloon Rally at the local air strip. They have plane & helicopter rides, a play area for the kids, live music & lots of good food! but the main event are the hot air balloon flights and after dark balloon glow.

waiting for flight time

they're pretty big!

after dark balloon glow

It's great fun and well worth checking out!

...on conversation

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I was shooting long exposure skyline / pier shots, the couple were sat on that bench when I arrived. Some 30+mins later they were still there - looking out across the lake and totally absorbed by one another's conversation.

If only stories could fuel the world.


I recently took part in a world wide photo walk organised by renowed Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom specialsit Scott Kelby, well actually he hosts the event globally but the walk itself was organised by Coree Coppinger, so many thanks to her for all her efforts!

The date set for the walk co-incided with Brady Street Days, a day long festival held annually on Milwaukee's Brady Street. It's a great event with tons of interesting happenings like WWE style wrestling, BMX stunt bikes and camel rides as well live music great food and plenty of refreshments! - what a great place to do some street photography!

Here's a few of the images from the day....

Even the pets are cool on brady street ..

but for some the excitment was just too much!

Look out below!

After all that excitement it was time to cool down and have an nice chilled refreshment..

this is when the party really got going with music and dancing into the wee small hours.

...on eclipsed

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2010


Eclipsed is a limited series of fine art photographic portraits featuring the reptiles, mammals, insects and birds of South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Each image is a moment of quiet introspection, allowing us to tune out our daily white noise and appreciate the distinction and earthly nobility of nature.

The series can be previewed on-line at http://www.whenlightfalls.com/ and will shortly be showing in Caggio gallery in Milwaukee.

...on Street Photography

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010


I was recently part of a group photographers who were treated to a guided tour of Street Seen: The Psychological Gesture in American Photography, 1940–1959 by the exhibition organizer and curator of photographs at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Lisa Hostetler. She was thoroughly engaging both in the presentation of the exhibition and in her personal insights provided during the tour.

I'm intrigued by and can relate to the styles, or rather, how the featured photographers (Lisette Model, Louis Faurer, Ted Croner, Saul Leiter, William Klein, and Robert Frank) shied from the classic styles of the period, in favor of a more immediate and fluid approach to photography. Lisa notes that the artists "viewed photography as an “act of living”—an exploration of identity rather than a tool for telling a story"; it's in that connection to the moment and the resulting emotions, that the story is told.

Street photograph, Milan Italy.

Although the exhibition closes in Milwaukee today, I would strongly recommend the exhibition catalog which can be purchased here.

Thanks to CoPA, the Milwaukee Art Museum and to Lisa Hostetler for arranging and hosting the guided tour.

...on the CoPA Gallery Night Members Exhibit

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted in , , , | Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2010


Supporting the 22-year-old Milwaukee tradition of Gallery Night and Day CoPA is hosting it's members exhibit at the P.H. Dye House in the Historic Third Ward.

With more than 200 images from over 80 artists, it's an amazing collection of photographic art and is sure to hold interest for both the experienced art connoisseur and beginning admirer.

The three images I'm showing explore the polarities of form and space, featuring an unseen juxtaposition of light, as each element was shot during the day (with the exception of the moon in the loch composite).

The show is open again on 23rd & 24th of April - so come along it would be great to see you!

...on the morning lake

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, March 13, 2010


I really like the saying "live for the day" inspiring you take hold of opportunities, explore all the things that you can and beat the sunset. However, I also like that there is a promise in tomorrow.

Doctors Park Beach

...on the veiled

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010


...on the wheels of steel

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Monday, February 22, 2010


With rumors spinning faster than the direct drive brushless DC's, are the Technics SL1200 & 1210's being discontinued? ... It's shamelessly sentimental but I sure hope not...38 years and counting!

...on the 7 Mile Fair Haiti Benefit - follow up

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Sunday, February 14, 2010


Last week's photo-shoot at 7 Mile Fair, was a great day!. Thousands turned out to do some shopping and show their support. We had a blast meeting and photographing a bunch of different people, from a four day old baby to a 'just engaged' couple and loads of fun individuals & families! During the day we were treated to some great live music from the Mary Davis Trio featuring Lem Banks, as well as having a few local radio stations visit the event.

So a big thank you to everyone who came out and supported us and the Red Cross Haiti relief effort.

Here's a couple of shots from the day.

...on the 7 Mile Fair Haiti Benefit

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Thursday, February 04, 2010


7 Mile Fair is organizing a Haitian Earthquake Relief Benefit at their market place in Caledonia, Wisconsin with proceeds going to the Haitian Relief Fund.

The event is on Saturday, February 6th, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We will have an on-site studio set and roving photographers at the event. We'll be setup near the Family Fun Center where the Mary Davis Trio featuring Lem Banks will be playing on the Market Square Stage during the hours of 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

We would love for you to come on down and stop by for a portrait, show your support and enjoy the day.



...on blue spaghetti

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2010


Charlie Poole sang:
I want to go west, got the Milwaukee blues",
Old Bill Jones said before he died, "Fix the roads so the folks can ride"

Well, they did back in 2008 and after driving over, under and across it too many times to mention, I began to notice a certain aesthetic to the sweeping forms and juxtapositions of the Marquette Interchange, Milwauke's spaghetti junction.

I was reminded at once of both past and future. The prefab concrete pillars recall the 70's while the accent lighting and maze of roadways has a real sci-fi feel to it.

At a cost of $810m, it sure is one expensive (but practical) piece of art!

...on abstractions

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010


Photographic abstraction art is varies as much as any other style of photography, but in all it's represented forms the essence is to avoid the like depiction of the subject, in preference of producing images which are borne from, but exist to a greater (or lesser) degree, apart from, the finite visual reference.

In many cases contemporary photographers internalize their images and no orientation to the true form is provided. Eliciting a reaction from the viewer, devoid of a tangible reference, they are guided only by shape & tone. James Wellings' series Degradé or his New Abstractions series are examples of this style.

In these images I don't push the boundary so far. The first image (above) is likely recognizable as water, a tangible point of reference, however, it is offered symbolically to be viewed in conjunction with the polar elements of the image's tonal presentation. The viewer must interpret the intention of the image and place it adjacent to their own experiences.

In the subtraction above I removed all elements other than those required to convey the intended representation. Taken from Santiago Calatrava's Quadracci Pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum, these tension cables recall a sentimental abstract inference to the string art forms popular in the late 70's. A great art piece both in it's architectural design and as a photographic abstract.

..on the washing

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Saturday, January 23, 2010


Deep into creases,
behind sagging folds,
under once filled flaps,
over blue webs,
between bunion buttons,
and round gaseous mounds
go the sponges of
the wistful washers.

comically inspired by a mis-typed handy man ad which I saw a while back - it was offering widow washing sevices :)

(...Kath - eeughhh!! :)

...on cyberspace

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Sunday, January 17, 2010


I've (just about) completed an update to my website . The project started as a way to make it all just a little simpler - for me and for site visitors. I wanted more integration with my work flow to ease the burden of keeping site content updated. And I really wanted to make it simple to view my images. I've visited a lot of elaborately designed photography sites and came away with the impression - "that was a cool site!". Not at all what I want to achieve! well actually it is, but more importantly I want those who visit to be focused on the images, so a simple, clean, interface was my key objective.

Please stop by - your comments and feedback is very much apprecaited.



... on the fallen

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I try to take in all that's going on around me, to slow down and let the world by. I gaze up at buildings, out over the countryside and left or right at people scurrying past, but often I forget to look down - it never ceases to amaze me though how something as simple as a fallen leaf can make you completely stop.

..low over highlands

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, January 08, 2010


Ruthven Barracks, Scotland

If you get a chance to take in some of the Scottish Highlands do it! but be prepared for a wee bit o'a breeze (read: blowing a gale) and a wee drizzle (read: lashing it down) and a wee bit sun (a strange yellow object sometimes known to appear in a late July sky) along with generous helpings of good old-fashioned warm and friendly hospitality in one of the many welcoming abodes (but pick one that has a roof!)

One of things I love most about Scotland is the remoteness,
 but be aware, sometimes the facilities may leave a little to be desired!

Lecht Mine
Back in the 30's, the 1730's, this was (and remains) the largest manganese mine ever worked in Scotland. It employed over 60 men & boys and produced over 50,000 tons per annum! It's located on the Glenlivet Estate so I imagine a wee dram or two would have flown quite freely - just to keep the chill off of course!

Girdleness Lighthouse, Aberdeen


Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted on Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I was recently introduced to the work of an English photographer, Nick Brandt, whose images of Africa are described as an 'elegy to a vanishing world' and it made me take pause, not only because of their harrowing narrative but also because of the way the images communicate the plight of this wondrous landscape and it's inhabitants. In particular I was mesmerized by the nobility of a resting lion shown, in profile, sitting up against the fore-breeze of a coming storm.

 (due to copyright restrictions I can't show the image but please have a look!)

The 'in-camera' photographic technique used by Nick produces an unusual selective focus drawing attention to the subject and, in the image linked above, it creates an angular dynamic through the frame forming a unique and mesmerizing portrait.

Now I had a little more humble setting in which to photograph the King of the Beasts, the Milwaukee Zoo - but it was a fun outing and a great place to visit!.

Nick's selective focus technique inspired to me to revisit some of the images I shot during that trip and present them in a way that diffuses the setting and attracts the eye to the key element of the image.

Here we are left in no doubt he is king of his domian!

on... New Year 2010!

Posted by Mark A. Johnson | Posted in | Posted on Sunday, January 03, 2010


Happy New Year - 2010!
Hi and welcome to my first blog of the new decade (actually my first blog ever).

This is the time of year where we reflect on the previous twelve months and set out our good intentions for the next twelve, so I thought we might start by looking at how some brave (read slightly crazy) Cream City citizens started their 2010 - The Polar Bear Plunge.

On New Years Day while many in Scotland would be welded to the sofa suffering from the effects of the previous night's generously sized whiskey's (and even though they are six hours ahead of Milwaukee - they probably still were), resolving, as is the tradition, "to not drink any more"... mind you they never said they would drink any less either! - a few (quite a few actually) wild and barely dressed lads & lassies opted to washout their hangover in a little different manner.

Gathered along Milwaukee's Lake Michigan shore front at Bradford Beach were all sorts of colorfull charachters (I still find it unusual to see snow on a sandy beach, I have to keep telling myself it's a lake!), some dressed in costumes, some in sleeping bags, others in 'man-kinis' and all looking just a little pale. I was quite colorful myself, bright yellow snow jacket, black snow pants, thick orange socks and, as I'm from Scotland, even with all my winter layers - the obligatory pale blue skin!

They were all there to take the plunge into the near freezing waters of the lake. Some do it to raise money for a good cause, others to wash out the past years' 'ghosts' and others... well, just because they can! .

It's always a fun event and a great place to catch the slightly off kilter side of the community, here's a couple more shots - enjoy!!

The air tempertaure was around 14F (about minus 10c) brrr!!!