Category Archives: Landscape

The End of Winter

The End of Winter at Foster Beach in Edgewater, Chicago - Landscape Photography by Michael CourierThe End of Winter at Foster Beach in Edgewater, Chicago - Landscape Photography by Michael Courier

The last storm of winter as seen from Foster Beach.

Ten days ago, this is what Foster Beach looked like. On March 14th, Chicago got hit with cold weather, snow, and strong winds. Which is—of course—the best time to make photos.

This is part of an ongoing series I’m working on called Foster to Hollywood, an on-going exploration of the beauty Lake Michigan has to offer, as seen from Foster Beach and Kathy Osterman “Hollywood” Beach in Edgewater.

The End of Winter at Foster Beach in Edgewater, Chicago - Landscape Photography by Michael CourierThe End of Winter at Foster Beach in Edgewater, Chicago - Landscape Photography by Michael Courier

RMNP with Aspire Tours

Rocky Mountain National Park with Aspire Tours - Nature photographs of the beautiful landscapes at the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - Photography by Michael Courier

A view of the mountains with help from Aspire Tours.

Rocky Mountain National Park with Aspire Tours - Nature photographs of the beautiful landscapes at the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - Photography by Michael Courier

A view from Moraine Park at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Shannon and I celebrated our anniversary by taking an impromptu trip to Denver. While we were there, we booked a trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park through Aspire Tours.

During our few hours in the mountains, the weather was sunny and nice, to windy and snowy with minimal visibility. As we made our way through the park, it was relaxing to spot wildlife and take in the views.

The mountains were so beautiful that it was difficult to return to Chicago — and hard to put into words how much the experience meant to me. If you’ve never been to the Rocky Mountains before and would like an introduction, I would recommend the tour that we took. As for me, I’m now looking forward to planning my own trip back into the mountains to spend more time there appreciating the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.

Rocky Mountain National Park with Aspire Tours - Nature photographs of the beautiful landscapes at the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - Photography by Michael Courier

A fallen tree covered in snow.

Rocky Mountain National Park with Aspire Tours - Nature photographs of the beautiful landscapes at the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - Photography by Michael Courier

The frozen view of Lily Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park with Aspire Tours - Nature photographs of the beautiful landscapes at the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - Photography by Michael Courier

Another view from Lily Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park with Aspire Tours - Nature photographs of the beautiful landscapes at the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - Photography by Michael Courier

A different view from Moraine Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park with Aspire Tours - Nature photographs of the beautiful landscapes at the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - Photography by Michael Courier

A two-image panorama of a beautiful view at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Scenes from Foster Beach

A colony of seagulls floating in the wind, as waves crash against the shore of Foster Beach in Edgewater, Chicago - Photography by Michael Courier

A colony of seagulls floating in the wind, as waves crash against the shore.

The above photo was taken on the south shore of Foster beach in Edgewater. It was a blustery day and a group of kids were feeding the birds (which, honestly, you’re not supposed to do). After being fed, they decided to hang out in the gusts of wind for a few moments and I was able to capture this scene. In total, I counted 53 seagulls in this image.

A minimalist horizon, moments before sunset - Photography by Michael Courier

A peaceful moment, right before sunset.

Light reflects on the shallow surface near the shore of Foster Beach. Patterns created by the waves can be seen below - Photography by Michael Courier

Patterns in the sand created by the waves.

I wandered into the water with my camera—and by doing so—created minor panic attacks for myself. The water was rather shallow and the waves were minimal, so I stopped freaking out when I found these cool textures below the surface. I love how there are two textures at play: the ones in the sand and the ones created by the light.

Wispy, near-psychedelic clouds shortly after sunset - Photography by Michael Courier

Wispy, colorful clouds at dusk—with a tiny crescent moon trying to hide.

A two-shot panorama created at dawn, at Foster Beach in Edgewater, Chicago - Photography by Michael Courier

A two-shot panorama taken at dawn from the shore of Foster Beach.

With my phone, I make panoramas often. With my professional camera? Not so much. I’ve been wanting to make a sunrise photo like this for awhile. When I lived in Lincoln Park, I would wake up often to photograph the sunrise. Lately, I’ve been wanting to make more personal images for myself, rather than a client. It’s been a busy summer and I’ve been bad at making time to explore nature photography.

After watching the weather for a few days, I found a day that worked with my schedule. And it paid off! I’m really happy with how this turned out and it was even better to witness in person. I’m thankful the clouds cooperated for me.

A two-shot panorama created shortly after sunrise, at Foster Beach in Edgewater, Chicago - Photography by Michael Courier

A two-shot panorama taken shortly after sunrise, from the shore of Foster Beach.

This was taken the same morning as the previous panorama, but nearly 30 minutes later when the sun finally broke the horizon. What I love most about dusk/dawn and sunrises/sunsets is that the light and color change so rapidly.

It may sound cheesy, but I find comfort witnessing those moments. Especially sunrises in Chicago. There are fewer people out at that time, and everything seems more peaceful.