Neil Colton Photographer: The Blog » Lifetsyle, Travel & Fine Art Photography by Neil Colton

TRAVEL & FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY: ARCADIA BLUFFS GOLF CLUB

This post features Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course, one of the premier public links-style golf courses in the United States. Rated the #3 course in Michigan, the #13 public course in the United States and the #68 course (public or private) in the country, Arcadia Bluffs is one awesome track.

Contact Neil for details about purchasing Fine Art Prints from this series available in the Arcadia Bluffs Collection here.

Portrait of a golfer at sunset putting as the sunsets on Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia MI.

Every photographer experiences a time of struggle, when their creative mojo disappears.

When my mojo went south, I went north. To recharge my creative batteries in northern Michigan. Spending quality time with friends and family was long overdue. After a long, intense period of work, with relentless deadlines, endless editing and demanding clients, time away from camera, computer and clients was sorely needed.

But how to get those creative juices flowing again?

The solution?

Go north, young man. To the links in a place called Arcadia and a golf course like no other. I rediscovered my love for photography during a round of golf on one of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses I have ever set foot upon.

A place called Arcadia Bluffs.

From Wikipedia:

Golf Digest selected Arcadia Bluffs as one of the 100 Greatest Golf Courses in the United States in 2005. The course was ranked #10 in America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses list and #56 in the 100 Greatest Golf Courses list. In addition to the Golf Digest ranking, Golfweek magazine ranked Arcadia Bluffs at #24 in their listing of  The 100 Best Courses in United States.”

To the course.

‘I am convinced that in the heart of every amateur golfer lies a belief, however fantastic, that one day, in some unexpected place, all those hours, days and weeks spent in toil on the practice tees and fairways will coalesce into a near perfect round.’

On this day, in that place, for a few brief moments, that happened to me. At  Arcadia Bluffs.

Arcadia Bluffs is a links course, in the style of the early, and legendary, Irish and Scottish courses.  Carved into the bluffs on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is at once awe inspiring and intimidating.  At its highest point, the links are more than one hundred feet above Lake Michigan. The views from the elevated tee boxes are simply stunning. To play this course well is a true challenge for the average golfer. But add the pull of breath taking vistas, and a dramatic course design, and this becomes much more than  simply a round of golf.

Now, to images of Arcadia Bluffs and that sublime late summer day, once upon a time.

Portrait of Arcadia Bluffs golf course with golfers in the distance along Lake Michigan
Portrait of a golfer as he tees of at Arcadia Bluffs in Arcadia, Michigan.A gollfer tees of at Arcdia Bluffs Golf Coirse set against the brillaint summer Michigan sky.Silhouette portrait of a golfer teeing off toward Lake Michigan at Arcadia Bluffs in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course against a brilliant blue Lake Michigan.Still portrait of a golf ball on a green at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Candid portrait of a golfer putting at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of one of the majestic greens on the Arcadia Bluffs Glof Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of a lone golfer planning his approach shot on a fairway of the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan. bathed in late after Michigan summer sun.Portrait of a golfer driving his cart along the fairway as the sun sets on Lake Michigan at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Action portrait of a golfer powering his way out of a bunker on the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.
Candid portrait of a golfer chipping onto a green at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of a golfer chipping onto the green as the sun sets on Arcadia Bluffs golf course in Arcadia, MichiganSilhouette portrait of a golfer putting on the back nine of Arcsdia Bluffs with Lake Michigan in the background.Portrait of golfers on the tee at Arcadia Bluffs golf course, with Lake Michiga in the background.Portrait of the setting sun on Arcadia Bluffs Gof Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of the course at Arcadia Bluffs as the sun sets on Lake Michigan.Portrait of three golfers on the back nine of the course at Arcadia Bluffs.Night portrait of the clubhouse at Arcadia Bluffs, as viewed from the 18th fairway.

About the water color.

Lake Michigan is blue like no blue I have ever seen.

That blue you see in these images is real. Almost too real. I captured these images using the Neutral color setting on my Nikon DSLR pro body. You Nikon shooters will know that Neutral is the setting below the standard or ‘normal’ setting. SOOTC, Nikon’s Standard setting ramps up the colors far too much for my liking, so I choose Neutral as my starting point, then add color and saturation as needed. I actually had to ramp down (reduce) the color intensity in many of these shots, even at Neutral, because they were so strong that they seemed supernatural.

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Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography
Canidid portarit of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple kissing in a Washington DC art gallery.POrtrait of a couple kissing on an escalator in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on an escalator during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator in Washington DC.Washington, DC Lifestyle PhotographyPortrait of a couple in a museum on the National Mall in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on a balcoony during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple at an art gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple kissing in an art gallery in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple on the National Mall in Washington DC.

 Here’s a flashback to one of my favorite sessions, combining architectue, portrait and lifestyle photography. Polar Vortex?  No problem.

Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography

The high temperature in Washington, DC may climb to a sizzling 30 degrees today.

Add winds gusting to 25mph and the real feel is near zero. For the residents of the city of Washington, this will be one very cold day.

Washington is a beautiful city for location photography, but when the temperatures drop and the winds start coursing through the National Mall, the location of first choice is not outdoors. Our original plan was to shoot on the National Mall, using the iconic sites and monumental architecture of Washington as a backdrop. But with high winds and brutally low temperatures, it was no place for an outdoor session, unless pink cheeks are your thing.

So indoors we went, to one of my favorite places – the East Wing of The National Gallery of Art.

I began my professional photography career photographing architecture. Those who know me well, know that I love combining images of people with the built environment. The contrast, context and the energy the city brings to my work are now an integral element of my photographic style. Architecture complements the visual story and provides a compositional anchor to build upon.

Back to the story.

From the moment I first became aware of his work, I have been an ardent admirer of architect I.M. Pei. He has the unique ability to create architecture that is at once outside the box, by design, but somehow finds a way to blend into, and enhance, its surroundings. The East Wing of The National Gallery of Art is a perfect example of this – an ultra modern structure woven into the fabric of the traditional monumental architecture that is Washington, DC. The East Wing is one of the first examples of iconic modern architecture in this city and it has held up very well, even as the number of award winning modern structures in the city has slowly increased. Pei’s interior design and the beautiful natural light of the East Wing made this a perfect setting to capture images of Jake and Sarah.

Fortunately, January is not high season for tourism in Washington, DC, so we had the unusual experience of being nearly alone in this beautiful museum. This session turned out to be one of my favorites. A delightful couple and award winning modern architecture. A wonderful combination for any photographer.

I hope you enjoyed Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography of Sarah & Jake. To see more of my work, visit my site here

 

 

Canidid portarit of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.
Portrait of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.POrtrait of a couple kissing in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple kissing in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple during an engagement session in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple in a gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on an escalator during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator in a Washington DC gallery.POrtrait of a couple kissing on an escalator in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple kissing inside a sculpture at a Wasgington DC gallery.
Candid portrait of a couple talking on a balcoony during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator in a museum in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on a pedestrian bridge in a Washington DC museum.Portrait of a couple in a museum on the National Mall in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple riding an escalator in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator during an engagement session in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple during an engagement session in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a girl kssing her fiancePortrait of a couple on the National Mall in Washington DC

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lifestyle portrait of a couple wearing shades near dupont circle in washington dc

Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography: Daniel & Kristy

 

To some, things just come naturally.

Like being comfortable in front of the camera on a swelering hot day in Washington, DC. The brutal DC summer heat has arrived and the high temperatures this week are hovering at100 degrees. Add drenching high humidity and, well, you get the picture. It’s the reason air conditioning was invented.  For this session I’m in lightweight shorts and a Dri-Fit top, carrying the lightest camera bag I own, packed with the absolute minimum of gear. And still I feel the weight and force of this oppressive heat and matching humidity, like I’m in a perpetual sauna.

This is one session I won’t soon forget.

Why shoot in weather like this, right? Good question! We had planned for cooler times, but between Kristy’s travel schedule, Daniel’s work schedule and my jam-packed in-season bookings calendar, we just couldn’t get it done. But the window of time to shoot this session is closing quickly, so here we are on a blistering late summer afternoon in downtown Washington, DC, doing a lifestyle session for this remarkable couple.  ‘Remarkable’ may be an understatement. ‘Superheroes of the Summer Heat‘ may be a better description of these folks. Marvel should sign this couple to a conract!

Daniel & Kristy are in full dress-up mode. And they look amazing!

I feel like I’m dropping weight standing still.  Danile and Kristy look as fresh and as ready as if we were doing a studio session. Note to self. This couple would make great politicians, in case anyone asks, never breaking a sweat under pressure or cruel heat. Shooting a couple like this makes my job almost easy. Almost. There is still work to be done, but when it’s fun and the folks you’re working with are calm and cool it’s not really work at all, except for wiping the occasional foggy lens and keeping yourself and your gear dry.

So, even in 104 degree weather, this was fun. A very special thanks to my creative director for this session ~ Daniel, of Daniel and Kristy. Like I said, he’s a natural.

Thanks for checking out Washington, DC Lifetsyle Photography: Daniel & Kristy. To schedule your own lifetsyle session in Washington (or anywhere) contact me for my rates and availablity. To see more of my work, vist my site here.

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WASHINGTON, DC LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY: THE DAY AFTER

candid portrait of a bride and groom after a DC area wedding

I never understood the Trash The Dress (THD) craze sweeping the country.

It seemed like just another way for wedding photographers to increase their income and for brides to have some very expensive fun. Absolutely nothing wrong with having fun, but given that the idea is to trash the beloved wedding dress, conservatively priced in the mid 4 figures, and forever destroy a sacred icon… Add in the bizarre concepts (burning dresses, ocean romps, mountian climbing?…)  that THD photographers have dumped on us unsuspecting viewers and it seemed an idea as bizarre as the images.  So, when Sandy and Bryan approached me about doing a THD session, I was less than enthusiastic. Then it struck me.  A Day After Session in the city would be seriously fun, freewheeling and completely without pressure. An alternative to the, now traditional, Trash The Dress session. Now, that is something I could get into. Who nows, maybe I’ll start an entirely new genre of photography.

Let the planning begin!

For the past few years, Lifestyle Photography has been a mainstay of my work. My work has included assignments for ad agencies, editorial clients, media companies and businesses, large and small. It has also included dozens of engagement sessions and couples’ portrait sessions. This is truly fun stuff, for photographer and client alike.  If any couple knows how to have fun, it is Bryan and Sandy.

For this session, we decided that Olde Towne Alexandria was the place to be. Olde Towne is one of my favorite spots for location sessions. A bedroom community for Washington, DC, Old Towne is a charming setting for all things photographic. It’s quaint colonial architecture, small town feel and progressive vibe make it a perfect place for a day of photographing a couple in wedding attire, or anything at all for that matter. We met there on a cool clear Sunday morning, ready to rock and roll. No script, no pressure…just a day of photographic fun, as we strolled around the city, making it up as we went along. Very cool!

Here are a few of my favorite images from this session of Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography: The Day After.

To see more of my Lifestyle Photography, visit my site.

 

portrait of a bride and groom in Alexandria Virginia after their DC area weddingpotrait of a bride and groom in Alexandria Virginia aftre their DC area weddingcandid photograph of a bride and groom in Alexandria Virginia aftre their weddingcandid photograph of a bride and groom in Alexandria Virginia after their weddingcandid portrait of a bride and groom in Old Twon Alexandria Virginiacandid portrait of a bride and groom aftre their DC area wedding near Old Town Alexandriacandid photogarph of a bride and groom in a public square in Old Town Alexandriacandid photograph of a bride and groom walking newr the marina in Old Twon Alexandria aftre a DC area weddingportrait of a bride and groom in Old Town Alexabdria after a DC area weddingportrait of a bride and groom near the Potomac River in Alexandria after a DC area weddingcandid portrait of a bride and groom in Old twon Alexandria after a DC area wedding
bride and groom pse for a portrait in Old Town Alexandria after a DC area weddingportrait of a newly married couple in Old Town Alexandria after a DC area weddingportrait of a bride and groom in Old Town Alexandriacandid portrait of a newly married couple in Old twon Alexandria after a DC area weddingportrait of a bride and groom kissing in Old Twon Alexandria after a DC area weddingcandid portrait of a bride and groom after a DC area weddingcandid of a bride and groom wlaking along King Street in Old Town Alexandriacandid portrait of a newly married couple after a DC area weddingcandid portrait of a bride and groom in Old Town Alexandria after their DC area weddingportrait of a bride dancing after her DC area weddingportarit of a bride an grrom in Old Town Aleaxnadria during a Day After wedding session
bride and groom walking through Old Town Aleaxndria after their DC area weddingcandid portrait of a bride and groom after a DC wedding

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  • Annie Warren - This is a great set of images. I especially LOVE the shots in the street. The newly weds look so relaxed and happy. Wonderful work!

  • David Jones - Great work. Love the shot in the boats – really nice style.

  • Todd Materazzi - Neil, portraits and weddings are one aspect of photography that I will admire and your work is included in my short list of portrait photographers. Great job and layout of your galleries and best shots!

    Sincerely
    Todd Materazzi