Chicago Photography Tours

So far, the Chicago photography tours have been great.  We have been shooting mostly night photography in the loop at Millennium Park, Grant Park, and on the River. I want to mention a couple tours I did that my clients have went way above my expectations, and want to tell you a little about them.

1-Derrick from Hawaii

I met derrick at one of Chicago’s most visited attractions, Millennium Park.  We started with a little light metering around the Cloud Gate Bean, and then headed to Crown Fountain to shoot the 50 foot tall faces with some cool cityscape backgrounds. Derrick had a great eye for perspective and was naturally creative. You could tell by his passion, that the hours flew buy much too fast, so we stayed an extra hour.

I will post one of his images here in the near future.

 2-Susan from Wisconsin

Susan and I met along the Chicago river to find some interesting long exposure night shots. Susan has been taking an online class about long exposure photography, so we decided to work in the evening. Susan is going to be a great photographer, and strives to make every shot a keeper. It was great to work with such a dedicated art lover.

We got some fantastic shots of the river overlooking the city during the blue hour, and set off to work on some creative long exposure shots after that.

This shot was 30 seconds long and composed with great perspective of the Chicago Theater to show movement.

SFlickinger1 by Susan Flickinger (student) 2014 Chicago PhotoTour

I am doing Chicago Photo Tours in the city now and available. I teach new and experienced day or night photography, and show them the best places to shoot in the city.

Very customizable.
Kevin O’Connell, 312-404-3519

Photography Tips and Tricks

by on 3/20/2014 12:32:22 PM3 Comments

Getting your photography noticed

I’m going to tell you some of the secrets I have used to bring my photography to the next level that has gotten me more exposure with many international awards. Lets face it, their are hundreds of thousands of good to great photographers out their, so you need to be unique and creative. What I found that worked my me, and still use to this day is a skill that I have, not related in any way to photography, but opened the door for me to move to the next level. I’m a licensed electrician that i do not use because I never liked it. I use to cringe at the thought of helping friends finish their basement or garage in exchange for a case of beer. Even though my photography was solid, and I had some business, I still was not were I wanted to be as an artist, and dreamed of the day I could tell my friends,”No Thanks, I don’t do side jobs or electrical work anymore. Furthermore, I am not a big drinker.

Isn’t it frustrating that family members and people in general don’t consider photography or working as an artist to be actually a profession, unless your famous. Many friends and family members would also ask me, “Have you fond a job yet”, “Are you still doing electrical work” I think they thought of photography and art more like playing ij the sand rather than working.

Then one day it hit me while reading a photography magazine. Their was a full page ad looking for photographers that wanted to take a photo cruise to Antarctica. It was $20,000 for 14 days, all inclusive tour. I thought to myself, WOW, who has that kind of money. I did envy anyone that did though, because if I did, it would be myself on that cruise.

Then the light bulb went off. I thought to myself, hmmmmm, I wonder if their might be some type of electrical jobs in Antarctica. After some small research I found a company looking for electricians to work a 6 month contract in Antarctica. Airfare, food and lodging included, plus I will be getting paid while there. How can you beat that, even if you don’t like your day job, you get to do something that you love everyday for the next 6 months. You will get to take pictures of places that other photographers will never get a chance to even see.

I used that same outlook for the next five years and went to many places around the world to shoot some amazing places. I flew for free, ate for free, lived for free, and even got a paycheck. How can you beat that. The icing on the cake is winning some international awards and being published as well.

You can check out my web-site here for more about me and my work.

Travel Photography


Shooting in Remote Places Around The World

Once you find a place that is interesting to shoot, like lets say the Marshall Islands, you need to do lots of research before you go, and make a plan. Its the same as working on any art project, you need a conceptual plan to make sure you have some type of structure while there. This will help you get from point A to B so much easier.

You should also be aware of the weather, and how this might reflect on your camera equipment. This is so very important, I can not stress this enough. A sand pebble can ruin a camera lens and even ruin the inside of your camera. Working in cold climates with cold outside temperatures and warm inside temperatures can also ruin your camera if the proper procedures are not taken. Going from a warm cozy indoor place to the frigid outdoors isn’t going to hurt, except your battery life, but going back into a warm place from the cold can ruin your camera very easily.

When you go from cold to warm or hot, your camera will immediately become filled with condensation, inside and out. This condensation can destroy the electronics of your camera very fast. It will do the same to your lens, and will also fog your lens for up to an hour. you won’t be able to take anymore pictures until the fog clears from your lens.

The best way to handle this is to carry a very large plastic zip lock bag with you. Before you come in from the cold outdoors, out your camera and lens’s into zip lock bags. It should only take about 20 to 30 minutes for your camera and lens to adjust, and you can take them out of the zip lock bags

While I was in Antarctica, I went on an excursion to Robert Falcons Hut. This in itself is a great historic place of interest to shoot. Robert Falcon Scott and the Tera Nova Expedition all died traversing back from the South Pole. This should have been the number one reason I went to Antarctica, and if I was better prepared, I could have had many images that would have been in demand. I went there to shoot fine art landscapes that are unbelievable to see, but not as interesting as Scotts Hut, and The Terra Nova Expedition


Travels to China can be incredible. Some of the villages still look like they are a thousand years old. I especially liked shooting southern China.
Yangmei was an amazing place to see. The Village hasn’t changed in over a thousand years. The inhabitants still use the same tools, and live in the same structures that their ancestors passed down from generations ago. It is named after the local fruit called Yangmei.


Through more than a thousand years, Yangmei ancient town was prosperous for the developing of waterway transportation but also depressed for it. Built in Song dynasty and developed in Ming dynasty, it met the most prosperous time in Qing dynasty. Even now, it still preserves architectures of Ming and Qing dynasties, such as ancient street, lane, temple, shrine, house, tree, port, Wenwu pagoda, and beacon tower, all of them having an old-fashioned and antique lasting flavor. Located in the lower reaches of the Zuojiang River, the ancient town is surrounded by a river at three sides. It is 30 kilometers from Nanning City with convenient transportation.

Press Release For The International Photography Awards Recipient, Kevin O’Connell


International Photography Awards Announces Winners of the Competition 

International Photography Awards (IPA) has announced the winners of One Shot: One World competition.
was Awarded an Honorable Mention in One Shot: One World Competition – One World – Places category for the winning entry “Observation Hill.”

ABOUT Winner:

Kevin has proved over the last ten years that he is among the best photographers in the world, winning many international awards for his work. He strives to make art that stands out with dedication and extreme passion in both traditional and digital techniques. This image shows a true knowledge of composition and grey scale tonality that not many artists can match.

International Photography Awards competitions, receive nearly 18,000 submissions from 104 countries across the globe. IPA is a sister-effort of the Lucie Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to honor master photographers, to discover new and emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography. Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographer’s accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition. 


IPA Contact Linda Dzhema
Director, International Photography Awards


Featured on (The Only Photographers You Need to Know On Google+)

The Only 7 Photographers You Need To Follow On Google +

Posted by John on

The Only 7 Photographers You Need To Follow On Google +

As on 26th February, 2014

Here is my list of photographers to follow on Google +. Earlier I had published a post on the Best Photographers On Facebook. As you probably know that many people have now started using Google +, I made a post which enlists some of the Best Photographers On Google +. I was really impressed when I  young men and women with enormous talent and imagination. I wish them success in their career and in their lives.

Out of the hundreds of photographers I found I selected the seven best and have described them here. All these seven people are extremely talented. THIS LIST IS NOT IN THE ORDER OF THEIR RANKS. I truly feel each of their creation is a visual retreat. You can either  learn and get inspired from them or just let your jaws drop in admiration.  I choose to do both.

If you know any other talented person that I may have missed out please mention them below.

Anyways let us start with the list.

1) Michael Bennett Photography – Michael is a professional experienced photographer and it is quite evident from his following. Takes amazing photographs in Chicago. If you follow him from a long time you will notice that he takes wonderful photographs even though it is repetitive. For instance I frequently see photos of sunrise, sunsets, architecture taken by him, but I never get bored. Each picture is so elegant and professional. He finds and thinks of so many ways to photograph a certain object. For that you need to be creative.

2) Erwin Fischer Photography – Erwin loves nature. Have a look at his photographs of various flowers, leaves, lakes, landscapes and you too will fall in love with nature and him. He may have a small following (Mind you, I haven’t compared photographers based on their following) but he definitely is a budding star. There are some photos which he has captioned “ICY”. They are absolutely amazing. Do have a look.

3) Meleah Reardon – I mostly found architecture and buildings in her profile. Some monuments too. She captures the beauty of the structure with the perfect details and lighting. It would not be an exaggeration to say that her photographs are more splendid than the buildings themselves. It would be a great experience to learn photography and editing from her if you love taking pictures while traveling. Never seen such extensive use of HDR. Pure elegant.

4) Dubie Bacino – Dubie Bacino lives in Belgrade. She has a huge following and she is kind enough to share photographs taken by other photographers. Huge variety of photos. I mean literally HUGE. I have been following her from 2 weeks and I never saw a single photograph by her but she still has an enormous following. The best place to get inspiration and ideas. Dubie you are doing a good job helping other photographers. Keep it up.

5) Kevin O’Connell Fine Art – Another talented photographer in this list. He has a website named where he posts latest pictures taken by him. I also guess he sells and you can check out “Recently Sold” in his website. I find his pictures taken at Zion National Park to be his best. I recommend you to see his Black and White Photographs. Even though they are black and white, he has managed to portray amazing details and visual appeal. Nice work Kevin.

6) Ke Zeng – Takes splendid photographs of nature and people. Ke Zeng lives in California. The best part about his photos are the colors. I find the colors of his photographs rather attractive and eye catching. Look at his cover photo for example. Look at the fiery red clouds. Colors are very important when it comes to photographs, as they form the base for almost everything. He has mastered the art of getting the colors right.

7) Belinda Shi – Amazing at landscape photography and runs a popular blog where she provides tips to photographers. Lives in San Francisco. My favorite picture is the photography of The Museum Of Fine Arts In San Francisco. She is also a part of a Landscape Photography Show. Be sure to check out a photograph captioned “Three Brothers”.

Photography and Textures

I find that I really love the look of textures in landscapes. I never thought about this until the past month after another artist was commenting on my work, and how I seem to love textures. As I look back now, and think about it, they were spot on. Something about textures and the different contrasts of colors have always drawn me in. Here is my latest abstract photograph of Antarctica.

FASO Featured Artists: Artist Kevin O’Connell

by Carrie Turner on 2/19/2014 1:28:16 AM
This article is by Carrie Turner, editor of FineArtViews. During her tenure as editor, FineArtViews has been mentioned or referenced by The Huffington Post, MLive, WorldNetDaily (WND), artnet, COMPANY, American Artist Magazine, ArtBizBlog, The Abundant Artist, EmptyEasel and many other publications and blogs. FASO Featured Artists (FFA) is a regular blog series on FineArtViews. Art critic Brian Sherwin is a consultant for the FFA series.  The FFA selections are featured prominently on the FineArtViews newsletter — and are shared with over 25,507+ subscribers.

Altered Reality by artist Kevin O’Connell


(Digital Abstract Painting on Canvas)

Artist Kevin O’Connell describes himself as a passionate artist with an eclectic flare. He is known for creating digital abstract paintings that are visually striking. Additionally, Kevin has garnered renown for his fine art photography. The experimental spirit of his practice is truly inspiring.

Route 66 Barn by artist Kevin O’Connell


(Fine Art Photography on Canvas)

Kevin has offered some thoughts about his fine art photography, saying, “In the early days, most of my work was comprised of portraits and people, but in 2000 I wanted to try many different traditional techniques from an era long ago. I guess that is why I still use film. I just love to use a conceptual design process, and think of a special technique that would fit the end result.

Concerning his digital abstract paintings, Kevin stated, “I love dark, bold colors- and creating abstract paintings that reflect emotion and mystery. Each one of these abstract paintings have meaning to them, weather a feeling at the time or from things happing around the world.

Art critic Brian Sherwin, Editor of The Art Edge, commented on artist Kevin O’Connell’s work, remarking, “Kevin O’Connell has a talent for capturing the abstract qualities of nature. Be it a hauntingly atmospheric rural scene… or the primal energy of a national park — O’Connell delivers a surrealistic visual feast. His work is clearly thought-provoking.


Grand Canyon Sunset by artist Kevin O’Connell

(Fine Art Photography on Canson Infinity 2273 Baryta Photographique)

You can learn more about artist Kevin O’Connell by visiting

Contemporary Art for Your Kitchen

Custom Commissioned Metal SoldMoms-Kitchen  


Don’t you think your kitchen deserves a quality piece if designer art. After all its the most expensive room in the house, and usually one of the only room in the house without any art. 

I have designed a new series of specialty artwork made especially for upscale kitchens. These pieces can be custom made with your color specifications and ideas, or you can pick from one of my finished pieces.  The metal design above was designed for a home that has lots of blue glass ornaments, and metal accents on a white backdrop.

This next type of design is being made for another very modern kitchen with accents of copper and cool metal architecture.

Purple Rain Edition   Purple-Rain-1023

 This newest edition is for in the series can be changed with different colors, background image and your name or saying, instead of welcome.

         Surreal Edition  Design-4-72

 These are all metal designs and printed on metal to make the colors and design really pop and make a wonderful conversation piece to add in your kitchen.

You can see more and read about my work at

2014 International Photography Honorable Mention

This entry won an honorable mention for (One Shot [One World], people, places and things) in the professional division of the International Photography Awards.


This is Observation Hill, the memorial to Robert Falcon Scott and his expedition. A nine-foot wooden cross, inscribed with the names of the fatal party and a short quote from the Alfred Tennyson poem “Ulysses”, which reads “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”. On 22 January 1913, after a difficult two-day sledge journey, the cross was erected on the summit of Observation Hill, overlooking the camp and facing out towards the “Barrier” – the Ross Ice Shelf, on which Scott’s party had died.[1] In 1972, the cross was declared as one of the initial Historic Sites and Monuments in Antarctica by the Antarctic Treaty signatories, as HSM-20.[2][3]

What National Parks have you been to ?



I love the national parks, especially out west. They all seem to have their own style and mystery, which is why I love them.

Zion National Park is amazing, with such incredible terrain. Some of the park has gigantic picturesque valleys, while other parts look as though you’re on the moon, with spectacular rock formations.

Sequoia National Park has those wonderful, mysterious sequoia trees, and some of the coolest forest in the world. Its like you’re walking down a path through an enchanted forest.

Grand Canyon  has spectacular sunrises and sunsets each day, that are never the same, Sometimes you can see forest fires in the distance, or fog rolling in over this wonderful landscape

About Kevin OConnell Photography

I'm a fine art photographer that works with both digital and large format film. I love National Parks and shooting with traditional Black and White infrared. I also use many different traditional techniques with moonlighting, flames, and very long exposures. I also love different cultures, and have worked as a documentary photographer as well. Traveling to interesting places around the world, meeting new people and cultures is what I love.
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