Focus Trek 23-Old Joliet Prison

I’ve never gone out looking for any specific theme for photos. Purposefully looking for specific lines, shapes, patterns, colors, or combinations of all these feels unnatural to me, like I’m on assignment. I hate completing assignments. I feel the most comfortable just looking for anything. Eventually something comes up. But, this won’t stop me from looking back and putting a bunch of stuff together from different trips. Last time, you got black and white, today, you get curves.

2023 Leland Report Calendar

Order the Leland Report Calendar Here:

Focus Trek 22-A Story Arc

I’ve never gone out looking for any specific theme for photos. Purposefully looking for specific lines, shapes, patterns, colors, or combinations of all these feels unnatural to me, like I’m on assignment. I hate completing assignments. I feel the most comfortable just looking for anything. Eventually something comes up. But, this won’t stop me from looking back and putting a bunch of stuff together from different trips. Last time, you got black and white, today, you get curves.

A Year in Black and White

If you think about it, nothing was unclear in 2020. Either you were pro-Trump or anti-Trump, pro-Mask or anti-mask, pro-shutdown or anti-shutdown, pro-science or anti-science, pro Taylor Swift or begrudgingly accepting Taylor Swift because your daughter is a fan. In a year that seemed all Yin, people desperately sought Yang. There seemed there was no in-between, no balance. I can’t bring back that balance, but I can end the year with my favorite Yin/Yang shots for the year, maybe add perspective.

The 2013 Washington Tornado

On this day seven years ago, a half-mile wide F4 tornado cut a 46 mile path through central Illinois. Moving an average of 57 mph, it touched down in East Peoria and lifted near Long Point in Livingston County. With the danger over in our area and not knowing what had happened just North of us, I packed my camera in my car and set out to the South to find some weather shots.

Focus Trek 21 – Kenosha Riot Streetscapes

I never intended to go to Kenosha, WI. It was a convenient stopover on a trip back from Michigan to Illinois through Wisconsin. My friend had family there and by chance, they were within blocks of the rioting that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the deaths of two protesters at the hands of Kyle Rittenhouse in August, 2020. Having an opportunity to see firsthand the aftermath was oddly and uncomfortably thrilling to me. Not a happy thrilling, but a morose embarrassed thrilling.

Altered Reality

Here are some fun abstract techniques I’ve used occasionally to break the monotony. Each one of these is either a daytime long exposure or ultra-shallow depth of field. Both create a smooth bokeh background with small, in-focus elements, or a full blended blur across the image. I have not tried a combination of the two, but now that I thought about it, I will.

Focus Trek 20 – Chicago COVID-19 Drive

A drive into Chicago, up and down Lake Shore Drive and into the Loop during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city is three days into a stay at home order from the Governor.

The Perfection of Imperfection

Musings on a forgotten trail in Peoria, IL.

A Year of Themes

Last year I picked one photo for every month. This year I am organizing it by theme because one single month this year could not be described with a single photo. So this year I give you a year of themes that define adventure, from the four elemental forces of air, earth, water and fire to the places and people that lead us to discover other places and ourselves.

Focus Trek 19 – Glacier National Park

Another adventure with Jim Caldwell (The Fotobug), this time in the wilds of Glacier National Park in Montana. Another location off my bucket list, and another location sure to be visited again. Places like this are never fully explored in a week, a month, even in a lifetime. Every vantage point is at the very least a beautiful memory. At best, maybe hanging on someone’s wall. This is part travelogue, musings on nature, and history lesson.

Focus Trek 18 – Clearwater Beach-Gulf Coast Florida

My daughter has been to the ocean three times, once as a baby, once when we were extras in a movie on Cape Cod and once when we visited the Oregon coast. But she had never been to the ocean when it was warm enough to jump IN. So we went to Florida, where there is 1,197 miles of ocean to choose from. I chose Clearwater, where I heard a certain species of FotoBug lives. 

Focus Trek 17 – Capital Offenses

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.” — Thomas Jefferson Recently, I had a unique opportunity to do two completely… Read more »

Focus Trek 16 – 12 Months 12 Photos in 2018

“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or… Read more »

Focus Trek 15 – The ALT Black Hills Photo Shootout Part 2

“I think, every time I’m on the mountain, I’m just so thankful to be there.”  –Chloe Kim If you don’t know who Chloe Kim is, you might not have watched the 2018 Winter Olympics. She’s the 17-year-old who was the youngest woman to win a gold medal in snowboarding. I thought that quote summed up my experience in the Black… Read more »

Focus Trek 15 – The ALT Black Hills Photo Shootout Part 1

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  -John Muir This is part 1. Part 2 is here. John Muir was the father of our National Parks, a soul beyond compare, and as I roll over the crest of 50 now, an adventurous spirit I can only vainly attempt to match. He was “long unkempt beard… Read more »

Wildflower Garden Mega Time Lapse

A wildflower garden time lapse, nine months in 5 minutes. Watch the growth and weather change in super fast motion! Time, flowing like a river.  Time, beckoning me.  Who knows when we shall meet again, if ever? But time keeps flowing like a river to the sea. Goodbye my love, maybe for forever. Goodbye my love, the tide waits for… Read more »

Monarch Butterfly Release and Milkweed Seed Pod

Jim attended a Monarch butterfly release at the Wildlife Prairie Park in Hanna City, IL. There is also a demonstration on how to create your own milkweed seed pod to help grow more plants for Monarchs to develop and feed on. For more information on creating milkweed seed pods, go to:

Focus Trek 14 – I am 50 Today Part 2

“Give me a man who says this one thing I do, and not those fifty things I dabble in.”  -Dwight L. Moody Now, we cut to the meat of “me”. Because you can’t spell “meat” without “me”. (Or something like that). Part One was insight into why I am who I am. It was a whipsaw journey though my childhood… Read more »

Focus Trek 14 – I Turn 50 Today

“Forty is the old age of youth, Fifty is the youth of old age’  -Victor Hugo My name is Jim Burnham. I am a US photographer. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter -> @BurnhamArts    And by the time I finish this, I probably will have already crossed that threshold. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything. There were no parades, no skywriting, no… Read more »

Where is My Ice?

“There was a time when people said, ‘Jim, if you keep on making faces, your face will freeze like that.’ Now they just say, ‘Pay him!’  -Jim Carrey My name is Jim Burnham. I am a US photographer. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter -> @BurnhamArts    I thought it would be fitting if I followed up my fire article with something frozen…. Read more »

Where is Your Fire?

“A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” -Benjamin Franklin My name is Jim Burnham. I am a US photographer. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter -> @BurnhamArts    The following photos were taken with my Nikon D7100 with a Sigma 18-250mm telephoto at or near 250mm. ISO: 1250 F-Stop: f6.3… Read more »

Focus Trek #13 – Return to the Black Hills

‘Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me – I am happy.” -Hamlin Garland My name is Jim Burnham. I am a US photographer and I enjoy finding photographs in places I’ve… Read more »

Light Painting Video

Enjoy some Zen with these creative long-exposure light painting shots by Jim Burnham and Meredith Burnham

Leland Harbor Dredging Time-lapse

This is two weeks of dredging compressed down to one minute with extra footage included on the setup of the time-lapse itself. Produced by Jim Burnham. Thanks to everyone who helped make this video possible:   Kate Vilter, owner of Riverside Inn  Elijah Allen, local contractor, construction, email: elijahallen92 AT Check out his drone and kite sailing videos:… Read more »

Focus Trek #12 Part 2 – Gargunnock Scotland and the Love Lochs

Return to Part 1 of this adventure… Loch Lomond ‘Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen  On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomond  Where in the purple hue the hieland hills we view  And the moon coming out in the gloaming  From “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond” In part one of this adventure we stuck around… Read more »

Focus Trek #12 Part 1 – Gargunnock Scotland and the Love Lochs

Skip to Part 2 of this adventure… Ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak the low road  And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye  But me and my true love will never meet again  On the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond From “The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond”   My name is Jim Burnham. I am a US photographer… Read more »

Focus Trek #11 – A Weekend With Bryan F Peterson

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”  -Heraclitus As a member of the Peoria Camera Club, I get the opportunity to meet some very gifted photographers not only within the club, but from outside as well. We invite speakers every year to keynote our seminar and… Read more »

Focus Trek #10 Part 2 – A Yankee’s Guide to Driving (and vacation Photography) in Britian

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” -Susan Heller This is Part 2 of 2. If you haven’t read Part 1, go here… If you read Part 1, you’ve learned that there are a couple types of photography vacations. One is where you are alone… Read more »

Focus Trek #10 – Part 1: A Yankee’s Guide to Driving (and vacation Photography) in Britain

“That her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale” – Keith Reid/Procol Harem “Whiter Shade of Pale” This article is Part 1 of 2. Continue to Part 2 here… Originally, I was going to make this article about driving in the UK. After 1200 words, I realized I completely digressed from my original theme. If you… Read more »

Focus Trek #9 – The Black Hills Photo Shootout

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” -Greg Anderson It’s been awhile since my last “Focus Trek”. Sometimes I take these trips to “focus” on improving the craft. Other times it’s a mixture of family vacation and photography. With the former I can focus on just photography and… Read more »

Differential Advection

This video demonstrates the atmospheric phenomenon “Differential Advection” where two air masses move over one another in two completely different directions. With this rig I kept the GoPro in timelapse mode taking a photo a minute for 6 straight days. Over 12,400 photos taken without interruption. Battery was still charged when I stopped recording. I will have another video on… Read more »

Clouds and Stars

A failed Perseid Meteor Shower photo outing renders some spectacular views when 7 hours is condensed to 45 seconds..

Raising the Butterfly Barn Quilt

This is a follow up to my last article about the Red Winged Blackbird. That day, I was there to watch them start painting a new barn quilt. They installed it last week, possibly the first one in Tazewell County, IL. Please take a look at the video I made about it! If you like it, share it! Subscribe below to be notified when a new article is posted…. Read more »

Focus Trek #8 – Moving the Joy

This is a video we put together about the Joy being moved to the shop for refurbishment.  

Our First Book

A Self-publishing Journey Begins The book is now available to order at:   If you had asked me 15 years ago if we were going to publish a photography book, I would have responded with a strange look and a question answering your question… “Why?” I’ve been a student of photography, as I’ve heard many other photographers claim, since the beginning when… Read more »

Focus Trek #7 – Clouds Time-lapse

“Clouds” started as an experiment in assembling a weather time-lapse video and soon morphed into a 25 location production. There have been a lot of cloudy days this Spring to take advantage of. After I heard Robbie’s “3ft Tall” original, I knew what I had to do. Take a look and let me know what you think. Thanks for watching!   … Read more »

Focus Trek #6 – A Redwing Blackbird

He knew I was different, but eventually accepted me and I became his guest. But then his wife showed up.     by Jim Burnham   In trying to rationalize the Orlando tragedy and the range of reaction from genuine sadness and regret to hard-line vitriol and gross acceptance of hate, I’ve come to the conclusion that humans, at their worst, can be downright horrible stewards of their own lives, much less… Read more »

2015-16 Leland Report/Leif Spork Snow Gauge Contest Winners!

Since the top guess is now below the current snow gauge at Leif’s in Sutton’s Bay, I alerted the top 3 winners listed below. Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s contest! First Place Rasa Poorman with a guess of 197.5″Rasa wins a custom made Leif Spork tile with the final snow tally of the season included on it (TBD) ALSO a… Read more »

Focus Trek #5 – Looking for a Heartbeat in Telluride (Part 2)

The search continues…   “The most beautiful music in the world is your own heartbeat, it assures you that you will survive even when the whole world leaves you alone.”                   -Unknown There was a six hour break between sessions. The bouldering session was not going to start until 4pm and I didn’t even… Read more »

Focus Trek #5 – Looking for a Heartbeat in Telluride (Part 1)

This is part 1 of 2. Part 2 is here:  Looking for a Heartbeat in Telluride (Part 2) Notes on a first workshop experience in one of the most beautiful places on earth “But some emotions don’t make a lot of noise. It’s hard to hear pride. Caring is real faint – like a heartbeat. And pure love – why, some days… Read more »

The Photograph – an original song recorded in Camera Obscura

I plan to use this song I wrote and recorded to promote the new Leland Report photography book coming out this Summer!  

The Story Next Door

Retired Television Producer Scott Craig believes everyone has a story to be told, and he tells the extraordinary tales of everyday people in northern Michigan through The Story Next Door, a radio series he created for Interlochen Public Radio and later turned into a book of the same name.

Washington Tornado Flyover Video

On 11/17/2013 an F4 tornado ripped across central Illinois causing over a billion dollars in damage. $900 Million plus was in Washington, IL. Back then, I compiled a large number of photos that I took the day of the tornado when everyone was first digging out of the rubble. A personal account of that day can be found here. Over the… Read more »

In My Mother’s Garden

“In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” -Alice Walker Every so often, we make our way up to my parent’s house in Michigan. It’s a 500 mile trip but there are good reasons to pack up the family and brave the traffic jams around Indiana (there and back). I know the recession was hard for everyone, but… Read more »