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Book Update, Calendars, and Autumn Weather in the Ozarks

Hello all!

First off, the books:

I wanted to take the time to just fill you in on what all is going on as we approach the holiday seasons. My original intent was to release the 2015-2019 book by this time (mid to late September). Given the fact that we are so close to “that time of year” I decided to hold off and extend the release date for December, with orders being shipped and in your hands by Christmas. For those who have not preordered, feel free to do so here! For those who have preordered, thank you so much and I hope you are okay with waiting a couple more months yet! Obviously it is much more cost effective for me to print a higher quantity all at once, so your patience is greatly appreciated.

Second off, calendars:

For the second year in a row, I am releasing calendars. As usual, my struggle is/was choosing what to do for 2020. As a lot of my base are located in Minnesota, I took a poll as to what photos my audience would like to have hanging on their wall in their calendars for next year. The vast majority voted for photos from EVERYWHERE I’ve been in recent years vs just a strictly Minnesota themed or Missouri themed calendar. Thank you for your time on that poll. The decision was made to make the theme photos from EVERYWHERE. So! Stay tuned for as to when they are available, an announcement will be made.

Third off, zines:

I have in my inventory about 15 Colorado zines left (if interested pick one up here). These are a nothing fancy, cheap and affordable way to collect a handful of images from a certain place. Next up I will be releasing a St Louis Streets, Minnesota, and Ozarks themed zines. All of these are printed in limited runs, signed and numbered, never to be printed again. Stay tuned for those upcoming as well!

Fourth off, autumn weather and the Ozarks! 

Here are a handful of images from our night spent in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Temps dropped into the 50s and the night skies were crystal clear. I am looking forward to getting out and photographing the Ozarks once again now that it is cooling off. My seasons are right around the corner and I can’t wait to show you all around here again. I love the Ozarks, I just can’t quite get used to the summer heat. Enjoy!

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Streets of Benton Park 9/15/2019

This past Sunday fellow photographer and friend Tom Williams and I set out to shoot some early evening light in some of the architecturally oldest and beautiful spots in the city of Saint Louis. Established as a neighborhood in 1866, and a historic district in 2006, it sits just west of Soulard. Benton Park was home to many German immigrants who worked in the local breweries.  While I typically don’t go for street photography, it was nice to get out and try something a bit different.

All of these images were captured using a film simulation recipe that emulates Kodak Ektachrome 100. This is a fun and unique way to get out and find some inspiration. So, for those that are Fujifilm X Series shooters, be sure to check out all of the other awesome film recipes you can custom program into your camera. The entire evening I spent using the XF35mm f2 and XF50mm f2 and by the end of the shoot I had nothing negative to say about them. The size of each lens attached to a gripless camera body really make you a bit more discreet. Well done Fujifilm all around.

Enjoy the images!



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Colorado & Rocky Mountain National Park 2019

Established in 1915 by then President Woodrow Wilson, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of our nation’s oldest National Parks. Sitting between 7,860′ and 14,259′ it is one of the nation’s highest and contains 415 square miles of which the majority is designated wilderness (Leave No Trace principles are a must). 77 mountain peaks over 12,000′ dominate the park. Alpine meadows, glacial lakes, a broad variety of wildlife and wildflowers, and subarctic climate create one of the most stunning displays of natural landscape on our continent.

Close to a year ago we began discussing the backcountry trip through a section of Rocky Mountain National Park. We snapped up our permits for our campsites the day they became reservable. Our mission was to tackle some leisurely (if you can call it leisurely anywhere between 9,000′ and 14,000′ while carrying 50lbs) treks to landscapes like Sky Pond, Andrews Glacier, and an attempt to summit Longs Peak on our final day for a total of around 35 miles with thousands of feet of elevation change. While our trip was cut short by a night, ultimately fouling our shot at bagging Longs (some rough weather sent us back below treeline), it was nothing short of extraordinary and life-changing.

The adventure, whether it be day hikes or multi night treks, and photographic opportunities in Rocky Mountain National Park are infinite. Dramatic scenes surround you at any time of the day and all day and night. From sunsets at Andrews Glacier, night skies above Timberline Falls, and bluebird skies at Sky Pond (along with an ice cold dip—best shower ever) the scenery never disappoints. Americans should be thankful we have this magical place. If you’ve never been, go.

I hope you enjoy the photos. If you are interested in a small collection of photos from the trip, head over to the store and pick up one of my limited edition zines.


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*PREORDER* Now Available: Jake Trost Photography Collection 2015-2019

For the past month or so I’ve been working on my first coffee table book. It was hard to decide if I wanted to do a strictly Minnesota book AND a Missouri book. I nixed both of those ideas and decided to do a “collection” of sorts that included images from the first 4 years of my photography journey So here is the cover of ‘Jake Trost Photography 2015-2019 Collection’.

93 pages containing images from the following locations:

The Great Smoky Mountains

South Carolina


The Dakotas


The Ozarks



Clearly it was an issue choosing which images to put in. I’m giving myself a little bit more time to make sure the images I have chosen are the images I really want to publish in this book. I am now taking preorders. The final step in this process is acquiring my ISBN and barcode. Since this volume is so big at 93 pages, the price for this one will be a little bit more than future books at around $35 plus $10 shipping/delivery. I intend on publishing once a year from here out. For example, I will release my next book in 2021 showcasing my images from 2020.

Preorder here:

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Indiana Dunes: America’s 61st National Park

Our country’s newest National Park (our 61st), the Indiana Dunes on the southern shore of Lake Michigan really does not disappoint. In 1966 it was designated as a National Lakeshore and now has been designated as National Park. In my eyes it is absolutely worth a visit.

It may not have the awe-inspiring views of the Rockies, but the sandy trails and views of Lake Michigan are unique. White pine dot the landscape alongside wetlands and swamps that certainly don’t make one feel like they are in the Midwest. The Hobgoblin bottle shop and convenience store sit outside the Dunewood Campground amidst sand-covered grounds almost making one feel as if they are on a southern shore of the Atlantic (significantly intensified by the pink and famous Florida House).

Upon arrival to the shore, a front was moving in off of Lake Michigan which was a great welcome and change from the hot and humid air when I arrived. After a brief rain, the skies briefly opened up enough to provide some nice sunset color. A strong reminiscence of my time spent on the shores of Lake Superior (even though, yes, it is an entirely different shoreline from Lake Superior’s North Shore). For only a 5 hour drive from the St Louis area, it is another place to enjoy that is very close to home.

Enjoy the photos!

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Success Is All About Perspective: Traveling the Ozarks & Finding Inspiration


24 hours, 473 miles, rain, more rain, muddy roads and Missouri mills, night skies and waterfalls. We drove a section of the original Trail of Tears, finding some new camp spots and backroads along the way. We enjoyed gravel bars along the crystal clear Current River in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, stayed up most of the night photographing the stars above Council Bluff Lake, and devoured some delicious stir fry and drank crisp refreshing IPAs.

Success is all about your perspective. My friend Joe Howard and I set out to shoot the Milky Way. Off to Council Bluff Lake we went. Upon our arrival into camp, a Southern Flying Squirrel kept us company as it ate insects on a poison ivy wrapped tree. We managed to snag a few shots (and not getting poison ivy rash) before making the trek down to the lake for some hopeful Milky Way photography.

Southern Flying Squirrel

We had a couple hour window before the moon came up. While we never got to see the core, the night was perfect. Temperatures were comfortable and the small breeze kept the bugs at bay. Jupiter and Cassiopeia showed off through holes in the clouds. The old Ozark Mountains across the lake appeared as large silhouettes. With a bit of light-painting the scene turned out to be pretty damn awesome. Our night ended at around 3am with some well earned stir fry and some Lagunitas IPAs (at least for me).

Rains the following morning took over off and on throughout the day. We were en route for Eminence. Eminence is a place that really makes Missouri shine. This is the area where Missouri starts to show off. The hills get bigger and the valleys get deeper. These valleys and other nooks and crannies give way to dark gorges, canyons, and hollows.

En Route To Eminence

On our way to Eminence, we took the long way via the Trail of Tears Historic Trail. The rains made for muddy roads and flowing waterfalls. A stop along the Current River in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways led to a stop at Falling Spring Mill, Rocky Falls and Klepzig Mill.

While I wouldn’t say I found the shots I was planning on, I do say I’m happy with what we found and what I captured. I didn’t live behind the lens on this outing and just kind of soaked it all in. The Ozarks are a hidden gem in this country and I do believe Missouri is greatly underrated. While I may not have succeeded in capturing the shots that I set out for, I succeeded in finding a new outlook on life in Missouri and some new challenges and goals.

Joe and I discussed throughout the trip how Missouri was a difficult place to truly capture its beauty. I have been struggling with this since relocating here. Gone are the days of having the Milky Way or Lake Superior out my front door, or even turning off the TV and grabbing the camera to photograph the northern lights that shined through our front window. Things here aren’t just out the front door ready for you whenever you want them to be.

Missouri presents a new level of difficulty. The landscape doesn’t give itself to you but you have to go get it. Waterfalls are based on rainfall. Summer jungle-like foliage obstructs most Ozark Mountain views. You really need to be in the right place at the right time to capture its beauty. That challenge is what makes it all worth it. So ya, on that note, I’d consider myself successful this past weekend even though I didn’t quite get what I set out for. Remember this when you are in an artistic slump: success is all about perspective.



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Back to Minnesota: Photo Workshop/Overland Expedition

A quick recap of last week’s trip back home. Rock climbers at Palisade Head kicked off the trip. Star-filled skies in Hovland during sub-freezing nights. Raging North Shore rivers and gushing waterfalls. Exploring rutted and muddy logging roads. Fishing for trout and northern. And even a low key photography workshop.

Tagging along was my first photography student who was also the first to join me on an expedition back home in the Northwoods. It was an easy going photo workshop and also served as a test run for what I’d like to do in the future.

Among the things we covered were necessary settings and knowledge of depth of field/aperture and ISO settings, light painting, and correct shutter speeds all for different situations. Landscape themes involved everything from long exposures using 10-stop ND filters for broad daylight waterfall shots and appropriate settings for Milky Way photography.

As for me, I didn’t really spend a lot of time shooting but guiding my student, occasionally nabbing a few shots when I felt like it. This latest expedition was pure enjoyment for me. Some much needed r&r and decompression time in the Northwoods for the first time in months. Sometimes it is best to not live entirely behind the camera and take some time to soak it all in.

As I said, this was sort of a test run. I’d like to start doing these types of workshops in the future. I know my way around the old forest roads and backcountry of Superior National Forest. Maybe one day I will garner enough interest in this type of thing. But who knows, everyone just goes to YouTube to learn anything any more.


*All images captured using Fujifilm XT1 and iPhone 8+

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Finding Creative Inspiration Using the Fujifilm XT1: In-Camera Filters and Advanced Settings

So a few weeks ago when I was shooting the Tour of Hermann Gravel Challenge, I ended up dropping my XT2 and shattering the rear LCD screen. Thankfully this was near the end of the race and as ALWAYS I had my backup XT1. I’ve gotten so accustomed to my XT2 and there are so many advancements in it since the XT1 that I almost thought I didn’t enjoy or want to shoot the XT1 (which let’s be real, that’s utter horse shit and a camera is a camera, of course I enjoy it). But the focus is improved, and of course the settings such as ISO were improved vastly. The added thumbstick for menu navigation and selective focusing helps the camera become so comfortable and familiar you don’t even need to think about what you’re doing.

I haven’t been out shooting in so long. We’ve moved. I’ve been investing in my vehicle for traveling comfortably and saving money for bigger trips for the rest of the year and the next. While my Fujifilm XT2 is in for repairs, we took a family trip to Missouri Botanical Garden. First off, that place is a real Saint Louis gem. A beautiful place to decompress in the middle of the city. And our climate zone here allows a very diverse range of plants to grow. But that’s not what I’m here to discuss.

I’m here to discuss the need for creative inspiration and motivation. Sometimes that means going out and doing something you’re not used to. Time to get out of your comfort zone and out of the (your) ordinary. For the last couple of months, as I said above, we’ve been extremely busy. Really the only thing I’ve photographed is the gravel race. Part of that too is that I’ve been feeling burnt out, unoriginal in my creativity in my images. Part of that is the heat that just recently set in, part of it is my undying love for and still wanting to be back home up north (I still have my moments), and part of it is all just how the arts work. Creativity needs a spark sometimes.

Today that spark was getting out to a beautiful garden and really playing with my backup camera’s JPEG capabilities using the in-camera filters and drive settings. While I am almost always one for shooting in RAW to allow fuller artist and deeper artist control within the elements of the image, today was an absolute blast to play with a camera manufacturer so famous and known for its JPEG abilities. And I’ll say it was well worth it. Fujifilm has done an excellent job giving its users all of these options within the camera. And now I feel much more inspired, just by getting out of my element for a day.

*All images captured with Fujifilm XT1 and Fujinon XF35mm f2, and Fujinon XF 50mm f2; some images were very slightly improved in Adobe Lightroom; settings used: color isolation, miniature, soft focus, low key, and toy camera.

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Tour of Hermann Gravel Challenge 2019

Hermann, Missouri. An old German settlement where misty river valleys dot the landscape with stunning Ozark views. Wineries and distilleries are commonplace in town and cattle and farmland surround it. For one weekend out of the year, 200 miles of the country gravel roads will be home to hundreds of bike racers. The Tour of Hermann is a race that is said to be one of the toughest with the constant ups and downs of the Ozark hills. I hope you enjoy the following images from this year’s race. These are my favorites. And, if you or anyone you know are in any of these photos please feel free to share.