Lied Jungle

Lied Jungle, Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

Used my Christmas money to buy a membership to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. When I bought my first real camera back in my school days I had thoughts of becoming a nature photographer. But I got involved with the school newspaper and yearbook, and my photojournalism career snowballed from there.

I may dabble more and more into nature photography as time goes on, especially when the temperatures get warmer. But for now, with one of the best zoos in the world just a few minutes from home, I’ll take advantage of their wonderful indoor exhibits.

Click on image to view as slide show:

Madison County

Hogback Bridge

Had Monday off from work for the holiday, so I drove to Des Moines to meet my brother for dinner. Left early so I could detour through Madison County to snap a few pictures before dinner. This was my first time seeing the Bridges of Madison County and the Clark Tower, and I picked a lousy day for it. It was cloudy and frigid cold outside. I only made it to four of the bridges with the time I had.I’m sure I will return when I have more time, and hopefully better weather.

Click on photos to view as slide show:

Welcome, Take II

This has been quite a year for me. As you may know, I was laid off from my job as a newspaper photographer back in February. I created this website originally for a couple of reasons. 1: to help promote my work as I look for a new job, and 2: use it as a photo blog as I continue to document life in Siouxland.

As I scrambled to find a new job, things like paying for rent and health insurance took priority and this website was often neglected.

I did find a new job, but for the past few months I’ve been busy getting settled in at my new home and my top priority has been and will be my new job. But I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my new home and I am ready to pursue photography again, but this time just to please myself.

I haven’t decided what direction my photography work will go, and I will probably be experimenting and trying new (to me) things. I am working as a travel counselor now and I have a feeling many of my blog entries may be about day trips in Iowa.

This site will change and be updated as I continue to grow. And since I am no longer living in Siouxland, the name of this website is no longer “Eye on Siouxland” but simply “Jim Lee Photography.”

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy my work as I continue to grow as a photographer.

Fireworks: Round Two

Morningside College Fireworks

Last week Morningside College canceled their fireworks because of rain and rescheduled for tonight. I saw a technique of pulling the focus during a time exposure. Sounded easy on paper, but was much harder than I expected.

The photos were shot with a short time exposure at the lowest ISO possible (ISO 64 on my camera.) I read that wider apertures work best, I wanted to shoot at f/2.8, but it was too bright out. The fireworks display started early, at 9:30, before it was completely dark out, so I shot mostly at f/6.3.

I started with the lens out of focus when I opened the shutter and quickly turned it into focus during the exposure, closing the shutter quickly when in focus. And focusing was a crap shoot since it was done during the exposure.

It was a short fireworks display. I think this technique would work better if A) it was darker out when the display started. B) It was a longer display so I could experiment more. And C) If there would have been more solo bursts. Most of the bursts at this display were in rapid succession, which normally would be good for shooting photos, and great for the spectators. But it did make this shoot more challenging.

This was my first try with this technique, and I look forward to trying it again in the future.

Morningside College Fireworks


Fireworks Sioux City
Fireworks in Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, July 6, 2018.

Shooting fireworks with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 II sure is easy.

In the past I had always shot fireworks either using the bulb setting or long exposures of 4 to 10 seconds (using a tripod, of course.)

My Olympus cameras have the bulb setting, but also a “Livetime” setting. It works similar to bulb. I push the shutter release once to start the exposure and a second time to end the exposure. But with the added advantage of being able to see the image in progress on the LCD screen as the image is being recorded. So I can see when I have a desirable amount of bursts in the frame as it is being recorded.

I would love to try that feature with a larger fireworks display, preferably one where the bursts are all over the sky, not just concentrated in one spot.

Great Plains Zoo

Great Plains Zoo

Decided it was time to shake some rust off my cameras, and my knees, and made the trip to Sioux Falls to shoot some pics at the Great Plains Zoo. Wish I would have gone yesterday instead. Most of the animals, just like me, were spending most of their time relaxing in the shade on this hot day.

While I was there, I got to thinking my next blog entry should be about equipment. It was about year ago now that I started researching the Olympus system. I don’t even remember how Olympus caught my eye in the beginning, but once I had a chance to handle some of their lenses I really got taken in with the system. I didn’t make the jump right away, though I almost did. I spent a couple of months researching and made a couple of trips to Omaha to shoot some test shots with an Olympus OM-D E-M1II against the Canon 5D Mark IV’s I had at the time before committing to a new system.

In my next blog entry I’ll talk about why I made the switch, what I love about Olympus, and what I did knowingly sacrifice when I switched.

Great Plains Zoo

Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipse as seen in Sioux City, Iowa,on August 21, 2017. Photos were taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera with a 300mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter. A special solar filter was used to make the exposure possible and protect the camera sensor.

Like many people, I photographed the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Originally I wanted to travel south to shoot the total eclipse, but realized I would not be able to shoot it and drive back to Sioux City in time for a work commitment. So I photographed the eclipse in Sioux City from the grounds of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

A larger set of my eclipse photos are currently on display at the Sioux City Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Betty Strong Encounter Center.


An eagle high in a tree near Gavin’s Point Dam, Yankton, South Dakota.


I made a trip to Gavin’s Point Dam with hopes of photographing eagles. I’ve seen many great eagle photos from there, but I think I may have picked the wrong day. It was a seasonably warm day and much of the snow in the area had already melted. I found a few eagles in the area, but they were spread out and all perched high in the trees. I talked to a local woman who was walking by, and asked if she knew of a good place to find eagles,and she said there were usually 4 or 5 eagles in this one tree near where I was. But they were not there on this day.

I was unable to get a unobstructed shot of the one eagle I was able to get closest to. Here is the photo I was able to get, shot with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera with a 300mm lens and 1.4X teleconverter (providing the reach of a 840mm lens on a full-frame equivalent.) I will try again next winter and hopefully get some shots while the eagles are more active.

It was a heck of a ride

My newspaper career come to a sudden end last month, but it has been one hell of a ride and I’ve worked with many great people over the years. I’m working to find my next great adventure, but as parting shot from newspapers here is my first photo to win an award in professional competition, taken in 1988 when I was an intern in Rawlins, Wyoming, and my most recent award winning photo from here in Sioux City:

A crop duster flies over the head of a University of Wyoming scientist while spraying a chemical being tested to control sagebrush.

2017 Sioux City Relays
South Dakota’s Emily Grove competes in the pole vault during the Sioux City Relays track and field meet at Olsen Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, April 22, 2017. (photo copyright Sioux City Journal)