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Monthly Archives: March 2011
I was going to enter this picture in a photography contest where the theme was “Lines.” I ended up not submitting it because, unfortunately, this was one of many photography contests out there that take any and all of the photographer’ rights to “publish, translate, modify, adapt, make available and distribute the entry throughout the universe in any media now known or hereafter invented.”
That’s a little drastic.
I worked hard for these images, and giving them away to some clown because he’s too lazy and/or cheap to pay the stock image fee is almost offensive.
This was a fun day.
Alisha and I had flown into Switzerland, rented a car and drove to the tiny country of Liechtenstein (wrecking a rental car along the way — which is a story for another day).
Every year on August 15th Liechtenstein celebrates its independence with an enormous party in the city of Vaduz. The prince opens up his castle, invites anyone up for a beer and a chance to mingle the country’s dignitaries. En route to the castle, we passed a vineyard just as the clouds started to clear.
Most of my pictures from Beijing’s Forbidden City are black and white because the sky was so dreary. I tried to capture any images with color, but it was just too damn cold to spend a lot time wandering around looking for things to photograph.
Leaving the Forbidden City, however, and heading towards Tiananmen Square (a journey that, for Alisha and I, was far more exciting than it should have been) we passed a fantastic arrangement of bright flowers out front. It was unexpected, and for the dreariness of the day, a welcome sight!
I was up for 24 hours when I took this picture. I had just worked a show out in one of Chicago’s suburbs, and we finished about six o’clock in the morning. I knew it’d be a long day going into it, so I threw my photography stuff in the car just in case. The amusing thing with this picture is I actually took this while holding the camera upside down.
There was a big dirt mark in the camera and I couldn’t clean it or move it out of the way. The dirt mark was big and ugly, and it looked like Chicago was under attack from a meatball. So, I held the camera upside down to hide the mark in the water, snapped the picture and went home to bed. Later that day, when I woke up from my “nap,” I took the camera in for a deep cleaning.
To this day, I can’t find the mark “hidden” in the water, and I can’t find any other pictures from that morning to check, either.
I’ve really enjoyed putting this photography blog together. I’ve been able to go through my hard drive and find pictures that wouldn’t normally see the light of day. This picture is a perfect example of how I remember taking it, but then forgot completely about it because I have no place to display it. It’s not one of my best pictures ever, nor it is a really “Chicago-type” of picture for my random bin. It’s just my friend’s dog, Dude, who was playing “Come and get the ball from me, you fool!” one day in Danny’s dining room.
I love simple colors like this. It’s just yellow moss growing wherever it can, in this case in between bricks and on a concrete wall.
In 2005 my best-friend and I took a road trip to the Maker’s Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. (We also stopped at the homes of Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.) We made the drive in December when it was cloudy and rainy the entire time, but it was still a very pretty journey. I’d love to do the drive again in the summer months when the trees are lush and the grass isn’t dead.
I worked my first baseball game of the year this past weekend. It was a spring training game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox, in Glendale, Arizona. At my hotel in the morning were a handful of Dodger tryouts taking the bus to the ballpark in an attempt to play their way onto the team. They were a good group of young guys that had clearly bonded through the first couple of weeks of training. We all hung out in the lobby prior to them piling on the bus in an attempt to chase down every kids dream.
Taken the same day as yesterday’s picture, this is a close-up picture of mushrooms growing on a tree in Lincoln Park.
My friend Danny and I were out taking pictures one day and as we walked through Lincoln Park we realized the squirrels in the area were quite fearless. When I stopped to get a closer look, they would assume I had food to give them and would also lean in for a closer look.
Oddly enough, that’s also the case with squirrels in my backyard. The woman who lived here before us would feed the squirrels and birds twice a day with an enormous bucket of seeds. As a result, we have a lot of birds and such hanging out around our house, and when Alisha and I have a picnic in the backyard, we have quite the audience joining us. It’s cute as much as it’s annoying.
It’s always interesting to me that the guys who work within Wrigley Field’s scoreboard seem to have no idea just how many people think they have the greatest job in the world. They work in an iconic “office” that, not only is it Wrigley Field, but it’s inside Wrigley Field’s scoreboard. (Then again, having to watch the Chicago Cubs play every single home game might feel more like a prison sentence.)
Obviously, this picture is from within Wrigley Field’s scoreboard. The bright light coming from the ceiling (a ways down) is the trap door to get onto the roof (where the “W” or “L” flags fly). The green number panels are just stickers that the worker will pull off if they need a number 18 today, but a number 19 tomorrow.
I’ve been up in the scoreboard a number of times, but I still think it’s an incredible place to visit.
Hyde’s Mill is in the unincorporated township of, wait for it, Hyde, Wisconsin. It’s about an hour west of Madison, Wisconsin and ten minutes off of a main road. It’s very peaceful there. I’ve stopped several times at all sorts of hours and occasionally someone will drive up, get out to take a picture, and be back on their way. For the most part, however, it’s such a rural area that no one really stops by.
I took this picture at the 35th Street pedestrian bridge that passes over Lakeshore Drive and a bunch of railroad tracks in Chicago, Illinois. This is another picture that, I think, would be spectacular in 3-D. I like the lines, shadows and rust, but I just feel like it needs more.
For years, I had grown up on Lake Winnebago and, aside from playing around our “neighborhood,” I never explored the parks around us. In Fall of 2009, my mom and I went for a hike along the shores at one of the county’s parks. It was a beautiful day, and being a weekday, we had the park to ourselves. My mom was patient as I played with a variety of filters and settings to experiment with different ideas. For all the years I had lived there, I never realized how pretty some of the public areas where.
I think I took this picture the same week I bought my first D-SLR camera.
Back in the Summer of 2005 I had to go to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for work, so Alisha and I drove up along the shores of Lake Michigan together stopping to be tourists along the way. Of course, I brought my new toy along. Proving sometimes pictures take themselves, at the time, I knew nothing about what I was doing and the camera was on “full-auto” for picture. Now days I use tripods, filters, processing programs and plan out photo safaris based on upcoming weather patterns.
I’m a dork.
It is safe to say the political system in our country is currently broken, and spinning wildly out of control. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, the hip and cool thing to do right now is hate the other side with no greater passion. It does not matter if your colleagues lie, cheat or steal, because if they are a fellow party member you will support them with unwavering solidarity.
And that’s wrong.
Politicians need to all stop yelling, sit down and listen to the words of their kindergarten teachers and “play nice,” because we’re all in this together. People have differences in opinions and that’s why our country is great, however one person disagreeing with another is not a reason to shout louder.
Somewhere along the way we, as a country, lost sight of where we were going. The 24-hour news networks would rather spend more time covering Charlie Sheen’s meltdown rather then figure out how to fix our political debacle.
I’m not sure what it will take to get our country back on track. It has been said that “time heels all wounds” and that terrifies me. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.
While in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the weather was unpredictable; the forecast for the next day would change three times in the 24 hours prior. Like every bride planning a wedding, we were hoping for that iconic day with sunny skies and perfect clouds. What we got, instead, was deary weather that was mostly cloudy with a light drizzle half of the days.
I had plans to go up into one of the site-seeing helicopters to circle Christ the Redeemer and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, however Mother Nature got in the way. Instead, Alisha and I took the much-cheaper train to the top of Corcovado and took pictures of the iconic Brazilian statue in between the enveloping clouds.
The entire time at the summit of the famous hill, tour helicopters were taking paying customers up and around the stature for a speedy seven minute tour. As a result, Christ the Redeemer sounds like a war zone between the choppers and the hustle and bustle of tourists … not to mention the security guards blowing their whistles at disobedient visitors. My favorite was one helicopter run that we could hear but couldn’t see because the clouds were so thick. I hope the customers received some sort of discount.
A few years back I threw my 30th birthday party in Pamplona, Spain at the Running of the Bulls. While we were there, we chatted with an old Spaniard at a bull fight and told him the Festival of San Fermin was quite a party. He replied “(The Running of the Bulls) was no party. Carnaval, in Rio, is a party!”
So Rio we went!
The colors. The pageantry. The samba school parade. It was all fantastic. The weather could have been better, but it also could have been much worse!
After getting our Brazilian visas in the nick of time Alisha and I hustled to the airport. We flew in Thurday mid-day, which was good because (according to the local news) traffic was backed up for 200km getting into Rio de Janeiro on Friday. Saturday the party opened with fiery as gallons upon gallons of beer were chugged, like prohibition started at midnight. Men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and the party spanned the length of the city. On the street, children sold beer out of coolers for R$5, while their mothers’ sold corn on the cob the next block down.
Sunday night Alisha and I went to the Sambadrome, a nearly half-mile stretch of performance space designed to accommodate the local samba schools and their 90-minute long parades. It is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before in my life.
Each of the four nights during Carnaval, six schools compete in front of judges (and 90,000 others). The winning five teams are selected to perform the following weekend. The samba parades start at 9PM and go until they’re finished — usually six or seven in the morning. (Remember, each samba school gets 90-minutes to perform!) During the daytime, the street parties were slightly more reserved, but when a local neighborhood community started their own parades, a party quickly ensued. At Ipanema one evening, Alisha and I were engulfed in a passing parade. We found a great spot under a palm tree to watch the spectacle pass by.
I’m not sure if the old Spaniard was our kick in the pants to go to Carnaval or if we would have eventually made it on our own. Either way, we had a grand time at, quite possibly, the world’s greatest party.
I think it’s always fun going through the airport. Aside from the amusement of people watching, everyone has stories; some people are flying home to see a sick family member, others are traveling for work, and some people are excited because they’re going on vacation. And they’re all on the same flight.
There are people like me, who just want to get on the plane as early as possible and get settled, and then there are people like Alisha who don’t mind being the LAST person on as the door closes behind them. Some flights you sit next to the pretty girl, and some flights you’re next to the greasy guy with no concept of personal space.
Flying into the U.S. Virgin Islands our plane, basically, did a “touch and go.” A rain squall had kicked up so quickly and severely that our pilot chose to abort landing and give it a second try. En route to San Francisco a woman ordered another traveler to take her bag out of the overhead bin so she could get hers in. A quarrel ensued. I’ve been on flights next to military personal on their final leg home from a stint in Afghanistan and I’ve been asked to give my soul to Jesus Christ, our savior.
I think anticipation is a powerful thing, and going to the airport provides so much of it. You really have no idea what’s waiting on the other side of your flight.
My friend Ben manages a local bar and needed a few food pictures for the newspaper. Some of the pictures turned out really well, but it was even better when, after the shoot, we sat around the table devouring our “models.”
Personally, I think the pretzel roll is highly underrated.