Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Ice"drops keep falling on my head

Wasn't that a song from the 70's?  Anyway, that's what is happening around here with huge icicles hanging from my gutters.  A nice wakeup when they hit your neck in the morning.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just "horsing" around

I would have rather had today's shot a picture of the coyote chasing a deer that I saw yesterday, or of the big snowy white owl I saw the other day, but, unfortunately, it is difficult to be ready with the camera while driving and these animals don't pose for pics.  So, today, it will be the majestic and stoic horse I saw standing in its pasture while snowflakes covered his back.  I think even he was liking the snowfall.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Swimming anyone?

If I was a polar bear I would say yes.  But, I'm not.  I'm an Evilbear.  So I would say no.  It does look quite inviting, though.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great day for sledding

As posted in an earlier post, lots of snow in Chicagoland this last weekend.  So, like making hay when the sun shines, like making lemonade when life gives you lemons, know what I mean.  If it snows like its Armageddon, you go sledding.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Aftermath

Wow, what a beautiful snowy weekend.  After the longest two days of rain I think I've ever seen, we had more than a solid full day of the most gorgeous, largest snowflakes falling that I can remember. And it continued for 14 hours.  What was supposed to be 1-3" of snow turned into 12.1" of snow.  But no worries.  It wasn't the "heart attack" snow that's all wet and heavy that you hear about in Chicago land all the time. This was the kind you hear about that usually falls in Aspen or Tahoe.  Gosh, I hope my taxes don't go up from it. You could walk a mile thru all 12" of snow and not have to take a break.    Anyway, I took alot of pictures this weekend and will share several over the next several posts.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blue Haze

Hope everyone had a great couple of days with family and friends.  I know I did and Santa was good to me, also.
Got back to snapping some pics today.  There isn't much better in life than early morning light with snowflakes filling the air.  The blueish haze created is breathtaking.  If you look close, there's even a couple of ducks enjoying it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays to Everyone From Us

I might be a little early to send this off since the internet is not like the post office,  but, hey, I'm antsy to wish everyone happy holidays.  Besides, if it gets crazy over the next couple of days, I might not have time.
My post will be a little different today.  Instead of just a picture, we worked hard for months on coming up with a proper way to say, "Happy Holidays".  You will never realize the hours of choreography, the hours of set designing, and the vocal training that went into making our special video to you.  So here it goes.  Enjoy!  And have safe and happy times with your families. Clink on the link for our gift to you. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kids will be kids

Been some really hectic days around here lately and haven't had a good chance to do any shooting.  Good thing I have "The Vault".  Tonight's post involves a young boy doing what young boys are known for doing.  Getting into mischief.  About one year ago, right around this time of year, we must have taken our eyes off of him for, oh, maybe, 5 minutes.  And he went to town with the markers................on himself.  If I remember right, I caught sight of him all colored up, I scolded him, and he went off crying.  He was about to hit the bathtub, when I decided not to let this photo opportunity pass me by.  Its one of those pictures that will get alot of attention at his graduation party, wedding, or his military induction ceremony.   I'll update this post at the first sign of a permanent tattoo.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Never lets me down

I've noticed that while driving around and looking for a what might be a nice photograph I drive many of the same roads over and over. Sometimes there is a spot that always grabs my attention, no matter what time of day, what season, what that day's weather is like.  Some parts of nature are just photographic no matter what.  I guess its like some people are more photographic than others i.e no matter what time of day, what their mood is, good or bad hair day, etc.  Todays pic is one of those scenic spots that I have photographed several times and every time I shoot it, I love the look I get out of it.  Today, with some good size snowflakes coming down, it was a lovely scene.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fire and Ice

Cold winter weather can bring the dynamics of two worlds together.  Fire.  And ice.  This sunset on the way home tonight was a great example.  A burning red hot sun setting over the ice covered river was a stunning shot when I saw it.  What I like best about the picture is the reflections of the trees on the ice.  An unexpected bonus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

I can see clearly now.....or not

Crazy December in Chicagoland.  Last week 10" of snow, then several days of deep freeze subzero temps and now, rain and fog.  Temps got up into the mid to high 30's today creating close to zero visibility at times.  I tried to capture the look but fog is tricky to photograph.  Its like you need to be physically outside of the fog to get it to show up.  But, here's one that gives you an idea.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another detour

Again.  For the second time in a week I come back from a funeral for a dear relative.  This time, it was for my cousin.  Second cousin to be exact.  But he was much more than that.  Growing up, even though his family and our lived in the same town, we were not extremely close.  My closest knowledge or contact with him in my younger years is when he, as the area guidance counselor for all the elementary schools,  would come through my grade school and prepare us for the upcoming levels of school we would be attending such as high school.  He also was responsible for some of the state testing that would be done. I always remember the thrill of him coming and he would single me out and recognize me in front of my peers. They were always impressed that I had a bond with this authoritative figure from outside the school. I also remember how much every kid enjoyed his presence.  Never, ever did he talk "down" to any kid.  You always felt important.
My first adult recollection of Bill was at the funeral of a grandmother 27 years ago.  Bill was there and my father and him did some reconnecting.  It was at this time that Bill mentioned to my father about us joining their hunting party.  We said "Sure, we'll try it for a season."  27 years later we're still hunting with the same group of guys, in the same location.
Perhaps, my fondest memory, is when I went away to college I found myself with a roommate that was intolerable.  Not just intolerable, but mean.  He was a few years older than me and was not making my life any easier.  During hunting season, I found myself standing by the fire with Bill just talking about the situation.  Of course, the roommate's name came up and Bill looks at me and says, "Pat such and such from such and such town?"  I said, "Yeah, how did you know?"  He said, "Well, I used to coach him in basketball. I know him very well. You want to stop the torture?  Well, here's how you do it."  I went back to school and without going into details, the torture stopped quickly. This just shows the reach he had.
Bill definitely lived life to the fullest and his teaching did not stop in the classroom.  He  taught 4 sons, a nephew, a niece, college friends brought up to experience the hunting season, grandchildren. and some cousins(like me) so much through his stories around the campfire.
He touched alot of people and influenced many young people's lives.  I, and many others, will not forget him.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh deer!

Driving home tonight I took some of the backroads. Still alot of snow on the trees, sun setting, a briskness in the air(-10 degrees), who knows what I might capture. Seems like this was the perfect weather for the deer to look for food. I stopped counting at 25+. They were everywhere. I know I must have seen over 40. Now, I've been hunting deer for over 30 years and I've never seen the deer I saw today in one hour. All looking for food and doing what deer do I guess. I got some nice shots.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Wonderland

We knew it was coming, yet its always a surprise waking up to it. Winter has set in with about 8-9 inches of snow in the last 12 hours with more coming tomorrow. It was actually a beautiful snowfall with decently warm temperatures. Thursday will be a different story: The prediction is 10 degrees below zero. Welcome to Winter 2009-10.
(This is a good one to doubleclick on.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We miss you

This site/blog is basically to showcase my hobby of photography. Through that leaks other aspects of my life, i.e. my children, other hobbies, the area I live, etc. The last several days I have wrestled with how deep I want to go with this public venue. The reason being I just lost my grandmother. I wanted to acknowledge the fact we all loved her very much and her 98 years on earth were a pleasure to many, many people especially to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren right up to the end. I wasn't sure if this was the right vehicle to do so, and I'm still not, but in the end I know many family and friends who read my blog would not mind me using the space to recognize how much we loved her and will miss her. In fact, I know many people who read this and have met her would probably like to know that she has passed. So, this post is to you, grandma. I, and many others, loved you very much and we will miss you.

Esther Bloedorn
Born May 8, 1911
Died December 3, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lottery Winners?

Continuing with the theme of "Every picture should tell a story", I wonder what the story is behind the people/person/family that once lived here. Did they maybe win the lottery and move up to a double wide? Did he/she/they lose out to the children of the corn? We may never know.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let's go to the beach

I know, real funny. Posting a beach pic on the day of the first real snowfall of the season. I couldn't resist. Going thru the vault, I found this shot from this last summer(man, it seems so long ago now). Shooting candid shots is not my strong suit, but I think I achieved a decent one here. They say "Every picture should tell a story." I'm not sure what the story is with my son Derek's scowl, but by the look and the way the sun is shining on him I assume I must have told him it was time to head home. That's never a happy moment.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Postcard perfect

Well, it would have been if the snow that was coming down showed up better in the pics. On my way home from work today, I pulled up to a field close to home and got an eyeful of deer. Last count was 8, maybe 9. The scene was beautiful with the early December snow flurries coming down, but, there are tricks to getting snow flurries to show up on pictures, especially in a picture with any distance involved. And the snow didn't really show up. I'll know better next time what to do. It's all part of the journey.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Let it snow!!

I'm ready for snow. Bring it on. Got the Christmas light show finished (well, almost) and it really needs snow for the finishing touches. Normally, I'm up on the roof yet during the second week of December trying to get this thing done with 6 inches of snow up there and 10 degrees below zero. Not this year. Good weather has been the key.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Full Tummies

Here a shot of a couple guys with full and satisfied tummies after their Thanksgiving dinner. My brother-in-law, Brian, and his son, Andrew. Makes me tired just looking at them.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More from Wisconsin

A few more shots from my Wisconsin trip.  As I eluded to before, where I am from is close to the Wild Wolf River and most of these are from that area.  The river doesn't look too wild right now.  The area has had several years of drought conditions that have really affected the lakes and rivers.  Come spring, though, this river is crazy and is real popular with canoeists, kayakers, and tubers.

This next shot is a view from the deck of my parents house.  They
are witness to many beautiful sunrises.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm Back

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving shared with family and friends.  I did.
It's amazing.  I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and lived there for almost 25 years.  I still get back there several times a year.  Just got back from there after spending another wonderful Thanksgiving with my wonderful family. But, for some reason it seems my last couple trips up there I've seen more of the beautiful land of Wisconsin than I did in my 20+ years living there.  What's different that causes this to happen?  The only things I can think of are:
1.  Different prioritiies.  When I was a young buck, I had more interest in hanging with my buddies in the local in-town watering hole.
2. Living in a metropolitan area opens your eyes more to the wonders of the natural land outside of the city.
3. This 5 pound weight I hang over my shoulder that captures light to create images that last, maybe, forever.  This hobby has made me seek out and look for the beauty.
4. I got kids now and sometimes you just got to get away.
There may be other reasons, but these are the main ones I can think of.  While on my trip, I made sure I spent several hours a day going to areas that I was not too familiar with just to see what I might find.  I found beautiful lakes that I did not know existed within 20 minutes of where I grew up.  Of course, there's so many lakes up there that I'm sure lifelong residents don't know about half of them.  Anyway, they offered me some nice images to capture with my 5 pound weight. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

For Sale

One from the vault.  Last winter, the weather actually warmed to freezing one day so I decided to clean out the garage.  Figured it would be nice to get at least one car in the garage.  This meant my garage/rec room football watching chair and ottoman had to go.  I pulled it out to the curb.  Meanwhile, my son was outside enjoying the weather as well.  He was also  undoing everything I had spent the last 2 hours doing.  That's when it hit me.  I'll have a "twofer" sale.  Unfortunately, after about 5 cars stopped and asked how much "I" would pay "them", I pulled the kid off the sale.  The chair disappeared during the night.  Everyone wins.  

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hunting Season

The biggest 9 days of the year.............if you are from Wisconsin.  The 9 day Gun Deer Season.  Same time every year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving thru the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Its such a big deal, schools close that week due to lack of attendance, besides, teachers are hunters, too.  The concept is mainly there to thin the herd which over the last 50 years has grown to numbers never seen before.  By thinning the herd, you create a stronger herd of deer for the future. A harsh winter with too large of a herd spells devastation if you are a deer.  Not to mention the car/deer mishaps that occur yearlong.  That being said, for me, deer hunting became more than a service to the Department of Natural Resources.  It became more than trying to find that monster buck to brag about.  It quickly became a way to connect with family that is seen too little.  It became a way to spend time with my dad outside of our home.  There  is a big difference in the communication level between a father and son, in the woods, with a common cause.  Especially, when both are carrying rifles.  It became a way for me to see uncles and cousins when due to busy lives the other 355 days of the year, we were not able to.  Most of the group of guys have never missed a hunting season since they day they were able to hunt.  We've all made it out there if not one year, the next, thru marriages, military service time, births, deaths in the family, hangovers from the night before,cancer,  you name it.   Perhaps the neatest thing, my cousins who I've hunted with forever now have sons of their own and they are part of our hunting crew And the memories...........Let me tell you, most of these guys couldn't tell you what they had for dinner the night before.  But, they'll remember the jokes and stunts pulled on each other from 20 years ago.  Trust me, I unfortunately, have been the subject of said jokes and stunts.   Oh yeah, we eat really really good, too.  So, for the people who have never experienced the Wisconsin deer season, its a shame because it really is so much more than shooting deer.  I could go on and on, but I'll save it for the book.  Here's some pics over the years of family and our little deer camp.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fog is cool

Photographers love fog.  Not driving in it, of course.  But the moods that can be created with fog are incredible.  In any facet, i.e. wildlife, landscapes, portraiture, etc.  Here's a neat little "shed" that I shot, well, in the fog. Oh yeah, and I think fog in black and white is even better.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

That time of the year again

Yes, it's that time of the year again.  Time for the yearly deer harvest in Wisconsin.  And, yes, I think I have already seen more deer than I usually see in the woods during hunting season.  At least, I know, today I saw more bucks than I ever see in the woods. About 3 blocks from my house.  One. He was a pretty decent size deer that I would have really hated meeting up with on a dark road going 55 mph.  I've been searching the tree lines and the woods pretty hard since this is the time of the year they come out in the open alot and I've been disappointed. Nothing, Nada, Zilch.  Until today.  He was in the open walking through a field of grass.  I pulled over and he started walking my way.  He spotted me sitting there, but kept on coming.  Eventually he decided to cross the road right in front of me, but at a faster pace, of course.  Therefore, a little blur.  But still some nice shots.