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.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Definition of "Friends"

One from the archives that I love.  Ashley and her friend, Nina, attended a summer camp where they did a production of High School Musical.  Here's a shot of them after one of their funfilled days at camp.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Major Props

Today, my daughter Ashley and I made our way to Madison Wisconsin for the State finals for Girls high school diving.  My neice and Ashley's cousin, Kelsey, was competing.  She did a terrific job, but unfortunately for her, she did not win the state title.  The title went to a girl that has now won it 4 years in a row.  That shows you the kind of competition that was there.  And Kelsey is only a sophomore. I think there will be more trips to the state finals in the future. Kelsey was quite disappointed and felt she let us down after driving up there, but, she did not. For us, it did not come down to seeing her win.  It came down to seeing her use her skills and appreciate all the hard work it took for her to get there.  We are all very, very proud of her.  I think there will be another trip or two to Madison in the future. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Your Barn Door is Open

Another from the archives.  A nice little barn close to my house that has survived all the new stuff built up around it.  In this pic, it's pretty visible.  But this shot was taken, I think, in March or April.  Once the trees around it developed leaves, I always had to do a double take as i drove past it because I thought they had torn it down.  But, no, it survives.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Slow week

I knew it would be coming up and it is here.  This week has been a slow week for new photography.  I knew the critters would be hard to find once the weather cooled down and the colors of fall were pretty much done.  Even though I knew it was coming, I haven't been able to come up with the creative juices needed for the time "in between seasons".  Eh, been busy with work, too.  So, we'll dig into the archives until the shots come.  Here's a shot that will make you wish for spring.....already.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

July Revisited

I wrote a while back that once in a while I would post a pic from the past that I really liked.  Today, I'm revisiting a pic I took on a fishing trip this summer to Northern Wisconsin.  It's a shot of a "canal" to a lake we  were on our way to fish.  This was after portaging our boat about a 1/4 mile into the area.  Desolate!! Nothing around but eagles of which you saw the pics of them on another post.  It is one of my alltime favorite shots, because of the beauty and the fun day we had fishing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Foggy Mountain

O.k. O.k. So its not a mountain.  It's a little hill with a clump of trees on it.  In Northern Illinois, that's a mountain.  It is foggy, though. Just a reminder:  If you click on the picture, it will open in a new window in a larger size.

Island Hopping

A beautiful Sunday morning yesterday was.  Warm, sunny, and foggy.  I was up before sunrise and headed North.  I ended up around Wonder Lake, which is a lot bigger and more beautiful than I ever realized.  Here is a shot of one the islands in the lake.  There was a wonderful fog surrounding the island, but it didn't show up that great in the photo.  Still, the reflection is nice.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Yelling for yellow

Even though most of fall color is done, there are a few pockets left.  And what I'm seeing is that its not always apparent.  It all depends on the sunshine or lack of it.  Cloud cover also plays a role.  Friday morning was rather overcast but at times the sun filtered through and created beautiful beams of light that seemed to touch the ground.  I check out this forest preserve almost daily since it is right by my house and lately have been disappointed to not find anything that made me want to snap some pics.  But on this day, those beams of light were shining in just the right places and really brought out the color that is left.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Baby, You Blue My Mind

There's a reason there is only so much beauty in the world.  If there were actual  scenes as pretty as this one, we'd never get anything done.  This is nice river scene around Sycamore, Il.  I converted to Infrared and added the blue to the water.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Nice November day. A little sun. Cool crisp air. Good day to hunt...if you're a bird. The hawks were out today. 3 seperate times this morning in different areas I saw Hawks out doing their thing. It might have something to do with the fields being cut down now and they can hunt their dinners more easily. I got some shots of a pair of them looking for their prey. As you see, one of them was keeping a close eye on me as I was trying to get closer. Another 10 feet closer and I'm sure I would have gotten a much crisper shot, but, they were skittish ,of course. I've also included some of my best shots of an eagle I saw this summer on a fishing trip.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prom 2017

I am not one to look too much into the future. Really, things will be whatever they will be. Nothing to worry about. I've heard the horror stories of friends who already did the teenage kids thing. They survived....most of them. And then, I see this pic of my daughter, my mind starts thinking forward, and I think, "Prom....2017". Yikes!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009

Another Halloween come and gone.  My monsters had a busy weekend.  Ashley was a goth/punk rock girl and Derek was a grim reaper sort of guy.  Started Saturday off by going to a fundraiser that one of Laney's coworkers was organizing.  Outdoors in a park.  Lots of fun, but pretty cold.  Kids didn't care.  Then, of course, the prerequisite trick or treating.  Sunday was Laney's 7th or 8th annual kids Halloween party.  This started years ago as the annual adults Halloween party, but, you know, things change.  We had a great turnout with most all of Derek's preschool class attending and a bunch from Ashley's 4th grade class.  You mix all those kids and with some parents in this about scary.  It was alot of fun and the kids all left happy.

In an artsy mood

Maybe its the time change, maybe its just the start of a new month, maybe its the beverages I drank during the Packer/Vikings game, I don't know.  But I felt a little artsy last night.  So I grabbed one of my pics from last week and played with it.  Even though it was a pretty scene, I felt it was a little boring.  So I gave it a little texture to create more of a oil painting on canvas effect.  I think it looks better.  Here's the before and after: