Friday, April 30, 2010

Twist and Shout

I love good live performances.  It doesn't matter what it is a performance of.  Music, dance, acting, sports, poetry...........nevermind poetry.  It is usually just a great experience.  Last night we had the pleasure of attending my daughter's choir concert at her school.  I knew it was a 50's/60's theme based on the outfit that was being made for her. And also, due to her practicing her songs in the shower.  But, you still never know what to really expect.  For two months, though, every Wednesday and Thursday, I had to get her to school early for choir practice so you know they were working hard.  Of course, the whole show was great.  All the girls wore poodle skirts and the boys wore blue jeans, white t-shirts and some wore leather jackets.  Some of the songs were:  Splish Splash, Bye Bye Love, It's My Party, At the Hop, Louie Louie, The Twist, and of course, the title of this post, Twist and Shout.  They were all stars, and, really, after one hour of show, you were wishing it went longer.
I remember my parents attending events like this for me when I was in school and they always said how much they enjoyed it.  Well, I don't know if I really believed they enjoyed the shows that much.  But,if my enjoyment of seeing my daughter up on stage putting on the show that everyone came to see is any indication of whether they were telling the truth or not, I'll bet on them telling the truth.  These are the moments to live for.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Model in the making

My daughter is the type that will pose and model for me anytime I like.  I never have to ask her twice.  My son, on the other hand, is just not that into it.  He doesn't mind the candid shot every now and then, but to get him to pose or at least stay still for the two seconds it takes to get a shot can be difficult.  Tonight, it was a different story.  My son and I walked to Ashley's, my daughter, school to pick her up from an after school activity and we arrived early.  There, of course, is a playground on school grounds.  He loves playgrounds.  Maybe that's why he was a willing participant tonight.  Or maybe its all the girls that were running around at the same time.  

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Feature

Most of you know that as much as I like a great pic straight from the camera I also like to play around and be a little creative with some of them. So, therefore, I'm starting a new feature.  Once a week, probably on a Friday or Saturday, I'm going to post a pic straight from the camera and along with it my "creative" vision of the same pic.  It might be a shot from the archive or a recent one.  Tonight's is from the archive, albeit, only one month ago.  This one is nothing special until you darken it up some, remove the color, and add a little grain to it.  It gives it a whole different feeling.  I hope you like it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Must be springtime

It must really be springtime now.  Not just because of all the green coloring added to the world, not just because of consistent temps in the 60's, not just because it doesn't get dark before 5:00 PM. I know it is now, truly, springtime because the herons that I chase around the northwest suburbs are now leaving there nests for their old hangouts; the ponds, creeks, streams, rivers, forest preserves, water retention ponds. etc.  It amazes me how in the 20+ years I've lived here, never once did I see a heron.  But since I got my camera and started looking for things to photograph and put my focus on landscapes about a 1/2 years ago, I've spent alot of time in forest preserves and on country roads and I've gotten to the point of hardly going a day in spring, summer, and fall without seeing at least one. This shot isn't the best shot I've ever taken of one, but its the first one I didn't scare away this spring due to being surprised that it was there in the first place.  I've come up on several of them, but they've caught me and scattered before I caught them.  Beautiful creatures. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Missed the train

Train just went through here.  How do I know?  Cause it left its tracks.:)  That's an old one and its not any better of a joke than it was when I was a kid.  I found these tracks on one of my photo drives.  Being warm outside I had the windows down and I heard a train whistle.  Could have sworn it was coming my way.  Well, after setting up and waiting an hour for the train to come around the bend I gave up.  Must have been on a different set of tracks.  Still a pretty scene.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Awesome Day

First, it was a work day.  Second, I have some great friends who think of me when they get tickets to Cubs, Blackhawks, and Bulls games. Third, it was like 85 degrees and sunny with a light breeze.  Fourth, I have a great boss who understands a guy has to do what a guy has to do.  Fifth, I have a wonderful wife who understands a guy has to do what a guy has to do.  Sixth.................oh well, you get the point.  My friend, Keith,snags tickets to many of the sporting events around Chicago every now and then.  He often thinks of me when this happens and he came through again.  CUBS TICKETS FOR A THURSDAY AFTERNOON GAME AGAINST THE DREADED BREWERS WITH ZAMBRANO TAKING THE MOUND.  Of course, its not just my decision.  My wife, as usual said yes.  My boss, a diehard Cubs fan himself, was understanding.  And the weather Gods cooperated as well.  Put it all together and you have an awesome day.  Here's some shots:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

River Sunset

Tonight's challenge was to take a shot from my trip a few weeks back that I really liked, but lacked any punch to it.  It was ok from the start, but I decided to play with it to see if I could do anything else with it.  Let me put it like this: If I couldn't get a more pleasing(or at least more creative) result by using some software, then I would never post it at all.  So this is what I ended up with.  I know some people only like shots straight out of the camera and that's great. I do, too.  But sometimes its fun to see what can be done creatively.  I read a line in one of my photography books:  "Don't just be a picture taker.  Be an image maker."  I don't think that thought process works 100% of the time.  But it does alot of the time.  Here's a before and after.  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From Humble Beginnings.......????

This is a nice shot taken on my trip to the West side of Illinois of few weeks ago.  We found this "building" out in the middle of nowhere and the big Sears sign really caught our eye.  I told my daughter we should decorate our house like these people did.  She didn't like the idea, so we won't.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

You never know what you'll come across

Beautiful day today, so my son and I went down to the Fox River to do our spring ritual of looking for clam shells.  Its only a once a year thing and its in the spring when its cooler cause clam shells left out for awhile, in the heat, well, you know what I'm saying.  Yuck.  While there we walked down a trail along the river and came across 3 very happy go lucky young girls carrying this huge fish.  They were mighty proud of their catch and were only too happy to pose for a picture.  It wasn't until I had taken their picture that I started to wonder what 3 young girls of this age were doing out here alone and how did they get that fish with no fishing gear.  Well, shortly after I saw their dad walking down the trail behind them, asked him if it was ok to have taken their picture, and everyone went on their merry way.  Oh, and we found lots of clam shells.  Anyone want some?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Where did the innocence go?

(Note:  After posting this post and going to bed, I woke up in a strange panic.  It seems that I must really really like this pic, since I did post the same pic and the same title a couple months ago.  It's funny when things ring a bell in my head (always when sleeping).  So anyway, I've added another pic that I like.  You know, so you don't get shortchanged.  I want everyone to get their money's worth.)
Dug into the vault tonight.  This is one from 2006 of my son that is one of my favorites.  He still has that innocent look.  Only now, we know him alot better.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pine Tree Army

I must have "battlefield" on my mind, since I just finished creating a battlefield of what seemed like 200 hundred army guys to take down  3 giant transformers with my son.  So when I looked at this pic it seemed to scream "CHARGE" like might be screamed on a battlefield.  (No Pine Trees were injured during this battle)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Quiet Time

Its been a quiet couple of days which is welcome after the busy time of vacation and the Easter Holiday.  I did get a shot of this hawk today.  He was sitting on the telephone wires and totally focused on something in the field below him.  A lot of traffic around him, but it never seemed to bother him.  I got within 15 yards of him and he didn't care.  I snapped a bunch of pics and eventually he flew down after his prey.  He got what he was looking for, but unfortunately I was not able to make out what it was.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I haven't forgotten

Some of you may remember my resolution list back in January.  If not, you can visit my January 2nd post.  Anyway, I haven't forgotten.  Slowly, but surely, I am working on them.  There will be a complete recap in June just to keep me honest.  So, in the spirit of trying to take more "people" shots I did take some pics of my daughter on our trip.  Some posed, some candid.  I posted one the other day.  Today, I'm posting the rest of the best.  Good subjects definitely help.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Burning Bridges

No, we did not burn the bridge down.  But, we did cross it alot on our trip to the West coast(of Illinois, that is).  My daughter got a kick out of crossing over this big thing.  Me, not so much.  I like to photograph bridges. I like to look at bridges.  I do not like to cross them.  I got over my fear enough, though, to cross this span several times, even park(surprisingly, not much traffic on this one) at the peak of the bridge to take some pics from that vantage point.  Here is a shot from the ground. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

A quick one

A late post tonight so therefore, also, a short one.  Another from our trip this week.  Saw this on the way and we both felt the scene was worth stopping and taking a few shots of.  1st pic of the trip.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The World Travelers are Back

Yes, my daughter and I have arrived home safely from our 36 hour excursion to the great Northwest corner of Illinois.  Actually, spent almost as much time on the Iowa side of the Mississippi as we did on the Illinois side.  We made our way on Wednesday to the wonderful river town of Savanna, Illinois.  We checked into our motel which was a nice small ma and pa operation.  While there, the owner came out and met with us and gave some tips on how to use our time best.  It was great advice. Of course, this was a photo expedition so we grabbed our cameras and headed out before it got dark and generally stayed around Savanna.  We dined at the recommended establishment......Poopeys.  Yeah, you pronounce it like its spelled.  It was an experience.  But, it was a good experience.  We stayed out past dark exploring the area and snapping pics.  After a good night's sleep, we got up early and followed the path the innkeeper told us to.  It brought us up to the beautiful town of Galena(via scenic route), and instead of continuing on the planned path, we crossed the bridge over the river into Iowa and explored the area around Dubuque.  We were glad we did.  Sometimes when you travel roads not normally traveled (unpaved roads) you find yourself in gorgeous surroundings and that is exactly what happened to us.  After awhile exploring we crossed back to Illinois and continued on our path back south to checkout Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort for some nice views from up high and then we finished our excursion at the Mississippi Palisades State Park.  Quite nice and would've like to explore that area more, but, to be honest, we were both pretty worn out by then and we had a 2+ hour trip back to home. It was a wonderful trip and fulfilled my number one priority- (no, not taking pictures) To spend some good quality time with my 10 year old who is already starting to find excuses to not hang out with her old man.  I think she had a good time and I know I did.  After a quick review of some, not all, of my pics this one stands out as one of my favorites.  I'll have more in future posts.