Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Swimming with the sharks

Well, not really.  But, it sure was scary go out in the water with my camera.  We hit the beach tonight after dinner and I decided to get crazy and see what kind of shots I could get while being in the water myself and shooting at water level. Got some nice shots and I'll do it again, but, maybe tonight was the wrong night.  I forgot Tuesday's are concert night at the beach so alot of people show up there.  Some watch the concert, but alot just went swimming, especially with this heat.  So, I had to really be careful.  Anyway, here was a nice one.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Willow Trees are cool

I've got an opinion on this one.  Willow trees are cool.  Not in my yard, but, in other people's yards, by streams and lakes, etc.  Then they are cool.  Just not in my yard.  Glad I got that off my chest.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

So sad. Another vacation bites the dust.  They come and go so fast. Reality of life hits early tomorrow morning.  The whole thing started rough with the passing of a family member, but midweek it turned to the better.  Nice weather.  Nice family time together.  Plenty of beach and boating time.  And got some stuff down around the house.  Time to get back to work, but first some pics of a pleasurable day on the boat with my son getting in some serious "tube" time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Catch the Sun

Saturday night.  Nothing to do.  No place to go.  One kid staying overnight at a birthday party.  The other at the movies with his mom.  Let's go chase the sun.  Last year, during the "Bummer Summer", my son and I would go out after dinner and try to catch the sun, when there was sun.  It was a rare occurrence.   This year, weather conditions much better, but the kids seem to have better things to do now.  So, I grab the dog and we went out to catch the sun.  There was a beautiful sunset to the West of me so that's the direction I drove.  Unfortunately, when you get caught up in looking for that perfect shot, and you turn down every gravel road you come to, you end up further away from home than you intended, and its much more difficult to find your way home in the dark.  There's also the chance you can get locked in a forest preserve since they close the gates at dusk, but that's a story for another post.  Tonight, though, I did catch the sun and it was even better to see in person.  I just wish I knew where I was when I shot it.

Making use of a few moments of spare time

I've had the most wonderful tool in my photographic arsenal for some time now.  But, I've haven't made much use of it since there is a somewhat steep learning curve of how to use it.  It is an off camera flash.  It's a big thing.  Intimidating.  With the bulk of my pics being landscape photos, I haven't really found the time to play and experiment with it since most of the photography I do uses the available light or uses the darkness to compliment the picture.  Last night we were at a family gathering and I was manning the charcoal grill at my inlaws.  Not much to do while waiting for your coals to get up to temp. So, I grabbed the camera and the "beast", my flash, and started scouting the beautiful flower beds my mother in law has.  I noticed the skies were getting ready to unleash rain, thunder, and lightning so, of course, I wanted to somehow include these aspects. Once a good vantage point was found I turned on the flash and started snapping away.  Here's one that I feel turned out "interesting".  Just those few moments of spare time and I think I learned more about the workings of this flash than I have in the year that I've owned it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fawning over you

What's up with the word "fawn", anyway?  The dictionary has it as being "exaggerated attention".  Yet, I hear it most commonly used as a reference to young or newborn deer.  Either way, it would be easy to "fawn" over the young one.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Rocks!

Just a quick one from the vault tonight.  Started vacation this weekend and I think I'm busier now and this week coming up than I would be if I was working.  So, didn't get to do any shooting this weekend.  Tonight's shot is a sunset pic from a camping trip up North a couple of years ago.  If I remember it right, there was an intense orange sunset over the lake that I couldn't pass up.

Friday, July 16, 2010

An All Too Common Occurrence

What was an unbelievably beautiful day weather wise, became a little less beautiful this afternoon.  I got home from work today just in time to walk to the corner to the to view a full military procession carrying home the body of  Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Antonik who was killed earlier this week Afghanistan.  He was 29.  Just got married in December.  3rd tour of duty, 2 in Iraq, 1 in Afghanistan.  I did not know the man nor did the hundreds of people lining the streets for 6-7 miles to view the procession.  But, as the line of city, state, and federal vehicles, motorcycles, fire trucks, police cars, and family of the deceased went by, it sure felt as if he was your friend or your brother.  As sad and depressing as it is to view such an open and public event like this, I really believe its a good thing.  For some reason its all to easy to forget we are in a war and it is real.  All those people involved or spectating were there just to pay their respect and show support for his family.  Perhaps the most troubling thing about this is that this is the 5th procession into Crystal Lake in less than 2 years for fallen soldiers.
As I was driving home, I was getting upset with the traffic.  Here it is a beautiful day.  I'm starting a week's vacation as soon as I get home.  I want to go drop the boat in the water and start having fun.  An event like this kind of jolt's you back into reality and makes you realize how many of our daily problems are pretty petty.  Thank you Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Antonik and your family for your service to our country.  Some people do realize and appreciate what you have done for us.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


One of the best things about living in Illinois about 60 miles out of Chicago is wonderful Lake Michigan.  I mean, besides the wonderful workings of our state, city and county governments(several past governors in jail and another is close to being there), the view of Chicago's skyline is one of the top attractions.  Here is a side view of the city from Lake Michigan on a really hot July day.  There's much better views yet, but this is the one I could get at this time.  I can see why boat captains in the area have a saying.  "One of the best things about being on Lake Michigan is you can see the storms coming.  One of the worst things about Lake Michigan is.......you can see the storms coming."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Karate Kid(s)

Kids are doing Tae Kwon Do classes this summer.  Both like the classes and are doing pretty good.  I guess I better bone up on my defense skills or better yet, develop some skills.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A year ago, coaxing my youngest to jump off the side of the boat was a lesson in frustration.  Even jumping into his mom or dad's arms took bribery.  My, how a year changes things.  He's ready to go even if mom and dad aren't yet in the water.  Another interesting thing is as he watched skier's and tubers go by, he commented how he wanted to do that.  I understand the difference of seeing someone do something and then later getting the gumption to try it, but it might be time to break out the starter skis with this one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Birds in the Clouds

It's been, what, a few weeks, maybe a month, since I showed the wonderful Herons of Illinois?  The wait is over.  There's a little..........well, it's a..............I guess its a swamp that's west of my home that I check out every now and then.  I've seen herons there before, but the skies and the arrangement I saw this time make this one a pic that is going on the wall.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer is the theme of the week

Another nice summer shot. This was taken early evening, but you can catch spectacular sunrises there, also. Can't tell you where it is, though.  The kids and I also fish there and its our secret place.  You should always have a secret fishing place in my book.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Midwestern Summer

A quick one.  Growing up in Wisconsin, I spent some time in the summers working on a farm baling hay.  Hard work.  A piece of farm equipment picked up the hay, made it into a square, tied it up with twine and then you had to stack it on the wagon.  Once back at the farm you had to pull off the bale of hay and stack it in the barn.  In Illinois, I see much more of this form of "baling". I'm not sure why.  I also see much more of these "bales" left in the field into winter.  Once again, I'm not sure why.

Up in Smoke

Another 4th of July up in smoke with the final large scale fireworks in the area last night.  We definitely get our fill of fireworks around here.  Photographing fireworks is alot of fun, viewing an endless stream of fireworks pics not so much.  The trick is getting a location where you get shots of the fireworks and the landscape underneath them, especially if around water or a hilly landscape or even in a city location.  I didn't accomplish this goal all too well this year, but I have a different plan for next year.  So here are three of the best shots I got this year.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

One of the great things about kids

As you could tell by last night's post, its carnival time in Crystal Lake.  Today, probably the nicest day of the summer yet, we all hit the carnival.  My kids have some "adventure" in them, but I think its a little less than some others as the following pics will show.  One of the great things about kids is you can, with the help of their more adventuresome friends, coax them to do things(go on rides) they would probably not do on their own.  You know, the ole peer pressure thing.  One had a tummy ache by the end of the day and the other knew which rides he didn't want to go on next year, but both had a good day.  And dad had some good laughs.

I think I've been in a vehicle before with the kid that's with my son.  What a nut.

Beam me up, Scotty

I have to admit.  I don't understand the curiosity of riding some of the amusement park rides.  I mean, spend a few hours on the Illinois tollway in Chicagoland and you can get the same effect.  Maybe because its safer on the amusement park ride than the tollway.  But, millions of people love them.