Monday, August 30, 2010

Another helping

I know lately I've posted alot of pics that are similar to each other, but I do try to vary the content to prevent boredom.  But, lately that's just the way the pics have come in.  Tonight is another spider web shot taken in the early morning hours this last weekend.  I really like shooting these webs but its weird.  I'll go the longest time without seeing one(and I do look for them), and then, all of a sudden, I see them everywhere.  And I've shot alot of them that will never be seen by anyone.  There are tricks to shooting them properly that I'm learning as I go.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rock on

It wasn't until I started going through all my pics from last weeks trip that I realized how many shots included rocks.  They do make a nice object to focus on in landscape photography and when buildings and people aren't present at the time, but, wow, I shot alot of rocks.  Tonight I'll post the remaining shots of rocks that I think might be worth it. I think the 3rd shot is close to being the one of the best shots I ever captured.  No more rocks for awhile.............We'll see.

Friday, August 27, 2010

5 star Restaurant to some

Not much to say about this except I'm sure the menu here gets pretty exciting at times.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I got a feeling.....

.....that summers coming to an end.  Nights have gotten cooler, one of the two beaches at the lake is closed for the season, and,........schools have opened.  Here's some shots of my young "scholars" on their first day back to school.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Can you see me now?

One of the best parts of being up north in the summer is the cool mornings that create fog over the open water.  Here's an example:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Go Fish

I wish these pics tonight would be of stringers of fish.  Unfortunately, the only thing we accomplished was to give free meals to the small fish populating this part of the lake.  Actually, that's not true.  On the way up I was telling my children all the fun stuff we could do while camping.  The number one thing he remembered me saying was that we could go fishing.  We got to the campground on Friday and within an hour he was asking to go fishing.  I said we would go later, after dinner.  Well, other things came up and we didn't get to go fishing that night.  The next morning, the same thing.  "Can we go fishing now?"  I said later, after dinner when the fish are hungry. The same question came up several more times during the day.  Finally, after dinner, I said "Let's go".  I didn't have to say it twice.  We went for a walk to several spots I fished when I was his age.  Alot of bites, but no fish pulled into shore.  It didn't really matter, though.  I know for me the big thing was walking with my 6 year old and talking about all the things that are on a 6 year old's mind, answering questions that really have no answers, appreciating the different environment that we were living in for the weekend.  Just two guys on an immaterial mission.  My son's take on it probably wasn't that reflective, but, I like to think its just one more building block to future talks, questions without any concrete answers, and appreciation for what we have in life.  And, even if he didn't get all that, I really enjoyed our fishing time together.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fresh Air

Back from our 3 day camping trip to the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin.  Headed up Friday morning early with the 2 kids in my house that keep calling me daddy and met my folks at a campground we've camped at since we were little kids, about 6 hours north of home, Langlade County Veterans Memorial Park.  Great lake for swimming, camping, hiking, fishing, you name it.  We pitched our little 3 person tent next to my folks camper, threw an air mattress in it, and called it home for the next two nights.  Weather cooperated beautifully except for a few storms that came through early Friday evening.  If anything, it let me test the tent for waterproofness.  It passed. On the menu for Friday was fresh walleye and perch pan fried, (caught by others), cutup garlic potatoes over the fire, and sweet corn on the cob cooked over coals.  Saturday my sister and her family came over from Green Bay and spent the day.  Saturday night's menu called for homemade spaghetti from my mother(the best in the world), a big pan of Lasagna from my sister, and once again, sweet corn on the cob over coals.  Just because we were camping and "roughing" it, doesn't mean you shouldn't eat right.  Both nights included the biggest, most hugest, marshmallows I have ever seen, cooked over the fire.  Saturday night, my son and I did some fishing, but we mostly just ended up feeding all the baby fish in the lake our worms.  My son was happy about that.  The biggest deal of the trip was for my daughter who heard my stories about how you could swim in the lake at any time of the day.  You see, here at the beach, the lifeguards blow their whistles the first second the sun dips below the tree horizon line.  This means "Beach closed".  At this lake, there are no lifeguards and the beach is open 24/7.  My daughter was intrigued with my stories of swimming when it was pitch black out and how you could hear your voice a mile away due to the echo over the lake.  She could not fathom such a thing.  I don't care if that lake had frozen over between our arrival and Saturday night.  She was going swimming in the dark and she did.  My son did, too. Kinda.  After wading in up to his waist, the darkness of the sky and water made him think twice.  Oh yeah, a couple of bats grabbing mosquitoes did also.  Sunday was a big breakfast of sausage, eggs, and pancakes and then off to the beach one more day.  The kids and I rented a canoe for awhile and explored the lake.  A sunken rowboat was the highlight and of course led me into a story of all the people who died on that rowboat on that stormy night on the lake and how they now haunt the woods surrounding us.(Kids are great).  Soon enough, though, it was time to pack up and head south.  After a busy weekend of fun, I think everyone was ready to hit the road and get back to our house and see mommy.  I didn't do alot of shooting since we were usually at the beah or at the campsite and you can only shoot those areas so much and they aren't always that exciting.  I did manage to get some super early morning shots on Sunday.  Remember, the air mattress for two that was for all three of us?  Come around 4:30 a.m. Sunday I had enough of fighting for position so I got up and started snapping down at the  beach.  Got some nice shots and I will be posting some shots from the whole weekend in the upcoming days.  Here's one of the 4:30 a.m. shots:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Quickie

Just a quick post tonight.  Heading up Nort' early Friday morning to do some camping with the kids over the last weekend before school starts.  Should be fun.  Hopefully I'll do some shooting while up there in nature and stuff.  Tonight's shot is just your basic "see flowers lining the ditches and let's stop and see if there is a shot in there".  Eh, this one turned out kind of nice. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seek and ye shall find

Lived here in Crystal Lake for over 13 years.  You all know I am all over the place just to get the pictures you want to see.  Yet, it boggles my mind the places I still find that I didn't know existed within 10 minutes of my house.  Last night I found another magic place.  A forest preserve that I have passed quite often over the last 13 years that I guess I never looked at the sign on the road saying what it was.  The actual park is tucked back in the woods, but,.....there is a sign.  I checked it out and found it is a wonderful hiking park with several small ponds/lakes for fishing and kayaks/canoes/rowboats only.  Really enjoyed the short time I was there and I would have stayed and checked it out more, but, I quickly realized that where there is a park with trees and water there are many mosquitos, big ones at that.  I'll be back with the kids.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


When doing my hobby of photography I usually really try to get good compositions of whatever I'm shooting.  A good composition tells the story you want to tell, creates focus on what should be focused on and basically highlights what should be highlighted.  I was torn with this one because I don't necessarily like the composition.  The story?  A beautiful sunset.  The focus?  The sunset.  The highlights?  The streaks of blue and orange/yellow through the sky.  So, I guess it does do what it should.
There is a new rec area being developed around a quarry here in town.  I was out and about Saturday night around dusk and saw this sunset over the quarry.  But, there is no admittance yet to any of the areas around the area and there are severe fines for trespassing.  Therefore, when I saw the sky I immediately thought "Ooh, opportunity knocks".  I parked on the side of the road and set up as close as I could get to the quarry without getting in trouble.  My goal was to catch the sunset, but I also wanted a clean foreground.  Unfortunately, there was no spot where I was to get something interesting in the foreground or at a minimum keep the foreground clean. I eventually took several shots hoping that the foreground wasn't too messy and most importantly, that the streaks I saw flowing upwards from the clouds would transfer to a digital picture.  I was pleasantly surprised how well the sky showed up and I guess I can live with a few bushes in the foreground.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A New Hot Spot

In my daily travels, I've learned of many "hot spots" for my favorite birds, the Herons and the Egrets.  Unfortunately, most of these spots aren't very accessible for me to get a closer look.  I stumbled on a new hot spot this week that allows for me to slip close to the water undetected, if  I'm careful, and snap off some shots before they get spooked.  Here's one from this week.  I'm really looking forward to do some more shooting there with the hopes of fine tuning my shooting spots and technique.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Low Plains Drifter

I think that would be the description for me on nights like tonight when I am chasing a beautiful sunset.  Maybe it should be "Low Plains Lost Guy" since I often end up in places where I have never been and then scramble to find my way the dark.  Beautiful sunset tonight, but I got out of the house late and by time I found an area to shoot, the sun was gone.  Still got the tail end of the sunset with a nice sliver of moon thrown in.  A nice simple shot.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Look out Tony Hawk 2

I know, not a really creative title.  But, I just wanted to post another shot from the skatepark from the other day.  I had alot of fun taking action shots and using my flash(which were part of my resolutions at the new year, for those of you keeping track).

Monday, August 9, 2010

The summer sun is setting

Say that 10 times really fast.  It's starting to hit me that summer is winding down when tonight the lifeguard whistles went off an hour earlier that they did a month ago signaling that the beach was closed for the night.  Bummer.  Well, the goal now is just to not waste any opportunities to hit the beach even if its just to do a quick cool down. The nice thing about this time of year, though, is that the sunsets over the lake are best in August and September.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Look Out Tony Hawk

For those who don't know who Tony Hawk is, he is the guy that has built an empire out of skateboarding.  He is the man.  Every kid with a skateboard knows who he is and is out practicing everyday to do the moves he created.  Anyway, this weekend we had visitors in town.  My sister, her husband, a bunch of nieces and nephews, and a dog.  My brother-in-law and I took the boys to a skate park Saturday afternoon close to my house and let them burn some energy.  This is a shot of my nephew, Alex, showing off his moves.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wannabe Star in the house

Every household has one.  Someone who thinks they have what it takes to be a Hollywood Star.  Lately, a member of our family has taken hold of that dream...........I think.  You see, he can't talk, but our cat Simba has been passing along some subtle hints.  I think he's been watching those retro TV channels too much lately.  Do they even make Mercury Cougars anymore? I just hope he doesn't, by chance, see a RAM truck commercial.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Some like snow, some like water

Tonight, this skier likes water.  And he should since it's summer, it's hot, and there's plenty of lakes to ski on.  There was a day and time that I could say "I can do that".  But, these days I'm the driver.  Not in this shot, though.  I was on dry land shooting the action and enjoying the show this skilled skier was putting on.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Helping Hand

Ya gotta love the young people who work at the beach.  The lifeguards/swim instructors are all under the age of 18, but they treat their jobs like other peoples lives depend on it.  And, of course, they do.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals.........................

............suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface.  Yes, this morning might have been the foggiest morning I have ever experienced.  Visibility at one time could not have been more than 5 feet.  I know since I had to drive in it.  No, not just to get my shots.  I was working.  Yeah, that's it.  I was working. Anyway, even though my eyes saw heavy fog everywhere, I still have a hard time capturing it.  Tonight's shot doesn't do justice to the amount of fog out there, but it was a pretty scene anyway.

The Desolate plains of Southern Wisconsin

After a long hard day of cleaning carpets in my house,  I grabbed the camera and went driving toward the sunset.  Yes, when you have a 6 year old, a 10 year old, a dog, and a cat, and white carpet, cleaning carpets is a strenuous exercise.  My drive took me to Southern Wisconsin, a short 30 minute trip.  Lots of farm fields.  There was a blazing red/orange fireball of a sun in the West and my first inclination was to shoot the sun.  But, in the past, due to the brightness of the sun, my shots haven't turned out like I thought they would.  So I waited/drove a little more until the sun dropped below the horizon.  I ended up with this shot of lone tree with the sunset as a background.