Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Only about 5 more months till playground time

At least that's what I tell my kids. I know we are only about 1 month into winter, but its never too early to start thinking about spring.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Outnumbered

Not much else to say.  This is one of those photos that kind of speaks for itself.  Doesn't seem like he/she minds being different.  But, you can tell he/she is keeping an eye on the surroundings. Being a Packer fan, I kind of sometimes feel  that same way living in Chicagoland.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best present

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I sure did.  I am mentally preparing right now for a late Christmas present-  having a tooth pulled.  So I have to keep my mind on other things.  While waiting, I'm going through some of the pics from the weekend.  It was, of course, a big "family" holiday.  Christmas eve with extended family.  Christmas day with my inlaws.  And the day after Christmas with my immediate family- wife, daughter, son, dog, and cat (and football).  One of the highlights of this weekend was that my family and I all, yes, all, got in the car and went to church Sunday morning.  Going to church on a Sunday? Not a big deal.  All four of us going to church?  It's a big deal.  Part of the motivation was my daughter wearing her Christmas dress.  She's at an age where dresses aren't what they used to be so it didn't get worn on Christmas eve nor Christmas day. 
So the deal was made (some would say it was a deal with the devil) that if she wore her Christmas dress we all would go to church together instead of it being just me and her, which is how it usually is. It worked.  Nobody fought about going, nobody burst into flames when they walked through the church doors, nobody got kicked out and banned from coming back for not sitting still, etc.  It was a nice service. The sermon was about obeying your parents and how the wife should serve her husband-what a perfect day for my wife and kids to join me.  Of course, there was a deeper meaning to the sermon, but that's what I got out of it.  Here's a shot of my beautiful daughter in her special Christmas dress.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I might have used that title before, but this is what I think of when seeing the scene below.  Just a quick post here of a shot from the other day while waiting for my wife to get home and get me and my kids into "get some work done around here" mode i.e wrapping gifts, doing laundry, cleaning, etc.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Matter of opinion

To some they are the scourge of the world. I'm talking about the gardeners, the people who drive alot, etc.  To others, me included, they are a pretty cool animal.  Quite photogenic.  Which works out for me.  I've probably shot a couple hundred with my camera.  With my gun (yes, I have hunted them), not so many.  But, even though I see them alot, I still slam on the brakes to try and get a pic.  Not sure why.  It might be from when I was a kid living in Northern Wisconsin.  There wasn't nearly as many deer then as there are now.  Back then, if you saw one, you parked the car and stared at them as long as they would let you.  Nowadays, my kids see so many, they get a little peeved if I even point them out.  I'll still keep stopping.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All I Want For Christmas.....

Another great day for pics.  Just as yesterday was great due to the fog and warmth, today was another good day for shooting since the sun came out just as it was going down.  This usually creates a great atmosphere for the wildlife to come out of hiding and look for food.  And they did.  Especially the deer.  But, tonight's post is to help those of you who are on the edge of what to get me for Christmas this year.  I want to make it simple for you.  See the pic below and if you need more info, call me and I'll give you the address so you can start the process. It doesn't need to be wrapped, and if the deal isn't completed by Christmas Day, I'll understand.  Since it is my fault in a way for not letting you know further ahead of time.  It will give me time to start packing up all my stuff, anyway.  Man, I'm getting excited.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One of those days

Today was one of those days.  A perfect day for shooting, but, alas, I had to work. The nice thing, though, is that I keep my camera next to me while driving and  I keep my eyes open for an opportunity.  The conditions were perfect today.  FOGGY and decently warm (32 degrees).  Days like this, at this time of year, usually mean you get more opportunities to catch a shot of some wildlife.  Wildlife usually means deer and horses.  Unbelievably, I saw no deer today.  I stopped at lunch time at a spot along the Fox River to grab some bites of my lunch, a nice Thermos of soup and a turkey sandwich.  Yum Yum.  Of course, what should come flying along following the terrain of the river is 2, not 1, but 2 of my herons. I wasn't expecting to see herons at this time of the year  They were cruising in their normal position looking like stealth jets just above the surface of some open water.  I was able to get my thermos down (without spilling thank you very much) and got some shots  off.  I caught one of them sitting on the river bank, but from quite a ways away.  Just not the same as 2, not 1, but 2 of them in flight.  Later, I made a stop at one of my customers and I was getting some things out of my vehicle.  It is a more rural property and I often see deer in the field behind my customer.  I did the once over on the field and saw nothing today.  Of course, once I shut my car door I heard the "whoosh" of wings overhead and when I glanced up above me I saw 2, not 1, but 2 big hawks taking off from a light pole.  I sometimes see hawks sitting on the power lines and they are usually pretty far off.  These 2 were within 25 feet of me and would have, I'm sure, made a great shot.  Would have.  I did catch 1 of them when he landed on a bush about 75 yards away, but, once again, not the same as 2, not 1, but 2 of them sitting 25 feet away.  In the end, I did find a nice scene of 2, not 1, but 2 horses eating their dinner at the end of a warm, foggy day. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Da snow is comin'

Just a quick shot here of the "presnow" we were getting before it really started coming down.  Just got in from a couple of hours of blowing snow. I'm not in much of a mood to talk/write about it. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Little Charlie brown

Thursday night was a nice night to goof around outside. Temps were above O degrees, light snow coming down, etc. So I decided to crank up the Christmas excitement by dragging the kids outside, wrapping them in Christmas lights, and have them be live animated creatures for my annual Christmas light display. Not really, but not far from it.  There was a period when they were wrapped in Christmas lights.  That's all I'll say for now.  Of course, my son had to mimic part of the Charlie Brown scene with them singing around their Charlie Brown tree which we were watching before going out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Clinging to life

We got lucky here and missed the ton of snow that fell over the midwest the last few days.  But, we haven't escaped the bitter cold.  Here's a shot  that I think epitomizes the cold air we're presently feeling.  The leaves seems to be clinging on to the tree for their life.
 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The best thing to do

So, what's the best thing to do after a night of rain, sleet, and snow?  What should one do when the wind is blowing above mentioned snow around at about 30 mph?  Why, of course, you should go driving the rural side roads looking for a shot.  Shouldn't you?  Well, I did anyway.  In my limited range and environment, I look for changes in weather to give a new look to old places.  Places I drive by regularly look different when the snow is falling, the wind is blowing, the sky is moving, etc.  Here's one of the shots I got on my drive this morning.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Big night

Some of you know I joined a photography club this fall. There are about 75 members.  All the members of the club welcomed me with open arms since I brought the average age of the club down to 75.  We meet the first Tuesday night of every month.  There are sometimes photo trips planned during the month of which I find it difficult to attend since most are held on weekdays, during the day.  Remember, most of the club is retired.  And sometimes there is a classroom type of thing to learn some photo software stuff.  It's really all good and I'm amazed at the time and effort put into the organization.  And it doesn't cost a thing.
The format of the monthly meetings is one month a guest speaker/teacher is brought in to do just that, speak or teach.  The next month is a photo competition.  There are 4 categories:  Large Monochrome(B and W), Small Monochrome, Large Color, and Small Color.
Tonight was a photo competition.  All together there were about 125 entries between the 4 categories.  There are 3 guest judges brought in from other clubs in the Chicagoland area.  You are allowed to enter as many times as you like.  Each entry must be mounted on a mat board, whichever color you like(black is the usual), and the photos are set in a light box.  The three judges then give a point total and the highest point total is the winner of that category.  Depending on how many entries in a category there could be a 1st place, 2nd, and a 3rd place as well as a couple of honorable mentions.  It could be as low as a 1st place and one honorable mention, once again, depending on how many entries that month.
Tonight was the first competition I entered.  I submitted 1 large Monochrome, 1 large Color, and 2 small Color.  Well, low and behold, I got an honorable mention for my large Monochrome.  I felt good entering that picture from the response it got from people seeing it on my blog.  And evidently, the judges liked it, too. I was told by several people after the competition it is very seldom anyone wins anything in their first competition.  I tell ya, the competition was fierce.  Some of these "elder" photographers know their stuff.  It doesn't hurt that they travel alot and submit shots of Alaska mountainsides or wild lions on safari in Africa.  Me?  Alot of horses and herons and trees.  But, the good thing is its not about the subject matter as much as it is about strong photographic principles and I think the judges really tried to judge that way.
What happens now?  My picture goes to the regional chapter, CACCA(Chicago Area Camera Club Assoc.), to be judged in their competition.  Not all honorable mentions go to this judging.  They take all the honorable mentions and have a "runoff" to see which should go.  Once again, it depends on how many entries.  Tonight 2 honorable mentions were selected to go to the regional.  What happens then?  To tell you the truth, I don't really know.  I was just surprised and happy I was chosen.
I'm doing something I've never done before, but its necessary to show the winning shot.  A repost of an earlier pic.  Here it is.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Whiteout

We woke up to a winter wonderland Saturday.  I've been waiting for this even though it wasn't a long wait this year.
Some of you might recognize this shot.  Its a place I've shot before.  One of the nice things about having 4 seasons is you can revisit a location and pretty much shoot the same scene, but have a different picture each season.  That is what I did here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gangs of.......Crystal Lake Pt 2

Another bad sign of life in the 'burbs.  If you remember, back in September I saw signs of gang activity.  The dreaded Moooooolan Range crew.  Now, it looks like another group has moved in.  The Lamb "Choppers".
I stumbled upon them on a drive and before I could skidaddle outta there, they came a runnin'. They cornered me and were working up a plan of what to do. It was a like a prison yard what with all their inmate numbers pinned to their ears.  Not that I know how a prison yard is really like, but I've seen it on TV.  Meanwhile, I was able to sneak a bag of pretzels out of my car with the hopes I could get a couple of them to help me.  It worked.  Who knew?  Like I said, I've seen a few prison dramas on TV.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010