Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Sign from Above

Seldom do I start my post with a picture.  But tonight, it warrants it.  How else could I explain a shot like this on the eve of the day before both my kids are in school all day long.  Seriously, this is a big deal.  My 11 year old, of course, has been in elementary school for some years now.  But, my 7 year old has now graduated to the elementary level and is enrolled in 1st grade.  This is definitely a sign from above that the world will be (at least my world) more heavenly, more orderly, more peaceful, more fulfilling, more happy, more smart(?) and less stressful, less disorganized, less pressure, less poor.  That last one is for real.  No more daycare, no more preschool, no more babysitters = less poor.  The 4 milestones in my life, at least in recent memory, are when we put baby formula behind us, left the Pampers on the shelves, moved on from preschool, and now, graduated from half day kindergarten to all day first grade.  I know, I know. There are going to be more challenges coming up that will fight the "less poor" notion.  But, let me have my moment.  Perhaps the best thing about it is the kids have actually looked forward to starting school seeing our eyes light up when talking about it and hearing the anticipation of this day in our voices.  I remember as a kid my mother saying around the 5th of August every year, "I can't wait till school starts back up".  I swore I would never be that person.  I was wrong.  My kids heard it so much they actually mimic me saying it.  And not in a good way.
Actually, the best part of it all is the journey to this point.  Did I actually feel all those emotions from above? You bet.  But, I wouldn't trade any of it since it makes me enjoy the good times, like now, even more.  And, a little voice in the back of my head keeps saying, "Someday.  Someday, you're going to miss this."  Shots from the 1st day of the rest of our lives.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Your barn door is open

My family puts up with me and my camera habits pretty good these days.  Its come to the point that even when we are in the car and driving some where they'll point out what might be a good shot.  We spent alot of time in the car together this weekend due to several end of the summer get togethers that entailed window time.  For this shot tonight, someone in the car pointed out the opportunity to grab a good shot.  And right they were.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Road to...............?????????????

Most of you know I had my camera gear stolen several months ago.  I have since replaced most everything lost, but the one thing that's been missing is my Sigma 10-20mm wideangle lens.  It was one of my favorite lenses since it catches the shot very wide and can give a different perspective to the shot.  And besides that I though it had great color representation and was pretty sharp.  I recovered this lens the day my gear was stolen(it had fallen out of my camera bag as the looter was haulin' a-- down the sidewalk), and I was pretty excited that I at least had this one, perhaps my favorite lens.  Unfortunately,  a couple days later I tried to attach and use the lens, but the mount had been ruined in the fall to the ground.  Bummer.  I had choices at that time.  I could try to fix the lens myself; I could order a new lens; Or,I could send it in to Sigma and get an estimate on the cost to fix it.  I spent a couple of weeks trying to make the decision.  Finally, I tried to fix it myself.  No go.  That mount is made of some pretty strong steel as it should be.  I then checked out ordering a new one.  Insurance did pay me to replace that lens.  But, somehow, I must have spent that money already on other gear because my little account to hold my monies for replacing gear had run pretty low.  I don't know how that happened.  Plus, the price of a new lens had went up considerably since I first purchased this lens.  Next, I emailed Sigma Corp. to find out the process on sending in repairs.  They replied on what to do and that they would give me an estimate before performing any work.  I decided to go that route.  They sent me an estimate and it was about what I figured it would be.  Way too much for a simple repair, but, hey, I figured it would be.  Still, considerably lower than buying new.  I was still worried since these lenses are pretty temperamental pieces and I was worried that even though they would fix the mount, who knows what damage might have been done to the focus or other aspects of the lens.  And I didn't know if they would even check those things.  I sent the lens and then it was a waiting game for about 3 weeks.  Finally, it showed up at my door looking like new.  We had some good storms come through yesterday and I was excited since I love shooting in stormy weather and I had my number one tool for the job.  I didn't do alot of shooting with it yesterday, but it sure felt good having it on my camera again.  I caught a few nice shots of the storms coming in.  And then the downpours came so my camera and my lens were put in a dry place till next time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

You'll see her in the tabloids

With summer winding down, we're on a mission to sample as many of the joyful summertime activities around here that we can.  We have a new beach in town(how many towns can say that statement) that we have not visited very often this summer.  I am partial to our old one, while the kids like them both mainly due to the splash park that's at the new beach.  So, in the spirit of fairness, the kids and I headed to the new beach the other night.  While the beach area and swimming was fun, the real goofiness hits when the two of them get going in the splash park. Plus, its much easier for me to work a camera around the splash park than in the lake.  One of the great things about doing this blog is sitting down and going through my shots and not even realizing the shots I got.  All 3 of the pics tonight were complete surprises to me when I opened them up.  The first one made me crack up when I saw it.  My first thought was we need to be careful or we'll be seeing her mug on every tabloid there is the way she hams it up for the camera.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kick me

A quick post tonight.  Been a busy few days(have you heard me say that enough yet).  But, I took many pictures during these busy days due to my wife's sister getting married and having much family around.  I haven't had a chance yet to "devour" those photos yet so to tide me/you/whoever over until I find that special shot to post, I'll show off my handsome son who started a new adventure this weekend.  The world of soccer.  His "goal"?  To be as good a player someday as his grandfather is.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Busy, busy week so not much shooting or posting.  But, I realized the other day, that even though I posted several times about Chicago outing with the Crystal Lake Photo Club, I still had more shots that were worth taking a look at.  The one being posted tonight was one of the last shots I got.  It was looking at the sunset over the Chicago skyline from the Chicago Planetarium. Even though it was a bit cloudy that evening, the sun did peek out and when it did it was a drone of constant clicking from the 75-80 people there waiting for their shot.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hau'oli Po'aha

What, you don't know what that means?  Do you not speak Hawaiian?  Neither do I, but I know you can find alot of Hawaiian phrases with a Google search.  The title simply says "Happy Thursday".  Why am I writing Hawaiian phrases?  We attended the annual Hawaiian Luau last night at the beach and we caught the "mana"(spirit).  The Luau is actually a senior citizen event, but its always held at the same time my son has his swimming lessons so we kind of crash it each year.  This year was good as always, but a little bit of a let down since they didn't have the male drummers and dancers, but, they had the hula girls as usual.  Their was the prerequisite singing of "Blue Hawaii" and, of course, "Tiny Bubbles", and alot of bad jokes geared to the seniors by the leader of the group.  And you have to have the audience participation segment where the senior gentleman get up there and don hula skirts and learn to do the hula.  So, I will finish with some pics and these final Hawaiian phrases, "Aloha ahiahi"(Good evening) and "Kipa hou mai"(Come visit again).