Monday, January 30, 2012

Fly Like An Eagle

That's exactly what a bunch of crazy people did this weekend at the Norge Ski Competition.  I posted some shots from Saturday and here is a recap from the whole weekend.  The goal is to make it feel like you were there....only without the Schnaaps hangover.  Sunday was the big boys and girls turn and they really put on a show.  This year was the first time I stayed till the end of the competition and I got to see probably the most exciting part of the weekend.  You see, during the main competition, all skiers must start at the same point on the ramp.  Evidently, the starting point is not at the very top.  It's about 10-15 feet below the top.  This keeps it fair and is useful for comparing to other jumps around the world.  After the main competition ends, they select the top 8 finishers and those 8 do what's called "The Longest Standing Jump Competition".  The selected can start from anywhere on the ramp they would like.  Of course, it makes sense that all choose to go to very highest point.  From that point, they are able to gain about 10 mph more speed and add about another 15 meters to their jump.  That is....if they can land on their feet.  When you plant your face into the hill, you lose points or distance. They say that when you land that far down, the slope of the hill is not as great and its like jumping from a building straight down to the sidewalk.  Crazy stuff.  The jumps were spectacular and some did go "Splatt" but no serious injuries.  Paramedics only had to attend to one participant and he walked off the hill.  I'll start with my 2 favorite shots of the weekend and then I've included a link to You Tube where you can watch a video I put together of the weekend.  Enjoy!

Here's the link to see more:

Sunday, January 29, 2012


This weekend is the107th annual Norge Ski Jump in Fox River Grove, a town about 10 minutes up the road.  If you don't know what the ski jump is, try to remember back to the opening part of Wide World of Sports where they showed the one guy on a ski jump crashing down to earth and plowing through anything in his way.  It's quite a sight seeing these guys and gals going down this huge "chute" and then purposely lifting themselves up into the air to try and get the most distance before they land.  And trust me, the "chute" they go down is much higher than what it looks like on TV.  The weekend is broken up into two events.  Saturday was the Junior division.  The kids and I got our "be outside all afternoon in the winter" clothes on and we went to check it out.  We had went before and had a really good time. But the last time we went was on Sunday when its the big boys.  The guys that are using this event to perform their qualifying trials for the Olympics.  So, we were a little disappointed because with the Juniors they aren't going off the big one.  They have several divisions in the Juniors with different size hills.  Would you believe there were kids as young as 4 years old going down a much smaller jump, but a jump none the less.  The best part about the young ones is you could see how much they have trained already and how focused they are for the jump.  But, coming to a stop without running into the crowd, not so much.  The look of pride on their faces, though, once they made their jumps was priceless. Hmmm, I just realized.  Most of the youngest ones were girls.  Don't know what that means, but......Maybe its the fact that for the first time, there will be a female event for ski jumping for women in the Olympics. Never before were they allowed.  And, the favorite to bring home a medal for the USA is a gal from the club that puts on this event.  The USA has never medaled in ski jumping before.  So there's a lot of hope for the future. Here's a few shots from Saturday.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Get Back at it

Been awhile since the last post.  Numerous reasons(excuses) why, but, anyway, I'm going to try and get back at it.  I do think, though, that this is the longest I've went without posting in over two years so I am somewhat proud of that fact.  Tonight's post is pretty simple.  We have had a winter of fog instead of a winter of snow.  This shot of a lone tree looked against the foggy background really caught my eye.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Needs an owl...or even a crow

One of my great searches is to find me an owl out in the wild to grab a shot of.  No such luck so far.  The one time I saw one he was perched on a fence post alongside a highway that, of course, is usually not busy, but that day was a steady stream of traffic. I've done my share of studying up on where to find them and when to see them to no avail.  So, when I see an old barn or abandoned building I like to try and check it out to see if anything is lurking.  Its usually a nervous situation since I don't involve what some people call "the necessary prework" like get permission to snoop around or any silly nonsense like that.  I pull up, go nose around the building, and then try to get some shots.  This was one of those buildings where I struck out, but every time I drive away its a good feeling that someone didn't start shooting at me and/or there were no sirens behind me.  Still wish it had an owl....or even a crow would've worked.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Calm in the middle of chaos

This is a shot of  a railyard in Indiana on the shore of Lake Michigan.  I was able to setup at a high vantage point which is always nice when trying to get a wideangle shot. The main thing that drew me to this is the fact that even though there were no moving cars or trains at this time, the area seemed to be kind of hyperactive.  There was so much to visualize out of these static transports it seemed to be in constant motion.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fresh Start

These are tough times.  For some, more than others.  Obviously, though, some are prospering during this recession.  I found this thriving barber shop on one of my recent little jaunts.  You can easily see times are good for this entrepreneur.  A few things give it away:  The fancy sign out front, the investment in the landscaping of the parking lot, the artistic paint job on the building including the barber pole, and the slick looking Benz parked out front.  Look closely and you can see another happy customer in the doorway.  And you can tell this businessman built his business through good ole fashioned sweat by the hours he keeps.  Notice the business hours , Mon-Sat   9am-10pm.  Maybe those hours are to accommodate the clientele of the gentleman's club that's located about 100 feet away. Yep!  Good times. Good times.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dawn of a New Year

I got up early New Year's day and went in search of my first shots of the New Year.  Unfortunately, it was raining so hard that I wasn't able to get shots of what I wanted to, but a little later in the morning I did get this shot.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

Look ahead

Unfortunately, the fog on New Year's Eve morning made that impossible.  But, it at least gave me this shot.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Feel Lucky?

I left the house Saturday morning feeling lucky with the hazy fog blanketing the area.  I ended up near the closest casino riverboat in the area and feel I got lucky with a nice shot of a quiet boat on a river.