Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We Salute You

I had an opportunity yesterday, Memorial Day, to attend a ceremony in McHenry honoring the area veterans.  It was an incredible event, especially for someone with a camera due to the high level of pomp and circumstance that goes with any military event.  Some of the highlights were: recognition of the veterans of each branch of the military in attendance, a reading by a young girl who lost her father in Iraq,  recognition of the 16 young men from the county we lost in our recent battles in the Middle East, a balloon launch for missing POW's,  a rifle salute, the laying of the Battle Field Cross(which when you see in person would make a grizzly bear choke up), and a finale of Taps played by several buglers. This video may not show it, but I think they were some of the best pictures I've ever taken.  It made me feel good to capture some of these moments and share some of the event.  I tried like heck to get it uploaded last night, but, I awoke to my computer still trying to upload it.  I finally decided I needed to lower the video quality a bit to get it there.  So, like I said, I hope the video does the event justice.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Waiting for the people

Just a quick shot of a nice sunset in between thunder storms the other night.  The tables look like they are just sitting and waiting for the people to show up.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

And the Thunder Rolls

Found myself wide awake at 4;15 am this morning due to....get this.......the song birds out singing their songs during a thunderous thunder storm.  Crazy.  So, I decided to get myself up, make some coffee and go out and maybe catch a lightning strike or two.  This is the first real storm we've really had this spring so I was kind of excited to make use of my "Lightning Sensor" device I have to hopefully catch some strikes.  And since its been awhile and I wasn't expecting to wake up to a storm, I was a little rusty at setting myself up.  Number one problem was the rain getting on the lens and messing up good shots. I figured out a few things that will help the next time. And then, the shots I did get weren't as good as they could be since I was so close to some of the action that the thunder hit right when the lightning strike hit and kind of scared the tarter sauce out of me and I therefore, moved a bit giving me a blurrier shot than it should of been.  So, take these for what there worth.  1st lightning shots of the year.  Hopefully, more "good" ones to come.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Must be related to the Giraffe

Another sight I saw on my trip to the Chain of Lakes State Park-  a feathery, winged Giraffe.  No, I wasn't hitting the sauce at that time of the morning.  Actually, it was a pair of Sandhill Cranes I saw.  They were poking around the ground looking for breakfast.  I was surprised how tall they were and how long their necks are.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Visiting an old friend

For good or for bad, I haven't shot too many heron/egret pics this summer.  To tell you the truth, I see them so often these days, I often pass the shot by.  Yesterday early a.m. I took a little drive to the Chain of Lakes State Park to see what I could see.  I found this guy feeding in a small pond.  I watched him and shot away for about an hour with him being only about 50 yards away.  He didn't seem to mind.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Look of Trepidation

My wife, daughter, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and his fiance all did a good thing last weekend and volunteered to help at the Y-ME Breast Cancer Awareness run held last Sunday in Chicago.  My son and I went also...to cheer on the family members that volunteered.  I know, pretty nice of Derek and me. Anyway, it turned out to be a wonderfully beautiful day in Chicago.  Of course, while there, we had to take a stroll through Millennium Park (Chicago's version of Central Park).  In my opinion, the neatest thing there are the walls of water known as the Crown Fountain.  Two 50 foot glass block towers that project the images of Chicagoans while spouting water into a reflecting pool.  The kids love it and on a hot summer day there are hundreds of people there being refreshed by the water spouts.  This being mid May, the water spouts were turned on, but you could tell by walking through the reflecting pool to get to the towers that this wasn't "bathwater" temperature. It was pretty chilly agua.  I would have much preferred an expression of excitement and exhileration on my son's face, but after he walked through the water, it was more a sign of trepidation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Teach a boy to fish and........you'll have a partner

My 7 year old son(almost 8) is at the age now where he doesn't enjoy so much jumping in the car with me to go grab some pics of a lake, or a bird, or horses, or whatever.  Even with the promise of an ice cream cone from DQ at the end. But, I think I found the trick to having a traveling companion in my after dinner jaunts.  Last year we went fishing several times at an area pond, but, unfortunately, he came home each time empty handed while the old man snagged a few guppies.  This year our first fishing excursion turned out quite differently.  I had been for a few weeks suggesting we go drop a line in, but between the weather and other things, we just never made it.  Friday night was perfect.  Beautiful night. Beautiful lake. No bugs.  And perhaps, best of all, no people where we went.  Just me and him.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to work with him on casting a line, baiting a hook, patience,.....etc.  On top of that, we were fishing at a lake that is unbelievably crystal clear.  Only about 4 foot deep with a healthy, weedy bottom.  You could see the fish swimming around down there.  And they looked hungry.  It didn't take long for the boy to realize, "Why should I make this difficult and do this casting thing and then wait for my bobber to go under and then hope that I hook the fish and then take a chance of reeling him all the way in?  Why don't I just drop my line in over the side of the pier and catch these fish here ?"He asked me if that was o.k. and since I was so focused on my bobber about 30 yards out sitting there doing nothing, I said sure.  About 5 minutes later, I hear one excited boy.  "Daddy, I got him!  Daddy, I got him!"  I've only heard that kind of excitement when he reaches a new level in his video games.  The next part was showing him how to unhook the fish and release him back into the water.  We haven't moved on to baiting the hook yet(next time), but we loaded another worm and I went back to my ever exciting nonmoving bobber and almost right away I hear, "Daddy, I got another one!  Another one!  Sure enough, he did.  Now, usually, I always have my camera with me.  Of course, not tonight.  I really was trying to focus on the fishing thing.  But after that first catch, I was majorly disappointed I didn't have it with me.  After the second catch, I was even more disappointed.  That was when my 'superbrain" kicked in.  I have a cell phone that has a camera.  Don't know how to use it, but I did have a camera.  It was then that I pulled it out and gave it a shot.  After a few tries I got a shot that turned out pretty good.  It's too bad I didn't think of it earlier, since the first fish was considerably larger, but that really wasn't the point.  The point is I think I have a partner for after dinner drives and that feels good because as much as I like to head out on my own and shoot away, I really enjoy the ideas, questions, and ramblings we discuss on such journeys.  And, oh yeah, dad got skunked on this outing.  Once again, that's o.k.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wet tripod

Sometimes to get the shot that you want, you gotta get your feet....and your tripod wet.  The dog and I headed out at sunset last night to see what we could see. Been heading over to a forest preserve with a good fishing pond the last few nights to try and catch a shot of the remnants of the "Supermoon" we had the other night.  But, alas, the cloudy night skies have kept the moon concealed.  So, instead I ventured off the shoreline a bit and set the tripod up in a stable place low to the water and got a shot I really like.  It only made it all the better that there was some low lying fog to the back of the pond.