Thursday, August 30, 2012

1st day 2

I'm surprised it wasn't brought to my attention by a certain member of my family, but I realize equal love means equal time on the blog.  I posted a shot of my son on the first day of school.  Now, we get the required 1st day of school shot of my daughter.  Of course, while working on this pic, I go into the vault and look at some of the other "1st day of school pics" from year's past.  I can't do it for long, though.  My beer starts overflowing with tears.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1st day

Today was the first day back to school.  I was expecting a crazy morning getting the boy and the girl into the swing of things again, but it really wasn't too bad.  Even though they won't admit it, I think they were excited to start a new year with their friends.  After all, even though in our minds they are there to become educated, to become good citizens, to be the future leaders of the world, in their minds its a day to renew old friendships and develop new ones.  Here's a shot of Derek reuniting with one of his friends dating back to preschool days.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


It's a rainy Sunday so I'm doing a little housekeeping and doing some organizing in my computer.  Here's a couple shots from up North a few weeks ago before they get stored away in the vault.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Perhaps a little conditioner would help

Humidity.  July in Chicago was the warmest ever on record, and with the heat came humidity, as is evident on this baboon shot taken in July on a trip to the zoo. I had the same problem with my hair when I was a teenager.  Of course, I have it under control now. ( I can feel you snickering.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hot air sometimes is a good thing

My son's scout troop held the 1st Annual Raingutter Regatta last night.  Take a balsa wood boat kit. Construct it.  Grab a few gutters from the local hardwater store.  Cap 'em off. Add water. And there you have the makings of a Raingutter Regatta.  Great fun had by all.  Tonight's shot could have shown any number of scouts blowing their boats to victory.  But, I think a better post is created by seeing a couple of adult den leaders propelling their own boats to victory.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Calm Waters

Tonight I'm going back to my camping trip of a few weeks ago.  After dinner my son and I grabbed the fishing poles and walked to the other side of the campground and did some fishing off a small pier.  I gave up quickly when I found the mosquitoes biting more than the fish.  But, I did have my camera and was able to catch calm water with the sun setting in the background in between mosquito bites.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Out of my comfort zone

It can never be said that I don't try stuff outside of my comfort zone.  I may not continue at it nor may I ever get good at what I'm not comfortable with, but I'll try.  You might notice that I don't usually focus in on the small things.  I usually try for a grand picture full of drama (I know, I don't always achieve it.) That's why I like landscape photography.  But, I recently spent a morning trying to look for more intimate, smaller scales things to shoot. Here is an example of one of those efforts.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Important things learned over the summer

Its come to that time of the summer, that you must reflect on what you have learned over the last 3 months.  Two important things learned by my son:  It's fun to skip stones over the water and its fun to throw anything into the water.  Here's a shot of him doing the second, throwing a handful of sand to watch the ripples.  Also, the old man learned a lesson, too. Its fun to do the above two things even when you get old.

Monday, August 20, 2012

More fog

Another shot of an early morning fog over the lake, with the sun rising behind the trees.  What doesn't show up in the picture is the acute quietness of the moment.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Didn't see any otters

Tonight a shot of Otter Lake in Northern Wisconsin.  Of course, you couldn't see any otters due to the fog rising from the lake.   The nights on our trip were very cold for August. 39 degrees one night.  When it gets that cold at night during the summer when the water temperatures are higher, this is a common occurrence.  Its one of the things I look forward to when go up in the summer or up to Michigan in the fall.  One of the things I liked about this shot is the sun was starting to break through some of the fog cover creating an orangish glow.  I made sure I got a portion of land in the pic since without land, it would just be a shot of fog.  And that's not too exciting.  It also excited me that when opened the picture and start cleaning it up a bit I noticed the pier/dock extending into the lake that I hadn't even noticed when I shot it. I'll have more of my morning and evening lake pictures in the coming days.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Follow the light

Its a great feeling when in the woods you catch a special time of day when the sunbeams coming from the sky seem to pierce the forest like laser beams.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, its pretty cool.  Its even better when you gets some shots that turn out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Full Circle

Most parents, I think, try to, for good or bad, have their children experience the same experiences they had as a child.  Often times, the effort does not product the desired outcome.  An example:  I loved riding my bike.  I rode it everywhere.  Yes, it was the only way I was going to get anywhere, but I actually just liked riding my bike.  Instant independence as soon as you sat on the seat.  Instant freedom the second you left the driveway.  My kids...not so much a big deal.  Still, the chance to relive childhood experiences with my kids lives on.
One of the highlights of my youth was going fishing with my dad.  My dad has always liked to fish.  When I was very young, like 4 or 5, I remember him going fishing for the day with his buddies.  Throwing an old row boat on top of the car, filling a cooler with pop(code for beer), making some sandwiches, and heading out.  He even usually remembered to bring the fishing poles.  I remember him coming home with a mess of trout, cleaning them, and then we would cook them up for dinner that night.  When I got to be around 7, 8, or 9, somewhere around there, I remember him asking me if I wanted to go.  Just me and him.  I said sure.  I was hooked(pun). I spent many days sitting in a boat with my dad after that trying to catch my limit of fish.  There were, of course, the gentleman's bets of biggest fish caught, most fish caught, first fish caught, etc.  And there were, of course, good hauls some days, and some days when the fish just weren't interested in cooperating.  It didn't matter.  It was all good.  Eventually, my experiences fishing grew when I got my driver's license and was able to throw the boat on top of the car myself, and pickup my own buddies for an outing.  We, too, had our cooler stocked.  And, yes, somedays, we forgot to bring our fishing poles, too.
Eventually, though, we all get too caught up in real life and forget to do what we always enjoyed doing.  I think this is one of the benefits of having children.  They remind you of what you liked to do at one point in time and give you a reason to go for it again.  Last summer, I took my boy out a couple of times.  We didn't do that great.  Dad caught a few, but what made it worse is, my son didn't catch any fish.  After a few outings like this, it finally hit me. I was focusing on myself catching fish, but not enough on showing him how to catch fish.  It was like I thought he was going to learn by osmosis or something.  I entered this summer with a different thought process.  The first two times we went, I didn't even fish.  I was there to help bait a hook, show how to cast a rod, what to look for when a fish is interested, and hopefully, to remove the fish from the hook.  Get this, forget bringing a fishing pole.  I didn't bring a cooler(!) or even my camera.  I called it "Switching Focus".  Lo and behold, we had an 8 year old boy catching fish and even better, getting hooked on fishing.  Since those early summer outings, we've had a camping trip up North planned with my mom and dad.  I told Derek that we would go fishing with Grandpa, in a boat(We usually shore fish around here).  Talk about focus.  More times than I can count, the boy has asked if we're still going fishing in a boat with Grandpa.  This last weekend was the trip and on Saturday, as promised, Grandpa took us to his favorite fishing place with his boat.  He's upgraded these days and now has a motor and it is pulled behind the truck on a trailer. Fancy Shmancy.  And we don't really fish for trout these days, but instead for Crappies and Bluegills, and Perch, and such. Oh yeah, we brought the cooler too....for really, pop, for the boy.  We didn't forget the poles either.  Bets were placed before we hit the water. My son's idea, not mine, nor Grandpa's. $1.00 for the biggest fish and the most fish caught.(These kids get too much allowance).  Beautiful day to be on the water.  Sunny, no clouds, an eagle flying over head dipping into the water at times to do his fishing, 75 degrees, and 3 generations of Zelazoski's trying to catch dinner. 
With my dad's knowledge of how to fish the lake we were on, we had a nice steady day of action catching fish.  Not so many that you get tired of taking them off the hook(like that ever happens), and not so few that you start thinking of what else you could be doing.  The fish would bite for a bit, then stop.  At that time, we would move on the lake and start over again.  After 3-4 hours we decided it was time to get off the lake and support the local establishment on the lake for some food and some "adult" pops for Grandpa and myself.
Hopefully, days like Saturday will cement the experience like it did for me when I was young.  The fish my dad and I caught on those trips were great, but when we came home empty handed I don't ever remember feeling like I didn't want to do it again.  The old saying goes, "A bad day fishing is better than a good day working".  It still holds true because days like that are about so much more than catching your daily limit.  Enjoy the picture of Derek holding the days catch like a proud veteran of a fishing derby.  By the way, the kid won the contest for biggest fish and most fish.  I have a feeling I better learn when not to gamble with my son.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Its not easy being green...

...when you've got an 8 year old boy chasing you down.  Major highlight of our camping excursion was the presence of frogs.  Lots and lots of frogs.  Small frogs.  Big frogs. Green frogs. Brown frogs.  You get the picture.  The picture below is one of the terrorized.  A medium, green frog.  No frogs, though, were hurt in the making of this picture.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Supermodels on the Beach

Just got back from 4 wonderful days of tent camping in Northern Wisconsin with my son, daughter, and her friend, Kayla.  Other than some pretty cold nights it was great weather for doing the camping thing.  On Thursday when we first arrived on the beaches of Veterans Memorial Park in Langlade County, not to be confused with the beaches of Hawaii, we just kind of wandered and explored and goofed around.  Of course, after a long drive in the car, the kids needed to get out, and, well, I guess just act goofy.  So, since I haven't had a chance yet to go through my shots, we've got a quick post here of my daughter and her friend playing supermodels for me on the beach.  Next stop, Sports Illustrated Beachwear Edition.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Will it ever end?

I hope not.  The series of spectacular sunsets we've had hear lately. I think I broke my trigger finger tonight trying to get different shots and using different settings and shooting different angles, all to try to catch the activity and the sun on the lake before it all disappears.  And trust me, it may seem like that big flaming ball in the sky isn't moving very fast, but it is. There's a very limited window of opportunity between getting a shot that's all blown out by the sun and getting a shot where you've lost all the drama of the pic. Here is a shot grabbed during that opportunity.