“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.”

  • Ansel Adams

This is a Pinhole image. I purchased a pinhole lens in the “Holga” style and started to play around with it. I have tried a few varied suggestions and it is not really giving me what I want. I imagined these long long exposures and dreamy images. I tried it outdoors, I tried it indoors, and just to warn you all, I tried it for a few days. That means there will be another one of these like real soon.

I understand the concept but the execution is not what I am expecting. It just looks like an out of focus soft grainy image. I have read of vivid colors and a dreamy like image but this is nothing I cannot do in post processing for the most part. Hell I hate most of those filters and think of nothing more silly than an overuse of filters. I even have one called, wait for it, “Holga”. That means I can with a single click take my beautiful sharp image and convert it to something else. And nothing says amateur to me more than an overuse of filters. They are used so much anymore that I wonder if we know what is real or not.

It is almost like photographic printing labs, you can print your photos at any number of those big box retailers and get a cheap print. Or you can print it at a professional level lab and pay more and get an amazing print. I suppose what I am saying is two sided, a cheap effect or an understanding of how the process works. I guess I need to keep working on that pinhole thing because so far it is kind of a cheap effect. Enjoy

Practicing with a "holga" style pinhole lens for my camera.

Practicing with a “holga” style pinhole lens for my camera.

Talking fire…

“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.”

  • Robert Frost

There is something so wonderful and relaxing about watching a fire burn, warmth, light and enchantment. The fire department was participating in a controlled burn of Prairie Grass and when we completed the burn of the grass, we found a few brush piles and figured we would help out the property owner. So me being the fire lighting dude, I aimed the weed torch and slowly got this massive pile under way. It was amazing to watch it slowly roar to life, getting bigger and almost taking on a life of its own.

I wished I had a cigar, and glass of bourbon for this, of course I was working for the fire department so the bourbon was out. But a chair, a cigar and watching the fire burn is so peaceful and relaxing. Throw in some friends and it just would be perfect. Stop though and reflect on this, when man created fire it brought him out of the dark. It made him safe, hell it even allowed him to cook his food. Of course I do enjoy a rare steak. Let me wander off topic, the last steak I ate out was so rare it was cold in the middle. It was a top cut of meat, seasoned, charred and cut like butter. Some of the people at the table were in awe of just how raw it really was. However for those wanting more than raw, nothing cooks better than open fire.

The heat, light and crackle of a fire is something tied to our very being. Something that we are all drawn to, I mean light a fire and people will gather and enjoy. Of course a fire is a part of camping, something I do not take part in. So friends take note, if I cannot take a shower and sleep on a warm bed away from creepy crawlies then I do not want to take part. You know what is cool though, on any given weekend night in small town America where I live, you could find at least half a dozen bonfire or recreational type fires and most of them do not require an invite. How could you live anywhere else.

So I do challenge you to look at this image, and tell me what you see. I know what I see. The fire dances and talks to you and puts on a display of animation. There are a few things I see. Enjoy!



Bi-polar Weather…

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

  • Charles Dudley Warner

This past winter held on and on, it would not release the icy cold grip it has on this Great Lake region. It was a long cold snowy winter, a winter I did not enjoy. I longed for the winter of my childhood, and sledding from window down the snowdrift and into the yard. A winter of no school so often it becomes the normal that you love as a kid. A winter of money made from shoveling out every old person in the neighborhood. A winter that perfected your triple lindy on the sled. But wait that is not the winter I had.

I had a winter of a truck that would not keep traction because the roads were frozen solid and ice covered. A winter of chest palpitations from shoveling. A winter of so many layers that my layers had layers just to keep warm. A winter of high electric rates. A winter of Natural Gas bills so high, I thank God that my buddy and I put in that new furnace. A winter of giving up on trying to keep the sidewalks clear. A winter of no kids wanting to shovel because it was so cold. A winter of me owing someone or multiple someones beer for keeping my driveway plowed. A winter of wishing we had a wood burner in the basement still. A winter of complete appreciation for my waterbed turned all the way up. And I could go on and on.

This photo was taken on April 14th, I mean tax day is literally upon us and it was snowing so hard you can hardly make out the trees behind the auger. There is like a forest of trees back there, honest. No Photoshop work, just quite a bit of snow. Now I will say this, it barely stuck, I mean it was wet and packable and I refused to shovel and it was mostly gone the next day. But it was still snowing so hard you could not see very far. It still made travel slippery and treacherous and hard to navigate. And yes I said no to shoveling, I have a new rule, after November 1st I will shovel, and after March 1st I will not shovel. A total of eight months of shovel free bliss, because in those eight months if God puts it there, God can take it away. Enjoy or Not depending on your love of winter weather!

A bit of snow on a mid April day.

A bit of snow on a mid April day.

Spring sprung…

“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”

  • Rabindranath Tagore

Spring has finally sprung, we had a long cold hard winter. It still seems to want to hang on as the days get longer, we have bursts of warmth followed by old man winter with a last desperate attempt to hang on with a chilly cloudy gray day. This is the kind of winter that reminds me of why I do not like Illinois. The joke of waiting 24 hours if you did not like the current weather as it will change to something else. There was a few days this spring that had almost all four seasons at the same time. The previous year I was mowing grass in March, this year it was almost May when it first needed mowing. I am beginning to think we know less about the weather than we think we do.

This is an actual raindrop on a leaf, not enhanced by a spray bottle or some other trickery. I photographed one and it would fall off from wind and I had to find and photograph another one, and repeat until I got just the right one. Patience and time, something this photograph a day project takes quite a bit of. The lilac bushes are my inspiration of the day for this. They are finicky bushes if you ask me, only blooming on old growth and ending up overgrowing and almost dying out on their own. They require a thirds approach to proper pruning and maintenance and will fill in nicely and look very well. I of course did not know this and allowed them to become way to tall and not very good looking or blooming very well. The last three years of blooming were not good because of the overgrowth and then the massive pruning.

I like them even though my allergies do not like them very much. I enjoy all of my yard projects, pruning, trimming, shaping and have even started to make sure the grass looks the best that it possibly can. When I was younger I wanted nothing to do with it, now I take more and more pride in the way the yard looks. Of course there are only so many projects and so much that can be done in the course of a year. It truly amazes me that the older we get the faster time seems to go. Enjoy the first buds of spring!

The final drops of an early spring rain as it slips slowly off.

The final drops of an early spring rain as it slips slowly off.

Love is…

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

  • Aristotle

From time to time I do get invited to a wedding, it is not all about being hired and having to work the event. My trainer who has a complete hatred of my diet because I “lost” his and cannot get him to understand that I do not like to eat 3 times a day let alone 5 or 7 or oh hell I lost count. I have been training once a week with John for quite a few months, and he insisted that I get to enjoy his wedding and not have to work it. I told him that I would bring my camera and that I would still enjoy his wedding, it was all a matter of perception. I enjoy taking photographs and that I would have a camera and take a few snaps.

It almost always amazes me in the 750 or so weddings that I have photographed and been a part of in some way or another that there is always someone you know there. So this post of the day contains two photos, I think it is important to show not only new young love, and a love that is nearly unfathomable. I ran into Mr. and Mrs. Slevin at this wedding and they are just as wonderful and loving and caring and full of life as I first met them quite a long long time ago. They asked me about family and about me and life and as they spoke and the conversation about them and their life and family and I was reminded that Love does exist.

Shortly after I captured this photo of Mr. and Mrs. Slevin, I captured this kissing photograph of the the newlywed Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell. I thought how cute, eyes closed and noses smashed and I saw the same kind of love I had just been reminded of. I thought of conversations John and I have had during our training sessions and conversations I had with Lanny over the years and noted the subtle similarities of faith and family and caring. So that is why you have two photographs today. Because even while I have my own issues on the whole love thing. There is proof that the book love or the movie love accounts of the greatest love story ever told can and do exist. It just requires quite a bit of faith. Enjoy the schmoopy!

One of the greatest of all family people in the whole Illinois Valley.

One of the greatest of all family people in the whole Illinois Valley.

The newlyweds whose nose smashing eyes closed kiss, talks to the new love they share.

The newlyweds whose nose smashing eyes closed kiss, talks to the new love they share.

Moonlit Flag…

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”

  • Thomas Merton

Full moon and a back lit American flag.  There are flags everywhere, big ones, small ones, stickers, clothing, you name it we have flags. We have flags for everything, cities, counties, states, agencies, groups and on and on. Are we over flagged? Have we lost the intentions or is it about pride. I put up quite a few flags for Memorial Day, and 4th of July and make sure they are in good condition, and make sure that they are lit up at night and that they are always displayed with respect and make sure the guidelines for handling and displaying are always followed. Because I appreciate what it stands for.

When I walked out of work and looked up and saw the flag just kind of hanging out in the position of the photo and the halo around the moon, I knew what I wanted to capture. Do you know the rules for properly displaying the flag? Do you know how to display it on your home, what side of the door? How to show mourning depending on how you are displaying it? How to dispose of a tattered and torn flag? I would hope we do not have to have a discussion about country of manufacture for your AMERICAN FLAG!

Google is your friend on this, go out and learn something today, use the internet for good and be just as surprised at me about all of the days you should be displaying a flag and how it should be displayed on those days. Be proud to be a American and put up a flag to show it! Enjoy!


A moonlit flag with a slight breeze.

A moonlit flag with a slight breeze.