Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Out of Chicago - Part Two

When I was presented choices for classes, workshops, and a 1 on 1 with a professional photographer at the Out of Chicago photography event, I chose Bryan Peterson for the one day workshop and Matt Kloskowski for a 1 on 1 critique of my photography.  I wrote about my adventures with Bryan Peterson yesterday, today I will profess the feedback Matt gave to me. First, I want to tell you what a really nice guy Matt is. He is the exact opposite of Bryan. Humble, kind, gentle, warm, friendly are all the characteristics that I would use to describe Matt. And I say that not because he gave me a glowing assessment of my work, but because he truly is a well centered person.

Matt and I corresponded via e-mail to establish a meeting time and place, how many images I should bring, do I print them or bring them on a zip drive etc. He indicated that he has a method that he can record the feedback along with the visuals so I have access to his critique by having all my images on a zip drive. Bring about 20 images, oh Lord with my gazillion or so images on multiple portable hard drives what pictures do I bring?  I spent most of the afternoon Wednesday deciding and choosing, changing my mind several dozen times. I held my breath as I approached the session.

He used words like fresh, clean, a great eye, sees things he would never see, would enjoy going on a photo-walk with me. I was overwhelmed and needless to say extremely flattered. I spent about an hour and a half with him, just one on one. I am still basking in the glow of his kindness. And to top it off, I attended one of his classes on Sunday afternoon with a roomful of attendees and he asked if I was in the audience then told everyone there I was a great photographer. Surreal.

OK, enough of that. I appreciate you letting me blow my own horn and how grateful I am for the validation.  Prior to the critique I arrived in the city about an hour early, it was a beautiful day, so instead of waiting inside, I walked toward the lake and snapped a few images of  Chicago. It is truly a beautiful city, I would encourage a visit, just don't come in January.

Love this red, white, and blue combo....

And ofcourse when you see a man with his pants pulled up, socks pulled down (at least one of them), sunning on a park bench it's just a picture waiting to happen.

I probably won't be around for a few days, off to Dayton, OH to spend the 4th with my sisters-in-laws. Love those ladies. And taking the kids along too. Will finish my tales from Out of Chicago next week.

"People usually consider walking on water or walking in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh 

Until next time.....

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Adventure Begins

The event booked in January as a treat and Christmas gift to myself had finally arrived. I set my alarm for 5:00 AM, which is still the middle of the night (in reality it's about the time for my nightly get up to pee) for one who likes to sleep until at least 7:00 AM (or later), drove to the train station, lined up with all the others with sleep filled eyes to begin my journey to the Out of Chicago Photography Event. For a brief moment I actually considered staying at home, only for an instance tho, because we so rarely have fog in our area. What great opportunities I would be missing, and then I hit myself on my forehead, brought myself back to the moment, and thought "what the heck are you thinking??" Miss this great event for fog?? So I snapped a couple of foggy train images and boarded the train for a 4 day adventure.

The event didn't officially begin until Friday evening, however we were given the opportunity to register for workshops Thursday and Friday.  My workshop for the day was with the iconic Bryan Peterson, author of  the #1 selling photography book on Amazon, "Understanding Exposure", which btw he was quick to mention. Our class was small in size, only about 14 or so, which made it easy to stay together and hear Bryan point out various spots that we needed to try with new eyes and new settings on our cameras. Not new, but different than what I was used to.

This is Bryan's settings to bring everything in focus from front to back (altho my front focus was a bit fuzzy probably because if I had put my camera any lower it would have been in the puddle) manual mode set your meter at 1, use a wide angle lens with a setting at 16mm, set your F stop at 22, and your ISO around 100 or adjust accordingly. As you can see, the fog was still hanging around, especially around the Willis (aka Sears) Tower.

After struggling to stand back up (you know I am at that age where getting down is one thing, getting back up is quite another undertaking). We stopped by a pillar that was loaded with posts, graffiti, old posters etc and stood there for a good 10 minutes. I won't bore you with pictures of torn pieces of paper. Instead I shot the L train which had a beautiful blue building as the background....

Next, our challenge was to capture interesting backgrounds with shots of Bryan.  I chose his finger instead of his face, thought the background for his finger was more colorful than what was behind his face from where I was standing.

Moving on, our next challenge was to capture stop motion with high shutter speeds.  And being the shy, unassertive (wink wink) person that he is, Bryan became our model for a "windy" city illustration.

With that same challenge we walked down to Millennium Park to the Crown Fountain. A unique concept which combines tradition with urban pop-art. The fountain is composed of two huge LED screens which project the faces of ordinary Chicagoans. The water spouts from their digital mouths, creating a playful water feature for the enjoyment, albeit wet, playground for all.

After class concluded, Christine (who I met in Bryan's class) and I walked to Panera for dinner. Christine became a fast friend, she and I seemed to be of the same mindset. She was quite a few years younger than me, but when you share a passion like photography, age is irrelevant.  We met up for different classes and at mealtimes. She lives in the Chicago area so hopefully we will see each other again sometime in the future.

I managed to arrive at the train station in time for an express train, 35 minutes as opposed to an hour, bringing me home around 6:00 PM.  Friday's adventure was a one-on-one session with Matt Kloskowski to critique my photography and the Opening Night speaker with Rick Sammon.  Stay tuned for more notes, photos, and adventures from Out of Chicago.

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."  ~  Roald Dahl

Until next time......

Monday, June 20, 2016

A New Adventure

Hydrangeas blooming in the backyard

Hmm, I am sitting here on my kitchen stool, staring into the computer screen, wondering what I am going to write that would be of interest to anyone. I don't want to discuss politics, Lord help us....I don't want to ponder on the recent horrific shootings, or the two little ones who wavered off the path and came face to face with danger.

I don't want to talk about how lonely I have become since Bailey left, it was that extra life and vitality that young people bring that I miss.

I don't want to talk about my sweetie and how difficult it was yesterday (Father's Day) to remember him before Alzheimer's took him and left an empty shell and how he used to say "I don't want anything except a little love and affection" when asked what he wanted for "Father's Day".  Me, on the other hand would have a list when it came to "Mother's Day" or birthday, or Christmas.

Tiny bouquet from backyard flowers

So my chin is dragging a wee bit and it's hot outside, and we could use another good rain. But I do have events coming that will help with that chin dragging.  This weekend beginning Thursday, "Out of Chicago" Photography event is scheduled. Way back in January when it first hit my email inbox I decided to take part and register. It was a healthy chunk of money but I told myself it was a belated Christmas present to myself. (I can always come up with some logical reason to spend money). So Thursday from 8-3 I am attending an all-day event with Bryan Peterson. On Friday I have a one-on-one with Matt Kloskowski to critique my photography (scary thought), a kick-off talk and an evening photowalk.  Saturday is filled with different classes from street photography to flower macro photography. Sunday is another photowalk and a couple of other classes. So. as I said this should bring my chin dragging up. I have never done anything like this, so it will be a new adventure.

The back porch

Eleanor Roosevelt said "Do one thing everyday that scares you." 
 I know I don't do something everyday that scares me, but this new adventure does. 

Until next time.....