Friday, August 19, 2016

The June July August Break

Oh dear, I did it again, Said I would and then I didn't. I am very unreliable. Blogging is akin to a habit, you must continually write and post so it becomes part of your daily habits. And I don't mean a bad habit, I mean a good habit, sorta like drinking a cup of coffee before the world begins to turn. Many bloggers are taking what is referred to as an August Break, where they either don't post at all or very minimally. I think I fell into that first category but my August break went back as far as the end of June, the 29th to be exact.

And I might be in real trouble when it comes to forming a habit.  I just checked Google (I love Google) and instead of the old adage of 21 days, apparently the University College London has done a more thorough study on habit forming and now it has been determined that no longer is it 21 days but 66, trumping the 3 weeks to now more than 6 weeks. Are you kidding me, OMG I'm done for.

Oh well, I will give a quick over-view of my adventures this summer. trying to catch up during my June-July-August break. The two photos above were taken in Chicago on a night photo-walk during the photography conference. I rarely, pretty much never, do long exposure night photography. You need a tripod and patience, both of which I tend to fail at.

The 4th of July I drove to Dayton, OH with my kids to spend a long weekend with my sweetie's family.  Only one good day of weather the whole weekend was a disappointment. I thought it was a rule that it doesn't rain on the 4th of July.  Seeing and being with family certainly makes the days brighter even if the skies are dark and rainy.

Later in July I flew to California to visit and stay with my son and daughter-in-law for a week. We visited the San Diego Zoo, along with a million others and walked the beaches with a million others, and yes, it was hot like a million other places have been this summer. Remind me not to visit California in July. Fall or spring seem to be the more pleasurable times. But again, seeing and being with my son and daughter-in-law removed the unpleasantness of the crowds and the heat.

  But one thing is for sure, roses love the hot southern California weather.

And along the way I found a red barn.....always a fav!

And a gorgeous butterfly....

Many happy moments were spent with family this summer....this being one of them.

Can you believe this little bundle of joy will be two next month.

I am heading to Michigan next week to visit old friends that have a cottage on Torch Lake. Expectations are high for many photo ops.  Hope you have had a lovely summer as we head into a new season soon. It's been too hot and too humid around these parts this summer. The windows and doors have been shut almost the entire month of July and into August with the air conditioner running. Love having the windows wide open, enjoying the soft breezes and the sounds of summer. Maybe in September it will cool down for that enjoyment.  Until then, I will continue to sit on the screen porch, overhead fan on high, ice cold drink by my side, with an occasional trickle of sweat dripping on the pages of my latest read.

Until next time.....

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......