Two Photo Shoots at Foster Avenue Beach


I can’t recommend more strongly to photographers the wonders of the myriad beautiful places available at the Foster Avenue Beach in Chicago, IL.  It’s awesome!!!

First, I met Barb, LaKeita, and Zariah for a fun shoot:

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After we finished up, I did Engagement photos for Joe and Kara – a lovely, sweet couple from Indiana.  Good luck on your wedding, guys!

Graffiti and pretty girls – always goes well.


Check out those eyes!


The place also has this sweet pier with a warning light at the end.

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And a lovely hill.



Good luck, guys!


Joe’s Christening


Joseph Umberto was baptized in the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Joliet, IL on August 22.

Had a great time with him and his family.  The church is gorgeous, and over 100 years old.

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Cute kid, looked really good!

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A great cake

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Lots of happy family!

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Just chillin’ out after a long day!

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Josh and Michele’s Engagement Photos



Took these pictures of a wonderful couple (Michele and Josh) on Sep 19th, at the site of a dam and locks on the Dupage River in Channahon, IL.  Just a great place to visit, and wonderful with a nice sunset!

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Lots of fun, and a great place for photos.

Paula and Gordon’s Wedding



On Sept 12th, Paula and Gordon were married at a beautiful venue in rural Channahon, IL (near Joliet).  The location is called the “Four Rivers Educational Center”, and it’s gorgeous, inside and out.

Start it off with a gorgeous girl…


With gorgeous kids who love her!



Add a handsome gent who loves her, too.


Get a nice cake and some decorations.



Get some rings and flowers.



Play some music, and let them dance.

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Take a few pictures in front of a cool fireplace.


And wait for the party!



The rest is history.  Beautiful wedding, guys!

Canon EOS 7D is announced


OK, this is fairly exciting to me.  I was seriously considering stepping up to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II next year, but the newly-announced 7D has some very compelling features.  No real comparison, I suppose, but pretty sweet.

  • 19-point AF system (much improved over its 60D cousin)
  • Wireless flash control – this could be exciting, though I already use many different methods for this
  • 8 FPS
  • 18 megapixels
  • 1080p 24fps HD video
  • 3-inch LCD
  • At $1699 for the body, this is a really great choice (and about $900 cheaper than the 5Dii)

Here’s the Canon Press Release on the EOS 7D

And here’s a great, detailed review from DP Review

Jen’s Journey



Over the next several months, I will post approximately-similar photos of my kind and patient neighbor, Jen, who is now expecting her first baby.  She’s very kind, because she’s letting me harass her every month with these photos.

Phase One: About 15 weeks

Jen's Journey 2009

Phase Two: About 19 weeks


Phase Three: About 23 weeks


Phase Four: About 27 weeks

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Coming up, in a month or so – Phase Five!


Finally, for those of you interested, here is my simple lighting setup for this.  I’m using PocketWizards (the old kind for this shot), firing regular Canon flashes (just for simplicity’s sake).  One flash has a Sto-fen diffuser on it (the hair light), and the key light is on a small soft-box (18” x 18”).  Oh, yeah – the background is a piece of black velour (?) fabric hanging about 3-4 feet behind the subject.



A few photos from the backyard


Hanging around outside watching my daughter run around, so I snapped some pictures of her and the dogs running around.

Also decided that there was some inspiration to be found in the industrial stuff in the distance…

Evolution of a Digital Photographer – Intro



The Exciting and Rewarding Trip
from Complete Neophyte to Elite Photographer
a.k.a. Taking better photos at EVERY level of experience


If you know the source of this fun image above, please let me know.  I have hunted high and low, and would love to credit the creative source!

Anything worth doing is worth doing right.  That is what our parents told us when we were children, and it holds true today.  That said, every generation’s methods for learning the newest skills and technologies must evolve.  So now we find ourselves in a fairly complex world with fairly complex technologies, and not many fantastic outlets to learn about them.  Firstly, if you want to be a great photographer, I recommend you take classes as a good school.  If you’re lazy, however, then I recommend you hunt the web.

My goal here is to try to enumerate some skills that we all possess, and to try to categorize a level of overall education that comes with time and energy.  I’m trying to correlate these skills with what you might find in a real curriculum.  I’m sure any dean of a School of Photography would be very upset with me about this.  C’est la vie.

So I will document some skills and try to write some article pointing to good resources to help you build those skills.  I hope that you will not jump ahead to the fun and interesting skills, because I feel that most people do NOT have a basic understanding of photography, and would benefit greatly from some of the beginning pieces.  Let’s build a pyramid of knowledge, and by the time we’re done, we’ll all be experts!

On to the curriculum.

Easy and consistent water droplets for high-speed photography



OK, so I finally got functional PocketWizard FlexTT5 remote flash triggers, and I wanted to play around with some short-shutter photography stuff.

Obviously, the first thing to do is water droplets – everybody does it, why shouldn’t I, right?

First, I played around with an eye dropper, but the results were too inconsistent.  This past weekend, I decided to build a proper assembly for predictable water droplets – perhaps went a bit overboard, but hey…

Once I had the materials, the construction took about 20 minutes, including a few cuts on the saw.  I think I have some potential changes to make this weekend, but posting this for now.  Please let me know if you have suggestions on other things to improve this.

Materials List (may make better sense if you look at the photos):

  1. Stolen or borrowed IV bag and tube set – if you have a friend in the hospital, ask for some leftovers.  I’m sure you could do this with basic tubing from the hardware store, as well, but the IV controls are just VERY VERY VERY predictable.
  2. Three pieces of 36″ long PVC 3/4″ tubing for the frame
  3. Two 90-degree elbow connectors and two TEE connectors to fit your 3/4″ tubing
  4. A cross-shaped PVC connector to fit your 3/4″ tubing.
  5. One piece of 36″ long PVC that is small enough to fit inside your cross-shaped connector – in my case, it was also considered 3/4″ PVC, but it was a smaller outer diameter, so it couldn’t handle as much pressure.  Fits perfectly.
  6. Two rubber washers/gaskets to fit around the smaller PVC and fit into the cross-shaped connector
  7. Three tube clamps – the ones that I bought have a turn-key design that is very handy.
  8. One glass baking dish (you may have one already – I bought the Pyrex one, but I may switch to one that doesn’t have a bunch of text etched into the bottom of it.

Here’s a quick shot of the whole pile of stuff.


Three pieces of the larger PVC, one piece of the slightly smaller PVC.


Connectors a-plenty, and two rubber washers.


Clamps and a glass dish to drip into.


On to the construction