Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Food Photography

 As I've mentioned before, I don't do a tremendous amount of food photography. But I certainly enjoy it when it happens. That's probably because I get to "sample" some of the items when we're done taking pictures of them. And by "sample", I mean "eat until I can't move any more."

SugarToad Restaurant and CityGate Grille, both in the Calamos complex, are featuring my photography on their websites at the moment. Their food is incredible! You should definitely give them a try if you're in the area.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Small Business Panel

This past week I spoke on a panel with other Small Business winners to a packed room at the Naperville Chamber of Commerce. We talked about the nomination process and what it was like to win the award. I got to show off my awesome nomination packet again. I haven't looked at it in some time, so it was good to see it with a bit of a fresh perspective. I'm still really happy with how it turned out.
One of my partners-in-crime, Cathy Brinkworth, was there and snapped a few photos as we answered questions from the audience. 

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Friday, January 11, 2013

New Printed Pieces

For the first post of 2013 I thought I'd share with you some places that my photos have popped up recently.

I've worked on a number of covers for the DuPage County Bar Association magazine. Here is one that ran in October.
This was for the December issue of a Washington DC magazine. The main story deals with the consequences of the aging workforce.

This is a scan of the cover for a printed booklet that was put out by a marketing firm.
And the last one is from the hospital fitness center photoshoot that I shared with you in the last blog entry. As always, you can click on the images to make them larger.

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Friday, December 28, 2012


I recently did a two day photography project for Edward Hospital's fitness centers. I don't have a personal trainer or belong to a fitness club, but I've been on the the "Photographer's Workout Routine" for years. Perhaps you've heard of it; it involves carrying around a ton of camera gear after getting little sleep, and eating whatever you can get your hands on. It's been working for me so far.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Buddy Guy

I was so happy to see that blues legend Buddy Guy was a recipient this past weekend at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors.
I got a chance to photograph him a few years ago. Backstage he was very down-to-earth and friendly, chatting with many of the people gathered around. But unlike some other "living legends" who seem to be happy to coast on their past success, Buddy can still put on a stellar performance! He had the whole place jumping, even getting down into the crowd at one point to jam with the fans. Good person, great artist, and an award well deserved.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Healing Field

The Healing Field is a display that apparently happens all around the country. This is the second time that it has taken place in Naperville.  2,012 American flags were placed on Rotary Hill for about a week. It's very interesting to walk through the display and hear the loud rustling of all the flags blowing in the wind.
For more information about the Healing Field display, and where you can see it next around the country, click HERE

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Bionic Man

Among the almost 3000 people participating in this year's SkyRise Chicago event was a man using a unique piece of technology- it's the world's first bionic leg.
Skyrise is the world's tallest stair-climb, and takes place every November in the Willis Tower. The event benefits the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which has been the #1 ranked rehab hospital in the U.S. for over 20 years now. Zac Vawter is a patient of RIC, and has been working with them as one of the test subjects for the bionic leg.
It works by using his brain signals to function much like a normal leg would. I followed him for the first 40 floors, and I honestly had trouble keeping up with him.
After 103 floors (that's 2,109 steps) Zac reached the top. RIC does such amazing work to help people get their life back on track after suffering life-changing injuries. In the image below, Zac is chatting with a man that did the stair climb using a traditional form of artificial leg.
It's a privilege to see ground-breaking technology like this first-hand, knowing the impact it will make on people's lives in years to come. This leg is just the prototype, and RIC is working on improving it and creating a version that can be used by more people.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Working Creatively

I had a chance this week to speak to a room full of students at College Of DuPage. It was a panel discussion on "Making It In The Arts". I want to thank Terry Vitacco from COD, and Amy Rodgers from North Central College for putting the whole thing together.
We covered a wide range of topics, and I hope some of the information that was shared was helpful. I know we talked about the benefits of networking, assisting, and finding out where your passion is. And I'm sorry if I shocked anyone when I said that I didn't use contracts (I really hate paperwork.) But I do have a system in place, and somehow it works for me. You'll figure out what works for you too.

There were SO many other things that I was hoping we'd be able to cover. There simply wasn't enough time. And I suppose there will never be enough time to get to it all. There were other topics planned and I do have a few thoughts about them that I'd like to share with you here-

*  Most Successful Marketing & Promotion Activity- Honestly, nothing brings in work like having a big project that is seen by lots of potential clients. But I know that's impossible to do when you're starting out. I have also had success with a self-published magazine that I send out to my existing clients and potential prospects. It serves as a portfolio of recent work and looks pretty slick- The Works
*  Biggest Struggle & How Did I Overcome It- I still get the shakes thinking about the time I tried to do my own taxes. Surround yourself with helpful people that are smarter than you. I have a great accountant now that makes my life better.
*  Social Media Used- I use Facebook, twitter, and this blog. Again, it's what works for me. I keep hoping Pinterest goes away before I have to learn about it. Go away Pinterest!
*  Did I Start With A Business Plan- Yes! It's always a good idea to write down your strengths and weaknesses, problems and potentials. Write down what you want to do, investigate your target market, and make a plan. Without a plan you don't really know where you're heading. This is something I revisit and tweak every year or so (usually around tax time.)
* How Do I Keep My Business Moving Forward- You have to learn how to market yourself even when you're busy. Otherwise you get in a viscous cycle of super-busy and horribly-slow periods. Don't take your existing clients for granted, and always network and reach out to new people.

It was great meeting the other panelists. And thanks to all the students that came out, especially the ones that stuck around afterwards and had great questions. I encourage you all to contact any of the panelists if you have anything else you want to ask. We all remember what it was like in the beginning. There were many people that helped me along the way, and I try to help out wherever I can as well.

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Monday, October 22, 2012


I thought it was time for something decidedly non-shuttle related in the Blog. So I'm pleased to present to you a few photos I took of dancer Kat Wiersum. We did two sessions recently- the first was in a forested area
And the other was down along Lake Michigan.
We had a great time, and knowing my past history with jumping shots, we just had to try a few to see how they looked.
And after some continued experimentation, I happily got one of the more bizarre and extreme jumping images I've ever taken.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shuttle in Los Angeles

I flew out to Los Angeles to document the Space Shuttle Endeavour as it moved through the city streets to it's new home at the California Science Center.
It was a crazy schedule! Lots of late nights and endless hours waiting for things to happen. I spent most of the time paired up with photographer Rhonda Barczak, and we did our best to scout out good locations and talk our way in to interesting spots where we probably weren't supposed to be.
But we weren't always successful. On Friday we found a great location on a bridge over the 405 that had a perfect view of where the Shuttle was going to go over the expressway. I had envisioned that the nighttime blur of the car headlights going under the shuttle as it made it's way across the bridge was going to be one of my best images of the trip. Unfortunately, right before the shuttle made it's move, they shut down all traffic on the 405. Instead of these beautiful streams of color, the shuttle was now moving over dark nothingness. I sat on that cold, windy bridge breathing car exhaust for 7 hours and had nothing to show for it.

On Saturday morning things turned around. We found a good spot on Crenshaw Ave as the shuttle headed north. Within five minutes Rhonda had talked the fire dept into letting her get up on the end of their truck ladder over the road.
As the shuttle came down the hill on Crenshaw you could really see the amount of people that it took to pull off this amazing move. The shuttle was often within inches of trees, poles, and buildings. This photograph was taken with my 400mm lens, and the shuttle is still over a half-mile away.
A group of locals that was having a rooftop party was nice enough to let us join them as they watched the shuttle roll by.
But Endeavour was starting to get behind on its schedule. We left this location and quickly hurried up the road to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall where a large ceremony was planned. The shuttle was supposed to arrive at 2:30pm. Around 6:30 it started turning dark and the shuttle still wasn't there yet. We were tired, hungry, and exhausted by that point and decided to take off.

But what I was the most surprised about was to see how excited the city and the people were to have the shuttle pass through their neighborhood. It might have been crazy hours, but it was a heck of a great party. I'm a little sunburnt and worn out, but it was worth it to catch this once-in-a-lifetime event.

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