Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More "Band" Photos

I thought I'd show two more pictures from the ten-piece band...

These were taken from the perspective of the guitar player. I thought these were cool because of the dramatic lighting created only from the stage lights. Be sure to click on the images themselves to see a larger version. These small images do not do it justice!

Sometimes having lots of shadows and lost detail in an image can help to create a mood for the image. Although the guitarist's face is not lit evenly on the second shot, the shadows help create a sense of solace as he turns his back to the audience to adjust his amplifier. I think it's a cool shot, don't you?

By the way, I love the 'retro' look of his Gretsch guitar with the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. Totally cool!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What Are Freshmen High School Students Learning Today?

When I was a freshman in high school, we learned how to do computer programming in a language called "Basic." Back then, we had computer "punch cards" that were used to tell the computer each step we wanted it to do. Each command needed a separate card. So kids would walk around school carrying huge stacks of cards just to create a simple program.

These programs told the computer to draw things like ellipses, circles, hyperbolas, parabolas, or straight lines. This could take many steps in programming and would require a lot of cards.

The first personal computers were just coming out when I was entering college. One of the first and most popular was the Radio Shack TRS-80. I think it had 16 kB of RAM. That was HUGE... back then! Everything was stored on a floppy disk... not a hard drive. Some computers even stored data on audio cassettes!

Today, students have handheld programmable calculators that easily blow away the old TRS-80 computers we had. The Texas Instruments TI-84 above belongs to my daughter who is a freshman in high school. She used it to program the two images you see above.

Each drawing required about 61 equations to create. It's amazing how much more advanced students are today than we were way back when I was a freshman in high school! I think we would have had to be in Junior year before we would be learning anything like they are learning today. For us to do something similar to this on our huge computers at my old high school would have taken a lot of those computer cards too.

To give you an idea how far back we are talking about, when I was in high school, we were just retiring the "slide rule." A basic function calculator cost about $100. Today's "throw away" calculators cost about $2. The advanced programmable calculator above costs just over $100.

Technology keeps moving forward and kids keep learning at a faster pace!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Me... As A South Park Character

I just had to try my hand at building my own South Park Character... so I made one of me!

Give it a try yourself... click here.

Photographers At A Biker's Bar

Last night, a bunch of photographer friends of mine got together for dinner at the Twisted Spoke restaurant / bar on Ogden in Chicago.

I thought this shot was hilarious because here are a bunch of professional photographers gathered together being photographed with a point & shoot digital camera given to our waitress! (Photo courtesy of Roger Beck)

While we were there, somebody asked, "Hey, anyone bring a camera besides me?" Within seconds, a bunch of cameras get whipped out! What a laugh! I said, "Man... we're such nerds!" The next thing you know, everyone's taking pictures! I felt a little sorry for the other patrons there because not only were flashes going off every few seconds, we were kind of loud too! All in good fun though...

Anyway, we were discussing weddings and business in general and the topic of blogs came up. It seems several of these photographers visit my blog regularly. So I asked, "Hey, how come you guys don't make any comments on my blog?" Hopefully I won't live to regret this since one of the guys said he might place some comments on here. THAT could be scary! In retaliation, I threated to delete his comments if it got too raunchy!


Anyway, I had a great time last night just hanging out with a bunch of fun people and going to a biker's bar. I felt a little out of place though... I don't own a Harley or a leather jacket. And I don't think driving up in a Lexus counts for much here either! I'm just glad we didn't go at midnight on a Saturday night! (See the restaurant's website for more details if you dare... but I warn you it's not suitable for anyone under 18. It's under the link called "Smut and Eggs." The title of that link should give you a clue without even visiting the website...) Why do we meet on a Sunday? Because many of us are shooting weddings on Saturdays!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What A Skyline View!

This is the view from the window of the suite my bride from Saturday's wedding had out of her Marriott - Magnificent Mile suite! Wow! Imagine getting ready in a suite with a view...

I often spend time before the wedding with the bride to take photos of her getting ready. These are often some of the best photos of the day. The anticipation, the nervousness, the preparation... all this adds up to some very nice images.

And sometimes, I get to shoot some nice skyline shots at the same time!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bridal Party

I emailed the father of the bride that I had posted some photos of Saturday's wedding on my blog. But I didn't have any photos of the bride & groom or bridal party on the blog... so I figured I'd put one on here for him to see during his lunch hour!


Note: Rules of many churches today prohibit rearranging of furniture or other objects in the church, so that is why the chairs are still in the photo.

Grandma's Left Holding The Bag

Now I've seen a lot of different things over the past 16 years of shooting weddings, but this has got to be a first!

Dear old grandma was seen sitting by the gift table at last Saturday's wedding holding the money bag. Quietly and dutifully she remained there guarding the monetary gifts of the guests. Not once did she complain.

So, it was only natural that she got a kiss for her hard work for the evening.

In case you can't tell by now... Grandma had just a little too much to eat and is really "stuffed."

Bring Back The Bands!!

What a treat we all had at Saturday's wedding!

This was the first wedding of the year for me and I got to party to a 10 person band at the reception!

These guys were really amazing... they played everything from old standards like "Satin Doll" (you all are too young to know that one...) to classic rock tunes like "Proud Mary."

The singers not only sang from the stage, but they came out onto the dance floor and danced with the guests while singing!

I had a great time and I know all the guests did too.

I also had some fun with a new lens and some different camera settings at this reception which gave me the equivalent of four extra stops of exposure. Now unless you are into photography that probably doesn't mean a whole lot to you. But it really just means that I was able to capture shots like this with natural ambient light and not bother with a flash. What it did was give me some great shots that shows the band with their own stage lights. That adds a little more "realism" to the images.

Unfortuantely, not all receptions will have bands with their own stage lighting, so I can't do these kinds of shots at every wedding reception, but if the band or DJ has the right lighting with them... this lens is coming out for some action!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Two Views

Which view do you like better?

These images are from Saturday's wedding at Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago.

What a beautiful church! The view from the balcony was especially exciting, so I photographed the view at 17mm (top photo) and at 10.5mm (bottom photo). The 10.5mm is a fisheye lens. The fisheye provides an angle of view of 180 degrees.

I've shown other fisheye images on this blog before. But I never tire of the cool view that can be had with this lens. As a specialty lens, it's not for everything. But when you have a church that looks like Old St. Patrick's Church, it just begs for something a little different.

And yes... the back pews are supposed to be curved! It's built that way.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

"The one thing I DON'T do is Weddings!"

Recently, I was introduced to another photographer while at an event I was covering. So to make small talk, I asked him what kind of photography he did. He replied, "Well, all sorts... but the one thing I DON'T do is Weddings!"

"Oh, really," I said, "Why not?"

He said, "I just hate them. And, I really hate taking photos at the reception."

Now I'm getting a little irritated... so I had to press on... "Really? Why?"

His answer, "You take all these photos of people and nobody ever orders any pictures from that. You can't make any money from it and it's just such a waste of time."

Well there you have it. It boiled down to how much money he was earning... or in this case, not earning.

I have little tolerance for photographers like this, so I smiled and walked away. Too often it seems that photographers are hung up on reprint sales and other things that will make them money on top of their fee to do the job they have been hired to do.

I learned early on at the start of my photography career that if you price your services fairly to both your clients and yourself and take out the issue of reprint sales from your bottom line, everybody is much happier. This is one reason I give my negatives and digital files to my clients. The other reason is that those things are better safeguarded by the client than by me! Years from now, should something happen to your wedding album, you can simply take the digital files and have your photos reprinted... at a fraction of the cost that most photographers would have charged you to do it.

The comments of the other photographer also showed that his concern was to himself and not to his clients. It was apparent he did not enjoy taking photos... he enjoyed making money first. I think if I ever got to that point, it's time for me to get out of photography.

Many photographers I know do it for the artistic satisfaction first... the fact that they get paid to do it is just icing on the cake. That's the kind of photographer you want at your wedding. Photographers that put the photos first create art. Photographers who put their wallets first aren't looking out for your best interest.

Ok... enough for today... I'm headed off to my first wedding of the season!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Doyle Dykes Slideshow Now On-Line!

This past Sunday's Doyle Dykes / Haley Dykes concert was a blast! I had such a good time taking photos of them and then creating a slideshow for everyone to see on-line.

To see the show, click here.

You will be asked to download the slideshow's "presenter" software which is relatively painless to do. Once you download it, the slideshow should start gathering data from their server. Please be patient as this is quite large because there are lots of photos there and two of Doyle's songs as well. After a few minutes, the show should start by itself.

If you check out the show, please email me at and let me know what you think!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Is it Monday Already??

Yesterday's Doyle Dykes Concert was really great. I was able to shoot a number of images of Doyle and Haley and will share them as a slideshow on my website very soon. I'm currently Photoshopping the images and will let you know right here when it's finished. Doyle has graciously given me the approval to use one of his songs as the music background for the slideshow. So you'll be able to hear one of his compositions as well as see the images from the concert.

The first wedding of the year for me is this coming Saturday! Can't wait!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Paparazzi at Weddings!

Paparazzi are everywhere!

One of my favorite things to do at weddings is photographing the paparazzi. I get at least a handful of shots of other people taking photos at each wedding. It's something I started doing at my first weddings back in 1990 and I've continued doing it to this day!

With the invention of digital cameras, I see so many more paparazzi at weddings than ever before. Some wedding photographers have a panic attack when other people shoot at weddings, but not me. I get a big kick out of it! Often you'll see me taking photos of them taking photos. Why? Because it's part of the day. And documenting them doing their thing is part of my job! Sometimes I see them shooting me! But if I catch them doing that, I always retaliate with a shot of them!

Have you ever noticed that with the new Electronic Viewfinders (EVF) on point and shoot digital cameras, nobody ever puts a camera close to their face to focus anymore? Everytime I see this, it reminds me of people over 40 who need reading glasses trying to read something... they hold the item to be read at arm's length just to focus on the words. Same thing with people shooting with this type of camera. What am I talking about? Just check out the two photos above! What a hoot! I always have a lot of fun at your weddings and you'll often see me with a huge smile on my face when I'm doing my job.

Never fear... I don't care who shoots at your wedding. Bring it on!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Better Photos of Doyle & Haley Coming Soon!

This photo of Doyle was taken on 4-23-05 at the last concert he gave at the Des Plaines Bible Church. Why is his guitar cropped off at the bottom? Because there were people's heads in the way!

That's not going to happen this year! I have been granted the opportunity to photograph the entire event this year to document a typical "Concert Day" for Doyle and Haley! This means I'll have better access to get better shots. This should be really fun to do...

I encourage you to go to the 4:00 PM Concert. Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance. The doors open at 3:15 PM.

Or, go to church for the 10:45 AM church service! Doyle will be playing a song or two at that time as well.

I'll post some pictures a few days after the concert as I will be working on them in Photoshop and it will probably take me a little while to get them finished.

See you at the concert or at the church service in the morning!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Mushroom's Get No Respect

Had to share this one:

A mushroom walks into a bar and sees a girl sitting there so he goes up to her and says, "Hey, wanna go out?"

The girl replies, "I'm not going out with you... you're a mushroom!"

The mushroom replies, "Why not? I'm a Fun-guy!"

Sorry... had to share that one!


Friday, March 03, 2006

Doyle & Haley Dykes In Concert - March 12

Doyle Dykes and his daughter Haley Dykes will be performing at the Des Plaines Bible Church next Sunday at 4:00 PM and I'll be there as usual!

You may recall my blog entries on October 5, 2005 and January 23, 2006 which featured them.

Well here's your chance to see them in concert! I guarantee you'll have a terrific time and hear some incredible music. Doyle is the fastest guitar picker I know and Haley's voice and mandolin playing will definitely impress you.

Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance for general seating. Check out the links I've provided above for more information. See you at the concert!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Is It Really Film?

Having a little fun with Adobe Photoshop, I created this "fake" film image. Shot digitally, I created the film sprockets and the identification numbers. The drop shadow completes the effect. Cool, huh?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"What Happens If You Get Sick?"

I think this is probably the number one question I get whenever I meet with a new potential client!

In all these years, I have never missed a wedding in which I had been booked. But of course, the possibility obviously exists where I could be so sick that I cannot make it to your wedding. We are all human after all.

Never fear! I am part of a group of local area photographers who meet on a quarterly basis to share ideas and encourage each other. And, we back each other up in the event one of us gets sick at the last moment and can't make a wedding date.

In recent months, I have been asked to back up one member of our group in the event he got snowed in on a trip and could not make it back in time for a booking he had. I agreed to help... but luckily, he was able to make it back in time and nothing happened. But he did contact his client to say that I had agreed to fill in for him in the event something happened. That put his client's mind at ease. We do look out for each other...

So don't worry... if I get so sick that I can't make your wedding... I've got you covered. But contractually, if this were to happen you can either cancel your contract with me and get your money back, or simply let me help pick a substitute for me. It's your choice.

By the way, I have gone to weddings in the past where I was not feeling well, but with the adrenaline kicking in, have covered the wedding just like I normally would. Nobody was the wiser. Then I go home and collapse...

It takes a lot to keep me away from a wedding I have promised to do... I'd have to be dying or dead not to be there...