Thursday, April 27, 2006

"What Time Will You Arrive To Shoot My Wedding?"

A lot depends on what we plan to shoot!

I like to arrive early enough to take preparation photos of the bride (and groom) as well as photos of various details of the ceremony's venue. Often this means at least 2 hours before the wedding begins for weddings that have full day coverage.

But if you are getting ready at home and there is travel time involved to get from home to the church (or other venue) then that needs to be factored in as well.

Sometimes, brides like to schedule themselves to arrive within 15 minutes or less of the actual ceremony. That's fine, but I need to get to the church way before then. I need time to lock up my camera gear and to get situated. This means if you wait too long to leave for the church, I'm going to have to leave before you to get there early enough to set up.

Now if the bride and the groom are getting dressed at the church instead, this solves a lot of issues for getting photos taken. I can jump from the bride to the groom quickly to get my shots. Plus, photos of the church being "prepped" by the florist, guests arriving, details of the church, etc. can also be photographed easily.

So you see, it depends on what you plan to do and where you plan to do it that will determine how much time I will need to get my job done.

But in general, I need to arrive no later than 2 hours before any wedding.

I always call my clients one week before their wedding to review all the details of the wedding day. Plans often change from when we first meet to the day of the wedding. So it's important to discuss the wedding plans again.

Should you have any questions about anything regarding your wedding photography or about figuring out your wedding schedule, just give me a call or email me. I'm always happy to help!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Remember These Computers?

(Photos courtesy of

Remember these computers?

The Radio Shack TRS-80 and the Apple II computers were "state of the art" when they were first introduced in 1977.

The TRS-80 ran on the Zilog Z80 microprocessor which had a clock speed of 1.77MHz. The computer shipped with 4K of RAM and later 16K of RAM. You could store data on a cassette recorder or optional floppy disk. It retailed for $599.

The Apple II, it's competitor, had a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor with a clock speed of 1 MHz and came with 4K of RAM which could be upgraded to a whopping 48K. Well, it was "whopping" back then. Data was stored on a cassette recorder or optional floppy disk. This computer retailed for $1298.

Today, for $599 you can get a computer that runs a Pentium 4 processor at 3 GHz clock speed, has 512mB of RAM (some with 1GB of RAM), 80 GB Hard Disk storage, CD and /or DVD drive and a color monitor.

Technology is just amazing. Faster machines, more capability and often at the same or lower cost than machines back in 1977.
What a deal!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Macro Photos

Macro photography requires an image magnification ratio of at least 1:1 or larger. You usually see this type of detailed photos taken of subjects like flowers, insects or wedding rings!

The image above was taken with a Nikon 60mm f2.8 micro lens. Nikon prefers to call their macro lenses, "Micro." This lens is fairly compact and I use it all the time when photographing wedding rings. I used to use a similar Nikon lens quite often when I needed to take close-ups of crime scene evidence as well. That was a manual focus Nikon 55mm f2.8 micro lens. What an incredible lens! But since it's Spring... flowers make an excellent subject to shoot!

Click on the image to take a closer look at the flower. Then after it's fully loaded on your screen, move your mouse pointer on top of the image and click on the "arrow" that will eventually appear at the lower right corner. You can get some really great details using macro lenses.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

No Entries This Week

Sorry... I'm tied up with the wake and funeral of my mother-in-law this week, so I won't be posting anything new during this time.

I hope to resume posting the following Monday.

Thanks for your understanding.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006


I think Mother-In-Laws (MIL) don't get the respect they often deserve. I mean, how many MIL jokes have you heard in your lifetime?

Often they are said to be meddling, obnoxious, overbearing... you name it, they've been called it.

And this abuse comes from both sides... Son-in-laws dislike their MIL's, Daughter-in-laws dislike their MIL's...

Just look at the show "Everybody Loves Raymond." They've made a fortune working the stereotype of the MIL. Granted in the show, "Marie" is definitely a product of this stereotyping. She's meddling, throws verbal jabs at Raymond's wife Debra's cooking and cleaning abilities (or lack of it in Debra's case) and generally gets on everyone's nerves when it comes to her son Raymond.

So are all mother-in-laws like this?


For me, my mother-in-law was far from this stereotype. She never meddled, she never criticized and she was never overbearing. In general, she left us alone to do whatever we wanted to do and she supported whatever we did.

In my case, I never really had a single conversation with my mother-in-law. Why? Because she didn't speak any English! Some may say that's a blessing in disguise... but for me, I really wish I could have conversed with my MIL to let her know how much she did not conform to the stereotypical ways of MIL's depicted on TV and how much I appreciated that.

My mother-in-law passed away just yesterday after spending two weeks in hospice care. We were all with her at the end.

She'll be sorely missed by everyone. She was a terrific mother and grandmother and to me... a great mother-in-law.

While you still can, take the time to tell your own MIL or MIL-to-be... how much you appreciate her. Little things like this go a long way.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gibson Les Paul - 25/50 Anniversary Guitar

I've owned quite a few guitars since I started playing guitar in 1969. I've bought and sold, bought and traded, and bought and kept. This one is a keeper.

When this guitar first came out in 1978, I told my dad that it was one day going to be a collector's item. In fact that's how Gibson advertised the guitar. It's a Les Paul model that commemorates the 25th Anniversary of manufacturing Les Paul guitars and also Les Paul's (the man himself) 50th year in the music business.

Well, my dad did not hesitate and he and I went to The Sound Post in Evanston (no longer in business) to go find one to buy. We ended up with this one which happens to be number 26 in the production line. They made a total of about 3000 of these guitars which sounds like a lot, but it's nothing actually. Gibson makes tens of thousands of Les Pauls a year!

This particular guitar was actually the guitar that was displayed at the NAMM show for music retailers that year (National Association of Music Merchants.) The Sound Post purchased it from the show and brought it back to their store.

I'll always keep this guitar because my dad bought this one for me. In fact, just a few days before he passed away, he asked me if I still had this guitar. It was one of the few things that he asked me about, so I know that it meant a lot to him that I keep this one. I'm never going to sell it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

"Should We See Each Other Before The Wedding?"

That depends!

If you would like to get a bunch of the "required" formal photos out of the way so that you can spend more time at your reception with your guests... I'd say, "Yes!"

If you are "traditional" and don't want to see each other before the wedding because it's considered "bad luck" then I'd say, "No!"

Who made up this superstition anyway? Obviously it wasn't a photographer!

Getting some of the "formal" photos out of the way before the wedding really does help speed things up after the ceremony so that you can get to your reception earlier. For some couples, this could really make a big difference, especially if they have a very large extended family whose formal photos need to be taken after the ceremony. For others whose families are fairly small, there's really no need to get formal photos taken before the wedding.

For many couples, the tradition is not as important to them as it is to their families. So to "keep the peace" with parents and relatives, often we wait until after the ceremony to do all of the formals. But keep in mind that this adds time afterwards and to get all the nice looking formals taken, you need to be prepared. I have mentioned to each of my clients that it's best to get a "photo helper" and to make a list of "family group shots." This list is given to your helpers so they can help gather people together as I'm taking photos. When done effectively, we can finish formal pictures in as quick as 15 minutes! But when things don't move quickly, this process can take 30 to 45 minutes!

So the determining factor of whether you should see each other before the wedding often comes down to how big your family is and how much time we have before we need to be at the reception. It really has nothing to do with "tradition" or "superstition."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cosby Show Gone Awry?

I asked the guys to do something "funny" and this is what they came up with. Hmmm... it looked awfully familiar to me, but I couldn't put a finger on it. That is until it dawned on me that it looked a lot like a scene from the opening of the Cosby Show!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Can Point & Shoot Cameras Produce Great Photos?

Yes, they can!

This past week, I spent three days downtown with my family and we photographed everything with a Fuji F10 point and shoot camera. This was one of the first shots taken this past weekend and as you can see, it's pretty good for a point and shoot camera.

It seems everyone has a digital camera these days. I recently asked my nephew Aaron how many photos he's taken since getting his digital camera. He didn't know, but he said it's in the thousands. That's typical. With film cameras, people were very conservative about what they photographed because the cost of development and the cost of film were the prohibiting factors. Today, with the ability to store data on hard drives and on CD-R or DVD-R discs, there isn't a good reason not to shoot something!

If you haven't gotten a digital camera yet, go out and get one. You'll find after you get one, you'll want a larger hard drive... and perhaps a CD-R or DVD-R burner!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Segway HT

Have you ever seen one of these?

The Segway Human Transporter (HT) is an AMAZING machine! My family and I got to ride these this weekend on a 2 hour tour of downtown Chicago.

To ride, you first balance yourself on the machine which stands on just two wheels. The machine balances itself if the platform is in the horizontal position and you are standing on it. By simply leaning forward or backward, the machine goes in that direction. To turn, you rotate a small control with your left hand. You can also turn with a 0 degree turning circle (in other words, it can spin around 360 degrees at the same spot.) On a single battery charge, you can travel a distance of 8-12 miles at speeds as fast as 12 miles per hour. We were only allowed to go 6 miles per hour on the tour. But I did see one of the tour guides go 12 miles per hour and it really looked like she was zipping along!

This is a FUN machine to ride and very easy to learn. After about 30 minutes of instruction and practice, our tour group was on our way from Michigan & Jackson to Buckingham Fountain and then to the Museum Campus area.

By the way, if you have an engagement session planned with me, I'd highly suggest considering taking some photos near the Adler Planetarium. What an incredible view of the Chicago Skyline from there! I have one wedding set there this year and can't wait to get some cool photos from this location!

Anyway, after spending some time at the Planetarium area, we headed back towards Millenium Park (their security guards ride these machines as they patrol the grounds) and then finally back to the tour shop.

The cost to ride for 2 hours is $70 per person... not cheap, but well worth it. Our tour guide was a lot of fun and she really made the tour interesting.

The Segway tour company we booked is located at 224 S. Michigan Avenue, #113 (on Jackson Blvd.), Chicago, IL 60604. Their phone number is 312-663-0600. I'd advise calling for reservations but if they have openings before the tour, they will allow you to go . Tours leave at 10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM.

If you have a couple of hours and want to have a fun tour of the Chicago downtown area, give it a try! I promise you will have a terrific time. Everyone on our tour said they really enjoyed the experience. I know we are in a lot of tourist's photos because everyone we passed was taking pictures of us! I wonder if anyone on our tour is tempted to buy one soon... the cost is about $4500 before tax.