Thursday, January 31, 2008

WPPI Convention

In mid-March, I'll be attending the WPPI convention in Las Vegas. I'm a member of the organization and have been for years.

The WPPI convention is the largest photography convention in the USA. The tradeshow allows photographers to see all the cool new gear and albums for the coming year and also has seminars and other training activities as well.

Networking with other photography professionals is also an added benefit. Photographers whom I have never met, but have corresponded with over various internet forums will be there. I am also a member of the Digital Wedding Forum (DWF) which is the largest internet forum of its type for Wedding Photographers. A bunch of us from this forum plan to get together while in Las Vegas. Currently, I'm compiling a list of email addresses and cell phone numbers of the members who will be attending so that we can contact each other while we are in Las Vegas. In fact, next Monday, the local Chicago chapter of the DWF will be gathering together to do some bowling!

I'm excited to go to the WPPI event. I hope to learn a lot and apply that to the upcoming weddings for the year. Of course, I'll post some photos from the show when I get back. Can't wait for March!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chicago At Night

Sometimes the best photos aren't taken in broad daylight.

This image was taken at one of my last weddings of 2007. Taken from the rooftop in the evening, Chicago takes on a whole new look.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Like Father, Like Daughter

These two images were taken by my daughter last summer while we were out at Navy Pier.

She used a Fuji S5 Pro with a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens to capture the images. Like her dad, she was out to capture events of the day. Often she has a great eye for detail and so when she saw the ferris wheel and "whatever-they-call-it" spinning swing, she had to shoot them.

My wife liked the images so much that she had them printed and framed and now a signed and matted print of each image is hanging on our walls.

Like Father, Like Daughter? Perhaps I have some things to learn from the daughter!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Monster Potato!

Earlier in the week, my family and I went grocery shopping and bought a 10 lb bag of potatoes for $0.89. Yeah, it was a deal we couldn't pass up. But little did we know that in the bag was a monster potato that measured 9 inches in length!

This can't be any kind of a world's record, but for us, it was the biggest potato we have ever seen!

What are farmers doing to grow such large potatoes? And how did this one make it into a bag of "cheap" potatoes?

After my daughter pointed out this freak of nature to me, I told her, "OK. This is going on the blog!" Yes, I share all these fun things with my blog readers!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jury Duty

Yesterday was my birthday and I spent it sitting for six hours at the Daley Center's jury assembly room. It took me almost 2 hours to get downtown and perhaps 1 hour to get home.

But from 9:30 AM until 3:30 PM (with a 1-1/2 hour lunch break which I spent mostly in the same room) I sat there hoping to be called for jury duty. No luck. I just got to sit while others were called to serve. Perhaps there were about 50 of us that never even got a call for jury selection.

I kept thinking, "This must be what DETENTION is like for school kids!" It was kind of like the movie, "The Breakfast Club." I got to see others go off to be questioned to be potential jurors while I got to sit and read magazine after magazine. Of course, we also got to watch ABC - TV as well. But watching All My Children and General Hospital doesn't quite cut it when you have no idea what the show is about because you aren't a regular watcher!

I'm no stranger to the court system as you know. I had worked for the DA's Office in San Diego for many years, so I've participated in many trials as an expert witness. I've also prepared many of the court exhibits that were used in criminal cases as well. So I really wanted to be on the jury side of the room this time, but it was not to be.

I received $17.20 for my time from the courts. That didn't even cover the $28 for parking, nor the gas and wear and tear on my vehicle.

Maybe next time...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gotoh Delta 510 Tuners - More Than Just A Face Lift

Gotoh Delta 510 Tuners

Schaller Mini Tuners

I installed a new set of Gotoh Delta 510 1:21 Tuners on my Goodall RCJ guitar. This is a lot more than just a face lift for the Goodall.

I've had three other guitars with Gotoh 510's on them and each guitar benefited from these tuners. They are super smooth when you turn the tuning buttons. But besides the nice feel of the tuners, they allow for incredible fine tuning. At 1:21 ratio, I can dial right into perfect pitch with these tuners.

The older mini Schaller tuners that came stock on the Goodall Concert Jumbo did the job, but it required a lot more work to get the right pitch. Just a slight touch and you could be off. These were 1:14 ratio tuners.

The Gotohs are the most unique looking tuners out there. Definitely not for those who want a traditionalist's approach to the look of their headstock!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Gibson Les Paul 25th Anniversary

My dad bought this guitar for me many years ago. It's the only guitar I've kept for all these years. Most of my guitars are bought and then sold again, but not this one.

The Gibson Les Paul 25th Anniversary model was made to celebrate Gibson's 25 year association with Les Paul and Les Paul's 50 years in the industry. It features deluxe appointments and very hot pickups which are coil-tapped to change phase.

When I got this guitar, I told my dad that one day this one will be a collector's item. About 3000 of these were made which seems like a lot, but it really isn't. Gibson makes a LOT of Les Paul guitars every year, but a run of 3000 is considered limited to them.

It's not the greatest sounding Les Paul by any means. In fact, I had a Les Paul Deluxe (no longer with me) that sounded and played better. But this guitar has more sentimental meaning to me than any other guitar I have ever owned because it was one that my dad bought me as an investment.

Before my dad passed away, he asked me if I still had this guitar. I told him I did. What I didn't tell him is that I will always have this guitar. It's never going to be sold. That's because it connects me to my dad and everytime I look at it, I think of him.

Monday, January 07, 2008


One of the biggest drawbacks of having a website with your email address on it is SPAM.

Literally, I must receive over 70 junk email messages a day... probably more. I get everything from advertising solicitations to pornographic solicitations. It's out of control.

Why don't I just filter it? Well, if I did that, it's possible that I may not get legitimate emails from new clients. So it all comes in.

I seem to spend a lot of time just deleting them all. I can go to bed late at night and get up early in the morning and there would be 30 junk emails waiting for me. Go out and have lunch and come back and there's another 15. It's crazy!

Scammers are out there too... mostly from Nigeria. As tempted as I am to respond to see what they will say when I do, I resist the temptation as it just fuels more. Really... how often can one person have so many "friends" who want to give me millions of dollars to help them out?! Give me a break!

If I want certain body parts enlarged, or if I want to buy my medications from out of the country, all I need to do is answer one of these spam emails. Yeah right! Give me a break, like I'm really going to do that!

It's out of control really. But at least I can say, it keeps me busy!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Lots of Snow This Winter!

My nephews spent New Year's Day making this Snowman!

We've had a lot of snow it seems so far this season. This latest snowfall came on New Year's Eve and it was great packing snow. But by the time New Year's Day came around, the snow had lost its packing ability and it took my nephews a lot longer to build this snowman than it should have.

Regardless, "Frosty" was built nicely and seems perfectly content.

Happy New Year to all!