Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back To School: Digital Photography Classes

I've added several photography classes for the "Back To School" season:

Photography Basics - Learn everything from shutter speed to aperture...

"Point and Shoot" Camera Basics - New photographers will benefit most here...

Intro to Digital SLR Cameras - Nikon and Canon Single Lens Reflex owners, this class is for you...

Flash Photography - Getting the right exposure every time...

Intro to Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom 2.0 - Fixing your photos in the computer...

Each two day class is 3 hours long per session (total 6 hours) and is both lecture and hands-on. Cost will be $119 for both days (except the "Point & Shoot" Class which is only $99.)

If you have friends who have just purchased a new digital camera and don't know where to begin, I have classes that will put them on the right track. If you are an experienced 35mm photographer but need a refresher class to start you out in digital, I've got a class for that too!

Time for class! Sign up today! Classes will be held in my Schaumburg, IL office typically from 6 PM to 9 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Class sizes from 2 to 9 students for more personal attention. Call 847-840-4082 for more details.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fans and Vendors

While the game itself is one of the reasons I like baseball games, I have just as much fun taking photos of the people at the game! Vendors and fans are sometimes more interesting to photograph than the game itself.

Foul Ball

This lucky Cubs fan scrambled for a foul ball and was lucky enough to grab it. The entire stadium gave him a huge cheer when he got it and held it up for all of us to see.

I was quite a distance away, but thanks to the high resolution of my Nikon D3 and the Nikon 70-200mm f 2.8 VR lens and a bit of selective cropping, it's no problem seeing what he got. The focus point was aimed right on him which is important as you can see by the narrow depth of field created by the f 2.8 lens. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Cubs Fans Start Young

There's nothing like a Cubs Fan! Here's proof! We start 'em young!

Cubs Vs. Nationals

It was a perfect day for a baseball game at Wrigley Field. Great weather, great fans and the Cubs won the game, 6-1. Perfect! The shots were taken behind home plate at Aisle 222, so that's why you see the net in the photos.

I was able to capture at least two of the homeruns... Fukudome and Soto are depicted here. Be sure to click on each image to see a larger one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Freak Of Nature

My neighbor grew this incredible tomato. Weighing in at 2 lbs., this freaky looking tomato looks like it could have started out as several tomatoes growing together. But this is definitely a single tomato. Weird.

Monday, August 18, 2008

How Many Pictures Do You Take?

Feeding Frenzy At Lincoln Park Zoo

Seagull at North Avenue Beach

I was watching some people take photos at the Chicago Air & Water Show and it dawned on me that in one day, I take as many or more photos than some people do in a lifetime.

While at North Avenue Beach, I noticed that most people had digital cameras with them. But some others were still shooting with disposable "point and shoot" cameras! They'd take a shot and then wait a long time and then take another. I wondered if they even shot the entire roll of 24 exposures or not that day!

How many did I shoot last Saturday at the Air and Water Show? Well, it was over 700! When you shoot images at a frame rate of 9 frames per second, you can easily go way over the amount you intended to shoot. While many of these shots all look the same, I was looking for the best exposures and images that were the sharpest.

Then I considered how many images I shoot at weddings. Easily, I can do anywhere from 800 to 2000 images on a wedding day! It all depends on what's happening that day.

So while some people take perhaps 1000 or 2000 images their whole lives, I can do that in one day. And I do it over and over again... day after day, week after week...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chicago Air & Water Show - August 16, 2008

This is the first year that I was able to go to the Chicago Air & Water Show and stay the full day! Often I'm shooting a wedding while the show is happening, but this year, I wasn't booked on the weekend of the show.

So my family took the whole day and spent it at the show and also at Lincoln Park Zoo. These images are just a small sampling of the images I shot at the show.

While we were at the zoo, one of the planes came so low that the impact of the sound of the engines set off someone's car alarm! The roar of the jets was deafening and the impact on your body was hard to ignor. These planes are POWERFUL!

The Blue Angels closed the show and of course they did not disappoint.

Hope you like these shots! Be sure to click on each image to see a larger version.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Photoshop CS3 Class At NetXperts - Des Plaines, IL

I'll be teaching a 5 week, 30 hour Photoshop class on Monday and Wednesday evenings at NetXperts in Des Plaines, IL.

The class is designed for new users of Photoshop and will be a hands-on class. NetXperts is one of the most advanced computer training facilities in the area, so it is a great honor to be asked to teach this class.

The first class begins this coming Monday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Incredible Singer - Peter Oprisko

This past Friday's wedding had an incredible singer... Peter Oprisko!

Peter and his band were extremely good. While it's so common these days to hear music from DJ's, I'm always glad when a wedding I'm photographing has a band. And these guys are not just any average band either... Peter's band was "tight"!

Playing tunes from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and others, I couldn't help but think, "Wow! These guys are Incredibly good! While some singers are content in just staying near the stage and performing, Peter was found wandering over at the tables singing to the guests! I'd have to say, you can't do that unless you are really good! Interestingly enough, there were several accomplished musicians among the guests as well. For instance, the father of the groom happened to be a world-class guitar luthier (builder of guitars) and the groom is studying to be a maker of violins! And, one of the world's best harmonica players were among the guests as well! And let's not forget... me! Playing music for these guys, you'd better be good! Peter and his band did not disappoint one bit!

If you are looking for some great music for your wedding, consider Peter Oprisko!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What Do Kids Do At Weddings?

I wanted to find out what kids do at 75 minute weddings. This is what I found.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Karen Carpenter

Karen & Richard Carpenter
(Rolling Stone Magazine)

Because of my love for music, I'm often asked, "Who's your favorite music group?" Sometimes it's, "Who's your favorite singer?" And we can't forget, "What's your favorite guitar?"

Well, I have a lot of favorite groups, singers and guitars! But without doubt, one of my all-time favorite female singers has to be Karen Carpenter.

In the 70's, you could not turn on a radio without hearing a Carpenters tune playing at some point. They dominated the airwaves with their soft ballads and love songs. Often blasted by the critics for their squeaky-clean image and syrupy songs, they could never fault Karen's amazing voice.

My dad was always encouraging my brother and me to practice our instruments (my brother plays piano and is a full-time piano teacher today and of course, I play guitar) and he'd often ask for Carpenters songs. Can't blame him really... Richard and Karen Carpenter had an unmistakable sound. Incredible arrangements with lush vocal harmonies that were over-dubbed on multitrack recorders... it was a sound all their own.

Recently, looking through my vast VHS tape collection, I found a copy of the movie, "The Karen Carpenter Story" which was produced around 1989. I had recorded it when it was broadcast over the TV airwaves. Immediately, I wanted to play it. The Carpenters were a huge influence on me and it had been so many years since I had seen this movie.

I recall how devistated I was when I had learned that Karen Carpenter had passed away back in February 1983. I couldn't believe it! She had a long time eating disorder called Anorexia Nervosa which had taken its toll on her heart. She died of heart failure caused by years of being weakened by the eating disorder.

Back then, the public didn't know much about this kind of eating disorder. But Karen's death brought a lot of attention to not only Anorexia Nervosa but also to Bulimia. While many believe that Karen had bulimia, Richard Carpenter and his mother strongly denied this as a possibility for Karen's eating disorders. They believed this because bulimia would have caused damage to the vocal cords and that was something that Karen just would not risk. Instead, she depended on using laxatives.

It's still hard to believe that Karen Carpenter has been gone for almost 25 years. As I'm writing this, I'm listening to Carpenter songs from a 2 disc CD set that was given to me as a gift by my sister-in-law. Without doubt, Karen Carpenter had one of the greatest and most recognized voices in pop music history. Yeah, she's one of my all-time favorite singers...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Well, I've been told that I'm missing out by not being on Facebook... so now I'm on Facebook! If you are on Facebook and would like to "friend me," please do so. I'll be posting images from my blog on the Facebook site. By doing this, it will make it easier for you to see a bunch of images quickly.

Believe it or not, I think there may be over 700 images right now on my blog archives! While I can't upload that many on Facebook (yet), I'll put up some of the best images. Of course, it will just grow from there.

If you would like to be a Facebook friend, just send me a request. You can find me on Facebook as Russell Lowe. While there are lots of Russell Lowe's on there, you'll recognize me because there's a photo of me holding a camera to my face and a huge flash of light above me!

See you on Facebook!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Still A Kid At Heart

While I may be as much as twice as old as some of my clients, many of them still think of me as being close to their age!

My daughter's friends always tell her, "You have such a cool dad!" I'm not sure she would agree all the time though. I think her friends think this because I do a lot of things that they do and think the same way that they do. I'm still a kid at heart. Her friends are surprised when I know a lot of the songs that they know. Or that I'll watch TV shows or movies that they like to watch. Or maybe it's because I laugh at the same things that they laugh at...

Others tell me it's because I don't look that old to them. I've had people guess that I'm in my late 30's. Ha! Is it because all of my hair isn't gray yet? Or is it because I'm not bald? Or is it because I don't have that many wrinkles on my face? Who knows.

I think you are as young as you want to be. Granted, I hang out with a lot of young people because of my profession. Clients always ask why I like photographing weddings so much. I always tell them that it's because I get to go to a party every weekend! And, by hanging around young couples, they keep me young. I wonder if they believe that or not...

I don't see any reason not to be a kid at heart all your life... it's more fun! And no... I don't have an aging painting of myself hidden in the attic like, "The Picture of Dorian Gray." (If you don't know who Dorian Gray is, you haven't read enough novels! His painting gets older looking as Dorian Gray remains young looking. But that photograph of me that I have hidden up there might be another story...)

Time Flies

(I like this image a lot. She's in focus, but he's not. Click to enlarge.)

(The classic portrait...)

Yesterday, I photographed an engagement session for the daughter of my best friends from high school. Wow... time flies!

It's hard to believe that time really goes by so fast. I can still recall the fun times when her mom, dad and I were in high school. I was the best man at her parents' wedding and I even played my guitar and sang at their wedding. Now their daughter is getting married in November. And yes, I'll be photographing the wedding.

Although we had originally planned to do an e-session downtown, we had forgotten that a huge concert was going on in the Grant Park area. So to avoid the massive traffic jams that would undoubtedly be caused by the concert, we moved our session up north instead and decided to go for photos with more vegetation in the background instead.

Interestingly, while we were doing our photos, we saw an otter (it was either that or a huge swimming rat!), a couple of frogs and a deer! Unfortunately, the animals were faster than I was and were not captured by the camera. And the deer was spotted while I was driving...

I'm looking forward to the November wedding. It will be an honor to photograph this wedding.