Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back Up Your Photo Files!

I sent a reminder to some of my past clients recently to remind them that their wedding photo files on CD-R and DVD-R are not good forever. The discs eventually will become unreadable.

CD-R lasts longer than DVD-R media, but it's still susceptible to becoming unreadable over time as well.

It's been estimated that DVD-R discs will start having problems in about 4 to 5 years after burning. I'm not sure if this holds true of all discs, but why take the chance? It's better to safeguard that data by burning to new discs. Better yet, copy them onto a hard drive. Drives are relatively inexpensive today and is probably the best way to backup your data.

Keep a copy off-site as well.

Once I give my clients their digital files, I remind them that it's now up to them to backup their data. While I may have their files years from now, I don't guarantee it. I think today, most people know that they need to do some kind of backup for computer files. Photo files are no different and should also be backed up for safe keeping.

Do yourself a favor and backup your data today!

Monday, July 27, 2009

No Fish, but plenty of Ducks!

Photo taken with a Fuji F10 Point and Shoot Camera

Yesterday's fishing trip yielded nothing but Ducks!

It seemed that the ducks liked hanging around us while we fished yesterday begging for bread crumbs or anything else we had. But the fish could care less what we did.

The mosquitoes seemed to like us too!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Taylor 114ce For My Daughter

Photo courtesy of

Last Wednesday, I photographed guitarist Doyle Dykes at Cream City Music in Brookfield, Wisconsin. But just before driving up to Wisconsin, I received a call from the owner of the music store asking if I would be interested in doing some photography for his store.

The store had ordered ten Fender Custom Shop Stratocasters and ten Telecasters which duplicated Fender Artist Greg Koch's guitars. To read more about Greg Koch, click here. Because they wanted to promote the sale of these custom guitars, they needed a nice photo of Greg with the guitars and also photos of the guitars themselves.

So, I agreed to drive back up to Wisconsin on Monday to shoot the photos of Greg and the guitars. I also created new photos of the store as well so that they can use it on their website in the future.

As part of the payment for my work, I brought home a new Taylor 114ce guitar. While I did not need another guitar, here's what happened to it...

My daughter is going to college in a month and so I told her that if she would learn to play the guitar, I'd give her the Taylor. Back in 2005, when she graduated 8th grade, I gave her a new Fender Stratocaster electric guitar as a graduation present. She had taken my Fender 5-string Jazz Bass and taught herself how to play it and joined the school's jazz band. She was so good at it that I thought I'd buy her a matching Stratocaster for a gift. She never learned to play it and it sat in its case for four years.

So now that she's going to college, she decided that she would like to take some kind of instrument with her. I told her that if she would teach herself how to play the guitar, I'd give her the Taylor.

Literally, since I gave it to her late on Monday, she hasn't put the guitar down and has already taught herself how to play! And she's playing "fingerstyle" already too! Amazing!

She had said she needed a teacher and that's why she did not play the Stratocaster... but obviously, she did not need that. She has played violin for years and also piano, so it's not like she didn't know music. She just needed the motivation to play.

I'm shocked that in just 2 days, she now plays better than many people who have had several months of guitar training. I'm anxious to see how well she plays by the time she goes off to school in a month. Wow! When I went off to college, my dad bought me my first acoustic guitar. It was a Takamine F-340s. Now, as my daughter goes off to college, she gets a Taylor 114ce. I told her that when she has a kid and he/she goes off to college, she will have to continue the tradition and get that kid an acoustic guitar as well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Successful Fishing Outing At The Skokie Lagoons

My small 8 or 9 inch Bass

My nephew's 15 inch Bass


23.5 inch Walleye

Several years ago, I was taught how to fish by my friend Gayle and so every Sunday, just before going to church, I'd get up and head out to Busse Woods to try my luck. I'd catch a few small bullheads and throw them back in and then go home, take a shower and then head off to worship team practice at church by 9 AM.

I did that for all of one season. Then I'm not sure what happened, but years went past and I didn't go fishing again. I suppose that was because I wanted someone to go with me, but nobody ever did.

Now, my nephews and nieces seem to have taken up the interest and they have been anxiously going with me.

So on a recent trip to the Skokie Lagoons, I was able to catch a small 8 or 9 inch Bass, my nephew caught a larger one (15 inches) and my wife's cousin caugtht a small Pike. Moments after releasing the pike, he immediately caught a HUGE Walleye which measured 23.4 inches!

I'm anxious (like the kids) to head back out to try our luck again. If we catch anything worth reporting, I'll post it here again.

I apologize for the poor images this time as the photos of the larger bass, pike and walleye were downsized images emailed to me from my wife's cousin and my small bass photo was taken with my cell phone.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Doyle Dykes & Haley Dykes at Cream City Music - Brookfield, WI

Last night, Doyle Dykes and his daughter Haley Dykes performed at Cream City Music in Brookfield, Wisconsin. As usual, I was on hand to take some photos of the performance. These are just a few of the images I took from last night's event.
Doyle played his usual Taylor DDSM (Doyle Dykes Signature Model) guitar, but also graced us with a custom made (one of a kind) Taylor nylon-string guitar. I had seen this guitar several years ago, but hadn't seen it since. It's a custom design that has his signature White Rose on the slotted headstock, Chet-styled fretboard markers on a short scale neck, Florentine cutaway, and LR Baggs Electronics. The body is made of flamed maple in a natural finish.
Doyle also played a new R. Taylor 12-string that he just received. He said that this was the most expensive Taylor guitar he's ever bought. It sounded GREAT! Complete with Laskin-styled armrest, this guitar was amazing!
Haley performed flawlessly as well. It's always nice to hear her voice and mandolin playing.
I'll see Doyle and Haley again in October when they come to Skokie, IL to perform at the Skokie Theatre. It's been many years since I've been at the Skokie Theatre so I'm definitely interested in seeing what was done since it was renovated. I recall going there in the 70's when it was still a movie theater. Since then, the Skokie Theatre has been upgraded to a performance venue. Should be fun! Be sure to click on each image to take a closer look.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chinatown 5K and Youth Run - Photos Now On-Line

Today's race in Chicago's Chinatown was really nice! We had great weather although it did rain earlier in the day before the race. But with an overcast morning, it kept the pre-race events nice and cool. Just before the start of the race at 8:00 AM, the sky opened up and we had nice sunshine!

Attendance was less this year than previous years, but that could be because the race had not been run in several years. So perhaps getting the word out was a little more difficult that the Chinatown 5k race was back and running. Maybe next year, we'll have more people out. Still, we had quite a few runners and the Youth Run had a great turnout as well.

To see all the photos of the day, go to and click on the Events catagory. No password is required, but you will need to provide your email address to get in. Once you are in, be sure to click on the "View Catagory Slideshow" link at the upper right portion of the main page. Using the slideshow feature makes the images larger and moves it automatically for you as well. It's a lot nicer that way.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

AquaTech Rain Shield - First Use!

Back on June 1, 2009, I wrote about the AquaTech Rain Shield and how I had never had the opportunity to use it. Well, I got my chance earlier today at a corporate event I was photographing.

The rain was coming down slowly but steadily for most of the outdoor event, but that did not stop the event itself. So I donned my rain shield over my Nikon D3 and a 24-70mm f2.8 lens and kept the camera and lens dry. The lens shade was the only thing out in the rain and I was sure to keep the lens itself pointed only forward or down towards the ground when I wasn't shooting.

The viewfinder is protected with a special screw-in adapter from AquaTech, so no real worries there. But what I didn't expect was how "hot" my hand and arm was getting from being inside that nylon/plastic protector the whole time! In fact, my hand and arm were perspiring so much that I was causing a fog to develop on the inside of the see-through vinyl window! So every now and then, I had to pull my arm out to try to cool down the inside of the shield and dry it off a little!

It was kind of cool to be able to shoot in the rain. I was getting wet throughout the day (my hair was a mess by the end of the event) and my belt system was too, but it is designed to handle light rain.

I can't show any of the photos from the shoot because all the images have to go to the company I was shooting the event for, but it's a major company that everyone's heard of. Fun times! :)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Catfish at Skokie Lagoons

Image taken with a Fuji F10 Point & Shoot Camera

After several attempts this past week to catch a fish... this nice catfish was landed by my nephew this evening. He had caught a much larger one just moments before this one but in trying to get him reeled in, the huge fish snapped the fishing line just before we were able to land him with a net. Yeah, "the big one that got away" could have been his first fish ever, but this one isn't too bad either for coming in second. Be sure to click on the image to take a closer look.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Small, but better than nothing

Yesterday, my nephew caught this small Bluegill after trying for hours to get something. Turns out our hooks were too large for these fish and so we were getting nibbles but no fish. Luckily for him, a fellow angler lent him a smaller hook (number 8 size) and he immediately landed this little guy. Small, but better than nothing. Minutes later he got an even smaller one, but let that one go. Next time, we'll try number 8 hooks if we go to the same fishing spot.