Monday, November 30, 2009

"It Keeps Me Out of Trouble"

How often have you heard this... "I do this, because it keeps me out of trouble!"

I think perhaps men use this a lot as an excuse to buy things. For me, it is used for fishing gear, camera gear, guitars...

Where have you heard this? Have you ever heard women use this line? I doubt it is too common for them. I can't see them saying, "I bought these shoes because they keep me out of trouble." Doesn't make much sense to me.

But for guys, we can say things like... "But I bought all this new fishing gear because fishing keeps me out of trouble!" You know, instead of fishing, I could be out gambling, hanging out on the street corner with the guys... you get the idea.

Really, does it keep someone out of trouble? I think perhaps it can GET you into trouble too! You could spend a lot of money on things like fishing gear, guitars and cameras! I know I've been in that situation. I tend to spend too much on equipment!

We all have our vices I suppose. For me, while I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, gamble, etc... I do tend to be a gear junkie instead. Luckily for me, my camera gear is paid back by my work. In the past, my music gear was paid back by the various music gigs I've had, or the recording sessions I've engineered. But so far, I can't say that for my fishing gear.

I wonder when fishing will become a money maker for me... somehow I doubt it ever will. I guess fishing gets me into trouble then! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Painting Update

Well, after painting the back door in our kitchen, I found that the door would not close easily because the added thickness of the new enamel paint on the door edge! Plus the enamel paint on the door edge rubbing against the enamel paint on the door jam didn't help either.

So, my wife and I took the newly painted door off its hinges and I sanded down the edge of the door to remove the new paint. I also made sure that some additional wood was sanded down too for good measure. Then, I painted the edge of the door with a standard "flat" latex paint. Now it fits just fine.

After reinstalling the door, I had a hard time getting the dead bolt lined up properly again. That took a lot longer than I had anticipated as well.

All in all, the kitchen update that should have been relatively quick and easy took a lot more time than either of us had thought it would. But now that it is done, it sure looks a lot better than it did before. The lesson learned? Nothing is as quick and easy as you might think when it comes to home improvement.


It seems as winter months near, I'm always stuck painting. No, not artistic painting... painting the house.

This weekend, my wife said she wanted to change the blinds in our kitchen windows. OK. So we went to Home Depot and purchased several blinds and I installed them. Not bad. The problem though was the new blinds made the old wallpaper in our kitchen look really bad. That old wallpaper had been on the walls since we purchased the house many years ago.

Well, the kitchen isn't all that large, so we decided to go ahead and strip off the wallpaper and paint. We figured it shouldn't take us too long. Wrong! After steaming off the old wallpaper, we found that the walls were originally painted yellow! And it was different shades of yellow on the various walls too! I have never seen anything like it.

Well, it took a couple of coats of paint to hide that awful yellow, which of course took longer than we thought. So after finishing the walls by 1 AM, I still had to paint the back door of the kitchen... which I saved until today.

We used semi-gloss enamel paint for the door and of course, that takes longer to dry than standard latex paint. The original door color was an awful beige color which neither of us liked and so we decided to paint the door a "Vanilla" white. Well, it requires several coats as well to cover the beige color and enamel paint is rather "slick" too, making it harder to roll on. Brushes just make a visible "brush stroke" and so that had to be avoided.

So yes, painting always takes longer than you think. But one thing is for sure, had we tried to plan for this "upgrade" to our home, it probably would never had gotten done. An impromptu upgrade seems to be the best way to get it done. But boy, does it sure take a lot longer than you think!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monitor - Color Calibration

Image borrowed from the internet

I am always surprised when I talk to some photographers and find out that they do not color calibrate their computer monitors.

Without color calibration, it is impossible to know if the colors you see on your computer screen will match the colors of the prints that are made by the photofinishers. When working with Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop, photographers make decisions about exposures and color balance and adjust the images so that the final print will look correct. But if the monitor isn't calibrated, it is possible that the colors seen on the screen will be totally different that what is printed.

It is a simple matter to color correct a monitor. Several companies make calibrators and one as simple as the Spyder Pro 3 can do the job easily. It is not expensive (well some calibrators are) but it is important and well worth it. So always calibrate your monitors if you want to be sure that you are making the right choice when checking your colors!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bird At The Doorstep

I found this little guy with his wings all spread out, laying by our front doorstep this afternoon.

At first I thought perhaps he may have hit the front door and fell there. But after checking him out more, I don't think so. He looked just fine and he refused to leave! So I just had to grab my camera to take a couple of photos of him.

Afterwards, I picked up the doormat and shook it to try to coax him to fly off. No way. He just wanted to hang around so he dug his little nails into the mat and hung on. Even turning the mat vertically, he hung on. He even walked up the mat a little.

I left him alone to go put my copyright notice on the photos so that I could post it here on my blog and then went back to check up on him. He was gone.

I guess he wanted to just stop by to say hi.

Be sure to click on each image for a closer look.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Do DJ's scratch anymore?

I get to see and hear a lot of DJ's at work when I photograph weddings. Most don't scratch anymore. With the use of computers, many rely on digital to help do their work. So whenever I see a DJ actually using a turntable and making live mixes, it's a real treat.

Last Saturday, we had two DJ's who actually used both an Apple computer and turntables! That's getting very rare. But these guys did a great job combining the two mediums. Bravo!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Lasers & Fog Create Atmosphere For "Crazy Hour"

This past Saturday's wedding had a couple of great DJ's who not only created their own live dance mixes, but also had great laser and fog effects! (The fog really helps you see the laser beams!) While most dance photos from receptions are lit by a flash, sometimes turning the flash off and getting some shots of the ambience of the darkened room can pay off big time! With the use of the lasers and fog machine, the image above shows what the room really looked like.

Besides the dance music, we had everything at this wedding including harpist Jennifer Keller, a great Mariachi band and a special treat called, "Crazy Hour." The bride and groom had hidden hats, masks and other items under the tables for their guests to put on. It turned the place into a Mardi Gras atmosphere! With these items in the hands of the guests, everybody got up onto the dance floor! What a party!

Doing something different at a wedding that your guests are not expecting can really bring life to the reception. This past Saturday really proved that. And, I'm finding that many couples today are offering cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake as well. Makes a lot of sense to me... it's easier to serve and people who want one can just go up and take one! This couple had theirs arranged like a wedding cake. Cool!

Be sure to click on each image for a closer look.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bowie Knife

How could I forget this knife?

Purchased for $19.95 at Wall Drug in South Dakota on a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park in 1976, this Bowie knife is huge and heavy! Not exactly your typical pocket knife, this one has an 8 inch blade with an overall length of 13.5 inches and came with a leather sheath.

Is it sharp? Well, yes and no. While it is impressive looking, it's not a very good knife for holding an edge. The steel isn't all that good and the bright chrome finish has tarnished pretty badly over the years. When it was new, it was pretty impressive looking, but again, it was more for looks than function.

Check out my other knives here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

New 11x14 Album Cases

Without doubt, of all the various albums that I offer my wedding clients, the overwhelmingly most popular album for the past several years has been the 11x14 standard album. But it never came with an album case option... until now!

The new 11x14 standard album case is a quality case that will compliment your wedding album. Designed to fit the album along with the "pillow case" slip cover that normally comes with the album, this new case will surely impress you besides protect your wedding album. Made of simulated leather like the albums themselves for durability, the case has stitched seams on the cover, a magnetic latch and a ribbon inside to help in the removal of the album.

The normal price of this case is $60, but for a limited time, all of my past wedding clients can get one for only $45 if you place your order before the end of the year. Just give me a call at 847-840-4082 or email me at to place your order. Then, send a check for $45 to Russell Lowe Photography, P.O. Box 403, Prospect Heights, IL 60070. Once received, I'll order your case and will email you when it arrives.

I highly encourage you to get one of these quality cases to compliment your album. It's priced right and made well and will protect your album for years to come.

Be sure to click on each image to take a closer look.