Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Not much to write about this past week, other than I went fishing with my nephews and nieces on Saturday. Between all of us, we must have caught about 25 bluegills. Some were very large as well. I caught six.

Not much to look at when it comes to blue gills, so I thought I'd show you all a photo of one of the swans at the private pond we were fishing at. It's interesting that they don't fly away, but I suppose that's because one of them was guarding a nest of eggs!

The image was taken with a Fuji F10 point and shoot camera and the image was processed in Adobe Lightroom for color and exposure. Adobe Photoshop CS5 was used to crop the image. Be sure to click on the image for a closer look.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Photoshop Elements 8 Training Class June 6, 2010

Are you a new point and shoot or DSLR photographer and want to make your photos look better?

Are you new to working with Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 and need some training?

I am conducting a group lesson on June 6 for beginners to this program in need of some help. This group class will focus on how to make your photos look better by learning the basic techniques that professional photographers depend on when using the more expensive versions of Photoshop.

While Photoshop Elements is a much less expensive program compared to the full version of Photoshop CS5, it has many similar features that will allow you to do the same kinds of “photo magic” that pros do with CS5. You just need to know how to do it!

Take this group class to learn those basic secrets and make your photos look better now!

The class will be held at my Schaumburg photography office on Sunday, June 6 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. It will be limited to a minimum of 4 students with a maximum of 9 students. You will need your laptop with a copy of Photoshop Elements 8 already loaded on it.

Even if you do not have Photoshop Elements 8 yet but would like to take the class to see what the program is capable of, you are still welcome to attend. This is a good way to check out the capabilities of the program before committing to buying the program. To get a free trial version of the program to use for the class, click here. You can use this trial copy for 30 days I believe.

Email me today to reserve your seat and to get more information regarding the class. The cost for this two hour training is $40 per person. Sign up today!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dan's Goby

I was not the only one catching these weird little fish.

Dan Roloff, one of my fishing buddies and a 2010 wedding client caught one the day before I did. He was at Government Pier in Waukegan, IL as well.

Dan says these little monsters are male gobies during the spawning season. Definitely an undesirable fish in Lake Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources wants these fish out of the lake, and so they like other gobies are not to be returned to the water if caught.

Scary little monsters! Be sure to click on the image for a closer look. Image courtesy of Dan Roloff.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lake Michigan Mottled Sculpin or Just A Goby??

My friend AJ and I were out fishing again at 6:00 AM today at Government Pier in Waukegan, IL. After our Salmon catch from last Friday, we thought we'd try it once again from the pier. No luck... for salmon that is. But we were able to catch some gobies (a very undesirable little fish) and one unidentified black mutant of a fish that we think might be a Lake Michigan Mottled Sculpin (but it could be just a Goby.)

I asked my friends on if they knew what this little black fish was and it seems it could be a Lake Michigan Mottled Sculpin. But nobody has ever seen a black one before. Some think it is just a goby.

Admittedly, this is one UGLY fish. When I pulled it up, I was shocked at what I saw. It looks like some kind of alien mutant! I looked for its eyes, but am not sure it had any. If the little black protrusions are eyes, it was all black.

I didn't want to touch this thing and neither did AJ. So I had AJ take my picture with it hanging from the hook. Yuck!

After tossing him back in (not sure I should have done that in hind sight) I caught a couple of gobies and so did AJ. That was about all we were able to catch from 6 AM to 9:45 AM. We had about two dozen minnows as bait and it seemed all we were doing were feeding gobies since we could clearly see them on the bottom of the lake going after our minnows. We had hoped for perch, but there were none around. I think our best bet is to stick with chartered boats on Lake Michigan and go out to where the salmon are. There were none to be had by us on the pier.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lunch With An Old Friend

I grew up in Chicago and a Greek family lived upstairs from my family. When our family decided to move to the suburbs, we lost touch with this family... until today... 39 years later!

My brother and I had lunch with our dear friend Marion today. Thinking back, she is probably our oldest friend since she's known us ever since we were born! We grew up together. We played together. And, we went to elementary school together. She was several years older than my brother and me so we always looked up to her like an older sister. In fact, my parents would not let us go too far away from home unless Marion was with us. We could not go "Trick or Treating" in the evening hours unless she was with us. That's how much my parents trusted her.

She hasn't changed at all. Still the warm hearted, funny girl I remember. While all of us have gotten older over all these years, we still seem to connect quite well. It was fun to remember the days we all grew up together. We commented how things have changed over the years where parents cannot trust their kids to go out on their own. Not so when we grew up! Even as kids under 10 years old, we were ALL OVER Chicago on our own!

Those were the days, I suppose. I wonder how our own kids will look back years from now and if they will remember these days as "the good ol' days" compared to the future.

It was great seeing Marion again after all these years!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My First Coho Salmon

I received this photo from Hans Herrmann who organized the fishing outing on Friday and is also one of my photography students. This is my first Coho Salmon from Lake Michigan. The other image of the salmon on the grass was my second salmon. Hopefully, we will catch even more in the future! AJ and I are thinking of heading back out on the piers on Thursday... we shall see...

Photo and Videos from Friday's Fishing Outing

AJ proudly holds his first Coho Salmon caught on the Challenger II out of Waukegan, IL.

Check out these videos. The first one is AJ reeling in his fish. The second one is Captain Bob filleting our catch (warning... if you are squeamish, you might not want to watch this video.) These are the first videos I've ever shot for use on this blog and the first videos I've ever uploaded onto YouTube!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Caught Two Coho Salmon On Lake Michigan!

After many trips to Lake Michigan, I finally caught two Coho Salmon!

One of my photography students charterd the Challenger II 40 ft Trojan boat and had space for me and my friend AJ. There were six of us plus the captain on the boat from 5 AM to 10 AM today. In total we caught 7 fish (all Coho Salmon) and they all ranged in the area of about 3-4 lbs.

The bite was slow today, but I'm still glad we all got a fish. Just as Captain Bob was ready to pull in the lines to head back to shore, I got the final fish, bringing our total count to 7 fish.

We are all eating fish tonight! I'll have more photos to post soon, but I wanted to at least get this photo of our final fish online now. Be sure to click on the image for a closer look.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Going Fishing On Friday - Lake Michigan

I have yet to catch a fish out on Lake Michigan other than a small perch and several gobies, Gobies are a species nobody likes and is against the law to throw back into the water after catching them. What we typically do with gobies after catching them is to toss them onto the concrete and watch the seagulls find them and eat them.

It is actually quite interesting to see that seagulls have such a keen eye. Of all the things on the ground, they can spot the gobies on the ground and they swoop down and pick them up to eat! While the small little fish may be a menace to the eco system on Lake Michigan, the seagulls seem to like them.

I am going out on a boat on Lake Michigan on Friday. We are after salmon and trout. My understanding is that Lake Michigan is about 25 feet deep per mile and I have heard that fish are being caught about 125 to 150 feet deep right now. So based on that, I'm going to guess we will go out about 5 or 6 miles to go fish.

If we are lucky, we'll catch some nice fish and I'll have something to post about it. Our limit is 5 per person. Not having caught any so far, I'm hopeful tomorrow will change my luck.

Salmon is not native to Lake Michigan. It is actually stocked into the lake yearly. Originally, the salmon were put in there to help stop the alewive population. They did such a good job at that because now, we don't have much of that problem anymore. I recall as a child going to the beach and seeing (and smelling) all the dead alewives floating in the water! Yuck! But today, it is much better, thanks to the salmon who eat them!

Wish me luck! I hope to catch my first salmon or brown trout tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Difference Between Being A Performer And Being An Entertainer

Smooth Jazz Guitarist Peter White who started out his career playing as a keyboard player and guitarist for 70's recording artist Al Stewart once told me that moving from being just a performer to an entertainer made a huge difference in his career.

What's the difference? Well, anyone can play a musical instrument and be a performer. But an entertainer also works the crowd. By this I mean knowing how to get your audience involved in your performance. Little things like inviting them to participate in your performance can make you a better entertainer.

For instance, if you are a guitarist, you can play your guitar and simply stand there not moving. Now technically, the sound may be just great. But does your audience enjoy watching you? Are they involved on more levels than just listening to your music? Do they get a good visual feast as well?

Too often I watch musicians play and they are just plain boring to watch. I enjoy listening to their music. But wow... are they boring to watch. Just standing there and playing does not cut it.

On the other hand, some entertainers aren't all that special when it comes to their music. But if you watch them, they are fun to see! They might be dancing around, jumping up and down... really getting into their music. Well, they've taken something that is not so great on a musical level and made it a little more interesting.

You might say that this is not really good musically speaking. Perhaps so. But I'll bet you anything that having a good stage show can help your career. Think about how many musical acts out there today that aren't all that great musically, but they are making a ton of money because people come out to see their shows. Why? Well, I'll bet it is because they are great entertainers... not necessarily great performing musicians.

Is this selling out your music? I don't think so. I personally think sometimes that a good stage presence is just as important as being a good musician. Think about it... if you are going to play IN FRONT of people, not only will they have to listen to your music, but they are going to be watching you too. If you can't deliver both on a visual level as well as a auditory level, then you should only be a recording artist and have people listen to your recordings. Don't go out to play live. Because a live performance needs to be entertaining on both levels.

Just my two cents. :) (Edit note: Excellent comment in the comment section. Be sure to check that out! Also see what other musicians have to say on the topic by visiting the by clicking here.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

What Have I Been Doing?

My brother and I have not played music together as a team in at least 25 years. He's a full-time piano instructor today and I'm a photographer. While he plays music professionally, I do it for fun.

His church has had "Coffee House" events in the past and he's asked me to accompany him on some old 60's and 70's tunes that he hopes to showcase at their June coffee house. I have agreed to perform with him. While we have played informally together just one other time in these 25 years (also one of his church events in which I was the featured performer), it was an impromptu performance. This time we are doing a full set... probably at least 12 songs.

So what have I been doing when not working? I've been practicing! While it's fairly easy for me to play any of our old tunes on the guitar, my voice needs practicing. It's not easy to hit those high notes anymore!

It will be fun to play music together again. We'll be performing on the first Friday in June. One of my photography students plans to photograph us. Hopefully we'll get some nice photos and I can post a few at that time.