Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peter White - Smooth Jazz Guitarist

It's been a long time since I've seen Peter White play live. Years ago, I'd catch his show whenever he came to Chicago... mostly during the winter months when he would tour with Dave Koz for his Christmas show. Afterwards, we'd hang out at his hotel and talk.

Here he is playing his Paul McGill - Super Ace nylon-string guitar on one of his most requested tunes, "Midnight In Manhatten." Originally recorded with the late legendary saxophonist Grover Washington Jr., this tune may have been one of the last collaboration recordings from Grover before his passing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Parkview Junior High Reunion Picnic

This past Saturday, I attended a picnic reunion of my junior high school from Morton Grove, IL.

Cathy, one of our classmates, organized the event and got a lot of our classmates to attend this special event. Many who no longer live in Illinois, came in just to see old friends.

It is just wonderful to see how many of my classmates valued the friendships from the past. While I was only at Parkview Junior High in my 8th grade, I still remembered most of these people. I may not have had contact with them at all while at the school, but I definitely remember their names and also what they were like in 8th grade. Many of them remembered me as well.

It seems I have been to many reunions in the past few years. Even so, I'm still not tired of it. I think it is true that you can't break old friendships if you hold them dear to your heart. It seems many of my old classmates feel the same way.

For this group photo, I placed my Nikon D3 camera on a tripod, set the controls to fire with the built-in timer, jogged to join the group in time and Voila! I'm in the photo on the far right! Be sure to click on the image for a closer look.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wedding Photography vs Forensic Photography

Many of my clients have asked me what it is like to go from shooting crime scenes to shooting weddings. Well, here's what it might be like being a wedding photographer and then going to shoot a crime scene. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chinook (King) Salmon & Coho (Silver) Salmon!!!

I went out on Lake Michigan last night with new friends from the US Navy and we caught a bunch of fish! OK... our boat caught three fish and another boat caught six fish. But in the end, I was given seven fish to take home and two were reserved for a dinner party for members of www.Chitown-Angler.com.

I had posted on that forum that I was interested in going out on a boat one day with a member of the forum and if anyone was interested to let me know. Almost immediately, a guy known as "Bonus" from the forum contacted me and generously offered to take me out on his boat. It turns out, he is in the US Navy... just like my new wedding client Dan whom I met while fishing!

I met up with Bonus (real name: Keith) last night and went on his 21 foot Starcraft boat along with Beau, a Navy friend of his. We fished from around 6 PM until perhaps 10:30 PM. Keith let me reel in four of the fish we had that hit our lures (lost two) and Beau reeled in one. Keith didn't even attempt a single one but instead let his guests fish! What a nice guy!

Two of his other Navy friends were out on another boat and both vessels headed out about 10 miles into Lake Michigan together. I liked this as it was nice to know another boat wasn't too far away should we have gotten into trouble. The other two guys brought in six fish in total, but we beat them out for the heaviest fish of the night at 4 lbs. That was my first catch... a nice King Salmon (aka Chinook Salmon.)

On my second attempt to bring in a fish, Keith and I could tell it was significantly larger than the first based on how hard it was pulling. It was way out there too, easily over 125 ft away. No matter how much I reeled, it didn't seem I was getting anywhere with it! But after a significant amount of time reeling, I felt the slack in the line and he was gone!

Later in the evening, I had on another nice fish which seemed to pull a lot harder than the other two I had already reeled in, but it wasn't tugging as hard as the one I lost. Still, it was a battle and it looked like he was headed to tangle our other lines in the water. So I crossed over to one side of the boat and continued the battle. Just before Beau was able to net him, we could see he was a big one. Much larger than the other two we had already brought in. But just as we were about to net him, the net and line bumped one of the other rods in the rod holders and the rod and reel promptly went overboard! We all scrambed to save the rod and reel and luckily, Beau was able to net it as I brought the fish closer. But alas, in our attempt to save the rod, we had to lose the fish in its place.

Beau felt really awful about it, but Keith and I both told him that if the choice was to lose the fish or save the rod and reel, we both would have chosen as he did to save the rod and reel. I'm not sure that made him feel any better, but it was definitely the right call.

No matter, in the end, I didn't just get a couple of fish to bring home this time, but I got nearly all the fish to bring home. The other guys on the other boat didn't want their catch and Beau said he still had fish in his freezer and Keith just wanted two of the catch for Saturday's event with the forum, so I got to take home seven of the fish... the majority of the catch! It was a combination of Kings and Cohos.

On shore, Keith expertly filleted and skinned all of the catch in no time! Like Captain Bob from my last trip, Keith is an expert with the knife! So not only did he let me do all the fishing, he even cleaned all the fish for me! What a guy! :)

When I got home, my wife and daughter were anxiously waiting to see the catch. They were surprised at how many fish were in my cooler! We'll be eating salmon for a while!

I had a great time and am so lucky to meet such wonderful new friends. I'm comfortable around Navy guys as it reminds me of my years of living in San Diego. I've told Keith that if he ever needs a guy to fish with to just give me a call. I can't wait to get back out there! (Be sure to click on each image for a closer look.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Going Fishing Tonight!

I should have some photos by tomorrow as I'm going fishing out on a boat on Lake Michigan tonight.

We had planned to do this on Wednesday night, but we cancelled due to the bad weather. Today's weather is very nice! We are targeting Salmon out there! The owner of the boat says the last couple of times he was out there, they were getting King Salmon! I'm looking forward to that! Much bigger fish than the Coho Salmon I caught on the last outing! With any luck, I hope to bring one of these monsters in! :)

Every time I mention salmon in Lake Michigan, people ask, "Are there salmon in Lake Michigan?" While they are not native to the Great Lakes, salmon are actually stocked into the lake. This is why there is an extra fee for a Salmon stamp to add to your regular fishing license. So yes, there are salmon in the Great Lakes!

(The image posted was found on the internet)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two Days Without Electricity

This was not the first time that our home lost electricity for more than 24 hours because of storms. A couple of years ago, we lost power and it took 3 days for our power company (Commonwealth Edison) to get power back to our grid. This time it took 2 days.

Interestingly, our neighbors across the street never seem to lose power. They lent power to my neighbor next to our home so that he could keep his refrigerator and freezer running. In turn, he allowed us to store the food that was in our freezer in his large freezer.

ComEd had estimated that it would be nearly four days before they could get power back to our home, so I suppose we were lucky that it only took two days. But this is getting tiring. We really need them to replace the grid's power transformer for a better, upgraded one. So many homes around us are affected every time the power goes out.

Without electricity, life is definitely different. We had to use small candles to get some light. Taking a shower by candlelight is rather strange. Without AC power, there's no computers, no internet, no TV, no microwave oven... it's not fun.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Great Friends, Great Guitars and Great Food

Another gathering of guitar fanatics!

Special thanks to Jim & Alicia! Photos by Jim. Be sure to click on each photo to see a larger image.

Sorry... Can't Post It

Recent things I've been working on can't be posted here.

This reminds me of working on forensic cases! Most of the work I did for court cases could not be talked about (until the case was over) and none of the work could be shown either. Lately, I've been working on some images where I can't show those here on my blog.

No, they are not for forensic cases. But to keep things private for some of my clients, I can't post some images. In fact, the work I do for my post production company Balanced Exposure is all private. I do not reveal who I work for and what I do for them. By doing it that way, other professional photographers can feel confident that their clients won't know that another photographer is actually working on their images. This works for my clients, and works for me too!

But unfortunately, my blog suffers for it! No images can be posted here to show what I've been working on! Well, I suppose that's better than not having business at all...

Today, I worked on an interesting image by combining one photo with another so that the person in the first photo was also in the photo of the second. But sorry... I can't post it! :)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Blackhawks Win!!!

Not since 1961 has Chicago won the Stanley Cup... but after a terrific game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Hawks win 4 to 3 in overtime. Go Hawks! :)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Performance For A Coffee House Event

Last Friday night, my brother and I performed for an audience of about 65 people at the Wildwood Presbyterian Chuch in Grayslake, IL. It had been over 25 years since we performed together for a live gig. He played on the church's Technics keyboard and I played my R Taylor - Style One guitar.

We played mostly 60's and 70's material and everyone knew the songs. Many were seen singing along. Of the 15 or so songs that we played, it seemed songs by Neil Diamond were the favorites. The audience really liked "Sweet Caroline" and they also liked "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees. Of course, that song was also written by Neil Diamond!

Thanks to Marc Wallace for taking some photos of us performing.

We had a great time and hope the audience did as well. In October, we'll be performing again, but this time with several other musicians. We plan to play an entire set of songs from the group "Chicago" so of course we'll have an entire horn section along with drums, bass, guitars and keyboards. Now THAT should be a good one to attend!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street

The remake of the horror movie, A Nightmare On Elm Street featured both John Hersey High School and Elk Grove High School. My daughter was a senior at JHHS during the filming and several of her friends made it into the movie as extras.

One of the extras is the girl on the right in the image above. My daughter went to see the movie and says she was on screen for a few seconds and you can clearly see her in the shot.

She was part of the school's Orchesis team and is a terrific Hip Hop dancer. You can see photos of the team by clicking here.

Here's a YouTube video of the movie trailer... click here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

New! Adobe Photoshop CS5 with Content Aware Fill

I've been working with Adobe Photoshop CS5 this past week and really like the new feature, "Content Aware Fill."

Check out the before and after photos above. If you look at the "before" photo, you'll see that a strand of hair and also shadows covers the bride's right eye. With the new Content Aware Fill function along with some creative cloning, you can see that I've removed the strand of hair and shadow, but also recreated parts of her eye and eyebrow in the "after" photo.

Photoshop CS5 has many other new features, but this feature is really great! Be sure to click on each image for a closer look.