Unnecessary snapshots from my vacation

December 23, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

I’m back in the studio after a much-needed vacation!  And while I dig myself out of a mountain of emails, I figured I would share an unnecessarily thorough account of my trip through a slide-show-like blog post…

I want to mention that I have about a dozen cameras.  I touch cameras every day.  So in an effort to have a mostly camera-free trip, I chose to only take the below point-and-shoot camera- a Canon S95.  All the photos below were taken with this camera:

Canon s95

First, an obligatory selfie of the vacationers.  Hi!


And our feet in the sand.

feet in sand

And how much a bottle of water costs where we went.  Ouch.

expensive water

And this guy, who is incredibly relaxed:

beach bum

Our first expedition was to find lunch.  Which we did easily.  This was lunch:


While we ate lunch we were visited by some friendly island kitties, who dropped by to say hello and watch us eat.


The kitties appear to have made the beach their sandbox and actual trees into cat trees for climbing.

tree kitty

In an effort to learn more about them we found their den in the wild- an unassuming bush.  Upon further inspection of the bush, we were accosted by what appeared to be a guardian kitty.  He screamed at us in his native tongue.  A translator discerned it to mean, “get out of my bush!”

bush kitty

We took note of this informative sign:

don't feed birds

Since it did not prohibit feeding wild kitties we attempted to share our lunch with one of the kitties.  Apparently feral island kitties are very similar to domesticated house kitties.  This one was not impressed with our food offering.  He frowned visibly and walked away.

feed kitty

On our next expedition, we broke the law and wandered past this sign.

danger sign

We saw waves crashing against the rocks.

waves crashing

And we made a tiny hermit crab friend.  His name is Frank.

hermit crab

We also found hundreds of these shell things that were suckered to the rocks with some kind of goo.  Samples will be sent to the lab for analysis later.


This is a lost sea sponge.  I also took a very nice, long, soapy shower later that day.  Those are two completely unrelated facts.

sea sponge

Joel took a photo of this dead sea creature.

dead lobster

While I took a photo of this living sea creature.


Then we sat around the beach and stared at the water.


When we moved to a pool, we were revisited by one of our feral island kitty friends.


Who fell asleep on me.


And had a long conversation with Joel about the inequities of class structure in modern American life.


It made us miss our David Bowie the Dog.  We checked in on him through the webcam in his boarding facility.  He was looking out the window for us, in an effort to make us feel guilty.  It worked.


To cheer ourselves up, we watched a sunset.


And seagulls flying.

seagull flying

And more beautiful scenery.


This was my favorite view:

hot guy


The end.


Favorite shots of 2013

December 14, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

With just a couple weeks left in the year it’s time for me to sift through my hard drive and pick out some of my favorite shots of 2013.  If I had to do some quick math, I think I took somewhere around 105,000 photos this year… so instead of looking through all of them (because, seriously, 105,000 photos…) I tried to find the ones that for whatever reason stuck in my mind as my favorite shots of the year.  Drum roll, please!  In no particular order, I present, some of my favorite shots of 2013:

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 101112 13 14 15 16 17 18 1920 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37


Don’t be mistaken for someone else on LinkedIn

December 2, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

linkedin1A while back I had a client come to me in a frantic rush for some professional headshots- when she called she was actually a little out of breath as if she had run to the phone.  “How about today?  Can I come in today?  I can get in the car right now!  I need a LinkedIn profile photo NOW!”  She then told me a slightly terrifying story.  She had been out of work for several months, looking for a job, and not getting any calls back or interviews.  With over a decade of experience in the consulting industry, she couldn’t understand why her emails and calls weren’t landing her at least an interview.

A friend of hers told her that nowadays every employer searches for an applicant’s online presence, and will especially look to see if they have a LinkedIn profile.  She had one, but hadn’t updated it in a while and hadn’t uploaded a photo, so she didn’t think people would pay any attention to it or that it would even show up in searches.  Her friend told her to search for her own name on LinkedIn anyway to make sure no one else’s profile shows up instead of hers, which she had never thought would be a problem since she has a pretty unique name.

So she searched for herself on LinkedIn, and 2 profiles showed up.  One was hers, half-finished, not much experience filled out, and with no photo.  The other profile that showed up above hers, with a photo and fully finished, was that of a woman with the same name as hers working as an entertainer in the adult film industry.

Naturally, she feared that the hiring managers at the companies she was applying to were seeing this woman’s LinkedIn profile instead of hers, and were getting confused as to what industry she actually has experience in, and with stacks of other applicants ready to be reviewed, they just moved onto the next person- who probably has a more complete LinkedIn profile that matches their résumé.

linkedin2We talked about this during our headshot session and I recommended to her that she put a link to her LinkedIn profile right on her résumé.  Some people are even putting not only their LinkedIn profile link, Facebook link, Twitter handle and other social media links, but an image of their headshot right there at the top of their résumé.

If hiring managers are going to vet people out through some internet searching, you should take control of your online presence.  Check up on what shows up when your search for your name with search engines and within social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.  Then post only what you want people to see and know about you on those sites.

And direct people to your profile yourself by pasting the URL of your LinkedIn profile on your résumé and even your profile photo as well, so there will be no mistakes that they’ve looked up the correct person.  This is especially helpful for people with more common names who find multiple profiles of different people with the same name.

I’m looking at you, John Smith.


A day in the darkroom. With X-ray film.

October 31, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

My photographer friend and neighbor Randy Moe just finished a huge and ridiculously awesome project: turning a large portion of his apartment into a giant darkroom.  Part mad-scientist, part photography historian and rescuer of film format equipment, he has amassed an enviable collection of cameras, enlargers, print washers, papers, and more film formats than I knew existed.  And because he’s awesome, he’s opened the doors to let me play.  It feels great to take a momentary break from digital photography to reconnect with its film roots every now and then.

This week we took a few hours to take and develop some photos of my dog.  With a process camera.  On X-ray film.  Yes, you read that correctly.  On X-ray film.  We used 8×10″ pieces of unexposed film typically used in X-ray machines for hospitals, but used it as regular camera film instead.  We loaded it into large format cartridges, took the photos, developed the film, and then used a contact printer to expose the paper and make direct 8×10″ prints.  Our first stab at it was rather successful: David Bowie the Dog sat still enough to take the photos, most of the photos were exposed properly, and they printed well.  We’ve got some tweaking to do since the contrast doesn’t seem quite right in the center of the photos; perhaps using an enlarger to make the prints and some filters to correct the contrast would do the trick.  We’ll have to find out when we go back into the lab for more experimenting…  *evil mad scientist laugh*

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the steps:

Step 1: set temperature of water to exactly 68 degrees Fahrenheit and get negative development chemicals mixed.


Step 2: admire enlargers.  Drool.


Step 3: load X-ray film.  In safelights.


Step 4: put the dog on the table, focus the camera on the dog.


Step 5: set the aperture, connect the wireless strobe from a different century than the camera, hold doggie treat in front of lens, take photo of dog.


Step 6: develop negatives. Turn light back on during the rinse cycle to find dog in center of room asking for more treats.


Step 7: hang negatives to dry


Step 8: print contact prints in giant sandwich press.


Step 9: develop prints.


Step 10: dry prints.


Step 11: repeat.  *evil mad scientist laugh*

Guerrilla holiday photos

October 28, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

This weekend I took some family portraits on the Kinzie Street bridge for holiday greeting cards.  That bridge has seen a lot of photo action over the years with such a great view of the city and such awesome-looking steel beams with rivets the size of sugarplums.  And to take advantage of the architecture I brought along my fish-eye lens.  Photos that look like big round Christmas ornaments, anyone?  Yes!

family photos

My awesome family subjects brought along about 18 feet of garland with ornaments to incorporate as props.  The hours of attaching all those ornaments by hand paid off- the holiday cheer just oozes off those branches and the reds and silvers pop right out of the images.

I considered dressing in bright orange so passersby would think we worked for the city and were decorating the bridge… so they wouldn’t call the cops.  Instead, we just went in there like a SWAT team.  Of ninjas.  We set up, took some photos, packed up, and were out of there within half an hour, which has to be a new record for holiday photos.  It was also still only about 40 degrees out and pretty windy so getting back into warm cars and drinking hot chocolate was also a great motivation for the morning…

family photos family photos