Fall Family Portraits

October 4th, 2017 Permalink

Fall is one of my favorite seasons to capture families and children in natural light.  The sun is low, the temperature is right and the leaves are just starting to show their colors.  A couple of weeks ago I photographed the darling Bendat – Appell family on a sunny Sunday morning in Highland Park, IL. [...]

Fall is one of my favorite seasons to capture families and children in natural light.  The sun is low, the temperature is right and the leaves are just starting to show their colors.  A couple of weeks ago I photographed the darling Bendat – Appell family on a sunny Sunday morning in Highland Park, IL.   After the first ten minutes, photographing the baby was like attempting to capture a fly in chopsticks  Mr. Miyagi style.  But, his supreme cuteness made me want to get him even more, so I chased him until he pretty much hated me.   Thanks for being such a great family to work with Bendat – Appells,  and thanks for helping me get my workout in early that day – it was an honor and so much fun. 

Toga! Toga!

September 11th, 2017 Permalink

I’ve been able to re-vist the  ”glory days” of college  through a number of photo shoots I’ve had over the years.  Lake Forest College, Washington University, Loyola and Northwestern have allowed me to go back from time to time.  (Washington University photos shot for Red Box Pictures in Seattle) I also had the honor of [...]

I’ve been able to re-vist the  ”glory days” of college  through a number of photo shoots I’ve had over the years.  Lake Forest College, Washington University, Loyola and Northwestern have allowed me to go back from time to time.  (Washington University photos shot for Red Box Pictures in Seattle)

I also had the honor of shooting the late, great Gary Marshall’s family during what would have been his 60th college reunion at Northwestern University.  Marshall’s contributions to his alma mater have been immense.

A Run to Remember

August 4th, 2017 Permalink

I’ve always been a sunset kind of person, but a couple of weeks ago I learned to love and respect the dawn.  I had to wake up at 3 a.m. on a Sunday to shoot an event in Chicago for Wear Blue:Run to Remember at the Chicago Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon.  I watched the sun [...]

I’ve always been a sunset kind of person, but a couple of weeks ago I learned to love and respect the dawn.  I had to wake up at 3 a.m. on a Sunday to shoot an event in Chicago for Wear Blue:Run to Remember at the Chicago Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon.  I watched the sun come up over the Chicago River while volunteers (which included family members of fallen soldiers) line a mile of the race with photos of their deceased loved ones in preparation for the race.  After a quiet prayer circle, the echoes of the names of those lost to war bounced off of the skyscrapers as each of the 150 volunteers called them out.  Soon after, runners came by to touch flags and kiss the photos of lost husbands, children, parents, and friends.  It was only after the race that I learned the woman who hired me had started Wear Blue after she lost her young husband in Afghanistan.  This brave young mother of three young children could have given up, but she took her grief and made something great out of it.  I encourage everyone to discover and support this great organization started by Lisa Hallett.  Her story and the story of the organization’s beginnings can be seen here.


Learning to Hunt Jackrabbits with Miles Davis

April 28th, 2017 Permalink

I was fortunate enough to attend the NAFA (National American Falconer’s Association) 2016 meet in Elk City, OK to photograph and cover the only woman in the United States who hunts with a golden eagle for Amtrack’s magazine “The National”.   After covering a wild mustang story together for “Hemispheres Magazine”, writer Eric Benson and I [...]

I was fortunate enough to attend the NAFA (National American Falconer’s Association) 2016 meet in Elk City, OK to photograph and cover the only woman in the United States who hunts with a golden eagle for Amtrack’s magazine “The National”.   After covering a wild mustang story together for “Hemispheres Magazine”, writer Eric Benson and I set our sites on a new goal and found this amazing young woman and her passion for raptors.  In the article, you will learn about Lauren McGough, how she became a berkutchi in Mongolia and how she is one of the few females who is a part of NAFA.  You’ll also learn about the beauty and frustration of hunting for jackrabbits with the massive beast she calls a “Prarie Dragon”.

Eric and I went on two hunts with Lauren and Miles  (along a with a team of  ”scare-boys”), and  I have to say is it’s akin to running a hilly half marathon – often with no prize at the end.   During the chase, I was able to observe Lauren and Miles through my 200mm lens and all I could think was, “They look like they’re going to take off together.”   They were truly a team.

Photographers and writers often work separately, and I think it does a disservice to the written and visual parts storytelling – so it was great to be a team with Eric again.  With that said, I’m leaving the words to him – you can read it online here:  http://www.amtrakthenational.com/lauren-mcgough-mother-of-dragons.   As for some of the visuals, you can come along with us to the fields of Oklahoma and experience some of what it was like to hunt for miles….. with Miles.

Weigh – in time.  Miles has to step on the scale so Lauren can check his weight before a hunt.  She likes him to be a bit light so she know’s he’s hungry and motivated.

Surveying the scene.

Lauren directing us on which way to walk  (according to the wind).

Miles and Lauren charging up a hill.

Miles in flight. The rabbit won this one.

The owner of the Oklahoma farm we hunted on was nice enough to find us to bring snacks and water.

The “team” in the fields of Oklahoma.

Even though Miles didn’t catch anything, he is rewarded with rabbit bits.

And… the post-hunt reward for the “scare-boys”.

Hunt #2 – The line of ‘scare-boys” starting out with Lauren and Miles.

He’s off – hot on the trail of a jackrabbit!

Success at last!  Note for sensitive people – the rabbit dies very quickly.

Miles is taken off the rabbit and given a piece of quail.  If he stays too long with the rabbit, it can break the bond between the bird and the human.

I’m gonna miss that face.

Monster Margaritas + Wild Waves + Mass Humanity = Fun I Phone Photo Project!

March 9th, 2017 Permalink

Several years ago my brother and his wife started taking their kids up to Wilderness Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells for a little mid-winter break.  It wasn’t their usual vacation, but they started to enjoy the benefits of a weekend with a bunch of other midwesterners in a faux-tropical environment filled with chlorinated water, screeching [...]

Several years ago my brother and his wife started taking their kids up to Wilderness Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells for a little mid-winter break.  It wasn’t their usual vacation, but they started to enjoy the benefits of a weekend with a bunch of other midwesterners in a faux-tropical environment filled with chlorinated water, screeching children, and margaritas the size of a human head.  He always said, “You’ve got to see this place”.  Last year I finally went and witnessed the most bizarre environment I’d ever seen:  Fathers floating on “The Lazy River” with a napping infant, families gathered together on towels with babies and booze,  grandparents taking a plunge down the treacherous ”Hurricane”.

What a perfect sociological study!  What a perfect photo project! I quickly realized that I couldn’t pull out my large camera, as I’d really look creepy and probably get kicked out.  So this year I documented some of it on my i phone.  My niece told me I looked creepy anyway, so I eventually stopped shooting.   I think what I got was worth it; I want the world to witness this American phenomenon without the suffering.  Enjoy –  I bet you can almost smell the chlorine and tequila.

Alissa & Zach

October 12th, 2016 Permalink

On October 1st, I spent a rainy but beautiful Saturday at the Grand Geneva in Lake Geneva, WI photographing the wedding of Alissa & Zach.   Alissa’ s family has been neighbors and friends with my family for over 50 years and this connection made it an extra special wedding shoot.  Like any wedding day, [...]

On October 1st, I spent a rainy but beautiful Saturday at the Grand Geneva in Lake Geneva, WI photographing the wedding of Alissa & Zach.   Alissa’ s family has been neighbors and friends with my family for over 50 years and this connection made it an extra special wedding shoot.  Like any wedding day, there inevitably were perfect and imperfect moments, and I was so glad to be there for all of them.  In the end, the beautiful moments stood out – even during the most stressful parts of the day.

Zach and Alissa grew up in the same neighborhood and were buddies throughout childhood.  When they were 12 Zach told Alissa he was going to marry her. When they were in their teens, Zach hid outside and waited for Alissa to break up with a boy that was wrong for her.  When he left, Zach rang the doorbell to ask Alissa to their prom.  And… the rest is history.  Congratulations you two!  It was an amazing privilege to photograph your big day!

Happy Bruce Day!

September 23rd, 2016 Permalink

Happy Birthday Bruce! I just read “Vanity Fair’s” article on Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, “Born to Run”, and he talks about how he has a major let – down after his concerts are over. It’s comforting to know he feels the pain too.  I remember after one of his concerts with a friend I said, “What? [...]

Happy Birthday Bruce!

I just read “Vanity Fair’s” article on Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, “Born to Run”, and he talks about how he has a major let – down after his concerts are over. It’s comforting to know he feels the pain too.  I remember after one of his concerts with a friend I said, “What? We’re just supposed to leave now and go back to our normal, boring lives?”

I took this photo last April for Backstreets Magazine during Bruce Springsteen’s ”The River”  tour in Milwaukee.  It was an extra special shoot because my brother Steve was also at the concert and he had seats right behind the stage.  While I was standing on the platform with the other photographers, we saw each other and I snapped a photo of him with my sister-in-law, Debbie.  At that moment I was so happy we got to share another Springsteen concert experience.  We’re all looking a little older, but that same energy is there.

After begging to see The Police at age 13 and Tears for Fears at 15,  I was finally allowed to go to my first concert at 16.   On August 9, 1985,  I went to see Bruce at Soldier Field with Steve and a friend.  It was general admission, so we had to wait most of the day outside of the stadium.  We sat on the sidewalk in the heat for hours until they opened the doors, and when the moment came, all I remember is my brother yelling, “Run!”

We tore through people and fought our way to the front part of the field (not front row but we were closer than mid -field).   After 4 hours of amazingness and the dark, electric drive home, I took a bath, the water turned black, and I realized great things are worth waiting for.  Even if you have to leave them.

Mexican Pride

September 12th, 2016 Permalink

This little girl made September 11 a little brighter.  5- year-old Nancy Venega on her horse before the start of East Chicago’s Mexican Independence Day Parade, Sunday September 11, 2016.

This little girl made September 11 a little brighter.  5- year-old Nancy Venega on her horse before the start of East Chicago’s Mexican Independence Day Parade, Sunday September 11, 2016.

Black and White

August 2nd, 2016 Permalink

I decided I was going to be a photographer one way or another after taking a basic black and white course at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, ME.  I ran across the photos I took before everything went digital and I was just out having fun. Right when those little Italian schoolgirls came running [...]

I decided I was going to be a photographer one way or another after taking a basic black and white course at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, ME.  I ran across the photos I took before everything went digital and I was just out having fun. Right when those little Italian schoolgirls came running toward me, I knew I was hooked.  If you are ever thinking of getting away from it all and learning a new skill, I highly recommend this little gem of a place.  I learned to see Paris, Florence, and my own backyard in a completely new way.   (The last photo is my favorite.  My nephew Sean sipping pretend tea – those cheeks are gone – he’s 16!)