Posts Tagged ‘No Real Purpose’

Different Places, Different Times, Different Looks


“I like your nature shots a lot it’s a new side to you,  but it nice to see some people again.” – Kathy

I’ve been thinking about this as well for a while.  Ultimately I think it comes down to my photography changes as my life changes.

In Chicago I did do work like this, just not much, and for a simple reason, it wasn’t an available option.  Today I can drive 15 minutes and be in Red Rock Canyon.  I can drive 30 minutes and be on Mt. Charleston.  In Chicago this wasn’t possible, and I’m enjoying having the option available for the first time in my life and taking advantage of it.

I am, trust me, working to go back to more people photography also.  I miss it.  A lot.  It’s just going to take a some time.  In Chicago I had a pretty broad and varied network of friends and contacts.  I knew what was happening, when and where, and if I didn’t already know I knew how to find out.  I had build that knowledge base, acquired those resources, and met those people over 20 years.

I’ve been in my new home for 6 months.  I want to have those options available to me again, and I will, I just don’t yet.  I’m working on finding all the whacky and fun in Vegas, but I’m looking for more off-the-strip stuff.  That’s just more interesting to me at this point.  I will it more and more, but it’s an area that I’m definitely working on growing.

And my photography is, in the end, from wherever I am.  These days, I’m outside, usually taking hikes.  I’m rather enjoying it, as it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to.  But as my activities change, so will the imagery.

Rock Bottom, with some salt


Spent the day wandering around Death Valley on Friday.  There was a cold front going through (it was only going to be in the mid-90s) and it’s probably the last chance I’d get to go for a few years.

These images are all from Badwater, the lowest point in North America, 282 feet below sea level.  There was actually a little water there, not much, but some.






Because I Can LXXV



Because I Can LXXIV


In Red Rock Canyon by Vegas.


Party for the Laid-Off


This was a party for the group of us that were laid-off.  Some of the people here saw their last day and some just came to buy drinks and talk…and maybe do a little singing as well.




What’s Up?


So…some of you may be wondering, what’s up?  It’s a somewhat short, but fairly intense story, it also goes better after a drink or two or forty-eight.

About 2 weeks was my last day at the company I had been at for the past 7 years.  I was laid-off.  Don’t feel bad, it’s a good thing.  As several people have already noted to me, I had been sounding done with that place for over a year.  I was.  Time to move on.

The timing actually worked out fairly well.  (If you haven’t started drinking here, and don’t know what I’m about to say, start drinking, it helps, trust me.) I’ve upped and moved to Vegas to live with my 4 month pregnant gal.  Yep, I live in the Southwest now and have a kid on the way.  Life is…interesting.

I’m still figuring out many things, like what my job is going to be as my industry is in the toliet.  I don’t know a lot of things which are coming to me and my life.  I do know I’m excited to for my future, far more excited than I have been in a long time.  There are a lot of challenges ahead, no doubt, but I think they can all be solved, I just don’t know how yet.

As for my photography…I don’t know if I’ll be working in the photojournalism field anymore.  I may be, I may not.  Ultimately I want to be sure my bills are paid and my family is taken care of first.  I couldn’t even take care of myself by the end of that old job.  I will be taking photos, I don’t know of what, I don’t know when, I don’t know how, I just know I will.  It’s my nature.  I do know that by the end of my old job the images I was making weren’t the images I wanted to be making, the images that I wanted to be making were all being done on the side for me.  With that in mind, I’m going to be able to keep making those images I want to make because I’ll make that happen.

So, a few photos, one of what I saw on December 27th, along with the confirmation tests.


A picture of where I live, I promise it’s in there and it’s taken from the mountain in the backyard.


And part of my new family, Esther (Erin’s mom’s dog), Motley and Stella.  And the last photo is Roxy.  They all like to sleep in my office while I work.



Photo Booth 2











If you were at the party and haven’t gotten a link to the photos yet let me know and I’ll send it to you.  And most people haven’t seen it because I’ve been bad about sending it out.

Welcome to the New Website and Blog


Howdy Everybody,

Welcome to my new blog and website.  It’s a combo thing.  And it’s new.  I’m not.  I’m the same.  I’m old.

I’d really appreciate comments and suggestions.  I’m making tweaks here and there still, definitely uploading content still, but regardless, I may not, am probably not, working on what you think needs to be changed.  So please let me know what you think I should change to make this blog and site better.

Thanks.  Have a good morning/afternoon/evening/late night snack.


By Red Rock Nevada


These are two panoramas I’ve done by Red Rock Canyon. This is what I do on vacation.

You can click, hold, and move the mouse to look around. It might take a minute for them to load, especially the first one, I didn’t spend much time optimizing them because I’m a bum like that.

Click on each image to go to the VR Pano.Red Rock 1

Red Rock 2

Doing It For Myself


I wish I could remember the number of times a photojournalist has told me to not focus on shooting for the office, for the paper and instead shoot what I want to shoot. I’m okay at this, not great, but okay.

So recently I acquired a phone with a camera and text messaging (my previous phone I bought around 99′ and at that point was fancy because it was digital. This new phone will hereafter be referred to as the “iWife”.) This has resulted in me texting all day long. It’s like swapping notes in class.

Somehow in the mix of all this I got to talking to a friend who lives in the desert these days about fall colors, and started sending photos taken with my iWife of fall colors, and now other random things, mostly with greenery. Reminders of leaves.

The funny thing is about this, I tend to like more of the photos I take with my iWife than with my other cameras. There is something about doing it for someone, doing it for fun, doing it for myself which makes it more rewarding.

At first when I made those images I didn’t put much work into them, point the iWife and push the button. As I’ve done it more I’ve started putting more effort into the images, why make a crappy image when I don’t have to? Why isn’t this photo for a friend as important as any other photo? Why isn’t it more important?

It’s fun. It’s really out of my norm. It’s not the kind of camera I like. It doesn’t give me the control I like. No shutter speed, no ISO, no white balance, no place for me to decide, for me to decide anything and while that encourages laziness, there is no reason I need to be lazy about the images. No room to crop later. Just shoot it, and send it right from the phone. Imperfect everytime and the better for it.

Now, mind you, the photos don’t have to fit a story or purpose like my stuff for the paper so they tend to be more “pretty pictures”. They tend to be images that will mean something to me and my friend, nothing more, but in that, I think they mean more than a lot of the other images I make.

Kind of sad that all my work can’t mean as much, but I’m proud that some of it does.




Wilderness in the City


jh_200808020916_d2h4307As much as I’m a city boy, and I am a city boy, damn, I just want to go hide in the woods most days. It always amazes how much of an option that really is in this city though.

Over the last umpteen years I’ve gotten to know a lot of little wilderness, or wilderness-y hideouts in the Chicago-land area. From the likes of some of the Forest preserves, to Northerly Island, and little odd spots here and there this city has some often surprising little hideaways.

Now, I’m not calling any of these a real replacement for the real Great Outdoors, but they are an escape from the city, a brief respite. I look for a lot of these places.

This is why I have to say I was a bit suprised to find a bird sanctuary right by downtown that I didn’t know about. This is by an area that I have biked past about 5 times so far this summer, and probably over 50 times in my life. It’s just south of McCormick Place and is called, shockingly enough, the McCormick Place Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary.

It’s actually a green roof for a parking garage, though you’d never know that unless you were told or were looking for the scattered air vents and emergency exits. From the surrounding areas it doesn’t look like much, just a grassy slope. Because it’s a plains/grassland environment this is enough to obscure it from sight. It’s not till you get into it that you lose most of the city, and get lost in high grasses.

Unfortunately or fortunately it’s closed off to people to protect the habitat, or at least much of it is. Regardless, it’s a nice little escapist gem in this city.

Now…back to work and driving. Ugh.




Ah, the Repetition of It All


I’ve been to this event, I think, 9 out of the last 10 years. Regardless of the exact number, it’s a lot.

On one hand there is the sheer repetition of shooting the same things, year after year after year after year. In all likelihood you just end up with small variations on the same images year after year.

On the other hand there is a kind of lazy comfort, you can get your job done easily and quickly, and there is an opportunity from that to try some new things because once you’re covered, why not ?


Things to Remember


I got to set-up the strobes more often. It just helps out so much sometimes. (I’m not saying it’s a good photo, it is a business portrait after all, just that it would be so much worse without the additional lighting.)

I don’t know


Some things in this world defy descripition, especially easy descripition. There are more things I want to say here than I know how to say, or even put into words. Hell, I don’t think I can take a picture that can even start to describe my thoughts and feelings, much less encompass them.

At the end of the day, “I don’t know” is a great statement, especially when you know it’s all good. And you know what? I know it’s all good, at least in this part of life, it’s all good, so good. And it makes me happy, peaceful.

Another Day on the Job, III



Where’s Josh?


Yeah, I’ve disappeared, I may stay disappeared for a while. Life is just busy. Good busy. Lots of biking, I’m hoping to add lots of kayaking, lots of living, which means less time to talk about living. I’m good with this, quite frankly.

You want to know much more? Drop me a line, drop me an email, or better yet, let’s go hang out, get out, and enjoy life. I’m around, I’ll just be around this particular locale less for a while. Later.

(having said that, watch, I’ll update every day for next month. Isn’t that just how it works?)

Celebratory Moment


I want to take a moment to celebrate my many amazing friends.

There is the Strange Tree Group, which comprises many wonderful friends. They have put together a show that is getting rave reviews left and right. Go see it, it’s worth it. (I would also like to note a member of that social crowd, or two actually, who have agreed to legally become one. Rock on! She wouldn’t answer me when I asked if she was pregnant. Hmmm…) (And for those who expressed an interested in going with me, I believe I’m going to go on the 10th, next Thursday.)

There is Chicago Tap Theatre who also has an awesome show up at the moment, also receiving high marks and reviews, as always for them. You should see their show also. Not to mention they are just incredibly kind and wonderful people. Really, just unnaturally nice. It disturbs me. (For those who asked, I’m going to try to be going this Saturday, but I’m not sure yet, of course.)

A friend who is about to leave for Texas to slack, I mean write poetry for three years. If I knew I could do that and call it grad school earlier I would’ve applied.

Another friend fighting back from surgery that stopped her work. She thinks she’s more alone than she is, which sucks, but she fights hard all the same. She will win, at least I know she will. I also know someday she’ll look at me and say, “Josh, you were right.” But I know that is true with most of you.

A friend who is taking a chance and starting a band. Lawyer by day, tap dancer by night. My kind of person, good human being, and pushing the bounds of what can in any reality be considered reasonable. Good stuff.

Another who is going to get the results of an important test tomorrow afternoon. Cross your fingers.

A friend I mentioned a while back, Peter “George” Ksander, who recently won an Obie for scenic design. Apparently in the theater world this is really big, as I’m not in that world, umm…okay, rock on George.

A friend who is building/re-building her life after a really hard year. One of those times when it’s not about winning awards, but just about being happy. It’s truly amazing, and wonderful to watch. Love is beautiful, I’ve known that for a long time, but she has shown me that on a level that is difficult to appreciate, express, and fills me day after day.

A friend who is (I guess it should be a “they” but really, are his hormones going nuts? Nope, it’s all about her) pregnant with her third. Cool stuff, though I’d never, ever, ever want to be pregnant, but I’m happy for her.

The list just keeps going and going and going. I can’t even remember off the top of my head all the awesome things all my friends are pulling off these days. In the world of problems, what a great problem to have.

I really do have the best friends in this world. And I keep finding more. I guess I’m just greedy.

Philosophical Honesty


The photo is from the Belmont Arts and Music Festival (BAM), and is totally unrelated to the pointless point that follows. Thanks. Hell, it’s not even related to BAM really either, it was just there.

I’ve been debating the difference, on a philosophical level of 4 colors, white, black, chrome (oh, shiny) and clear. See, none of them are colors, in fact, most every color you think of as a color isn’t a color. Sorry, accept this, accept that your brain is making all these things up, you only see red, green and blue (RGB), as colors, you also see brightness with rods. Hope I didn’t burst your bubble, but teal, it doesn’t exist, neither does purple, orange, yellow, or any color beyond RGB.

So, if your favorite color is white, you aren’t actually choosing a favorite color as it’s an equal mix of RGB. You are being indecisive. (though further thought must be put into what a “color” is and the contrubution of rods to this whole thought and not just cones.)

Black is just a lack of light, so hence, it’s not a color, it’s actually a lack of color. You like black? You like nothing. Kind of explains some of my friends teen years actually.

Chrome, while shiny, and hence wonderful, is a reflection, it shows you nothing except what’s reflecting off of it. That’s actually where this all starts, The Bean (or Cloud Gate). It’s impossible to take a photo of the Bean, all you can do is take a photo of the reflection which infers the existence of the Bean, but the Bean itself does not absorb and re-emit light, it just directly reflects light. When you look at the Bean you are not seeing the Bean, you never see the Bean, you are seeing the reflections the Bean creates. (I kind of wonder if the reflection an object makes is enough to prove the existence of an object, I think so, but…)

Clear, clear is the most honest of these four “colors”. It doesn’t pretend to be a color like white or black, or a color in a Crayon box like chrome. It acknowledges it’s lack of color and embraces it.

Product Placement Time


I don’t do much advertising, but time to do some.

You got some free time an upcoming weekend, this weekend, some weekend nearby? Good, I knew you did. Go see some theater. And if you ask me what you should see, and you’re still reading so I’ll assume you are asking, there are two productions I would see currently, and I will see both of them.

In this case, go see the Strange Tree Group‘s current production, “The Mysterious Elephant, And the Terrible Tragedy of the Unlikely Addington Twins* (*Who Kill Him).”

It’s getting good reviews, it’s a fun show, a fun night, and more importantly, I like it. (FYI – I have good taste in theater, maybe not clothes, nope, not clothes, but definitely in theater.) Should you want a “professional” review, go here (I’m still cooler though). And if you doubt that it is worth it, realize I give them my time, happily, to photograph their shows to encourage their work. It’s time well spent. I think they’re worth watching.

Tickets here.


It’s in the Eyes


I’ll trust the look in someone’s eyes before the words out of their mouth. This is the pitcher checking first base during the Oak Park South Side Little League Championship Game. (I’m still debating between vertical or horizontal.)