October 2019

The work to life balance continues to be a little out of whack since I’m more focused on my business at the moment. For work I had interesting assortment of jobs in the month of October and took me to some new and interesting places for the first time. The first few weeks of the month, I had a gig of one kind or another. My first photo gig of the month was local as I did an engagement session for a former classmate of mine and her fiancé at Van Patten Woods. The first new location that I visited this month was Holy Hill in Hubertus, WI. Since the family session was later in the day, I decided to head up on the early side and do a little bit of wandering of my own. Then the following week, I ran a photo booth for my niece’s birthday party.

The end of the month turned out to be a little hectic as I had 3 different gigs over the weekend and the 1 final gig to close out the month. The final Saturday of October started out with me doing my first gender reveal session. Then in the afternoon on Saturday, I did some before photos of a house that a friend of mine recently bought and will be having remodeled. For Sunday, I made my first trip to Morton Arboretum for an awesome engagement session. To closeout the month of October, I had a friend of mine stop by for a headshot session.

Now as I previously stated, my social life was fairly calm this past month. After the family portrait session at Holy Hill, I came back home spent some time hanging with my buddy and former coworker, Carl, at his place. The following weekend, Carl and I managed to finally find a time when another former coworker, Chris Mallon, could join us. We ended up going out to Salutos for pizza and some well overdue catching up. Although, I did run a little late that evening because I decided to stop by ZombieWauk beforehand. Then on Halloween night, I decided to dress as Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and go on the Waukegan Main Street’s Boos and Brews Bar Crawl. I ended up catching up with the people on that bar crawl at Win Win and followed it up from there with 17 North and Green Town Tavern later.

The month of November is likely to be more of the same with mostly business with a little bit of fun mixed in. So far I have shoots tentatively planned for the next two weekends with a family session next weekend and an engagement session the following weekend. I’m also working to on getting together a Christmas mini session perhaps for Small Business Saturday if all goes well. My studio presents a unique challenge for me, but I’m going to work hard to figure out how to best utilize it. Currently, I don’t have much in the way of social planned, but I am looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with my family. Well, that’s all for now until next time.

September 2019

I have a mixture of emotions about the past month. On one hand the positive is that I had a decent amount of work and had a decent amount of social events during this month. In fact, the second weekend of September definitely goes down as one of the more hectic ones that I’ve had during my time as a photographer. On Friday the 13th, I photographed the wedding of Billy and Ryan at Brighton Acres in Oshkosh, WI. The next day on Saturday, I did photography for Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit and VIP Reception at the Field Museum in Chicago. Once that was over I hurried back to Waukegan so I could do an hour of photography at birthday party as well.

It was a bit of a blessing that after that weekend, I had a couple weeks free to get caught up on editing photos from that weekend. Me and my folks decided to celebrate getting caught up on editing by going out to Quonset for some pizza and beer. It was also nice be able to get caught up on my editing in time for my final portrait session of the month as I photographed the Larsen family over at Roosevelt Park here in Waukegan.

I had a little bit more of a social life during September than I’ve had in some months recently. The first Saturday in September ended up being a busy, fun filled day where I caught up with quite a few people that I hadn’t seen in awhile. The first event of the day was attending the party in my backyard for my neighbor’s daughter 2nd birthday. Once the party was winding down, I went to hang out with my buddy, Carl, who I hadn’t seen in a few months. Then the final stop of the night was hanging out with another buddy, Raul, at his cousin’s birthday party.

Then, the Thursday before my busy weekend was a fun day as well. I won tickets compliments of the City of Waukegan Chamber of Commerce to see the screening of Napoleon Dynamite followed by a question and answer session with Jon Heder (Napoleon), Jon Gries (Uncle Rico), and Efren Ramirez (Pedro) at the Genesee Theatre. I ended up inviting my friends Celeste, Julio, and José to come along with the tickets I won. Also joining us were our friends, Rmneet and Taylor, who had bought tickets for this screening when it was initially announced months ago. We all even got to sit together since Julio used his connections from when he worked at the Genesee to get it so we got some good seats altogether.

Now the reason why I mention that September brought a mixture of emotions is because I lost a friend , Jennifer Schneider, to suicide. She was one of the kindest and sweetest people I’ve ever met so the news of her passing caught me off guard. It was just a few months earlier when I was surprised to find out that she was back in the area when I ran into her at a local environmental rally. Then a couple weeks after that we met up for coffee and discussed a wide range of topics. She seemed optimistic about the future and talked about having the opportunity to have a fresh start. I never would have thought that would be the last time I’d ever see her.

August 2019

My photography work for the month of August came over the first couple weekends of the month. And maybe even by the end of the month of September I’ll be caught up on posting and give a more in depth story of my August photography gigs. For now I’ll tell you that the first Saturday of the month, I traveled to Indiana to photograph a wedding. Then, I felt blessed that the second weekend of August because I did not have to travel far from home for my photography gigs that were both in Waukegan. First, on that Saturday I photographed a birthday part for a three year old’s birthday. Then on Sunday, I photographed a wedding over at Bowen Park.

My social life was rather quiet during the month of August. Lately, I’ve been opting for staying in and working on my business rather than going out. These days growing my business is my top priority so it’s probably going to be mostly the same for my social life in September. The only social event that’s on the agenda for this month is birthday party for my downstairs neighbors’ daughter, Ely. Other than that during a game night this past weekend, there was talk of having another game night later in the month.

I’m happy to say that my schedule for photography in September is a bit more busy than my personal life. I have one weekend that is very busy in the middle of the month. On Friday the 13th, I will be heading up to Osh Kosh, WI, to photograph a wedding. Then the next day I have two events on my schedule with most my day spent in Chicago at the Field Museum photographing Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit and VIP reception. Once that’s finished, I’ll have to see how quickly I can make my way back to Waukegan to take photos at a birthday party. Other than that busy weekend, I may have a couple family sessions the last weekend of the month.

July 2019

The month of July was certainly more of a month of work than play. There were a few times where my photography took me took familiar territory. With the first gig of this month it was the fact that I was photographing my former hairdresser, Maria, and her family. The next two gigs the familiarity sprung from the fact that they took place at a location, Bowen Park, that I’ve been to on numerous occasions. Granted, they could not have been two more different jobs. The first was a 6-month milestone portrait session that had originally been planned for June, but ended up getting pushed back due to the weather. To contrast with that, the other work I did at Bowen was capturing a wedding ceremony.

The end of the month ended up being a little busy for me as I had three different photo jobs in the last week. Last Friday I had motivation to get my studio space back in order as I had someone stop by to get some basic photos for a modeling portfolio. Then on Saturday, I traveled up to the Menomonee Falls, WI area to photograph a wedding. To close out the month, I had a portrait session for a pet turtle of all things at Bevier Park. I’m trying to get back more into blogging and tell you at least about some of this different shoots that I had in July.

As previously stated, my social life was certainly more low key during this month especially when compared to last month. The most noteworthy social time was the second weekend of July. The weekend started a little early for me as I took Friday off since it was the day a bench at the Waukegan Public Library was getting dedicated to my maternal grandparents. The next day, I checked out Scoop the Loop with some friends since it was happening in downtown Waukegan. Finally, I closed out that weekend on Sunday by getting together for game night. Other than one busy weekend I didn’t have too much going on in my social life.

Currently I don’t have much planned for the month of August. The only things on my schedule are photography gigs the next two weekends. First, there’s a wedding that I’m photographing tomorrow in Crown Point, IN. Then, I have a party that I’m doing photography for the following weekend. Meanwhile, I don’t have any definitive plans as far as social engagements. I’m debating whether to catch a concert or two, but there is nothing definitive at the moment. Well, until next time. hope all is well.

Chi.Shooters x We Out Here Gallery Photo Meet Up

I didn’t have a ton on my schedule this week so it allowed me the opportunity to get caught on some photography that I did on the side. These photos are all the way from the beginning of March from when Chi.Shooters and We Out Here Gallery hosted a photo meet up and silent auction of prints by Chicago photographers. It was really cool getting to see some of the work from local photographers and getting to take photos of some awesome models during this event. I took a ton of photos during this event and would have taken even more if I hadn’t run out of space on my memory card.

2018-19 Waukegan High School Boys Basketball

I meant to sort through and post my photos I took during the Waukegan Bulldogs’ season earlier then I actually am. I finally got inspired to make this post by the fact that Lake County Senior Shootout happened last Friday. I was aiming for having this post ready on Friday, but it ended up being a little more than I could actually handle so here I am posting it now. I also had thought about attending the Lake County Senior Shootout to see Waukegan’s seniors play one final time and I didn’t end up doing that either.

If you didn’t follow the Bulldogs this season, you missed out on one of their best teams in school history. I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t take notice and start attending games until the beginning of 2019, but I’m happy that I did. In total I attended 9 of Waukegan’s basketball games as I saw them play Lake Zurich, Dundee Crown, Zion-Benton, Libertyville, Fremd, Warren twice, and Stevenson twice. They were 7-2 in the games that I attended with sole losses being against Stevenson.

What this Waukegan squad composed mostly of seniors accomplished as both a team and individuals this season was great to see. It was awesome getting to see a team that set the school record for most wins in a single season, a share of the conference title, and made a run to the sectional championship. It was also exciting seeing Bryant Brown set the record for most points scored while playing for Waukegan. No doubt hey can hold their heads up high knowing that they made Waukegan proud this year. Next year definitely will not be the same with Bryant Brown, Andre White Jr., Jordan Brown, Jaylin Cunningham, Kavon Colder, Ja’Dyn Brown, and Ryan Edingburg all graduating.

March 2019

I don’t feel like the saying “March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb” is accurate in terms of my month of March. My month had an interesting bit of variety to it when it comes to my photography. Early in the month I participated in a photography meet up hosted by Chi Shooters and We Out Here Gallery. Maybe this week I’ll end up getting to editing the photos from this event. The other photography meet up that I was planning on attending that was hosted by Visions Meet Up was cancelled since the host had an emergency that had to be attended to.

March 16th was a busy day for me that involved photography and my first time doing video work. In the morning, I was helping out the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum doing some video work during the Illinois Reads Book Festival that was taking place in town at the high school. Then, later in the afternoon I did some more video work during the dedication of Ray Bradbury Park as a literary landmark. Once that was finished my responsibilities set in as a photographer and I headed straight over to Undercroft Gallery to be there during ArtWauk that evening.

On the business front, a decent amount of progress is being made as I continue to try to promote my business. I am getting very close to securing one last wedding at my reduced rate that I was offering since I was portfolio building. So right now I have a bit of work to do as I’m planning on promoting my services at my new price. In March, I even had the honor of being the photographer for Dennis and Dareth Reed’s wedding. Be on the lookout for blog post about that some time down the line.

On social front in March, I got out to the sectional game between Waukegan and Stevenson. If you follow the Waukegan’s basketball team, you know it was sadly a loss for Waukegan. Granted, there are few things that can are quite as exciting as high school basketball at the Dog Pound in March. I also always consider running a gallery during ArtWauk to be a social event since I can usually count a few friends coming through and visiting. My final bit of fun for the month was going to Chicago to catch Emancipator at the Chop Shop in Chicago.

For the rest of the month of April, I don’t have many plans for the coming weeks. Right now one of the main events on the schedule is participating in ArtWauk on April 20th. Then the week after that, I’m going to be doing photography for a 50th wedding anniversary party out at Illinois Beach State Park. It is nothing too new for me as I normally am not much of a planner so I’m eager to see what this month has in store for me.

Thor Portrait Session

My Thor portrait session was a long time coming so I was happy that I finally knocked it out last month. See one group of my friends that I hangout with occasionally have different members of the Avengers that they consider to be their character. At some point I decided that I should Thor in that group since I was growing out my hair at the time and plus it seemed fitting since Thor's human alias was Donald Blake. 

The inspiration to do this shoot actually came a bit later when I found a Thor t-shirt at a thrift store in the spring last year. The cape ended up getting added in later in the year as it was part of my Thor costume that I wore for Halloween. The thing that really lead to me finally making this portrait session happen was that I decided it was finally time to get a haircut. That decision was kind of a combination of changing things up in the new year and also I just wasn't the biggest fan of having long hair. The very next day after this portrait session, I went out and got my first haircut in over a year and a half and I have to say I don't regret it one bit.  

Plus, I figured I wouldn’t lose my status as Thor since in the Marvel movies Thor was no longer sporting the long locks. As a friend of mine pointed out, I can still wear my Thor costume for next Halloween with the minor addition of an eye patch if I’m going for being him from Thor: Ragnarok. Then again I could just skip the eye patch altogether since Thor get a replacement eye in Avengers: Infinity War. Sorry if that spoiled it for anyone but you’ve had plenty of time to see the latest Avengers movie. It has even been available on Netflix for over a month now.

January 2019 is a free trial month

At some point during this January I saw the meme “I’ve decided that my 2019 will begin on February 1st. January is a free trial.” This idea has resonated with me a bit so it’s stuck with me since I first saw it. If we go along with this line of thinking, I hope you all had a good trial month and are ready for 2019 to know really begin now. For myself, January a bit of a mixed bag, but I’m looking forward to what the rest of 2019 has to offer.

The month of January went pretty well in regards to the business side of things which has me feeling optimistic since this is generally regarded as a slower time of year. I started the month by doing headshots for the Schuler Scholar Foundation’s Career and Internship Fair at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Skokie. It was very cool working for Schuler since I am an alum of their organization. I also had a couple portrait sessions them month with an engagement session at Lincoln Park Conservatory and a senior portrait session in my studio. My last gig of the month was doing photos for the induction service of Lucy Villalobos, who is a neighbor of my parents.

One of my main goals in the new year was being more social and meeting new people. On one hand I did go to a few more events than I normally do, however, that unfortunately did not result in meeting as many new people as I would have like it have. I feel like the upcoming months will be better for meeting new people as I’ll be more willing to go out as we move past cold, snowy weather that winter brings. There have been a few times this month where I skipped going out because I didn’t feel like dealing with the elements. I’m going to venture a guess that I’m not alone in having a preference to stay in at times for this reason.

Right now, my plans for the month of February are pretty open ended. For my business, the one plan I have for this month is participating in ArtWauk once again with my work on display at Undercroft Gallery. Otherwise, I don’t have any upcoming gigs this month so I just have to get to work on promoting my business in the mean time. I feel like it’s likely that things will be moving in a positive direction with my social life this month. The only semi solid plan I have is to try to attend as many Waukegan High School basketball games as I can this month. For the most part, I’m the type of guy who doesn’t plan too far ahead and instead makes plans as they come along so this month probably won’t be much different and I’m sure I’ll fine some fun adventures.

December 2018

It wasn’t that long ago that I was planning on blogging more often, yet here I am with it being over a month since my last blog post. I guess keeping up with this blog in the month of December was a little more than I could handle really. Going into the month, I did not have much on the calendar for photography work. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a few bookings throughout the month December.

During the month of December, I rented Laura Rodriguez’s studio a couple times for Christmas themed portrait sessions. I blogged about one of those sessions already and is actually the last post i made before I went on a bit of a hiatus from blogging. The other session that I did that studio was a Christmas pajama session and I’m hoping to blog about soon as long as I get permission to do so.

I also did some photography in my studio as well in the month of December. One of them was a fairly basic session where I created a portrait that was meant to be a partner piece for a portrait taken at a studio some years ago. The other session in my studio was part of the women of the Butler family. Since all of the family was in town, they decided it was an opportune time to get some portraits done. This session also was the first time that I’ve had dogs in my studio since two of their dogs were part of the portrait session.

Also, December marked my first foray into real estate photography. I was contacted one afternoon by Mauricio Solano from Greentown Investments with an inquiry about real estate photography. The next day I was out at the property taking photos of it before the remodeling work began. He told me that normally the homes they remodel are finished within a couple months. However, the property I photographed for him was going to take a little more time than normal since they planned on doing work on the driveway and that wasn’t possible until the warmer weather in spring. I’m intrigued to see how much it will change by the time I get to take the after photos.

December was also a positive month in terms of my social life. It was a decent blend between family, friends, and other organizations that I’m a part. It’s always nice how this time of year helps to bring people together. The Lake County Art League and the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce had holiday parties that overlapped so I had the opportunity to do a bit of party hopping one day. As far as my time with my family, we managed to get everyone that lives in the area together on Christmas Eve to celebrate and decorate some gingerbread cookies. Then to end the year, me and some friends of mine went out to San Francisco for Coalesce to celebrate my birthday and to ring in the New Year! I felt like I ended this year right and had a good December.