Monthly Update

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.

October 2018

I’m a little late on posting about the month of October, but the optimist in me figures it’s fine since the month of November isn’t quite half way over right now. Overall I would say October was a decent month even if there was not a ton going on in my world in regards to business and social life. I had a couple different photo sessions and one major social event during the month.

My first photo session was late in the month and brought me to the new tower of the Lake County courthouse for wedding photography. I was a little unsure of what to expect when I decided that we should take the formal photos indoors since the weather was not looking particularly good on that Saturday. I was happy that security there helped me out and pointed me in the direction of the best spot for photographs in the building.

The other photo session was with the Vasher family and took place on Halloween at Independence Grove. I was surprised at how nice the weather was for this shoot as it was comfortable to be outside even without a jacket. This is actually the third time I’ve photographed them over the last year-and-a-half. It’s always interesting getting to see the growth over time and being able to capture it.

The big social event for the month of October was going to Florida for Suwannee Hulaween with some friends of mine. Normally when I’ve attended festivals, me and a few people opt for driving to the festival grounds and camp in a tent. This time around we decided to switch it up a bit and fly out and rent a R.V. This was my second year going to Hulaween and enjoyed it as much this time if not more since we had the luxury of our camper to help escape the elements. Some of my favorite acts from the weekend were Manic Focus, Break Science, Minnesota, Gramatik, and Tipper.

Currently, I do not have a ton of plans for the month of November with my business. The only upcoming photography gig this month is capturing pictures for Faith in Place’s Annual Fundraiser. Also, I will once again be participating in Small Business Saturday and selling prints and gift certificates for photo sessions. I will be sharing space with a few other talented artists in downtown Waukegan at the Parlor. I also have some of my artistic work currently on display at Family Piano Co, Urban Edge, and the Jack Benny Center in Bowen Park.

My calendar is looking rather sparse for the rest of the month. This weekend was actually decent as far as events to attend was concerned. On Friday, I paid a brief visit to Booner’s Place for a networking event that drew a pretty sparse crowd. Then on Saturday, I had a good time going to my friend Julio’s new place for an apartment warming party. It was a ton of fun getting to hang out with a group of friends that I had not hung out with in quite awhile. Also, I’m counting this evening as an extension of the weekend since I’m planning on going to Sketchbook Brewing Co. for their 4th anniversary celebration. The rest of the month, I do not have much planned, but then again that can change pretty quickly sometimes. Well, I hope everyone has a good month of November and great Thanksgiving!

August 2018

Photography work was minimal for the the month of August. One of the bookings that I thought I might have at the beginning of the month for a Racine couple's 10th anniversary fell through unfortunately. Meanwhile as I posted about in my last blog entry, I did the Larsen family portrait yet again this year. Also noteworthy for my photography is that I will have a few pieces on display at the Family Piano Company. Currently the photos on display are from summer since my plan is to have pieces that coordinate with seasons of the year. It's definitely a very cool opportunity that Family Piano Company has allowed me in using their space.

My big adventure for the month of August was going out to Colorado to see Pretty Light Live perform at Red Rocks Amphitheater. I'm very happy that I ended up finally making a trip out to Colorado after talking about it the last couple years. It was a great weekend with great music and friends in a beautiful environment. The only complaint I can possibly think of is that we did not do more exploring. Granted I'm hopeful that I'll make it back out that way some time to explore Colorado further. 

The month of September will definitely be an interesting one. On the first day of this month, I had my first big gig of the month as I photographed a quinceañera. Right now, I'm less than 2 weeks away from photographing the wedding of one a classmate from high school. Meanwhile as far as fun activities, we are now in the midst of one of the most exciting months on the sports calendar. College football started this weekend with my favorite teams, Notre Dame and the Ohio State University, winning their opening games. Then this weekend, the N.F.L. kicks off and the Bears face off against the Packers. And there's also my Cubs making a strong case once again to participate in playoff baseball again.

March 2018

It didn't phase me until over a week into the month of April that I had yet to post about the month of March. During the month of March, I had some work, but it is definitely not anywhere near as much as I would like to have. While I'm not looking to make excuses, I did spend the first week of March out of town so I lost a week as a result of that. Once I got back into town, I had a Sunday engagement session with a couple and their dog at Fox River Park in Burlington, WI. Later in that same week, I helped out the Waukegan Association of Music Partners and did some photos for them. I was a little disappointed that I didn't take man photos for A.M.P., but I'm hopeful that myself and A.M.P. learned something and know how to do it better the next time. Finally, I did headshots at my studio for the new board members of the City of Waukegan Chamber of Commerce.   

I'm disappointed to say that I do not have much on the books for upcoming work this month. Right now, I'm going to try to keep from partaking in much in the way of fun and social activities until I'm getting more in the way of consistent work. This past Saturday, I did some photography as a volunteer for Faith in Place's farmers' market at the Annunciation of Our Lady Episcopal Church in Gurnee. Earlier today, I got a call from someone who I schedule a model session with for this coming Saturday. The final weekend of the month, could be busy as I will be photographing a christening one day and possibly a wedding on another day.  

The month of March was fairly busy in regards to fun and social activities. The first week of the month was spent going to, attending, and coming back from Okeechobee Music Festival in Florida. It ended up being an alright festival, but in all likelihood I will not go back to it because it is not worth the drive that I need to make to get to it. The second Saturday of the month, I went to Waukegan Main Street's Mardi Gras Casino as one of the guests of Lisa May. I was excited and very pleased with getting to see John Mulaney latest stand-up, Kid Gorgeous, over at the Genesee Theatre. The final weekend of the month, I went down to Rosement to catch Bassnectar's event, Spring Gathering. Overall, I'd say that it was a pretty fun weekend even if I'm really not that big of Bassnectar fan. Of the two night, I enjoyed the first night more with Rezz doing an awesome job and Bassnectar being pretty good as well that evening.  

February 2018

The month of March has a little over a week left and yet I'm just now getting to making my monthly blog post for the month of February. During the month of February, I was unable to keep true to my goal of having at least one photo shoot a week. However, I did have a couple engagement photo sessions during the month of February so I wasn't completely dormant. I am hoping to finally post photos from those sessions when I find time. I also finished off the month by doing photography for Wake Up with Waukegan over at Bonnie Brook Golf Course. 

One of the most exciting changes that came with the month of February was new photography gear. In recent years, I have decided to allocate my money towards photography education programs and new lenses. Going into 2018, I was planning on finally investing in getting a new camera body since the Nikon D80 I owned was not a full frame camera and pretty outdated. Despite the limitations of my Nikon D80, I was doing my usual routine of procrastinating on purchase a new camera. I really did end up putting off purchasing a new camera for as long as I could. 

My need for a new camera would suddenly change on the morning of February 15th. That morning I decided that Waukegan Harbor seemed like a good location to do my photography. I thought the ice formations over on the south side of the harbor might make for some cool shots so decided to wander along the rocks a bit. I was a little torn between staying safe on the rocks or risking it and getting closer to the ice. In fact, I even added to my story on Snapchat pondering such a question. I eventually decided to take my chances on the ice and fell into the lake with my camera in hand. I quickly got out of the lake after my impromptu polar bear plunge, just not quick enough to save my camera. 

As I was walking back to my car after my dip in the lake, my main concern was having a camera for the engagement session the next day. I guess you can say that the universe gave me the push I needed to finally get a new camera. I ended up spending most my day looking at the available options for full-frame Nikon cameras and debating which one to get. Ultimately, I decided that at this moment the best camera for me is the Nikon D610 and have been happy with that decision so far. 

Also during February, I found time to get out and have some fun in my spare time. I ended up going to the Aragon Ballroom for a few Friday night shows. The headliners for the shows I went to were Gramatik, Ganja White Night, and Excision. Of the three shows I attended, I would have to say my favorite had to Excision since his music is so heavy and visuals are always so amazing. February also marked the first time in quite awhile that I attended ArtWauk since my schedule finally allowed it and I didn't have any work on display in any of the galleries.

January 2018

Well, the month of January I've been working on trying to build momentum with my photography and get my business moving in the right direction. I'm continuing to work on both the 365 project and the portrait-a-day project that I started in 2017. Another personal project that I'm trying to resurrect is a weekly creative portrait project. Yesterday was the first day where I resumed work on that project.

For my business, I'm trying to have at least one portrait session each week. So far I've accomplished that goal between two paid shoots and two free ones. The paid ones was Bhargavi's maternity session and family portraits for the Vashers. The free ones were of my nephew, Je'kori, and then an anniversary session with my parents. Also, I had the honor of photographing the ribbon cutting for Real Invest Inc. It was very cool getting to see a side-by-side comparison of how they remodeled their office building and exciting to hear how they could help with future developments in our community. 

I am also happy to say that I followed through on becoming a member of the Lake County Art League and the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce. I'm looking forward to seeing how these organizations can help me to grow as an artist and businessman. Joining the Chamber has already started to pay off with attending their Business After Hours event at Cracken Cakes & More. If it wasn't for attending that event, I wouldn't have met Mikki Schuk of Real Invest Inc. and been asked to photography the ribbon cutting. Also, I met a fellow photographer named Marie Schoblocher. She was helpful in that she gave me new ideas for my marketing and also said maybe I could second shoot some weddings with her.

Finally, what is life if you can't have a little fun. I went over to my alma mater to see Waukegan beat one of their big rivals, Zion-Benton. Also, I took in a couple shows in January. The Aragon Ballroom is starting become a venue that I'm becoming pretty familiar with the last couple months. This month I went to Datsik there and did he ever put on a show. My other show in January was actually my first show at the United Center. I finally got to see one of my favorite bands, the Killers. It was definitely up there as far as my favorite shows I've attended goes.

September & October 2017

September found me with a few different photo jobs, but not an overwhelming work schedule overall. In early September, I had a Saturday where in the morning I had a maternity session in the morning at Greenbelt Forest Preserve and then in the afternoon I photographed a two years old's Sesame Street themed birthday at Old School Forest Preserve. Then in the middle of the first week of September, I went to the headquarters of Premier Build + Design Group to do a few headshots. In mid-September, I cleaned up my studio space and showed off some of my latest work during ArtWauk. During that same weekend, I had a headshot photo session in downtown Waukegan for a local actor.  The next weekend found me at Salt Creek Golf Club taking photos for the 2nd Annual Kick to Cure Cancer Foot Golf Outing. The final Friday of the month of September, I photographed the wedding of Steny and Lisa at the Highland Park Community House. Then I finished up the month of September by photographing the sixteenth birthday of my friend's sister.

The month of October was much less busy in terms of photo work. In fact all of my photo work happened on a Saturday in late October. In the morning, I photographed a courthouse wedding and then did photos of the wedding party down at Waukegan Harbor. Then in the evening, I was the photographer for Waukegan to College's Oktoberfest at Bernie's Book Bank. It was actually for the better that this was how my schedule worked out since it allowed me to spend most of my time finishing up working on painting my parents' house. I celebrated completing work on the house by going down to Suwannee Hulaween.

So far things are shaping up pretty well for this month. I'm excited to see ODESZA perform at the UIC Pavillion this Saturday. Also, I'm happy that for the first time in quite a while I can focus on being a full-time photographer and have a couple events this month. First, I'll be having a show during ArtWauk at the Undercroft Gallery. Then, I'll be participating in Small Business Saturday at the Parlor. Life looks like it's on upward trend here.

April 2017

Happy May Day everyone! Well, the month of April began with a flurry of work. Key Lime Cove was busy because it was spring break for many areas. Then, in addition to that I was helping out at the Lisa May for Mayor campaign. It was amazing seeing so many local people from different backgrounds coming together for a common cause. Unfortunately, despite all the hard work and effort everyone put into the campaign, we ended up losing by a couple hundred votes. While we may not have experienced the victory we wanted, I am optimistic that people in Waukegan will continue to push our politicians for the change we need here.

In the time after this campaign season, I worked at Key Lime Cove until its final days. In the days leading up to the closing for Great Wolf Lodge to begin remodeling, the mood at the resort was very somber. I am going to miss all the great people that I met during my time at the resort. When I took this job, I was thinking it was going to be a summer job and instead I stuck around for almost four years. It's sad to see it go, but I'm also looking forward to having an opportunity to spend more time on my photography now.

Over the last month, I have not done nearly as much photography as I would like to have done. I had a couple gigs as I photographed a child's birthday party and a wedding at the courthouse. I have fallen off my pace for my 365 photo project and my self portrait. Today is a new month and a fresh start so I'm planning on getting back to my photo project. Also, looking forward to pursuing new photography jobs and spending to learning my craft better.

April 2016

April was a very busy month for me and as a result I forgot to do much of anything in terms of blogging. I will work on bring more in depth posts on the last month to a screen near you very soon. I'm happy to say it was mostly my photography that kept me busy and not working at the hotel.

 I started the month with one very hectic day as I worked at the hotel and did wedding photography on short notice in the evening. The next week I worked with an event planning company called Ellis Illusions and did photography for a prom themed 30th birthday party. I really had one of those experiences where you are reminded how small the world is sometimes when I ran into the head event planner from Ellis Illusions while I was working at the hotel a little more than a week after the party.  

Right now, each job is still something that is new to me and a learning experience. I also did a headshot a few weeks ago for an employee of Premier Design + Build Group. Then last week I did engagement photos in my studio. This week the wild world of photography had me doing photography for a children's birthday. Photography for children's birthdays can really take it out of you. 

Don't worry the month wasn't all work and no play making Dylan a dull boy. I found time to have fun as well. In fact even managed to mix business and pleasure as I met some great local business owners at the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event at Three Brothers Theatre. A couple weeks ago me and my friends enjoyed some time in Chicago for a Cubs' game on the rooftops. I went down to Springfield with Clean Power Lake County for Lobby Day. Finally, I spent a few days visiting my alma mater, Bradley University. I had been meaning to visit for quite some time and knew the timing was right when a couple of my pieces got selected to have a couple of my pieces in the the Bradley University Photography Society's Considering Light and Time exhibition fundraiser.