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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.

Spread the Hug

Spread the Hug is an organization that I first became involved with as a volunteer.  It all began in May 2017 when I came across an ad on Craigslist looking for a photographer for free hugs in downtown Chicago. Once I took a more thorough look at the ad and the related site (spreadthehug.love), I was impressed by the organization's mission and felt like it would an interesting opportunity for me to help out. The mission of Spread the Hug is breaking down barriers between people, reducing fear and hostility, cracking open hearts, spreading love, and encouraging a culture of kindness -- ONE BIG HUG at a time.

While the founder of the organization, Mark Abrams, was in Chicago for a business conference, he decided he would spend some time spreading the hug in the city. Our crew for this event consisted of 4 people: myself, Mark, another photographer named Meagan Baker, and a videographer named Anthony Lasala. Going into this, I think most of us thought we were only simply going to be chronicling Mark hugging people outside the Water Tower Place in Chicago. Instead, Mark encouraged us all to participate and we all did at one time or another. 

Helping and participating in this event in Chicago, ultimately lead to me becoming a seed of sorts for Spread the Hug. Once I got my hug dealer t-shirt in the mail, I began to wear it for one of the days of the festivals I attend. Over the last year, I have dealt hugs and given out awesome cards at Hulaween, Pretty Lights Detroit Night 2, Okechobee, Summer Camp, and Electric Forest. And don't worry because I do not plan on calling it quits any time soon. If you're interested in participating yourself, follow this link here.

Ahhh!!! I haven't posted a blog in 3 months!!!

I'm pretty sure I don't have many people who follow this blog right now so I don't think there have been too many people eagerly waiting to know my whereabouts. And also I'm not really sure where to even begin honestly. The last few months have been an exercise in my ongoing battle to try to find the proper balance between work and play. There was even a time briefly where I had to manage working two jobs at once. 

Over the last few months, I have had an interesting assortment of photography jobs. Late in the month of April, I chronicled Faith in Place's trip down to Springfield for Advocacy. Then I ended the month by capturing photos of Greek Orthodox christening. Then, I began the month of May by working once again for the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce for their Wake Up with Waukegan event, which had Congressman Brad Schneider as the guest speaker. Also during May, I assisted a local photographer by the name of Marie Schoblocher with a wedding up in Kenosha, WI. 

Looking back, the month of June was actually pretty busy and perhaps that's part of the reason it went by so quickly. To begin the month, I participated in a couple different art fairs. The first one was on the first Friday in June and was called the D.I.Y. Art Fair at Cracken Cakes and More in Beach Park. While there was not much in the way of people that visited that art fair, I'm always eager to take any opportunity to try to get my name out to a wider audience. Then the next day, I had a tent in the Dandelion Wine Art Festival. This is the 4th time that I have been a part of this festival. I keep coming back because there is generally a decent turn out and I usually sell a piece or two.

In addition to art fairs, I also had a decent amount of photography work during the month of June. In fact, there was a four day stretch where I had a photo gig each day. I started off on a Wednesday with me doing photography for the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce's Golf Outing at Glen Flora Country Club. The next day I went out to Itasca to do a couple headshots for Premier Design + Build Group. My Friday evening was spent having fun doing photography at a 3 year old's birthday party. My final job during this stretch was actually photography for the 3rd Annual Kicks to Cure Cancer Foot Golf event at Salt Creek Golf Club in Wood Dale. My final gig of the month was a week later when I did photos for a married couple's joint 50th birthday, which they coined as a 100 year celebration. 

Meanwhile when it comes to fun, I have been at a different music festival nearly every other weekend it seems like recently. I ended the month of May by going to Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe once again. Then a couple weeks after that I spent the weekend in Chicago for Spring Awakening Music Festival. It was actually the first time I've attended the full weekend in a few years. Finally, during the end of June, I returned to Electric Forest in Rothbury, MI, for my 3rd straight. It's always such a fun festival that you can count good music, art, and vibes. 

And with all that, I feel like I've gotten you all caught up with my life over the past few months. The month of July has been interesting so far and will likely continue to be the case. During the first week of July, I got back from Electric Forest and had a low key 4th of July celebration at my parents' place. Meanwhile, yesterday started off with me doing photography of a baptism ceremony at St. Paul the Apostle Church and the reception afterwards at Primo.

 Tomorrow, I'm beginning my trek out to another music festival, Camp Bisco, which is in Scranton, PA. This is my first time going to this festival, but I was inspired to go since my two friends' that went last year really enjoyed it. Plus, I think it's a little cool that it's in the city where Dunder Mifflin is located in the show "The Office". The weekend after I get back will be interesting as well. There will be lots of family in town since my cousin, Agnes, will be getting married in Chicago. I'm unsure of how much I will be seeing of visiting family though because I have a couple photo gigs that weekend. I have a family portrait session on that Friday and the next day I will be missing my cousin's wedding and instead be photographing a backyard wedding in Burlington, WI. As I said, July will be an interesting month.

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.

December 2017

Good thing one of my resolutions for the new year wasn't to make my blog posts in a more timely manner. Especially since here we are almost a third of the way into the month of January and I'm just now posting an update on how December went for for me. The month of December provided very little in the way of rest. The first week of the month kept me busy with photography. On the first Sunday of December, I had a morning family portrait session in Lake Bluff and in the evening I had wedding up in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, that I photographed. Then on Wednesday that week, I did event photography for the Climate Action for Lake County and Puerto Rico. Also during this month, I did a couple headshots with one client being a former classmate of mine and the other being one of a current friend. December marked my second month of displaying my work during ArtWauk at Undercroft Gallery, which is located in the basement of Christ Episcopal Church. 

Meanwhile, there were plenty other events that kept me busy as well during the month of December. I went to a variety of different shows in the area including acts such as Tchami, Illenium, Midnight Tyrannosaurus b2b Figure, and even went to see the Impractical Jokers. The end of year has the tendency to have plenty of get togethers and I ended up going to parties held by Clean Power Lake County, Schuler Scholar Program and my former job, Six Flags. Even with all that, my favorite part of the month was following Pretty Light Live on their end of year tour stops. Me and my friends saw them play two nights in Detroit and the New Year's Eve show in Philadelphia. It was a ton of fun doing that and I don't think I could have asked for a better way to celebrate my 30th birthday. 

I'm doing my best to start this year strong and trying to grow my business. I had my first portrait session this last weekend in my studio. This aligns nicely with my goal of having at least one portrait session per week. I'm hoping to keep the momentum going and getting my nephew, Je'kori into the studio of Friday. Once again, ArtWauk is sneaking up on me with it less than two weeks away already. Another step I'm taking to increase my visibility is becoming a member of both the City of Waukegan Chamber of Commerce and the Lake County Art League. 

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.

August 2017

Many times the months feel like they move by a pretty quick pace and August was not the exception to this rule. In fact, August feels like it flew by at ultra sonic speed and I feel like I'm struggling to figure out the events of this month. Well, I had a couple paid portrait gigs during this month. I'll give more details on one of my shoots at a later date. The other photo session was with the Larsen family. This is the third year that I've photographed their family and is it ever cool to see them grow year after year.

This was a decent month as far as my social life was concerned. One of the highlights of the month was going to Chicago to catch Pretty Lights performing at Northerly Island. Also had plenty of time to celebrate the changes that occurring in the lives of those that are around myself. Seemed like I got to experience quite a range celebrations from a baby shower to a send-off party to a 91st birthday party. Don't worry though, all that partying did not wear me out.

This month I also continued to volunteer for Clean Power Lake County. I was actually part of the planning committee for the beach cleanup and rally that we held. The major event of the day was the Lake County Climate Action Pledge that was introduce by Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor at the rally. The other accomplishment that we can pat ourselves on the back about is having a great turn to participate with this event.