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.

Christmas Mini Session

Last week, I rented my friend’s studio space in downtown Waukegan and did my first ever mini session! Everything went well with the exception of the little girl not being the biggest fan of my strobe. Right now, I’m even looking forward to getting back into the studio again this weekend for another Christmas session. This was so inspiring that in 2019 I plan on hosting a few mini sessions in my own studio. So be sure to keep an eye out for those dates.

St. Nicholas Day

Today is St. Nicholas Day or at least the day that it is celebrated by people here in the U.S. Growing up I always remember being surprised by the arrival of St. Nicholas Day and not knowing many people outside of my family who celebrated it. We never did much in the way of preparation for the visit of St. Nick so his visit always caught me off guard. I remember waking up on what often seemed like a random December to find out that St. Nick had stopped by the previous night and left a small gift for each member of the family.

I always kind of enjoyed the fact that St. Nicholas Day would sort of sneak up on me most years. I think that was part of the reason why I didn’t put much energy into keeping track of what date it was celebrated on. However, once I was in high school knowing that St. Nicholas day was coming was unavoidable. See in high school, I took German for my foreign language and we celebrated since it is traditionally celebrated in Germany. Every year in German, we would leave out cut outs of shoes attached to a cup for St. Nick. I think it’s a little funny that we actually did more to prepare of St. Nicholas Day in that class than my family ever did at home.

Now that I’ve told you about what St. Nicholas Day means to me, I figure I might as well provide a little information on good ole St. Nick. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on a few different days depending on the culture. Western Christian cultures, such as Germany and the U.S., are known for celebrating on December 6th. This day is significant because it is the day when St. Nicholas passed away all the way back in the 4th century.

Of course I’m sure you’re wondering why St. Nicholas has a day where we celebrate his life. Well, he was a Greek bishop who was dedicated to helping the less fortunate. The story often told about him was at one time he came across an unfortunate man who could not afford the dowry for the marriages of his daughters. St. Nicholas ended up helping out this man by throwing three sacks of gold in this man’s house to serve as dowry for his daughters. Over time he became known for secretly giving gifts and leaving coins in people’s shoes.

The reputation of St. Nicholas leaving money in people’s shoes lead to the tradition in many cultures where people leave out their shoes by the fireplace or outside on December 5th in hopes of St Nicholas leaving gifts for them. If this sounds like a familiar tradition it is because Santa Claus came about from the traditions of St. Nicholas. So really good old St. Nick is the original and Santa Claus is a derivative of sorts that came from over here in the U.S.

November 2018

We're only a few days into December so I'm doing reasonably good on keeping up with my monthly updates. The month of November felt like it zoomed on by so quick and I'm not entirely sure what I did throughout the month. Looking back, I can't really say I did too much socially or in terms of photography actually.

My lone photography gig of the month was finishing the month by doing photography for Faith in Place's Lake County Annual Celebration and Fundraiser Luncheon. I also participated in Small Business Saturday for the third straight year with me setting up shop at the Parlor. Attendance was unimpressive, but I wasn't too surprised since the weather was a little cold and there's not much to draw people to downtown Waukegan. Events like that always lead to me contemplating how we can make our downtown a more desirable location for people to visit.

Meanwhile, my social life in was a little more active in comparison to my photography. Got together with friends who like to have game nights a couple times. First on the Saturday after Election Day, we gathered for an apartment warming at my friend Julio's new place. Then a week later, some of the usual game night crew convened at my friend Taylor's apartment.

Also, got together with some of my friends from high school a couple times during the week of Thanksgiving. The first time, we went to Anastasia's Restaurant and Sports Lounge to catch the Vikings playing the Bears on Sunday Night Football. The next time we had a home cooked dinner and hung out at my friend's place.

The month of December has a little more photography in store for me. A couple days from now, I'm going to be renting my friend Laura Rodriguez's studio for a family session. Then next week, I'll be taking portraits for the Waukegan Association of Music Partners at the three different winter concerts. I'm hoping that the red curtains I ordered for that, come in time.

For most people, the month of December is a pretty busy time of year. That is no exception for me as I have a few different holiday parties to attend in the next few weeks. Also, I will have to do one of my least favorite activities and get out for Christmas shopping.

Of course, the best part of this month for me is that it's my birth month. In fact, I share the same birth month as my parents. We started a tradition last year of going to Red Robin to get our bitrthday burgers together and plan on doing that this year as well.

The real excitement for me this month is happening around my birthday. Then again my birthday is usually pretty interesting since I was born on New Year's Eve and as a result it's pretty easy to find a good party to attend. This year I'll be out in San Francisco for Coalesce on my birthday and the new year. Definitely going to be a good way to celebrate my golden birthday.