Game Ready

The last time I photographed my neighbor Dylan playing baseball, he was six years old. He’s now an 8-year-old and still playing ball.resize IMG_2536 crop

Saturday’s cloudy morning was perfect for photography. I grabbed my Canon 6D and 70-200mm Canon L lens and headed to the ball field for an important game. A win for Dylan’s rec team, the Phillies, would mean they would be the #1 seed going into the playoffs.

Dylan played catcher and did a great job! Strrrrike!

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In between innings Dylan found time for silliness.

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Waiting his turn to bat. Things are a bit more serious now.

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At the plate. He got a hit!

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Jason is an all around great dad, good neighbor and committed assistant coach to the team. It’s not uncommon to see Dylan and Jason tossing the baseball in the driveway or cul-de-sac.

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At the game I photographed a few years ago, one of Dylan’s teammates knew I wasn’t Dylan’s mom, but I was taking a lot of photos of Dylan. The child asked if I was Dylan’s grandma. Grandma, really!?! Do I not look like an could be an aunt? The teammates at this game again must have noticed me taking a lot of photos of Dylan, but if they had a question as to who I was, they didn’t mention it. Time has made the boys wiser. Don’t mess with a woman’s age!

The Phillies won the game and this guy is a true team player!

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Way to go, Dylan!



The Lady Who Sells Moravian Sugar Cake

A friend and I recently visited Old Salem, NC for an afternoon of photographing in the quaint old town. She mentioned Moravian Sugar Cake. I had never heard of it, but was willing to give it a try. After all, something with “sugar” and “cake” in the name can’t be all that bad. We found the Sugar Cake at Winkler Bakery. It was indeed excellent!

The lady who sells the cake, along with other baked goods and sweets, is a sweetheart. So pleasant and cheerful, she’ll brighten your day by just walking in the door. She allowed me to take her photo near the hearth. There was beautiful light coming into the room from a nearby window. Beautiful light on a beautiful person.


Play Ball!

If you haven’t already met Dylan (he was featured in an earlier post titled “Emma & Dylan“), he’s the cute 6-yr-old kid on my street who loves to play baseball.



I had fun watching and photographing a game the other evening. I used my L Series 70-200mm lens to get close to the action. Dealt with hard light at 6:15 in the evening on an open field and shadows in the dugout. Also dealt with a little boy who doesn’t sit still.

It’s cool that the teammates take turns playing various positions throughout the game. The first position Dylan played was catcher.


It’s really tough being the catcher. You have to remember things like: Open your mitt to catch the ball.  🙂

Whew! That was hard work out there. Time for a cool splash of Gatorade. Oh no, brain freeze!


Warming up in the batters box for that big moment.

Now at bat for the Braves, #5 Dylan!


Yay! A base hit that eventually resulted in a run.


There’s always time for silliness during the game….

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And spending time with friends is awesome.

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Dylan thought he’s never get to pitch, but he was finally assigned the position of pitcher.


Oh no. Player on the other team is hurt. All the other players get down on one knee while someone tends to the hurt individual. But it’s taking a bit long, so what’s a boy to do, but throw his mitt around while he waits.


The Braves played well…and so did the opposing team. The game ended in a tie with a score of 6-6. No tie breaker, so everyone’s a winner!


Keep up the good work Dylan!

She’s SO Far Away!

Our daughter, Alissa, is teaching English to 5th and 6th graders in Ulsan, South Korea. She’s over 7,000 miles from home! Fortunately, we were able to visit her at the beginning of March. She left a little over 6 months ago and will be there until August. So happy for her to have this opportunity. She has adjusted well  – has made friends and the students love her!

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It’s a “peace sign” for Americans, but it’s just what Koreans do for photos.

Alissa works with three co-teachers who are bilingual. We met all three lovely ladies, but only had the opportunity to spend away-from-school time with Ellie, the 6th grade English teacher. What a sweet woman!


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Many people say Alissa & I look alike.


Photo courtesy of Jack Shannon

Here we are both at age 3. Alissa on the left, me on the right. Whoa…twins!

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We text often and Skype occasionally, but it’s not the same as being together.  I look forward to the next time I see sweet Alissa. In the meantime, stay safe sweetie and know I love you with all my heart. IMG_6202




Love the Wine You’re With

On a recent trip to Napa, CA I did love the wine I was with! And I loved the husband I was with. We had a great time choosing wineries and participating in tastings. But we couldn’t have done it without the help of all those in hospitality at the wineries. Each and every one of them were fun, engaging and knowledgeable, and each one let me photograph him/her during the wine tasting.

I used my Olympus OM-D E-M10 as it was easy to carry from place to place and I thought is would be less intimidating than my Canon 6D. Some tasting rooms were brightly lit, while others were dark. I used natural light for all environmental portraits and used an ISO range of 200 to 2000. Aperture ranged from f/1.8 to f/3.5.

Our first stop was Beringer Vineyards where we opted for the Reserves tasting in the Rhine House Mansion. It was a stately building and Eddie greeted us as we approached the bar. We talked about the Chicago area and northern IL among other things, and enjoyed the excellent reds. We walked away with a nice red and a wine club membership.


Eddie at Beringer Vineyards

Along the Silverado Trail, we came upon Duckhorn Vineyards. What a treat to sit on the porch on a beautiful day! Mary did a excellent job taking great care of us as we tasted Duckhorn’s selection. A bottle of 2012 Merlot came home with us. 🙂


Mary with the collection of glasses from our table at Duckhorn Vineyards

We saw a sign for Charles Krug Winery earlier that day and decided to try their wine next. This winery has a stunning tasting room! It’s very large and very impressive with bottles displayed up to the ceiling. It has clean lines and gorgeous lighting. Candice has the awesome job of working there. She went up and beyond and brought us into a tall and expansive barrel room located adjacent to the tasting room. The wonderful aroma of oak barrels and fermenting wine hit us in the face. So. Many. Barrels. We learned the history of the building and the winery, and went outside for a look at the old stone walls.


Candice at Charles Krug Winery

The next day, we tasted more wine! Started with a morning appointment at Ehlers Estate. This winery was recommended by our waiter at lunch the day before. Upon arriving at the winery, we were greeted by an outgoing, happy individual named Bradley, and a chalkboard sign with our names on it. We felt welcome. We were also comfortable sitting on a love seat while Bradley sat across from us, as we tried several fantastic wines. The 1886, with it’s unique bottle and beautiful flavor, has found a place on the bar top in our home. The bottle of refreshing 2014 Sauvignon Blanc we purchased will be enjoyed with tofu (Bradley will know what I mean.) The tasting room was inviting with sofas and chairs arranged in small seating areas and a few tables and chairs as well. I loved the artwork on the walls. They change up artists every 6 weeks and this particular artist had a splash of red in each of his pieces, whether it be a red umbrella or red dress. They tied in nicely with the rest of the decor.


Bradley at Ehlders Estate

We had an afternoon appointment at Cade Winery located on Howell Mountain. We traveled up a long driveway and once in the tasting room…..Whoa, what a view! Again a nice sofa/chair arrangement to enjoy our tasting with the view before us. Jennifer was relaxed and engaging, and what beautiful light for her environmental portrait!


Jennifer at Cade Winery

Day three and more choices to make. Regusci Winery was recommended by a friend and I’m glad we visited. Brittney served us bold reds, was a pleasure to meet, and brought us through the raindrops into their barrel room. Ahhhh…that barrel room smell that should be made into a Yankee Candle scent. We couldn’t pass up the magnum of 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, so we brought one home.


Brittney at Regusci Winery

Our last stop was Silverado Vineyards where Brett poured tastings of their wines while we enjoyed a knockout view of the landscape through a two-story window. The view from the deck was even better. The next best thing to wine in Napa is olive oil in Napa, and Silverado Vineyards makes a good one! Brett offered olive oil with our bread sticks and it was a special treat. We enjoyed a conversation about football with him as well as other topics. Nice guy.


Brett at Silverado Vineyards

Thank you Eddie, Mary, Candice, Bradley, Jennifer, Brittney & Brett for your time and expertise. And thanks for letting me practice my people picture skills on you. Cheers!

In The Gym (aka Box)

I wanted to practice taking people pictures, but where should I go, who do I photograph? Ah, Crossfit Northlake! Owners Jason & Amy Bright allowed me to bring my camera to a class. I wanted to single out one person and follow him/her throughout the workout. I had muscles, sweat & determination in mind. Jason pointed out Christine and I knew she’d make a great subject. She graciously agreed to be photographed.

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My goal was to try out  a new lens. The 100mm macro lens that was stuck on my camera had to be broken to get it off. A Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro Lens replaced it. I also wanted to continue to practice using a flash.

Christine got right to work, and so did I.



It’s always easier to photograph a subject that’s still. Well, Christine was anything but still and allowed me to practice with a moving subject.



I worked at trying to get the correct exposure in camera, but ultimately needed to brighten all the images. I was working with the maximum flash sync speed for my camera (1/180 sec.), a small aperture for shallow depth of field (f/2.8-3.5), and an ISO of 500-800. I found that if I increased the Flash Exposure Compensation, the image often looked too much like a photograph taken with flash. The goal is to have the flash add light, but look natural.


Gosh, it was a tough workout, and Christine did great! It is apparent that if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded. This can be applied to many aspects of life.

Christine, you rock!