Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Matthiessen State Park

With the deep freeze we've been in lately, I have been trying my best to stay inside. Seriously! To the point of grabbing extra smokes from my truck so I don't have to walk outside "tomorrow"! LOL But, in looking for a silver lining, the below freezing temps and snow we've had in the past week or two was sure to have the waterfalls frozen up at Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park. So, when the forecast for this past weekend called for temps actually above freezing, I thought it would be a good time to head up that way (before everything melted away).

We took a trip to Matthiessen State Park on Saturday. It was a nice little trip, and for Winter shooting, it really couldn't have been much better! Good thing we went on Saturday, because, by Sunday afternoon, nearly all the snow was melted away, and the ice was already iffy in some spots on Saturday (though we did see a couple of guys ice fishing).

Here are a couple of pictures I got from the trip:

First, this is of the main falls in the upper dells area. On top of these falls is the pond where the guys were ice fishing. I used a pretty small aperture to try to lengthen the time the shutter was opened to get a nice soft/silky feel to the actual falling water down the middle.
Frozen Falls 2

Next, this shot is of 3 or 4 smaller cascading falls that feeds what is known as Giant's Bathtub. There really wasn't much color anyway, so I scrapped what little there was and went with a black and white processing. I really like the way it turned out (and am looking forward to a Spring/Summer shot from the same place).
Upper Dells Cascade

There are a couple more shots on my flickr site if you're interested.

Friday, January 25, 2008


For the first time, one of my pictures was actually published in a real print magazine!

A couple of months ago, I was contacted right here through my blog by Jonathan Wright of Peoria Progress about using a picture I took of the LST-325 while it was docked here in Peoria in late August - Early September.

This is the shot he was interested in:
LST 325

The new edition just came out and you can see it in both the print and web versions. I am listed with all the other photographers in the front of the printed publication.

Oh, and here's the direct link to where my shot appears in the web version. And here's a link showing where you can pick up the print version.

Anyway, it was exciting for me, since I consider photography a hobby. :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Since Christmas....

What's been happening since Christmas???? Let's see......

Went to Zooks' home game...I was the first to bust out and had zero success in the cash game which followed.

For the first time in several years, had no plans for New Years Eve. I heard of several parties, but didn't garner an invite. That didn't slow me down, though!! Connie decided that we should go sledding! I hadn't been sledding since...well, grade school. With the fresh snow that day, the timing was perfect! We headed to Detweiller Park since that's the only decent hill I could think of (the shelter area where the Jaycees hold their annual Easter Egg Hunt). We get there and the road is chained off with a sign stating "sledding area closed".. I didn't even know it was an official sledding area...who knew!!??!! haha! Anyway, we decided the only thing we could do is give up and go back home. Ok, not really, we completely disregarded the sign/cable and walked back to the hill. Being New Year's Eve, and very cold out, we had the entire hill to ourselves! Such is the life for the outlaw! Anyway, we had a blast! Even landing in the woods wasn't enough to dampen our spirits!

New Year's Day, I followed through with a tradition I picked up from my mother and made Ham and Beans (and of course, cornbread). I think it was the best batch of ham and beans I've ever made!!

The other day the neighbor came over asking for help setting up his new laptop. He (and his parents) were absolutely clueless! He couldn't even answer what he needed set up (was he trying to set up an Internet connection, a specific piece of software/game, etc...). His questions were along the lines of "how do I turn it on/off" and "where do I plug it in (power)", etc.... I got things as far as a registration error from Insight and told him he needed to call them to figure out why the system errored on registration. I'm just hopeful that this doesn't turn into an ongoing support situation.

This past week, I traveled to my office in Sterling. I hadn't been there in a really long time. The techs there are well experienced and pretty much handle things themselves. Most of the time any special attention can be handled through e-mail or the phone.

I had the back seat of my truck filled with equipment I was transporting (the reason for my trip). The first thing I notice since my last trip is all the windmills. There is a rather large wind-farm that stretches between Tanner's Orchard and Bradford! I had seen windmills in the far distance along Rt 40, but, these were all new since my last trip! I was amazed all these were up since my last trip!

Anyway, about 15 miles outside of Sterling, I had a tire go down. Damnit!! It was the first time I've had to change a flat tire on my truck...that's over 6 years with nothing more severe than a slow leak. Where's the jack??? Under the back seat! So, here I am, it's something like 26 degrees, the wind is piercing, and I'm emptying all the equipment out of the back seat to get to the jack! It sucked!!! LOL After I figure out how to get the spare tire out (there's a cable on a wench that you lower using an extension and tire iron which is accessed through a small hole in the bumper), it was fairly smooth sailing. Except the fact that the spare tire was half flat as well. Oh well, it was enough to get to town and an air pump.

Tucker's home game...at least I didn't bust out first!! haha! It was really kind of sad....Gordo was excited because we had a lot of new players that we had never faced (or maybe once). He loves trying to figure out new players and trying to keep them guessing about his play. So, what happens, Gordo gets sat at a table of almost all familiar players.....then ends up getting taken out first. What a bummer! Myself, I ended up finishing one off the bubble. Out of 3 full tables, I finished 7th and top 5 got paid. All night I was pretty card dead. The best hand I got was AKo which I got 3 times and only hit once. Not one single pocket pair and even the decent hands were very few and far between. By the time I busted, the cash table was full, and it was about 11:00 so I headed home...I guess I'll have to wait for Tucker to post the results.

What I haven't been doing is taking any pictures. I hate the cold and have a hard time being inspired at this time of the year. I was looking over pictures from the past several years and confirmed what I already knew. I have taken very very few (if any) pictures during the Winter...particularly Jan - March. I really need to force myself to find something interesting this time of year....