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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

M1: Chapter 1

ed:The video was removed for a day because I was asked by senior staff to do a quick edit. It is now back on Youtube. 

We have now posted M1: Chapter 1 on Youtube for Rush University Medical Center. Shot with Nikon D800, along with some GlideTrack movement.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

M1: A student's journey through medical school

We got the Year In The Life project posted on YouTube today. This is the preview for the project. Chapter 1 is in the can and will be posted in several days. This footage was shot entirely with a Nikon D800, usually on a monopod.

Monday, August 20, 2012

U.S. Navy Blue Angels in Chicago

I had the pleasure of spending last friday morning with a few members of the United States Navy Blue Angels. The team was in Chicago for the Air & Water show, the largest such show in America. Well over 2 million spectators lined the shore of Lake Michigan for the 2 day weekend show. But they had a little time on friday to spread some goodwill for sick kids at Rush University Medical Center. The original plan was to get still photos of the Blue Angels with the kids, and I was to get a nice group shot of the team with a U.S. flag backdrop like I did for the Olympians. But due to their tight schedule, my colleague got the stills with the kids and I got simultaneous video footage. We didn't have time for the group portrait. I editided a quick video package that afternoon.

I shot the footage with the new Nikon D800, 24-70 mm lens, auto white bal. I edited the piece with Adobe Premiere 5.5. Exported the file as a mp4.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tomorrow...Steve earns his wings

So, readers might recall my Olympic medals shot from a couple weeks ago. Tomorrow, it looks like a go for a Blue Angels pilots shot. They are in town for the Chicago Air & Water show and doing some goodwill visits while here. I am going to try to something with paper airplanes!

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Year in the Life M1 video

We began gathering footage for the Rush University "Year in the Life of an M1 (1st year medical school)" video doc. I think it went very well. It was new student orientation day on the campus.  I edited together a 25 sec "coming attraction" preview piece. I have to run it by some admins on Tuesday for the green light. I will link to it if/when it is approved.

The first day footage was entirely with th Nikon D800. We also did a short interview session with Joe in the studio with some glide track action. Lighting was ambient fluorescent with 2 led panels with green gels for color balance.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Next Project Begins Tomorrow

This week, I will start a new long term project for Rush University Medical Center. I (along with my colleague Lauren) will begin documenting a Year in the Life of a Rush medical student. We already have a student who has agreed to the project-Joe. He is from California and seems like a good subject to work with. I spoke to Joe today and he really is looking forward to the process. We plan to work with him around once or twice a month. We want to learn about his experiences on campus and even around Chicago. We hope to shoot footage with him in class and out. This will turn into around a 10 minute video at the end of the school year (summer 2013).
Someone asked me if we will follow Joe all 4 years of medical school. I said, "Lets not get ahead of ourselves. We will take it one year at a time."
We have also been asked to turn some of the monthly footage into highlight reels for the Rush University website. I will link to the highlights here as we progress.
We will be shooting with Nikon D800 and Panasonics (with Sony wireless lavs) depending on the situations.
Video shooting begins 08/08 with new student orientation.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Steve Wins gold!

This afternoon I had the pleasure of working with 4 former Olympic athletes. They were all swimmers from various years of summer Games. We took lots of photos with some ill children in a Chicago area medical center. These folks were great with the kids, spending time with any who welcomed the visit. Then we went to my studio and did a nice group shot in front of a large U.S. flag, and they kindly let me rock their Olympic Medals for a bit. This was for a wonderful organization called Swim Across America. They raise money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment.

Thank you-Olympians! It was a great day.

Craig Beardsley, Janel Jorgenson McArdle, Jamie Rauch, Christine Magnuson

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Senator Richard Durbin receives photograph

Renently, Illinois U.S. Senator Richard Durbin was presented with a photograph I took of the new Tower on the Rush University Medical Center campus.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Next Photography Class...

...will be for the Triton College Continuing Ed Dept. Triton is in the west Chicago suburb of River Grove, IL.
It will be at their Riverside/Brookflied high school(home of the Barking Bulldogs) satellite site in Riverside, IL. Register here. Course #PHGE42030. It is on Tuesdays begining August 28, 2012. It will be a rather basic class for those just getting into digital photography. It will begin with photography fundamentals and move on from there. Seperately from the class, I think it will be fun to schedule a photo meet-up at a nearby nature preserve. We would do this some weekend, late afternoon until sunset. Seats are filling up-register now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My 20' x 30' Photo Mural

About this time last year, I was commissioned to create an image of the Chicago skyline for Rush University Medical Center. But this would not be just a little ol' snapshot. It was to be a 20' x 30' photo mural printed on aluminum and laminated. It was for the then under construction Brennan Pavilion. The Pavilion would serve as the new front door of the campus of Rush University Medical Center.

Adjacent to the Pavilion, the new Tower building was also under construction. The Tower is a spectacular addition to the Chicago skyline. You can read an architectural critique of the Tower by Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune here. According to the Rush website, "It is the largest new construction health care project in the world to be LEED Gold certified."  It also was just named one of the Most Innovative, Inspiring Infrastructure Projects in the World by KPMG. For more info on the Tower, go here.

The mural would be a permanent installation so the level of detail and resolution had to be high. When photographers shoot for short term installations such as highway billboards, image resolution can be quite small because drivers only see them for a few seconds when speeding by.

But this permanent installation would be different. So I decided to use the Gigapan system to achieve a very high resolution digital file. I brought a few proof-of-concept concepts before the Tower art consultant team(people with clipboards).
Time was now getting very tight as the Tower was nearing completion. I presented a black and white-version.

Thats it! We had a winning test composition.

It was now late summer. A Chicago season that tends to have bad light and lots of haze. With my deadline fast approaching, I chose an afternoon with surprisingly great light, and began to shoot the image. I shot 63 images in a grid pattern to achieve this high resolution mural. I used the Nikon D700 with a telephoto lens. Next I assembled these images into a seamless, single composite with a lot of computer horsepower. Then I converted the file to b & w. I gave the image a nice warm tone. I inspected this final file with a fine tooth comb for any blending issues. After all, reprinting this image at 20' x 30' would incur great cost-it had to be PERFECT. With terror on the inside, I submitted the final image to the Tower art consultants-and it was approved!

Here is a promotional video about the project.

My Nikon D800E arrived...

several weeks ago. Yes, it is a great machine. But just like any tool-it is of course how you use it that makes all the difference.

I have already shot several jobs with it. Portraits, brochures and Grin & Grips. I have also gone on a couple landscape photo expeditions with it and I have been having a blast. In mid June, I ventured up to MN(from Chicago) and spent some time in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area(BWCA). I even took the D800E in (on?) a sea kayak on a couple small BWCA lakes. No camera aqua bag/no housing...just a bit of faith in my kayaking skills. Anyone who has ever canoed/kayaked knows that water droplets always happen. But the Nikon D800E is weather sealed quite well, so there were no water issues. It should be able to handle a good rain shower-in fact.  
Purchase here
Some readers may be wondering if my copy has the dreaded "left focus" issue that has been posted about in some photo forums, such as DPReview. Nope-not my D800E. Focus is great. All over. Right side and left side showed no trouble when tested with various Nikon pro lenses. Here is one of my first D800E images. I shot it at Wolf Road Prairie, one of my favorite local nature spots.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

We won...(2nd place!)

I am happy to announce a video project I worked on won 2nd place out over 2900 entries. In July of 2011, Mary Katherine Krause (Associate Vice President, University Relations, Rush University) and I were discussing a new special Rush University project. I thought it should be a studio based video project. So over 2 days last August, our team of 4 created Introducing Rush Students . I did all the still photos, lighting and a bit of the video footage. The playful tone was also my idea. Below is the press release from the competion organization:

Winners have been announced for the 27th annual Educational Advertising Awards sponsored by the Higher Education Marketing Report and Rush university has received the 2012 Silver award for its “Introducing Rush University Students” video in the graduate school “video viewbook” category.

The Educational Advertising Awards program is the largest educational advertising awards competition in the country. This year, over 2,900 entries were received from more than one-thousand colleges, universities and secondary schools from all fifty states and several foreign countries. Judges for the Educational Advertising Awards consisted of national panel of higher education marketers, advertising creative directors, marketing and advertising professionals and the editorial board of Higher Education Marketing Report.

We shot the video with a Canon 5D Mark II. We shot the stills with a Nikon D700. We used 3 LED flat panels and a tungsten light for some color fill. It was edited by a Wisconsin company.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

As a photographer...

in a major Chicago medical center, the first thing new acquaintances ask is what exactly do I do? Then they ask, "Do you shoot xrays?"

So for the last time-NO-I do not shoot xrays.
But I have photographed some rather unexpected things, such as:

Ringling Bros Circus
autopsy in the morgue
Chicago Cubs games
Chicago White Sox games
Chicago Fire soccer
Charles “Peanut” Tilman (Chicago Bears)
Greg Olson (former Chicago Bears)
Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls)
Bobby Jenks (former Chicago White Sox)
Ozzie Guillen (former Chicago White Sox)
Rod Steiger (actor-On The Waterfront, Amityville Horror)
an official Indy car (and driver)
teddy bear health clinic
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
...should I go on?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

D800E...The Wait Continues

Yes, I have a Nikon D800E on order. I stayed up late and ordered it late night on February 6th as soon as it was posted as a pre-order.

Now, I wait...along with many thousands (millions?) of other photographers worldwide.

Music, Music, Music!

As a staff photographer at Rush University Medical Center, I see it all. Here is a video I recently completed along with my colleague, Lauren. It is a promo piece for the April 26th, 2012 Staff & Faculty Music Celebration put on by the University. We used a couple Canon 5D MarkII cameras. I did the lighting with flat panel LEDs and a tungsten light for a bit of fill. We both did camera work. Lauren did most of the editing with Adobe Premiere Pro 5. I also did a series of still portraits with similar lighting.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Prairie Road Trip

I am going to drive out to Nachusa Grasslands in the next couple of days. I have never been there before, but I know it is a few thousand acres in size administered by the Nature Conservancy. It is a little bit west of Rockford, IL. I want to build up my collection of winter prairie photographs a bit more.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...To Photograph

1. Water
2. Native Midwest prairies

3. Weathered wood from old manmade construction
4. Chicago skyline in the blue hour (after sunset light)
5. Did I mention water?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eye See

It's time to give blogging a go.

My mom fell yesterday.
She is in her mid 80's and unfortunately, falls can be fairly common among seniors. She is a little bruised up, but mostly o.k. The main thing is a bit of right eye injury. Her vision in that eye is a little blurry. The doctor said the cornea was roughed up some, but will heal. One of those times people say, "One day at a time." Which brings me to the flipside of the coin.

I am in my 40's and my vision is still very good. That works out well because I make my living with my eyes. I am a professional photographer.
I have 3 sisters, and they all wear glasses. They have since they were kids.  Mom and dad also wear glasses. So somehow, I just got the "good eyes" gene. And I am the only photographer in the family. And yes...of course I feel fortunate. Not saying photographers have to have good vision, but it sure helps. For instance, when working with DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras, glasses can interfere with focus. Diopter lenses built into many DSLRs can combat vision problems, but I know that determining image focus can still be problematic.
To see how I use my vision-please view my gallery.