Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fishing for Charity

Every year during the winter holiday season, SmithBucklin employees use a number of creative techniques  to raise money for the worthy causesIn 2010, SmithBucklin presented a check for $32,000 to Kate Maehr, Executive Director & CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. One of the most popular activities is an auction that features unique products and services such as "movie night" at the CEO's house, in-home cooking lessons, babysitting, etc. Using an online eBay-style website, employees bid and outbid each other, and all of the proceeds go to the food depository.

Team sport

Since 2007, three SmithBucklin executives (Bret Kelsey, Mark Thorsby and this blog's author) have participated in the auction by donating a fishing expedition on Lake Michigan. The auction winner and two of his or her colleagues join the three sponsoring executives for a fun afternoon searching for salmon and trout on Lake Michigan. After five hours of fishing near Waukegan, Illinois, the catch is cleaned (by the captain) and divided up among the participants. Some of the fillets are taken home for grilling and others travel to the Boat House Pub & Eatery in Kenosha for smoking. Click on 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 to see the complete set of images for each expedition. Below is the charity winner and a "fishing highlight" image from each year.

August 24, 2012
With Captain Kyle aboard the Spendthrift III.
Best Fish of the Day
Charity Auction Winner: Pam O'Brien

September 11, 2011
With Captain Kyle aboard the Spendthrift II.
"Fish, it's what's for dinner"
Charity Auction Winner: Kevin Baliozian

September 2, 2010
With Captain Jerry aboard the Spendthrift
I caught this one
Charity Auction Winner: Cynthia Narut

August 21, 2009
With Captain Jerry aboard the Spendthrift
Charity Auction Winner: Andy Soltys

July 10, 2008
With Captain Kyle aboard the Spendthrift II
Let's Put This Into Perspective
Charity Auction Winner: John Hausoul

July 27, 2007
With Captain Jason aboard the Finseeker*
Charity Auction Winner: Katie Paffhouse 
*2007 was the final outing with Captain Jason. His fishing boat, the Finseeker sank to the bottom of Lake Michigan on May 30, 2008 during a freak, microburst storm. Captain Jason and his six customers waited out the storm in the cold Lake Michigan water before they were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. Click here to read more about the storm and survivors from the Daily Herald. Below is video of the Finseeker wreck made by divers a few months after she sank.   

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Ever Changing Rock

The Ever Changing Rock!
Halloween as of October 2012

On the northwest corner of Ridge Road and Thornwood Avenue in Wilmette, Illinois is a rock, but it is not an ordinary one. The history of the rock goes back to 1999 and the tradition, carried out by two families living nearby, was chronicled in an article by the Winnetka-Kenilworth Patch on January 24, 2011. It is known locally, as the "Ever Changing Rock."
The rock at the corner of Ridge and Thornwood courtesy of Google Maps.

Renee Rendler-Kaplan
The images used in the Winnetka-Kenilworth Patch article and shown below, were created by local photographer, Renee Rendler-Kaplan. For this blog entry, interspersed between her chronological images of the rock, Renee reveals her thoughts (in Q&A format) about the rock as well as photography, image-making and motivation. The oldest images are on the top of the entry and new ones will be added to the bottom as the story of the "Ever Changing Rock" continues.
Chronological Images of the Rock
Renee's first "rock encounter" was with the shark.
The Ever Changing Rock (this was the first one I spotted)
Shark, October 2007.
Question: How did you get interested in the the "ever changing" rock?

Answer: The first "rock" that caught my eye was the shark. I love when objects in nature are used to create art and I immediately stopped my car to shoot that shark. It was done so beautifully and realistically that I was drawn to it. I had no clue at that time that a few weeks later, a different painting of that rock would appear and when it did, I was hooked on passing that corner every few weeks to see the amazing transformations taking place. It was a HUGE mystery to me..who painted it, who was motivated to change it...and that was the best part for me..the whole surprise element. Recently I was contacted by a writer who also took an interest in my photos of the rock and solved the mystery with her write up for Triblocal, and I was sort of disappointed to know about the rocks history yet found the backstory awesome at the same time. I'm still hugely surprised when it changes and happy to shoot and document it."

The Ever Changing Rock
The Cardinal, December 2008.
The ever changing Rock - October 2009
Jack-O-Lantern, October 2009.
The Ever Changing Rock
Turkey, November 2009.
Question: What motivates you to create photographs?
Answer: For me, everyday life motivates me to create photographs. I like to think I have possibly seen something that you might have missed and that I am eager to share.

The Everchanging Rock - Thornwood and Ridge - Wilmette IL
The Cookie Monster, December 2010.
The Everchanging Rock - May 2010
Lady Bugs, May 2010.
The Ever Changing Rock - Thornwood and Ridge
Chicago Blackhawks, July 2010.
Question: How long have you been making photographs?
Answer: I've been shooting since I received my first Brownie Star Flash when I was seven years old, documenting my everyday life. I've tried jewelry making, drawing, painting, making pottery, and nothing has ever been as satisfying as taking images. I have my own wet darkroom and found shooting and developing B&W film a wonderful and creative process and fought using color or touching a digital camera for a very long time. I truly believed that I "saw" in B&W. My daughter used only a digital camera and left it home one day. I decided to use it it and it changed both the way I "saw" and shot. Color can be exciting and moving in ways I never believed. I might change a digital photo from color to B&W if it meets a need, but I do not use Photoshop to alter my images in any other way. 

The Ever Changing Rock - Halloween 2010 - Thornwood and Ridge
Ghost, October 2010.
Question: What are your favorite types of images?
Answer: I basically shoot outdoors, and those are my favorite images. Nature excites and motivates me and being outside is important to me in any type of weather. I began shooting outdoor portraits in my work and then moving on to people with their pets (outdoors only). Then shooting only their pets because they never complain about how their hair looks or why I haven't retouched an image. They just sit, smile and behave. Beyond my work, I shoot for myself.

The Ever Changing Rock
The Grinch, December 2010.
Question: Fill in the blank. Photographically, it's a good day when _______. Answer: Photographically, it's a good day when I have feel I have something worth keeping from a day's shoot. I never go anywhere without at least one camera, usually two, and never go a day without fitting in a photo shoot.
The Ever Changing Rock!
St. Patrick's Day, March 2011.
The Ever Changing Rock!
Easter Egg, April 2011.
The Ever Changing Rock
Sun, June 2011.
The Ever Changing Rock
Butterfly, September 2011.
The Everchanging Rock
Candy Corn, October 2011.
Question: Please share some of your successes.
Answer: At the beginning of each year, I set a wish list for myself. My first was "oh I wish I could have an exhibit." Three months later I was contacted by the Lincoln Park Cultural Center and asked if I would like to put up my own exhibit for a month in their space. It was a heady and wonderful experience to stand in a room, surrounded by my own work on display. Another year, I wished to be in a group show and was accepted to a winter Around the Coyote show in short order. Amazing, and so much fun. I was lucky enough to be accepted for several years. Next I joined the Chicago Artist's Coalition and wished to be accepted into one of their shows. I was accepted on honored to win Curator's Choice for my image. Another wish, another win, as Best of Show at a fundraiser for The Anti Cruelty SocietyRecently I was asked to be a part of a wonderful book entitled Found Faces and am thrilled now to be published. Wonderful wishes, wonderful surprises, and all through something that I wake up excited to do over and over again. I've been most fortunate.

 You can see more of Renee Rendler-Kaplan's images on her Flickr feed or her blog, Everyday Sights.
The Ever Changing Rock
Christmas Tree, December 2011
The Ever Changing Rock!
Hershey Kiss, February 2012
The Double Sided Ever Changing Rock! (2 of 2)
The Double Sided Ever Changing Rock! (1 of 2)
Finding Nemo, March 2012
The Ever Changing Rock!!!!!!!
The Proposal, May 2012 
The Ever Changing Rock!!
The Answer, June 2012
The Ever Changing Rock!
Independence Day, July 2012
The Ever Changing Rock
Football, September 2012
The Ever Changing Rock!
Halloween, October 2012

Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrating 10,000 Views

This high dynamic range image (composite of three images using Photomatix HDR software) of the Chicago River was posted to Flickr on December 20, 2007. On September 3, 2011 the image achieved a milestone of 10,000 views with 42 comments, 176 faves and 10 Flickr gallery appearances.
Holiday Time in Chicago
Holiday Time in Chicago.
Some Interesting Facts
In exchange for a contribution to After School Matters, Cy Griffith and the good folks at the law firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. used the image for its holiday card in 2009.

Thank you!
2009 holiday card created by the law firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. 

Thanks to Melissa Moline and Abram Nelson, a 28" X 22" archival canvas print hangs in the reception area of Urban Lux at 230 West Huron Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Photos on Display at Urban Lux
Photos, including Holiday Time in Chicago on display at the offices of Urban Lux.
Over the years, the image has been posted throughout the Internet, with permission and without, to dozens of blog pages.
A recent Google image search for Holiday Time in Chicago.
Giving Back - Free Print Offers
In celebration of this milestone and as a way to give back, the photographer is giving away five (5) 10"X  8" prints to the first five people who make a donation of $20 or more to Paws Chicago.

Here is how it works:

FREE (with donation to Paws Chicago) 10" X 8" Print: SOLD OUT
Make a donation of $20 or more to Paws Chicago using the Team Paws Chicago Marathon fundraising link (you must use this link to qualify). Forward the confirmation email to along with your name, address and phone number with the words "Paws Chicago Free Print of Holiday Time in Chicago" in the subject. The first five to respond will receive a 10" X 8" print matted in a 14" X 11" bevel cut mat. See the Etsy listing for a complete description. The value of the matted print is $65. You will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, but please allow 1-2 weeks for deliver via the USPS.

10" X 8" Print of Holiday Time in Chicago