Saturday, December 27, 2008

To Morocco and Back

So I've been really bad about posting - my! how many times I've said that... Maybe, I should get over it. LOL Anyway, Thank you all for all the kind comments wishing me a good trip. It was lovely to see all of them and my trip was wonderful! I loved every minute.

Here is my first set of processed shots. I hope you enjoy, and can see a bit of why I love Morocco so much.

Larger Pictures can be Viewed at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Morocco here I come!

So I'm going to Morocco, finally!!
Hope and I, arrive in Casablanca Monday afternoon and I'm very excited.

My head is a buzz with all the details and preparations. I've made lists upon lists, hoping I will not forget anything. Making sure I check everything out for my big sister who hasn't traveled overseas in a good 17yrs... (wow, she is old :P)

I can't wait to get on the plane, but even more, I can't wait to get off of it.

Setting foot on Moroccan soil for the first time :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A First : Metra

View Larger Photos at

This was my first time on the Metra. I took the 12:40am train from Union Station to a station near my home. It was a little nerve racking once I got into the station, let me tell you, Union is intimidating and my friend's map of the interior only confused me. I figured it out tho, got on the right train and got home safely. These are some shots I took to document it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Busy girl..

Lately, I've been doing everything BUT blogging it seems. Not intentionally, I just have fallen way out of the routine of typing up a little something every few days.

Instead, I've been editing archives that never made it to the web and posting what I can on fotki, as well as shooting new additions to my portfolio.

I've been enjoying my time out of school, simply because it is typically stress free. I've not known how that has felt since I was a kid. Even then, I was very conscientious and somewhat stressed. So, sleeping in, laying around, doing whatever I please, all without feeling guilty, is a new thing for me. I even have a good two and a half or three months left of this laziness, before the school starts for me in late January.

Anyway, I promised Don an update this week, so here I am. :)

As I was said earlier, I have been building my portfolio, as well as the portfolios of my brother's girlfriend, Beata, and my niece, Lindsey. This weekend we made a few day trips, taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, and shooting at different locations in Chicago and the suburbs (or as it seems, India and Japan).

Here's a sneek peek, stay tuned.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good Morning Autumn!

I'm very happy with the fall colors that have settled in the past few weeks. The cool air and the interestingly foggy mornings. An early morning in late September I woke up to go to shoot a funeral for a fallen soldier whom I knew nothing about. The story behind that, is somewhat of a weird one. Long story short: I was going to a military cemetery with some patriotic bikers one min and the next, I wasn't (due to a Harley starter issue). I was a bit disappointed when I looked outside. It would have been the perfect morning to be in a military cemetery with a camera. Not to be excited for a funeral or anything, but, with all due respect, I kinda was.

Take a look and tell me what you think. Would it have been a perfect morning, or what?

The fog enveloping the rows and rows of white headstones. Lending an eerie effect to the folding of the flag and the salute of gunfire. It seems kind of wrong to think that I would have enjoyed the tast of photographing it, but I would have loved to be able to capture that type of emotion. While myself, being overwhelmed by many thoughts, feelings, and the constant reminder of the reality that he was not the only one who died to keep us free.

For more shots of this foggy autumn morning see my fotki web album : Autumn Morning

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Flood of 2008

In my last post I mentioned that we had a major flood here in Wood Dale and many of the surrounding cities/towns.

While all eyes were on Texas in early September, rain too was falling in Illinois.

Rain fell for two days straight: Saturday, the 13, and Sunday, the 14 of September. The rain was pouring so hard that we broke record accumulation for all of September in the second week of the month. 12.61 inches of rain fell that weekend, flooding our community and most of the cities around us. All of the reservoirs were full by the end of Saturday. The Salt Creek, less than a block away from my house, had risen to it's highest height. There was nowhere for the (still pouring) rain to go.

2am Sunday morning, after removing all the valuables from the basement in preparation, our yard and all the yards on our street were flooded. I'm not sure of the time line. I don't watch the news and I wasn't really paying attention to the clock. All I know is, when I woke up Sunday morning, there would be no piling in the van and heading to the church as the usual schedule goes. There would though, most certainly, be praying. Praying that the two lake pumps and three standard sump pumps we had somehow gained possession of, would keep the quickly rising water level out of our, newly finished, basement.

The houses(single level homes w/o basements) on Grove, our adjacent street, had taken the worse blow. The house directly next to us was about 3ft under water. All of the families, from (my street)Center St to Commercial St, were evacuated from their homes(Map).

We were surrounded by water. Struggling to get enough sandbags to baracade our house- the last with any hope. Families were using canoes, motor boats, and rafts to rescue what belongings they could before everything was completely distroyed. Those who hadn't left in time were evacuated by the Fire Dept.

We joked the whole way through, that we always wanted lake front property. I kept saying, "Well, I always wanted to live on an island!" trying to make light of something that was far from it. Our next door neighbors, Brian and Rachel, had only moved in 2 months before-What a housewarming gift!!! They took it in stride and let go.

All in all, we kept 96,000 gallons of water out of our basement. That's my dad, brothers, neighbors and God to keeping the two lake pumps pumping 10,000 gallons of water out of our sump hole for two days. We had a few minor breaks, but nothing over 6 inches(Thank God!). Despite some stress and some lost sleep, I think the only real damage that we had was a few warped doors.

I went out Monday morning, after the storm had past, and took a few pictures, to add to the ones Ben and I took the days before.

A week later the water had receded back away from the houses and I took more pictures. "The Aftermath" - the grass was still covered in silt. Piles of sand and silt were all over, like we lived on the beach or something.

Looking back, now a month after, our community has been declared a disaster zone and is seeking relief from FEMA. Homes are being torn apart and rebuilt. Families are starting over, building their houses on raised foundations, 3ft higher. We weren't really reconized in the news, only other larger communities, but I guess it doesn't matter as long as we get the same relief opportunities.

To see more photos from the flood, please visit my fotki site here :

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

or so the saying goes...

But how bout it, have you missed me? ;)

While I was away (for the 5 billionth time) :

We had a significantly damaging flood that requires it's own post.

I've taken LOTS of pictures of my nephews - here

I've shot a baseball training facility for Illinois Rebels Travel Baseball - photos on fotki, here :)

I (finally) finished my Tiananmen Square Massacre research paper, after what feels like decades.

I graduated high school (Yes, everyone say it with me, "Finally!")- just waiting for the diploma


I've completely revamped my bedroom - stay tuned for pics.

I've really missed being online from my own computer and being able to read blog feeds without all of them getting "marked as read" before I read them. I've missed looking at all the wonderful photos that my brilliant friends(and fellow bloggies) post.

I'm super behind on my processing, but I'm attempting to get caught up, a little everyday. I'm also attempting to push myself as a photographer and really learn from my photography and from that of my fellow photographers.

Anyway - It's 12:50am and I'm pretty tired, so I'm going to hit the sack, but I'll be back. Much sooner this time. ;)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Expired film & some pride to go with..

I got my first 35mm roll developed- here are my top 4

P.S. Anyone know about fitting Pentax SLR lenses to a Nikon DSLR camera? My friends are kinda stuck on wanting a Nikon base...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tale as Old as Time...

No, I'm not talking about Beauty and the Beast here, I'm talking about the ever repeating question of Canon or Nikon(or Pentax, or Leica, or Samsung, or Sony, or Finepix or... OY! too many options...)?

I mentioned in my last post that I'm looking at getting a camera for graduation.
My only problem is that I don't know what camera should I get.
I've been using the Pentax K10 D and it has done a really great job so far, but I feel limited with it. I'm always worrying about having noisy images with high ISO or blurry ones because LCD display isn't accurate(displays images which are WAY sharper than they really are). Which, I know, has to do with the compression, but seriously, NO fun. The AF isn't very accurate either - not that I use it very often anyway.

Something I read a long time ago on Justin's blog was that the Canon EOS 5D shot nicely in the low light. "ISO 1600 looked more like 400". That was amazing to me because when I shoot at ISO 1600 it looks more like ISO 1600 - very noisy. My friend Josh and also Brian Delaurenti, use Canon and have really great results.

I also read that Nikon does well in low light - Mike, from Mike's Right Brain, shot THIS at ISO 6400!! (I didn't even know that existed!) But that may have had a lot to do with the high caliber D3 he was using (which is totally out of my price range).. Archie also uses a Nikon (D300) and he does really well with it. So, there are two votes there - also in Nikon's favor is the size of the LCD.

I like the Pentax interface, because Im used to it. I'm not too keen on Canon's(maybe because I'm not used to it). I like Nikon's SLR interface (or whatever you want to call it on a film camera), but I've never played with a Nikon DSLR.
I'm kinda limited in exactly what I know, because I don't hang out with enough real photographers on a regular basis. So I kinda rely on you all to mention things(here or in your own blogs) that I can draw from.

Something that I'm really wanting, as well, is a camera that will allow me to have a lens with incredibly low f stop. I've been playing with that lately and I'm loving it, but I'm only able to go 5.6 and I want to go soo much lower... Then I take a lot of shots of kids and candids so, shutter speed is def a factor(is this more of a lens thing?).

Another factor is that I have a lot of Nikkor Lenses for the SLR my dad bought back in the day.t I'd love to be able to use them with the DSLR that I end up getting - My dad suggested that maybe there is a way that I could get adapter rings? I have to do a lot of research to do, so any shared knowledge would be lovely ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm taking a break from writing my final paper, so this post will be kinda short, but I really wanted to get one up today.

Firstly - I got a call last Tuesday that I have been fully admitted/accepted into Columbia College Chicago! Ok, SO totally excited about that! I've decided tho, to give myself a breather and start the Spring semester.

During the 5 months that I'll have off I intend on working on myself. I'll be dedicating a lot of my time to bettering myself in many different ways. I'll reveal that "plan" later so stay tuned..

Secondly- I've spent some time shooting, finally, so I'll be out with a couple new albums of shots.

Thirdly - I've been told that, as soon as all my graduation things are in order, it is quite possible I'll be getting a nice SLR of my own for a graduation present. So, any suggestions on that topic are welcomed and eagerly awaited.

The first NEW album, "Air Show Weekend", is located on my Fotki site * here *. Please feel free to leave me comments there - I love reading what y'all have to say.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Muses : My inspiration

Last week, I was commented by an anonymous photographer asking what my muses are. I realized that I probably haven't talked too much about muses because I figured you could probably tell from looking at my pictures. But I guess maybe not. Or maybe I'm just assuming too much from my audience, so I decided to post on it.

All of my online sources (Wiki, Merriam-Webster, ect..) seem to agree that the definition of a "muse" is as Merriam-Webster puts it: a source of inspiration; especially : a guiding genius. So going off of this definition, I'm determining what they are.

One of my muses, I know definitely, would be children. Something about their innocence. I love capturing their essence; even the most monstrous devil of a child has a soft, sweet side that can only be caught candidly- when they don't realize they're being watched- a challenge I never pass up.

Two would be organic - flowers, leaves, trees, grass, light, clouds, water, the beach ect..

Three is probably my most frequent muse - Details. I absolutely LOVE details. The concept that everything we see, touch, use on a daily basis can be broken down into tiny little parts is fascinating .
A wedding dress, with draping, lace, beads, tulle....
A flower, with it's petals, stamen, pistol, stem, leaves....
I could go on forever! There are so many things to capture that a lot of people don't even pay attention to! These often end up as abstracts.

Four has to be repetition. Oh! How I LOOOOOVE repetition! I'm sure many of you know this, because I constantly point it out in comments. There is just something about it that gets me excited. Something so pleasing to my eye.

Five could be just about anything urban. I love the city and all it's wonders. Architecture is amazing. Lights! Ooh the lights! I always end up looking like a tourist, which my poor sister(who I'm usually with) hates.. Nice cars and all the people! Oh and when it rains at night, everything glitters! I love the long streets with medians filled with trees and flowers. Fire escapes and scaffolding. Tunnels and underpasses. This one is definitely never ending...

Six - pictures! I love photoblog browsing, looking at many of my lovely friends' blogs. Your work inspires, as much as it may not seem like it sometimes - it really, really does. Also, pics in magazines and scenes of movies- visual stimulation is something I look forward to everyday.

Seven, my lucky number ;) Family and friends. Amazingly enough, there are those days when I don't feel like picking up a camera and those are the days that my family and friends turn things around. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate it when I'm pushed and prodded to get out there and take pictures. "It doesn't matter with what, as long as your shooting." - something I'm often told.

I'm basically naming just about everything that comes to mind, so I think maybe that means that LIFE is my muse.

All these things inspire me - I've been writing this in amongst other things for a couple of hours now and I'm basically just jotting down everything that comes to mind. It seems like I'm just writing things I take pictures of, and I am, but at the same time these are things that when I see them, photographically I go nuts with excitement to shoot.

I'm a photogaphy junkie, seriously, I can't be without a camera or pictures.. They're in my core, a part of me, and I think my best advice to those of you, anonymous blog readers, wanting to shoot better is to shoot and often. It's SUPER important - the more you shoot the more in love with photography you'll get and the more amazing your pictures will be.

I think I'll probably go and do that now... ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My new collection....

You'd think I was a Film Enthusiast or something with all this -

(left to right : Yashica TLElectro w/a formula5 lens and original 50mm lens (completely manual, from what I can tell) ; a Gossen pilot light meter; a Vivitar 28 (?) flash; a Vivitar PS35 auto point and shoot; a Milolta Maxxum 5000i w/original 35-80mm AF lens and a Samyang AF 70-210mm macro zoom lens; and last but not least a Nikon N2020 base with like 3 lenses- 28 mm, RMC Tokina doubler, 50 mm, and 70-210 mm all AF; a Vivitar 3700 flash; and a couple rolls of film)

Well I'm not not (yes, a double neg = a pos) a film enthusiast - I actually love the thought of taking film shots and developing them myself (tho the darkroom at Columbia is very murder movie-esque)- but I have no idea what I'm doing. With all this stuff though, I figured that I should start figuring it out. SO, with that, I've enlisted the help of a fellow photoblogger, Sebastian a.k.a sull3n, to help me out- actually he offered, but I gladly accepted. He's a true film enthusiast (ok, he just really loves it) and I'm glad because he has passion I can sense when we talk about it that makes me want a taste.

So starting tomorrow I'm going to shoot some film and he's promised he'd pull some film out of the freezer for me and shoot as well. :) 36 exposures, I believe?

I'm VERY excited!

Ok, Sebastian- Ready, Set, GO! :P

Monday, July 28, 2008

A good day...

I woke up today with :
- full 10 hrs of sleep for the first time in like I don't even know how long
- messages in my inbox from three of my favorite photographers (you know who you are!)
- a phone call reminding me that my brother-in-law is on vacation, therefore I wouldn't have babysit(all week)

Not only all that, BUT!

- I got to take my time in the shower
- I have my infamous White Chocolate Coconut Sour Cream Cake in the oven
- I got a request from one of my brother's friends to shoot a wedding on Friday
- And we have a double birthday party tonight!

Today is a Good Day

Oops! Got to Go, cake timer is going off...


Friday, July 25, 2008

"So great is the Father's Love"

I'm sitting here sobbing after having read THIS blog post. For some reason the last picture just totally took me away.
This is something I've been noticing lately - I absolutely LOVE it. I'm not even sure what to say, but someday, I want this.
I want a husband who's everything is his family. Who's love for his children goes beyond disciplining them and beyond a bedtime kiss.
A man who will allow himself to get lost in time with them- forgetting anything and everything-
They'd be his priority.
And while he'd provide for them, wouldn't let providing get in the way of being with them.
God bless the fathers with guts enough to wear pink beaded necklaces their daughters make for them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Portfolio Additions?

Sorry, y'all, for not being around or really answering to comments lately - I've been so incredibly busy with everything this summer, it's nuts! I'm also still only borrowing Ben's camera on a "when needed" basis, so I'm lacking oodles of pictures this season.

Still, with the lack of camera and the business, I've gotten to take a few pictures that I'm very proud of.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I present to you- Alyia :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nouvelle Couture @ Jedynka

This is it, y'all!
I shot the Nouvelle Couture - Summer '08 Line last Friday. The Designer loved my pictures and has recommended me for another show this Friday! I'm thanking God for all these connections I'm creating already in my career. Only He knows what is in store for me- and from here it's looking pretty sweet!

Thanks also to those of you who told me what equipment to use. It was quite a help, though in the end I had to go with my gut and experience. Most of these were taken with f/3.5 and ISO 800 and the use of the on board flash only. A few had issues with too much light, I need to work on that but over all I was very proud of my product.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Creeping out of my shell...


Haven't been here in a while.....

Well, I have some exciting news and I wanted to share that, but at the same time I wanted to ask a little help.

talented swimwear designer. You mayMy brother, Jeremy's, girlfriend, Beata, is a very remember me talking about doing a few photoshoots for her a while back which resulted in these (She models too) -

Well, her first fashion show is coming up on June 20 at Jedynka club downtown and guess who's the photographer? Yep, me! Not the only photographer, but the one who lives closest and will be giving the most time to it, I'm sure(I live across the street from Beata).

One Problem- I don't have a clue how to shoot runway. I mean yeah, I can take pictures, but of moving targets...? Help!!!
We'll be in a dark, club, environment, with a brightly lit runway. I usually shoot full manual, w/o AF or AWB, mostly because I prefer my judgment to the camera's. I'm using the Pentax K10 D, which I'm sure will need an external flash (that I've never used). I have two lenses- a 18-55mm and I want to say a 22-200mm (not sure, Ben just bought it and I haven't seen it). I will be going to the rehearsal on June 9th and I'm hoping I'll be able to get a feel for what settings I'll need to be using. But, I'm not sure, exactly what I'm getting myself into. Indoor shooting has not been my forte.
So I turn to you my wonderful, talented and experienced, readers. Any suggestions?

It's times like these when I realize just how inexperienced I am. *sigh* Hopefully, not for very long.

Also this weekend, my sister, Jen, asked me to take pictures of my nephew, Alex, at the Aquafina Hit, Pitch and Run championships at US Cellular(White Sox) Field. I'm excited to able to document that for them. She's so proud of him, being the All Around Champ in the 7-8yr old age bracket, one of 4 kids in the whole state to go to the championship. So, GO ALEX!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Columbia Application Essay- Unabridged Version

Hadassah E Bullis

Columbia College Application Essay

Like most little girls, I loved to daydream. Mostly, I dreamt of what I wanted to be when I grew up: an Air Force pilot, a doctor, a nurse, a pro soccer player, or maybe I’d skip college all together and just be a stay-at-home mom. These among many other options accounted for the many phases of my childhood. But no matter what phase I was in, the one constant was my desire to find a career that is fun and allows me to serve others.

At one point, I was determined to major in fashion design. This stemmed from a family history of seamstresses, my fascination with wedding dresses and an obsession for coming up with new designs for wedding gowns. I watched all the design shows on TV, poured over every $5 bridal magazine I could convince my mom to buy. I even went to bridal trunk shows, and my sister would pretend she was getting married so we wouldn’t get shooed out. But regardless of all this obsessing over bridal design, magazines and shops, there were a few not-so-minor details I couldn’t deny. No matter how much I wanted to, I lacked a natural ability to draw – and I couldn’t sew either. I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to create an adequate visual representation of my concepts to share and it was discouraging. Still, I wasn’t motivated enough to learn. It took this realization to admit to myself what I already knew. Fashion design, as much as I loved it, was not my passion.

Around age eleven, I developed a hobby. My dad had just bought a digital camera, and I had new, adopted twin baby sisters. I took his camera and I would shoot floppy disk after floppy disk of pictures of them. I wanted to capture their story and how they were affecting our lives. Of course, I knew nothing about the camera’s features or settings, but I was intrigued, so I kept playing. I began taking pictures of flowers and trees, animals, houses, and landscapes. I’d go out for hours with that Sony Mavica: just me, it and nature. Soon I graduated to photoshoots with my friends. I was really only fooling around, but I seemed to have a knack for it. Then I was given a Sony Cybershot T33 at the age of 15, while on vacation in Hong Kong. It was the perfect time to finally have a camera of my own. My mom had always said I had a good eye for photography and yet it wasn’t until I discovered the “macro” setting that I really acknowledged my own talent.

I’ve come quite a ways from propping up the Cybershot on my dresser to get the perfect modeling shot of my new outfit with my colorful curtains as a backdrop. I now have the privilege of using a Pentax K10 D SLR which has become an extension of my arm. I hardly put it down. I love exploring the settings, the ups and downs of ISO and aperture.

I spend hours examining photoblog after photoblog from amateurs to well known to infamous photographers, from all over the world. I absorb everything I can that will help me gain a better knowledge of shooting and processing. Then I go out and experiment. As I shoot, I ask questions. What’s the best angle? What’s the mood? Is the lighting right? How about B&W? What am I really capturing here? I challenge myself. I actually enjoy learning about photography, whereas learning about fashion design was a chore. What started as a hobby developed into a passion.

When I stay at my sister’s house in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, I often slip out for a few hours of stimulation, capturing the essence of the architecture. I see shots of the same mansions in her books from the late 1800’s and even recent ones from local photowalks. But this is looking through their eyes. They never see them how I see them, and I want to share. When I have the opportunity to attend a wedding, I have a whole new appreciation for those wedding dresses as I try to get the perfect shot that captures my lingering fascination. Even as recently as a few weeks ago, I was honored to be able capture one of the last moments of physical connection between my sister as she held the weathered hand of our grandmother in a sacred covenant that cancer can never destroy…. You see, anyone can pick up a camera and push a button, but when your heart is in it, the result is much more than just a picture.

I’ve been asked many times, what I will study in college, what I have chosen for my career. I tell everyone that will listen, how I’m pursuing a major in photography. Most people are fascinated, ask me why I’m interested, and wish me luck. Others scorn me for bothering with anything less than a “real job”. “Let photography be your hobby. Use it to make a little money on the side while getting a degree in something that matters.” they tell me. I just laugh inside because only I can possibly know how I feel about photography. Only I truly know that it is a part of me just as much as my own eyes. It is my voice. Why would I want to live without my own voice? Instead of hearing their ridicule, I focus on what my mentors tell me, what my audience tells me, and I am not discouraged. I’m in love with photography. It is me, and it is why I will dedicate my whole lifetime just to capture a few moments.

Special thanks to my sister, Hope, for her superb editing skills.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A tear comes to my eye..

Oh, my heavens! Sooooo much I miss of you all! My heart hurts thinking of all the photos and blog posts I've been missing. I want so much to just forget about my determination to stay focused and spend the day gazing at the hundreds of pieces of passion I've been skipping over everyday. My! How I long to go and comment each one- Justin, I saw in my morning's glance that spring has sprung in New Jersey! So pretty! And Don, I haven't dared to venture back to your page after commenting so many shots last visit, but no worries, I'll be back soon.

And while I've only mentioned the two, I do miss Sebastian, Archie, Maryam, Diane, Jill, Otto, Elizabeth and MeRa and all of you, I do. Things are coming along tho, soon I'll be back, because most of all I miss shooting and posting. Oh how I miss it so! My brother has taken his camera-the extension of my right arm- back for his various vacations and I've been left with a point and shoot. I feel so naked without it. Oh well.. I'll steal back it from him when he returns.

Here are some shots I took in late March(before my arm was amputated, lol) of the little sisters-

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Getting excited for school to be coming to a close in the next few months. I visited my college of choice, Columbia College Chicago, on Saturday. My visit solidified my thoughts on this school- it's awesome! Its students are SO talented. The teachers are skilled, and working in the industry now. I can't wait to go there. This shot is of a room in the 10th floor developing lab(that overlooks Lake Michigan).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Changing focus...

How busy, stressed, and crazy has it been these last few weeks?! My Lord Almighty, save me from myself! My school life has been like an IV pump with a slow, steady drip, not much is going in and not much is coming out. While it's verrrrrrrrry slooooooow, it all is still moving along. When it comes down to it tho, if I would only study more and play less I'd actually be going somewhere.

I've seen myself grow as a photographer and as a person, and now I think it's time for me to really buckle down and grow academically. My studies have been waiting, patiently. Things like Grammar and Math -- things that take time -- have been waiting the longest. They're not my favorite subjects because I know I need to be taught and I'm more of a "self-taught" girl (it's that "if you wants things done right, do it yourself" kind of thinking).

The other areas of my life have been going nuts lately. With so many things to do and sooooo many distractions, as soon as I decide to do something academically productive something more pressing comes up. I'll start reading and then I'll look at the clock and it's time to get ready for work; OR I'll start answering questions and I remember I need to do laundry, clean my room, eat lunch, or take down the wallpaper in the other room. You name it, it distracts me, pretty much anyway. At the moment all I can say is at least I recognize that it's distracting me and am willing to change it.Most of the time I don't even start school until I've checked my email, chatted with my boy friend and checked all my blog subscriptions and by that time it's time to take a shower and go to work.

So in lieu of all this, I think another blogging/commenting hold would be a good idea in addition to changing my focus offline. Maybe for a week or two I'll work on this, catch up and get things back on track then return with an update of how it all went.

Meanwhile, check in on my other blog for photos minus text - there are a few quite a few uncommented posts there - and also you can feel free to visit my fotki site where I've posted a lot of new albums.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Realization: I'm Growing Up...

Wow, so another year has come to a close. A full and wonderful nineteen years I've lived and as each passes I feel myself grow a little more. My eighteenth year has been by far one of the greatest of them all. I've learned so much about me, about photography, about love, life and about family. I'm growing up! Thought that's a bit odd to say about myself, I guess, all I can say is that I feel it and I see it everyday.

In my photography, I've gone back in my archives and looked at my initial photos, and my processing, I saw that there was so little that I really saw through my lens. When I was shooting, I'm not sure if I even thought about how to frame the shot or what angle was best. I know didn't understand processing, at all, and on top that; I was too emotionally attached to each individual shot. I didn't want to delete anything unless it was completely horrid. I found myself asking, why? Why have 5 shots of exactly the same thing, with only slight change in each? It was a bit ridiculous. As I thought back, I could only pin it on my pride and also my desire to please too many people. I remember saying to myself, "Well maybe someone will prefer this angle, while someone else will prefer this one.. I'll keep them all, you never know." I was so into what other's thought of my photography that I didn't see that what they thought didn't matter if I wasn't happy with it myself.

How things have changed since then! I love photography so much more. While not a pro yet, I've learned so much and, I see improvement in each photo. I've learned some about processing and I'm happier with my final product. I'm not worried about pleasing an audience, or commercializing my shots, just developing my passion.

Another thing I've noticed in myself is that I'm acting more adult. Taking care of my own issues, getting jobs, leaving jobs, and talking to people of authority with little or no hesitation(that in and of itself is one giant step for me). Over all, I think the adult switch in my brain has finally clicked into the "ON" position and I'm seeing myself grow and excel in everything I do.

I've also realized that I am influenced by those whom I surround myself with, and that I've been wise in my choice of friends. Yassine and Diamond, I don't know where I'd be without them. They've helped me along this year, SO so much, and I know with out their little kicks in the rear I'd still be this withdrawn, quiet, little girl. I'm able to be myself and speak my mind WAY more than I ever have. So, I definitely have them to thank. Hope Elizabeth, as well, has helped me in letting me go a little, to learn and develop, without interjecting all too much. That helped me form my own opinions on things instead of morphing more and more into a "Hope II"...Not that the world couldn't use more Hopes...but it has been good for me.

But anyway,all that said, I'm very excited to see what more I'll learn and where life will take me in this new age.. Here's to 19!! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I thought maybe some spring warmth would be a better Valentine gift than the cold of my recent shots.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Clarke House

Clarke House, 1847 S. Indiana Ave.

Built in 1836 for Henry B. Clarke, the Clarke House Museum is Chicago’s oldest house. It is operated as a house museum by the Planning Division of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. This Greek Revival style house shows what life was like for a middle-class family in Chicago during the city’s formative years before the Civil War. It has survived fires and two moves, and is now located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District. Guided tours of the house are available. Clarke House presents an outdoor film festival during the summer, as well as other seasonal events and occasional exhibitions.

As copied from the City of Chicago website.

~Being built in 1836 and that it still standing, makes it one of the few houses that survived the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

Whenever I take walks by Hope's house the gardens, surrounding the Clarke House, is the place I go. It's peaceful and inspiring nature is, I'm sure, what draws me.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Marshall Field Jr. Mansion

Marshall Field Jr. Mansion

On November 21, 1890, the famous Marshall Field, a man who represented the greatest wealth in Chicago, purchased the property for his newly married son, Marshall Field Jr., for $65,000. In fact, the elder Marshall Field lived right next door — at 1905 South Prairie — in one of the largest and most spectacular mansions that Chicago had ever seen. The Fields thereafter hired D.H. Burnham & Co., founded by Daniel Burnham himself, to design and build extensive additions on the 1919 South Prairie Avenue home for the young Marshall Field and his family. Architect Daniel Burnham’s work is world renowned, and includes the first Marshall Field’s department store, several well-known high rise buildings, the overall design and construction for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and he drafted The Plan of Chicago, the nation’s first comprehensive urban planning document. His design for Marshall Field Jr. was a spectacular mansion fashioned of red sandstone and brick, built in the popular Queen Anne style.

When completed in 1902, the mansion included a main house consisting of five distinct sections boasting forty-three rooms, nine bathrooms and fourteen fireplaces, and a separate attached carriage house where Marshall Field Jr. kept the most prestigious collection of horses and carriages on Prairie Avenue. The mansion, containing nearly 30,000 square feet, has since been described as "Picturesque," with essential components of a Richardsonian Romanesque style.

The Mansion Today

Today, more than 100 years later, UrbanStreet Properties, LLC is rebuilding this significant landmark location to its original grandeur. The mansion will contain six spectacular, one-of-a-kind residences. Each will have a floor plan unlike any other in Chicago, abound in luxury finishes, offer indoor parking and will incorporate a distinct remnant of the past, such as a massive fireplace or a rotunda foyer.

As copied from The Marshall Field Jr Mansion Website.

Hope told me that there is a story about this house which is surprisingly no where to be found on the website. Here's the story as found on Chicago Hauntings -
In 1905, Marshall Field, Jr. was found shot to death in the bedroom of his own home on Chicago's Prairie Avenue, reportedly the result of a self-inflicted shotgun shot. Field's family told police the death had been an accident: Marshall had been cleaning a hunting weapon when it accidentally discharged. Neighbors weren't so sure, however, and the press soon leaked rumors of Field's longtime dealings in the old Levee vice district, where Chinatown sprawls today. Had Field taken his own life to bow out of some untoward matter at Chicago's most prestigious brothel, the Everleigh Club? No one really knows, but we do know that for a century the enormous Field, Jr. house (known as the Murray house from its first owner) stood abandoned: no one, it seems, could live in it.
There are also rumors that every company run in this house went out of business- supposedly it's cursed. Despite all the hullabaloo, this is definitely a house I'd LOVE to live or have a studio in, and if I ever have money enough, I will. That's just me though...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Keith House

Keith House, 1900 S. Prairie Ave.

Built in 1870 it is thought to be the oldest existing mansion on the Avenue. Elbridge Gerry Keith a wealthy banker and wholesaler hired architect Jonathan W. Roberts to design this three story structure and stable. The main residence is about 7100 square feet. Constructed of top quality materials including Joliet limestone and red brick this home has many of its original details still intact: plaster moldings large windows fire place mantels mahogany woodwork and parquet inlayed floors. The home has been transformed over the years. The 2100 square foot stable was recently renovated and converted into a two bedroom two bath coach house with beamed ceilings hardwood floors and a family room and an attached two car garage. 1900 S. Prairie Avenue is located on a quiet cul-de-sac historical street. It is situated next to the Chicago Women's Park and Gardens; a beautiful block long well-kept City park featuring Chicago's oldest home the Clark House. The residence has a large back yard parking and a drive-way.

Description as pulled from a Yahoo! Real Estate listing. The asking price is $4,300,000! I wish I had that kind of money. Although if I did, I'd prefer to own the Marshall Field Jr. Mansion across and down the street.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kimball House

This house is definitely one of my favorites on Prairie Ave. I love the intricate carvings(click image to enlarge), turrets, the iron work, green window frames, and of course the wrought iron fence. Another thing adding to my love for this house is that it's currently occupied by the US Soccer Federation. Having played the sport for many years and being a fan of the US teams, it's really cool to know the base of operations is so close. (description as copied from US Soccer Fed.)

Kimball House, 1801 S. Prairie Ave.
Dating back to 1873, the Soccer House was built by William Wallace Kimball, founder of Kimball pianos and organs; Joseph Coleman, president of a hardware manufacturing firm; and Coleman’s wife, Leonora, who served on the board of the Women’s Christian Association in 1886. U.S. Soccer is currently leasing both buildings.

The Kimball House, built of Bedford limestone and topped with a slate roof, has an exterior consisting of numerous large and small turrets, gables, balconies and ornamental iron-railed galleries. The interior of Kimball House is as extravagant as its exterior, with wood abundant throughout. The ceilings are beamed in oak and mahogany, and fireplaces made of onyx warm the parlor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Glessner Door

This door was next to impossible to get good pictures of, it's granite exterior was reflecting the light so much that most of my shots had a major amount of absolute white area. Also to me not the most attractive of the houses on Prairie Ave, so I moved on to the Kimball House across the street. Maybe in the spring, I will try shooting this house again. Partial description as copied from the Glessner House Museum website.


In 1885, John and Frances Glessner hired Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Over the next year, he adapted the couple's specifications for gracious living into the stately home that helped redefine American domestic architecture. A radical departure from traditional residential design, Glessner House created a furor among the denizens of its exclusive Prairie Avenue neighborhood, causing George Pullman to proclaim, "I do not know what I have ever done to have that thing staring me in the face every time I go out of my door."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Purdy Door

This weekend, while in the city with Hope, I went out for a walk in the Historical District. I've wanted to do this for a few weeks now and with fresh snow lending to the mood I had envisioned, I went for it. I took about 200 some shots while trying quite hard to understand MeRa Koh's definition of aperture, and not quite getting it(Tho, I think I was confused because my "Digital Photography for Dummies" book said the opposite.). In the end I was able to kind of understand it.(Bigger number in f-stop the brighter the shot, usually anyway. Still not too sure why this isn't true all the time, but maybe next weekend I'll try and figure it out again.)
So of the 200 trial and error shots, I kept maybe half. The one above was my first shot. The description of which, as found on the Glessner House Museum website, is below.

Purdy House: 213 E. Cullerton Street

Architect: Thomas & Rapp, Built: 1891

The original house on this site, built about 1870, would have matched the surviving Italianate rowhouse next door at 215. In 1891, Dr. Charles W. Purdy, house physician at the Auditorium Hotel, hired the firm of Thomas & Rapp to rebuild the house in the Renaissance Revival style. (The same firm was hired the following year to rebuild the third rowhouse at 217 E. Cullerton for John Clark). One of the most striking features of the four-story home is the large polygonal oriel, which occupies the center of the second story. A prominent overhanging cornice is embellished with brackets, egg-and-dart trim and dentils. The interior has been extensively restored by the current owner, and reflects the finely scaled detailing evident on the fa├žade. An entry hall and service areas occupy the ground level, with the main public rooms located on the second story, providing privacy from people passing on the sidewalk

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Still really overwhelmed with school and work, so I'm not getting much time with my pictures. I have been posting from my more recent archives on my am3 site. So if you're missing my posts head on over there

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On My Way

I've noticed a lot of my photos lately are of pathways. Paths leading to buildings, or through parks or paths like this one which is just straight forward, leading somewhere, but no one's sure where. Basically that's the state of my life at the moment. I'm on a path moving forward, not positive where exactly I'll end up(tho I have a good idea),but knowing that sooner or later I'll reach my life dreams and goals.

I've been studying a lot lately and attempting to focus on school, which is the reason for my lack of posting. I've decided that it's time to stop worrying about my blogs and my art and just work on both when I have a break from school or on the weekends. As much as it pains me not to be out taking pictures, I know that after this year that is something I'll be doing FOR school, so I don't need to be too worried. It's taken me too long to realize this, but I guess life can only learned by experience.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Clean Slate

A clean slate for 2008 - Wow, I didn't think I'd be one to come up with the new year's rhyme. I'm so my father's daughter- Ha!

Happy New Year!