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. ;)