Shot on Film: Incognito

One cold winter day in December 2001 when studio work was all finished, I grabbed my favorite Minolta XE-7, loaded up my Bronco with Samson (our studio dog) and drove off to a remote park for a walk. 

Here among the bare wet trees was a turn-of-the-century streetlight.  I would have completely missed it, if it weren’t for Samson walking over to take a look.

We were well off the beaten path and it was obvious that this lamp hadn’t been used in decades.  Further investigation revealed no purpose for it being there.

Upon returning to the main area of the park, I located an old map from the information center.  The lamp is apparently a lone survivor in what used to be a series lighting a paved path for moonlit walks through the park to a lodge and cabins that were torn down in the late twenties.  Long out of use with no other recognizable markers of its existence. 

I liked the fact that this old artifact of a time long forgotten stands alone in silence and well disguised among the trees, incognito.

Shot on Tri-X 100 using a Minolta XE-7 and a Rokkor 1.8 35mm lens.  Film was scanned full frame using a Minolta DiMage 5400 Elite film scanner without retouch or adjustment.

Random 002 : Michael Miller

This condo is one of my favorites.  Photographed in 2013, interior design by Michael Miller, every aspect of it is so artistic.  Tasteful well-placed art, fine custom furniture and a beautiful cityscape to look over while enjoying your favorite cocktail. 

For those curious, this was shot on a Sony A100 (honestly) using a Carl Zeiss designed 11mm lens. 

Shot on Film: Random....

Many photographers have a section in their blog where they will pull a random picture and post it.  I think that is a great idea.  Since we have a catalog of well over 100,000 images this might be fun.

Today I pulled a random (not really… I actually looked for it) photo of a young boy that I have always liked.  The little guy was part of a wedding that we were photographing and he kept following me around as I was photographing the groomsmen. 

I turned around and he was sitting on my camera flight case.  I just kneeled down to take his photo.  Makes me wonder if he ever became a photographer?

For those who are curious, this was shot with a minolta XE-7 (little ‘m’), using a Rokkor 50mm 1.4 lens on Fuji G-100 film.  Full scan with no retouch or adjustments needed.

I also used a Vivitar 285 on a Vivitar flash bracket, which added just the needed ‘pop’ for the image.

This was kind of fun; might do more than one a week, if time allows.  

Creative Spotlight: KEY INTERIORS, INC - Dana Tatge - Senior Designer

Back in June, we got a look of some of the awesome projects headed up by Key Interiors’ Director of Design, Debby Hill.  Key Interiors has managed to assemble a very talented team and today we are going to highlight Dana Tatge, Senior Designer.

I have had the opportunity to work with Dana on a few projects and, as you will see from the images below, her work is stellar! 

In commercial settings, specifically involving healthcare, one can quickly understand how a warm, soothing environment would be practical and comforting to those receiving treatment.  Here is where Dana’s talents really stand out.  Her designs offer relaxing, calming spaces that make a trip to the healthcare office a little less stressful and a lot more inviting. 

Dana of course works closely with the entire Key Interiors design team, and the results - like all of their projects - demonstrate why they are among the top commercial interior design firms here in the Chicago area.

Here a some of my favorite photographs that highlight Dana’s amazing work.



Creative Spotlight: KEY INTERIORS, INC. Debby Hill, Director of Design

 I absolutely love my job!  One specific thing that makes it so enjoyable is working with others in creative fields who are truly skilled in their craft.

During the past few years, I have had the privilege of working with one of my favorite interior designers, Debby Hill.  She is Director of Design at Key Interiors, Chicago-lands premier commercial interior design firm.

Debby is one of those rare professionals who successfully incorporate form, function and aesthetic into all of her projects.  She, along with her team, creates beautiful spaces that inspire, yet are comfortable and practical for the everyday work experience.   Working in such an artistic and pleasant atmosphere can really take the edge off of the long hours frequented by the office professional.   Additionally, her spaces are inviting place for office clientele to visit during the course of business.   One would be hard pressed to find a better design team.

Team is the operative word when describing Key Interiors. Their entire staff works together seamlessly and the results are always fantastic.  Our next Creative Spotlight will feature Dana Tatge, Senior Designer at Key Interiors.

Below are a few of my favorite images from one of Debby’s many projects.



Think of Something Pleasant!

The importance of a quality head shot or portrait when marketing oneself in business should never be underestimated.  In many instances, it is a client’s first look at who they are considering hiring or working with.

The ambiguous command made by many photographers just before pressing the shutter on their camera is ‘Smile!’  Yes, I use that too from time to time, but more often than not I will simply say ‘Think of something pleasant!’   Below are some of my favorites with a few out-takes included.

Can you guess which ones were shot with film?  Email me at if you can.  The first one who guesses correctly gets a free 18x24 framed wall art or an additional image from your next photo shoot.   





What Was Old is New Again

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of truth in the expression “what was old is new again”. For example, in the photography world many are experiencing the thrill of working with film, either for the first time or revisiting it like an old friend. Yes, film is still around, and gaining more and more popularity. Amazing. It’s similar to the resurgence we have seen in recent years regarding the return of vinyl records and the decline of the compact disc. Makes me smile. (I never got rid of my vinyl…)

So too, many of our clients are now discovering (or being reminded of) the impact of using a printed portfolio in addition to a digital one. There is something truly special that happens when you open a portfolio box and hand a prospective client a hand-mounted, archival-quality print of your work. The impact of a tangible photograph is certainly more exciting than swiping the screen on a digital device, and the “wow factor” that is achieved is a huge benefit!

There is also the advantage of being able to show more than one image at a time, laying them out in a stunning array and displaying a genuine storyboard of what you’re presenting to your client. While there is certainly still a place for digital concepts, photographs add another level of panache that is hard to rival.

I think these are some of the reasons that we have been seeing more orders for printed portfolios and wall art than we have in over a decade. As a result of this renewed interest in printed media, we are doing something special and bringing back our all inclusive photography package for a limited time. It includes location photography, 15 hand-mounted prints and an 18x24 framed wall art. Contact me for details. 

Spring is in the air

Today in the south suburbs it’s nearly 60 degrees, which has me thinking about the beautiful weather that is coming.  This lead me to think about some of the outdoor work we did last year.

First project that popped into my mind was a home landscaped by Kings Landscaping here in Illinois.  The weather was perfect, the project was beautiful. 

Below are a few of my favorite shots.

Small photo shoots? YES!

I often have the opportunity to chat with designers, architects and builders while working on projects.  I am surprised how many work on a space over time and then feel it’s necessary to wait until the entire project has been completed before scheduling a photo shoot.  But that isn’t always the wisest thing to do.

Case in point.  Below are three images photographed in December.  The homeowner has been slowly having her interior designer do the home, but at a leisurely pace.  One room at a time over the months that they ‘winter’ in Florida, which means it has taken several years to complete this home.  As a result, the designer has been having me photograph each room as it’s completed.  This ensures the project shots look fresh and that none of the finishes show any wear. 

It also allows her to start using her images in her marketing materials right away, which is a huge advantage.

Whenever I mention this, potential clients are amazed that we would shoot just one or two rooms at a time.  Of course!   Small photo shoots are fun, and since we are focusing on just a few areas, attention to staging and compositions can be done without rush.  Additionally, some might schedule one or two rooms and do a couple of locations at a time.  That is fine too.  It’s important to us to be flexible and work with our clients/homeowners schedules.

So all you who would like to add new work to your portfolio, but have only one or two rooms to shoot, give us call.  We even have a popular package rate for small projects.