Category Archives: About a Picture

EarthMover Credit Union


DSC_2917_8_9_tonemapped ps.jpg, originally uploaded by ecfman.

Now , why did this property become the subject of my camera? Well, I felt fairly comfortable doing HDR photography and decided to see if there was financial gain in shooting commercial photography using this technique. Both the Earthmover Credit Union and Cozhiar Harley Davidson seemed like good subjects.

The plan was simple, go shoot a business* on a day when the sky was filled with dramatic clouds. The first attempt was not successful but learning from my mistakes, I went back for a successful second crack at it. After processing the image, sending it off to the photo lab and getting it back, I then personally delivered the print to the person in charge of marketing. I figured by giving out a couple 8x10s I stood a change of gaining future work. Nothing ventured nothing gained..right?

Well, after finally tracking down the right person and delivering the photos, the story ends with a rather anti-climatic conclusion. While the woman was happy** to accept the photo, she stated that there was no money in the budget for any type of this kind of work. I am not sure if my catching her by surprise (it was a cold call) hurt the reaction, but either was I got no work from this. But I do like the photo.


* Just to clear up any confusion..I was using a camera and not a gun. I am a peaceful person and do not even own a firearm. I am not suggesting that anybody take arms against a business. Do not take such expression as “shot a business” as to be adding to the already charge political climate. Any attempts to defame me through implications to any acts of violence not committed by myself will be met full force with a video of me decrying “blood libel”. You have been warned.

** Actually I am not certain she was happy. I think I am merely projecting my wishes upon my memory of the past. While I like to think that these pictures were hung in a vp’s office, they could just as easily been filed away…or even thrown away.

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Posted by on January 13, 2011 in About a Picture


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A Moody Chicago Picture


DSC_2700_1_2.jpg, originally uploaded by ecfman.

Yet another Chicago picture. The setting sun dramatically lights the skyscrapers against a very lovely sky. I really, dig the shadows cast onto the buildings. For some reason, this picture evokes a feeling of nostalgia for me, a feeling of the 1940’s. I am not sure why, but it may suggest old Max Fleischer Superman cartoons.

While have a human subject in the picture is good, but the lighting on her isn’t. I could live with that, and perhaps, via the magic of Photoshop could fix that. That, however, doesn’t cure that one glaring problem…the cab. If only I shot this a few seconds earlier or later.

While I won’t print or publish this picture, and I doubt anybody would ever want a copy, I still like it. I guess there are things we all like but there is not good logical reason for it. Perhaps the thought of what it could have been, is enough to elevate its stature to me.

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in About a Picture


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The Man in the Reddest Suit Ever

One thing I love about shooting in Chicago are the surprises that walk right across your path. Something wonderful will happen, something you can never anticipate. To me, a man walking absent-mindedly wearing the reddest suit ever made is one of them. The minute I saw the man I knew I was on to something wonderful.

During the time I photographed him I would sprint a block ahead and take pictures as he approached. Then I would then spent another block ahead and take pictures as he approached. The pictures here are the final point at which I followed him. Being stopped by the light provided a great opportunity to catch some fun shots.

Man in the Red Suit 2

Yet another shot of the owner of the red suit standing at a street corner.

While normally my running….shooting….running….shooting would be noticed by the subject, this man appeared oblivious to it all. I am not sure the man’s story nor can I provide any other background except that the way he acted demonstrated some sort of mental illness. But as oblivious to his surroundings as he seemed, he followed the “rules of the road” as a pedestrian.

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Posted by on January 6, 2011 in About a Picture


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The Happy Thoughtful Man

I got this shot while working on a project to photograph panhandlers in Chicago. This is one of those pictures that resonate with me more because of the situation than of the picture itself.

Looking at this fellow, he has a beautiful face. With the right hair cut and the right clothes, it looks like this man could be anything he wanted: model, actor, lawyer, businessman, engineer, etc.

While this shot indicates a serene and thoughtful man, he is crazy. I don’t mean crazy like Robin Williams is crazy, or Evel Kenievel crazy. I mean not living in this clear and present reality kind of crazy. He was muttering to and gesturing to a non-existent person as he ate and drank out of garbage cans.

I guess there are some different ways to look at this photo. Perhaps this represents what this man could have been if only he were in his right mind. That in this one photo at this one moment of time we gain a glimpse of him in full mental health.

On the other hand, maybe this shows us that appearances are deceiving. That when we look at people, and maybe even when we talk to people we make certain judgments that are completely wrong.
There are people we admire based on what we see, but those same people would repulsed us if we knew about the things that we don’t’ see. I think too often we look at movies stars as being embodiments of the characters they portray, but in reality their morals or their intellect may be a vacuous as space and that if we had to spend a weekend with those people it would seem a week too long.

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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in About a Picture


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George At Weldon Springs

Man standing in prairie 

Wissmiller–5.jpg, originally uploaded by Jeffrey Jones.

For the start of the new year I will share my thoughts on my favorite pictures I took in 2010…in somewhat of a chronological order.

George and I have been friends for years but we don’t see each other much. But, one day he called needing pictures for his political campaign for public office. He has interesting facial features, given his intense eyes and rambunctious brows, so this was a treat for me. We shot a number of pictures in various locations at Weldon Springs and had a good time.

This picture isn’t the type of photo one posts on the website for political campaigns. But it is the type of picture photographers create/take because it answers to that inner muse. Often, among the many pictures we take for the customer, there are some we take for ourselves.

There are two reasons that I chose to do this photo in black and white. The first answer I would give is that the aesthetics which a monochromatic pallet give and that treatment compliments this particular photo the best.

There is, however, a hidden reason, one used to cover up mistakes or hide problems as they relate to color. You cannot tell from this shot, but the sun was rapidly setting and as the sun goes down it produces very warm, orange light. The kind of light that gives a feeling of life and vitality. On the opposite side of that warm orange sun is a perfectly blue sky. We think of the sky as a passive background not as a light source, but it is a light source like the sun, just much less intense. At this time of day the sun was at a very low angle shooting orange light at his face but the blue light from the sky was reflecting off his head. There was no way to easily color correct for a head that is partially orange and partially blue. So the simplest answer was to remove the color entirely.

Had I caught the problem as I shot, I still didn’t have the equipment nor the extra hands to correct for it. But even so, I am well pleased with the result. And who knows, even if the color balance on his head was right, I still may have converted it to black and white anyway.

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Posted by on January 4, 2011 in About a Picture


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A Night on Staley Bridge

This last Friday evening I finally made it back to Staley bridge (in Decatur Illinois)to shoot some more low-light photography. (I tried doing the HDR bit but that didn’t turn out so well an instead used Topaz Adjust). I got there around 10.00 and shot for an hour or so and shot for an hour.

For those of you who have not been on the overpass, not only does it get a fair amount of vehicular traffic but, as I found out, it gets a fair amount of foot and bicycle traffic as well. The pedestrians and cycles are mostly people who have lost their driver’s license and it is quite apparent that these people are alo either going somewhere to drink or are coming from some place that they have been drinking.

Anyways….I am on this overpass. It is dark and I cannot easily see or hear people walking/riding on the narrow sidewalk upon which I stand. Not until they are real close do I stand a chance to recognize their presence because my full attention is on what I am photographing below me. My concentration broken by the WHOOSSHHH! of a cyclist as he zips past me.

Towards the end of my shoot, this fellow on a bike passes by and wants to give me a “high five” kind of thing to which I accommodate the best I could. After travelling about 30 feet he stops and gets off his bike and starts walking toward me while carrying a cane. He is not using the cane to walk but it is quite clear he has a cane. Since he doesn’t seem overly menacing, I don’t get nervous but I do start collapsing my tripod before he gets to me and I make some mental notes on how I would react if he took a swing at me with that metal headed stick.
After some salutations and general body language, it was obvious he had done some serious drinking but taking swipes at strangers was on his agenda. After asking what I was doing he told me about his work as an electrician at ADM. This went on for about five minutes and I could barely understand him. Then we wished each other well and parted ways. All the while he was talking I kept thinking how I would love to get his portrait. It would have been impossible in those conditions…but it would have been great. An older black gentleman with graying hair and expressive eyes. His hand was firm rough as we shook hands. OOOHH, I would loved to have gotten a portrait.

Maybe next time.

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Posted by on June 15, 2010 in About a Picture


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Great Scenery Even in Maroa, Illinois

Too often in life, people don’t take the time to pay attention to surroundings. We live in a strange and beautiful world that we largely miss because we simply drive down the road only listening to the radio. This is no surprise because people have hectic lives with their full attention is placed on the next task, the day at work and what if for dinner.

The subject is one of a pro-gun sign series which occur in multiple parts of the state. For quite awhile I fancied the best way to capture any of these signs found on multiple highways and interstates. Then on one late afternoon, while in a “get home” state of mind, this scene appeared. The flooded fields, the crazy sky and the blazing sunset made a winning combination. So after driving home and picking up my camera and driving back these shots were taken.

You can find these signs route 51 on the south side of Maroa. Look to the West and you will see them.

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Posted by on June 8, 2010 in About a Picture


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