Right place, Right time – Bianca & Jonathan Chicago Wedding

Check out this amazing snap Ela caught when we sprinted up the stairs to get this last minute shot. The reaons we sprinted up the stairs was because we had to fight Chicago traffic to get back to the venue in time for the reception. I love it when a plans comes together. We saw the train start to move and yelled “kiss!” And – it worked :)

Right Place, Right Time - Bianca & Jonathan Chicago Wedding

I’ll link to the full wedding post when it’s up.

Long time no post…but I’m back! Crop vs. Full Frame

Hello everyone! I’m back in a brand new way. In case you haven’t checked out studiofinch.com that’s a good place to see what I’ve been up to lately. I wanted to let you know that I’m changing the direction of this blog from just personal updates to a more photography tip, tricks and cool stuff type of thing-a-ma-jig.

This first thing I’d like to illustrate is the difference between a full frame camera and a crop sensor. Now you can good this kind of thing, but I think that the best way to illustrate my point is to simple show you a photo as an example.

Canon 40D 125th 2.8 1000 ISO (Click to see full sized image)

Canon 5D Mark II 125th 2.8 1000 ISO (Click to see full sized image)


As you can see the “crop sensor” on the 40D crops out part of the picture. Nonetheless, the 5D Mark II is also a much higher quality camera as well, but this helps illustrate the crop vs. full frame point. The 5D also lets in more light and has less “noise” in the picture. Click the pictures and compare.

So I hope this is just the start of more camera blog posts to help you along the way. If you already knew this, don’t worry we will get more complex along the way. Cheers!


Chatham Neighborhood Chicago Illinois Interview with Rep. Marlow H. Colvin

Recently I did a study on the Chatham neighborhood in Chicago Illinois for a class I am taking at Dominican University earning my MSW. Below is an interview I did with Representative Marlow H. Colvin about the neighborhoods history and what makes them unique.

New Place, Life and Niche in the World

The illustration is from Hugh MacLeod who's brilliant! - http://gapingvoid.com

Well, well, well here we are everyone. I think I’m starting to really find my niche in the Greater Chicago area, otherwise known for me as Berwyn and Dominican University for me. It’s been a big change of having to worry about things like papers and midterms, it’s like going to work, but you get to pay them. I enjoy it though, it’s nice to feel like you’re really building toward something significant. I think with my business skills, having an MBA and a future MSW I can really do some good. I can speak “business talk” and now I’m learning about social services/social work – could make for a dangerous pairing. In my first class a professor talked about, I’m paraphrasing – everything we do is political as a social worker. My reaction was “that doesn’t make any sense.”

The more I thought about that phrase the more it resonated with me. I had a marketing professor, in my MBA program, tell me “everything is a test in life, how we act, how we respond, it’s all a test.” I tend to agree with him. The more I learned about social work and it’s roots, Professor Oporto is completely right. I did a report on Eunice Kennedy Shriver and she is simply an AMAZING person who took people with intellectual disabilities out of the institutions and let them live life more like people without the disability.

For myself I went down to Springfield for NASW‘s Advocacy Day, it was an experience in itself. I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d be lobbying for, but I had a variety of options.

What I really observed was that there were very few normal-every-day-citizens there talking with representative, but rather guys in very expensive suites (who were professional lobbyist) waiting in line to talk to their representative/senator…I was immediately maddened by the process. Thinking to myself “I need to starting getting involved and not passively stand on the sideline letting the guys in suites decide how we live our lives.” I kinda like the term “t-shirt and jeans lobbyist,” but I’ll probably get stuck in a suite myself. I know getting political is easier said then done, but as a social worker (and as a citizen) we have the ability to change the playing ground in which we operate.

I think the first thing for me is to do is educate myself and learn how to play the game of politics. In a previous job/life when I wanted to talk to a representative a good way to get a meeting quickly was to have a business leader in the community recommend me or come along with me to the meeting.

Side note: one lobbyist when he walked in literally said “Boy everyone **cking hates our company, but they sure love our products” I was shocked how he spoke with such frankness- he represented a large chemical company I didn’t find out which one…shocking indeed.

The NASW they may not have the funding large companies have, however there is power in numbers and actually voting. It’s a government of the people, by the people, for the people right Mr. Lincoln? Did you vote in the last election? Did you really educate yourself about the issues? I did my best to, but I’m going to really make an effort to get much more involved on both a micro and macro level. I’m very happy to be on the path of having the ability to help people on both a personal level through counseling and also being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

I interviewed at an Adult Day Center this week, for an internship this fall, and the director was speaking to me about hard it is to get funding for the elderly. The people at this center were there for a variety of reasons, dementia, strokes, Alzheimer’s and other reasons. I thought to myself  – “they can’t speak for themselves and what is happening to those who aren’t in a facility like this one?” They can’t go and talk to their representative/senator and say they need help because they can’t afford medication or care. The people in the center were the lucky ones; I can’t imagine the situation for those who cannot get help. I think I’m going to make it my mission to try to get them better care.

This life change for me wouldn’t be possible without the help of my family, sister’s fiance and friends, so thanks everyone. I may be an hour and half away, but you’re always in my thoughts and heart.

I’m just about half way through my first semester, but I’m motivated…watch out.

PS. Another person who helped me get into the MSW Program at Dominican University is Ike Pigott, he’s my digital mentor of sorts, read his brilliant and witty blog at http://occamsrazr.com (if you go to Ike’s website please don’t steal his content or at least give him credit ::cough:: lifehacker.com ::couch::).

And I’d like to end this post with a song…been listening to a lot of Wilco lately and I’m in an optimistic mood. Enough said.

Social Media Marketing Guy – Do you need one at your company or organization?

Well I’m looking for some freelance work if possible. I have formal experience when I worked for the American Red Cross in Washington DC at national Headquarters during hurricane season. I was also on the “Advanced Public Affairs Team” or “APAT” as it was called when I was a Red Crosser. So I’ve seen it when things get really intense and dealt with large media outlets and also the very local ones. Public Relations and Social Media go hand-in-hand and should always work together.

If you want to establish an identity for your company through social media, have a plan and guide for you to go off of to empower your organization then I might be able to help you out. I also have an MBA from Rockford College and right now I’m a graduate student in the “Graduate School of Social Work” at Dominican University.

So, what that translate to for you – a person with a relatively open schedule that can work on a project for you with the skills and training to really add some real value to your company or organization through social media.

You can look at my resume for more information about my skillz (I like to use a “z” for emphasis).

Hope to hear from you soon,


PS. I’m now located in Berwyn, IL so I can easier serve the Greater Chicago area. I actually moved for school, but it’s easier for me now to work with people in Chicago – so that’s an added bonus. I have also worked with people in San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix and other areas across the country.

A New Chapter in my Life – Master’s in Social Work at Dominican University

Well, I’m here now in living in Chicagoland and going to school again. It’s been a big change, but a welcome one. I’m starting off part time at Dominican University with a couple of classes but will be going full time in the Fall. Everyone I’ve met in the program is so nice! The professors have a wealth of knowledge and now I’m working on getting an internship for the Fall. I’ll be specializing in Gerontology. I’m also going to be starting a new social work blog where I’ll be posting helpful information I’ve learned along the way and some of the writing I’ve been doing in the program.

That’s all for now. I did this week go down to Springfield and take part in NASW‘s “Advocacy Day” and I spoke with my representatives about some issues involving social work. The process was an eye opener. For some it was very frustrating to see how hard it was to reach people and get them your message for me, it was a motivator to make me want to get more involved in the political process. I can feel my brain cells growing already, look out world an MBA and future MSW is coming your way!!

Moving to Berwyn, Illinois on MLK Day – Fingers Crossed!

Someone picked me!

So someone did pick me for a roommate after all and I’ll be moving to the township of Berwyn, Illinois. Which is in the Chicago land area and also about 15 minutes depending on traffic to Dominican University where I’ll be going to getting my Master’s Degree in Social Work. I can’t wait to move and start my new life. Thanks to everyone that helped me find a place and I can’t wait to meet a bunch of twitter folks in the non-digital world. I have a feeling I’ll be posting a lot more about my adventures in the big city.

So stay tuned!!

Photographing the Bellator Fighting Championships VII – Aragon Ballroom Chicago, Illinois

That's me, I'm pretty cool.

There were a lot of great fights when I was cage side photographing the Bellator Fighting Championships in Chicago, Illinois May 15, 2009. I have a new found respect for anyone who steps into a ring or cage. Being up that closing and hearing each blow as a glove or foot connects on their opponent. I enjoyed mixed martial arts before I went to see Bellator and photograph is for Sherdog.com, now I am just in awe. It was a long night of work, but I enjoyed it immensely and hope to do more mixed martial arts photography.

At the end of the night I need to file some pictures to go along with the report so I found where all the writer’s tables and started to upload my pictures onto my laptop. All around me they were tearing down everything from the event, I thought to myself “I hope I have enough time to FTP my pictures to Sherdog’s server.” Then about 15 minutes later one of the workers asked me “Are you almost done?” Seeing the situation around me, I planned for this occasion – I used to be a Boy Scout and “being prepared” is a motto I’ve taken to heart. So, I bailed out of the venue and drove to the Des Plaines Oasis where they had free wifi.

It was actually nicer to work there because the lighting was better, it was quiet and I had plenty of space to work. I filed everything on time and then the next day uploaded my full gallery of pictures. They will be showcased later this week on Sherdog, I’ll make sure to post the link. Below are a few highlight shots from that night, hope you enjoy!

You might be able to see me on the ESPN coverage on Bellator’s YouTube page – http://www.youtube.com/BellatorMMA the event I was at is listed under the “Bellator VII” videos.

Eddie Sanchez knocked out his opponent in just 10 seconds that night - a Bellator Fighting Championships record!

Eddie Sanchez knocked out his opponent in just 10 seconds that night - a Bellator Fighting Championships record!

Eddie Sanchez jumped up onto the cage celebrating his 10 second victory.

Eddie Sanchez jumped up onto the cage celebrating his 10 second victory.

Alonzo Martinez in Victor Mezas guard - blood tends to make it easier to get out of people holds when grappling (and for really cool visuals).

Alonzo Martinez in Victor Meza's guard - blood tends to make it easier to get out of people holds when grappling (and for really cool visuals).

Victor Meza tapping out from Alonzo Martinezs rear naked choke.

Victor Meza tapping out from Alonzo Martinez's rear naked choke.

Tis Been Too long – It’s MMA Photography Time!

Hello everyone I’m back, I’ve been in hiding for a while sorting some business stuff out – I’m still in the process of doing that as well. I hope you’re doing well. I have a very cool updates I have a new photography gig coming up this coming Friday May 15, 2009 in Chicago.

It’s at the Bellator Fighting Championships at the Aragon Ballroom. I can’t wait for this gig to happen I am an avid MMA fan so it will be fun to see some great fighting and probably have the best seat in the house. The company I’m doing the photography for is Sherdog which is the largest MMA website in the United States and is an ESPN affiliate.

So, that’s all for now I will have links, videos and pictures to come! Here a clip from a Bellator fight below and here’s a great article about Bellator in the Sun Times.