Friday, December 13, 2013

NCTE Part 2 - Boston Sights

Goodness, where have I been? I went to Boston weeks ago, followed up with an Author post, and then got busy. Well, break is here so I've got work to do on the blog (and eventually website), so here's a follow up.

Most of the pictures I take are of buildings, and since no time was allotted for sight-seeing, they are all taken in the dark. I walked around in the back bay area, so if not everything in the world that there is to see in Boston is completed, consider that I had little time and it was cold.

Monday, November 25, 2013

NCTE - The Authors

This past weekend, I had the chance of a lifetime through my school. The entire English department of University Prep Science+Math High attended the annual National Council of Teachers of English conference in Boston. I'll give several posts to this experience, but this one had to come first -- the Authors. Through sessions, signings, and a luncheon, I was able to hear from many acclaimed authors, and sometimes got a chance to photograph them. Here they are:

First up, Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

 He was insightful, he was funny, and he was very candid and real about the incredible life he has lived, and the changes that he never expected. I managed to score an advance copy of his forthcoming book Radiance of Tomorrow, and also this photo of us:

Also amazing was hearing Temple Grandin speak on the nature of all minds in the English classroom:
No one with autism has done as much for people with autism as this woman. Seeing her live was fantastic.

I didn't her Neal Shusterman speak, but I got a snapshot of the man during a book signing. Here he is looking exactly like you expect him to look:

And finally, back to the start: the conference opened with Judy Blume. I didn't get a great shot, but her interview was a fantastic kickoff to the conference. Here she is accepting an award:

More NCTE to come! Amazing conference.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Election Night - A Victory Party!

Those that have known me for more than a few years know that politics run deep with my family. I'm not one for running, personally, but through my father and uncle I grew up working a plethora of campaigns -- everything from writing literature to knocking doors. This past weekend I went out and dropped a piece for my good friend Jeremy Mahrle, as well as the coordinated party on his campaign, Sharlan Douglass. Both were on the ballot for Royal Oak City Commission, and both were victorious! I moved from Royal Oak about a year ago into neighboring Clawson, but I still have ties to the community and feel they will be a great voice for the growth and prosperity of the town.

Anyway, canvassing on Sunday led to an invitation to the election night party at 5th Avenue in Royal Oak. It was great watching the results roll in again, and hearing victorious speeches from Mayor Ellison (who ran unopposed, but still) as well as Jeremy and Sharlan. Also sharing in the event was One Royal Oak, a campaign that celebrated the victory of a human rights ordinance that now prevents discrimination against LGBT individuals along with those already protected. Here's a few shots from that evening:

Mayor Ellison looks on as the head of One Royal Oak campaign thanks supporters for backing the successful Human Rights Ordinance.

Jeremy and his campaign manager, Alex, to the left of Mayor Ellison.

Sharlan, one of the new commissioners, thanking supporters.

Jeremy, also now a confirmed winner, thanking supporters as Sharlan applauds their victory.

Jeremy Mahrle, Royal Oak City Commissioner 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Collision Six - 11/2/2013

A good friend of mine, Kerry, is in a local cover band named Collision Six. I made it to one of their shows this past weekend, and while pictures don't display the fantastic quality that is their fun, upbeat performance of well-known hits, I will post a few anyway.

Feel free to check them out on Facebook at or at a local show, because they play all over the Metro Detroit and Lansing area.

Also, special thanks to the staff of Jamboozie's in Sterling Heights for allowing me to take a few pictures that evening. It's a great place too -- check that out at

Lions vs. Cowboys - October 27, 2013

Ford Field was kind enough to allow my camera and I inside, and my wife's company got us some AMAZING seats. These things happen when you do a great job, and she's pretty wonderful.

So was the game.

Touchdown Megatron!

Being that it was the Alumni game, Barry Sanders stopped by!

The game winning kick, putting the Lions up 31-30.

I took a lot of pictures at this game, and if you'd like to see more, please feel free to check out the FULL ALBUM here:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Last Weekend/Last Year, Chasing Autumn

Most of this day was dedicated to my niece and nephews, but here's one of the field of sun/flowers at the cider mill. I'll need some leaves changing throughout the next couple of weeks, and I'll share them.

Here's my best one from the previous fall, taken out the window as we drove through northern Michigan. The best part is that Alison was driving about 70 when I snapped it. It's part of my portfolio.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Motor City Kitties

Finally, an outing to Comerica Park! Complete with:

  • Last minute seats in Section 102 for the wife and I, two rows from the friends that accompanied us to the game (their normal section/season seats).
  • A lack of camera restrictions (although the security guard asked if it was a fake lens filled with booze).
  • and, best of all, a win! 10-5 over the Cleveland Indians! 
Great seats, and a flawless experience with StubHub.

Austin Jackson rounding 2nd.

About to be called safe.

Benoit closing it out.

Excitement! This is what it is all about!

Outfielders high-five after Dirks seals it with a deep left catch in the top of the 9th.

Man, going to baseball games is way better than going to work. Seriously.

Oh, and in site news, I'm going to buy and direct it here. Huzzah!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Prints on Metal

I decided to do a few prints specifically for hanging in the garage. In keeping with the theme of the garage (lots of metal signs above the new workbenches), I elected for prints on sheet metal. I purchased two pieces of pre-cut 28 gauge steel at Home Depot (about $12 bucks or so) and had the photos printed at Staples for another $3. They needed to be on a color laser, as do all photos for transfer by this method, but on standard paper. That downsized my ideal from an 18x12 to a 17x11 with a border, but I made due. Using acrylic gel medium from my local Utrecht, I took the color reverse-printed photos, laid them on the metal with a layer of medium between, and pushed it out smooth with a plastic card. A day later, I started breaking off the paper using a damp cloth and my fingers, and then when it was done, I decided to coat with Rustoleum Clear Coat High-Gloss, instead of sealing with wax. It seemed more... industrial. 

17x11 of the Oberto boat rounding the Roostertail Turn at the APBA Gold Cup Race

12x8 of a train bridge in Royal Oak. It's faint, but the old carving of the words "Grand Trunk" are still visible when you see this one in person.

And a 7.5x6 of the truck, without which there would be no garage re-do.

I still have to hammer down the edges to get them smooth, because hand cutting these pieces to size with my old tin snips was not the easiest. Once I do, they'll go up in the garage. Oh, and for those wondering -- cost of project ~$20; time of completion 3 hours over 2 days.