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R.I.P. Nana...

January 25th, 2018

R.I.P. Nana...

Hey everyone!

First off, I want to apologize for my lacking of photo content on all my sites this month, but I am not going to lie, 2018 has gotten off to a terrible start for yours truly. The fact it is January only adds to the misery. It has not been my month, I got a head cold that lasted a week and absolutely drove me down into the large snowbanks that once this winter covered southern Ontario, I haven’t gone on any photo excursions yet, I am still struggling with my well-documented weight problems and just this past week, my dear grandmother, Ruth, passed away peacefully in her 91st year, which has taken a bit of a toll on me. Nana was the most unselfish, caring, and wonderful woman that I ever knew and I will miss her presence in the years to come. While I have grieved about it and handled it very well before and after she passed I am also relieved that she no longer has to suffer on Earth after she broke both her hips at different times and her body was just quitting on her. It seems a bit like a storybook ending as her old house was sold last October and she was around to hear the good news while still in the nursing home. I last spoke with her just after the new year and we talked about our holidays and Christmas, among other things, gave her a hug and a kiss before I left, not knowing that would be the last time on Earth I would talk to her. When I found out she was getting low and it was likely her last days on Earth, I felt so guilty because I didn’t get the chance to speak to her while she was alert, but my mother told me that Nana (as I like to call her) knew that God was on the verge of calling her home to Heaven and that I was working that day and she would completely understand and would not want me to feel bad. I saw her when she was unconscious on her death bed and I said hello and reminded her of all the amazingly good times that we had and we were so blessed to have her for 90+ years and so many memories, and then I said to Nana, “See you later.” Then the next morning, God made the call for her to come into His kingdom. From this day forward, very time I think of my Nana, I will not cry or grieve, but will have a smile on my face, knowing how amazing of a life she lived with absolutely no regrets and how I have nothing but cherished memories of her. After all, I know she probably say (as she did many times on Earth), “Meh, don’t worry about me.” We can only grieve for so long. But to anyone who reads this, do myself, yourself and your family and relatives a favour, please give them a hug and show your love for them every time to say hello and goodbye, because you just never know when you might see them for the
last time on Earth.

The picture you see posted was one that yours truly took of my beautiful Nana on her 90th birthday and I was honoured it was used in the Eulogy and the programs. Not very often you get to see someone pictured like that on their 90th birthday!

When all has now been said and done, I still have an optimistic outlook for 2018. I have ordered study material to memorize about Windows 10 and to take an exam for myself and for the IT service company I work for. I will be heading to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota in a little over a month, so I gotta get some inspiration from IG and Google Maps to scout out the best locations for pictures in the Twin Cities. As well, I will be heading to a couple of hockey games, namely when my Detroit Red Wings come into town to take on the Minnesota Wild! Should be a fun trip, no matter what happens, even if the Canadian Dollar does take a hit with all the uncertainty with the NAFTA talks, which also worries me that the relationship between us and our neighbours to the south could be turning sour, but most importantly, many jobs are on the line. I am not one to ever, EVER engage in politics because it fuels hatred and makes us less as one in the human race. So, I will leave the reasons behind this untouched. Still holding my head up high, I have plans to fix some of the ills in my life and I assure you, the camera will be out and shooting again very soon!

So, thank you all for sticking with me during this very difficult month and hope to chat and meet up with some of you in the coming year!

Until next time, God Bless, talk to you guys later!

Jay

Looking back on 2017...

December 31st, 2017

Looking back on 2017...

Reflecting back on 2017, I’d have to say it was a damn good year, inspite of the continuing struggles with my so-called lack of Facebook and Instagram likes and followers, trying to compare myself to others in photography and wondering how in the name of the Baby Jesus people have like 3,000 or 4,000 followers to like 15,000 or 20,000. It’s the “stupid” algorithms of Facebook and Instagram some people who are familiar with social media have told me. Statistically, only about 10% of your followers on average will see your posts. Which definitely makes sense. I’m also trying to watch videos on how to beat the algorithms whether it’s by posting at certain times, using hashtags, and commenting/liking others pictures first to try and engage an audience. I plan on taking these tips seriously and we will see the results. 

As you can see, my website is completely changed and I am officially now able to sell prints and more of my work. I also did it at about half the cost of my old website, so saving a bit of money there, YAY! 

Twitter is also a struggle, which I am trying to work on, slowly, but surely. Just some of the growing pains of a struggling photographer like myself, I guess. My Twitter name, by the way, is @rjsbirdphoto. If you'd like, you can follow me. 

My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/rjsbirdphotography. Give the page a "Like" if you wish to keep up with my picture galleries! 

To quote a female photographer I once knew but is now history… she told me, “It takes time and a thick skin.” I think she was right. 

Anyways, enough with the social media crap, 2017 was remarkable in many ways for photography, travel and events. 

Starting in Buffalo, NY, made three fantastic (as always) Instameets throughout the year including touring Larkinville in the bitterly cold winter, having some drinks at the Buffalo Distilling Company and having a fantastic burger at Soho Burger Bar downtown, and touring the Electric Tower and getting rooftop access for some fantastic views of the city and catching up with my Buffalo friends afterwards. I also had a couple of great nighttime explores with some good friends that year. Including in foggy January with Stephanie (IG name @artiswhy) who is a phenomenal Buffalo commercial photographer, please check out her website, http://www.artiswhy.com/. She and I attended a Buffalo Sabres game (which they won, YAY!) and we did some exploring in the fog that evening and doing some steel wool shooting with Jerry (IG name @sevenoneflix), another friend who met up with us. Jerry's work with his quirkly camera gadgets is phenomenal, especially his kaleidoscope-liked videos he makes. 

In February, I went to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. It was an amazing trip with just about everything you could want for an epic adventure, travelling by bus, taxi, and foot for fantastic pictures and views, super awesome and friendly people making me feel right at home, delicious local cuisine and seeing my Red Wings victorious over the Canucks! It was a phenomenal trip and one of the best I ever had. It made me fall in love in Canada all over again and it is officially my favourite Canadian city. I miss Vancouver every day, but I know I will return someday! 

After Vancouver, I made a brief return to Calgary for a couple of days and it was nice to be back, despite the chilly temperatures. I dined on some authentic Western BBQ, got some cool day and night shots, including the Peace Bridge which I missed the year before, and witness a Calgary Flames win over the New York Islanders at the Saddledome. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to make as many trips to my second home away from home, Detroit, as I wanted to, but I made my trips worth it. In May, I went down, I got to ride the new Q-Line streetcar from downtown to midtown and back. Then it was to Comerica Park to get an autographed baseball signed by Hall of Fame catcher and former Tiger Ivan Rodriguez. Then witnessed Justin Verlander and Tigers cruise to a big win over the Rangers (well before their roster tear down). After the game, I got some epic long exposure night shots downtown and over Interstate 75. 

Then in June, attended my first ever Ford Fireworks show in Detroit to celebrate both Canada Day (with Windsor across the river) and the Fourth of July. I was lucky to get a great view of the fireworks, but I (and the thousands) were NOT so lucky to have rain start falling shortly after the fireworks began and I was also unlucky that the rain took a toll on my old Canon Rebel T3. The main dial stopped working, meaning I could no longer manually adjust the shutter speed or aperture in Manual Mode. 

In July, made it down to the D again and met up with my lovely and close exploring friend, JoJo to go exploring in the newly-opened Beacon Park and met Colin from Detroit Respect (detroitrespect.com) for the first time in person. We had known each other for about three years and I purchased a couple of T-Shirts from him. The clothes his business sells are super cool and comfortable and they support Detroit. Then after that, it was off to do a bit of exploring on the city’s northwest side at a well-documented abandoned high school. We were fortunate enough that there was a community barbecue taking place near the school and we had talked to the volunteers there who were from the area and they were so nice they let us park the car there and they looked after it for us. Me and JoJo bought a couple hot dogs, bags of chips, and pop from them to support their cause. We got into the school through a broken window, checking out the still beautiful auditorium and library inside the school. It was great to be urbexing again, although we were cooking inside as it was a very humid day. I also didn’t get the shots I desired because of my camera’s main dial not working and I didn’t have my tripod with me because I wasn’t sure if we would get in or not because the city police have been patrolling the area very frequently because of break-ins and vandalism. Fortunately, we didn’t get caught, LOL! It was then off to the Detroit Institute of Arts to attend the premiere of “Detroiters” which was a very powerful film by Caldodecultivo who documented many artists in Detroit who used their words to make powerful narratives of the city and its many issues After a great dinner at Slows Bar-BQ, it was off to Campus Martius for drinks and relaxation while in the urban beach at night. It is really incredible how 5-10 years Detroit was completely dead at night and now there’s people everywhere downtown having a great time even in the wee hours of the night. 

The next day, it was off to my third-ever Detroit Instameet for the Detroit Respect Comerica Park tour. I met up with some great friends including Colin (who I met earlier before), Angelina, Karen, Ginette, and Evans just to name a few. We got a glimpse behind-the-scenes at the home of the Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park including being in the dugouts and on the playing field, the visitors dressing room, the press boxes and Champions Club. It was a great tour of the one ball park where I have visited most often in Major League Baseball. As for the Tigers, it was very much a bad year for the franchise and for the next 2-3 years, it appears as though they will be rebuilding. Many of us Tigers fans can only hope it’s a quick rebuild or that one of our draft choices will be a generational talent, which we lost when Justin Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros and won a World Series ring. Many of us Tigers fans were happy he finally won, goes to show how classy of a group Detroit sports fans really are. Afterwards, it was hanging out, sunbathing and taking in the performances of the Detroit and Windsor dancers at Beacon Park and went bar-crawling afterwards, totally making fools out of ourselves and even meeting and photobombing random groups of people at the Belt alley at the Z parking garage. Sadly, that would be my final time in the D that year. 

In August, my good friend, Matt, from Delaware was vacationing at his relatives' cottage in the Niagara Region of Ontario for a week and we decided to take in the rugged and rustic Elora Gorge in Elora, Ontario. We walked on the rocky trails along the Grand River all the way to Elora and checked out the pretty town. While we toured the gorge, Matt also talked to me about the Grand Canyon in Arizona and how it should be on my bucket list of places to see in my lifetime. I fully intend to put the Grand Canyon on my list, but it remains to be seen when I will get there, but hopefully within the next couple of years! Matt and I eventually went out separate ways and the next day he was heading to historic Quebec City and he had a bit of a scare because his hotel room got double booked by mistake and he had to be relocated to a new hotel room elsewhere. Fortunately, everything worked out, he got a good night sleep and was able to make it to his flight. Come to think of it, Quebec should be another place on my bucket list, it looks a lot like Boston or Old City Philadelphia!

In September, I broke down and bought a new upgraded camera, a Canon Rebel T6i and after a sunset and night photoshoot test in London, Ontario, I was extremely pleased with the results of the shots I got from this serious upgrade. 

As Summer 2017 came to a close, I visited an old Lake Huron town, Kincardine, that I used to go to when I stayed at my grandparents’ cottage just south of Kincardine in Point Clark. I got some great splash shots of the waves of Lake Huron and some pretty shots of Kincardine’s harbour and downtown. 

I also ordered two new ND filters for two of the lenses on my camera and decided to do some waterfall chasing in the city of Owen Sound, including the Indian Falls north and the Inglis Falls south. I think I probably made a mistake in just wearing a pair of shoes on that trip as my feet were aching easily afterwards and keeping my balance while stepping over mossy and pointed rocks to try and setup for those long exposure waterfall shots. Probably should’ve used my exploring boots, but despite that and the sweaty mess I was, I was pleased with the results. It was then on to dinner and an Owen Sound Attack hockey game. Waterfall chasing and a hockey game made for a pretty good day. 

A few weeks later on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I attended my first ever Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest to take in the largest Bavarian festival outside of Germany. I went on the Sunday to the Schwaben Club and took in a couple of great local polka bands including the Golden Keys, the Steve Angel Band, and I even got to see the Schwaben Club dancers put on a show, all while having a couple pints of beers and some delicious pork schnitzel. Then the following day, the best part of Oktoberfest was the parade in downtown Kitchener, Ontario. Photographing all the floats, mascots, and people who helped make Oktoberfest a success was an enjoyable experience and I even ate an authentic Oktoberfest sausage with sauerkraut, yes, with sauerkraut. Sauerkraut smells terrible and it’s frequently known to turn me off, however, when you eat it with sausage, it’s actually really good. 

Three weeks later, I made my long-awaited return to Chicago with a brief stop in Port Huron, Michigan. This happened because our family’s cottage trip on Lake Huron got cancelled due to being double-booked. So I decided to use the time off I originally had and visit Chicago for a week in the fall. The trip did not disappoint. I returned to Chicago because I wanted to put my photography skills to the test and I was extremely pleased with my shots and I even got up on three rooftops, including the LondonHouse Chicago, which was a place I had my eye on ever since it opened a couple of years ago. It is a popular spot for photographers and they do allow photographers to go up at anytime, although no tripods or zoom lenses are permitted (which I expected). I was very happy with my results. It is never easy to get night shots from anywhere without a tripod, but it can be achieved if you know your camera settings well. I also did get some long exposure shots without a tripod from up on the roof. I also got on the rooftop of the former Hard Rock Hotel Chicago (Carbide and Carbon Building) thanks to a connection on Instagram. You can check out that story in this blog here: 

http://rjsbirdphotography.com/blogs/to-the-hard-rock-hotel-chicago-thank-you-and-goodbye-posted-november-30-2017.html 

Late that week, I met up with a popular Chicago Instagram photographer and good friend, Rosi, who for the past couple of years loved and enjoyed my work and I loved her work even more, for a sunrise photoshoot at 31st Street Beach on the south side. We had a wonderful meet up, got to know each other and as result, we got some beautiful pictures of the Chicago skyline including seeing the city lights before the sunrise and seeing the sun reflecting off the infamous Trump Tower. Rosi is about the best friend any photographer could ask for and she is always bubbly in person. Her IG name on Instagram is @rosi.visuals, check out her beautiful work, please. 

I also toured two of Chicago’s landmarks, the Rookery Building and Chicago Board of Trade, and I even visited the Chicago History Museum to learn about the city’s history. Did you know the word “Chicago” is translated in French from the native word for a stinky onion? 

I was so happy to have returned to Chicago after four years and the picture results I got from that trip I will treasure forever. 

Finally over the last couple of weeks, I photographed my hometown of Stratford, Ontario at night all decorated for the holidays just for the fun of it and I was pleased with the results of those as well. Those nights were freezing cold, but I intend to use them as a warmup for my trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota in March 2018. 

I apologize for this lengthy “year in review”, but I just wanted to just share some of the great memories I had in 2017. 

As we close out this year, I want to once again take the time to thank all of you, my friends and followers whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, or through my website, for your continued support, friendship and good vibes over the last three years and will continue those in 2018! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Stay safe and please, don’t drink (or text) and drive.

The 2017 Festival of Northern Lights

December 22nd, 2017

The 2017 Festival of Northern Lights

I took the long two hour drive from my home of Stratford to the city of Owen Sound, Ontario to check out all the pretty lights in the 30th annual Festival of Northern Lights. It’s a long drive, but it’s very scenic going from the flat countryside of Perth County and then through the rugged and rocky highways of Grey County. You also get to pass through a few nice towns along the way, which I think makes the drive more enjoyable than being on a freeway to a larger city.

It is a 25 km long display of lights that starts at Harrison Park in the city’s south end, continues up 2nd Avenue East, then to 8th Street East past Owen Sound City Hall to downtown on the banks of the Sydenham River, north on 1st Avenue West and then to 10th Street West.

It was actually my second time at the Festival of Northern Lights, but my first time with my good camera and tripod.

The lights were all so colourful and seeing all the figures made like the obvious Christmas characters of elves, Santa Claus, and reindeer and there were a few well known characters like Wiarton Willie and Minions.

In Harrison Park, the lights looked so beautiful in the valley of trees that surrounded the park. In the middle of it, there were kids playing ice hockey on the rink surrounded by the lights of characters like dinosaurs, fish, and turtles. The highlight of all the lights at Harrison Park was the show depicting the true meaning of Christmas, with the star glowing, the wisemen following it to King Herod and eventually finding Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem after giving birth to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

However, while in Harrison Park, I stupidly left my tripod bag somewhere while taking pictures!!! ARGH! I returned to look for it, but couldn’t find it! Lesson learned... always leave your tripod bag in your car.

It was then on to the downtown core, there were even talking and singing snowmen who moved their mouths to the beat of many well known Christmas songs for all the patrons to enjoy.

There’s just something about christmas light displays that I like, whether it’s the bright lights, colours, or the opportunity to work on night photography, it’s always fun and festive.

Check out my Facebook photography page for all the pictures I took from the Owen Sound Festival of Lights (copy and paste link in your browser):
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1723941431003410.1073741997.749848608412702&type=1&l=31d8212007

Wishing a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year to all my friends, family and followers!

Electric Days and Nights in Buffalo... posted December 7, 2017

December 10th, 2017

Electric Days and Nights in Buffalo... posted December 7, 2017

Last week a fellow photographer friend of mine, Tom, who lives in Buffalo, New York invited me to an Instgrammers meet to tour the historic Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo. I could not pass up this opportunity and it certainly did not disappoint. I was also able to get another Buffalo friend of mine, Kate, into the list of those to tour the building. I met up with her for lunch before the tour to get to know each other better and to hopefully schedule a meet up to practice night shots. Luckily we were able to schedule that night to do it as she was able to work it into her busy schedule. Meanwhile, we made our way to the Electric Tower to greet our fellow Buffalo Instagrammers in the lobby.

While all of us took pictures in the lobby, the building’s superintendents told us about the building’s history. It was completed in 1912 and was modelled after a similar building, the Tower of Light which was built for the Pan-Am exposition of 1901 which took place in Buffalo. Sadly, like most of the Pan-Am exposition buildings, it was torn down. The original building was a unique octagonal shaped beaux arts tower and additions were built in 1920 and 1923. The building originally housed the headquarters for Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, which served all of New York State except for New York City and Long Island until 1932, they it moved its headquarters to Syracuse.

However, Niagara Mohawk maintained a regional office in Buffalo. I was surprised in looking at old pictures of the building in the gallery that from the 1960s until the early 2000s, the lobby looked totally different, like some cheesy office out of the 1960s or 1970s. The lobby was restored to its original 1912 grandeur shortly after Iskalo Developments had purchased the building in 2004.

We all then went up to the Conference Room, the second-most impressive room in the building to get some views of the city. As many visitors to Buffalo might notice, the city has a lot of old buildings still standing. Our tour guide explained (and I knew from a downtown tour a few years ago), the reason why Buffalo has so many of its buildings still in tact is because unlike many cities in the 1960s and 1970s who were tearing down older buildings for urban renewal, the city of Buffalo was so cash-strapped that they couldn’t afford to tear any of their buildings down so the entire Main Street and most of downtown was kept as is all this time. I am one of those who was glad they didn’t and it worked out beautifully for the city to become so architecturally important. We then went up inside the light tower to see what it is like to be up in that airy room where new LED lights are being installed. It is also where the famous ball in Buffalo is installed and eventually dropped from every year during New Year’s Eve celebrations held in the city.

After that, we got up to the 12th floor rooftop for some amazing views of downtown Buffalo and the area. You can even get a glimpse of New Era Field (home of the Buffalo Bills) in Orchard Park and Our Lady of Victory Cathedral in Lackawanna. We had so much fun getting shots from the roof that we didn’t want to leave!

It was then on to the 7th floor of the building, where Niagara Mohawk’s former headquarters and later regional office was headquartered. The space is being redeveloped into modern office space and we got a glimpse of the former board room whose unique features included a door that led to nowhere as a result of an architectural blueprint mistake and a Men’s only restroom. As we concluded on the 7th floor, we also saw the original tiling on the outside of the Electric Tower’s exterior prior to the addition. Compared to the outside, of the building, there was a lot more buildup of dirt on it, it was likely from pollution when Buffalo was very industrialized with all the coke ovens and steel mills still active around the city.

We all finished up our tour and grabbed a bite to eat at one of Buffalo’s hottest newer microbrewery/restaurants, the Big Ditch Brewing Co. Most of their cuisine is uniquely Buffalo. I ordered a couple of pints of beer and, of course, wings! A great Buffalo combination! Me and the group had a chat catching up with everything going on in our lives. Later during our dinner, we paid tribute and toasted our late friend, Ron Slisz, (IG name @ilovewny) who was one of the original Buffalo Instagrammers. He passed away in later November due to a heart attack, it was so sad and sudden, because I respected his efforts and hard work he put into his photography and I enjoyed hearing his urbexing adventures and we loved loving him come to our meet ups. We will miss you, Ron. After dinner, most of us went our separate way and I took time to go down to Erie Basin Marina to get some long-overdue Buffalo skyline shots at night from there.

I would then meet up with my friend Kate and her super-cool husband for our first (of hopefully many) night photography shoot together. We started out at the Theater District across from Shea’s, then went to near the Electric Tower and on to City Hall all for some long exposure and right shots and I even let her take a couple of the Hotel Lafayette and Lafayette Square.

It was then on to near the Peace Bridge, which was being worked on and sadly wasn’t illuminated at the time like we wanted, but the effort was there and it turned out to be a very nice picture she got. Then for the finale, it was to over the Interstate 190 expressway and the Buffalo skyline, which she captured beautifully! Kate did extremely well for her first time and I think her knowledge of photography terms definitely came in handy here and my assistance and encouragement should help give her some confidence in future night photography shoots!

After we concluded our shoot, it was back downtown saying our goodnights to each other and for me, it was the long, enduring 2 1/2 hour drive back to Stratford. I was tired when I got home, but the adventures, exploring, seeing my Buffalo friends and hanging out always makes the long drives to Buffalo worth it.

The featured picture is the interior of the Electric Tower's beautifully restored lobby.

To the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago... thank you and goodbye... posted November 30, 2017

December 10th, 2017

To the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago... thank you and goodbye... posted November 30, 2017

Well, it's been a few weeks since I last posted a blog and well over a month since my remarkable trip to Chicago in late October 2017. I had an absolute blast in the Windy City again. My first trip there in four years did not disappoint and the picture taking could not have gone any better. It was so surreal to finally have a fully-functioning camera again and take shots galore of Chicago with my extensive photography skills I gained over the last few years.

There were so many highlights of this trip that I could spend a long time going over all of them, but I do want to point out one surreal event that took place. I happened to be staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago and through Instagram, I got in touch with Bobby, who works at various places around Chicago including the Hard Rock Hotel. Many well-known Chicago photographers as well as some out-of-town visitors were taking pictures inside and out of the historic Carbide and Carbon Building where the Hard Rock Hotel is housed, including on the rooftop. I got lucky and was chosen to be able to photograph the building, take a tour, and get shots from the rooftop. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it at night as I originally wanted due to our scheduling conflicts, but it turned out to be a beautiful crisp autumn day and having the blue skies and sun shine down on the city more than made up for it.

The Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago will be no more as of December 1. The hotel is closing and will be rebranded as a much more luxurious hotel sometime in the new year. I want to take the time to thank everyone who worked at the HRH Chicago for their hospitality and making my stay so enjoyable and most of all to Bobby, who gave me the brief tour of the building, took me behind-the-scenes and helped me get up the roof to take some absolutely spectacular shots of the Windy City. I wish you all the best!

The featured picture is a spectacular view of Michigan Avenue and Chicago I took from the roof of the Carbide and Carbon Building...

R.I.P. Cooley Auditorium... posted October 14, 2017

December 10th, 2017

R.I.P. Cooley Auditorium... posted October 14, 2017

In the early hours of a late September day of this year, tragedy struck at the long-shuttered Thomas M. Cooley High School in Detroit.

The historic Mediterranean Revival high school was built in 1926 and over the years many prominent Detroiters like Mike Ilitch and many football players and athletes from the city graduated here. Like many former schools in the city, it closed due to declining enrollment in 2010.

The school’s once beautiful auditorium caught fire and Detroit firefighters had a difficult time getting to the fire, located in the dead center of the school. In the aftermath, the fire was contained to just the auditorium and no other rooms in the school were damaged. The auditorium, though, was totally destroyed, all the seats were gone and the architectural detail inside the room was burned beyond recognition. A few years ago, two former Cooley High School graduates had formed a community group to raise money to buy the building from the city’s public school system. In May, they had finally reached their fundraising goal, but after several months of further negotiations, Detroit Public Schools refused to sell the building and would seek other uses for it. After closing in 2011, the school had fallen victim to vandalization and scrapping in recent months prior to its fire. Arson is definitely not a new thing to the city of Detroit. The city averages around 5,000 suspicious building fires a year, which is the most amongst the largest cities in the United States, but only a fraction of them are confirmed as arson. While the school is said to be structurally sound, its future remains in limbo. Many gems of buildings in the city of Detroit have been lost due to neglect (and eventual demolition) or arson and many of us pulling for Detroit’s comeback can only hope many of them are still around within the next five to ten years.

The featured picture shown is what the Cooley high school auditorium looked like before it caught fire.

Website tinkering, Thanksgiving, Chicago in two weeks... posted October 7, 2017

December 10th, 2017

Website tinkering, Thanksgiving, Chicago in two weeks... posted October 7, 2017

Hey there! First of all, I want to take the time to say hello and thank you to the handful of visitors who have taken the time to visit my photography website. The first year of having my own website has been somewhat of a struggle and the results have seemingly not generated as quickly as I had hoped. However, nobody ever said it was going to be easy. I'm going to just stick with the plan because as a photographer I once knew said, "It takes time and a thick skin."

Look for some updates in my galleries in the near future as my website continues to be tinkered around. Also, look for possibly an online store for you to be able to purchase some prints online!

I'm also heading to Chicago in 2 weeks, so that will be another trip to look forward to and to get some epic shots of the Windy City!

Here's a shot of Chicago I took from the top of the Willis Tower (but locals still call it the Sears Tower). It was taken when I didn't know much about photography. I am confident the shots I get from this trip will be much better! The featured picture was taken in August 2013.