Fading Memory

Fading Memory

In late January a University of Illinois student named Vicente Mundo went missing, and was found murdered somewhere between Tolono and Philo over the weekend of January 31-February 1.

When praying for the dead, the Latin Catholic tradition says Requiem aeternam, “eternal rest,” while the Byzantine tradition both Orthodox and Catholic says Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη, “eternal memory.” I could not help but think of how short human memory is when I saw this torn-off flyer, and contrast it with the eternal memory of God which is the ground of all being.

For Vicente Mundo, and for all the dead: Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη! Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη! Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη!

The Busey Woods Monster

The Busey Woods Monster

When your children and your nephew have the day off school, what could be better than to go wandering around a local forest preserve? Sure, it may be January, and melting ice may make the boardwalk trail too slippery for mere mortals, but you’re going to have fun, dangit!

Slippery trails or no, it was worth it for this picture.

January Skies

Clearing Winter Storm, McLean County, IL

A little grab shot from the passenger seat taken while riding from Colfax to Gibson City. The church where my wife works chose a day of dramatic skies to go Christmas caroling to their members at various nursing homes between Bloomington and Gifford. Please excuse the grunge (particularly noticeable in the dark clouds at left); I couldn’t put the window down but I didn’t want to lose the moment.

Sailing By

Sailing By

We went to visit my parents for my younger son’s birthday again after Christmas. As I did in 2013/14, I took my camera down to North School Park for some blue-hour pictures of the light displays. Alas, there was no snow this year to add a warm halo around the lights, which gave the scene a desolate quality I don’t usually associate with Christmas decorations. Perhaps, since I took the picture on New Year’s Eve, it projects the mingled excitement and melancholy one feels as the old year gives way to the new.

To all my readers/viewers, may your 2015 be happy and healthy.

Found Objects

When the weather outside is frightful, and my camera is scared to venture out in it, I spend a lot of time in photographic hibernation. On rare occasions something in the house will nudge my muse out of her slumber, like this:

Still Life With Bath Toys

That duck looks hopeful; too hopeful, in fact. When one is made of soft pink plastic and is regularly dunked in the water by unruly children, there’s not much cause for hope.

My bathroom has a skylight, so soft high-key images come naturally there. For edgy light we must wander into my dining room, on the morning after making pizza from scratch:


Love that morning light, strategically filtered by the little semicircle window high in my front door.

No Ragnarök This Year

It took a while, but the unusually harsh cold and snow finally began to depart in mid-February.


Crossing the street was particularly fun, what with young lakes at every corner. These three guys were just about to cross Goodwin Avenue.

Three Happy Chappies

The Krannert Center has an interesting system of drainage for its roof that produced this stalagmite under one downspout. The tip was broken off a few feet away, yielding a sort of miniature ice caldera inside.

Mighty Mite

Warm Winter

When I posted before Christmas I mentioned wanting some pictures of Christmas lights. I was able to get them and realize a long-unfulfilled desire to photograph something in my home town at the same time.


North School Park in Arlington Heights, IL was built when I was in my early teens, and ever since it has been home during December to an elaborate display of Christmas lights. From the day I first read David Hobby’s guide to shooting Christmas lights, I have wanted to photograph North School Park in its winter glory, but could never quite make the time on multiple trips to visit my parents. I finally got my pictures last week, when we visited for my younger son’s birthday. Mother Nature was kind to me and (literally) iced the cake with a foot of snow. The train shown above, of course, is my kids’ favorite.


Capturing the windmill above took some trial and error, as well as defying diffraction with an aperture of f/22. I’m long overdue to buy some ND filters to allow longer exposures at smaller apertures.


By the time I took this frame, the twilight had deepened enough to give me 20 s @ f/16. Still need those ND filters….

It was when I edited these pictures that I finally decided I like my new D7100 a lot. Not that the D90 couldn’t have done a good job, but there is a combination of smoothness, sharpness, and deep dynamic range in the D7100 files that the D90 just can’t match. I’m looking forward to the next time I go photographing at dusk.