Thursday, December 31st - 9 in ’09: Live Music

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

I love shooting live music more than anything else, and I spent a lot of evenings in some of the smaller venues around Chicago. For several years, Schuba’s has remained my favorite venue. I’m really excited to spend even more time next year at Schuba’s new venue, Lincoln Hall. Obviously, other places make for an awesome live show experience, but definitely make life difficult for photographers – low light and crowded. Next year, I hope to build my portfolio by getting access to larger venues with real dynamic lighting setups. I went to enough shows this year to come up with a long list of my favorite shots. It was very difficult to select a list of my top 9, especially when I’ve shot so many great bands. It’s hard to separate what I feel is a great photo from my love for a great band. You can dig through my various sets from 2009… HERE – and find plenty of live shows.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Live Music photos of 2009:

9. Thunderheist @ Schuba’s

Thunderheist @ Schuba's - 1/17/09

8. Colin Stetson @ 9:30 Club – More photos here.

Colin Stetson @ 9:30 Club - 5/24/09

7. The Tallest Man on Earth @ Empty Bottle – More photos here.

The Tallest Man On Earth @ Empty Bottle - 6/6/09

6. Bailiff @ The Vic Theatre – More photos here.

Bailiff @ Vic Theatre - 11/20/09

5. Ra Ra Riot @ Schuba’s – More photos here.

Ra Ra Riot @ Schuba's - 9/16/09

4. The National @ 9:30 Club – More photos here.

The National @ 9:30 Club - 5/24/09

3. Bloc Party @ Aragon Ballroom – More photos here.

Bloc Party @ Aragon Ballroom - 3/28/09

2. Hollywood Holt @ Do Division Festival – More photos here.

Hollywood Holt @ Do Division Festival - 5/31/09

1. The Swell Season @ Auditorium Theatre – More photos here.

The Swell Season @ Auditorium Theater - 12/3/09

Wednesday, December 30th - 9 in ’09: Life

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Life photos of 2009:

9. Lots of weddings this year… lots of good times.

Rye, NY - 10/17/09

8. FlipHD cameras are everywhere!

Asheville, NC - 10/10/09

7. Gotta love the beach performers – especially when they are throwing bowling pins by your face.

Jugglers @ North Avenue Beach - 9/27/09

6. The classic “Get out of my face, paparazzi!” face.

New York, NY - Labor Day Weekend 2009

5. The biggest catch of our March ice fishing trip – a 30″ walleye.

Arnesen's Rocky Point - March 2009

4. Going vertical in the elevator.

Do Division Festival - 2009

3. Can’t beat the $3 312′s at Empty Bottle… combine it with some good music and you’ve got a fantastic evening / rough next morning waiting for you.

Too Cheap To Stay Sober

2. Making ends meet in the city.

Violinist In A Tunnel - 8/23/09

1. To round out the year… the best photo from a great Christmas party.

2009 Christmas Party Photo Booth

Tuesday, December 29th - 9 in ’09: Pitchfork Music Festival – Fans

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

Watching people is one of the most enjoyable events at large music festivals, and Pitchfork certainly never disappoints. Hopefully I can focus on fans at all of the city’s music festivals next year – both local street fests and larger productions, like Lolla.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 photos of the fans at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival:

9. Future rock-n-roll star.

Fans @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

8. L… A… T… F… H…

Fans @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

7. The crowd rocking out to some Pharoahe Monch.

Fans @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

6. This guy was trying really hard… and I wasn’t the only photographer to snap his mug.

Fans @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

5. Sex drive? Really guy?

Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

4. Goose Island 312 makes everyone happy.

Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

3. Hipsters love to hoop.

Fans @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

2. I like the lighting of this shot… and of course, the jersey.

Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/19/09

1. It’s rare when you find a White Sox fan with a sense of humor.

Fans @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

Monday, December 28th - 9 in ’09: Cityscapes

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

It is only the beginning of Chicago’s winter, and I have already noticed a significant decline in the number of days I spend shooting outdoors around the city. I try my best to have a camera on my person, but often times with the weather (and work), it makes it difficult to shoot everyday. Nonetheless, I took a lot of pictures I’m very pleased with this year, and I hope to have even more as I continue various projects – including a couple more focused on actual ‘street photography’.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Cityscape photos of 2009:

9. One night, after a late show at the Bottom Lounge, I walked down Lake Street towards the Loop. For safety, I don’t recommend the walk. For fun, there are a lot of unique photo opportunities as you walk underneath the EL and approach the freeway / river. Here’s a shot of some late night streakers.

Let's Go Streaking

8. Half of the Sears Tower.

Sky High

7. Lake Michigan always looks cold to me. Even on this gorgeous day.

No Diving

6. Wrigley Spearmint.

Around Town - 6/30/09

5. We had an unseasonably cool summer this year. As I sat out on the beach one evening, with a hooded sweatshirt on, I was struck by the contrast of the garbage cans and the feeling of being in a tropical location – despite the frigid temperature.

Around Town - 6/30/09

4. A dying business model.

Around Town - 7/12/09

3. Screw a corner office… I want a curved office.

Chicago, IL - 8/30/09

2. One corncob.

Chicago, IL - 8/30/09

1. As the joke goes… the second best city in the world… right behind Indianapolis.

Chicago Skyline - 8/23/09

Friday, December 25th - Merry Christmas… and Goodnight.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 25th - 9 in ’09: Portraits

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

I’ve never done a “photo shoot”. I prefer to catch people as they are going about their day – some turn out like staged portraits, some appear more candid, but I think both result in unique pictures of my friends and family. Since I just posted this one of Grandpa, I decided to included others from the year – even though that shot of Grandpa is probably my favorite picture of the year.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Portraits of 2009:

9. Somebody loves weddings.

Asheville, NC - 10/10/09

8. Ray-Ban man makes his first appearance on the top 9 list.

Bella Vineyards - 10/3/09

7. A low light portrait from a street festival – difficult lighting, but a solid result.

Chicago, IL - 9/19/09

6. It’s hard not to be happy after a Cubs game at Wrigley… especially when they win.

Wrigley Field - 8/29/09

5. It appears this may have been one of those trick cigars… the kind that blow up in your mouth.

Elizabeth, IL - 8/2/09

4. Portraits can be of dogs, too.

Elizabeth, IL - 8/2/09

3. Portraits can be of cats, too.

Reggie - 12/12/09

2. The return of Ray-Ban man.

Memorial Day 2009 - Washington D.C.

1. Another picture of Grandpa – smoking a cigar on an August afternoon.

Elizabeth, IL - 8/2/09

Thursday, December 24th - 9 in ’09: Pitchfork Music Festival – Music

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

Next year, I hope I can have a more elaborate festival photo list. Shooting without being affiliated with a media outlet is difficult, but it allows me to see the bands I want. For this reason, I shot where I could, and I definitely spent a lot of time at the local Chicago street festivals (some of which will be shown in my broader Live Music list next week). Pitchfork Music Festival was the only major fest where I obtained a true photo pass. I missed out on Lollapalooza, but I’m holding out hope I can cover the festival for someone in 2010.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Music photos from this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival:

9. Cymbals Eat Guitars

Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

8. The Mae Shi

The Mae Shi @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/19/09

7. Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/19/09

6. The Walkmen

Walkmen @ PItchfork Music Festival - 7/19/09

5. Pharoahe Monch

Pharaohe Monch @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/19/09

4. Yeasayer

Yeasayer @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

3. The National

The National @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

2. Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/19/09

1. Plants & Animals

Plants & Animals @ Pitchfork Music Festival - 7/18/09

Wednesday, December 23rd - 9 in ’09: Travel

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

2009 was not the most well-traveled year of my life. I didn’t take any exotic trips, and I left my camera behind on several weekend trips. I still have plenty of shots from various weekends in San Francisco, Florida, New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Boston, Minnesota, Asheville and Northwestern Illinois. Next year, I already have plans for Hawaii, South Africa and another ice fishing trip, so 2010 should be filled with some more interesting travel photos.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Travel photos of 2009:

9. After visiting my grandparents for a weekend this summer, I explored some northern parts of Jo Daviess County. With the exception of the windmill farm, there are miles of uninterrupted rural scenery.

Nora, IL - 8/23/09

8. Overall, in 2009, I had good luck with the airline industry. Let’s hope it keeps up in 2010. I’ve flown enough to know that the scene below can often mean hours on the ground – cramped next to a new best friend who undoubtedly doesn’t realize that your headphones mean you don’t want to engage in a conversation.

Rain, Again

7. I hadn’t visited Indy in nearly 2 years. This particular night had an amazing sunset behind the Capitol, and I’m glad I wandered out onto Monument Circle.

Indianapolis, Indiana

6. I enjoyed my first trip to wine country in October. I enjoyed it so much that I was in bed by 8PM.

Bella Vineyards - 10/3/09

5. My first Labor Day weekend outside of Chicago in four years. We spent three eventful, packed days in NYC and Connecticut – Cubs vs. Mets on Saturday, Fairfield Beach & Tennis Club on Sunday, Yankees vs. Rays on Monday… and of course, we squeezed in picture #1 on Saturday, too.

New York, NY - Labor Day Weekend 2009

4. As a little kid, I was fascinated by this bridge in my grandparent’s town, and I still am to this day… mainly because I can’t believe it supports any sort of weight, let alone cars.

Elizabeth, IL - 8/22/09

3. I really do need to travel to more beaches…

Gulf Stream, Florida

2. Ice fishing – little huts and cabins as far as the eye could see.

Arnesen's Rocky Point - March 2009

1. McSorley’s. Gotta love it.

New York, NY - Labor Day Weekend 2009

Tuesday, December 22nd - 9 in ’09: Sports

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

My pictures are a reflection of where I spent most of my time – Wrigley Field. I went to over 30 games this year, and I spent hundreds of dollars supporting the team… resulting in frustration and hangovers. Fortunately, the Cubs weren’t my only sporting fix, and I was able to witness some competitive soccer, football and hockey (not pictured) to keep me sane.

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Sports shots of the year:

9. I have several shots of the sun peeking through the stands at Wrigley. This is one of my favorites from the bleachers.

Wrigley Field - 8/11/09

8. Here is another shot of the sun coming through.

Wrigley Field - 8/12/09

7. It doesn’t get much better than a gorgeous sunset at Wrigley.

Wrigley Field - 8/11/09

6. The Fire made a hell of a run in the playoffs, but came up short in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake - 11/14/09

5. Soccer + Sunny Fall Day.

Chicago, IL - 9/19/09

4. Holy Cow.

Wrigley Field - 8/29/09

3. We could have saved some money by giving Carlos the closer’s role all year.

New York, NY - Labor Day Weekend 2009

2. Good riddance, Milton.

Wrigley Field - 8/29/09

1. It’s always nice to root for the Colts after the Cubs waste away ‘next year’, yet again.

Indianapolis vs. Tennessee - 12/6/09

Monday, December 21st - 9 in ’09: Film

To wrap up the year, I wanted to look through my photos and compile a few lists of the things I enjoy shooting. I will be posting the top 9 photos across 9 categories to close out 2009. These 9 categories will be: Film, Sports, Travel, Music @ Pitchfork, Portraits, Cityscapes, Fans @ Pitchfork, Life and Live Music.

In September, my dad gave me his old Nikon FE – my first film camera. Once I started shooting with cheap Kodak film, I found it to be more rewarding than a lot of the digital work I’ve done. The below shots were taken with the Nikon FE + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 and have all been developed at the high-tech labs of Walgreen’s at the corner of Madison & Wells in downtown Chicago. (I will take it more seriously in 2010. I plan to scan in several rolls of film taken with various modified Holgas. I hope to start developing my own black and white film as well.)

In no particular order, here are my top 9 Film shots using my new, old Nikon FE.

9. This photo was seen on Chicagoist’s Around Town segment, and it was one of the first shots I took in very low light at night.

Nikon FE: First Shots - 9/25/09

8. I took this photo on a grey morning in Chicago. I wanted to play with the depth of field of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4.

Nikon FE: First Shots - 9/25/09

7. I walk by the Nuveen building everyday, and I continue to be fascinated with its design.

Nuveen Building - 9/29/09

6. This isn’t a fantastic shot, but I enjoyed playing around with a long shutter speed on this particular evening. This was my first long exposure film shot, which made for more suspense in relation to the the instant gratification achieved with the LCD screens on my digital cameras.

Wacker Drive & Wabash Avenue @ Night - 9/28/09

5. The blue sky behind this dark water tower usually catches my eye as I walk to work.

Blue Water

4 & 3. There are plenty of sculptures in the Loop that often get taken for granted – these are two that I really like.

Picasso

Red Stripe

2. I had no idea how this shot would turn out, but I did know the sun was doing some really cool things on the river – bright lights and vivid colors. I’m glad I didn’t screw it up too bad. I think I captured a surreal picture here.

Fantasy Land

1. I didn’t spend much time taking portraits with film this year. I’d like to experiment more with it – particularly with some toy cameras, but this happened to be one of my favorite shots from the fall.

Nikon FE - Old Portraits