St Patrick's Day with the Taoiseach

St Patrick's Day with the Taoiseach

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One of the best things about my job is the variety of work. In my 25+ years of freelancing, I’ve shot almost everything you can think of, from presidents to worms (look for both in future posts!). I’ve been shooting for the British Consulate in Chicago since 2007. And they in turn have passed my name in to the Irish Consulate, who I’ve had the pleasure of working for since 2012. St Patrick’s Day is absolutely huge in Chicago every year– almost a million people crowd into the downtown to watch them dye the Chicago River green and see the parade.

My assignment for the consulate was to shoot the parade which would see the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenney, walking at the head of the parade with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emannuel. I was to walk backwards at the head of the parade, photographing the dignitaries all the way down Columbus Drive. It was a surreal job, surrounded by dozens of Secret Service men, Chicago cops and assorted news media. I’ve never been in a parade before, but to “lead” the St Patrick’s Day parade in front of a million onlookers was something I’ll never forget.

At the end of the parade, I had to bail out (not an easy task with the crowd along the route 10-20 people deep) and make my way to a restaurant who would let me onto their wi-fi, so I could upload pictures to the Irish Times, who then ran the pictures on the front page of the Sunday papers the next morning.


Gear | Canon 1D Mark4, Canon 5D Mark2, 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 24-105mm f/4L USM, 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM, fill flash



Stephen King

Stephen King

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In 2017, one of the most famous authors in the world today, Stephen King, co-authored a new book with his son, Owen. As part of his promotional tour in the Chicago area, an event was held in the field house of North Central College (who hired me to shoot publicity pictures of Mr King’s visit to the college). Over 3,300 people lined up to purchase the book and hear Stephen and Owen speak about their collaboration.

I have to admit, I’ve never read a Stephen King book (I’m a non-fiction reader), but it was fun hanging out with and talking to the Kings as they autographed books backstage before the event. I also got to talk with Owen about Maine (where Stephen lives and where I do landscape photography workshops).

Gear | Canon 1DX Mark2, 24-105mm f/4L II USM, 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM, 300mm f/2.8L USM



The Day Mike Went to Prison...

The Day Mike Went to Prison...

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Beauty can be found in some strange places sometimes. Last Saturday, I spent over four hours in prison. It was a wet, cold and dreary day– just like you’d expect every day to be like at a correctional facility. The Joliet Correctional Center opened in 1858 and finally closed its heavy steel doors for the last time in 2002 due to budget cuts. Since then, people have broken into the prison to explore, take photos or vandalize. But in 2018, to raise money for the local museum, the prison has opened up for special history and photography tours. And that’s what brought me to Joliet in the middle of a downpour early on Saturday morning…

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Run, Kid, Run...

Run, Kid, Run...

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My favorite picture of the day, when one little girl was left behind by all the other kids. Then her sister came up behind her, put her arm around her and ran the rest of the race as her guide.

My favorite picture of the day, when one little girl was left behind by all the other kids. Then her sister came up behind her, put her arm around her and ran the rest of the race as her guide.

Yesterday I photographed a 5K run for one of my local clients. After the adults ran, there were several heats for the kids. The excitement was high for a lot of the kids, but it was heartbreaking to see some small kids in complete and utter terror as the race started and all the sideline parents screamed ‘encouragement’ to their little cherubs. In the final race, the 7-10 year olds, thirty kids tore out of the gate in one huge pack; it was scary to think what would’ve happened if one of them had tripped, as someone did in the 4-6 year olds’ race, when a little person pile-up was narrowly avoided.

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At the end of the day, fortunately, all of them made it back to their parents, and the event was a success. At least I think they did. I left before all the 7-10’s made it back to the finish line. Hmmm…

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