About Me

What lies at the end of the Brown Line? It's not just Kimball and Lawrence.

My name is Eric, and I currently live in Albany Park, Chicago IL. I moved here from Darien IL in 2014. Before that, I lived in Cleveland OH. 1350 Cross Creek Drive #179, Brunswick OH 44212 was my last residence there. Although I’ve been a naturalized citizen of Ohio since 1977, I believe I finally found home here in Chicago. I was born in Wilmington NC. I’ve lived in various places since then, growing up most of my life in Ohio. I’ve lived in Chicago once before in 1994, and Wisconsin for a period of time. I am a graduate of Maple Heights High School in Maple Heights OH, class of 1992. For the duration of my High School years I was interested in Architecture and took several classes that would prepare me for the career, like Mr. Raiff’s Mechanical Drawing classes and Graphic Arts. However, as I graduated, I wasn’t sure that is what I wanted to do with my life. I was all ready to go to Kent State for the career, but backed out. I didn’t want to do Architecture. Between my Dad and my Graphic Arts’ teacher, Mr. Raiff, the seed of photography was planted…

What I Like To Do: I am a technically minded person, so I love to work with technology. Currently, I work downtown Chicago in the Loop with IPsoft as a System Administrator. At home, I have my own computer network -- An active Windows Domain with Windows Servers, Linux Servers, and even VMWare. Though, I like working with technology, spending time reading a good book or watching a movie is always relaxing. I find that even writing a short story or having friends over to play board games or cards is always fun. Even a good hike, especially in fall, is always a great seasonal activity of mine. I host a meetup in Chicago called “1001 Things to See in Chicago before You Die.” We have been actively meeting up since January 2015. Keeping up with the meetup has gotten me involved with lots to do in Chicago – meeting new faces, seeing incredible sites, but most of all, it has gotten me out to see the world in my own city.

Who I Am: I have been told that I’m an empathetic person as opposed to a sympathetic person. I often sense feelings in other people. I do not stand out in a crowd and I often shy away from them. I am shy at first but warm up to people often quickly. I have always been selective of my friends, which has not made me very popular. I have a witty sense of humor and I am an easy-going person, not quick to judge. As friendly as I am, I still value honesty, modesty, mercy and humility and those same qualities in others. I’m very perceptive of people, and I’m not always immediate to trust on a whim. I have often been a good listener with friends having problems. I believe by being an INFJ has richly enhanced the world around me and that has contributed to my photography. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yes. I believe that is very true. I do believe physical attraction towards a person is very important, but it doesn’t end there. Photography is the same! When you take a picture, what story are you telling? You have one frame, what is your story? I often think about that when I aim my shot. Aside from a rule of thirds, who or what is in your shot? What are they doing? What are they thinking? Dig deeper into the subject and get to the soul. That’s what photography truly is.

My Story:

My Philosophy

July 2015 – IPsoft Newsletter - Randolph & Wacker...

You have only one frame. What is your story? “My Own Fame on My Own Frame” is my photography motto. Everyone has their own interpretation as to what it is. I think many fail to see the art, its purpose or meaning in it, and we just shoot at anything. In a society so obsessed with selfies, or their “camera” phones, what really is photography? We have the feature on our phones, but have you stopped and considered and made photography part of your soul? What thought actually goes into your photo? In a nutshell, to me, photography is a single framed story. You have only one single frame, what story are you going to tell? Your eyes tell one story, but what story does one single frame tell? It puts the whole big picture into perspective. Ha, pun intended. I am an amateur photographer, but growing up, my Dad was my teacher primarily; he’s a professional photographer and videographer. I learned cameras with film before the digital revolution. I learned how to load a camera, wind the film, set your film speed (ASA), white balance, etc. Most of all, he taught me the “stops of light” – exposure time (shutter speed), aperture (f stops), film speed, and getting good depth of field in shots. He focused greatly on many aspects of photography like the science and composition but, most of all, the art in photos.

I have wholeheartedly gotten back into the hobby of photography. Belayed for most of my life, I finally invested in a nice camera recently and started shooting again. Actually, the camera was vacation pay from my previous job, lol. “Your phone is not a camera,” my Dad has stated repeatedly. He’s very old school when it comes to photography. So, getting back into photography, I’ve joined several photography meetup groups in Chicago like “Chicagoland Digital Photography,” “Chicago Streets and Beyond Photography” and “1001 Things to See in Chicago Before you Die.” The last group is one that I regularly host. I’ve participated in several events that involve everyone honing their photo-taking skills. You quickly learn from each other. You can practice your skills and learn how to use your camera at the same time. Together with these meetups, I’ve met other photographers, and have learned a lot. We shoot anything in Chicago to scenery, architecture, street photography, and much more. Some of the events we have done are “One L of a Ride” with the L trains, Chinese New Year Parade, Chiditarod X, Chicago River, and various other neighborhood walks in Chicago. You get a lot of practice; I’m still learning my camera and how to set it up according to how much light is available.

You quickly learn how to manually setup your camera, especially in limited light. It becomes an art. There is always that challenge in shooting. How far are you willing to go to get that perfect shot? I’ve learned that lesson in the awe of nature, and we must learn to respect nature, our subjects, and show a little humility. One photo shoot I did of our beautiful city this past winter, I quickly learned that lesson. I almost fell into a frozen over Lake Michigan. So, the next time you take a picture, whether with your own camera or even on your phone, think about what story you are telling in your shot. Give it some depth and thought.

August 2011 – Your smartphone is not a camera...

The world of photography reaches far beyond the simple "point and shoot" of a smartphone. It reaches farther beyond a "selfie." It's an art and a science. This was one thing I forgot when I bought my first smartphone in August 2011. I forgot the true meaning of photography and how it touches the soul. I forgot the art and the science. In an automatic world, photography is not as simple as "point and shoot."

My Equipment

The Standards

I don't have an extensive set of cameras or lens. I just have the basics. As I expand out, I hope to invest in more camera eqiupment. For the time being: Nikon d7000 Camera Body, Nikon SB-910 moutable flash (w/ diffuser, soft light box and remote stand), Mufretto Camera Tripod, Telephoto Lens (Nikkor 55mm-190mm), Standard Lens (Nikkor 18mm-140mm).

1001 Things to See in Chicago before You Die

Meetup Chicago!

Since January 2015, I've been part of this meetup group. The original Owner of the group founded the group based upon photography and "seeing things in Chicago." He had a list --- which I have inherited --- that detailed a very deep look into Chicago, the richness of culture, architecture and people. In March 2015, John, the group's founder, approached me and asked me to Co-Organize. He needed someone to handle one of Chicago's largest events of the year, "The Chicago River Dyeing and St. Patricks' Day Parade." I accepted the feat. Little did I know then, but that successful meetup landed me as the group's Event Organizer. In March, shortly after St. Patrick's Day, John bid 'farwell' to the group and passed me the torch. His job took him out of a city he loved. Not wanting the group to "die," I happily accepted his torch. From that point, “1001 Things to See in Chicago Before you Die” has expanded into a major success. With the help of two beautiful women Co-Organizers and another Gentleman Co-Organizer, we've grown tremedously.

In my "Folio" section, you can find many pictures from those events. These are the things we have see in Chicago, and some of the pictures are from those events:

  • Fort Dearborn and Graceland Cemetery (Wrigleyville)
  • Clarke House and Glessner House Museums (Near Southside)
  • The Jazz Community Big Band at the Jazz Showcase (Printer's Row)
  • Newberry Library and Washington Square Park (Near Northside)
  • Jane Adams Hull House and the Site of the Origin of the Great Chicago Fire (Pilsen)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (Streeterville)
  • Auditorium Theater Tour
  • 60th Annual Chicago St. Patrick's Day River Dyeing and Parade (Streeterville)
  • DePaul University Art Museum (Lincoln Park)
  • 18th Annual European Union Film Festival (Loop)
  • A Cool Night of Jazz (Printer's Row)
  • Loop Movie Scavenger Hunt (Loop)
  • The Dancing Nudes Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt (Loop)
  • A Sunset Cruise on the Anita Dee II
  • Relax After Work at the Green Mill (Uptown)
  • Take a cruise on Chicago's First Lady
  • Kayaking the Chicago River - Fireworks Paddle (Goose Island)
  • Chicago Dragon Boat Race at Ping Tom Memorial Park (Chinatown)
  • Chicago Full Moon Fire Jam (Uptown)
  • Music in the Park - Sondheim Symphony (Millennium Park)
  • Kayaking the Chicago River - Fireworks Paddle (Director's Cut)
  • 47th Annual Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk (Lincoln Park)
  • The 57th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show
  • Movie in the Park - Let's go back to the future! (Noble Square)