Becoming a Dad

It was 1:30 in the morning on Sunday, October 30th, 2016. Nicki told me that she was having contractions and they were close together. She went out into the living room and started to time them. At about 2 in the morning she came back in the bedroom and woke me up so that we could go to the hospital. We left the house around 4 am, got to the hospital and we had a baby by noon. Annie joined our family that Sunday afternoon and our life is now forever changed.

That first night was horrible, we had no sleep and we were scared. Being a new parent is terrifying! Am I doing this correctly? Is she eating enough? Is she happy? Will I ever sleep again? All these questions on top of the pure exhaustion made a few difficult nights in the hospital and our first night home ended with both of crying. We have since got our routines down and Annie is growing and changing. She is smiling every once in a while and sleeping more. This last month has been some of the most amazing moments in my life and some of the most challenging. I will never forget when my baby girl was born and seeing her for the firs time. Becoming a dad is life changing and I can't wait see this little girl grow each and every day. 

Digital Storm PC

I have been either wanting to build a new PC or order one from a number of companies for a while now. I would add all the parts to my amazon cart and price match that to some of the bigger name builders. After looking all over, checking out Alienware, Dell, Falcon Northwest, etc... I found a company called Digital Storm. I looked at reviews and looked at youtube videos of these machines and made the decision to purchase a new system through them. I ended up buying a Vanquish 5 and I will continue to buy computers from this company for the foreseeable future. This computer loads photoshop in 4 seconds, it starts up in around 10 seconds and handles every game I can throw at it. One of the best investments I have made. 

You can find one here: http://www.digitalstorm.com/vanquish-5.asp

The specs of my machine are listed below: 

Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Digital Storm VANQUISH 5
Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K 3.5GHz (Codename Skylake) (Unlocked CPU) (Quad Core)
Motherboard: ASUS/GIGABYTE (Intel Z170 Chipset)
System Memory: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series
Power Supply: 600W EVGA/Corsair
Optical Drive: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x) (Internal)
Storage Set 1: 1x SSD (480GB Digital Storm Certified Performance Series)
Storage Set 2: 1x Storage (2TB Western Digital / Seagate / Hitachi)
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Graphics Card(s): 1x GeForce GTX 970 4GB (VR Ready)
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: High Performance Cooler with Large Fan and Copper Pipes
Cable Management: Premium Cable Management (Strategically Routed & Organized for Airflow)
Chassis Fans: Standard Factory Chassis Fans
Internal Lighting: Remote Controlled LED Lighting System (Multiple color options and lighting effects)
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-Bit Edition)
 

Sigma 18-35 1.8 for Nikon

I don't know what I would do without this lens. I literally wouldn't be able to take 2/3rds of the photos that I take without it. It is my work horse and it rarely leaves my camera. If you are thinking about buying it, do it. It's an amazing piece of glass. I would buy another one in a heartbeat if heaven forbid something happen to my original copy. 

Thank you Sigma for leading the charge in camera innovation.

2016 Chicago Bears Offseason

The Bears met with Elijah Shumate. Elijah is a safety from Notre Dame and he is rated as a late round safety (5-7 round) at walterfootball.com

1/16/16: In 2015, Shumate had 70 tackles, two passes broken up and an interception. 

8/17/15: In 2014, Shumate was an active defender for the Fighting Irish. He totaled 66 tackles with four passes broken up and one interception on the year. Shumate needs to produce more as a senior. He notched 23 tackles in four starts during 2013.
Read more at http://walterfootball.com/draft2016S.php#T2UXGtmJeMBAc66E.99

I asked Jeff who from the Bears organisation was at the East West Shrine Game practices and if they met with anyone else. Tajae Sharpe is a 6'4" wide reciever from UMASS. A little more about Tajae here: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/nfl-draft-scout/25322814/meet-the-prospect-massachusetts-wr-tajae-sharpe

"Sharpe is currently ranked as the No. 8 senior wide receiver prospect and mid-round draft pick for the 2016 NFL Draft by NFLDraftScout.com."

2015 Chicago Bears

This season has been a roller coaster ride but I knew from the start that this team had a long way to go.  The last 10 years of poor drafting and signing free agents who haven't worked out has created this team who have gone on to win a total of 10 games in two years. However, this team will continue to get better if smart moves are made this offseason through free agency (adding a Inside line backer, wide receiver, or defensive end) and in the draft (drafting top players available no matter the position. 

I'm confident that the front office knows the weak links on this team and will correct them as soon as it's possible. This building project may take a total of 3 years for the Bears to finally return to the playoffs but it could happen sooner if the right free agents are brought in and the draft picks continue to ascend. It's encouraging to see most of this years draft class get playing time and play well (Grasu appears to be the one player that will need to have a great offseason to justify his third round selection).  The one unknown at this point is Kevin White, and although I really wanted him to play this year I'm glad the Bears decided to make sure he was fully ready for next year. There is no point rushing him back to have him hurt him self at the end of a season with no hope of going to the playoffs. 

I love using the site Fanspeak to run mock drafts of this team and here is my most recent draft: 

Round 1: Jaylon Smith OLB Notre Dame
Round 2: Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
Round 3: Will Fuller WR Notre Dame (best available and a need if they don't resign Alshon)
Round 4: Le'Raven Clark OT Texas Tech
Round 5: Max Redfield S Notre Dame
Round 6: Devonte Fields DE Louisville
Round 6: Kevin Hogan QB Stanford
Round 6: Luke Rhodes William and Mary
Round 7: Ryan Malleck TE Virgian Tech

http://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/

 

 

A walk in the woods

I miss walking in the woods as much as I did in high school and college. The sounds and smells of being outdoors in a heavly wooded area is incredible. I need to do go out to the local forest persevere more often.  

image.jpg

Photo Shoot

I had a photo shoot over the weekend. I was taking photos of a co-workers daughter and her husband at a lunch get together that acted as their reception. It was a small gathering of friends and family and was very casual. This was a challenging shoot because of the tight spaces and the fact that I was only there for a couple of hours and most of that time people were sitting and eating. I did get some great shots and started editing them as soon as I got home. Shooting these kinds of events shows you how limited you are with camera and only prime lens. I have a telephoto lens but this lens isn't suited for indoor photography. I think I will need to buy a new lens for such a situation something with a 1.8 or at least a 2.8 aperture. I have been researching the sigma 18-35 1.8 which seems really interesting. My goal of course would to own a 24-70 2.8 but the cost is too much for as little as I shoot. It was still a really great experience and I can't wait to take on more gigs. 

 

 

Chicago Bears Draft 2016

I'm going to keep post updated with all the Chicago Bears information I can find in regards to the 2016 Draft. 

 

Jared Goff. Duh.

Oklahoma State at Texas
Clubs attending: Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Chicago Bears.

Three top players: Oklahoma State (QB Mason Rudolph, DB Jordan Sterns, WR David Glidden); Texas (QB Jerrod Heard, LB Malik Jefferson, DB Duke Thomas).

Matchup to watch: Heard, a freshman who has given the Texas offense some hope and excitement, is a dual-threat quarterback who can do heavy damage as a runner. Sterns led OSU in tackles in 2014 and, though he’s a safety, will have an active role in the Cowboys’ efforts to stop Heard as a rusher. The bigger test for both will be on pass plays.

@ChaseGoodbread also mentioned this game attended by Bears Scouts with the following information: Link


My guess here is they are scouting Ole Miss Defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche who is probably at this point a top 10 pick. 

This would probably be to scout MSU QB Coonor Cook, There is also the OT from Oregon Tyler Johnstone.

A couple of my favorite sites

It has been a long time since I had to work with domain registers and controlling name servers. I was getting REALLY frustrated with my old registrar and the complicated user interface they have to update items. I decided I needed to find something new because my website was down for a few days because of the issues I was having. I have been listening to a podcast recently called Lore (http://www.lorepodcast.com/) and one of the sponsors of the show is a domain register called hover. Aarron Mahnke couldn't say enough kind words (I'm sure he is getting paid to do this but still) about hover.com so I thought I would check them out. Three days later after I was on a week of downtime I decided to make the switch . Their tools are very easy to use and after disconnecting my site and reconnecting I was able to get everything up and running in a matter of ten minutes. It's so easy to connect your square space site to your domain through the control panel it was maybe three clicks of my mouse. Check them out they are are really great. Make sure you listen to Lore because that podcast is super addictive and really well done. 

Western Illinois University Football Helmet

I have been wanting to find an image of a football helmet like the one posted below in order to create my own designs with it. This afternoon I was able to do the necessary cut outs (remove the face mask from the main section, clear the holes on the front and sides of the helmet) that would allow me to manipulate the image in Photoshop.

With the finished PSD as my starting point I started messing with color gradients and text. I still need to work on the W to make it look more "real" but it's a good start for now. 

Below is one final image with a gold stroke around the W. 

I want to create more with this PSD but I'm just so glad someone posted this image online. 

Old Man Logan

One of my all time favorite graphic novels is Old Man Logan. The art and story are incredible and I was receantly told that a film will be made about this story line. The post for that film leaked today.

2015 Chicago Bears

The 2015 NFL season started last night and on Thursday the Bears will play Miami at Soldier Field. I have been looking forward to this game all summer but my expectations for this year are at an all time low after last years 5 - 11 record. I expect the defense to have some growing pains and the offense will probably take a few games to get their feet under them. The Bears have a few good building blocks on defense and offense but this roster will be churned over the next few years. I'm excited that football is finally back and fall weather will follow. Hopefully I can make it to a game this year but otherwise i'm fine watching games with my friends all season long. 

#Beardown

Filter Grade

I recently found this really great website that offers Photoshop Actions at a reasonable price. There actions are very easy to install and even combining them can create some amazing results. You can find these actions here: http://filtergrade.com/ and be sure to check out their blog that offers a lot of great tips and trips along with some freebies. The first image below features two of their actions combined. The second image is the original unedited image direct from the camera.


Lollapalooza

Yesterday was my first experience at a music festival and Lollapalooza. Some of the highlights were Metallica, Catfish & the bottlemen and Django Django. 

The huge crowds

The huge crowds

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Metallica

Metallica

Chicago

Chicago