Black and White Project: Day Twelve

A New Lens, Rory Tyer Band

Living on a university campus in on-campus housing has its positives and negatives. The positives mostly revolved around it being incredibly convenient for me to go to class and to fulfill my responsibilities of the various positions I had on campus. Also, there’s a somewhat built-in community. The community is full of introverted academics, but its a community nonetheless. It did me well for the three years I was there.

When you live in an apartment on campus, it still kind of feels like a dormitory. We didn’t pay utilities, just rent. Even the internet was provided. The carpet is that really thin industrial kind that you’d find in a dorm room or office building. It just takes a lot of work to really make it feel homelike. Not to mention, the furniture we organized our stuff with is what you’d find in a dorm room: plastic containers, drawers, shelves. When we moved to our new place we wanted it to be more like a real home. It is our real home now. But it seems silly to set up plastic drawers from Target as our bedside tables. Makes it still kind of feel like a dorm room.

Furniture is expensive, though. And so after one trip to a store to buy very expensive furniture, I decided it was time to search out Craigslist for some good stuff. I found some great deals on a couple bedside tables, and the people lived right down the street from us. It was great. When you live in the city, Craigslist is a goldmine.

However, in the process I decided to search the words “lens” and “camera” and “Pentax.” That was very dangerous. I found that there were a lot of people selling their old film Pentax cameras. Not many people have use for those anymore. I mean, I don’t. Except for one thing: lenses. All of Pentax’s lenses, stretching back decades still fit their cameras today. Sure the lenses were all manual focus, and not many people like having to deal with that, but they were some quality lenses. So here people are selling these film cameras for dirt cheap and they’re selling all their lenses and equipment with them. The lenses are great quality lenses, and so I decided to contact a couple people offering their cameras and lenses for quite reasonable prices. I made a quick trip up to Evanston to pick up a camera bag with the K1000, three lenses, two flashes, and the bag itself. Met another person at a train stop in Highland Park and got a great 50mm f1.7 lens with the Pentax ME Super.

Manual lenses may be a bit more work, but not that much more. And it’s great. I’m getting some great quality shots from especially the new f1.7 lens. I haven’t really done much with manual lenses in the past, so I decided to just keep it on my camera and practice with it a lot.

Recently my friend Rory Tyer has a band (Rory Tyer Band). They played at show at the Elbo Room in Chicago. It was the semi-finals of a Battle of the Bands that has been going on for a while now. The winner gets to play at the House of Blues in August, I believe. (They won first place at the semi-finals…)

By the way, you should check out Rory’s band. Their newest album is a free download. They’re also on Spotify – “Six Thousand Summers” is their newest album. If you live in the Chicago area, you should go hear them at the Elbo Room’s Battle of the Bands finals on July 27th.

Anyway, I took my camera and my new (old) lens with me to their last show and tried it out. I was happy with my results. Here are a few snapshots from the evening.

Rory Tyer Band

Rory Tyer Band

Rory Tyer Band

Black and White Project: Day Eleven


It’s been a while, basically a month, since I last posted. I don’t really know why I have been labeling them in “days” when really they are just entries. But I still do plan to have a total of 30. I’ll get there eventually I suppose.

One of the reasons it has taken me a long time to post is because I recently moved into the city of Chicago. For the past four years I have lived in the northern suburbs of Chicago. People for some reason still called that living in Chicago, even though it can easily take an hour to an hour and a half to get into the city with medium traffic on the interstate. It would take an hour by Metra train. But that’s the key I think. People in the Chicagoland area assume that if you can hop on a train from where you’re at and it goes into the city proper you can say you live in Chicago. I mean, I told people that I lived in Chicago when asked. Not anyone from Chicago, though.

When I lived about a mile away from the city line of Indianapolis I used to feel really guilty when I told people I lived in Indianapolis. I didn’t live in Indianapolis, really. I lived in Greenwood. But no one knows where that is at unless they are familiar with the Indy area, so you tell them Indianapolis. I was like 10 miles from downtown Indy. Then I moved up to the north suburbs of Chicago, and it’s like 28 or so miles from the middle of downtown Chicago. But everyone said they lived in Chicago up where I was. I pretty quickly felt a lot less guilty for saying I lived in Indianapolis.

Distances are so strange. How we define what is far away and what is close seems to change depending on where you live. The mode of transportation really does help define what is close and what is far. When I lived in the north suburbs of Chicago, the closest store was a Dominick’s grocery store. It was 1.7 miles away from my apartment. That was really close for up there. The nearest Taco Bell was almost 3 miles away. Where I live now, however, 1.7 miles is actually pretty far away. That’s just because within a half a mile radius of where I live now there’s dozens of stores and restaurants. I walk everywhere I go now. 1.7 miles isn’t impossible to walk obviously, but it takes a while. And on hot summer days, you just don’t want to walk that far.

The other day there was a shooting 1.7 miles from where I live. In the city, that’s far away. That’s a totally different area from where I live. Different neighborhood, different demographics. If a shooting would have happened 1.7 miles away from us in the suburbs, people would be running for their lives. Protests. Neighborhood watches. Parents wondering if their kids could play outside anymore.

Anyway, Sarah and I are getting used to the city life. It’s been good. It’s so easy to get used to. Walking everywhere is wonderful. Not needing to drive nearly at all is incredible. Sarah takes the train to work everyday. Micah and I go to the plaza right outside my apartment and watch all the children run around, listen to the musicians, watch the clown. It’s great.

Here are just a few pictures. I haven’t been taking as many as I should now that we’re here. I starting to take more, though. Hopefully I’ll update more often.

IMGP3672_SnapseedMicah enjoys hanging out at the plaza watching all the kids run around and play.

IMGP3707_Snapseed Sarah and Micah enjoying the fireworks at the park near our apartment on the Fourth of July.

IMGP0277_SnapseedSarah and Micah walking through our new neighborhood, Lincoln Square.

IMGP0301_SnapseedMy new office, when I want to get some work done. A great local coffee shop.

Black and White Project: Day Ten

There’s a lot of transitions that I and my family are about to embark on. We are moving into the city of Chicago, after living out in the northern suburbs on a University’s campus for the last three years. We are incredibly excited about moving into our new place in less than two weeks.

We are moving because my wife finally got a new job. It’s in a hospital downtown near water tower place. Today we went down there so that she could do some blood work and drug tests and things before she starts next week. As I waited for her to get done, I walked around with my son and my mother-in-law who happened to be in town for the moment. It was a very foggy morning. Fog swept in and around all the buildings. Here is a picture from Water Tower place of fog encapsulating Hancock Tower.


Black and White Project: Day Nine

Today Sarah and I took Micah to the park for the first time. He experienced his first swing, he played in the grass, and even went down the slide with mommy. The weather was perfect. Kids were running around playing at the playground. Summer is definitely here.

Although its not out of the ordinary for young families to go together to a park, I think today for me will stand in my mind as one of my favorite days I’ve ever had. Spending the day with my family was…I don’t really have a word to describe it. It was wonderful. As we were sitting in the grass, with Micah crawling around, I kind of thought to myself, “Is this really my life?” It’s incredible.

I am so blessed.

A Day at the Park

A Day at the Park

A Day at the Park

A Day at the Park

A Day at the Park

A Day at the Park

Black and White Project: Day Eight

It’s interesting to see people’s reactions when I tell them that I am a stay-at-home dad. One time when I was getting my haircut the woman cutting my hair asked what I do. I told her that I was a stay-at-home dad.

“Oh! Is your child waiting for you in the car?!” She said with a bit of a panic. (Never a good thing for someone cutting your hair).

“No. My child is at home with his mom for the moment,” I replied.

“Oh, ok. Good. I was worried there for a minute.”

Do you think she would have asked that same question to a stay-at-home mom? I highly doubt it.

NPR recently aired a short segment on stay-at-home dads that I thought was pretty interesting.


Hurray to challenging traditional gender roles. Guys can be nurturing, you know. They can stay home and take care of kids just like women can. And even though Sarah is an incredible mother, I know that she is also an incredible nurse. I will support her in every business endeavor she feels that she should seek. Women can be the breadwinners, too.

We should think through what society has labeled as what is appropriate for a man and what is appropriate for a women. Why are things the way they are? Is it simply tradition? Is it even a good tradition? Women get paid 70 cents for every dollar a man makes at that same job. That’s been pretty traditional ever since women have been in the work force. Should we keep that, too?

Absolutely not. We need to think through what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman much more that we do. It’s amazing how Micah (my eighth month old) is already being taught what it means to be a boy versus being a girl. Just yesterday when we were outside at a friend’s place for a BBQ he was crawling and face planted into the dirt. Everyone just laughed and said, “Yup. He’s all boy!” What does that even mean?
Pat's Party
What I do know is that as I am becoming more and more aware of the expectations that are put on me as a man, I am also learning the expectations that I am putting on my son to live into our ideals of what it means to be a man. Even if Micah cannot talk yet, I tell him how I am feeling. I tell him about my emotions because, you know, men have those things, too.

Anyway. Listen to NPR’s segment. It’s interesting.

Black and White Project: Day Seven

Micah is becoming a lot more clingy these days. I like it, mostly. It’s cute. He follows me all around the apartment, whimpering as he crawls along. I can’t put him in his pack and play because he constantly wants to be held. If he plays with his toys on the floor, it’s just a few moments before he doesn’t want to play with them anymore and he’s tugging at my pantlegs wanting to be held. I want to tell him no, but when he looks up at me with that cute face of his, how can I?

I’m doomed as a parent. He’s going to get whatever he wants!

Micah Crying

Black and White Project: Day Five

The other night Sarah and I got a big styrofoam box of Omaha Steaks in the mail from my grandma. Sending Omaha Steaks has been a very kind gesture of hers throughout my childhood. Usually for holidays such as New Years we’d get a big box of steaks and hamburgers from her. Although I loved steak as a child (and was completely spoiled by how good they were, by the way), it was not the steak that I looked forward to when I saw that big styrofoam box.

It was the big bag of dry ice inside. I remember I would always beg my dad to plug up the sink and fill it up with water so that we could throw the dry ice into the water and watch the room fill with the steam that sank to the floor due to the melting ice.

I remember always putting all of my mom’s plants near the steam because I thought it would help them grow better. I think dry ice is made of frozen carbon dioxide.

Since I have moved out of my family’s house I have not seen one of those boxes. Until the other day. So you know what I was excited for?

Sarah had never seen dry ice melt before, so I took the ice out of the bag. Filled up one of our pots and let the steam come billowing out and onto the floor. Unfortunately I didn’t have any plants to put near the steam.

Boiling over

Black and White Project: Day Four

Life recently got incredibly hectic, so I have been unable to take many pictures. But here is day four. I went to a my college roommate’s graduation into the Navy on Friday. He’s preparing to be a Navy Seal. I’ve never been to a military event, so this was an interesting experience for me. It was also pretty amazing to see how big the Naval base really was.

Every person who joins the Navy goes through boot camp up here in Great Lakes, IL. There were about 800 people who graduated on the day that I went. I believe they have similar size graduations every Friday. Their boot camp lasts about eight weeks, with very limited interaction with the outside world. My friend had not been off base for eight weeks, so it was a bit disorienting for him to get off base after graduation.
Navy Graduation

Navy Graduation

Navy Graduation

Navy Graduation
Not the only one taking a picture…
Navy Graduation
Husband and wife reunited!