Chicago ‘L’

On my most recent trip to Chicago (Kirk and I’ve been twice in the last four weeks), I got the chance to bum around with my camera shooting whatever captured my fancy. After perusing through the images, I found that most included the ‘L’ in some way, either the trains themselves, the tracks, or the views seen from the windows.

When I lived in Chicago (’08 and ’09), the ‘L’ carried me to and from anywhere and everywhere important. I averaged one- to two hours per day riding the ‘L’, waiting for the ‘L’, planning to catch the ‘L’, listening to its bells and chimes, its doors opening and closing, its whoosh and roar as it flew along the track. Because it’s both efficient and inexpensive, it’s the first choice of transportation for many. A virtual cross-section of the population rides the ‘L’, including students, business execs, tourists, the homeless.

If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.

This sentiment should be taken with a grain of salt — otherwise many of us would be heartbroken over the loss of fingernail polish and latte art — but, in this case, the ‘L’ was, and still is, my connection to Chicago, and a window back to my 23 year-old self. ☼

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Two Blue Lines pass each other, one on its way underground towards the Loop and the other coming from the city headed to O’Hare.

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Brown and Purple Line track running next to Cobbler Square in Old Town — the first place Kirk and I lived after moving from East Lansing to Chicago in 2008.

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Brown Line stopped at Sedgwick.

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Looking south from the Sedgwick platform to the building formerly known as the Sears Tower. (Willis, really?)

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Grand Avenue from the Brown Line.

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Crossing the Chicago River on the Brown Line.

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Upper Wacker Drive.

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Approaching the Adams/Wabash stop.

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Adams/Wabash platform.

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Leaving the city on the Orange Line, en route to Midway.

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Real Estate Photos: Nautical Remodel in Bird Rock

Houses like this — possessing interiors designed to near-perfection — make me wonder how many hours the owners dedicated to decorating. The time required to design each room, and collect every last piece of furniture, framed art, and knick knack must have taken years. Or the equivalent of a full-time job (for a year). The finished product is certainly Better Homes magazine-worthy.

Boats don’t exactly hit you over the head scrolling through these photos. But, therein lies the years (at least a few, how could it not?) of interior design work layered in the tastefully finished product. Look closely and you’ll see the nautical theme running through the house. ☼

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Sailing a Catalina 32

Several times a year, Kirk and I rent a sailboat and cruise around San Diego Bay. More often than not, the impetus to go out for a daysail comes from visiting family. We ended up with a large crew this time: four of Kirk’s aunts and uncles (Colleen, Greg, Laurie and Don), his cousin Nancy and her husband Eric, our friend Jason, Kirk and me.

Our big group needed a bigger boat — much bigger than the Capri 22 we normally sail. We decided on a Catalina 32, which is the largest monohull Kirk and I have ever rented.

The Libra in me (seeker of harmony and calm) fell in love with this boat. Compared to the toylike 22s, the 32 handled waves, other boats’ wakes, and ocean swells with grace. I was able to relax and absorb the surroundings, and shoot a lot of photos. ☼

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New Logo, New Business Cards for San Diego Home Photography

“I want something more elegant, more sophisticated,” I said, motioning ineffectually with my hands.

I was explaining my vision of a new logo for San Diego Home Photography to my friend, Jason. He’s an artist and former graphic designer; I figured he might have an idea or two. It’s been over three years since Kirk and I came up with our first (and still current) logo, the grey and blue camera ’emoticon.’

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“I’m thinking of a Frank Lloyd Wright roof… Maybe the side of a house and a roof arc over San Diego Home Photography…”

Just recently I’d run out of business cards. It was the perfect time to upgrade my logo — before doing a new print run. In the last few weeks, a half dozen people had asked for my card, and writing my contact information on scraps of paper was getting ridiculous, not to mention unprofessional. I needed a new logo and new cards, pronto.

Jason flipped his laptop around to show me the screen. “What’d you think?”

My jaw dropped. It’d taken him less than five minutes, and he nailed it.

“Love it.”

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With the design a done deal, we were off to print at Quality Letterpress in San Diego. Jason (aka TEKSTartist) prints his new designs here every week. Last Tuesday at the shop, Jason oversaw the printing of his recent piece, Seek Adventure, and I, my business cards.

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Tim, the owner of the shop, is a total character. Last week he got some call from some guy about OSHA compliance, or something like that. “My machines are 100 years old, think I give a shit about OSHA guidelines?” he quipped.

He’s got crazy stories about partying with famous actors and musicians. He, himself, is a bass guitarist for Sha Na Na.

Tim’s a riot, but when printing doesn’t go according to plan — which is often the case with Jason’s designs — he flies into a rage. Jason is constantly pushing the limits of  letterpress printing by incorporating different colors and foils in his often complicated designs. It drives Tim mad.

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Tim is never actually angry with Jason. He’s in a love-hate relationship with his century-old presses.

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Jason’s Seek Adventure plate, inked and ready to go.

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There’s a quote hidden in the girl’s hair. Read it here.

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Of course, the printing of Jason’s design didn’t going very well. The machine kept leaving an extra mark near the edge of the paper, rendering the print worthless. While Tim and Jason tried to figure out the problem, I carried on shooting.

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My business card plate (above). This is placed in the press (below), rolled with ink, and stamped into the paper. In contrast to Jason’s pieces, my cards were a cakewalk. One color, no foil, no fuss. Done in an hour.

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Another TEKSTartist piece (below).

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Another TEKSTartist design (below).

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Lovebird was the first piece of Jason’s I bought, back when he didn’t know me and I only knew him as that guy who puts words in his art. I saw his work hanging at a local coffee shop I frequented. The bird was printed on a tiny magnet I bought for Kirk for Valentine’s Day. It’s still on our fridge.

Since then, I’ve bought this piece and of course, this piece. And this one still needs a frame (and will be hung after Kirk and I move to our new apartment in October).

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Tim’s dog, Ava. Total sweetheart.

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Checking out the impression on my cards in the sunlight.

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Off to get cut. Three hundred cards should last a while.

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Catching me catching them, Tim and Jason start hamming it up.

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It’s hard to see, but Tim is wielding an X-Acto knife (below). “For all your crazy-ass designs!”

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Real discussion on the color of an up-coming design.

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This is the same type (font) used for old wanted posters.

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Tim never did stab Jason, and just as Jason predicted, Tim was eventually able to figure out the problem with his press. Seek Adventure turned out after all.

So did my cards. ☼

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