Tag Archives: fundraiser

Weathering the Storm

Destruction from Washington, Illinois Tornado

Destroyed ranch house I drive by everyday; only 5 blocks from my home

Monday mornings at the office should consist of procrastination, too many cups of coffee, and thorough procrastination for the projects that lie before us. That’s why many Monday mornings consist of recapping the uneventful happenings of the past weekend. This was not to be the case for yesterday’s Monday morning routine. Here in central Illinois, our discussions revolved around survival, blessings, giving thanks, and destruction unlike anything we’ve ever experienced or have seen.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, my place of residence, the amazing small town of Washington, Illinois, came under attack, not by any tangible foe, but by the sheer destructive power that is an EF-4 tornado. The wife and I have been Washingtonians for a little less than two years now, but we’ve grown to love this little town and the people we call our neighbors, no matter the distance that lies between our homes.

Sunday was a day of tragedy, but also of thanksgiving. Fortunately, we were spared and, other than a 27 hour power outage, had no damage to our home. This was not the case for many of our fellow Washingtonians. It has been a very weird time around Washington with boil and water conservation orders in place, a city-wide curfew of 6 p.m. nightly and much of the city blocked off from traffic.

Farm House Destroyed by Washington, Illinois tornado

Destroyed farm house I drive by everyday; only 5 blocks from my home

Things are getting better by the day, but there is still a long way to go to cleaning up our little town. The scars left on the land may heal within a year, but those left on our hearts, will take much longer, especially for those who were directly impacted. You can disagree with me all you want, but our little town was attacked by a force so powerful that it can wipe away the lives of hundreds of people within minutes (and did).

The worst part is that we can’t fight back and we can’t blame; how do you argue with or fight back against nature? You can’t. You are helpless in that moment, huddled in the basement in the dark, praying for the all clear signal to come fast. And, now, we are helpless to those “neighbors” from across town who are wondering where to go from here and how they rebuild or replace that which can’t be ever truly returned.

Giving Back a Little

While I don’t have much to give except for volunteering when the time is right, I’ve decided to do some fundraising of my own instead. I have two ideas… the first will start now and run for the next few months and the second will happen sometime next year when the rebuilding of lives really starts to happen.

For starters, I will be donating 100% of my profits from print sales on the website to the American Red Cross. Starting today, if you purchase a print through my online galleries, not only can you get an amazing photo print for your wall, but you can help to rebuild my hometown and the lives of many across central Illinois.

All Dressed Up – Progressive Business Group Charity Ball

All Dressed Up

All Dressed Up

One of the many types of photography I love doing, and often get requested for, is nightlife and event photography. Whether it is a special event at a local club or a charity fundraiser, I find myself asked to document the fun going on around.

Over the past few years, I’ve been honored to do a whole variety of different shoots. From shooting Playboy bunnies to Jersey Shore cast members, I’ve done a lot more with my photography than I ever thought I would. For a small town boy, it’s about the closest I will get to real fame and celebrity.

Even though it has been a week or so already since the event, I was honored to be asked by the Progressive Business Group of Peoria to shoot photos at their annual Valentine’s Day Charity Ball. In the past, they have had photographers that specialized in more “Prom/Homecoming” type images, but this year they wanted something a bit different and more “modern.”

They decided to go with a red carpet style of background and shoot. While I was hesitant to shoot on a patterned background that was black and white, it turned out pretty well. The images, as you can see, actually look like they were taken on the red carpet at a famous event. The attendees had a blast, I was able to give away a whole load of business cards (Yay! for networking), and the girlfriend and I got to attend a fancy dinner/charity ball for the low cost of a photo shoot. We even dressed up!

For those that might be interested, these images were shot with a simple two light setup. I used two monolights set at 1/4 power into umbrellas. Each light was on a stand camera right and left, equally spaced and pointed toward the center. I actually had an “X” taped on the ground so my subjects could easily find where they needed to stand. Once I was set up, it only took about two minutes per shot to get everyone situated and click the shutter.

I’ve got to send a special thanks out to my amigo, DJ Real Juicy, of White Folks Get Crunk, who not only deemed me his official photographer, but also helped to set me up with the Progressive Business Group folks. Looking for the best DJ in Peoria for weddings or club gigs? Hit Juice up on his website, featuring some more of my images.

If you are looking for a nightlife or event photographer here in Peoria or anywhere else in Central Illinois, feel free to drop me a line.