2014 recollections
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As 2014 comes to a close I can look back on a very busy and productive year .

In particular, from the period of May through July,  I was on the road traveling from location to location and never got back home to Chicago the entire time. Strange indeed !

I went from Chicago to Denver for my long time client; ACNM and then to Paris for the 4th HVP conference at Unesco and then to Portland for The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Water Management conferenceAWMA14-Day1_0051

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 AWMA 2014 conference. Long Beach, California.

I was in New York and made two stops in California afterwards.  My two associate photographers were also busy . Jeff Callen covered several events as did Erchel Raymond. All in all it was a productive year.

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BioMed 2014 Show.  San Jose California

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EASL 2014 Conference. London , England.

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NASPA 2014 conference.  San Antonio, Texas.

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TMA Midwest 2014 Executive Speakers Forum. Chicago, Illinois.

 

We travelled everywhere from Detroit and Portland to San Jose and Ft. Worth Texas.Next year promises to be more of the same, with conferences throughout North America and Europe and…?

 

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A New Year
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This marks my 24th year in business as a freelancer. I never feel comfortable however,  that I have arrived at some point where I don’t have to worry about business. I always think one should be skeptical about good fortune since business, like life,  will always change and adaption is always necessary.

And yet for the first time I am more than satisfied at the state of my business. I have a excellent set of regular clients, I have acquired many new ones and my year is almost completely booked. One of my new clients has selected me to cover several of their trade shows across the country and it will be the start of new partnership for us both. Here are a few images from just one of the many shows they produce in the USA.

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Last assignment of 2013
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From my last event of 2013. Sports anchorman Mike Adamle of NBC Chicago doing an interview with The Indiana Society of Chicago’s Guest honoree, Bobby Knight, the renowned basketball coach of, most notably ; The Indiana Hoosiers.Bobby Knight

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Year end review 2013
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Blog 2013

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Regrettably, I am writing this, my only blog entry for 2013 , as simply a singular year end review.

I had hoped to provide more of a consistent series of writings on my events this year but it turns out that my schedule did not permit me much of a chance to do such entries as I had expected to do. This was a busy year with a lot of time spent on the road. Next year promises to be the same. I went many different places throughout 2013 from Orlando in March to Munich in August. I worked in such cities as Amsterdam and Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans,  Toronto, Houston, Newport Beach, San Jose, Denver and Cincinnati.

I worked on numerous conferences and meetings in Chicago as well. I covered medical events such as the EASL in April in Europe and The Illinois Association Of School Boards just a two weeks ago in Chicago.

I covered airport industry events and technology conferences as well as medical and academic events. I learned about LED lighting and fire prevention techniques as well as European environmental history and current practices for water quality safeguarding of municipal facilities. I learned  about B2B advertising best practices and USA-Canadian border security relations. It was a fascinating year of meetings and I met people from all over the world.

I am grateful to all my clients both new and old for their continued use of my services. I have never expected or claimed to be something other than what I am ; a practitioner of a quality “boutique ” based service for the meetings industry. I offer personalized and quality conscious images for small and medium (15’000 or so) conference and trade show industry events. That is more than enough for me.

I now have two to three associates working for me that process and maintain my image production because I have often have no time to process and edit the images I produce while on assignment. One of these associates also photographs my assignments when I am double-booked for dates throughout the year ; he now understands my aesthetics and my approach to producing the best images for my client’s marketing and archival needs.

I still have difficulties maintaining and organizing my office since my office manager is only able to come sporadically to help. Still, the expansion of my business has meant more opportunities in many instances. I am also going to start working once again with video in a limited capacity. I was training to be a filmmaker in my college days but eventually gave that work up because I was losing interest in the industry as a profession . These days videography is a part of social media and I find that with  current camera technology there are certain circumstances that will allow me to work independently with much greater fluidity than a filmmaker was able to obtain in the past. Further developments and samples will be presented in my blog next year.

Perhaps the best way to end my blog at this time is to provide a wonderful quote.

And like all sayings, these are doorways into the mind’s eye, where each of us must find ourselves…  hoping for the best but being willing to accept something far less in the course of our daily lives.

Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.

Thomas Merton

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Year end perspective.
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As the last of 2012 comes closer I often find myself in the morning, sometimes early, taking some time to clear my thoughts and reflect on the year just past and the time ahead. It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed it seems, worrying over money or work and the day to day tasks that are always surrounding us. I find it worthwhile, especially at this time of year to get outdoors; breathing the cold Midwestern air and walking to clear my head. Because I live close to a forest preserve in Chicago I usually go there. This is where I meditate in silence on the world before me without having to be analytically control my thoughts. I try to let the natural world serve as a foundation for bringing me a sense of  peace and perspective on life. It is something I deeply value.

I wish all of my clients a restful conclusion to this year and perhaps a chance to reflect on all that makes our lives worth living.

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End of the year review.
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The Boston chapter of The Annual National CREW conference poses for their team picture at The Hilton Chicago Hotel.

As I look back at my last blog entry in August (!) I was set to start a busy Fall season of work. As it turned out it was almost too busy to handle. I had to say goodbye to my long time office manger and find a replacement. As any employer will tell you, finding the right support staff is critical and difficult. I will attest to that ! I did find someone to help with managing my office but it was ” late in the game” as the saying goes.  Paperwork in general had piled up and I knew I was lucky to finally find someone I could trust.

In September , October and throughout the rest of this year’s schedule, I had a number of different events and went everywhere from Brussels to Houston to Detroit as well as handled many assignments here in Chicago. I worked on such diverse assignments as The National CREW conference here in Chicago to the Annual Global Auto Logistics Show in Detroit for UltimaMedia Group in the UK.

I had a number of repeat clients including The Chicago Midwest TMA  for their Annual Winter Meeting and FFI’s Annual Global meeting in Belgium.  Newer clients like The Laser Institute of America and The Global Food Protection Institute were interesting change of pace events for me.  I was set to finish off the year with a trip to India for another regular client but due to some logistical problems it fell through at the last minute. The meeting is rescheduled for next December.

Here are just a few highlights from the events this last half of the year:

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J Michael Yaeger
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BHP Billiton Petroleum contemplates an audience question at The 2012 Shale Oil Gas conference in Houston, Texas.

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Keith Whyte , Executive Director of The National Council On Problem Gambling and attendees of the National Conference enjoy a visit to the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Part of the exhibit floor from this year’s Laser Institute Of America Annual conference at The Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

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Anthony A. Romeo, MD, head of the Shoulder & Elbow Surgery section at Rush University Medical Center. A portrait created for Slack, Inc. Medical Communications company based in New Jersey.

 

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On the road.
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I thought I would have the time last month to update my blog and found, once again,  that I couldn’t manage to do that.

June was remarkably busy with seven different conferences that found me with no more than three days off that month as I went from two conferences in California starting at the end of May into two different conferences in Paris then a conference in Dublin and then finally back to Chicago for two more conferences.  I pushed myself and my equipment to it’s limits in terms of capabilities. It was demanding, fun and quite intense.

The clients ranged from new clients such as The European Anesthesiology Society and The Human Variome Project’s Bi-Annual International meeting at UNESCO’s offices; both of which were in Paris to my regular client The Association Of Nurse-Midwives in Long Beach California and The Annual American Optometric Association Meeting in my hometown of Chicago.

I had a lot of follow-up work to do in July and I had an assignment less than a week after I returned for Pennwell conferences: The HydroVision International conference in Louisville, Kentucky. With my associates Jeff Callen and Warren Perlstein image processing and or photographing the events with me, it was a marathon of image work.

As I begin to prepare for my next two events this month I am expecting yet another busy and productive Autumn season ahead.

Here are just a few of the images I created during my travels.

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Back to back
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This seems to be the year of back to back conference events. My last two events were separated by less than twenty-four hours.

I went to San Antonio almost two weeks ago for my long-time client; The Industrial Supply Association . The event was a great networking event for professionals in the distribution and industrial supply fields  and the attendees are always ready to get down to business of connecting and making deals with each other.

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The day after I finished that conference I flew to Denver for the second time this year. I photographed for the second time,  the International Airport Cities conference ; an event devoted to engaging attendees in the airport infrastructure continuum with the best practices and skills needed to meet the challenges of airport business here in the US as well as around the world. Professor John Karsada, whose theories and writings developed the ideas of the Aerotropolis was, again one of the  main speakers at the conference. The event was organized by the exceptional UK based events team of Insight Media.

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Recent travels
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In January and most of February I spent my time doing the usual things I devote myself to at the start of each year. I organize my office, work on taxes and try to plan my work schedule for the coming year. I prefer to rest and not travel in February but this year I was offered an assignment in Minneapolis. Of course I had to take it.  I love revisiting my college and the many friends I still have in the Cities. The client was a very intriguing ; The National Court Management Association. And as it turned out the weather was unseasonably warm in Minneapolis so all the attendees and locals were surprised by the good fortune of the warm weather.  

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March turned out to be an exceptionally busy month. With three new clients and one returning one. I covered the first North American conference venture by French meeting management group Comexposium as they premiered their very successful European Cartes (cards, money/credit cards) conference in Las Vegas.
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Then it was on to Phoenix, Arizona for the NASPA Annual conference .

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And then hours after I finished that conference I was flying to Orlando for the Society of Surgical Oncology’s Annual Meeting and tradeshow .

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Then I finally finished off the month leaving on the last day of the conference and landed in Denver past 2 AM due to flight delays to begin only hours later  the Annual ACCED-I conference.

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April is equally busy  as I have just returned from Las Vegas for the second Annual Association Of Change Management’s conference. And in less than two weeks I will be headed back to Denver for another long time client’s event; The Industrial Supply Association’s annual meeting.

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The last of 2011
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It’s been a hectic close to this year’s activities. I started with The Annual TMA Midwest Executive Forum event. This year’s speaker was Dr. Condoleezza Rice. I found her gracious and articulate but somewhat like last year’s speaker, Tony Blair… let me explain… I was too busy concentrating on my job creating images during the evening and setting-up a portrait studio configuration for Dr. Rice and certain guests to have their picture taken at the after dinner reception… to tell you what she said during her dinner speech.

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Dr. Condoleezza Rice with TMA event Co-Chair David Onion, CEO of Chicago Capital.

The event was on Thursday and On Saturday I photographed the Annual Indiana Society Of Chicago’s Dinner. As usual the venue was The Fairmont Hotel.  Another great evening was enjoyed by all attendees with this year’s honoree being Indiana State University with a salute also to the City of Terre Haute, Indiana.

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Dr. Steven and Jane Beering with their son David . The family have remained long-time board members and supporters of the Society.

I made it home by Midnight after the evening finished and boarded a flight to Phoenix , Arizona for this year’s Grid-Interop conference, a four day long conference on the business and scientific fundamentals of our nation’s electrical grid infrastructure.

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Patrick Miller, President and CEO of EnergySec speaks about the complexities and potential problems involved in current cyber-security.

There are numerous loose-ends to tie up with several other projects and assignments before the end of the year but I am looking forward to some rest in January and some work on taxes for this year (my least favorite part of running my company) .

As I type this I will also be purchasing a new MAC desktop computer that should take me through the next couple of years of business before it must be upgraded and replaced. That too is a constant in my business, continual upgrading and relearning the functions of new software and related image-making programs.  I certainly had no idea it was as much work as I tend to do now. Live and learn. I’m still asked by attendees at conferences throughout the year-if I miss film…or prefer digital to film. I usually reply I still have mixed feelings.  The technology of film and traditional camera systems was a hundred years in development-things moved at a slow pace compared to today’s blur of  digital re-invention. Having to upgrade and relearn my tools more frequently certainly is frustrating but offers me more choice and greater control. Either way one looks at it; technology is always in flux and one has to at the very least be prepared to learn it and to integrate it’s applications in one’s life and business to some degree.  There’s really nowhere else to go but forwards.

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