I spent three days towards the end of last summer shooting my first cookbook and it was a total blast. Day one consisted of covering a typical ManBQue monthly outing here in Chicago and the other two consisted of shooting many of the finished dishes contained in the book. The group has its roots here in town but now has chapters all over the world; men meeting monthly, swapping recipes, drinking beers and, well, being dudes. It turns out a few of the dudes have some serious cooking skills because Running Press decided to give them a cookbook deal and they did not disappoint. They took an already well covered genre and made it fun, unique and easy to grasp for cooking rookies like myself. Even the recipes that scream cheesy (not in the ingredient sense) such as the meat shot glasses filled with bacon-infused vodka are delicious and worth the effort. With summer right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to check out the ManBQue cookbook for yourself or any of your meat-loving friends.

Thanks to Paula Walters & Sandy Rosencrans, Joe Becerra & Dave Rentauskas, Joshua McDonnell and all the ManBQue dudes for help on this one. MANBQUE!

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supreme cuts

I closed on my first house last October and Mike & Austin stopped by for a quick photo shoot before I’d moved in much of anything. If you’re not familiar, check out their music on the Spotify. They go by the name of Supreme Cuts. You can find the rest of the frames from our shoot over on my photoshelter page.

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chicago magazine best new bars

I spent many December nights wandering Chicago and checking out some of the best new bars this town has to offer. Not a bad way to pay the bills, although far from a simple assignment. I really wanted to avoid using strobes to let the bar interiors really speak for themselves. Not usually a problem if you’re locked off on a tripod, but working people into the mix complicates matters. Most of locations were as dark as legally possible and contained as many as infinity color temperatures (I’m looking at you Three Dots), forcing me to rely on super high ISOs and a lot of time in Photoshop trying to balance things out to something worth looking at. I also used a very low powered (see: shot thru white napkins) Speedlite to fill in shadows a bit, CTO’d when needed. The top image of the whiskey was shot on a tripod and lit with continuous light (Kino Celeb LED and a Wescott Ice Light to create the vertical line on the left of the glass) along with some silver bounce hitting the ice from above.

Bars included (from top to bottom): Revel Room, Birreira at Eataly, Berkshire, Nico Osteria, Punch House, Billy Sunday and Three Dots & a Dash. Thanks as always to Megan Lovejoy at Chicago and my sister for hand modeling/assisting/listening to be complain about how dark all the locations were.

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kmart more “surprise”

Here are some additional Kmart in-store images we shot for last year’s holiday seasons: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day & Father’s Day. Bright, colorful, emotive and simple. Again, thanks to the entire team involved, including: Erica Chadwick, Neal Bullock (assistant), Brian Guido (digi tech), Courtney Rust (styling), Myra, Martin, Luis, Kelly and Kathleen at Draft and everyone else I’m forgetting because I don’t have the call sheet handy.

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kmart “surprise”

Surprise! A new blog post! It’s been a while, I know. I’m not much for New Years Resolutions but if I have one this year it’s to give this blog a spruce up and keep the updates flowing. I’m so behind on posting photos, these were taken well over a year ago and just not made their way online. That said, I’ve always loved the shots and didn’t want to let them go unseen.

The images were shot for Kmart and were used in stores nationwide during the 2012-2013 holiday season. It was a lot of fun to walk in and see them all over the walls. I even got followed by security for acting suspiciously while checking them out. The theme was “Surprise!” (thus all of the crazy emotions) and was via Draftfcb. Thanks to everyone who made the shoot possible, including: Erica Chadwick, Adam Daniels (assistant), Brian Guido (digi tech), Jen Brown (hair/makeup), Liz Klafeta (styling), and Myra, Martin, Luis, Kelly and Kathleen at Draft.

We did a second round for four other holidays which I will post in the coming weeks. For now, back to shoveling…

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LIZ KLAFETA - So WEIRD!! I was randomly just thinking about this shoot! Haha Thanks for the shout out and send me these when you can! Would love to have them.