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Memorial Day

Fort Sheridan on Chicago’s North Shore

I suppose I could use this as a history lesson about Memorial Day, I’ll let you click over to wikipedia for that. I’ll just add that we need to embrace the remembrance of those who have sacrificed much and sacrificed everything in defense of our country. We might now all agree on every political issue at hand today, but let’s all agree that we would be nowhere without the sacrifices of these young men.

I decided to visit Ft. Sheridan Cemetery yesterday. It’s not a far drive from our home, and it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a few years. I looked online and found that the service was at 11:45 AM on Monday. Seems like a few people had the same info, however the service really started at 10:30, so I’d missed the pictures that I’d wanted to make, so instead I decided to try and honor a few soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. As I walked amongst the headstones, I was looking for several things, first someone from the recent conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan as well as someone from either WWII, Korea or Vietnam. I was surprised how many headstones indicated that many veterans had actually fought in all three of the last ones.

To begin with, I settled on the marker for US Army Sgt Jason C Denfrund, he was born when I was 12 years old, which always bugs me how young these guys are. Then I noticed he died on Christmas Day and I thought how painful that has to be for his family every year, how do you celebrate Christmas on the day your son, husband or father was killed.

Fort Sheridan Cemetery

A few facts I was able to dig up about Sgt Denfrund
- New York State native
- An accomplished high school athlete (Football & Track)
- In the Army since June of 2001. Served in Germany, Kosovo and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed by an IED.
- Married with two kids.
- Awarded both the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

What I liked about this picture was all the stones in the background, along with the flags, I liked the awards that were listed on the headstone as I’d just found out last weekend that my grandmother’s boyfriend who served in the Airborne in WWII and awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

It looks like there is a memorial fund, hopefully for his kids. Please check

Checks should be made out to “Sgt. Jason Denfrund Memorial Scholarship Fund.”
The Bank of Cattaraugus
c/o Colleen Young
24 Main Street
Cattaraugus, NY 14719

The second photos was more about the wind and the flags, plus you could read the name of the soldier on it was Gerald J McGlone, he served in WWII and Korea, but only died a few months before Sgt. Denfrund and he too was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his actions. McGlone appears to have been an artillery battery commander and fought during the battle for Bastogne.
I couldn’t find as much information on Captain McGlone, looks like he might have left the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel based on the “LTC” on his headstone. I almost wonder if he might have known Peter, my aforementioned grandmother’s boyfriend, as he was at the battle of the bulge and was in a glider in the Airborne….interesting.

Fort Sheridan Cemetery

In closing, please just keep all the current and former soldiers, sailors, airman and marines in your thoughts and make sure you say “Thank You” to those that you meet and know. They sacrifice so much and give us so much to be thankful for in our daily lives.

Thank you veterans, Thank you Jason, Thank you Gerald!

Love of all types

Love of life, Love of others, Love lost, Loving again and Love of home.

Like any week there are ups and downs. Not in how I shot, but just in meeting subjects or clients past and presence.

The up, I was able to re-unite with Israel Idonije of the Chicago Bears at a fundraiser between his group, the Israel Idonije Foundation and the Jack & Jill of America.

Zoriada and Israel

Two great groups that help support under privileged kids in the Chicago area. If you think all professional athletes have chips on their shoulders, then you haven’t met  Idonije, he’ll  will win you over. His easy smile and friendly demeanor makes you feel like you’ve known each other for years. I shot photo after photo of him greeting strangers like old acquaintances. Working with a subject who is so nice and who is doing so much good, really makes it hard to submit an invoice in the end… obviously, if I didn’t, wouldn’t be in business for very much longer!

During the event I ran into Zoriada Sambolin, NBC morning anchor, who was the nights emcee and auctioneer,  and I had an ah-ha moment, it was a sad one. Last Fall I’d photographed NBC sports broadcaster Daryl Hawks at another charity event in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately, Hawks, 38, had just passed away unexpectedly while in Atlanta covering a Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks game. But I knew I had a nice picture of him and his family. By nice I mean a smiley photo, even though it was a quick grab in a hotel lobby. I wanted to get a copy to his wife and family, and knew this would be a great way to make this happen. I got word from Zoriada that his wife loved the pictures, a good feeling that comes out of a bad situation.

Daryl Hawks & Family

After working three straight weekends, I took last weekend off to attend a family wedding in Omaha, while I don’t shoot weddings as part of my business plan, I do enjoy shooting a few pics for friends and family for their big day. When I say family, I mean extended family. There are friendships between families that just pass the test of time and this was for a granddaughter of this friendship.

Katie and Josh

Katie and Josh as Mr. and Mrs Bjorkman!

The young couple was getting married at the same church the bride’s grandparents exchanged vows in 54 years ago and it’s was a beautiful service. The weather cleared just in time for the afternoon nuptials and there was pretty nice light in the church. Luckily you can really turn up the ISO settings on the Canon EOS 5DMKII and allow for even more nice photos without having to resort to flash photography. Congrats Katie and Josh, hope you’re having a great honeymoon!  I also go to see my 93 year-old grandma who while suffering from dementia has a great smile on her face, especially when she’s got her 90 year-old boyfriend Peter by her side.

Grandma and her boyfriend!

Oh, and if you’re finding yourself in Omaha in the near future and love photojournalism, check out the Pulitzer exhibit at The Durham Museum, great presentation in a beautiful venue. Aside from the obligatory stop at Runza, I took my wife Tracy to one of my favorite places, it’s been renovated and is now a nice mix of retro and modern, but to go to B&G Tasty Foods

was great, they put MaidRite to shame! So, aside from the crazy lady who fidgeted and reclined her way into Tracy’s lap on the 4-hour weather delayed flight home, it was a great trip.

The Venerable B&G

This week has quickly rebounded with a fast Tribune shoot of Coupon Super Woman Jill Cataldo.

Supercouponer Jill Cataldo

The room we were in presented huge challenges to shooting… too many chairs, too many people, no room to move, poor lighting and projections onto a brown wall. It’s always fun to see someone with such passion for a topic, definitely going to need to learn more from her website!

Until next time…. Shaun

Fast and the Furious

Graduations, Easter, Golfing, Smoking and the not so boring board meetings!

Maybe it’s my advanced age, but months are now passing like weeks, weeks like months and days more like hours. Yeah, that’s a bit melodramatic. I’m barely into my 40′s, but considering how days and weeks would drag when I was working my last full-time newspaper job, it’s still a little disconcerting. Not that I want my old job back, far from it, but I am constantly amazed how fast a week goes and in this case the past few weeks.

Love the littlests’ expression…

From helping another shooter with a series of photos, shooting a graduation for a private university, multiple Chicago Tribune jobs including several multiple assignment days, sprinkled with a few corporate head shots and I’ve had probably the busiest four week period to date. This and I bid a few jobs that I didn’t land. So it’s been a bit euphoric and tiring! But I wouldn’t change any of it.

Just a nice moment between two graduating students

Always fun meeting folks, like Dick Stockton who calls NFL/NBA and MLB games for various broadcasting companies, to a church congregation who is putting on a play about the final days of Jesus Christ in Winnetka. Then there was the D46 School Board meeting (Grayslake, IL) which seems to be turning into quite the story as lawsuits and accusations fly.

While my office days can be limiting socially, minus Facebook, that’s why I like shooting, meeting and interacting with people and telling their stories visually. I got away from that during the end of my newspaper days… so glad I’m back to the basics, vert fulfilling!

D46 Board members say the pledge of allegiance before the meetings’ start.

On a side note, not photographically related, I put new ATE Atom Groove rotors on my MKV VW GLI, along with ceramic pads, installed a K&N air filter and had a new trunk lip spoiler painted and put on… she not only stops faster, but accelerates so much smoother… pics soon! If you live in the Glenview area and need a great mechanic, check out Dan at Import Auto Service! Or an autobody shop!

Thank you and see you back here soon!


Winnetka Bible Church Gospel of John performance

Winnetka Bible Church Gospel of John performance

Public Housing Smoking Rules change

Dick Stockton – Sports Broadcaster

Hugh Williams, Teddy Greenstein and Dick Stockton