A week of thanks

Monday morning greetings from Oklahoma City!

Well it sure was a crazy couple of weeks of driving and the final tally on the rental car was 5718 miles for the three shoots over that two week period of time! I made it back home on Saturday evening and was able to regroup a little bit and sleep in my own bed before heading out again yesterday for a week in New Mexico with my folks for the Thanksgiving holiday. Needless to say after this week of driving it will be good to be back in Peoria for at least a little while before heading out once again!!!

Both Jan and I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week and to me it’s always been a good time to be a little reflective about how things are going. Now I don’t think that any of us probably has the perfect life with everyday and everything being perfect all the time. We all have our moments, but that’s what life is all about and you just have to take the bad with the good. I do think that we are very blessed that we have so many wonderful clients that hire us and see the value in what we do. Jan is finishing up her third year working with me and I’m very happy that we have been able to do so much and spend so much time together having fun while we are working and traveling for our gigs! Life can be short, so enjoy everyday and be grateful for all that you have and who you are!

Here’s a quick snap from my time in Utah a couple of weeks ago when I was able to get out and shoot some nature photography for myself and this always makes me happy!

It’s time for me to get going, I’ve got about 670 miles of driving today to make it to my folks place! Jan and I both hope that if you’re going to be traveling this week to spend time with your family and friends that you make it a safe one and come back home in one piece. Thanks as always for taking the time to check out our work and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Kev and Jan

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Rolling down the road

Monday morning Georgia greetings to one and all!

Well it was a crazy week this past week and the fun’s not over yet! I was out in Utah for a shoot last week and everything worked out great and we had a good shoot. As sometimes happens, shoots can come up at the spur of the moment and I had a request for a last-minute shoot this week in Southern Georgia. I had driven out to Utah because of the amount of gear that was needed, so that was 1350 from Peoria to Salt Lake City. I spent the weekend driving from SLC back over to Georgia and that was another 1880 miles. Now the fun really begins, after the gig in Georgia I’ve got to drive up to Connecticut for a gig this coming Friday and this was another last-minute gig that came up late last week. So the drive from Georgia to Connecticut will be another 930 miles. Once I finish the Connecticut gig on Friday, I’ll start heading back to Peoria and that we’ll be another 965 miles to get back home. Just when you thought that the driving would all be done for a while, it will be Thanksgiving week on the 20th and I’ll be heading out to spend the week with my folks and that’s another 2750 miles of driving round trip! I’m going to need a vacation after all of this driving! 🙂

Here’s one of my snaps from the drive from Salt Lake City to Georgia on the back roads in Utah!

It’s time to make the doughnuts, so we hope that you’re going to have a great week and thanks for taking the time to check out our work!!!

Kev and Jan

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40 Years!

Monday morning greetings from Sal Lake City, Utah!

Yes the road-trips have started again! Denver two weeks ago and then back to Peoria for last week and now this week in Salt Lake City for another photo and video shoot! The good thing is that we enjoy it becuase if you didn’t, it sure wouldn’t be a lot of fun!!!

We don’t always get the chance to share some of the video projects that we work on, but this week we can! This has to be the biggest video project that Jan and I have ever worked on and it wasn’t that it took weeks and weeks to shoot, but it was the time that it took to edit putting everything together that was so extensive and time consuming!

David Vaughan Investments is one of those companies in the Central Illinois area that you’ve probably never heard of, but they are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. In this day and age when companies come and go at the drop of a hat, being in business for 40 years really says something about the company and the people who work there. To mark this anniversary, DVI worked with another one of those companies that you might not have ever heard of, Burdess and Associates to put together a video celebrating the 40 years of business. lol, the funny thing is that most people in Central Illinois have no idea who I am either, so I like to think that like DVI and Burdess, we all fly under the radar when it comes to the general public.

Unless you’ve work on a project like this, you’ve really don’t have an idea as to the time that it takes to make all the elements come together. It all starts with concept meetings on what the video will be about and the look that we are after. From there we interviewed the principle players at DVI and after that is when the heavy lifting really began. If you think about it, we had to whittle down two hours of interviews into a seven minute video to span the 40 years of DVI. I give a huge amount of the credit to how well this video turned out to Barb Massey and Mark Burdess from Burdess and Associates. Barb was able to craft the story from all the interviews and Mark was responsible with the look and feel of the video. Trust me, without their help on this DVI video, it never would have looked and sounded as good as it does! It takes a team of people to put something like this together and in this case we spent days and days and days together working on the editing of the video over a two month period of time! That’s a crazy amount of time, but well worth the effort when you see the finished piece!

Below is a Youtube link for the DVI video that Barb, Mark, Jan and I put together. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!

Alright, its time to get busy in Salt Lake City, so we hope that you have a great week to come and thanks as always for taking the time to check out our work!

Kev and Jan

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Training Day Colorado

Monday morning Peoria greetings to one and all!

The road trips have started again and this past week I was out in Northglenn, Colorado for a very fun shoot! Rescue Experience: Colorado was a two day training event that was put on by a client of ours. Unless you’re a first responder or a fan of IndyCar racing, you’ve probably never heard of Holmatro, but they are the cat’s meow when it comes to hydraulic rescue equipment. If you’re not sure what hydraulic rescue equipment is, think the “jaws of life” when people are in car accidents and need to be extracted from a crash vehicle.

The first responders that went through the Rescue Experience had a little classroom time to start the day and then they were put through their paces in some realistic scenarios with the instructors. The big takeaway that the students learned was to think differently about how they might rescue victims in a timely and safe manner using the different tools that Holmatro makes and to use them properly. It was fascinating to see how the different teams would work together on these scenarios to make these rescues happen so quickly and safely for all involved including the other first responders.

On a personal note, one of the instructors was Dr. Andrew Stevens and for me as a big IndyCar fan, I’ve heard his name mentioned numerous times over the years when a racer would be injured in a crash he would be the attending physician. In my promo photos, Dr. Stevens is the gentleman on the right side of the photos in the orange Holmatro fire-suit.

I’ve got a few of my snaps from the Rescue Experience and at some point I’ll also be editing a video from the event as well.

Thanks as always for taking the time to check out our work and we hope that you have a great week to come!!!

Kev and Jan

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Big news and a Monday drive

Wednesday morning greetings to one and all!

The big news that I’m sharing today is that a week ago Monday I passed my FAA Part 107 test to become a certified drone pilot! For a person that would like to fly a drone commercially, you have to pass this test in order to be certified by the FAA, so it’s a big deal to be legal when you are flying for commercial work. For a hobbyist that would like to have a small drone and fly around in the park, you don’t need this certification, but you do have to follow some rules that the FAA has put forth. To fly legally for commercial purposes, you’ve got to study and pass the test. Mind you it’s been about 40 years since I’ve had to study for a test, so my brain wasn’t wired for all the things that you have to know to pass the test. I probably spent about 12 hours watching some videos and also going over study guides with information from reading weather reports to knowing how to read aeronautical sectional charts for the US. I took the test over in Bloomington, Il. and it took about an hour and half to complete. The good thing is that they give you the results right away and I passed with an 83% score and needless to say I was super happy about that! The certification is good for two years, so I’ll have to take it again down the road but at least I know what to study and how the testing process goes!

We’ve hit the time of the year in the Midwest when the weather is really nice and you’ve got to get out and enjoy it before winter hits! Having the cooler temperatures and lower humidities is so wonderful and it’s great to get out and drive around in farm country. Jan and I took a little trip up to Bishop Hill, Illinois and took a few photos along the way! The fun thing that we did on this day trip was to not use any of our camera gear and just use our iPhones. These phones have gotten so good that you can take some really good photos with your phone. For us it’s fun to see what you can create with just a camera phone!

Here’s a couple of our snaps from an afternoon spent at Bishop Hill.

Thanks as always for taking the time to check out our work and we hope that you’re going to have a great week to come!

Kev and Jan

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Not your grandpa’s tractor!

Monday morning Peoria greetings to one and all!

We are back in town after having a quick road trip out to Wyoming this past week for a shoot. After having been in Peoria for over a month, it was good to be back out on the road for a shoot and it’s never upsetting to be out West! After being in Wyoming for even a few days, I adjusted very quickly to the lower humidity then we have here in Peoria. We stopped in Des Monies, Ia. for the night on the way back home and when I stepped out of the car, that good old Midwestern humidity hit me right in the face! When we get to this time of the year, we’re about ready for the heat and humidity to be over and it’s coming, but maybe just not quick enough!

One of the things that we shot before heading out West was a gig for our friends at LG Seeds. About six and a half years ago we shot Bret Berg and his “Moneymaker” tractor in the studio and it’s one incredible machine. As you can see from the photos in 2011 on this link, the “Moneymaker” has four engines that are putting out 8,800 horsepower http://blog.kevinmay.com/2011/02/28/eight-eight-hundred-horses/

Bret brought the “Moneymaker” tractor to the National Tractor Pullers Association event at the 130th Sandwich Fair in Sandwich, Il. If you’ve never been to a tractor pull, it’s pretty amazing to see these machines run down the track. It’s a very visceral experience because it’s a overload of your senses. As these tractors make a run, you’ll feel the vibrations of the air and hear the roar of the engines and it’s amazing!

Here’s one of our shots of the “Moneymaker” tractor in action!

Thanks as always for taking the time to check out our work and we sure do appreciate it!

Kev and Jan

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The end of summer

Monday morning Peoria greetings to one and all!

Editing, editing, editing! Yes, I’ve been a video editing machine these past couple of weeks and we have been cranking out the video projects right and left! We go through these periods where we do a bunch of the same thing for days on end, so there are times where we are shooting and other times like this past couple of weeks that it was a lot of editing. We’re busy and that’s a very good thing! May, June, July and August is traditionally our busiest time of the year and this summer was no exception! Besides all the shoots that we did here in Central Illinois. we also had shoots in five different states and Canada. I don’t know how many miles Jan and I spent in the Explorer, but I have to think that it was at least 10,000 miles! It’s a good thing that we both like to drive because if we didn’t, that would be brutal!!!

Today’s photo is our home base city of Peoria and it’s been great being here these past three weeks. We’re enjoying our time here at home knowing that the road trips will be starting up again soon and we’ll be back on the road once again!

We’ve got one more week before the end of summer with the Labor Day weekend, so if you’re going to be traveling for the holiday, make it a safe one! Thanks as always for checking out our work and we hope that you have a great last week of summer!!!

Kev and Jan

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Pizza time

Monday morning Peoria greetings to one and all!

It sure was nice to spend this past week in Peoria and to be home for a change! As I talked about last week, we’ve been on the road a bunch these past few months and there’s so much that you miss out on when you’re out on the road. To me it’s the little things like sleeping in your own bed and eating your own food that make being home so good. We had a busy week with a couple of shoots and then a ton of video editing work as well, so it was a nice mix of things going on and that’s never a bad thing!

For those of you that don’t know, I live just down the road from Kickapoo, Illinois which is just West of Peoria about 10 miles. There’s not ever been a bevy of dinning options in Kickapoo, but for those that do know Central Illinois, there’s always been Ludy’s. It’s a small little bar that has some of the best hamburgers and cold beer around and they’ve even got picnic tables outside and in the summertime, it’s great to sit outside and enjoy the warm summer weather. Sure we could go down the road to Peoria for food, but it’s nice to have some places close to home. Well now Kickapoo has added a second restaurant and it’s a good one! Pizza 150 is a brand new restaurant that was constructed on the site of another little hole in the wall bar in Kickapoo that is long gone. I had watched the construction going on earlier this year and wondered what the building was going to be and to my surprise, it was another restaurant. From the outside you could tell that it was going to be a nice place and the first time I walked in, I was blown away by how nice it was. Now to me a nice place is a place that’s laid back and I feel comfortable just chilling out and having a few cold beers along with some great food. Pizza 150 fits that bill to a T for me! So if you’re in Central Illinois and looking for a new place to check out, give Pizza 150 a try and I think you might like it too!

Here’s a couple of my shots for our friends at Pizza 150.

It’s time to get rocking, we’ve got another busy week with a ton of video editing so I’ll be chained to the computer! We hope that you have a great week as always and thanks for taking the time to check out our work!

Kev and Jan

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Cruising the boulevard

Monday morning Peoria greetings to one and all!

We are back in Peoria from last week’s Alabama road-trip and darn happy about that! It’s not that we didn’t have a good shoot last week or that we didn’t have fun too, because we did! It’s more about all the time that we’ve spent on these road-trips in the past few months away from home and we’ve sure spent a lot of nights in hotels! The funny thing is that after being here in town for the next month or so, we’ll be begging to go back out on the road! It’s a crazy cycle indeed! 🙂

As you might know, we love going to car shows in Central Illinois and shooting photos of the different cars. It’s not something that we do all the time, but we try to hit at least one or two each summer! When we were out in Golden, Colorado last month, apparently there is a big cruise in on the first Saturday of the month in town. The amazing thing to me is that they do this year round, so I’m sure that the weather wouldn’t be nearly as nice in December, but I guess that they get a lot of cars and people come out for it. Well, we sure couldn’t have had a better day when we were there and the amazing thing is that people were lined up on South Golden Road in lawn-chairs watching the different cars cruising up and down the road! I was truly shocked at the number of people watching and it almost reminded me of a crowd that you would see for a Fourth of July parade. Needless to say we had a great time and took lots of pictures of some of our favorite cars! Next time we’re out in Golden, Co. on the first Saturday of the month, We’ll have to do it again!!!!

Here’s a few of our snaps from the Golden cruise-in.

It’s time for us to get to work, we’ve got a lot to do to get caught up from this last week being on the road! We hope that you’re going to have a great week to come and thanks as always for taking the time to check out our work!!!

Kev and Jan

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Close encounters

Monday morning Alabama greetings to one and all!

Well, it sure has been a couple of crazy weeks since you’ve last heard from us! Busy? Yes, indeed! I was up in Canada on a shoot for ten days and it was interesting to say the least! This past week I spent most of the week working on all the video and still photography from the Canada gig and was able to get things wrapped up on Friday afternoon and was darn happy about that! We had one night to regroup and left for Alabama on Saturday and here we are ready to rock once again for another gig! I’m amazed at the amount of time that we have spent on the road this year and it’s far from over!!!! We’ll rock and roll this week and then I think we’ll be in Peoria the rest of August and I’m not too upset about that at all!!!!

On our road trip out West in late June for another gig, we had a couple of days for ourselves to get out and shoot and a few weeks ago you saw a couple of photos from Badlands National Park in South Dakota. This week I’ve got a couple of photos from Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. For those of you that have never been there, you might have seen the tower in the 1977 movie “Close encounters of the Third Kind”. It’s one of those things that you can see for miles as you are driving too, it doesn’t seem all that big until you get closer and closer and see that it’s pretty darn big! You also can see why many Native Americans in the area hold this tower as being a sacred place. I can feel that vibe when I’m there because there aren’t any other formations like that in the area, so I can see why it’s a special place!

Here’s a couple of our snaps from Devils Tower National Monument.

Ok, it’s time for us to get rocking! We’ve got a busy week and then back to Peoria, so we’ve got to get going! We hope that you’re going to have a great week to come and thanks for checking out our work as always!!!

Kev and Jan

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